What’s In Your Gym Bag?

Let’s get a little practical today with some information for you.  Many people wonder what equipment they should have.  This has become more and more of a pressing question as CrossFit has grown and developed.  When CrossFit was in its infancy, there was nothing that you had to have in your bag.  You showed up in a pair of Chuck’s your favorite worn out shirt and got ready to jump on the pain train.  Warm up was a couple push ups, some situps, maybe squat some.  A few light lifts and then it was go time!

If you remember those days…you can classify yourself as “old school”.  Pat yourself on the back…there are not a ton of us around!

As our sport, and yes it is a sport, has grown so has our understanding and knowledge of the human body.  So, for today, I wanted to give you an idea of what should be in your gym bag for each and every day.  Then I will close it with some other options that you might want to have based on your individual situation.

Image from King Kong Bags


Outside of the latest gym shirt, you will want to consider having the following items with you at all times:

    1. Water Bottle – this one is pretty much a given.  You need water, daily and quite a bit of it.  You should have one with you in the gym and with you pretty much at all times.  If you have a water bottle, you will be more likely to drink water and not go get a sugary drink from the vending machine or fridge.
    2.  Jump Rope – Generally I recommend having your own jump rope for several reasons, but first and foremost, is that if you are working on getting the elusive double under, triple under or quad…you will want to be consistent in the rope that you are using.  It is also worthwhile to have this if you travel or just in case you need a quick warm-up.  They do not take up a lot of space and are a valuable fitness tool.
    3. Lacrosse Balls and Foam Roller – There are several options here, but I recommend having at least 3 lacrosse balls in your bag.  One individual and 2 taped together to form a peanut.  These coupled with a foam roller or a supernova help with pre and post workout maintenance.  After the lacrosse balls, you will want to have either a foam roller or supernova.  for in your bag, I prefer the supernova or orb.  See pics below.  Both of these items can be purchased from Rogue.  The orb and supernova work similar to a foam roller, they just take up less space.  And in a gym bag, space is precious.

    4. Journal – This one could be number 1!  You need to be able to log where your lifts are at and what you are doing.  Knowing your numbers is important.  This does not have to be anything fancy.  It can be a $1 notebook that you write in everyday.  Keep it in your bag and enjoy seeing your progress!  Log anything that is important to you.  Looking to lean up, log your meals.  Looking to see your progress, log your maxes and benchmark times/ rounds.
    5. Special Equipment – This one is going to be the catchall category.  This are the items that you specifically need to be successful.  You can think of items 1-3 as things everyone should have.  The special equipment are going to be those things that are specific for you.  These might include olympic lifting shoes (recommended once you have a solid foundation in the lifts.  These are not necessary if you are just learning the movements).  This could also be weight belts, knees sleeves, elbow sleeves, and wrist wraps.  What you are looking for here is just the equipment that allows you to perform at your best and is unique to your struggles.  I tend to get pain in my knees when I squat heavy, so I always have my knee sleeves.  Again with this special equipment you want to have it after you have a strong foundation in the basic movements and understand how the movement should feel without the aid of an outside device.  Knee sleeves will not fix your squat.  Learn to squat correctly first.  Always learn proper positioning before relying on outside equipment.  A lack of technique knowledge leads to an increase in risk of injury!