You’ve probably noticed that your average Crossfitter tends to carry an oversized gym bag full of all sorts of goodies. Why? Maybe because we’re serious about our training and lugging a Mary Poppin’s style bag into the gym allows us to have anything we need for the long haul. Or if you’re like me you just like buying cool shit whether you need it or not. Either way there are some essentials I would recommend having no matter how serious you are about the sport. These are the things in my bag right now. They go to the gym with me everyday. When I travel they follow me from the overhead bin on the plane, strait to the Crossfit box nearest my hotel.
- A big ole bag
You need something big enough to put all your shit in. I wanted a bag that would hold a pair of size 14 lifting shoes plus a change of clothes but still fit under an airplane seat. When I graduated college as a present to myself I splurged on an Oakley Bag called the Kitchen Sink. At $150 it’s pricey but I’m fairly happy with it. It’s not the most “tactically functional” design but it looks pretty bitchin.
If you’re starting out, just get some shoes that will do a little of everything.
You don’t need anything fancy. The old die-hard has been a pair of $45 Converse Chucks, high tops of course. I like a flat minimal shoe. Chucks are great for most things in the gym. They don’t have much cushion so you won’t lose power on your lifts, however they start to suck on long runs. If you want to fully join the cult of fitness, grab a pair of Reebok Nanos. You can save money here by not buying the newest ones. The nanos have been great since their inception and you have 6 generations of the shoe to choose from.
Once you have some skin in the game I would recommend a pair of Oly Lifters. They have a solid raised heel that can help you have a better position with overhead movements. I have the inov-8 fastlifts and love them. They handle a few other things besides lifting but I wouldn’t recommend taking them on a run.
3. Wrist wraps
If you have been in a Crossfit box for more than 5 seconds you realize how important your wrists are. I fully believe wrist strength and mobility are paramount to lifting well and avoiding injury. Wraps can help as well. I started with some canvas wraps for about $30.00. They stay tight and support my wrist, and are fairly cheap, great for metcons. When I’m lifting heavy I prefer something a little more stout that can let my wrist bend slightly but still hold all the bones together. I’m a big fan of Mark Bell’s Gangsta Wraps, for sure buy the camo!
Tape has a million and 1 uses. You can use it to prevent or protect tears, stabilize a joint, fashion some makeshift gymnastic grips, or hold your ratty gym bag together. I recommend having some old school $6 athletic tape as well as some stretchy $9 KT tape for fingers and wrists. Plus there’s a lot of vodoo you can do with KT tape that helps bring blood flow to an area that might be injured. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar, it comes with instructions.
For the tape of course. For a smooth $70 you can get the Leatherman Raptor Emergency Scissors. They’re pretty slick but a much cheaper pair of Safety Scissors will do, it’s just not as cool. I like safety scissors because they won’t poke a hole in your bag, and might be TSA friendly although I have to confirm that.
6. Jump rope
Most Crossfit boxes these days have a wall full of jump ropes for the members to borrow. That’s great if you aren’t in a hurry to get your own rope. As a tall guy I always had trouble getting a rope long enough for me, and if I did find one there were occasions when I had to fight the other tall guys for use of it. So I bought my own. Custom length just for me, it weighs nothing and takes up very little space. You can break out a jump rope just about anywhere and get some work done. RX Smart Gear makes the Cadillac of jump ropes for $40. It’s the last rope you’ll ever buy. You can also get away with a much cheaper $6.00 rope and be just fine for a long time.
Crossfit boxes are much more social than traditional gyms so it would be rude to through on a pair of headphones and try to ignore everyone. However if I’m doing a long run, row, or airdyne session I gotta have my $15 Scull Candy Headphones. I love the way they sound, they’re pretty cheap, and they block out a lot of noise. I’ve been know to throw on a pair at the gun range for light ammunition.
Apps are great, their quick and easy and can offer some great analytics for your numbers. Nothing beats good ole’ pen and paper. I like the all weather Rite in the Rain notepads cause it makes me feel like a spy.
Oh my gosh, this should be number 1-10. You know those “eat a snickers cause you’re cranky” commercials? Well those are based off me. I’m a big fan of lunch, and then second lunch, and then snacks. Basically I’m a hobbit. There’s been plenty of times with my job where I’m traveling or I get caught up in a project and don’t have time to microwave a meal or God forbid, go to McDonalds. So my bag is always well stocked with non-perishable snacks. My go to is Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread. Dear Jebus it’s tasty and they come in little pouches. I’m also a huge fan of Epic Bars, they’re basically like beef jerky with nuts and berries mixed in.
10. Lifting belt
My general rule is to do as much lifting without a belt as possible. But when I’m fatigued or it’s time to hit a max lift I want to have one.
Do you have to carry all this junk to do a workout in a Crossfit box? No
Do you have to run out and buy all this at once? No
But if you find that you need these things start slow, just buy things as you need them. Hit up Craigslist and Facebook marketplace. You can even sometimes borrow a pair of wrist wraps from your coach.
Personally I geek out over crossfit gear and think I need every new gadget out there. With the addition of food my gym bag tends to look more like a bug out bag everyday. At least when the zombies come I’ll have everything I need to survive the apocalypse and get a quick wod in.
So what’s in your gym bag? Leave a comment with your essentials below.