Going to the gym requires very little equipment. Just you, your clothes, some shoes (maybe some shoes tailored especially to your type of training, if you’re that way inclined), and a vessel to carry water around with you. Not even that – most modern gyms have water fountains you can stick your head under if necessary.
CrossFitters like to make things more complicated, of course. It’s never just a squat; it’s three air squats, a pull-up, ten handstand push-ups and a 400m run. It’s the same for the kit required. The longer I go to CrossFit, the heavier my gym bag becomes with completely necessary kit to enable me to complete a WOD. Read on to find out what I now consider to be my gym bag essentials.
First up, my Nike MetCons. I rarely wear these outside to keep them for training. Is it really necessary to have a completely different pair of shoes for CrossFit? I guess I wasn’t entirely convinced until I burned a hole in my training shoes by coming down a rope. These are reinforced in places that are susceptible to pressure from the rope, are flat enough to lift in but are also comfortable enough to run a couple of hundred metres. Plus, they look good. A winner all-round for me.
Speaking of rope burn – you might think CrossFitters wear silly long socks for aesthetics, but once you’ve burned your leg just once (yes, through your leggings) you’ll be packing long socks to haul on before clambering up a rope. I’m even considering investing in a neoprene leg protector, it’s that bad.
Though it’s always best to strengthen your body rather than relying on external support, I’ve found I’ve been using wrist wraps for overhead movements and when I’m holding the bar in front rack for quite a while. I got my own as using other people’s sweaty ones found around the box was freaking me out!
Supplements. Always supplements. And my collection is growing more and more – I’ve always used whey protein straight after a workout, as it’s a fast-digesting protein so gets to work repairing your muscles straight away. I’ve spoken of my love of BCAAs before, but I’ve also started taking L-glutamine tablets too. They may be donkey chokers but they’re worth it for their DOMS-fighting properties and I’ve also heard things about combating sugar cravings, too.
Never a pre-workout though – a banana is enough for me! Just the right balance of fast- and slow-acting carbs to fuel my workout. My workouts are later in the evening, and with most pre-workouts containing caffeine, they just don’t work for me.
There’s loads of skipping ropes at the box, but as you start learning double-unders you realise that there’s not one-size-fits-all rope. They have to be the right length for you, and it’s unlikely that a rope at the gym is going to cater for your exact height. I was recommended this Buddy Lee rope by Georgie as they’re supposed to be awesome speed ropes, but it was the colour that really sold it to me! I’ve not used it in a WOD yet but it’s ready and waiting in my bag, ready to whip out.
I’m sure as I get further along the line I’ll be lugging around even more entirely essential kit. To misquote Jaws – I think we’re gonna need a bigger bag! What are your gym bag essentials – did I miss anything?
Photos taken in Salford Quays’ Virgin Active club.