JOE's Essentials for your gym bag
There's a fine art to packing everything you need into your gym bag, so JOE recommends a few things you can't leave the house without
Whether you're packing up a night in advance or you're simply throwing everything together in the morning before you run out the door, it can be a bit of a pain to try and remember everything that you need to get into your gym bag for the workout that day.
From making sure you're equipped for a shower to having the right supplements, here are a few essentials that our mates at CrossFit Navitas Rob Sweeney and Alex Dunlop reckon you need to have in your gym bag. These guys spend a good part of their day in the gym, so JOE thought that they'd be best placed to give us a go-to guide for gym essentials.
It seems like a pretty obvious place to start, but you need a good bag that's easy to carry around but will also fit everything you need. For Rob, pockets that separate everything out are the perfect fit, and a lot of bags designed for golf have a separate space to keep your shoes, which is handy. Alex prefers to bring a backpack, and always looks for as many compartments as he can so that you can squeeze in a load of extra stuff like bottles of water or shakers for your supplements.
Your training supplement of choice
From BCAAs to pre-workout mixes, proteins and more, there's a huge range out there, and there's a lot to know when it comes to choosing the right ones for you. Alex likes to grab a quick pre-workout mix to make sure he's got the energy to keep going through the set, while Rob suggest that there's nothing like some BCAA for taking during the workout. It will cut your time down between sets and have you fired up right until the end of your session. Both of the lads also recommend that you make sure to have a protein shake for afterwards and feel free to add a few oats to the shake to replenish your glycogen levels too, which will aid recovery.
Cicaplast Hands by La Roche-Posay
From lifting heavy weights to doing pull ups, your hands take a huge amount of punishment in the gym, and doing CrossFit involves a lot of these movements. Whether you're doing a deadlift or working through some cleans and jerks, your grip is key, which means that calluses on your hands are pretty hard to avoid, so Cicaplast Hands will help to speed up the rate at which your skin repairs. Rob and Alex both swear by it, and given that it's available in most pharmacies for just €7.50, it's not going to break the bank either.
Sliotar or hockey ball
Rob and Alex were keen to point out to us that warming up and cooling down are vital parts of your workout that a lot of people ignore, but doing so is a bad idea. Find those extra ten minutes in your schedule to give yourself time to get ready and make sure to put a hard ball, like a sliotar or a hockey ball, in to your gym bag so that you can roll out tight spots. Alex points out that, in particular, a lot of people have tight spots around the hip and the shoulders which are important joints. It might not be the most comfortable thing in the world to do, but there are real benefits to making sure you do it regularly.
No one prefers showering at the gym, unless your gym happens to be incredibly clean with taps made of solid gold, so the best way to make sure you don't have to deal with the fairly unpleasant, slightly moist and weirdly squidgy ground is to throw a pair of flip flops in.
Shower gel and Shampoo
If you're doing your work right in the gym, you'll break a pretty good sweat. You'll need to wash that off, and a good body scrub might even be the ticket if you want to make sure you smell fresh when you get into work. Don't forget to bring a shampoo, as using your shower gel is alright, but we should definitely take good care of our hair, we never know how long we're going to have it after all.
That's right, towels; plural. You obviously need one for drying off after the shower, but don't forget about bringing one with you for during your session to wipe down equipment for other gym members. Alex in particular was vocal on this subject, and also reminded us that in a good workout, in particular during CrossFit, you're going to break a pretty good sweat, so bring something to make sure you're not dripping all over the place.