Getting ready to put your fitness to the test at a local competition? Here’s what you’ll need in your bag on the big day:
- The right kinds of snacks
- A comfy seat
- ALL the outfits
- Proper gear
- Supplements, and the means to take them
- Your phone charger, or an extra battery pack
- Mobility toys
- Dog Treats
1. The right kinds of snacks (and likely, a cooler).
Nutrition is the base of the CrossFit pyramid – we know this. But game-day nutrition may be different than what you normally intake. There are a few things to consider here – you’ll probably want more carbs than usual, they may be simple rather than complex if you’re looking for energy to burn right away, and they have to be in the form of something you actually feel like eating between 3, 4, or more WODs. I don’t know about you, but when I’m two workouts in, I’ve got fran-lung, and my stomach is in knots over the next upcoming event, the last thing I want to do is inhale a bunch of mashed sweet potato. On top of that, you’ll also want to find snacks that: also have a decent amount of protein, can live for a while in a cooler or out of the fridge, aren’t complicated or messy, and are easily share-able – since we’re all family in the CrossFit community! Fuel For Fire Coffee Smoothies are my personal fav because they’re easy to take down and have caffeine.
2. A comfy seat.
Competitions are a lot of fun especially since many have a sort-of “festival” feel. There’s typically an area for competition, an area to warm up and stretch out, and an area to drop your stuff with your teammates or supporters and just hang out when you’re not working out. That area can be really fun, especially with the camaraderie that comps bring out in people. You’ll likely meet new people and make new friends here. But comps can run long. And you can have a lot of downtime. And sitting on the floor for long periods of time between workouts can get really uncomfortable. A lot of people overlook this, and pay for it about halfway through a comp. SO grab your camping chair or beach chair and save yourself from sore buns and feet that fall asleep from sitting on the floor.
3. ALL of the outfits.
There are a lot of good reasons to bring a change of clothes (or a couple). For fun, it can be a good time to get matchy-matchy with your teammates or partner if it’s a group comp. For function, it can be even nicer to have a dry outfit or two if you get super sweaty or you’ve got outside events in the rain/mud/etc. That goes for sneakers too. The WORST is when your shoes get soaked and you’re stuck in them for the rest of the day (can you say blisters?). It never hurts to throw an extra pair in your car or gym bag just in case. Finally, you’ll want to grab an outfit for after the comp so you and your friends can grab a celebratory bite and you’re not stuck in your previously-sweaty currently-stinky outfit. Sandals or other comfy shoes are a nice welcome for tired feet after a day of competing, too.
4. Proper Gear.
CrossFitters love gear, we all know that. You’ve probably got a tool for just about every movement we do in the gym. Comps are a good time to put your equipment to use. While lots of coaches aren’t fans of ALL THE GEAR during regular WODs (since you can form a reliance on equipment rather than strengthening your own body), comps are a good time to make use of the gear to give yourself a competitive advantage. If you have it, bring it, even if you don’t think you’ll need it necessarily. It sucks to look back at torn hands and think “if only I had brought my grips with me” or to be included in a surprise event when you weren’t expecting needing your lifters or a belt. Why not throw that stuff in your bag just in case? Throw a roll of tape in there too. My belt is my security blanket. If I could – I’d do pull ups in it. It just makes me feel better 🙂 In my opinion, the best belts come from 2pood. Bonus points if they’re sequined.
5. Supplements, and the means to take them.
If you’re the kind of person who just can’t stomach eating in between workouts, you may opt for protein powders, carb formulas, or other supplements to keep your body fueled during competition days. If that’s the case – you’ll want to plan accordingly. Portion out what you think you’ll need ahead of time and pack using tupperware or ziplock bags so that you’re not stuck lugging around big containers. Maybe even double bag those powders so they can’t make a mess in your bag. Pack empty shaker bottles, possibly more than one, if you have some flavored drinks that don’t like to come clean without running the dishwasher. And bring an extra serving if you want to be the hero who can hook someone else up when they’re feeling tired or sore after a couple heats. Stronger Faster Healthier (SFH) is always my fav in terms of supplements – and they also have shaker bottles online that have a section you can store portioned-out cups of protein in. Also love their fish oil and pet products!
6. Your phone charger, or an extra battery pack.
For all the selfies, duh! Actually, comps can be a great time for photos and videos. Capture some memories with your friends/teammates/supporters, and document competition firsts and PRs so members at your gym who can’t attend can still get the recap from the comp later on. You can’t do any of that with a phone that’s dead, can you? This is my FAV power bank. I know they come in all shapes and sizes, but this guy charges FAST and can power my phone over and over, even through all the selfies.
7. Mobility toys.
The last thing you want to do is seize up in between events. Having something as small as a lacrosse ball in your bag can help alleviate tired, sore muscles, and prevent cramping in the future. You probably don’t want to travel with something as big and bulky as a foam roller, but lax balls, p-knots, and calf sticks are portable enough to fit in your gym bag and you’ll be glad you have them when you need them. The stick is my favorite, and comes in travel size!
More and more, competitions are featuring a vendor area where local businesses can showcase the latest and greatest in apparel, gear, and food/drink (so much coffee). Lots of times, these vendors are cash-only, but even when they’re not, it’s always helpful to support local shops by paying with cash and allowing owners to avoid credit-card fees. Same goes for grabbing some extra swag from the gym hosting the competition.
That’s right, toilet paper. Competitions typically mean lots of CrossFitters… and not a lot of bathrooms. In fact, many gyms bring porta-potties in to help alleviate their plumbing systems – and who can blame them? When buildings are typically suited to accomodate 20-40 people at a time and suddenly a couple hundred (between competitors and spectators) all need to use the facilities at once… things can get ugly. So it never hurts to be extra prepared with an extra roll of toilet paper. Especially in a porta-potty situation.
10. Dog treats.
CrossFit gyms are notoriously dog friendly places. This is my personal favorite item on the list – as I like to befriend as many four-legged-friends as I possibly can. At family-friendly comps, there’s bound to be a pupper or two, so if you want to get on their good side, throw a treat or two in your bag and let the belly rubs begin. My dog Ollie really likes the grain free/gluten free Blue Buffalo treats. #paleodog.
Author: Nicole Brazier
Niki Brazier (CF-L2) has been coaching CrossFit since 2011 and has been a sideline reporter for CrossFit HQ since 2014.