What’s In My Gym Bag?

Since starting CrossFit, I’ve managed to acquired a bunch of new swag. My gym bag is full of some gear that I definitely could not do without – and I want to share some of it with you!

Because CrossFit is made up of so many different movements and skills, it’s important to make sure that your body is taken care of – especially when a workout includes a high rep scheme or heavy lifts.

I was hesitant at first to just go out and buy gear, primarily because I hate buying things just to be a cool kid. I want to know that if I’m buying gear, it’s because I know it’s something I need, that will protect me in some way, or support my performance. For example: I have yet to buy olympic lifting shoes. These shoes are specially designed to assist ankle mobility and help athletes lift heavier weights by allowing their bodies to get into optimal position. Knowing that my ankle mobility is pretty good and that I’m still very much learning and improving in my olympic lifts, I don’t feel like it’s necessary that I drop $200-$300 on shoes just to look good.

After a few weeks, though, I did some evaluating and determined that there was one thing I could definitely use: grips. The volume of pull-ups, toes to bar, hollow holds, and other bar work that we do results in some gnarly calluses and puts me at risk of ripping my hands. Anyone who has done gymnastics knows just how AWFUL hand rips can be. They are the literal worst. Clay and I did a lot of research (the CrossFit market is flooded with products… not all of which legit), and found Victory Grips. These are designed by a former gymnast, are durable, provide great hand coverage, and are really easy to break in. Since using them, my hands haven’t ripped once. I started out with their leather grips, which I liked, but didn’t do well with the bars in our gym, and have since switched to the stealth grips (pictured), which are synthetic. I love them.

For Christmas, Clay filled out the rest of my gym bag needs. He hooked me up with a weight belt – something I’ve wanted for a while, but like Oly shoes, I didn’t want to use it as a crutch for bad weightlifting form. Belts provide more core stability when lifting heavy loads – but if you don’t take the time to learn how to brace your abdominals and low back properly, even a belt isn’t going to help you. I use mine when lifting heavy or when the volume of a workout is pretty high and I’ve found that it’s helped make me even more aware of keeping my midline tight and consciously working to protect my back.

While I wish I looked as badass Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, I do have those knee sleeves she’s wearing, so that’s close enough for now. Clay also grabbed me these Rehband knee sleeves for Christmas and I’m really glad he did. Now, I’ve never had knee problems, thankfully, but in the past year or so I’ve noticed that my knees crack and pop a lot more than they used to. I also find that they get sore a lot easier – which is probably the result of me becoming decrepit. These sleeves are made of some sturdy neoprene offer compression and support when I’m lifting heavy. We found new 1 rep maxes last week for our squat cleans and hang snatches… I was definitely glad I had my sleeves on when I pulled 205 from the floor and caught it in a front squat!

I generally try to be judicious about what gear I buy – I want to make sure that the equipment I’m spending money on is going to help me improve as an athlete and ensure that my body is protected and can stay in the game for the long haul. Each of these items has so far proven to do just that.

Road Tested: Apera yoga bag

It’s been years since I had a decent gym bag.

I’ve looked for months, but typically just fell back on my old standbys, a reusable grocery bag or a tote bag given to me for participating in a friend’s wedding a few years back.

They work, but barely.

 yg2Don’t laugh, this was my old gym bag.

Then last month I discovered Apera, a Colorado-based company that launched mid-2012 and has a line of sports bags with antimicrobial product protection, which helps prevent growth of bacterial odors in and on the bag.

Apera generously offered me a yoga tote to check out and review for Scoot and I am smitten.

yogatote1Yoga tote has a space just for your yoga mat. Photo by Apera

Not only is it cute, (hello, fuchsia!) but it’s incredibly versatile. I can use it as a gym bag, as an overnight bag and as a carry-on for one of my many race weekends. Happy dance!

It’s also got LOTS of deep pockets to store all sorts of goodies. And that means I can put my keys in one zippered pocket and my phone in another (and that, my friends, will avoid any possibility of them colliding and scratching the phone screen.)

Brought my bag to work with my gear for an evening run.

Brought my bag to work with my gear for an evening run.

Sadly, I have not yet used it for yoga, as I am a sporadic yogi. Next week. I promise. Or not. We’ll see.

Each Apera bag also has the following:

Ventilated compartments: (note the mesh a top my bag) The bag’s breathable material allows for air flow, and in turn keeps everything inside dry and stink-free.


My bag is filled with Thursday’s workout gear, see the separate slot for my sneakers?

Wipeable linings: (and yes, I already spilled water in here. It cleaned up easily.)

A washable insert: (I’ve used it for my swimming goggles thus far.) It’s meant to help you separate your wet and dry gear and keep everything else in your bag from getting wet.

 insertPic by Apera, my goggles aren’t as sleek and my cap is pretty hideous

I also love to support small companies that have a meaningful mission.

And Apera does just that. For every three bags the company sells, they donate one bag to a Special Olympics athlete.

Want to win an Apera bag of your own? It’s your lucky day as Apera gives one bag away each month. All you have to do is sign up to receive to Apera’s newsletter via e-mail and you are automatically entered into their monthly drawing.

This month, the bag of choice is Apera’s sling tote, which retails at $109 and is next on my “must-have” list.

slingtote_giveawayThe sling tote

Subscribe by March 31 to be in the drawing for the Sling tote. The winner will be notified via email by Apera. Go to the Apera site to enter and scroll to the bottom of the screen and type in your email address. It’s that easy.

They also often offer deals. Currently, the entire blue line of Apera bags (any style Apera bag in blue!) are 40% OFF. Also, all of the duffel packs (any color) are 40% OFF.  Happy shopping!


Note my cat lounging with my yoga tote. She’s trying to pose like it. HA!

Do you have a favorite gym bag? What sort of bag do you use? What are the pros and cons? I’ll get you started, I sometimes use a plastic grocery store bag. YUP.

Disclosure: I received one Apera yoga tote to review. All words and opinions are my own.