Festivus Games this weekend. For many of them it’s their first competition, and the idea of packing for it is as daunting as the idea of just doing the damned thing. (Personally, I find packing harder, there’s no one there to cheer you on, and if you are the goob who forgot your shoes, there’s not a whole lot of “way to give it your best effort” that’s gonna make up for it.) So, here’s my general approach: pack like you’re going camping. Which means, make sure you have everything you need, and nothing you don’t.
I generally break it into two big bags. My gym bag, and my food bag. You basically want to assume you’re going to the moon because it will be unorganized, running late and you will not likely be able to swing by some cute little café to get food.
Having spent the last too-many years living at competitions of various sorts, I have this down to a science. Here’s how I do it:
SHOES – Lifting shoes – WOD shoes -slip-ons or slippers for after one round but before the next
GEAR – Weight belt – Wrist Wraps -Athletic Tape -Knee Wraps – Grips, if you use them! – Jump Rope. You can warm up anywhere if you have one. (And it’s part of the WOD at Festivus this year.)
CLOTHES – Extra shirts (so you can get out of a wet one and have a dry one to put on) – Extra socks (same) -Extra shorts (yes, butt sweat is a thing)
FIRST AID (All of this goes in one big Ziploc, unless you’re too classy for that and have a nice bag for it) – Assorted Band Aids (you will rip, I almost promise. Nerves make people grip too hard.) – Alcohol Wipes – Ointment Goop, if you’re into that sort of thing – Tylenol – Ace Bandage – Instant Ice Pack (if you’re a Rocket member, you can grab one at the gym, we have hundreds)
PERSONAL STUFF (In another Ziploc, unless you’re fancy) – Hair ties (keep one on your wrist during all workouts, in case the one in your hair breaks. – Trust me.) – Hair band / headband thingie – Hair clips – Lip goo (heavy breathing dries lips) – Pads (PEE!) – Tampons (Yes, Aunt Flo is that kind of bitch)
ELECTRONIC GEAR (You guessed it, another baggie) – Charging cord and wall plug for your phone – Extra camera batteries – Fully charge Power stick (or two ) for your phone. (You’ll be there all day, and everyone will be wanting to charge their phone.) -Mini Tripod for your phone so you can have video of your epic badassery. (A friend also works for this, and although not easily packable, can generally be counted on.)
MOBILITY – Small Foam Roller – Lacrosse Balls (2) – Tiger Balm type stuff for sore muscles – Auto Buffer. (Alright, I’ll bring mine. I still can’t believe there are athletes who don’t have their own.)
WARMTH – Warm Jacket for between sets. Really, you want to stay warm, and most CF comps this time of year are in cold, unheated, places – Warm Sweats – Slippers (not joking, a pair of down booties will be your best friend) – Down throw blanket so that you can huddle up between rounds – Gloves / Mittens. I am partial to mittens for warmth, but thin “running gloves” for when I’m doing things like trying to eat, or open up my beloved thermos of coffee.
MISC – Gym Towel (I’m partial to Yoga Rat towels) – Extra Socks (when you’re changing shoes, you become very aware of sweaty socks) – Extra underwear / sports bra. Cleavage sweat just starts to feel rank once you’re not moving. (Also, PEE!) – Camping Chair. (Sitting on the floor sucks. It just does. It’s hard. And cold. ) FOOD BAG
If you haven’t done this before, you don’t know if you’re one of those people who need more food, or less, under pressure. BUT, you WILL burn more calories when you’re competing than you usually do working out. Nervous energy gives you super powers in terms of performance, but drains your power reserves. Be over prepared with easy to eat and digest things.
SUPPLEMENTS (these are so easy to consume and digest. Even if you’re not a big supplement user, this is a great use of them. Just add water – or juice or coffee or chocolate milk -and you’re set.) -Pre -Post – Protein – Electrolyte tablets of your choice. (I like Ultima and the Nuun that do NOT have sugar in them)
3 beverage bottles (Y’all know I’m addicted to Hydro Flasks, right? A blender ball fits in the wide mouth, so you don’t need a plastic blender bottle.) – 1 for water – 1 for your supplement stuff – 1 for coffee (it is unimaginable to me that some people don’t drink coffee. All day.)
A thermos of coffee (like I just said.)
Nourishing Bars like Epic, Larabar if you do sugar, Fuel For Fire is great. (All things we sell at Rocket.)
Easy to eat food like Yogurt, cooked sausage or bacon, Nuts, Cheese, fruit (if you do fruit), peanut / almond butter etc….. more than you think.
Those little carboard packs of shelf stable chocolate milk.
Utensils and a napkin
Baby Wipes. Seriously, you never know. If nothing else, you can wipe down a nasty toilet seat.
You are unlikely to want or be able to eat a big meal, but at the same time, you’re likely to be hungrier than usual. Look for foods that are simple, easily digested and have more fat, calories and protein than…. Than sugar. Y’all know I’m not big on sugar, but that’s doubly true on competition days. It just isn’t efficient, and I’m all about being efficient.
Don’t bring a big salad. Trust me. For so many reasons.
There ya go. It sounds like a lot, but I swear, it’s not. It’s really just the basics. And most of this stuff lives in your gym bag anyway, or should. 😉
Now, remember, the point of competing is almost never to win. The point is to give your all. It’s to feel the adrenaline and find out that you can do things you didn’t know you could do. It’s to feel so supported and encouraged and get a little high on the electricity of community. It’s to just push through and have fun, and be surprised.
And, of course, it’s for the photos. I’ll take care of that part, if you’re one of my people.
Oh, if you’re one of my athletes, give your loved ones my mobile number so that they can text me in an emergency, since you’ll probably be distracted. If you’re not one of my folks, have a designated contact / coach who can be reachable all the time and find you in the fray if it becomes necessary. Which it won’t, but in case you can’t tell, I’m big on being prepared.
Because when you’re prepared, then you don’t have to worry about anything and can just go have shit tons of fun. Which is the point, THE ONLY POINT, of competing.
BOOM SAUCE. Let’s get some.