by Andrew B
I believe the tools we use to live our lives can improve how efficient we are and sometimes how much we enjoy doing those things.
While some people believe different gear can distract you from getting better, something that’s always in the back of my mind came from the great Deion Sanders:
“If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good. If you play good, they pay good.“
In our context, ‘they pay good’ can mean ‘your work capacity has increased in broad times and modal domains’.
Do you use any of these?
By no means does this mean you need any of this shit, or you can’t be a good athlete if you don’t have tools, but if you’re like me then something here might help you out. I plan to cover a wide variety of subjects like clothing, footwear, accessories, recovery, safety, mobility, nutrition & hydration, data collection, and supplementation. I’ll try to share five things I currently favor each time.
Being in the fitness industry has led me to some great working relationships and I get the opportunity to test new things and see how well (or not) they work in the gym setting.
… and the name of the column is sweet, right?!
1. CLOTHING: TIGHTS
Since I teach our Barbell Club I keep talking up tights and have even gone as far as calling Friday evenings “FRIDAY NIGHT TIGHTS”. This is an opportunity for our competitive weightlifters to come in and emulate their meets where the uniform is a singlet. Paul asked me yesterday “why tights?” Here’s a number of reasons why more and more athletes (men and women) are using them:
+ The compression ratings can help improve blood flow/circulation and therefore recovery. After strenuous efforts your tissues can become inflamed and the appropriate compression can help reduce the time it takes to heal.
+ They keep everything warm (depending on thickness, brand, etc)
+ Do you constantly break the skin on your shins? Tights add a protective barrier depending on length. Also: no pulled legs hairs!
+ Your junk isn’t free to move around and therefore cannot get in the way of the weights. Because that hurts. A lot.
+ The majority of tights are made of synthetic fabrics. This means they are more slick than the cotton or cotton-blends I prefer for shirts (they hold onto bars in front/back rack positions better) and will allow the steel to slide up and transition quickly and efficiently.
+ You can find some cool-ass designs! Express yourself!
+ Most quality tights have great four-way stretch so mobility can be truly expressed.
+ They make your ass look great (what up Lululemon?!)
The pair of tights I use for weightlifting most currently is the VIRUS Stay Cool 3/4 Compression Boot Cut (RX5). I like that pair so much (and they’ve lasted me a long time) that I bought their weightlifting singlet for meets as well. I usually wear a pair of Nike Pro underwear (this or this) underneath because the more loose cotton blends bunch up.
Haven’t picked up the following yet, but they have a number of great reviews, it’s affordable, and it’s on Prime:
2. NUTRITION & HYDRATION: SHAKER BOTTLES
I’m terrible at eating regularly, so I’m loving the BlenderBottle ProStack shaker bottle. It feels more solid, comes in a variety of colors, the bottle feels much more sturdy than the standard bottle, and the bottom is a screw-on storage compartment for extra supplements. I also have the StoragePacks, which allow for my protein powder, my omega-3 fish oil caps, nuts, and for one particular athlete in the gym, broken pop tarts. Since I have multiple, I can mix the caps with the bottles with the storage compartments for an individualized look. Its real easy to spot from afar.
The new caps also have a tab for easy portability- I have a carabiner on my pack that I attach my bottle onto. The tab is sturdy and doesn’t open as easily as some cheaper shaker bottles. Also, like any other container, it turns into a great water bottle.
Remember: supplements are in addition to, not in replacement of. Eat real foods as often as you can!
3. ACCESSORIES: PHONE CASE
I previously had an iPhone 5 and that phone’s version of this wallet which obviously had to be redesigned for the new, larger iPhones. I picked it up at the old Snowboard Connection the day before my first half marathon in 2013 because I thought the band would be good enough to keep the phone in my hand. After 13.1 miles I’ll tell you that the case worked fantastically well! So well that when I upgraded phones I decided I’d give them another chance.
Since my usual garb is stretchy workout gear, it’s hard to carry a wallet, phone, keys, sunglasses, etc, so I have to be mindful of holding the important things and making sure they’ll be safe in transport and be quickly within reach. I use an iPhone 6s Plus for photos and videos so having a tripod would be nice too, but that would be another thing to carry. The Hex Icon iPhone Wallet does it all! It can potentially carry 7 cards, adds a protective barrier just in case of drops/scratches/etc, has a variety of designs so I can easily identify my phone, and allows me to use the camera easily in the gym setting. I’ve seen more affordable types on Amazon for a lot less, but this case has been doing me a good job so I’ll stick with it until I don’t.
4. FOOTWEAR: TRAINING SHOES
The Asics shoe brand has been a leader in the running world for a long time. Little known fact: they made a very popular (to this day) weightlifting shoe 30 years ago. This MET-CONVICTION is their official foray into the functional fitness world. If you like the Asics fit, these may or may not be for you. Super flat (3mm drop) and sturdy because they’re pretty minimal but not barefoot. They’re light because they didn’t add too much, but it’s probably one of the most durable training shoes as Asics went all-out with the quality of materials.
They don’t have too many colors, but for those more concerned about fit and function who happen to like the current colorways, then I highly recommend this shoe. It’s very similar to some VIVOBAREFOOTS, Merrel’s, and older INOV-8 shoes I’ve had.
5. DATA COLLECTION: JOURNAL
Sheena has been using the kickstarted-funded Passion Planner for the past couple of years and last winter I decided I would try it too. I like writing (as opposed to typing data) my workouts so I thought it would be a nice change from the classic composition book, or the smaller Field Notes journals I also use for other things. Back when I was in Jr. High and High School we were provided really nice planners and they kept me present and on task before all the web/programs/apps we easily have access to now. “I’m not writing it down to remember it later, I’m writing it down to remember it now.”
If you’re into being guided these are legit: each month starts with a calendar view then the following pages shows each week. Each week has a spread that not only includes a 6am to 11pm day, but prompts you to have a focus for the week, an area to write down good things that happened, an inspirational or thought-provoking quote, personal to-do lists, work to-do lists, and some blank space for note-taking or doodling or whatever the hell you do with blank paper! At the conclusion of every month there is a space to review your month for better regulation of goals and priorities. Then in the back of the book there are a bunch of completely blank pages and grid paper for anything else you might need to write or draw.
They have two sizes, multiple designs, dated and undated. You can pick up a 2016 dated Passion Planner for $6 right meow!
That’s it for this week! If you want to know more chat with me in the gym. Maybe you’ll influence the next post- tell me what’s in your gym bag:
Tina L’s loadout