Many of you have been asking about whether or not you need this or that as it relates to CrossFit gear. One thing that you will find is that there are all kinds of things that pop up that are supposedly a “must have” for any CrossFitter. To help you not fall into the trap of some of these marketing ploys, I thought I would share with you my list of things that are a necessity for every CrossFitter. This isn't a sales pitch either, we sell some of these things here at Vitality because I believe they are important, I don't care whether you buy them from Vitality or if you go out and buy them on your own.
1. Jump Rope
*Every CrossFitter should own their own jump rope. Sure, we have cable speed ropes here but most likely they won't end up being cut specifically for you. This means that you can practice one day and then come back to practice the next day with a different rope, that may be a few inches different in length, which will take time to adjust to. Spend the 20 bucks and get your own rope, I will help you cut it to the correct length and bring it with you everyday to the gym. What rope do I recommend? The Again Faster Revolution Rope. There are hundreds of different ropes out there but this is the one that has worked the best for me.
TIP: Don't use the jump ropes on anything but a rubber surface. Using them outside on concrete or asphalt will tear them up and ruin them.
2. Gym Bag
*I don't know how many times I have heard someone tell me that they forgot their socks for climbing rope or they forgot their Oly shoes…..Buy a gym bag, keep your jump rope, your shoes, extra clothes so when you forget something you have a spare and anything else that you may need for any type of WOD that may come up. You can also keep your protein in there and instead of leaving your clothes all over the gym, you can put them in your bag so you won't forget them….Not sure how anyone can function without a gym bag, if your one of those that are trying, go buy a bag! I don't have any suggestions, anything will do.
*This is one of the most frequently asked questions. What type of protein do I need? I think the most important protein is what you have post workout. It is vital that you are doing some type of recovery shake post workout. I use Progenex, it has sucralose as its artificial sweetener which isn't the greatest but tastes good and it has worked for me so we have been selling it at Vitality for the past few years. There are other options out there that we have tried here at Vitality such as Stronger Faster Healthier Recovery but many members didn't like the taste so we have stuck with Progenex. Again, if you have found something better AND cleaner than Progenex, use it. However, if you buy it from Sam's/GNC or some place like that, it is probably garbage. Take a picture of the nutrition label and email it to me and I can take a look at it. If your not doing something post workout, you need to fix that ASAP. Stronger Faster Healthier does have a great Protein option that isn't used for Recovery, it's called Pure Whey and is a great source of Whey Protein that is derived from grass fed cows.
4. Fish Oil
*This isn't a debatable topic at Vitality, if your not taking Fish Oil, you need to start! Read THIS about why it is so important. The bottom line is that there is not ONE study out there that will show you a negative effect from taking Fish Oil. Decreased inflammation is the biggest take-away but there are about 100 other positives from supplementing with Fish Oil. The main issue that I see with people taking brands that are sold at GNC(I hate that place) and other big box stores are that the number of pills needed to get the suggested DHA/EPA amounts are in teens and most people aren't willing to take 18 pills of fish-oil daily. I only use Stronger Faster Heathier Fish Oil and it is the only type we sell here at Vitality. It is by far the best on the market. I don't care if you don't like the taste, learn to like it.
5. Workout Journal
*Strength Progression sheets are great but it is nice to know what all your PRs currently are so when you are deciding what weight to use, it would be a good place to start. The reason CrossFit is such an amazing and effective program is because it is quantifiable in every way. However, if you don't write down and keep track of your progress, you are neglecting the one thing that separates it from things like Zumba and Jazzercise. Keep track of your progress!
*One of the first things I did when I started CrossFitting was find a shoe that was best suited for me. I went through a year or so when I thought those were the Inov-8s and had bought multiple pairs of them, sure that I would never find anything better. About a year ago I tried on a pair of Reebok Nano's and I realized that Inov-8s were a thing of the past and I have been wearing Nano's ever since. I know what your saying….”he is just saying that because he has to because of the Reebok CrossFit partnership”…..wrong. I do feel that the relationship CrossFit has with Reebok is GREAT for our sport. However, I am free to comment however I want to on products made by Reebok. The reason I feel that the Nano's are the best for CrossFit….they are specifically designed for CrossFit..nothing else. Go find me another shoe that has been specifically created BY CrossFitters FOR CrossFit. It doesn't exist. Now, I am not saying that there aren't other shoes out there on the market that will work just fine, absolutely there are. However, when members ask me what the best shoe is, I tell them the Nanos. An important aspect of a CrossFit shoe needs to be a minimal sole, if you want to go another direction other than Reebok, at least start with a minimal sole and you will be on the right path.
7. Olympic Lifting Shoes
*These are not for everyone. If you are someone that will probably not stick with this whole CrossFit thing, obviously this won't be an investment you would benefit from. However, if you have been doing CrossFit for a year or so and don't see anything changing in the near future, Lifting Shoes would be a pretty solid investment. Olympic Lifting shoes will provide you with more stability and a higher heel which will help with your mobility during the squat. If you have trouble doing overhead squats, place your heels on a 15# bumper plate and try it again…easier right? This is the same concept with an olympic lifting shoe. It will provide a solid surface for increased stability and the raised heel will also allow for a greater range of motion in the ankle which results in being able to acheive a deeper squat as well as keeping your chest upright while in the bottom position, which comes in handy during the snatch. Oly shoes don't give you the green light to skip on your mobility, they just give you a little homefield advantage in squatting and overhead lifts. There are quite a few Olympic Lifting Shoes to choose from on the market, each with different advantages. The best one for CrossFitters is going to be the Reebok Oly, simply because of the weight and versatility. The Reebok Oly would not be good if you were only going to be using it for Snatching and the Clean and Jerk. However, as CrossFitters, we need to have the ability to do an OHS one minute and some T2B or pullups the next minute. Because of this demand, a lighter, more versatile lifting shoe makes sense for us. I box jump, snatch, muscle-up, T2B and most other things in my Reebok Oly's and they have been a great investment for me. Again, Oly's aren't for everyone, but wanted to get you informed so that if you do decide to get a pair, you know which route to go. You can talk with Laura to see what sizes we have available and they are also available online through the Reebok Store.