Normally, I like to write articles about the actual facts of fitness:
What are your goals? Here’s how you accomplish them.
How much weight do you want to lose by when? Here’s how you do that by then.
What routine should you be doing? Try this one, it appears to work best.
I like writing articles like that because a) it doesn’t just feel like a ranting blog post and b) I feel like there’s a lot of conflicting information out there and I like to cut to the chase.
However, some of those article ideas, as grounded as they are, fall a bit into the opinion territory… like this one. Half answer/half opinion, this post has been on my mind for a week or so now.
Your Gym Bag
Or rather… your assault pack.
In the Army these days, we all get issued simple but rugged backpacks for everyday use. Apparently, the powers that be that named it on the inventory were a little extra “Hooah” that day the pack came on the line… and dubbed it the “Assault Pack.” I have no idea, but I like the name. And for the purposes of this article, it’s a very appropriate name.
You have goals. Those goals are met at the gym. Going to the gym requires preparation. Going to the gym requires the right tools. You can’t be wasting time digging for your drink, or your watch, or your notepad, or your wraps, or your chalk, or your belt… or worrying that you left any of those at home.
And just like the Assault Pack, there’s the basic model… and then there’s all the aftermarket models that companies have made to suit the hardcore operators, infantrymen and scouts. Just like your goals and your workout. No two assault packs are the same, but they do have one thing in common. They are only as effective as the time you put into setting them up. A good Assault Pack should be ready to go at all times. I know that before I workout, I already have to mix up a protein shake and drink it, pour myself a bottle of water or BCAAs, take my vitamins, dress, and doublecheck my routine. Adding assembling my Assault Pack every time would take another 15 minutes or more.
That’s just before your workout.
Now imagine that in the middle of your workout, you’re trying to keep a consistent time/speed/pace. Maybe you’re on a circuit, or you’re trying to hit a certain volume of lifting, or you’re only trying to rest 60 seconds in between sets. But right as you go to tally your first set, you realize that you don’t know where your pen and pad are and now you’re wasting 2-3 minutes more than your 60 seconds. To some, this might not feel like a big deal. To others, I can hear your nails curling. But when you’re trying to keep disciplined in your routine and train like you compete, adding that much time can hurt you.
So… keep everything in the same place every time. It makes finding it easier, quicker, and gives you back a little sanity in the middle of a stressful routine.
In my Gym Assault Pack, I have:
- Lifting Belt (Largest Pocket) – For the really heavy lifts
- Spare T-Shirt (Largest Pocket)
- Workout Drink in Bottle (Largest Pocket)
- Liquid Lifting Chalk (Second Largest Pocket) – For use at the gym
- Dry Lifting Chalk (Second Largest Pocket) – For use at meets
- Dry Erase Board (Second Largest Pocket) – For recording everything on the fly at home
- Gummy Bears (Second Largest Pocket)
- Daily Wrist Wraps (Third Largest Pocket) – For use at the gym
- Competition Wrist Wraps (Third Largest Pocket) – For use at meets
- Wireless Headphones (Third Largest Pocket) – So I don’t get my lines snagged
- Spare Watch (Third Largest Pocket) – In case I left the one I normally wear at home
- Pencil, Pen, Notepad (Smallest Pocket) – For use on the fly at the gym
- My Phone (Smallest Pocket) – Unless I am using it as a timer
And if you look at my list, it brings us to my third and penultimate point about Gym Assault Packs: they need to prepare you for anything. Obviously, gym meets aren’t going to pop out of nowhere. You planned for those and bought your application. But should your buddy want to do a crazy new workout with you, or you decide to try for one rep maxes, you’re going to want all your gear, and you’re not going to want to stop and reassemble your bag. It’s easier to take something out than to go hunting for it.
Final point: put that bag someplace you know you can find it every time. My wife does a great job of doing this for me even when I forget. It sits under my window beside the recliner. Easy to find, but a little tucked away so I don’t make the front room look ugly.
The bag can adapt and change over time, but in Summary:
- Pack a bag
- Have a place for everything in that bag
- Have everything you think you’d need in that bag
- Keep that bag where you can find it every time
Until Next Time
Jacob Summers (SuperSoldier) is not a medical expert in the fields of nutrition or fitness. The opinions expressed here, while researched and vetted against some professionals, are still just the opinions of Jacob Summers as a result of personal experience with himself and those who have sought help from him.