Slideshow: Gear Box: Essentials
Whether you're driving to the trailhead or hitting the gym, having your training bag packed and ready is crucial. It's hard enough to find time to fit in workouts, and the last thing you need is the hindrance of forgotten equipment. Pulling together a training tool kit ahead of time means one less thing to worry about as you rush off for a noon run or a quick class at the gym after work. These are the must-have items every athlete should have packed and ready.</p> <i>-- By Mackenzie Lobby, special to espnW</i>
Training Bag Essentials
Whether you're driving to the trailhead or hitting the gym, having your training bag packed and ready is crucial. It's hard enough to find time to fit in workouts, and the last thing you need is the hindrance of forgotten equipment. Pulling together a training tool kit ahead of time means one less thing to worry about as you rush off for a noon run or a quick class at the gym after work. These are the must-have items every athlete should have packed and ready.-- By Mackenzie Lobby, special to espnW
Moving Comfort Hit the Road Carry-All ($125)
Gone are the days of hauling around a battered, old gym bag. Balancing fashion and technology, the Hit the Road Carry-All is the perfect tote for indoor and outdoor pursuits. With six external pockets and one large main compartment, the bag could accommodate a yoga mat, a water bottle and many other training accessories. With a shoulder strap that is adjustable and detachable, you can carry it as a messenger bag or a large purse.
FITS Light Runner Tech Low Socks ($12.99)
Perhaps the most forgotten workout item, an extra pair of socks stashed in your gym bag might save the day. While there are plenty of brands to chose from, FITS rises above the rest with its new Light Runner Tech socks. Fitting a variety of feet, they will retain their shape over many wears. They also wick moisture, helping to prevent blisters.
Stanley Vacuum Water Bottle ($30) and Nesting Food Containers ($13)
If you're like most athletes on the go, your equipment often takes a beating. One of the most durable water bottles on the market is Stanley's vacuum bottle. When you fill up the 27-ounce bottle with ice and liquid, it promises to stay cold for 24 hours. If you're looking for a warm drink after a cold winter workout, it also keeps liquids warm for up to eight hours. Stanley's nesting food containers are similarly tough, offering eight sizes of leak-proof containers. If you're tired of throwing those healthy snacks in plastic zip-locks only for them to get crushed at the bottom of your bag, this is a great solution.
Trigger Point Performance Therapy THE GRID Mini ($24.99)
One of the top tools for working out sore muscles pre- and post-workout, foam rollers usually are too cumbersome to take on the road. Enter THE GRID Mini. A 5-inch tall by 5.5-inch diameter foam roller, it features targeted zones to help enhance circulation and flexibility. Many athletes swear by these foam rollers to prevent injuries, so it just might be the key to keep you up and running.
Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager ($34.95)
The perfect complement to a roller, the Tiger Tail Rolling Muscle Massager is another compact recovery tool every athlete should have on hand. Helping to relieve knots and muscle stiffness, this massager allows you to apply as much or as little pressure as you like. Portable and lightweight, the Tiger Tail can be used on everything from quads to calves to shoulders and back.
Clif Builder's MAX ($2.69)
Coaches generally suggest that athletes take in carbohydrates and protein within 30 minutes of a workout to facilitate recovery. For most of us, getting from the gym to the dinner table takes a lot longer than that. Made with a blend of whey, soy and casein protein, the Clif Builder's MAX bar is the perfect nutritional solution when you can't sit down for a meal. What's more, it comes in three tasty flavors: carmel peanut, chocolate chip cookie dough and mint chocolate chip.
Osmo Nutrition Active Hydration for Women ($1.99)
Many top endurance athletes have begun using Osmo's drink mix, the first women-specific hydration solution, above all others. A scientifically formulated mix, Osmo takes into consideration the fluctuations in sodium and plasma based on the menstrual cycle. A nutritional solution that matches a woman's physiology, Osmo can contribute to increased power output and improved endurance, and is available in single-serving packets and a 40-serving canister.
Sanuk Yoga Spree 2 Flip Flops ($32)
With foot beds made of yoga mat material, you'll want to kick off your shoes and get these flip-flops on your feet immediately after your workout. Forming directly to the contours of your feet, these can take you home from the pool, trail and everything in between. Best of all, they will stand up to years of use and retain their soft, spongy properties long after those first outings.
Jaybird BlueBuds X ($169.95)
The official training headphones of USA Triathlon, the BlueBuds X are wireless. Simply pair with your phone or music player's Bluetooth audio and you're good to go. Delivering a pure and full sound minus all the annoying wires draped across your body, BlueBuds make for a no-hassle listening experience no matter the workout.
Nathan Power Shower Wipes ($4)
Let's face it, you don't always have the desire to shower at the gym, and when you're hopping in the car after a trail run or long ride, you don't usually have the option. This is where the Power Shower wipes come in. While they won't take the place of actually bathing, they are a great way to quickly freshen up after a sweaty workout. With 15 wipes per package, it's a handy solution to cutting down on post-exercise stink.