Some friends joke that my gym duffle is more of a pantry than a gym bag. And it’s kind of true — I keep a plethora of sport food, snacks, drinks and supplements on hand constantly.
As a competitive cyclist, I train around 20 hours each week. This includes riding, drills, strength training, stretching and cross-training workouts, which may include boxing, running, skiing and yoga. To accomplish this high level of training and see performance gains, I need to be well fueled at all times, which requires having food on hand to provide energy to crush, and recover from, workout sessions.
There are many factors that determine what I need to eat for each workout, so it’s crucial to be prepared for the unknown: workout sessions that take longer than expected, times when I’m feeling hungrier than normal, sessions when I’m switching from cardio-based to strength, days when my gut is feeling different … It’s also important to consider how long the training session is (anything rigorous over an hour requires extra fuel), travel time, workout prep (changing and foam rolling), recovery (changing, sauna, stretching, showering) and generally getting caught up chatting or analyzing training data.
WHAT’S IN MY GYM BAG
Here’s a list of things that might be in my gym bag on any given day:
- Banana: It’ll get bruised up and smell in my bag, which is motivation to eat it right away! If I don’t have fresh fruit, I’ll toss in a fruit pouch.
- PowerBars: I like the Plant Protein and Clean Whey versions to boost protein post workout.
- Gummie bears: Yes, actual candy! A handful helps provide fast energy to fuel intense workouts. I also always have a gel or two in my bag.
- LyteZone: Ionic electrolyte water with magnesium to replenish hydration needs without any extra calories or fake ingredients.
- Red Bull: A small, sugar-free can provides an extra boost when I’m feeling completely exhausted.
- Soup: Fawen drinkable soup is like a vegetable smoothie.
- Sandwich: I’m gluten-free, so it’s easier to pack my own meals, like a quick hummus with avocado or PBJ on gluten-free bread.
- Chocolate: Chocolate pieces with nutraceuticals for energy, calm, etc. … I never pass up a reason to have chocolate!
- Supplements: I keep individual packets of whey isolate, electrolytes, BCAA and vitamin D in my bag.
- Blender bottle: To mix up my shakes with ease!
SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR GYM BAG
- Bars are easy, portable and mess free. Choose ones with the right protein, carbohydrate, fiber and nutrients for your needs.
- Quick carbohydrates like bananas, chews, gels, fruit pouches and sport drinks are essential for fueling energy needs when intense training lasts more an hour. Note: Whole foods should be brought along whenever possible. Try trail mix, hard-boiled eggs, fruit and sandwiches.
- Electrolytes are essential for gym workouts where you sweat more due to warm, dry air. Bring a tablet, pill or drink that is low-calorie with potassium, sodium and magnesium.
Pushing through those performance gains requires a well-fueled body. Chances are you have the space to stash some extra fitness fuel in your gym bag, so why not be ready for whatever your body needs?