My Workout Bag – Tools

This might not all be in my daily bag, but if I go to a month-long training camp, here is what I bring. (I got this idea from Matt Mullenweg “What’s in my Bag” posts).

(For Nike Recommendations, see this post!)

  1. Looped Strap – for assisted stretching. I like this one especially because the sewn loops allow you to anchor it down, or have options for hand/foot holds
  2. Bands – I don’t know if these are specifically the Theraband brand. I think I was given them by a PT.
  3. Loop Bands – same here.
  4. Ball – This thing is gold! It has such heft. Something about the weight and firmness makes it my favorite tool for rolling. The only issue: it always seems to set off TSA alerts. (I take it out of my carry-on preemptively now, and that seems to solve the problem).
  5. Small Spiky Ball – This is another one that is just perfect for it’s purpose. It’s small enough to get in between the metatarsals and under the ball of the foot. And I prefer the spikes to the flat surface of a golfball.
  6. Foot Roller – To be honest, I use the small spiky more. Sometimes I like this one for stretching my toes, or rolling my plantar.
  7. Tape– I don’t use KT Tape religiously, but I do like a stripe under my foot and up the inside of my calf if that flares up at the start of track work.
  8. Cups – These are the best thing I’ve found for self-treatment if I’m away from a Physio for a while. You put lotion on the problem area, then suction yourself up. I find them most effective when I move around with the cup on there (stretch out the muscle).
    • I’m told this is forcing the fascia to move more fluidly around the muscle. I have no idea if that’s true, or what the science is behind the mechanism. Fascia seems like this magical organ that is at the root of so many body problems. I just know that releasing fascia is my best found method of keeping injury-free… and this is the easiest way to do it by myself.
  9. Gua Sha – Graston and Astym tools are expensive. One of these is less than $10 on Amazon. The back of a butter knife or spoon from your kitchen is free…
  10. HR Monitor* – I am currently using the Apple Watch for heart rate variability, but I’m still figuring it out.
*These are products that I have been provided by Nike and other product sponsors. I’m not required to post about them, and I try to only go after sponsors for products I like!
Links to Amazon use Amazon Associates, so if it all works correctly, I would get a very small commission if you click on the link and buy from the window that opens.

My Supplements and Workout Nutrition

Supplements can be over-hyped, and are not a very effective method of getting vitamins (which are better absorbed from a balanced diet of whole foods). They are not regulated like food or medicine, which means there isn’t a guarantee that what you’re taking is pure. Aside from the safety risks, there is also a doping violation risk with unregulated supplements. A bit more on that here.

For those reasons, I try to limit what I take to ones that are advised by a doctor, or have some research backing their use. I look for reputable brands that submit themselves to third-party testing. (USP and NSF are two well-regarded third-party regulators. The websites have databases of approved substances, and you can see their stamp on supplements they have certified for quality, purity, and safety). Based on those criteria, this list is what I currently take.

  • Iron*** – Slow FE Iron. USOC recommends Nature Made Iron 65 mg, and USATF recommends a liquid protocol with Ferrous Sulfate Elixir.  But whenever I’m low on ferritin stores, this is the one that has the quickest and most noticeable effect (as seen in a followup blood test). That said, it’s possible I was timing my intake wrong with the others. I will probably test them out again this year.
  • Vitamin C – Nature Made Vitamin C Chewables. I chew this before taking the iron, to aid in absorption (I do this on an empty stomach, in the morning upon waking up, before breakfast).
  • Vitamin D*** – Nature Made, or Thorne
  • Gelatin – Knox Gelatin, Unflavored. I eat this to promote collagen synthesis, and prevent injury to bone, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. I make a jello dessert once every 2-3 days. (Though I’m currently trying out bone broth as a replacement). 
  • Golden Milk –  Gaia Herbs Turmeric and Ashwagandha blend. Turmeric for inflammatory properties, and Ashwagandha. I mix this powder into a smoothie in the morning. (I know I’m linking to WebMD… what’s a good source for lit reviews on this?)
  • Multi vitamin – Nature Made Prental. Prenatal because it has folate and B12, which are both good for blood building.

***Don’t supplement with iron or vitamin D without blood test results and instructions from a medical professional. Both can have negative effects if used when not needed.***


Workout Nutrition

  • Electrolyte Tab – Nuun Vitamins. I haven’t done an excessive amount of research on different brands though any time I try a powder, I find that I prefer the tabs. They are easy to keep and much less messy. Plus, you use half and not have to worry about an opened powder packet spilling in your workout bag. I also like that Nuun has different formulations, this one has a bit less sodium, so I don’t have to overthink if I’ve worked out enough to warrant using one. In the summer when I’m generally sweating more, I’ll put a tab in a water bottle to sip throughout the day.  The electrolyte formula has more sodium and magnesium, for a long run or hard workout day. 
  • Pedialyte – Magic powder! I love Pedialyte for rehydrating after hot summer long runs and workouts.
  • Gatorade – for sipping during interval workouts.
  • Protein powder* – Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Protein. I put some of the vanilla powder in a smoothie every morning. Protein powders are one of two categories of supplement most commonly found to be tainted with banned substances, so it’s especially important to get a reputable brand, this one is NSF certified for sport.
  • Picky Bars*