Competing in the functional fitness world is easier than it's ever been. From in-house gym competitions to massive events like Granite Games and Crush Games, there's an event and division for everyone. But your competition preparation isn't merely about the work you put in while you're in the gym.
"Always prepared, never scared" is one of my favorite quotes and I've always found it much better to be over prepared than to be missing some key item when I need it most. With that in mind, here's the last competition packing guide you'll ever need.
Necessary pieces to succeed
These are the items that you absolutely need to take with you to your competition. If you rely on other competitors or the event organizers to provide these items, you're leaving too much up to chance. Be prepared.
Chalk - block and liquid
Sometimes having chalk is the difference between winning and losing an event. Bring both solid and liquid chalk in case the venue has rules against one or the other.
Shoes - weightlifting, mixed use, running, etc.
Most of the time you'll know what your competitive events will be at least a few days in advance. The key here is to have the shoes you need for whatever type of event you'll face.
Don't be that guy or girl who's running around trying to borrow a jump rope right before their heat.
Heavy barbell complex or strength test? Take a solid belt. Couplet, triplet, or chipper with moderate weightlifting movements? Take an adjustable velcro belt.
Tape for your thumbs
Hookgrip is pretty rough on the thumbs, but with properly taped thumbs you'll be ready for any event with gnarly barbell cycling.
Keeping your wrists safe and healthy is key and if you're going to be hitting heavy front squats or overhead squats, putting your wrists in a safe position is a good idea.
Knee sleeves help keep your knees warm after you warm up well the first time, and at most competitions you'll spend some time standing around after warming up and before your event starts.
Small hand/face towel
For longer events, having a small towel with you to take the sweat off your hands or face could be a difference maker.
PVC pipe, bands, a light kettlebell. Easy items that can make warming up easier and more comfortable.
If you're going to be competing outdoors, sunscreen will help you avoid getting roasted with all that time out in the sun.
Generally, events will have some outdoor section where the athletes set up tents or find a spot to hang out. A beach towel can help you stake a claim and have a comfy spot to relax between events.
Shade is not only useful to keep you comfortable but also to help you recover between events. If you spend all your time between events standing around in the sun, you're going to lose a lot of energy you should be applying to your competition.
These events tend to last all day which means it'll be cooler in the mornings and evenings than in the middle of the day. Prepare for this with layers. Wear a tracksuit or jumpsuit over your workout clothes, have a long sleeve shirt, and maybe even a hoodie in case you need the warmth.
Different shirts for each event
This might be a preference, but I sweat a ton while working out and I like to have multiple shirts over the course of the competition so I don't have to keep wearing the same wet and gross shirt every event.
You can use towels to dry off after an event, cover your face, or use as a pillow while trying to nap. They can also keep your dry if the ground is wet or even cover your gear while you're away from your base camp.
Water, food, supplements
This is probably one of the most important items on the list, and while some venues do not allow people to bring their own food or drink, a lot of places do. If you have the ability to control your hydration and nutrition, then you should definitely exercise that control. Bring more water and snacks than you think you need, bring post-workout meals, bring your pre- and post-workout supplements. Just bring it all so you don't have to rely on the venue for fuel during your competition.
The ground isn't the most comfortable spot to spend your time between events, so a simple fold-up camping or beach chair can go a long way to keep you normal and comfortable.
Foam rollers, lacrosse balls, and bands can go a long way to helping you loosen up and get back to normal after a tough workout, while also helping move things around and warm you up when it's time to get moving again.