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Gear Tasting (click to enlarge)

1 – NoBull Trainers (Black Camo)

These kicks use NoBull’s SuperFabric®, “an extremely durable, breathable and abrasion resistant material. The SuperFabric® guard plates are applied on a highly flexible mesh base layer, creating a 360 degree shield from zombies, rope climbs, and excuses.” It’s flexible, but durable. You could probably hike some rough terrain in these no problem. I haven’t met anyone who’s worn these who said they don’t like them. They’re flat (great for lifting), have enough give (good for jumping, running, etc), and grippy (solid enough for Seattle weather).

2 – PaleoEthics Super Serum Protein

CrossFit HQ finally saw the light and dropped Progenex as a partner last fall. PaleoEthics prides themselves on quality ingredients. Their Super Serum Protein (featured above) contains no eggs or dairy, making it easier on your digestive tract- no bloat, gas, or discomfort. This particular protein comes from grass-fed beef, but they have Vegan protein as well! The one issue I have is that their Vanilla flavor has a strong hint of caramel to it, nullifying the entire reason I get vanilla!

3 – Kenu Stance 2.0

This mini-tripod for your phone attaches via your charging port (iPhone, USB-C, and Micro USB) and allows you to stand your phone up in a multitude of ways. It also has a bottle opener function on it, as well as a mini ring to add it to your keychain. I added some paracord to it for easy grab and identification. A lot of my instagram videos are recorded with it! Fantastic for self-timer photos too.

4 – Stumptown Cold Brew

I was going to post up some more pre-workout supplements, but seeing as most people could still dial in their nutrition I thought it’d be better to post one of the more natural versions. Cold brew coffee differs from regular coffee in how it’s made: larger grinds are placed in room temperature water in a large container and left to soak for hours. The end result is a smoother, less acidic brew with sometimes 4x the amount of caffeine. Stumptown has a multitude of options: draft, nitro draft, glass stubbies, cold brew + sparkling water, cold brew + milk, and more.

Depending on your particular tastes, there are plenty of options. For me it depends on the time of day, but nothing beats the good ol’ regular cold brew stubby.

5 – Hershel Supply Co. Packable Duffle

I always try to carry a pack that allows me enough room to carry what the day requires, but sometimes you can’t predict if you’ll need some extra gym gear, or in my case, having to lug some equipment to and from FCF. That, or you might hit up QFC, the co-op, Uwaji, or Trader Joe’s after and it’s great to have that extra bag on you to avoid more disposable bag manufacturing. It’ll never replace my Chicobag Sling though.

6 – FatGripz

Need a stronger grip? (Answer is yes). Increase the difficulty of all your grip work by artificially (and quickly) increasing the girth of whatever you are holding.

7 – Eleiko Leather Weight Belt

At the high-intermediate to advanced levels of strength training having a belt to brace against in heavy efforts is great! There are plenty of shit belts out there, foam core especially, but leather is always going to be for a lifetime. Eleiko was the leader in the strength world for the longest time so of course their gear is quality. I picked this up in person at the Eleiko booth at the USAW American Open last December with Ann-Marie. The dimensions of this one are most similar to the Eleiko. I’ll share my favorite foam core belts in a later post.

8 – NW Fit Meals

For those who are lazy or value convenience and quality, there is no better meal-service with performance in mind. Gena and team have been supporters of FCF for a long time, and have come out to cater many of our events. They also deliver meals to the gym since we’re a drop-off point. Great food, great people, convenient eats!

9 – Bear Komplex Grips

If you’ve been to any of my classes recently I’ve been raving about these grips. If your hands rip, or if you just want some extra protection, these are the better ones are the market!

10 – Hempler’s Uncured Landjaeger

Always needing a snack for when I’m on the go, I came across these bad boys at Costco. No nitrates, no preservatives, gluten-free, and no added MSG make these a prime option for a shelf-stable protein. These 1.5oz individually-packaged sticks have 3g carb/16g Pro/20g fat

11 – RipFix Tin

Back talking about hand care, what happens AFTER the rip? You need to treat it as you would any other open wound: clean it, moisturize it, and protect it! The RipFix formula is one of the better ones I’ve seen and used, and can be also used as a spot-moisturizer or lip balm!

12 – YETI Stainless Steel Rambler 18oz

YETI is like the Apple of the thermos world. There’s nothing ground-breaking about the design or materials, but these are quality products made like tanks! I love my 18oz rambler for both hot coffee, cold coffee, pre-workout, and of course, water. The top is solid, you can add a carabiner to attach to your packs too. As I do with all of my other bottles, I simply add a vinyl sticker with my initials to easily identify mine, but I love the simple stainless steel look here.

13 – Momentum Jump Rope XXL

Nothing beats having a personal jump rope as a CrossFitter. Momentum is a local brand who does all the same stuff we do in the gym, so they get the ins and outs of what happens in training. Their ropes are light and responsive. This new XXL handle is pretty cool too.

Remember if you ever pick up a rope, come find me so we can measure it precisely for you, and also show you some trouble-shooting and storage tips.

14 – Virus International Compression Short

Compression has always been popular in athletics (remember UA’s early days?) but so many more brands are out there, sourcing better materials, constructing better silhouettes for multiple body types, and specifically designing products for specific activities. The functional fitness and barbell worlds have Virus INTL! I own many of their products (which I’ll share in future posts), but this one is great as an undergarment for active and recovery days, and great on their own in lifting or running. I wore these for my last half-marathon earlier this year and use them often on my weightlifting days.

They have great stretch and stay in place.

15 – Peak Design Field Pouch

I love me some EDC. This field pouch is part of a small line of bags from this Photography gear company (and I shoot with multiple camera straps of theirs) and it doesn’t just look great, it functions well in organization of smaller accessories. I think I could also add it to a belt and make it a hip pack next time I’m at Disneyland or Universal.

16 – KilosNotPounds California Roll 2.0 Knee Wraps

Sometimes you need some extra support for the knees. While wraps are specifically used for the strength sports like Olympic Weightlifting and Powerlifting, I don’t see why you couldn’t use these in a WOD. These wraps are little more stylish than the gauze-looking standard most brands have.

17 – New Balance Minimus

The classic is back! During off days, or ones where you could some recovery, these shoes were my favorite back in 2012-2015 when the minimal shoe movement was gaining traction. When first released NB had a trail shoe, a running shoe, and a lifestyle shoe. Pictured is the lifestyle shoe but I hear most of them are coming back.

18 – Sun Bum Sunblock Stick

I hate the idea of carrying a squeeze package of sunblock since having two explode on me in the same week some years back so I moved over to these sticks! Easy application for the lazy like me.

19 – Friction Co Labs Secret Stuff Liquid Chalk

Some people like loose chalk since that’s all they know- that’s all we offer at the gym! BUT for those enterprising athletes who know they could use more coverage on the hands, liquid chalk is a tad better for certain activities (bouldering, strongman work, etc.) plus it’s all yours and you don’t have to wait in line for a bucket! Also, it’s cleaner so you never risk burpees in class.

I believe the tools we use to live our lives can improve how efficient we are and sometimes how much we enjoy doing those things. Read more about all the cool tools out there we can use in the fitness world.

Note: It doesn’t add to your price, but I may get a commission off of using some of these links.


Round 2. Let’s begin…

1. FOOTWEAR: NOT-SO-OBVIOUS TRAINING SHOES

This should’ve been the first thing I wrote about (because it’s always the first thing I write about). The only real purchase to make (other than a gym membership) is for a dedicated pair of shoes for our type of work: running, jumping, lifting, gymnastics, etc. When you go bowling you wear bowling shoes. When you go bouldering you wear bouldering shoes. When you play basketball you wear basketball shoes. Following? People start coming in to CrossFit gyms and learning how to lift barbells. Then they go lifting in running shoes. See a disconnect here? We need footwear that fits our needs. The CrossFit community on Reddit have their agreements and disagreements about their importance.

Preferably we at FCF ask that people try to wear a lower-profile shoes. The powerlifting community was in love with the Converse Chuck Taylor for the longest time because they fit a certain need and criteria: flat, stable, durable, looks good, and accessible to most people. They don’t wear them as much now with the growth of weightlifting activities and specified shoes*. I bet you already have some shoes that fit that description: skate shoes (my preference before all these companies jumped onto the CrossFit train), Chuck Taylors (high, low, CT1, CT2), Adidas Sambas, Onitsuka Tigers, Inov-8s, Vibram Five Fingers, VIVOBAREFOOTs, New Balance MinimusAsics MetConvictions, etc.

* The issue of blowing shoes out is an issue when most powerlifters use a lot of external rotation of the hip. The strength of their external rotation is so strong that their foot on the pinky toe side would bust open from all the pressure exerted by the lifter.

2. SUPPLIES: ATHLETIC TAPE

In high school Sports Medicine I found that Johnson & Johnson’s athletic tape is the best athletic tape in the world. Or at least that’s why Mr. Peck instilled in me.

Goat Tape is becoming my new favorite premium athletic tape. Over the past year focusing on my olympic weightlifting this has become my preferred tape that I wrap my thumbs with. The stick of the tape is amazing.

We also sell a CrossFit-branded version at the gym!

3. SUPPLEMENTS: PROTEIN POWDERS

Optimum Nutrition is the best quality + price + accessible protein on the planet IMO. I use other proteins too, but always come back to the Vanilla Ice Cream one. I see many athletes buy into Progenex, but really social media got those people- sponsored athletes always love their sponsors! In reality Progenex is some of the most overrated things on the market- I should know, I’ve inherited both Cocoon (their version of Casein + tryptophan) and More Muscle. Both super sweet (couldn’t do their recommended doses it feel like spoonfuls of sugar) and ineffective. I found that I went through it way too quickly- not a great note when you look at their prices.

For those lactose-intolerant folk you should look into Isolates. It’s not an end-all answer, but some people find they don’t have issues with this supplement because whey protein isolate undergoes another filtration process. The extra process removes the protein from fat, cholesterol and lactose meaning an end product of “purer protein”. It ends up a being a bit more expensive since you’re getting purer product. Still does the same job as the general whey proteins.

For those with hunger issues (or who have trouble keeping muscle on) try some Caesin protein an hour out from sleeping. For athletes who take their training seriously supplementing with Caesin can prevent heavy catabolism (breaking down of muscle tissue) when sleeping.

4. CLOTHING: SOCKS

For me socks play an important part in my comfort. I’m on my feet all day and even if you love your shoes the right kind of sock can upgrade the experience and nullify those little annoyances you might find.

I go to REI frequently just to see what’s new on the market. Smart Wool makes some great performance products, as does Swiftwick. I avoid most “higher-tech” socks because those synthetics used feel like my foot still get sweaty (Strideline and Nike- I’m looking at you!)

That all being said my stance on socks is.. Stance! Starting as a straight skate brand, they’ve noticed that their combination of materials, fit, strategic reinforcements, and of course, their many awesome designs have become my go-to sock brand of choice. Available for men, women, kids, and BABIES! Best believe our little girl is rocking some Stance socks (thanks to Victor, Courtney, and Baby O!)

Not to mention they’re trying to get into the underwear game, but we’ll save my thoughts on that for another time.