What to Pack for a Functional Fitness Competition

What to Pack for a Functional Fitness Competition

By Malia Warren

I recently competed in a pretty big CrossFit competition and found myself texting my partner the night before to ask what to pack.

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I sent her a relatively short list thinking I wouldn’t need much, but she responded with a more detailed list.

Honestly, her list looked like something you would see when packing a hospital bag to give birth, or an overnight trip to the mountains.

But in reality, I’d rather be over-prepared, than under-prepared.

If you've never competed before, it can be pretty overwhelming to know what to bring so you have a great time - which is why I put together this list!

You'll be able to use it as a helpful resource for your next (or first!) competition.

MOST competition days will have no less than 3 workouts, so eating and making time for recovery in between is essential for maintaining your energy all day. 

Don't forget to download our FREE checklist at the bottom of this page.

It's free and has everything here written in it!

Essential Items

  • CrossFit Shoes: For obvious reasons, you will need the type of shoe that you normally do CrossFit workouts in. They should be well broken in so you're not dealing with WOD pains AND blisters.
  • Olympic Lifting Shoes: Recommended if you normally wear Olympic Lifting shoes while lifting weights. Again, trying them out during a competition is not a great idea.
  • Running Shoes: Not long distance running shoes, but lightweight crosstraining shoes you know you can run in. For any WODs that require running, but don't have lifting components. Running shoes are notoriously iffy for lifting, so don't tempt it for the WOD
  • Knee Sleeves: And any other compression gear you need.
  • Wrist Wraps: These should be a staple in your normal gym bag so don't forget about them on comp day.
  • Weightlifting Belt: Most comps have a heavy strength component that you'll want your weight belt for.
  • Jump Rope: You don't want to get stuck using the gyms ropes; you could be stuck with one of those plastic noodle-looking ropes.
  • Gymnastics Hand Grips: If you normally use them you don't want to forget them, especially if it's an outside workout and the bars are hot.
  • Extra Pair of Shirts or Pants: Think of how you feel after one workout #allthesweat having a backup pair of bottoms  isn't a bad idea.
  • Extra Socks and Undergarments: Just like an extra pair of bottoms, you'll thank me later for packing an extra pair of socks and underwear.
  • Extra Supplements: Protein Shakes, Pre-workout, Electrolytes, Aminos, Protein Bars, everything you need to keep your energy up between your 3-4 workouts
  • 1-2 Extra Shaker Bottles: For anything you drink supplement-wise, you'll want to have an extra shaker for it
  • 2 Rolls of Athletic Tape: So many uses for a good piece of athletic tape, don't forget it! And one extra just in case you want to share!
  • Baby Wipes: or some other septic safe wipe. You don't want to be that guy, you know, the one who clogs the toilet. Most comps will have port-a-potty's and there is a 99% chance they will run out of toilet paper. Trust us on this. But you can also use the wipes to wipe down you if the workout is particularly sweaty.
  • Ibuprofen: Inflammation is bound to occur on a strenuous day like this, but use only as necessary or under supervision of your doctor.
  • Towel: Showering isn't usually an option between WODs, so you'll want to wipe down.
  • Portable Cooler: For Food and Drinks!
  • Large Snack Bag: For Snacks, duh! More on Snacks in our blog below
  • Folding Chair and Pop-up Tent: Don't underestimate the power of being able to sit down in between WODs. Coordinate with your team or other gym friends to bring and share a pop-up tent and stay out of the sun or elements. The last thing you want to worry about is getting a sunburn or having to hang out in the rain because you don't have your own shelter. 
  • Jug of Water: We recommend AT LEAST 60 oz of water, but be sure to hydrate the day before the competition to ensure avoiding dehydration. And remember to drink your water.
  • Sunscreen: If you’re sweating and working out outside, anything less than 50 SPF is pretty useless. Be sure to reapply as necessary.
  • Deodorant: I mean, it’s always good to reapply between strenuous workouts, haha!
  • Cash/ID and I.C.E. information: Bring cash or your credit card to shop the vendors or grab a cup of coffee. Most events have a variety of vendors and supporting them means supporting local businesses and we love that! Your ID of course is always essential to have but it's worth noting to have your In Case of Emergency (I.C.E) information on hand just in case something happens.

Other Optional Items

  • Swim Cap and Goggles: If this competition will require any swimming, you’ll want to make sure you have these items with you!
  • Portable Phone Charger: Don’t depend on the gym having an outlet for you to use! Charge It fully the night before and then keep it juiced with a portable one. You need battery for all those pictures, videos and social media posts!
  • Block of Chalk: For events that are not at a specific gym (high school, park, etc.) Chalk most likely won't be available.
  • Sour Patch Kids: Or some other quick treat, you deserve that shit!
  • Pepto Bismol: You know, for the other kind of shit you might encounter with nerves and bad food choices!


Don’t Forget the Food


Remember the cooler we mentioned? You NEED to pack foods that require no prep. Even better if someone can prep them for you!

It’s obviously more cost effective to bring food than to buy it on-site. Most competition venues will have at least a food truck on-site so you can buy food.

But what if it’s Poutine and you HATE Poutine? Or Indian Fusion? Or Mexican-Korean?

Just saying.

Plus, you don’t want to temp the fate of your bowels.

Nothing is worse than having the BG’s (bubble guts) right before you’re about to smash down on a WOD.

You don’t want to have to worry about leaving the venue to grab food, or calling your significant other in a panic to bring you food, or working out hungry because you couldn’t get it in time

You’re better off prepping the food yourself and separating into containers. Pack foods that do not need to be reheated.

Our nutritionist friend, Kristin, at Lifting Meal Prep and Nutrition suggests packing a cooler full of FUEL.

Here’s some ideas on her list:

Bananas with peanut butter - bananas help with BG's and Peanut Butter is a great source of fat while the fructose gives a powerful energy boost)

Spiked ice tea - Ice tea with apple juice is hydration+caffeine+sugar

Applesauce - or fuel for fire quick absorption and instant energy

PB&J - Again, a quick absorbing snack with fast acting carbs and sustaining fats. 

Note: Protein shakes are great right after a WOD, but NOT right before.

Kristin also recommends bringing along snacks like Protein Shakes, Fruits, Nuts, and Water and/or Ice Tea. Keep it light on sauces and spices, high in protein and carbs, and easily digestible.

In conclusion, a well-prepared CrossFit competition bag can make all the difference in your performance and overall experience. By covering the basics, from essential gear to nutrition and recovery tools, you'll be ready to tackle whatever the competition throws your way. Remember, success in CrossFit starts with meticulous preparation and the right mindset. Good luck, and enjoy the challenge!

If you have any questions or you would like to be a guest blogger, please email us at blog@liftingthedream.com


What’s in your gym bag for competitions? Did we forget anything? Let us know!

Download our free checklist.


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Malia is the force behind Lifting the Dream and a proud mompreneur. When she's not lifting heavy weights, she's probably at the beach or Disney with her family. She is a Cali girl born and raised, with salt water in her veins and sunshine in her heart. She and her family now reside in Florida soaking up the sun, heat, and all the amazing outdoor activities this state has to offer.






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