What I Packed for My Strongman Competition

Strongman competitions are interesting events to pack for - you tend to need a lot of different gear (depending on events) and they tend to be very long. My competition ran from 11-6ish including the awards ceremony. My competition was completely indoors and I knew about what the facility did/did not have before going since I had been there a few times before to practice with the implements, which was extremely helpful. So, here is how I determined what to pack, what I did pack, and some recommendations:

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GEAR & CLOTHING

Because there are several events and they each require something a bit different, I made a list of events and what I needed for each. I basically went through each event and planned, head to toe, what specialty gear (shoes, belts, etc.) I would need to wear. Based on that, I made an overall packing list.

My personal gear list included:

  • wrist wraps ( I use Strength Wraps)

  • lifting straps (my coach’s)

  • soft Harbinger velcro belt

  • hard suede powerlifting-style belt (my coach’s)

  • knee sleeves

  • olympic weightlifting shoes

  • reebok Nanos (flat shoes)

  • tacky (for atlas stones)

  • tacky remover (I forgot to bring this and was able to use someone else’s WD40 but yeah, I recommend bringing it!)

  • foam roller/any mobility things you like (bring your own! I was glad I added this at the last minute because I ended up using it a lot)

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I also planned out what I would be wearing for each event. I stayed in the same outfit the majority of the day (my event was indoors so I wasn’t SUPER sweaty) but I did bring a few additional things to wear, based on the events. For example, I know tire flips tear up my collarbone and shoulders so I planned on wearing the event shirt (which was really comfy) to help protect my shoulders from being too bruised up. Everyone had a change of clothes for the stones - if you use tacky, that stuff gets EVERYWHERE and it does NOT come out. I wore a tank top that I knew worked well with the stones and that I could get tacky on and not worry about it.

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photo credit: River City Strongman Challenge 2013 (not sure why it is being pixelated here but yeah)

Here is what I ended up bringing:

  • spandex shorts

  • sweat pants (for lounging in & wearing to/from venue)

  • 2 tanks tops (one specifically for stones)

  • 1 short sleeved shirt (for tires)

  • extra pair of socks

  • extra sports bra

  • a sweatshirt (for wearing to/from venue)

 

I also made sure to make a list of various random items that I could possibly need. I thought of what I normally keep in my gym bag, any first aid items I could possibly need, and any other personal items that I would want with me.

My random kit included:

  • extra hair ties

  • deodorant

  • bandaids

  • tiger balm

  • gauze squares

  • athletic tape (to tape arms for tacky, for hands, etc.)

  • plastic bags for sweaty/tacky covered clothes

  • cash (I totally forgot about this but luckily, my husband had some change/cash to get waters when I needed them. I recommend keeping some on hand!)

 

FOOD & FUEL

I have a very picky stomach when I work out. Eating “real food” before, after, or during a workout just does not make me feel good. I wasn’t sure what to pack, because I had never competed before, so I basically packed a BUNCH of stuff that I thought I would want and that would be easy to eat and easy on my stomach.  Also, don’t forget to pack food for anyone who will be staying with you through the entire event! My husband stayed with me the entire time and I packed some snacks for him as well. Him and my parents ended up getting some time to grab lunch while I was resting but still, you never know!

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My food bag included:

  • protein powder (I put this in a large mason jar, with the scoop - P.S. check out the ad on the sidebar to get 5% off my favorite brand!)

  • creatine (again, put this in a mason jar)

  • baby food purees

  • gluten-free jerky

  • date balls (I made this with dates, a seed/fruit mix, and some coconut flour)

  • almond butter (my new favorite is A Loving Spoon - I won some samples from Sarah and holy wow, delicious!)

  • protein bars

  • water (I didn’t pack water because I knew there was a filtered water station there but I kind of wish I did. At one point, it was reduced to drips because so many people were refilling. Luckily, my husband had change so he got me water from a vending machine)

  • 2 shaker bottles

  • big water bottle (I could refill this and then add to shaker bottles for protein shakes/creatine and just sip on it between events - it saved a lot of trips to the water fountain!)

 

I was lucky enough to have a few companies send me some food and fuel to help me get through the day and I’m SO glad they did! I ended up loving everything I was sent to try out and it definitely helped me stay fueled and fed. Here are my favorites:

 

Fuel for Fire

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If you have a picky stomach, I cannot recommend these enough! These are basic fruit & carb purees with whey protein mixed in. They’re extremely delicious and also were perfect for me to eat between events. I had the banana cocoa and sweet potato apple - both were delicious and really worked well for me.  I will definitely be purchasing some of these the next time I compete.

 

Perky Jerky

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I LOVE jerky but it is really difficult to find gluten-free stuff that you can buy in stores. Perky Jerky sent me some samples earlier this month to try out and I have to say, I LOVE IT. It does contain some soy and sugar (way less sugar than other brands) but my stomach was very happy with it. I ended up buying two packs of the gluten-free sweet & spicy  turkey jerk flavor and was so glad I had this. Not only did it provide some non-liquid sustenance, but it was great for getting in some salt. I tend to be a salty sweater and am always craving salt during/after a workout so this jerky definitely helped relieve some of that.

 

SR Bars

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I’m kind of in love with these bars - not only is this company local (they’re based in Virginia Beach!) but their mascot is Swolesaurus Rex. I mean, really - how can you not love?! I’m always on the hunt for paleo protein bars that aren’t giant carb bombs and these totally fit the bill. They’re made with dates, egg white protein, almond butter, and other items depending on the flavor, and have a nice balance of carbs/protein. The texture is almost like a drier Larabar (think traditional protein bar + Larabar) but they did a great job of providing me with more solid food. Also, the walnut apple pie flavor = heaven.

As much as I want to say I had some sort of food strategy, I really didn’t. I ate a Fuel for Fire pack and had a protein shake about 30 minutes before the first event along with some water & creatine. I drank water + creatine between almost every single event and was sure to eat something between events. We had good chunks of rest time so I had time to let my stomach settle, which was great. I had some sort of carb between every event whether that was Fuel for Fire packs, traditional baby food purees (sweet potato + apple or pumpkin + apple + cranberry) or a date ball. I also made sure to have some sort of protein between events in the form of jerky, a protein shake, or part of a protein bar. I pretty  much just ate whatever I felt like eating - after events like the max deadlift, I ate more and after other events, I ate less. I tried to stay fueled but not overly full or hungry and it actually worked out surprisingly well. I was surprised to find myself craving savory things more than sweet things so next time, I may pack a bit more savory snacks.

But moral of the story is, pack more than you need, pack things you know you will like and normal eat pre/intra/post workout, and hydrate!