Sunday, December 9, 2012

BAG LADIES: "What's In Your Gym Bag?"

My colleague, Amy Moll, & I sat down one day in our clinic staff room.  Sometimes we compare FAQ's of patients, so that we can get one another's opinions on a variety of topics.  The funny thing is, we realized, we keep getting asked the same funny question:  "What are your gym bag essentials?"

Amy & I both train hard every week.  6 days a week, that is.  We both have different goals for our training, but we share a lot of the same gym bag "essentials," and utilize some of the same products (both being acupuncturists).  Amy & I both do "CrossFit."  We both run with our pups, and row our hearts out each week.  Amy trains in "Mixed Martial Arts."   She is one fierce lady, who trains like a champ, morning, noon & night (when she's not owning/running 2 clinics).  For more info. on Amy's fighting, be sure to subscribe to her blog at:  http://fullmetalfighter.com/

I always have vertical spaces in mind for my training, whether it be on rock or ice.  I'm also a "CrossFit" coach, and certified fitness trainer, so do enjoy lifting heavy, gymnastic rings and a good sled pulling.  I love to move my body in as many diverse planes, climates & ways as possible in nature.  I thrive in constant diversity of movement, which really puts me in the category of a born Adventure Racer.  I like being tested in the elements, whether it be in wave, on rock, on trail or snow.

We've decided to team up for this month's wellness blog post, and share with you some things that we carry with us in our gym bags.  Both of us won't do without these few "must haves."


  • "Wet Wipes" (need I say more?):  Yeah, they pretty much get used for everything:  wiping bloody "skin flappers," from both pull-ups in "CrossFit" and climbing, to cleaning off my hands after a climb, so I can actually eat with them.  :-)
  • Beef Protein Powder:  Easily assimilable, hypo-allergenic, BV (biological value) of an incredible 90%, and high in the amino acid alanine, the basis for much of the body's protein structure.  Alanine is needed for the metabolism of glucose, allowing the body to generate more fuel for an intense workout.
  • "Quali-Patches" (both cold & warm):  "Quali-Patches" are topical adhesive patches you can put on over an area of pain.  Should I have an acute injury I would use the "cold" (instead of ice).  A chronic "tweak," I would use the "warm."  These patches are wonderful, because you can still be active while wearing them.  They have Chinese martial arts Rx.'s contained within them for a topical anti-inflammatory action.
  • Sports Tape:  For climbing, pull-ups, you name it.  
  • Sunglasses:  You never know when you'll need them.  I tend to buy "cheapies," as this is something I typically lose.  Sometimes, if I find cheap ones, I'll buy 4 or 5, & have them in different places, so I always have them available (in my car glove compartment, climbing bag, gym bag, "Camelbak" etc.)
  • "POCKETFUEL NATURALS":  This is now my on-the-go fuel of choice.  Its high calorie...full of delicious blood-sugar stabilizing fats, such as nut butter & coconut oil.  :-)  I love the convenient (((squeezable))) containers, and they come in a variety of flavors (my favs. are "Chocolate Espresso" & "Chocolate Smackaroon").  Check them out, & inquire where they're sold in your area.  In Bend, they're sold at the following shops:  "Mountain Supply," "Pine Mtn. Sports," & "FootZone."  They're a local OR. company, & source organic ingredients.  www.pocketfuelnaturals.com
  • "Garmin":  Every once in awhile I'll get "Type A" with my runs or road rides.  Sometimes I'll record them, sometimes I won't.  Sometimes I'll time them, sometimes I won't.  I do like having the option, however, so always carry my "Garmin" watch with me.
  • Long Socks:  My legs can tell some good stories.  They've taken me to beautiful places around the world, and move my body daily.  However, they often take a beating, with crack-climbing, surfing (just got some nice new scars from eating it on a "wipe-out" in Maui on a coral reef.  OUCH!), mtn. biking, trail-running, you name it.  However, the scars I "wear" the most are from rope-climbing in "CrossFit"...sans long socks.  *Double* OUCH!  That's called "rope burn Central," people.  Carry long socks.  You never know when you're going to be rope climbing at your box, and your legs will thank you.  :-)
  • Shaker Bottle:  For a pre &/or post workout protein shake while driving home.  Scoop that beef protein in there, mix with water, and drink up.  Your muscles will soak it up like a sponge.  :-)
  • Moxa Stick:    See previous blog post:  http://alminewellness.blogspot.com/2012/01/acute-injuries-most-effective.html
  • Arnica Montana (homeopathic):  See previous blog post:  http://alminewellness.blogspot.com/2012/01/acute-injuries-most-effective.html
  • Liver Caps:   See previous blog post:  http://alminewellness.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-recovery-kit.html
  • Reflective Vest & Headlamp:  Often I enjoy a quiet night run along a favorite trail, or even the road.  I'm a "safety girl," and this means wearing reflective clothing, and a vest with a headlamp.  Several times, I've gone out trail-running, only to get caught out in the woods without a headlamp.  No fun.  Leave the house prepared for anything.
  • "Traumanex":  A Chinese martial arts Rx. for soft tissue injuries.  We sell this at our clinic.  A must have for any athlete.
  • "Hotties":   Hand, feet, body & toe warmers.  You can get these at "CostCo" by the box.  When you're standing there, belaying someone "projecting" a route in the cold, are doing winter sports, etc. these are great.  I'm starting to use them already on my trail-runs, soon for ice climbing & for snowshoe-running.
  • A Tube of *RED* Lipstick:   My "war paint."  If I have to explain this, then there's a problem.  :-)

~ Almine's Gym Bag Essentials ~


When my colleague Almine Barton suggested we collaborate on a blog about what’s in our gym bags, I was stoked. I haven't done show & tell since kindergarten. Back then my gym bag was full of Care Bears. Now, it's full of boxing gloves, MMA gloves, hand wraps, mouth guard, shin pads, head protection, wrestling shoes, New Balance Minimus weight lifting shoes, flip flops for quick trips from the mat to the water fountain, and Ugs for a comfy and warm ride home after I'm all gross and sweaty. But there are a few other items that may be of more interest to you, dear reader.

The Trifecta
The Trifecta
Amy’s Ultimate Shake MixBeef Protein + Coco Hydro + Green’s First. This concoction tastes great, doesn’t need a blender, and provides amazing nutrition. Let me break it down for you.

     Beef Protein (Olympian Labs): 23 grams of protein in 1 scoop

     Coco Hydro (coconut powder from Big Tree Farms): “the equivalent of 25 young green coconuts in the palm of your hand” supplying potassium, magnesium, nitrogen, zinc, calcium. Great for staying hydrated and avoiding muscle cramps.

     Greens First (available at our clinic, Healing Response Acupuncture): The alkalizing power of 49 different super foods and antioxidant equivalent of 15 servings of fruits and veggies in 1 scoop. And it makes every shake I make taste minty-fabulicious.

Zing Bars or Justin’s Almond Butter packets: For quick re-fueling post-workout, these are my favorites, and gluten-free. Mr. Justin must be making a killing. Why didn’t I think of mixing almond butter with chocolate and selling it in individual serving-size packets? Check 'em out: Zing BarsJustin's.

Shen Tong Shu Yu Tang: This is my Chinese herbal medicine replacement for ibuprofen. According to Chinese medicine, trauma blocks the flow of Qi and Blood in the body, thereby causing pain. This formula strongly moves Qi and Blood. When I’m hurting, I notice a decrease in pain within 20 minutes of taking this formula. And it doesn’t destroy my stomach or liver like OTC pain meds do.
Super Glue: works great for deep cuts, in fact, it’s what they use in the E.R.  So next time you see a charge for $300 on your medical bill for 2-octyl cyanoacrylate, just offer to buy them a $2 tube of Super Glue instead, it’s the same thing. A quick disclaimer: if you are sealing an open wound with Super Glue, make sure it’s clean first.

Nail Clippers: You will never find me with long beautiful nails. My jiu jitsu training partners would hate me, and also be buying stock in Super Glue. Enough said.

Kinesiotape (and scissors!): I was first introduced to Kinesiotape in 2006 when I was training for a trail marathon and dealing with achilles tendon inflammation. I noticed an immediate decrease in achilles pain after getting taped and was hooked. I use it personally for low back pain, shoulder pain, and neck pain, thanks to years of abusing my body and always testing my limits snowboarding, wakeboarding and mountain biking. I’ve gotten smarter now, and stick to more mellow activities such as boxing, wrestling, and jiu jitsu...

Note: The tape will not stick to sweaty skin, so you have to apply it at least 60 minutes before working out, or on dry skin post workout      and shower. Anyone interested in trying out kinesiotape can e-mail me at amy@healingresponse.net.

LaCross Balls: Laying on top of a lacross ball is self-healing-torture at it’s best. I roll out knots in my upper and lower back, work on range of motion in my shoulders, and realign my sacrum and pelvis with these bad boys. Free physical therapy.

Stretchy Bands: I use stretchy bands for rotator cuff strengthening exercises. Since I’m supposed to do them daily, I carry my bands around like a safety blanket.

Yoga Strap: I use a yoga strap to help compress my first rib and lengthen the connective tissues in my neck. It also comes in handy for working on posture for my overhead squats.

Tiger Balm: Muscle relief after a good workout.

Business cards: I get asked all the time during training!
I'm sure many of you have equally interesting items in your gym bag. We'd love to hear about them!

You Can Make An Appointment With Either Almine or Amy at "Healing Response Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine"