What Do the Military Keep in Their Gym Bags? Here’s Erik Bartell’s 6 Essentials


Erik Bartell is a military veteran, entrepreneur, and fitness coach who has turned his passion for training into a profession. You can follow his training routines on M&F’s IG TV page, as well as read about his interesting and inspiring story here.

However, something we haven’t asked Bartell until now is how the husband and father of two preps for his routines.

“This isn’t just ‘What’s in your gym bag?” he says. “This is for anyone who has a home gym or travels a ton. So the first thing before any workout …


Especially if you’re going to commercial gyms or traveling, a quality set of wireless headphones can crate a much-needed barricade from outside noise. “The headphones I wear tell people: Don’t ask me how many reps or sets I have left,” Bartell says. “I can also put them up really loud and ignore anything around me. Because let’s be real, the biggest fault I see with people in commercial gyms, and the biggest thing that they fall into is distractions.”


“I know, paper is a little bit archaic … but it’s going to keep your phone in your pocket where we want it,” Bartell says. “You get to the gym, you put on your headphones, you put on that playlist, and you leave your phone away, because that is the number one distraction in the gym.”

From texts to emails to viewing cat vids on social media, tinkering with your phone can turn a quick break into one that extends for far too long. Avoid the distraction by removing the phone from the equation.

Use the notebook to “write down your workouts … and notes,” Bartell suggests. “Everything fitness goes in this one notebook, and you take it with you every time you go to the gym or anytime you have fitness coming up.

Courtesy of Erik Bartell

          3. A GO-TO PREWORKOUT

“I am up every day 5 a.m.,” Bartell explains. “I need energy. I used to be heavy into pre-workouts. But the one issue I had with them was like, the 90 different ingredients. I didn’t know even what they were. When I was in the military, I took a lot of energy drinks. I loved the flavor. I hated how sweet everything got.”

Bartell’s remedy: Echelon. “It’s the best solution I found since it’s 300 milligrams of caffeine. Essentially, it’s got everything you really want for that preworkout drink — and none of the other nonsense.”

And because it’s in a smaller can, it’s easy to chug so you can down it and get into your workout.

Another Echelon perk: “There’s no crash after my workouts,” he says.

What’s also cool is that when you support the brand, 10% of each can sold goes to the Green Beret Foundation.

“If you’re unfamiliar with it, it helps Green Berets [and] their families that struggle with anything from mental health to scholarships.”


“It’s the alternative to chalk,” says Bartell. “Most gyms do not like to have chalk because dust gets dust everywhere. Rep wax is nice and clean. It’s very low profile, no one really notices it.”

Application is easy, too: Do a quick rub on the bar and it’ll give you excellent grip.


“I have one mini band, one light band, one heavy band,” Bartell explains. The reason? If he can’t make it to the gym, those bands can supply him with an on-the-go workout.

“I can do everything with these three bands. And it also supplements my workout amazingly magic getting back good bands, look up some YouTube videos. I’ll start putting some more stuff up there too. But bands are amazing, and they only advance your workout.


I use wipes from Bravo Sierra. Like Echelon, it’s a military native company,” he says.

“Especially if I’m traveling and the gym doesn’t have a shower, these wipes help me out. Or even if I’m just going from meeting the meeting, and I just got a quick workout … and I can’t shower. They’re super strong [and] super thick. And this will get my whole body — especially all that like sweat residue off of you and leaves you smelling like you’re showered even if you didn’t have a chance to.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Fit Foodie Cooking Club: January 2022


How To Handle Unhealthy Triggers: Top Tips From Recovery Experts