What do the navy hold of their fitness center luggage? Listed below are Erik Bartell's 6 necessities

Erik Bartell is a military veteran, entrepreneur and fitness instructor who has turned his passion for exercising into a career. You can follow his workout routines on M&F's IG TV page and read about his interesting and inspiring story here.

What we haven't asked Bartell, however, is how the husband and father of two prepares for his routines.

"It's not just 'What's in your gym bag?' he says. “This is for anyone who has a home gym or travels a lot. So the first thing before every workout...

1. WIRELESS HEADPHONE

Especially when you go to commercial gyms or when you travel, a quality set of wireless headphones can provide a much-needed barrier against 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 set them up very loud and ignore everything around me. Because let's face it, the biggest mistake I see in people in commercial gyms, and the biggest problem they fall on, is distractions.”

2. A NOTEBOOK

"I know paper is a bit archaic ... but it will keep your phone in your pocket where we want it to be," Bartell says. "You go to the gym, put on your headphones, put on that playlist and leave your phone away because that's the number one distraction at the gym."

From texting to emailing to watching cat videos on social media, tinkering with your phone can turn a brief pause into far too long a pause. Avoid the distraction by removing the phone from the equation.

Use the notebook to "write down your workouts... and notes," Bartell suggests. “Everything fitness is packed into that one notebook and you take it with you every time you go to the gym or whenever fitness comes up.

Eric Bartell EducationCourtesy of Erik Bartell

3. A REAL PREWORKOUT

"I get up at 5 a.m. every day," Bartell explains. "I need energy. I used to be heavy on pre-workouts. But the only problem I had with them was the 90 different ingredients. I didn't even know what they were. When I was in the military, I used to drink a lot of energy drinks. I loved the taste. I hated how cute everything got."

Bartell's Cure: Echelon. "It's the best solution I've found as it contains 300 milligrams of caffeine. Basically, it has everything you could really want in this pre-workout drink and no other nonsense.”

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

Another Echelon advantage: "After my training, there is no crash," he says.

What's also cool, if you support the brand, 10% of every can sold goes to the Green Beret Foundation.

"If you're unfamiliar with it, it's helping Green Berets [and] their families who are struggling with everything from mental health to scholarships."

4. REPWAX OR OTHER ALTERNATIVES FOR CHALK

"It's the alternative to chalk," says Bartell. “Most gyms don't like having chalk because dust turns to dust anywhere. Rep Wax is nice and clean. It's very unobtrusive, no one really notices."

It's also easy to apply: Rub briefly over the bar and you've got an excellent hold.

5. RESISTANCE BANDS

"I have a mini band, a light band, a heavy band," explains Bartell. The reason? If he can't make it to the gym, these bands can give him a workout on the go.

“I can do anything with these three bands. And it also complements my workout in an amazingly magical way, get good bands back, check out some youtube videos. I'll start hanging more stuff there too. But bands are amazing and they only advance your workout.

6. ANTIBACTERIAL BODY WIPES

I use Bravo Sierra towels. Like Echelon, it's a military domestic company,” he says.

"Especially when I'm on the go and the gym doesn't have a shower, these towels help me. Or even if I'm just walking out of the meeting and I've just had a quick workout... and I can't shower. They are super strong [and] super thick. And that will remove my whole body – especially all that like leftover sweat from you and makes you smell like you took a shower even if you didn't get a chance.”

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