Pack Like a Pro: What Philly Fitness Pros Always Have in Their Gym Bags

Find out what 10 local fitness gurus can't live without at the gym.

gym bags
Mastering the art of packing the perfect gym bag is like mastering the art of packing the perfect carry-on bag: It takes time. And every now and then, before you’ve become a true packing pro, you find yourself in a smelly situation that can’t be fixed because you pulled a totally amateur move and forgot to pack a stick of deodorant. Or worse: your shower shoes. We’ve all been there.

But fear not: To help us all become gym-bag-packing pros, we went to the actual pros. We asked 10 fitness pros around Philly to dish on the three items they always, always, always have in their gym bags. (By the way, my favorite part of my job is that I get to be nosy without shame.)

From the snacks that keep them from getting hangry to the dry shampoos that keep them looking fresh to the sentimental tokens that put a smile on their faces, take a peek at what these pros keep stashed in their bags — and take pointers! 

Holly Waters, owner of Fitness Alive

1. “Deodorant, because being on the move doesn’t have to smell. One of my girlfriends got me the Lavanila Laboratories kind since I shower so much and am in and out of the water so much. It has no aluminum, no parabens and it’s nice and small.”
2. “A jump rope, because I need to move when I can where I can. I will borrow if necessary but, man, it’s nice to have my own. I have a weighted rope, a speed rope and a throw-around rope. The throw-around one is my go to as it’s the easiest to store without tangling.”
3.Tiger Balm, because my knots are crazy sometimes, and I don’t want to take it out on my clients.”

“Other stuff that I or may not include depending on the day: protein powder in a Ziploc bag, Cold-EEZE, extra socks, face wash, toothpaste and an extra swim cap and goggles.”

Justine Bacon, co-founder of Philly Yoga Factory 

1. “I have to have coconut oil at all times, usually the Whole Foods 365 brand. I use it for EVERYTHING: hair, skin, lip balm, deodorant refresher! In the winter especially, my skin needs it; I turn into an alligator!”
2. “I ALWAYS have a water bottle, full or empty. I need to be able to hydrate throughout the day with herbal tea, water and juice. So long as I have a container, I’m good.”
3. “Lastly, I gotta have my headphones. Music is a must for my commute.”

Juliet Sabella, owner of The Wall Cycling Studio

1.Gangster Vegan Organics Reverse Osmosis lemon-mint water. I have a really hard time staying hydrated, and this refreshing water has made drinking water really enjoyable and makes me crave more. I keep refilling the bottle all day.”
2. “Trader Joe’s individual packs of cashews. I’m always on the run and have been known to get hangry fast. With these, I get a healthy snack that keeps me full enough until I can get to an actual meal.”
3. “Extra socks and a sports bra. I like to set up my workouts to flow together so I will teach a Spin class and then head to a workout of my own. I like to change my socks when I go from Spin shoes to sneakers to keep my feet feeling fresh, and anyone who has sat in a soaking wet sports bra knows how amazing a dry one feels!”

Lauren Boggi, owner of Lithe Method 

1. “My New Balance 711 sneakers. I’m always in a heel, unless I’m teaching, but my schedule is crazy and I love to fit in an outdoor workout whenever I can. These are lightweight and fit like a glove, plus the toe box is fantastic and really allows for freedom of movement. Best sneaker out there!”
 2.Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo. My hair falls flat the minute I begin to sweat, but if I don’t have time to shower post-class, this stuff really does the trick and smells great.”
 3. “Lithe Foods Kale Cashew Bar. These things save me all the time. I love to have non-processed, whole food snacks on hand to keep my metabolism up, my blood sugar balanced, my energy high, and my mind sharp. As far as bars go, our Lithe Bar is top-notch. It fuels my practice with healthy fat and protein and is perfect as a meal replacement. It’s a 100 percent raw, gluten-free, dairy-free, Paleo-friendly organic whole food bar made for Lithe by one of my favorite chefs in Napa, California.”

Shoshana Katz, general manager at Body Cycle Studio

1.Rocket Pure Natural shoe and foot deodorizer. I work out for a living, and no matter how many times I change my socks or shoes, let’s face it, my feet stink! I like this one because of it’s nice minty-fresh smell.”
2. “Double Chocolate Chunk Quest Bar, for when I need a quick pick-me-up. These are packed with 20 grams of protein and, well, it’s chocolate so …”
3. “Lip balm. No matter how hydrated I stay, talking all day and all the time leaves my lips feeling really dry. I go back and forth between Burt’s Bees tinted to cocoa butter to straight up Vaseline.”

Paige Chapman, owner of Mama’s Wellness Joint 

1. “At the very top of my list is our Mama’s Wellness Joint lavender lip balms handmade locally by U-Bee-Well in West Philly. Their mission is to save the bees in PA, one lip balm at a time. It’s perfectly moisturizing, not too waxy, and has all natural ingredients, and their lavender is homegrown.”
2. “Number two would be doTerra’s Peppermint Beadlets. You can pop them in your mouth for literally everything: a breath freshener, an energy boost, clearing your head, they’re awesome for digestive ailments, prenatal nausea, depression — you name it!”
3. “Lastly, our MWJ Rose Hydrosol Face & Body Mist is the perfect pick-me-up after any class.”

Brian Maher, owner of Philly Personal Training 

1. “I always keep my headphones (along with my phone) in my bag so I can listen to music while I work out. A lot of people listen to music to pump themselves up, but I use music to drown out everything around me so I can focus on what I’m doing. I always use Spotify to create playlists and listen to exactly what I want to hear.”
2. “I also carry a snack of some sort in case I’m in a jam and need to eat something. I’m always hungry so having some sort of food on me at all times in necessary. I’ll usually have nuts, like almonds, and maybe a protein bar. I usually try to avoid protein bars at all costs, but Quest protein bars are very low in sugar and are made with more natural ingredients than pretty much any other protein bar you’ll find out there.”
3. “Lastly, I obviously can’t work out if I don’t have my workout clothes with me. I almost exclusively wear Dri-Fit because it keeps me cool and dry, and I’ve just grown accustomed to the way it feels versus cotton.”

Gina Mancuso, founder of CoreFitness

1. “I recently discovered Whipped Body Cream (Cardamom Vanilla is my favorite) at Ali’s Wagon on Fairmount Avenue. It always feels like I wash my hands a gazillion times a day, and this lotion is the best for afterward.”
2. “A gluten-free snack from Mugshots Coffeehouse, because sometimes a girl needs a cookie. I don’t eat one every day, but knowing it’s in my bag makes me happy. KIND bars are a good gym-bag treat, too. They travel well and are easy to eat on the run.”
3. “A picture of my dad. I miss him all the time and having his picture close by reminds me that, when I’m having a tough day, he’s up there somewhere watching out for me.”

Juliet Burgh, vice president and nutrition director at Unite Fitness Studios

1.Lululemon reusable laundry bag. I change my clothes multiples times a day and there is nothing worse than having sweaty clothes on your stuff. I’m also environmentally conscious and don’t wanna keep using plastic bags for my clothes. The reusable laundry bag is a must!”
2. “An emergency pack of trail mix, usually Trader Joe’s Raw Mix. I never know when I might get starving. I’m on the go all day and there’s nothing worse than being unprepared and scrounging for any food that’s available. Trail mix is perfect to hold me over until my next healthy meal.”
3. “Lipstick. I always feel beautiful with just a little bit of lipstick. Sometimes I go from the gym to a lunch or dinner or I just want a little pick-me-up. For me coffee doesn’t do it, but applying a lipstick does.”

Jayel Lewis, owner of JL Fitness

1. “I always have a back-up shirt for after my sweat session.”
2. “Deodorant, because there’s no way I have time to shower midday. Sorry guys, but it’s the truth!”
3. “A grab-and-go snack that I can eat in under five minutes (protein and chocolate = winning).”

“A few other items that pretty much always make the cut are hand sanitizer, since I’m constantly coming in contact with germs, along with gum and Chapstick to make chatting with clients an enjoyable experience.”

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