Sweat Diaries

Free CrossFit, Hot Yoga, and Lots of Naps: A Week in the Life of a Lululemon Employee

Alana Messina is part Lululemon store employee, part fitness trainer, all hustle.

Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

Welcome to Sweat Diaries, Be Well Philly’s look at the time, energy, and money it takes to pursue a healthy lifestyle in Philly. For each Sweat Diary, we ask one Philadelphian to track everything they eat, all the exercise they get, and the money they spend on both. Want to submit a Sweat Diary? Email ccunningham@phillymag.com with details. 

Who I am: Alana Messina, 29

What I do: Key leader at The Local Fishtown Lululemon, personal trainer at Banana Fit, WE/FIT instructor at City Fitness

What role health and fitness play in my life: Health and Fitness is my fire, it’s my outlet for passion, creativity, and compassion. It keeps me grounded, humble, and intuitively connected to myself and my community. It brings me mental stability, and I find the most joy in helping other people dig up strength they didn’t know they had.

Health memberships: I am so lucky to work at a company that values health and wellness, Lululemon pays for almost all my sweats. I am given $250 every month through a program called Sweaty Pursuits to use towards studio and group workouts. I use it for my Crossfit Novem membership, weekly yoga classes and meditation. City Fitness membership is also free, as I am an instructor there.


Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

6 a.m. — Alarm goes off.  Doesn’t everyone hit snooze?

6:15 a.m. — I down a glass of water on my nightstand first thing every morning. Then I get ready for the day,  accidentally spending a little too much time choosing my workout outfit before running downstairs to eat an orange crush power ball before my 7 a.m. CrossFit class. I made these last week — they are the perfect snack on the go: one large carrot, pecans, walnuts, dried apricots, orange zest, ginger, maca powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Mix everything together in a food processor and roll into balls, then roll in shredded coconut.

7 a.m. — I’ve been going to Crossfit Novem in Fishtown since last August.  It’s gritty and sweaty. I like it because you can push yourself to your edge or take it easy if you’re not feeling it that day. Today’s workout is simple, and I like these movements so I’m happy.

7:50 a.m. — I finished in better time than I had anticipated, and I’m feeling great. We do a quick cool down and I head out pretty quickly because I need to shower and get ready to meet a new personal training client.

8:15 a.m. — Turn on the coffee! I also mix up a protein shake, hoping this liquid combo will hold me over for at least an hour or so. I just bought the Wheybolic Vanilla Protein  from GNC.

8:45 a.m. — Time crunch!  I have an assessment with James. I check the tires on my bike and they are still full (Woo!). I haven’t touched my red baby in a while, but it’s unseasonably warm so I bike from my place in Northern Liberties to Functionally Fit, home to my rented studio space. This is where I train and assess my clients.

9 a.m. — James is right on time. We have a great hour, getting right down to business. I put a heavy emphasis on proper form and postural correction in my training. I start with a cardio warmup for five minutes and then spend ten to 15 on breathing, core work, and correctional exercises. Then we get into the juicy stuff, resistance training, reaction time and agility. I want my clients to move better out in the real world, be strong and have endurance for whatever their day throws at them!  

10:20 a.m. — Back home, I debate making some eggs or taking a quick power nap.  Not surprisingly, sleep wins. I am a power nap queen; I swear by them. 

11 a.m. — I bike to work on Frankford Avenue. Working at Lululemon is wonderful; everyone I work with is living their best life and I really enjoy creating empowering and unique events for my community. I meet new people every day, and I love it!  I used to work a nine to five in the fashion industry as an assistant buyer, but it wasn’t for me.  I much prefer the freedom of retail and freelance training.

11:20 a.m. — I quickly cut open a perfectly ripe avocado and mash it on a slice of sourdough bread. I eat a banana I bring from home, too.

3 p.m. — Finally lunch time. The shop’s been busy and I had some calls to make for some February events. I didn’t have to time to food prep yesterday, so I run to Snap Kitchen and pick up a medium supreme pasta ($8.49).  

Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

6:15 p.m. — I head to a class at Vitality Meditation. I would love to say I meditate regularly, but it’s still a work in progress. I love going to a peaceful space to meditate. I get very distracted at my house. Plus, it’s only $15 on my Sweaty Pursuits card and so I try go a couple times a month.  

7 p.m. — I am zennnnnnned out.  Tonight’s class was an essential oils meditation and I smell like peace and frankincense. I need to come here more often.  As a certified millennial, I am constantly plugged in, and meditation forces me to relax and check in with my mind and spirit.   

8:15 p.m. — Tonight, I’m cooking two garlic chicken sausages from Traders Joe’s with sautéed zucchini squash and mushrooms. I dress the veggies in some pesto and chèvre. It’s pretty good!  Next, I grill two seasoned chicken thighs to have for lunch for the next few days.

10:15 p.m. — Very tired, finally turning off my light.

Daily total: $8.49


Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

5:30 a.m. — Hit snooze.

5:45 a.m. — I’m up and making coffee before I teach WE/FIT at City Fitness. I have a very real caffeine addiction. I drink it with cream, no sugar.

6:10 a.m. — It’s a rainy and unseasonable warm morning in January. More people signed up for my 6:30 a.m. WE/FIT class than usual, which is freaking awesome!

6:45 a.m. — And they are off! It’s Peak Week at WE/FIT. We have four week training cycles in this interval style class. Usually in WE/FIT you’re only at one exercise for 45 seconds rest 15 and then switch, but with Peak week, you should be in the groove of the exercises and feeling strong so it’s five minutes total for each station with set rep counts. I had two newbies in this class, I know it’s going to be challenging  for them, but they were champs and pushed through.

7:45 a.m. — I clean up and head out of the gym. Sometimes I’ll stay to workout afterwards but my late bedtime last night is not giving me enough energy. I head back home.

9:30 a.m. — I took a full 90-minute nap since I have time before Lululemon at 11.  To be a Nap Queen you have to be strict about timing. Ten, 15, 20 minutes are great, and 90 if there is time. Thirty to 60 minutes and you will wake up mid sleep cycle and wake up with some serious sleep inertia, meaning you’ll feel just as groggy as before.

9:45 a.m. — I am STARVING. I didn’t snack before class because I just wasn’t feeling it! I make a two-egg omelet with smoked salmon, basil, and chèvre (all from Trader Joe’s) on sourdough toast.  It’s just what I wanted. I forgot my vitamins yesterday, so I put them on the counter last night to be sure I take them today. I take a multivitamin, fish oil for heart health, and B12 for energy.

Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

11 a.m. — Clocking in at Lululemon. 

1 p.m. — Snack time: banana. 

2:30 p.m. — Lunch is grilled chicken thigh with zucchini noodles and mushrooms

4:15 p.m. — I grab a big Essentia water at Snap ($2.99) before infrared flow with Stacia Nero. She makes me feel like a earth goddess, she focuses on breathing, and she moves you through a natural and perfectly timed flow. The room is heated so you are able to loosen up your muscles and get extra bendy, I love watching the sweat drip off my nose onto my mat — it’s cathartic.

5:50 p.m. — I head back to Lululemon to change real quick before my second WE/FIT class. Cleansing wipes, Dove deodorant, and baby powder are always in my gym bag — that combo is basically a full-on shower. I quickly eat an orange crush power ball, because that yoga class was intense.

6:45 p.m. —  My second WE/FIT class is great! I have more energy than in the morning, which is maybe why it’s better.

Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

8 p.m. — I don’t feel like cooking tonight, my roomies are out, and since I start my week on Sundays it’s technically my hump day.  I head over to Cheu Noodle Bar and order a cocktail! (I had attempted dry January. It’s just not in the cards for me — it’s difficult to not drink while you are dating.) I splurge for the pork belly bao buns and  duck curry which is AH-mazing ($44.92).

9 p.m. — I manage to do a lot in my hour before bed, re-pink my hair with hot pink Manic Panic color, shower, and watch an episode of Vanderpump Rules (hey, it’s a guilty pleasure).

Daily total: $47.91


Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

6 a.m. — Hit snooze.

7:15 a.m. — Make my morning coffee and put it my Contigo thermos — it never spills so I can just throw it in whatever bag I have.  I have a thinkThin bar on the way over to Functionally Fit to meet my client Hannah.  

8:15 a.m. — Nap life. May I suggest you invest in a sleeping mask for optimal naps.

10 a.m. — At Lululemon, clocking in.

10:40 a.m. — I head over to La Colombe, their Fishtown location is almost across the street from my shop, and let’s just say I know all the baristas. I order grits with egg and tomatoes and a Black and Tan for breakfast ($13).

1 p.m. — I grab a salad from Good Spoon and chocolate tahina pastry. The dressing on the salad today is now a new favorite, coconut lime vinaigrette ($13.35). 

4 p.m. — I’m planning on working out this evening, so I need a little snack to make it through till dinner. I opt for my banana and orange crush power ball.

5 p.m. — I usually don’t work out past noon. I make a concerted effort to be a morning person — I like getting most tasks done (workouts specifically) in the a.m., or else I will just bail. I take a half scoop of pre workout, get the tingle, and head next door to City Fitness Fishtown to work out.  

Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

5:10 p.m. — The gym is packed! I look for free space in the weight section while warming up on the treadmill. It strikes me how many men are on the floor, while there is maybe one woman.  This is why I want to train women: We need resistance training to build strong bones and burn fat and, most importantly, to be healthy and confident. My mission to empower women to feel just as entitled to a seat at the weight bench. I grab a two different weighted kettlebells and beast out four sets of swings, deadlifts, and reverse lunges with a press. Find a way, not an excuse.

6:30 p.m. — Head home to shower and change for my date tonight. Protein shake to hold me over until dinner. I watch an episode of Vanderpump Rules (I have a problem).

8 p.m. — V picks me up; we’ve been going out casually for two weeks. We head over to Santucci’s on Broad Street.  I am starving after my kettlebell workout, and we order chicken tenders and pizza to share. I have two glasses of red wine. I’m a lucky girl and V treated me to dinner tonight (free!).

11:45 p.m. — Home, tired, I fall into bed.

Daily total: $26.35


8 a.m. — Alarm goes off. It’s not a good day. I don’t wake up everyday with a zest for life. Some days I wake up depressed. This is why fitness is a huge part of my life — it helps my brain stay balanced and happy. Without training, I am moody and tired all the time, and despite the fact that I train four or five days a week, I still have bad days.  I was planning on making today a rest day anyway since I’ve worked out the past four days in row, and I’m sticking to that.

9:30 a.m. — I am running late, so I grab my coffee and have some leftover pizza for breakfast. Some days even trainers eat pizza for breakfast; it’s a fact.  

1:30 p.m. — I have the last of my chicken with zoodles combo for lunch.

4 p.m. — Snackin’ on an apple.

6 p.m. — Tonight is another installment of book club, the Bad Bitch Book Club we started with a few women in fall of 2015 and now there are ten of us. I didn’t finish the book, and I’m still feeling drained so I decide to lay low tonight.  I tell the girls I’m taking mental health night, which is difficult because I want to go and see everyone but sometimes you have to say “no.”

7 p.m. — My roommates are ordering in Mexican food. I cave. Chicken tacos it is ($10)!

10 p.m. — I read more of the book club book to feel connected, get cozy, and then turn my light out from this day.

Daily total: $10


Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

7:30 a.m. — I wake up feeling much better. I am off work from the Local today and most people are still at work, so it’s an errand day for me. But first, coffee and breakfast. I make my go-to egg breakfast: two-egg omelet with whatever is in my fridge. I still have some salmon, so I add that in and a little chèvre.  As always, I have it over some toast and drink my coffee and take my vitamins with a tall glass of water.  

9 a.m. — I  have time, so I head over the bridge to do some shopping. First stop is Bed Bath & Beyond for some new pillows.  A comfortable bed and good pillows are essential to a good night’s sleep.

10 a.m. — It’s Wegmans time.  Sometimes I’ll head to the grocery store with a list but usually I’ll just shop the produce and meat section first and decide what I want to cook that week with what looks best.  My best friend has been telling about this sausage and bean ragù recipe, and I decide I’m going to take my own stab at the idea by adding some acorn squash and sage. I end up spending $98 on lots of fruit, some whole grain bread, sausage, beans, and squash for my ragù for next week and of course some other random items to snack on during the week.

Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

11:30 a.m. — I drop off all my groceries and make a quick pre-workout snack: stuffed dates. These suckers are a great because of their higher carb count and dietary fiber and various vitamins and minerals. I have two dates spread with tahini and orange zest and one topped with almond butter. I have been putting tahini on everything lately. It makes a great dressing or spread.

12 p.m. — CrossFit time! I take a full scoop of pre workout because I know can head to City Fitness after class to burn it off. I usually only take half a scoop because it works well.  I have fun at class and I am completely out of breath after the WOD (workout of the day). I head to City Fitness and run a mile on the treadmill, then play around with some incline sit ups and pushups and weighted step ups for three rounds. I also film a couple short workout movements on my phone to post later on the ‘gram.

Photograph courtesy Alana Messina.

2:30 p.m. — Finally home, I make a protein shake: protein powder, one banana, almond milk, a tablespoon PB2 powder, a teaspoon cocoa powder. It’s delicious.

3:30 p.m. — Nap life continues.

6 p.m. — I make a quick dinner of mushroom and truffle tortellini from Trader Joe’s with olive oil, garlic. and parmesan. I’m meeting up with some friends tonight and then heading a burlesque variety show of sorts at Ruba, a small after hours club in Northern Liberties.

12:30 a.m. — Show was sexy and slightly scandalous. I had a couple vodka sodas ($20). Heading to bed before a WE/FIT team workout at Logan Square tomorrow at 11 a.m.  

Daily total: $118

Weekly Totals

Money Spent: $210.75

Naps: 4

Cups of coffee: 6

CrossFit sessions: 2

We/Fit classes taught: 2

Protein shakes: 3

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