As a fitness trainer, group exercise instructor, professional dancer and someone that’s always on the go, it’s important for me to pack my bag the night before my daily adventures, and it’s equally important to pack light — but efficiently. Here’s what’s always in my gym bag.
1. Thayers Witch Hazel Pads With Aloe Vera
I sweat a lot, especially from my face. Since I have sensitive skin, it’s important for me to take care of it. If I’m out and about and don’t have time for a full post-workout wash-up, I use these wipes from Thayers.
Witch hazel is a great toner, helping get the sweat and bacteria out of my pores instead of letting it cause breakouts. I used to deal with terrible acne, and at 24 years old I spent six months on acne medication.
Since then, I do my absolute best to not do anything to bring it back. Leaving sweat on your face can be a culprit in creating more bacteria for acne to thrive. So I stop it in its tracks!
2. IX Therapeutic Tape
This kinesiology sports tape stimulates your body’s natural healing process and has minerals blended into the fibers of the tape. It’s been a lifesaver when I’ve had small strains, muscle spasms and acute injuries.
I mostly keep it in my bag for emergencies or when stretching and foam rolling just isn’t enough. It helps me reduce recovery time, reduce inflammation and has given me better support than any other tape or balm. The active mineral in it is tourmaline, which is really helpful for anyone who lives an active lifestyle.
3. Anastasia Beverly Hills Perfect Brow Pencil
I don’t really wear makeup when I’m teaching or working out on my own. Although I’d love to look red-carpet glamorous, I’m pretty adamant about maintaining my healthy skin.
Since I’ve already committed to wearing foundation when performing as professional dancer, I keep my makeup bag at home if I’m on a bike or in a fitness studio.
However, you can never go wrong with a little brow action. I love a good brow! And it makes up for not having on a full face. I love brow gel and brow powder, but when I’m pressed for time or just a little lazy, I use this brow pencil for faster application.
4. Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Amy
Since I don’t wear a ton of makeup when working out, I at least like to have on a little gloss. My absolute favorite gloss is Buxom from Sephora — it gives my lips a little peppermint tingle and lots of sparkle and shine. Amy is my absolute favorite shade!
5. Beats by Dre Headphones
When it comes to headphone brands, I need a good pair that allow me to hear all of the nuances and instrumentation in the music, so I can build the best playlists for the classes I teach. That's why I like the Beats by Dre headphones.
I play a lot of dope music with sick beats, and the secret is that I pay attention to the melodies, lyrics and every instrument so that I can draw emotion from what it is we’re hearing and moving to. Only a good pair of headphones can bring all of that out as if I’m next to a loud speaker.
6. C9 Champion for Target Circular Resistance Bands
I teach a ton of cardio workouts, whether it’s SoulCycle, Socanomics or a straight-up dance class. So in my spare time I like to do resistance and weight training. When I have a few minutes between classes, I do leg and booty work with my circular bands.
Some of my favorite exercises are rear leg raises, donkey kicks, squats and standing leg abduction. If you have these bands, you can literally get your workout on anywhere!
7. Extra Clothes
I never know if I’m going to join in on another workout or head to brunch after I teach, so I always pack two additional outfits in my bag: one athleisure and another more casual one (my faves are lululemon and Athleta).
More importantly, though, I pack extra underwear. I like to workout commando (I hope that isn’t TMI). I used to wear thongs 24/7, and then one day decided to stop flossing and lifting at the same time! So now I wear my spandex alone.
However, after a workout and shower, it just feels good to put on full cotton underwear. This is probably the most crucial item in my bag these days.
8. Essentia Alkaline Water
I always try to have a big bottle of alkaline water packed in my gym bag. Buying water is, of course, more expensive than filtering your own at home, so I always recommend DIY-ing it.
But if you’re like me and always on the go, try to get alkaline water more often than not. So many foods have an acidic pH. The best thing I can do to help my body regulate it is to have alkaline water as often as possible.
About the Author
Selena Watkins is a dancer, model, fitness instructor, personal trainer and fitness icon. She started working as a full-time fitness instructor right out of college. And Selena later created of her own dance workout called SOCANOMICS, inspired by her West Indian heritage, using high-energy movements from Afro-Caribbean dance and cardio training. She’s also a SoulCycle instructor and was named Women’s Health Magazine 2016 Next Fitness Star.