What’s in the bag of a group fitness instructor

I’m teaming up with Ricolaยฎ Herb & Throat drops, as part of a campaign with Socialstars, to bring you this sponsored post all about what’s in my bag.

Hi friends! And a happy Thursday going out to you. I hope all is well in your world. Today, we’re going to get personal, because I’m sharing with you every single thing that is in my bag. No, not a purse. A big bag. A gym bag, to be exact. And I have a lot with me each day, because I hop around from gym-to-gym, teaching group fitness classes.

What is in my gym bag via A Lady Goes West

Some of the things that I carry around are expected, but some are not. This was a fun exercise for me, because it had me thinking about why I have such a heavy bag — I need a lot of gear each day for what I do. 

I’m probably not alone in that. Because we all have different responsibilities depending on our jobs, I find it very interesting to get a glimpse into other peoples’ stuff. In fact, this is a post that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so I’m excited that working with Ricola gave me the extra encouragement to do it. 

What's in the bag of a group fitness instructor via A Lady Goes West

What’s in the bag of a group fitness instructor

  • Healthy snacks. I always have a couple of healthy-ish protein bars, granola bars or a bag of almonds as a snack on-hand. I need the fuel and do not like to get too hungry between meals.
  • Reusable water bottle. I don’t leave the house without a water bottle and try to fill it up as many times as possible throughout the day. I don’t keep track of my water intake, but can feel it in my body immediately if I’m not getting enough. Water is a beautiful thing for your mind and overall health.
  • Energy drops. I only have a few minutes to transition between classes when I’m teaching back-to-back at Orangetheory Fitness, so when I can’t fit in a snack, I pop one of these Ricola Revitalizing Herb Drops for a quick burst of taste, energy and fizz in my mouth. I love these little drops not only for their taste, but also because they are natural and made from herbs cultivated in the Swiss mountains using natural farming methods. An easy way to boost your immunity, as well, which I need working in the fitness-world around people all day.
  • iPod for music. I use my old iPhone to store all of the music for the classes I teach. I have a ton of Les Mills group fitness releases and my own mixes I’ve created for freestyle and bootcamp classes loaded up and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Along with this, I have the charger for this particular device, because it’s different from the one I use to charge my current iPhone.
  • A/V cord. This is totally a group fitness instructor thing, but I have this red A/V cord to connect my iPod to the stereo at the various gyms where I teach. Most of us carry around our own, because these things tend to get damaged in a high-traffic group fitness room, and I prefer to have a sure-fire set-up with me at all times.
  • Microphone wind-screens. I have several microphone wind-screens to put on the microphone headset at gyms, so I don’t share germs with other group fitness instructors. You’d be surprised how much sweat and spit can get on one of these things while teaching tough classes. Therefore, I like to keep it fresh, by changing my own screen fairly frequently.
  • Microphone belt. Yes, I have a waist-belt, which I wear and put the microphone battery pack in so it doesn’t bounce around. A few of the gyms where I teach have fancier headsets not requiring the pack, but some don’t. I put this thing straight in the washer every couple-of-weeks as well, because as you would imagine, it collects a lot of sweat.
  • Weight-lifting gloves. I wear these gloves to teach BODYPUMP classes, as well as to do my own weight-lifting workouts in the gym. These are also machine-washable, and they protect my hands from calluses and germs.
  • Nine-volt batteries. Once again, I have a few sizes of batteries in my bag, in case I end up using a dead microphone and there are no gym-provided battery replacements around in the stereo drawer. These things are expensive!
  • A notebook and pen. My trusty Golden State Warriors notebook and pen is actually not always group fitness-related. While I can take notes in there of peoples’ names, I mostly write down blog business when I’m on-the-go. Yes, these days it’s very possible to take notes digitally on your phone, but I like to write it out and have a hard-copy.
  • Wallet. This gold Michael Kors wallet is an oldie, but a goodie. I bought this at the outlets in Orlando before I moved to San Francisco three years ago, and it’s still going strong. It fits all of my loyalty cards, cash and even some checks.
  • Sunglasses. Do I need new stuff? Once again, I bought these huge green Dior cat-eye shades more than three years ago from the outlets in Orlando, and they’re still my sunglasses of choice. They’re getting a little loose though, so I should get them tightened or buy a new pair.
  • Cosmetics bag. Yes, a bag within a bag. I have a pink zip-up full of lip gloss, lip balm, hand lotion, a mirror, a nail file and antibacterial. In this bag, I also always have extra hair-ties and bobby pins to keep my hair contained with all the movement I do.
  • Mints. When you (very nicely) scream in peoples’ faces, or get up very close to them to correct their form, you should probably have fresh breath. After enjoying a Ricola drop before classes, I pop a few mints to keep my breath in check before every single class.
  • Earphones. I have a pair of blue earphones I can plug into my iPhone for talking hands-free while walking around. And I also use these earphones to plug into my iPod and listen to my group fitness class music to prepare before class.
  • Lacrosse ball. I use this yellow lacrosse ball to soothe my tired and achey feet, as well as to loosen up my muscles. I sit on it, or wedge it between my back and the wall for some light pressure to release any tight areas. Recovery is key, and this little thing does wonders!
  • Choreography notes. While most of my Les Mills choreography and all of my Orangetheory Fitness workout notes are digital, I still like to have a hard-copy of an older class release with me just in case technology fails. 
  • OT Beat heart-rate monitor. Because I not only teach classes at Orangetheory Fitness, but also take them, I carry around my OT Beat heart-rate monitor, so I can pop it on before getting into the Orange Zone during a sweat session. 

Other things I always have with me not pictured, include a stop-watch wrist-watch, which I wear for teaching classes and keeping time, my cell phone, my car keys and a jacket. And I throw deodorant, an extra shirt and body wipes in my bag as I need them, as well as a protein shake, if I won’t be heading home directly after working out. 

What's in my gym bag

With all of these items, my gym bag is pretty heavy, so I try to switch which arm I carry it on from time-to-time. And this is something I highly suggest to everyone out there carrying a bag. Don’t let back or shoulder problems creep up on you!

Being prepared and staying healthy each day

As you can see from the contents of my bag, preparation is key. Whether that means having extra snacks and teaching supplies on hand, or focusing on my own health, fitness and recovery, I know what I need to be successful as an instructor. It’s taken a few years to put it all together, and I continue to learn and grow.

There you have it, friends. I hope this chance to sneak-a-peek into my bag was somewhat entertaining. Have a lovely day, and meet me back here tomorrow for “Friday Favorites.”

*Disclaimer: As part of a Socialstars campaign, this post in sponsored by Ricola. I’ve really enjoyed learning about this family-owned Swiss company, its rich history and the product line available throughout this campaign. So thanks Ricola. However, please know that all the thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own. For more information on Ricola, you can visit Ricola on Facebook or on Twitter.

Questions of the day

Is there something you can’t leave home without?

What are a few unexpected things in your bag?

How do you make sure you are prepared each day?

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  1. Great post! I also carry a large gym bag. It’s a 31 gym bag and it is great. However, I do wish it had a couple inside zipper pockets. There are some pockets, but they don’t zip and stuff will fall out. I have to carry diapers, wipes, a sippy cup and snacks for the 2 year old in my bag. I never leave home without my reusable water bottle. I love water and know when I am not getting enough either. I have nightmares sometimes about my ipod not working or something like that when I go to teach my classes. I don’t know why it never dawned on me to keep an extra/older copy of a BODYPUMP release in my bag! Great idea – thank you! Do you keep extras for your other formats? I don’t think it would be as easy for BODYATTACK to have the notes out?? Also, I am glad you mentioned the Ricola again, I need to get some. I just got my Pines wheat grass yesterday thanks to your recommendation! I ordered the tablets, I’ll let you know what I think. Oh, and I never leave home without physically checking at least two times that I have my music, water and BODYCOMBAT gloves if I’m teaching that.

    1. Hi Melissa! Actually, one of the my little “bag within a bags” is a ThirtyOne, which I got for a gift. That company has some cute things. And I bet you have a lot more to carry with a little one! I don’t carry extra BODYATTACK with me, mostly because I’ve been digital ever since I’ve been teaching that format, and if my iPod failed, I’d be out of luck. But with BODYPUMP, I can remember an old release and wing it if there were ever an emergency heheh. Crossing my fingers that doesn’t happen. That’s so cool you ordered the PINES, Melissa! Yes, please let me know how you like it. I’m putting my powder in my daily smoothie and I feel so good knowing I’m getting extra nutrients. And nightmares about not being prepared? I always have the one where I can’t make it to my class somehow, like things keep getting in the way. I HATE that. I’ve been having nightmares like that ever since I started teaching. It’s kinda funny now!! Have a lovely day, lady!! I’m back to teaching BP tonight after two weeks away from it and can’t wait!

  2. Good stuff lady! I have a lot of similar things as well as KT tape, icy hot, stretch out strap, resistance bands, spin shoes and all my swim gear. Even if I’m not doing those things I seem to be lugging it around just in case. I just love too many different activities but that’s a good thing, right? Haha! Have a good day!

    1. Hi Megan! You are a well-versed active person to have so much gear with you at all times. I don’t swim or spin, but I think my joints will be asking for those activities one day with all the high-impact exercising I do now. KT tape? Another thing I haven’t tried either! Nice work on being prepared!

  3. You might be one of the few people left that even KNOWS what a 9 volt battery is! Random things that I keep in my bag…. tea bags, a spoon, a mini bottle of perfume, and dental picks. Obviously there is more stuff in there, but I feel like those might be the notables!

    1. Hi Susie! Dental picks! I have those with me every once in a blue moon, but those are a good idea. I mean, granola bars and trail mix really get stuck in between the teeth ehhe. Great notables, thanks for sharing! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I’d expect nothing less than a perfectly organized bag with all your daily needs!

    I too am a hand-writer. I sometimes use the Notes section of my iPhone for things when I’m in a major rush, but I keep a little spiral in my purse at all times in case something hits me. There’s just something more satisfying to me with the old school paper to pen method.

    Happy Thursday to you and thanks for sharing this info!

    1. Hi Courtney! Of course we agree on that. And the cuter the notebook, the better. I usually have a floral one, but I recently switched to this plain black Golden State Warriors one for the playoffs hahah! ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great day, my friend!

  5. What a bag! Lately I can’t leave home without a diet ginger ale :), tooo good! I keep every thing in my backpack: my work laptop, tennis shoes, and kindle in the big pocket; workout clothes in the small pocket, and my toiletry bag in the outside mesh pocket. Since I already have a small purse and my lunch box, I don’t want to carry a fourth bag around with me to work ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Jessie! Wow, you have a lot of stuff with you too. And Diet Ginger Ale? I don’t know that I’ve ever tried that, but it actually sounds quite refreshing hehe. Three bags is a lot, but hey, when you need food and gym clothes and work stuff, you do what you’ve gotta do! Thanks for sharing, friend! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Courtney! Thanks so much. I also love seeing what other people have. As a Momma, I bet you have some kids’ stuff stuck in your purse at all times, right? ๐Ÿ™‚ heheh!

    1. Hahha little socks? So cute! I bet that’s funny to pull out when you’re looking for something in a rush and all you come up with are some toddler socks out of the bottom of your bag! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I can’t leave home without my phone charger. Without fail it will die if I don’t bring it… I think it’s time for a new phone. I usually prepare my workbag-purse the night before and make sure everything is all ready to go – makes the morning a bit more seamless.

    1. Hi Jamie! Yes, that’s a good thing to have, but I feel like I charge my phone so much at home it usually lasts. heheh! Good work on preparing your bag the night before. That is a MUST to get ready for the next day! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Thursday!

  7. You are so well prepared! I actually think it is key to minimizing stress. I would imagine as a fitness instructor there is a feeling of pressure to deliver a good class so those extra batteries and such are great for life’s little emergencies.

    1. Hi Lauren! Every single day I am preparing for a “show” to deliver my classes. So YES, you are right. I have to have things together for that. hehehe! ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy Thursday! I totally understand your reasoning for leaving the training job, BTW. Hope the private clients are working out!

  8. I feel like I am so unprepared with my bag compared to yours! haha I don’t teach many classes, though, so I don’t need all of that all the time. I do add in towels, deodorant, my handy book of workouts, a watch, ipod, water bottle. They are with me all the time. I never leave home without my phone ๐Ÿ™‚ It goes everywhere with me! ha I also make sure everything is ready the night before so I am not surprised by anything. This means my morning snack before class is out, shoes and outfit ready, bag all ready.

    1. Hi Heather! Oh yes! I pull out my outfit and breakfast items the night before I teach early classes as well. I sleep better knowing I’ve taken a few less steps out of the morning prep. heheh! ๐Ÿ™‚ Good work to you on that as well!

  9. Yes to all of the above! I keep so much stuff in my gym bag! I usually try to get everything organized the night before so that I don’t have to worry about anything but my choreo on class day. I usually have multiple pairs of back-up socks in my bag… I’m not sure if they just tend to accumulate there or if I have a fear of not having any socks!!

    1. Hi Jenna! How funny. I actually never have back-up socks with me, but we all have our things we worry about heheh. Nice work getting everything the night before as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I love a bag that can hold a bunch of stuff! My go-to bag (that I carry everywhere, including the gym) contains just the essentials: Burt’s bees Chapstick, my phone, extra bobby pins,snacks and water bottles for Matilda and I, extra diapers, my wallet, and my coupon holder. All very necessary, no matter where we are headed.

  11. I absolutely love how your brand is on your bag! While I always promise myself that my gym bag will be organized, it rarely ever is. Protein bar wrappers, lone socks, and ripped hair ties tend to make common appearances, and I am ok with that (well not really)! Totally wish I had someone like you managing my bag at all times ;).

    1. Hi Niki! hahah! Well it’s okay to have a messy bag if you are in fact making it to the gym. That’s more important heheh! And yes, I’m super organized and happy to help you with your bag. You can pay me in protein bars!

  12. This is a great post Ashley! What I like the most about it was that it gave me a look into the day of a life of a fitness instructor, and what it must be like to go around to different gyms and teach. Something I think many people take for granted of their fitness instructors!!

    1. That’s good of you to say, Jill! I think some people forget how much prep it takes for an instructor to teach good classes every single day. Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I have an apera bag that I adore, mine is full of boxing gloves, water bottles, phone cords and fitness things. I’m so bad I don’t even plan out classes anymore with notes, I should get back into that habit to shake things up! I adore you smell wipes too.

    1. Hi Renee! For my Les Mills classes, I just have to learn the choreograph, as it’s provided, but for my freestyle classes, I always write it out! ๐Ÿ™‚ And boxing gloves? That’s interesting! What fun!! Thanks for sharing what’s in your bag. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope all is well with you!

  14. You are ALL SET girl!

    I certainly cannot leave without my phone, I feel so naked without it and actually get paranoid that something bad is going to happen and I am going to need it, ha! Actually I am probably more likely to have something BAD happen to me when it is WITH ME – hello distractions! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    1. Hi GiGi! Oh yes, I always have my phone with me too. But I must say, sometimes it’s fun to be off the grid! ๐Ÿ™‚ That just means you have no IG pictures or Snaps to share after-the-fact. Have a good night!

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