The Wellness Confessional: Jayel Lewis

Meet the Wellness Confessional, our new monthly series where we ask health and wellness rockstars in Philadelphia to dish on everything from their morning routines to their gym-bag and fridge staples to their motivational mantras.

This month, Jayel Lewis, owner of JL Fitness, fitness business coach and all-around rockstar, shares her secrets.

Read up — and take notes!

The first three things I do when I wake up are …

My first client is at 5:45 am so my alarm goes off super early — let’s say 5 a.m. I snooze at least twice, brush my teeth, make sure my athleisure attire (that I lay out the night before) still matches, and grab a huge bottle of water before I head out the door. When it’s that early, I don’t give myself much time to do anything else because I do have a real life fear of falling back asleep given the opportunity. (I’m human).

Morning workouts or evening workouts?

Ideally, I love to get the blood pumping before my first client in the morning, but I’m truly only capable of doing about 20 minutes of cardio first thing in the morning. I typically get my lift on around “rush hour,” at 6 p.m. or so. That’s when I feel my body is fully functional, ready to lift heavy objects and get in the best sweat session. Working out in the evening also allows me to sleep much more soundly.

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The gym-bag essentials I absolutely can’t live without are …

Being a personal trainer and a fitness business coach, my gym bag is also used as my briefcase on any given day I’m running around the city for hours on end, so I have quite a few things I can’t live without in it: my laptop (you never know when you’re going to have an extra 10 minutes where you’ll need to respond to emails), fitness equipment that takes up little to no space (fitness gliders — they are game-changing), and if I’m being really honest, my hand sanitizer, because life gets messy!

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My go-to post-workout products are …

My go-to post-workout products are snacks (think KIND bars and pre-packaged almonds/nuts), because I typically have a client scheduled after my own personal training session; more water, because hydration is (major) key; and a new tank top/sports bra combo to change into because I despise cold sweat!

The snack I reach for after a grueling workout is …

Since I typically have a client immediately after my personal sweat session, I have a small snack and have dinner about an hour and a half later. During the week, I make it pretty easy for myself (and am a creature of habit when it comes to cooking). Most nights I throw a six-ounce piece of salmon in the oven, have pre-cut veggies that I heat up, along with some sort of grain and voila: Dinner is served!

The foods I always, without fail, keep my fridge stocked with are …

Again, creature of habit, so I typically have the same foods in my fridge on any given week: Core water, La Croix (currently coconut), eggs, turkey bacon, cheese, pre-cut veggies, pre-made salads, fish, and hummus. If I have time to get fancy with my hummus, my go-to is Dizengoff (love). Otherwise, I always have a container of garlic or lemon hummus from Whole Foods in the fridge.

My mantra to push through tough workouts (and crappy days) is …

“Get your ass to the gym” is one of my mantras — hey, it works for me. Given my lifestyle, it’s very important that I not only talk the talk but walk the walk. So on days when I’m not feeling it (and my body is telling me that I actually need a break), I remind myself of the lifestyle that I help others develop as their own, and how important it is for me to lead by example.

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The best fitness discovery I’ve made in Philadelphia is …

While there are countless amazing staircases along with juices and smoothies in Philly, one of the best discoveries that I’ve made in Philadelphia when it comes to fitness is that people are really nice. Discovering your own fitness journey can certainly be difficult, but reaching out to others and getting positive feedback, support and accountability from a community of like-minded individuals is priceless.

The best piece of wellness-related advice I’ve gotten is …

It’s not one-size-fits-all. I believe, a lot of times, people overthink fitness (especially when they’re just starting out) and get so overwhelmed that oftentimes they fail to start at all. Fitness should be something where there is a component for everyone. You don’t have to fit yourself into a box in order to succeed — just because something is working for your friend, and they enjoy it, doesn’t mean that it’ll necessarily work for you and that you’ll enjoy it too. Find some form of exercise that you get excited about, that you enjoy doing (for the most part) and where you’ll ultimately see results. That’ll be the best form of sweat therapy you’ll ever have, I promise!