There is no way Naya Tapper could have known that visiting a tent for rugby on the campus of the University of North Carolina would lead to her becoming an Olympian, gold medal winner, the all-time leading try scorer for the USA Women’s 7s team, and one of the most influential black women in sports.

As a child, Tapper was naturally very energetic and didn’t mind joining in the football games with her neighborhood friends. She carried that athletic prowess throughout high school as an All-American in track before deciding to lead a normal student life when she arrived at Chapel Hill. As by faith, that women’s rugby tent was the starting point for the course that Tapper is currently running now.

In between gearing up for Paris, Tapper unpacked her gym bag and walked M&F through some of her favorite items. From Bubs Apple Cider Vinegar gummies and dried mango to satisfy her sweet tooth to protecting her skin and lips, the winger is prepared for anything that is thrown at her during training.

Naya Tapper gym bag gear
USA Rugby.

Nivea Sunscreen

I probably started using it maybe five years ago. I give the credit to my teammates, who are of way lighter complexion, and they kind of had to convince me over the years of the importance of sunscreen on darker skin. Do I put it everywhere like probably should? No. But, I do at least take care of my face. Nivea has a really good one that smells really good. I’ll use that if I’m at the pool, at the beach, or on vacation.

Buy: $12.99 at Walmart


Apple Watch (Series 9)

I mainly use my Whoop for the training aspect, but the watch comes into play in terms of keeping track of time, maybe timing myself if I’m doing certain exercises that have a time limit on them. The watch is on if messages or emails are coming through because I’m very type-A and I love to be on top of that stuff. But it’s probably not something I should be doing during workouts anyway.

Buy: $399 at Apple


Apple AirPods (2nd Generation)

I listen to music as much as I possibly can. A lot of the times it’s hip hop, just because of the beat aspect of it and I love singing. Any songs that I could sing along to, which for me is like old school R & B or anything around that realm — I’m usually jamming out to. Not just because I love the music, but also because it just distracts me from the stress of being in a high-performance environment.

I love Musiq Soulchild. Glorilla since she just put out a new album and she’s doing it for me right now. Drake’s always a good option and Brent Faiyaz as well.

Buy: $129 at Apple


Whoop 4.0

The Whoop has been a game changer in terms of my discipline. I used to think six hours of sleep was enough and it didn’t matter what I was doing that day, six hours would suffice. The Whoop taught me that’s not the case. There’s just so many things that go into knowing what your body needs based on what you did the previous day, and I wasn’t really in tune with that. Now, this is like my lifeline in a sense of whenever I need to know how much I need to sleep. I’m looking at this and trusting that it’s providing me with the right information.

Also, the impact of alcohol on being a grown woman who loves to go out and have a good time. You don’t realize the impact it has on your recovery, body, and how much your heart rate spikes because of that. So, it just has made me be more disciplined around how I’m taking care of my body.

Buy: $239 at Best Buy


BUBS Naturals Collagen Powder

I play a contact sport and the amount of contact we take on a daily basis kind of puts you, unfortunately, in the space of getting arthritis and these different types of things thot the average human being maybe would never get or would get further down the road. So, trying to take care of my body in that aspect with my joints — the collagen comes in perfectly as well as helping me with my skin. Living in sunny California, you’ve got to take care of your skin and nails.

With the collagen, it was hard for me to figure out what liquid to put it in because I’m not a coffee drinker. I tried the smoothie route, but it didn’t give me the texture that I wanted and I didn’t feel like I was digesting it as well as I could. So, I picked up drinking green tea to be able to have a liquid in the morning that would dissolve the product, allow me to take in all the nutrients but was also healthy for your body.

Buy: $47 at Bubs Naturals


Bubs Naturals ACV Gummies

I started with the apple cider vinegar gummies because that seemed like the easiest thing. I have a huge, sweet tooth. I thought this will be something that will be easily digestible and it’s been important with my gut health, giving me that boost I need in the morning with the potassium and the enzymes that it has in it. It helps with muscle recovery, which is important for me for post training.

Buy: $18.95 at Bubs Naturals


Snacks (Mariani Dried Mango)

Dried mangoes is one of my favorites. Again, I have a sweet tooth. But, with my nutritionist in my ear, I try to find healthy ways to go about it. The dried mango has been very helpful in that aspect. I’m also a huge sunflower seed eater. I like to say I could probably eat sunflower seeds faster than anybody in the world. I’ve been eating them since I was young. I actually had some yesterday and it’s any flavor. I probably tried them all. That’s one of my favorite snacks. It’s also a good protein source. Also, any fruit like bananas are really good just to give me the carbs I need to be able to go into the sessions and give me that little energy boost after long days of training.

Buy: $5.99 at Mariani


Personal Journal

Journaling is something I mainly incorporated into my nighttime routine. I will say it’s not something that I use in meetings, just because it distracts me from what I’m doing at the moment. As we have our phones, it’s not usually something I’m putting reminders into because of the technology we have access to today. Adding it into my nighttime routine is kind of like a moment to decompress and sit still for a second, because I am living a very fast-paced and busy lifestyle. Sometimes, you get in a routine of just going, going, and going. Having the journal kind of slows me down and slows my mind down. It allows me to release any frustrations or stress that I have on the paper, so that I’m not carrying that around throughout my days.

It also allows me to create a book that I can look back on in the future to see what things I was going through, how far have I come and to be able to share it with my future kids to show them this is what your mom dealt with in the past with being a professional athlete. These are the things she overcame. These are the great moments that she had. So much happens on a daily basis and a lot of the times, I forget a lot of the great things that have happened. Being able to go back into that journal and tap into those moments again is really special.


Summer Fridays Lip Balm (Not Pictured)

I used to use Burt’s Bees and I’m still a huge fan of theirs as well as Rihanna’s Fenty lip gloss. That combo had me stuck for a long time. Going through Tim Tok, I learned about this new lip balm called Summer Fridays. I went and bought that maybe two or three weeks ago and I’ve become a huge fan of that because it seems like a combination of ChapStick and lip gloss. So having that combination in one, it smells great, goes on great and I have no complaints about it at all.

Buy: $24 at Summer Fridays


Water bottle


Louis Vuitton Zoé Wallet

Buy: $560 at Louis Vuitton


Mouth guard

Buy: $19.99 at Dick’s


Apotella AttackHER Rugby Shoulder Pads

Buy: $129 at Aptoella


Nike Mercurial Superfly 9 Elite

Buy: $242.97 at Nike

Follow Naya on Instagram @nayatapper