Chances are that if you’ve lived in St. Augustine long enough, you know Jessica or someone in her family. As a born-and-raised member of a long-standing St. Augustine family, her roots grow deeply in our community. Of the four people asked to describe Jessica, they all said almost exactly the same thing: she’s extremely hardworking and dedicated to everything she sets her mind to, she’s humble, intelligent, and an all-around beautiful person. Jessica currently works full-time as a paralegal at Canan Law and personal trains as her schedule allows. She’s a wife and mother to a spoiled Labrador and several horses.
What activity/activities do you do to stay fit?
When I’m not riding my horses I love going to GO HQ. I attend their group fit camp classes, in addition to taking advantage of open gym hours to work on Olympic weightlifting, rowing and other strength and gymnastic movements. I do a lot of road cycling but I also enjoy beach volleyball, hiking, mountain biking and swimming.
Have your interests changed over time or have you always been “into” your current activity of choice.
I have been riding horses and actively competing on the hunter/jumper circuit for as long as I can remember. It is something my Mom got me involved in when I was very young and I’ve pretty much been obsessed ever since. I started to pursue physical fitness to become a better rider. Most people discount riding as a sport that requires a high level of fitness; after all, all we do is sit there and the horse does all the work, right? Equestrians need to have the concentration and ability to judge distance like a golfer, strength and stamina like a hockey player, and artistic flow and elegance like a ballerina.
What keeps you motivated to stay fit?
Other than the fact I do truly enjoy exercise, my primary motivation would be my sport. For me, fitness is all about improving the quality of your life and the level of your performance. Enhanced overall heath, happiness, and the fact you look better in a bikini is a bonus. A fit, well-conditioned body sits a horse better, provides clearer, more consistent cues, and is less likely to be injured in the event of a fall. If something goes wrong you could fall traveling at about 35 mph from anywhere upwards of 10 feet in the air.
What are your go-to music/song choices to get you motivated?
I have a pretty eclectic mix that I like to listen to but my go-to music varies depending on what I’m doing. For fit camp I prefer the high-energy beats of pop, hip-hop and rap music. For endurance work I like to listen to upbeat music with a steady rhythm which can be anything from reggae, rock and country to rap and hip-hop.
If money, time, and other realities were not a factor, what is one activity you’ve always wanted to do? (Example: snowboard the Himalayas)
I would travel all over the world.
What does a normal daily schedule look like for you (meals, activities, work, social—everything!)?
- Weekdays typically start around 4:30-5 AM. I’ll pack a gym bag with everything I need along with all my meals for the day.
- I’m out the door at 5:30 AM and at the gym by 6:00 AM to meet training clients or do my own workouts. I’m at law office from 8:30 AM to 5:00PM.
- I’ll usually eat 3-4 small meals while I’m at the office.
- After work, I either go back to GO for a fit camp class or drive to the family farm to ride and take care of my horses. I typically get home every night around 8:00 PM.
- Since I don’t get home until fairly late, dinners are usually something that can be prepared fairly quickly and easily.
- I try to have everything done by 9:30-10 PM so I can get enough sleep.
On the weekends I’m not competing and training, I catch up with friends and spend time with my husband. If the weather is nice I’ll also take the opportunity to go on a long bike ride or swim in the ocean.
Do you follow any particular eating plan?
I don’t follow any particular plan but if you had to label it I would say I follow the Zone diet. I drink massive amounts of water (6 liters/day). I make 99% of my meals at home so I know exactly what’s in the food I’m eating. I try to keep it balanced and clean with as many organic and unprocessed foods as possible. I don’t eat much red meat; mostly chicken, turkey and fish. I still eat carbs such as bread, rice and pasta but in moderation. Pretty much anything is fair game except for sugar. As much as I love sweet treats and alcoholic beverages, I try my best to limit them to only special occasions.
What’s your biggest food indulgence?
All the cake! Cake, cupcakes, you name it. My favorites are anything with cream cheese icing.
Do you have any personal/fitness goals this year? If so, what are they?
This year I’m hoping to have my horse, Walle, ready to move up to jump some bigger classes. I would be stoked to compete in what is called the High Adult Jumper division where the fences are set 3’7” – 3’9” in height. I’m on track to complete my first sprint triathlon in May. I also want to get my first muscle-up!
What advice do you have for someone who really wants to start workout out and/or eating right, but doesn’t know how to get started?
Set yourself up for success. Starting and sticking with a new program takes commitment. Sit down with a knowledgeable trainer who can program workouts in line with your goals and help you with nutrition. Do something every day to break a sweat. It helps to have a good network of friends and family who support your efforts. Setbacks will happen; stay positive and do what you can with what you’ve got. Remember to always believe in yourself and never give up.