Boston Marathon

Hello healthy people,


It is a sad day to be writing to you about the bombings in Boston just yesterday.  Nuts to know how much these runners prepared, how excited their friends and family were to spectate–all to end in pandemonium. Nothing shines brighter than the volunteers and serviceman who risked their lives to help the people affected.

My thoughts are with those who were lost yesterday and anyone affected by these events.

Nothing is more powerful than the slogan growing popular “the good outnumber you.”



Check out this Today News article for more information:



Don’t let fear consume your adventures in health and fitness. Run…be free and happy. We live in a great nation–and the good definitely outnumber the bad.


Happy eating and exercising,




Manly Massage.

Helllllo Healthy People!!!

Happy Weekend…so I have been seeing my physical therapist on the reg lately for my malfunctioning ankle (anyone willing to donate a new one?)… and he suggested after “analyzing” my back which was really an awkward back rub …that I should definitely go get a massage. Deep tissue. Hot stone. The works.

Now lemme tell you a little something something… I don’t have enough time to sleep let alone dedicate time to get a massage. But I am turning over a new leaf and actually taking the advice given to me so I made an appointment.

8:45am I showed up for my 9am 90 minute summer special massage.  I was asked to sign paperwork about places I didn’t want my masseuse touching…um…shouldn’t some areas be off limits automatically? What kind of place is this?…

I heard my name called and looked up. Standing in front of me was a very large man. And by large I mean this guy was at least 6’2″ and 250+ pounds with a small black curly pony tail. Meet Francisco.  Apparently he had the best hands of the place and came highly recommended. Needless to say as a 22 year old female I was a little timid but my excitement of ridding my back of some knots surpassed my hesitation.

He directed me to a room where I was asked to “prep” for the massage and left abruptly.  I contemplated what the policy on massage was these days? I’ve heard some people like to go full on naked. I didn’t choose that option.

I was told to start face down so I snuggled underneath the sheet and waited patiently.  I heard a soft knock and when he came in he sprayed some form of aromatherapy spray that was supposed to calm me. Great. I could probably drink that stuff and still not have been that calm. But he encouraged me to take a few deep breaths before he began and soon enough I started to feel my muscles loosen.

His hands were warm and his voice was soft and within moments I was completely at ease. Wow. His hands were a cross between an angel and Arnold Schwarzenegger.


10-15 minutes into the massage I think I told him I loved him. He laughed. Apparently he gets that a lot. I wondered why he became a masseuse and learned his daughter has a condition that is benefitted by massage. I said this was really his calling because I’ve never had a massage like this.  He questioned my amount of physical activity and stress and said I have one of the worst backs full of knots he’s seen in a while. Apparently I should do more things to de-stress and I agreed to get a massage once a month.  He did say he could tell I was a yoga teacher when he stretched my legs over my head. 🙂 A full 90 minutes completely receiving something is exactly what I need according to him.  Francisco. My amazing masseuse. I started to slip away into the melting sensation that comes with a massage. I woke up a few moments later to his laugh. In my daze I hired him to be my personal masseuse when I became famous one day.  Jeez what did they put in that aromatherapy spray?

Before I knew it 90 minutes had passed by and I was jello.  He left the room after telling me to slowly get up and get dressed.

Good thing he said slow because as I got up my head spun and my legs buckled. Now I know why people got massages. They made you feel 100% relaxed and at ease. Mhmm.

But on the inside I felt like this:


On the way out I wanted to hug him and thank him for seriously making me feel so much better. He told me to take care of my body, drink lots of water and schedule an appointment for a month later.

I bought a package: one massage a month for a year. Finally doing something for myself that would help me perform better in my daily activities.

Today was an important lesson for me: it’s great to give and give and give to the world in your work and with your friends and family but at some point you should slow down and dedicate time for yourself. If you don’t appreciate your body and nurture it, it will begin to deteriorate and give out on you. If you are someone who does a lot of physical activity or has a high stress lifestyle a massage a month is the minimum recommendation. Look for places in your area that offer some sort of package so you don’t need to break the bank in order to treat yourself. Start to make a commitment to yourself that you will honor your body as it serves you each day.

Have a great weekend!

Happy eating and exercising




But Really….I would totally accept this job 😉


Hello Healthy People!!!

No not Bach the composer, I just wanted you to hear my voice/emotion. Seriously though I am finally back to the blogging world.

I have to say thank you to Lightpaw for emailing me some reassuring words, I haven’t been that into blogging since post college life, but am ready to begin again…

I now am officially moved in to Florida…and working three jobs!!!! I guess I tend to be a go getter after all.

My main job is prettttty freaking awesome. I teach yoga to the public and to elite amateur and professional athletes.  We also used weighted yoga balls between 4 and 5 pounds to increase the intensity to our practice.  Nothing makes me more proud of yoga when a football player who can squat in the 500’s and bench a small elephant comes up the yoga studio and recognizes how difficult and challenging yoga really is.

Sometimes they even look like this:

But in all honestly the coolest thing about it all is seeing the improvements in participants abilities. The East County Observer, a publication in the area, came to interview me about our program…if you would like to check that out click here. It’s great to see the athletes response to their bodies after a class. They are improving each session and it is truly a game of mind over matter.


I also teach group fitness classes at two different gyms, one is associated with Sarasota Memorial Hospital, which I have found is just a wonderful place to be a part of.  After a spin class one day a woman came up to me and said I should consider selling shirts that say “I survived Jess’s SPIN”

…made my day.



So I want to catch you all up on my fitness oriented new world post grad, I also had a few ideas for posts a while back I will write about too.  Videos are soon to come especially because I got a puppy 🙂 Say hello to Mr. Finley Jack



But now I must leave to teach power yoga! Woo, namaste my friends.

Happy eating and exercising!!!





Why I love what I do.

Hello Healthy People!!

Today it really hit me that I am graduating. Anything that brings change brings with it a sense of nostalgia for the past, an eagerness for the future but yet an appreciation for what is and what was. I am very much looking forward to a bright future and I know I cannot live in the past but these past four years have been the most amazing years of my life so far. I am truly blessed for the REMARKABLE people I have met and the lives that have touched and transformed me.

I taught 7pm Zumba every Tuesday this semester and had a group of participants that would join the party every week. Tonight was my last class and it ended with a big sweaty hug from dedicated partipants and tears in my eyes. If that doesn’t make you love what you do I don’t know what does.

JMU has fostered an environment where you learn to live the life you love, and love the life you live. This is where I have found my deepest passions with health and fitness.

Today I received a text message from a friend who follows my blog. I won’t disclose who this was but it really touched me and makes what I do just for fun (this blog) seem so much more important to me.

“Thought you’d like this. I planned on working out today but woke up thinking nah. then I saw your facebook post and immediately hopped out of bed and went at it. Long story short, you inspired a 2 mile run, biceps/triceps/shoulder lift and 500 crunches. Thank you.”

When I read this text message you couldn’t imagine how I felt. If I can help even just ONE person that makes my life, purpose and passion gain so much meaning. It reifies that what I do means something. And everyone should seek that sense of happiness and fulfillment. So thanks for that text message, it means a lot to know this little blog is doing something right 🙂

I’m currently in tears planning the last cycle class I will ever teach tomorrow


But I know it will be a fun and awesome class and a great start to #workoutwednesday. Have you planned when you are working out tomorrow? Remember even if you ONLY have 20 minutes you can still fit in a great workout. Maybe think about incorporating HIIT!
Keep up with this week’s health challenge too!!!! Take photos/document everything you eat, journal etc. You know how it goes, click here for a refresher.

Happy Eating and Exercising!!


Jess ❤

Man’s Best Friend, and Motivation???

Hellllllo Healthy People!!!

It’s 1:30am. 30 pages into my 35 page capstone paper.


I am distracting myself from my paper by:

A.) Posting to my blog….

B.) Planning my ZUMBA class for tomorrow:

and C.) searching for a dog to adopt once I graduate! YIKES. My dad says that it’s definitely a good idea to have a dog if I plan on living on my own. #biggirlstatus woooo!So of course I was curious as to which dogs would be the best running companions…

I found this article on Runner’s World with a chart describing which dogs would be good for each type of run. I’m currently talking to an owner of a baby husky they are trying to get adopted so looks like I’ll only be running with them in the cold…

So check out the article, and maybe think about adopting a new running buddy!

Happy Eating and Exercising!


A Breed Apart

Can your dog go the distance?By Christie Aschwanden

Image by Getty ImagesFrom the September 2010 issue of Runner’s World

CLICK on RUNNER’S WORLD to read the actual article!!!

Long, Steady Runs
(More Than 10 Miles)
• Weimaraners
• Goldendoodles
• German shorthaired pointers
• Vizslas
• Jack Russell terriers
A medium build, well-muscled hind quarters, not too heavy
Brisk Shorter Runs
(Less Than 10-K)
• Greyhounds
• Pit bulls
• English setters
• Beagles
• Golden and Labrador retrievers
A muscular and lean build, and a mind for sprinting rather than slogging
Going Fast
(7-Minute Miles or Faster)
• Vizslas
• German shorthaired pointers
• Weimaraners
• Greyhounds
• Whippets
A medium-size, lean build, and a mental aptitude for running
Long, Slow Runs
• Catahoulas
• Labrador retrievers
• Standard poodles
• Dalmatians
A bigger body that can handle the distance—if you go slow
Running in the Heat
• Rhodesian ridgebacks
• Vizslas
• Airedale terriers
• Fox terriers
A long nose, a short, sleek coat, and a svelte body
Running in the Cold
• Malamutes
• German shepherds
• Swiss mountain dogs
• Siberian huskies
A thick coat and a stockier body type
Running on Trails with Obstacles
• German shorthaired pointers
• Vizslas
• Weimaraners
• Border collies
• Belgian sheepdogs
Sure-footed and quick to react (such as herding and hunting dogs)
Most Obedient on Heavily Used Trails
• Golden and Labrador retrievers
• Standard poodles
• Labradoodles
• Border collies
Nonaggressive, people-oriented, and obedient; has a calm personality

Top 25 healthiest Universities in the United States…JMU??!!!

Good Morning Healthy People!!!!

A recent study came out about the top healthiest universities throughout the United States.  Pretty awesome consideration to evaluate in my opinion.  It seems that for obvious reasons academia is always prominent in the statistic world for colleges…but what about health?

All I can say is JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY made number 10…which I am so proud of! It makes me so happy to go to a school where health and fitness is interwoven into the culture here.

Me when I found this out:

I have attached a preview to the article for you to read written by Kelly Fitzpatrick.  Take a second in analyzing why each school made it onto the list. Definitely something to take into mind when deciding where you or your student attends college.. Although I will always say JMU is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It’s a place that attracts a student body that will literally give you the shirt off of their back. One of the most welcoming communities I have ever been to…we like to call it “the national door holding campus” …because it truly is.

This place is where I found my family away from my family, and learned who I was and where my passions lie, ultimately in health and fitness. So as you can probably precict this article holds a lot of meaning to me. I am proud to call myself a Duke. A forever Duke!! Way to go University Recreation and especially group fitness. I could not have more pride for this university.

Enjoy the article! and GO DUKES!

Happy Eating and Exercising!



P.S. It is THURSDAY!!!! We are sooooooo close to finishing the challenge of the week: NO SUGAR! Hang in there you are doing a wonderful job!

Don’t forget to like my facebook page 🙂

Here’s a preview of the article click to be directed to the “Greatist” site!

The 25 Healthiest Colleges in the U.S.

by Kelly Fitzpatrick · 3 days ago · Health
Right around this time of year, high school seniors are making some tough decisions — in just a few short weeks, it’ll be time to fill out those enrollment forms. Before picking out dorm décor to suit that new college’s colors, check out our list. We’ve found the 25 schools that create the best environment for leading a fit, healthy, and happy life. For more deets on how we ranked the schools, scroll to the bottom.


Photo: Stephanie Diani/UCLA Newsroom

We can only assume UCLA students never go inside. The school offers an impressive outdoor rec center (in addition to a traditional indoor one) with a team-building ropes course, pools, kayaking, and picnic areas. And if all that relaxing gets too strenuous, students will appreciate the health center (ranked number one by The Princeton Review), which offers acupuncture and massage therapy. There’s also nutrition programming from the health center and the comprehensive FITWELL program with fitness classes, online educational resources, mind and body workshops, and even chair massages.

2. Stanford University

Photo: Linda A. Cicero/Stanford News Service

Some of the happiest students in the country are at Stanford, according to The Princeton Review, and we can see why. Students give the food here an A+ at College Prowler, and many dining options include late night dining ’til 2 am. Meanwhile, the gym is open until 1 am, so studying will never get in the way of a sweat session. Not to be outdone, the health center is also ranked in the top 25 by The Princeton Review. There are several student athletic groups, and the three-step BeWell program with resources for assessment, planning, and executing health and fitness changes.

3. University of North Dakota

Photo: Chuck Kimmerle/University of North Dakota

Students aiming to eat healthy will love UND’s “guiding stars” rating system, which serves as the yellow brick road to healthy dining options. And for the price of $4,000 per year, students get unlimited access to the dining halls, which support local North Dakota farmers. (For the record, the national average for the cost of dining in 2009-2010 was $4,300, which doesn’t necessarily include unlimited meals.) Recreation facilities are even more highly rated on College Prowler — as well they should be. The $20 million gym, opened in 2006, was a gift from the students, who voted to up tuition for six years to pay for it. The gym offers a huge array of free fitness and health assessments and just about all the equipment we could ever want. Our favorite thing about UND, though, is its 7 Dimensions approach to wellness, which includes often-overlooked factors like emotional, environmental, and spiritual health.

4. Colby College

Photo: Jesse Goldman ’12/Colby College

Tabata training and CrossFit classes at the fitness center are perfect for students who want to work out outside the box (pun intended), and the fitness complex also boasts a pool, indoor track, and ice rink. The health center has convenient hours, including weekends, and an emergency response team of volunteer EMTs that serve the campus community. Colby embraces sustainable dining, harvesting some food straight from its thriving campus garden. And dining services’ hard work is rewarded with an A+ score on College Prowler.

5. University of Georgia

Photo by Dot Paul

UGA gets major points for its highly-rated food, plus the school offers nutrition consultations and smart-eating courses with a dietitian. The University of Georgia was also one of the only schools we found with 24-hour dining during the week, so even after a late-night study session students don’t need to resort to fast food. The school’s gym offers a Biggest Loser program (with prizes!) and several other wellness programs. The health center has dental, dermatology, and vision care, plus cooking classes and wellness workshops.

….. See ALL 25 ranked schools at “GREATIST” 

10. James Madison University

Photo Courtesy of James Madison University

Students who can’t stand an overcrowded Zumba session will love JMU’s approach to fitness classes. Students must register online in advance to secure a spot in class, and the gym offers a huge range of class options (with video clips online for timid first-timers). The rec also offers a huge range of programsfrom outdoor adventures to nutrition classes.

Again to link to their website click here

I would like to thank GREATIST for doing a wonderful job with their website, their mission and this article!




Clearly my reaction?


I’m so glad you guys seem to enjoy my random posts about life, health, fitness…

I hope that at some point you were able to benefit somehow from a post whether it was a recipe, workout or motivational story. You all rock and I really appreciate all of the support 🙂


Keep up the goal of leading that healthy, balanced lifestyle. I know you can do it and you can encourage others to do the same! Be the change ❤




Kudos to my readers!

Seriously…I had no idea I would enjoy blogging as much as I do. Before this blog I seriously had no clue what the blogging world was even like. All of the comments from readers, the participants from my group fitness classes that I didn’t even know read, and my friends–> you all make this so much more worth it!


This is me because you guys are so awesome, and there are even international readers woo hoo!!!



I hope I can continue to write some posts that help you lead a balanced life! If you ever have a question on a specific workout or recipe that you’re interested or want me to blog about please let me know! I would love some ideas 🙂


Remember to “live the life you love”




Chewing is overrated?

On the run? Too busy to pack a meal or cook? Hungry? Too often people allow for excuses to blur the lines between what is healthy and what is not. The reality is: if it comes from a place where you can get a toy with your meal or if it comes out of a vending machine…it’s probably NOT good to eat! But then you might ask…what if I am hungry? Well I give you my favorite place for a snack or light meal…. SMOOTHIE KING. Seriously this place is quick and if you flirt with the guys you can invent your own smoothies and maybe even get them for free!! #winning

But be aware a lot of the smoothies have added sugars so just say make it skinny so they don’t add any more. Fruit already has plenty of natural sugars especially bananas and mangos!

There are children’s smoothies too so it’s great for the whole family 🙂

So whenever you are hungry on the run google where the closest smoothie place is whether it’s jamba juice, smoothie king or even an organic place such as while foods! It’s a great way to keep that balanced diet.


Participants are the beeezkneeez

Seriously. As a fitness instructor there is probably no better feeling than when participants come up to you to tell you they loved your class, ask when you’re teaching…etc etc etc.

It’s probably why we love our jobs so much. Well that and the endorphins aren’t so bad either!

–Also, if you are a participant never hesitate to approach your instructor and give helpful feedback. It can always help the instructors grow and I encourage it at the end of every class. So let them know if they rocked it or some areas you were confused about or didn’t enjoy!–

After this morning’s 11am Yogafit class I had a lot of participants come up to me after to thank me or ask when I’m teaching next and it was a great start of the day. One really sweet girl in particular wanted me to send her the playlist but I decided to post it on here anyways…so if you’re reading this…hope you like it! and thanks for coming to the class 🙂

It’s just a little different than the playlist I posted previously but here it is! Hope you like it.

Just a reminder–when creating your playlist (if you are the instructor) always be mindful of the population you are teaching to! This was something that was actually discussed at a presentation at the fitness conference led by JMU’s graduate assistant Brittany Guerin. Music is a great tool in your classes. Just make educated and logical decisions when utilizing it in creative ways.

Playlist Yogafit February 29th 2012

Question by The Old 97’s

On My Mind by Donavon Frakenreiter

Are You Lonesome Tonight by Elvis Presley

The Fear You Won’t Fall by Joshua Radin

I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz

Moonlight Sonata by Mozart

Stay With You by John Legend

Can’t Help Falling In Love by Ingrid Michaelson

In These Arms by The Swell Season

Skinny Love by Birdy

Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson

When You’re Smiling by Lous Armstrong

To Build a Home by The Cinematic Orchestra

You’ll Be In My Heart by Glenn Close and Phil Collins

Have a Little Faith in Me by John Hiatt

Tears and Rain by James Blunt

Beautiful Day by U2

Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye (this is one of my favorite songs right now)

I’ll Be Seeing You by Billie Holiday

I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab For Cutie