Spring Shakeup: 3 Reasons To Craft A New Workout Routine

Now that the half marathon is over, I have more freedom in my schedule to shake things up. I get a little squirmy when I think about switching up my routine, but I get equally excited. I spent some time this week comparing class schedules at local studios and pool availability with my current work schedule. I do this every 90 days or so. This deliberate allotted time period works well when moving towards crushing goals. It is the perfect amount of time to train for a race, a vacation, or life event and have noticeable realistic results.

The last 3 months were devoted to my half marathon training. The next 3 are designed with bridal fitness in mind. A tad leaner, slightly more muscular, and definitely more tone. Take note I didn’t mention weight loss. I truly am focusing on body composition, not a scale number. With this change to my physical plan comes nutritional amendments as well. Less consumption of starchy carbs, more focus on lean proteins, and I will continue monitoring my sugar and alcohol intake…with the exceptions to wedding showers, bachelorette parties, and weekly date nights!

Friday Date Night, Havana. Skinny, Spicy Margarita

Nothing is off the table 🙂 This makes the plan achievable and enjoyable!

I am a big believer in keeping the body guessing. I find it equally refreshing for the mind. There are major benefits to change up your weekly routine. Here’s why I recommend it for myself and my clients regularly:

  1. SWAP YOUR SESSION. Changing up the routine breaks boredom. If running on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday is your thing – take those weekly blocks and swap for another low impact cardio option like swimming or spin class.
  2. STAY INJURY FREE.  You have pushed hard for weeks or months. If you’ve been grinding out high miles for a race or heavy weights for a competition, give your body a break after the big day arrives. To insure you stay healthy, let  your body recover by adding in a yoga day or bootcamp class instead of the regimented workouts you’ve been putting in.
  3. OPT OUTSIDE.When looking for Springtime exercise options, think outside the gym or home! Give your body the chance to soak up the sun and all of natures surroundings. Strengthen your body and spirit by choosing an outdoor setting that suits you while enjoying the seasonal mild temps. Your muscles will work in a different way outdoors on new terrain.  You can get the best of both worlds (cardio/strength) in a small group setting or personal training appointment at the bay, boardwalk, or trails.

Have fun with your shake up. If you find yourself needing some help with your own wellness re-design, read this and contact me!

Shamrock 2019 Recap: A Sweet and Savory Story

Shamrock weekend 2019 could not have been any more special. I felt the importance and significance of it many times on the course. It was a bold move to commit to 15 weeks of training while planning our wedding, not to mention the roster of clients I had running who would need some guidance from me. But I was sure I had to be out there, sharing in the excitement of it all with them.

Jason, Dad, Sarah, and I before we prep to run!

With 21 Shamrocks that I can account for, it’s obvious I have a strong affinity for the event. It was the first race I ever did with my dad when I was 14. I’ve only missed a few during college and 1 in 2017 which was a blessing and an opportunity of a lifetime! After 2016 left me heartbroken, I had planned to get back in the Shamrock action with the 8k. But right after the New Year in 2017 I received an email from Brooks Running inviting me to attend Altitude Camp with their pro team and other social media influencers in Albuquerque. It would be over St. Patrick’s Day weekend. It was a life changing learning experience. It did something for me I didn’t expect. It opened my eyes to seeing something bigger than the time on the clock and taking me from the comfort of a race I was so familiar with. I certainly wasn’t invited there because I was fast like the Brooks Beasts Team. I had never even run in altitude. I was invited there because I loved running and had a passion for it. Fast forward to Sunday morning of 2019 and Meb talked about just that.  Maximize your talent he said. My talent in this industry is my love for it. That stayed with me on Sunday, driving me to what would be one of my most fulfilling half’s. 

The day began early. I’m so thankful for my brother in law offering to drive us so we didn’t have to worry with parking. Jason, my sister in law Sarah, my dad, and myself piled in and anticipated the excitement the day would hold.

Dad ventured off on his own and the 3 of us took care of our race day prep routine with the J&A Training Team.

Almost go time!

Braden and I even got to snag a quick pic with Bart and Meb before heading out. I don’t know of any other race that brings in talent of this level to interact with participants so intimately. J&A truly is a step above.

Sandwiched between “The Mayor of Running” Bart Yasso and The GOAT of running Meb Keflezighi – winner of Boston, New York, and an Olympic Medalist

The race start was 7:30 and the corrals would be packed. Braden and I had a game plan to start together and respectfully honor every woman for herself as the miles ticked off. It was a no pressure day for both of us. We shared gratitude for being able to attempt the journey, let alone the opportunity to begin this adventure together. Friends for 30 years, but the first time we lined up beside each other. We took our time heading to the start where we shared an on camera interview before crossing the mat. We were step for step until mile 5.

Miles 6-9 were solo, sunny, and breezy. It was the most gorgeous morning. I enjoyed views of the beach through Fort Story and relished the feeling of sunshine on my face. I was flooded with overwhelming joy. Passing through mile 7 I felt the tears come as I knew I was headed home and damn it, I was doing this! This spot was were I was 3 years ago when it all began to fall apart. It left me physically battled, emotionally beaten, and spiritually bruised, and in no way wanting to think of 13.1 again… until now.

While the pace was slow and light, the race was going by fast. Before long I was back at the North End hitting landmarks I knew. I passed 10, then 11! 2 miles to go and it would be over. I savored every feeling. I honored it. I cherished it, while I was tired I didn’t want it to end. I passed the 12 mile marker. I couldn’t believe in just moments this journey, this time of solitude I had found so refreshing would end. I sank into the moment. 

39th st, 38th st, 37th st, turn.

Just like that, my body went on autopilot. I felt joyous. I was in celebration mode. I dropped my pace nearly 2 minutes. I began hearing cheers for me from the sidelines. I was elated. I was finishing it. And just like that Bob called my name for the last time as Jess Horton. The sound was bitter sweet

It was important for me to run one more Shamrock as a Horton. I wanted to run one more half before we try to have a family. I wanted to run a half on a plan I built. I wanted to run a half the same day as my fiancé, my dad, my sister in law, and my team. I wanted to run a half where I felt happy, healthy, and strong even if I was tired. I wanted my race pics to capture what I am feeling inside. Lots of goals and I accomplished all of them!

We will always remember Sarah’s first half! It was a gift to be able to witness her accomplishment and celebrate with her!

For a short time a few years ago, I thought I had to be the fastest or strongest trainer to get fabulous clients or had to have the fittest/leanest figure to get the guy. Isn’t that messed up? As for the clients, mine by far are the best, hardest working, emotionally strong and gracious!!! Many who shared the same joy with me this weekend. And when it comes to the guy, he Sham-ROCKS my world every day. He was happily waiting, as proud as he could be of me after finishing a strong half on his own.

I had them all to myself at our post run lunch! We celebrated Dad’s birthday and all 3 of our half’s !

On Sunday I ran the entire race, without hip pain or a mental break. The half delivered everything I had hoped for. It has been an amazing way to stay grounded and focused during this season of life and love. It’s a reminder that fitness in any form can and should compliment your life without being the center of it.

Sometimes your fitness objective comes in the form of a new lifting goal or finish time, and other times it’s about just making it to your weekly spin class and completing meal prep. Whatever you choose is up to you. The great thing is, as our lives change and evolve, so can our goals for physical fitness. Proudly, this is what my life is about. This is what’s fueled my passion for living well. This is my theme. It’s my passion, it’s my mission.

If you haven’t scrolled through Facebook in a few days, now is the time to do it. Hundreds of stories like mine are filling the feed. There is magic in each individual miracle. The teamwork, celebration, and the perseverance over pain is what propels us forward to the next time we get to share the road for just a few hours.

A pace group that tackled 15 Saturday’s together and seemed to be more excited for each other’s success than their own!

Half Marathon Training Week 14: Training Is Complete

This week served up a dose of stress (another blog for another day) or what I refer to as faith building. Perfect timing as Ash Wednesday feel smack in the middle of the week. I was thankful for that, because I needed the push to pray and repent.  Between that and the workout load, I slid into Friday completely worn out. 

Mindful morning with the pup Friday.

Monday: It has become a two part approach, 

PHYSICAL FITNESS: trained clients, lead a FB live workout for my client group, trained myself with a full body strength session using 15 lb weights, and a spin class 

SPIRITUAL FITNESS: I listened to another chapter discussion of A New Earth.  I made my worship plans for Wednesday. 

Tuesday: An upper body circuit with TRX, bosu ball, and free weights with Janet in her home gym in the morning. Recovery paced 800 meter repeats with Katy during her training circuit in an afternoon session. 

Wednesday: It would be a rest day in all forms of fitness. My weekly evening spin class would be substituted with a church service. But before that, I had a handful of clients to train. And one in particular that would include worship.

Ash Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the year. I think it may be one of the most important. I wrote about it in great detail last year. If you need to hear a story of faith, I encourage you to read here

As Wednesday approached I was invited to attend a Catholic service before training my client Mary. I felt honored and 100% on board to join her as a friend that morning. The service of prayer, healing, and peace was needed and left me feeling refreshed. I spent more of Wednesday in prayer, a true out loud dialogue with God. These days I am finding myself craving more time in stillness. More time in quiet. More time without media of any kind. I love the idea of the #latergram and #unplugging. I installed a usage tracker on my phone in hopes of abandoning it more. You may notice this on my media channels. My hope is that you witness more intentional, purposeful posts. That may also mean at times, less frequent. 

I am practicing being in the NOW. Being present. Observing the future and planning for it, without worrying about it or trying to control the how. I recognized Friday that by doing that, I am only underestimating God. How quickly we forget the miracles and blessings he has brought us. 

Jason is great at this. He isn’t on social media so he isn’t distracted with anything other than the moment at hand. When he’s talking to you, he has a way of making you and your words feel important. He is truly present. He is completed on this all the time. 

It got me thinking…

How can you translate that to your workout or well being? Are you present? Where are your muscles engaging? What is happening with your breath? What hurts? What feels strong? Can you abandon your burdens for a short time to refresh your body and spirt? To build strength?

I wrapped the day with a service at my home church with Jason and my parents.

Thursday: It was a wonderful day spent with my future Mother in Law working on our wedding registry. When it came time for a workout, it was the final Thursday night meet up for our training team. I had 40 minutes or 4 miles scheduled, whatever came first. I landed on 38 conversation paces miles with my girls. 

Jason had this waiting for me at home 🙂

Friday: I had plans to sleep. With just over a week until the race, sleep and nutrition are trumping everything. I spent the afternoon with my future sister in law having a healthy nutritious lunch and doing some shopping for Shamrock Gear. 

Saturday: I woke with all the feels. The final Saturday training run was here. I had 6 miles to do. The temps were cool and idyllic for running. There was a fair amount of wind, which worked in my favor on the tail end. Let’s hope next Sunday goes as smooth. Jason and I later celebrated that run with huge bowls of She Crab and afternoon naps. 

I loved having these gals run me in for my final training team run. Clients, friends, teammates, one in the same! #FitFam
Post run stretch of 35 minutes followed by tis breakfast at home.

I posed the following question nearly 15 weeks ago here.

Do you think a personal record or best can come in other forms than a race clock time? I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately. I believe so. What about a personally best executed training plan. 15+ weeks of workouts, recovery, and nutrition. How would you feel? What if you shifted your focus to the here and now of your training instead of the finish line clock.

My half marathon training program is complete. It is a plan I wrote myself. It’s one with double digit runs. It’s one with great attention paid to strength training, stretching, and recovery. It is one that compliments my current season of life without over taking it. It is a plan that I built for a distance that I haven’t tackled in 3 years. I am so proud of this one and I haven’t even run the race yet. 

That is the accomplishment. That is something to celebrate in itself. I’m already fulfilled. I’m already satisfied. Next Sunday will be very personal for me. 2+ hours of running a course I enjoy in the city I love. And it happens to finish on the boardwalk right in front of our wedding venue. It will mark 3 months til I do and put a cork in 20+ Shamrocks as a Horton. A new chapter has started with new page turning adventures and challenges. I’m equipped, prepared, and excited to begin! 

Half Marathon Training Week 13: Race Day Strategy and Skinny Margaritas

The training is complete, the plan is made!

Monday: Total body strength training. Heavier weight and high rep count of 39 in honor of my birthday 🙂 And speaking of birthday, these gals surprised me with a post workout birthday party! 

Post workout at Mary’s office!
She brought cake!

Tuesday: Suns out, shamrocks out! By the boardwalk,  the dolphins were putting on a show. Pods up and down the coast which made my 37th st practice eventful. I left my watch at home. The goal was simply soak up the sun, practice the finish, and get a little turnover. I got that in the form of strides. 6 to be exact at the end of my run. My entire workout was 30 minutes. The test flight in my new shoes went well. I felt really light.  I am getting excited about the day!

Wednesday: I’ve been on a meditation kick lately. I seriously need it in my life like I need prayer. I decided to share the vibe with my clients. We did active visualizations this week as many of them wrap up final preparations for their own personal Shamrock races. Speaking of clients, I had a new client consult in the middle of the day. Another bride!!! What a fun time for a few members of Team TFP. There’s currently 3 brides sweating for the wedding, glowing and growing from the inside out.

North End Juice Co. Client Meeting

Wednesday evening ended with a date night Jason planned at the spin studio followed by take out. Oh that man gets me! He even rode in the front row with me.

Thursday: I took a personal day. I have only missed a couple of workouts this season and Thursday brought enough in the way of personal junk that I took the evening to be at home.

Friday: I woke ready to tackle the day. It was full on computer mode between a work project, wedding invitations, and registry. A good way to spend a gloomy rest day at home. Tackling my lofty to do list helped ready me for the last long longish run of shamrock training.

Saturday: I slept so hard I was startled by my alarm. Jason had to work so I headed to our team run solo. For some reason I had nervous belly but I don’t think the 8 miles ahead of me were it. It was cool and cloudy and by the time I got to the Oceanfront, it was drizzling…AGAIN! But the company I had for nearly the entire run was warm. I was with my pace group buds for 6 miles. As they finished I went on to my last two alone. I spent those final miles on the last part of the half marathon course. 37th street was waiting for me and once again it delivered a nice rush for a perfect finish to my negative split miles. It’s encouraging  for me to know I can run tired, especially after last weeks 11 miler. I’m ready for March 17 and I am feeling more confident about the day. Each Saturday I’ve managed to get a little faster the farther I go.

After Saturday’s fun, I had some time to kill. I enjoyed stretching by the Murphy’s fireplace and post run coffee with friends.

Tribe TFP at J&A Team Run
Sister In Law Selfie

The day continued with wedding cake tasting with Mom and Dad.

I wouldn’t mind a cake tasting every Saturday after our long run!

I sealed the weekend with an impromptu girls night with Sarah. The relationship I have with my future sister in law is so special. It’s such a gift that we have a relationship independent of the guys. It was a perfect evening of sipping and chatting all things from running to weddings.

Skinny & Spicy Margarita

Sunday: Rest, wedding errands, and regular weekly food prep.

My Race Day Plan: Based on my weekly long run average pace, I predict my race time to be 2:00-2:15 depending on weather conditions and other external factors. I have decided to start near the 2:15 pace group. My strategy is to negative split the course. I train this way. I find this way more enjoyable physically and more relaxed mentally than if I was to run a sustained pace. Us locals are fortunate enough to be able to train on the course weekly. And my expericne with this half over the years brings some learnings. I like to visualize this particular course in chunks. A 5k at a time. Grouping the miles like this makes my nutrition game easy to manage as well. Every 5k or nearly every 30 minutes I will take a few Honey Stinger Chews.  I will watch the weather for final gear adjustments. But as of now I plan shorts, tank, a toss away long sleeve, ear warmers, and gloves. My Nike pocket sports bra will hold my nutrition and extra glide. On my feet with be short Stance socks and The Shamrock printed Launch. I am lucky that Brooks makes this pattern in my training shoe!  I am ready to settle in for the Shamrock ride. I’m excited to participate in a distance I haven’t entertained in over 3 years. I feel completely relaxed and prepared. 

Here Comes The Bridal Fitness

I am less than 4 months out from the big day! It is time to redesign my weekly fitness routine. After spending my winter half marathon training, I am ready to incorporate all the others things I love about fitness that I have missed while hitting those miles. I have created an amped up version of strength and interval training! With a little redistributing of macros from carbs to protein, the change in nutrition will compliment my physical work in the form of toning and leaning out. Think body composition!

I am kicking things off this month with a challenge. Follow along or better yet, join me and my tribe all month long beginning March 4. We will be tackling this over the next few weeks with the goal to simple move more. Tag @TheFitPetite and use #TFPMoveMoreMarch

Here is what you need to know…

  1. Incorporate 4 basic moves into your daily wellness routine.
  2. These mini sessions are not in place of your workout. Let it compliment your existing healthy habits and fitness program.
  3. Consider stepping up each exercise. This is a great time to play with a heavier weight. Make your squats more powerful with dumbbells instead of body weight. For more intensity, and if you are injury free, consider making them jump squats.
  4. Integrate this challenge as a pre-shower sweat. It is also ideal as a post cardio finisher!
  5. If one of the suggested exercises isn’t for you, swap it for one of your favs! That’s the cool thing about fitness, you can make it work for you 🙂


Want to learn more or grab a plan tailored to your big day? Email thefitpetite@gmail.com

Half Marathon Training Week 12: Longest Run

It was a major week of enlightenment. The week of my birth per usual shed light on my growth and new perspective. I made the decision to keep all of the learnings under one post so when I reflect back on this time, it’s all here.

After a little mini retreat in OBX last weekend, it’s time to buckle down and power through the final few weeks of Shamrock Half Marathon training. It’s the time in training where I’m tired. It’s the time in training where I’m starting to crave: new workouts, heavier legs days, and less carbs. That’s how I know I’ve trained well. I’ve been pretty diligent with routine. Only a few weeks left before I flip the switch.

Monday: I upped the weight. I’m now playing with 15 lb dumbbells during my upper body circuit. The bump will burn fat and coupled with my lean protein diet, will build some lean muscle mass helping me redesign my body composition…because wedding and honeymoon goals! My strength training workouts these days are between 20-40 minutes. I have enjoyed participating in a spin class from Cyclebar on Monday’s as well. I’m proudly using the heavier bar during the arm track and as far as resistance goes, I’ve held steady on the climbs the past two weeks in double digits! Another non scale victory !!!

Tuesday: I woke really wanting to do a weighted leg day. But I’ve pushed much of that to the side the past few months. It’s too much trauma on my hip while running more miles. Strength has been more about mobility and muscle engagement instead. But the sun was out for a brief moment in the week and the temps were ideal for a run. Time for 37th street practice once again. And wouldn’t you know, as soon as I finished my 4 miles and began my cool down walk, the epiphany came like a lightning bolt. It was a complete shift in perspective. I love running. I love it when I can negative split like I did that day, in the wind, and see finishing numbers sub goal pace. It’s a feeling of fulfillment. That being said, race times don’t serve me the same way anymore. Or at least right now.

I’m running 13.1 in a few weeks. It will be on complete feel and day of energy. I know it will go great. 2+ hours of party time on the pavement. From that race, my success or joy isn’t just measured by my time on the clock that morning. I have 5 clients, 1 fiancé, a couple of besties, my dad, and my sister in law hitting the road. The spiritual fuel I get from them is indescribable. With 20+ half’s under my belt, the sub 2 time has lost it’s luster as a personally accomplishment. Been there, done that, twice.

Bigger and bolder things to do lay ahead. Things I’ve never done. I’ve stopped thinking small. I’m expanding. Going big with goals for home, family, business…all the while allowing fitness and health to stay a complimenting sidekick. Like my faith, it’s a recharging and power source.

I’m focused on new high value targets as Mark Divine would say. When I feel healthy and strong, I can hit those targets.

I signed up for this race for all the right reasons. Fitness, grounding, bonding, and structure. The closer I get to that finish line, the closer I get to the isle and to that exciting uncharted territory ahead.

I use to think that my performance as a trainer was judged by what I personally would accomplish, how clean I ate, how fast I could run, what my abs looked like. Boy was I wrong. It’s by what my clients, friends, and family are saying about me. I believe my passion makes me good at my craft. It’s probably because I’m not the fastest or strongest that makes me really understanding with clients. I’ve had dozens of injuries and setbacks. And now I’m embarking into wifehood, which will bring it’s own set of circumstances and priorities. I want to feel good, look good, and have energy for the life I’ve cultivated and prayed for. I think many women want just that. They want to learn skills and tricks to keep fitness in their life while their obligations and relationships ebb and flow.

Wednesday: trained 3 clients using their heaviest weights yet, not to mention the plank circuit they are mastering.

Thursday: 4 evening miles with the team. Intentionally left the watch at home.

Friday: Rest and an early dinner with my future in laws.

Saturday: I was scheduled for 11. The forecast was scheduled to be cold and wet. Any veteran Shamrocker knows what that means. Once again I mentally prepared myself for a solo run. With the rain forecasted, I knew it would be a no go on the playlist. Nothing like a little mental toughness training for two hours right? I’m at the point now where I know I’m tough already and don’t feel the need to keep proving it. However, I wasn’t willing to move or reschedule my long run just because of a less than desirable weather report. That morning temps were low 40’s. Drizzle was light at the start. It was a shorts, jacket, and trucker hat kind of day. Our team was running to the boat ramp in the park. Locals know this route, it’s usually not one of my favorites. But for some reason Saturday, I found it peaceful and refreshing. The uneven pavement took its toll on my body and miles 7,8,9 weren’t pretty. I had to stop for hip openers twice. By the time I hit the 37th street turn, as I had hoped, my body and form returned to normal. I was running! Actually keeping a pace! I now know I can run 11 miles surprisingly easy. It was just after mile 10 Jason came up behind me. He was finishing his 12+ mile run in 8’s! He ran with me for a bit hen cut me loose. I finished and with .17 to go my friend Jen ran me in. Cue the confidence!

  1. My longest run in 3 years.
  2. Was still talking at the end
  3. Had enough in me for a strong finish
  4. Didn’t need music

I feel so good about March 17. The completion part of the program should be no problem.

Post run we grabbed the biggest coffees Starbucks had and headed home to get warm. I think Millie knew I worked hard and was cold b/c she curled her head up in my lap. The evening brought dinner out with Jason, followed by martinis at home with cheesecake. Thanks Jonathan and Sarah <3

Sunday: Grocery shopping, meal prep, fridge organization, and an afternoon curled up watching A Star Is Born.