A Nutrition Remix: Get Out Of Your Kitchen Comfort Zone

Watermelon Pineapple Water

Ok gang. Who’s up for a little challenge? A slight nutritional remix. Basically it’s a way of getting out of your kitchen comfort zone. I do these from time to time for various reasons. No matter my why, it always has purpose. It’s always well thought out. This week my WHY is to fight some overall body inflammation and belly bloat. After 3 road trips in 1 week, my body is physically feeling it and the signs are visible.



Participating in a nutritional remix is a great way to bust through a food rut. It forces you to incorporate different ingredients, create new recipes, and try some new things.

I use the same concept when approaching a workout rut. You want some different results? From time to time we have to shake it up. Make up a new workout circuit, swap your cardio, or pick up heavier weightsThat’s why I created a beach boot camp option for my clients starting this week. We will work differently and on new terrain.

While I spend time today re-vamping my meal plan and prepping new food for the week, here’s what I’m keeping in mind.

  1. GLUTEN: gluten is an inflammatory agent. Pasta has become a bit too easy for me lately. I bet I could find an alternative that’s more nutrient dense and is more of a complete meal, not just a bundle of carbs.
  2. SUGARS: keep your fresh fruit, but check any processed foods & go without any artificial sweeteners. Goodbye sodas and salad dressings! Go for flavored water instead. Use vinegars and sweet/savory spices to sweeten or flavor foods.
  3. ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION: I’m not a drinker during the week anyhow so this is a bit easier for me. Try bubbly water or diy fruit infused spa water. I love adding sliced cucumbers, pineapple, and even left over watermelon rinds to a large pitcher of water.
  4. DAIRY: I’m eating a bit too much cheese and eggs and in order to gain perspective and portion awareness I’m challenging myself to find alternatives. Think guacamole, Greek yogurt, or nutritional yeast. Leaner, greener, and cleaner!
  5. ALLOW FOR INDULGENCE: We can’t buy the expensive shoes every month. We can’t sleep in everyday. We can’t have cake and wine every night. But from time to time, it’s not only appropriate – it’s necessary. Perspective and priority my friends!
Greek Yogurt Bowl

You don’t need to try all 4. Maybe pick one or two. Maybe you have a completely different swap in mind. Make it fun, not forceful. Start small. The purpose is to bring awareness and attention to some habits that may need changing. When you swap out some of your weekly staples, you’ll probably notice some physical changes. Your skin may clear up, your belly may shrink, your energy rises, you may have lowered anxiety, and you may even better sleep!




Focus on these.

  1. Can you make it a week without X ?
  2. What did you put in it’s place?
  3. Did you miss it?
  4. How are you feeling without it?

I’ll be participating and experimenting with this until Friday. It’s a great way to break habits and build routine during the week. It allows Saturday or Sunday to be filled with celebration. Next weekend I have a bridal shower and I’ll def be indulging. It’s an appropriate time for treats. Once a week we need a rest day and a break from routine. I choose Saturday because it’s the most likely day for social engagements on my schedule.

How will you bust through your own rut and make your own change ?

Clean, Green, Lean Fridge

My #1 Question Answered: How To Get Abs

With so many new fitness goals out there for folks to tackle, abs may seem a bit over rated and frankly might not be something you even care about. But it is one of my top questions so here is my soapbox on the topic.

The way to get them seems logical. Workout and eat right. But for many the recommendations are so hard to hear…and more difficult to implement.

While muscles are abs-olutely built during your workout sessions, the flat physique of your tummy depends more on what’s happening at the grocery store and in your kitchen.

I often gauge my own personal health, fitness, and wellness level by what’s happening with my tummy. Notice I didn’t say my self worth, simply just my fitness/wellness. When it’s flatter, I know I’m eating cleaner, leaner, greener, and have lowered my overall inflammation. A flatter tummy also means I’m keeping a solid cardio and weight training program, complimented by healthy nutrition habits. Your skin and energy levels are also great barometers of your current wellness level as well.

I have a curvy, but small build. With that body type, weight tends to be carried in places like my bust, booty, and belly. Keeping up with a clean nutrition plan keeps those curves where they should be without any added bulking, puffiness, or bloating.

During my half marathons I usually carry a little bit of a belly. I also have to be mindful of what I eat as too many raw fruits and veggies don’t mix well for long distance running. During those seasons, my weight shifts and the scale fluctuates (2-4 +/- lbs). At times I actually feel heavier and softer in my tummy. I personally find it necessary for my training. It’s where the carbs live. As you know with endurance sports, your body requires more fuel to perform. Not to mention, the mad sugar cravings I have while running longer distances. The perceived change in weight is in part a product of lowered weight training. With a few old injuries, I have to lay off of some of my favorite exercises in order to preserve the body for running. With that, we know muscle weighs more that fat. But fat takes up more space, hence feeling larger and less tight.

While I may take in more daily calories with half marathon training, I find it doable to keep those meals mostly clean. Lean proteins, plenty of potatoes, sweet potatoes, and rice. Pizza and fries are part of the program, but not a nightly occurrence. Those options fit better as a post long run meal.

The last two weeks my fitness routine and nutrition program have changed. And as a result, pretty instantly, so has my gut.

As this post continues, here are a few things to consider:

  1. How are you filling your body?
  2. How are you fueling your body? Is your current nutrition program full of added sugars and/or processed foods? You better believe your body will rebel against that. Usually in the form of inflammation, more weight around the gut, and maybe even problematic skin.
  3. What’s your happy hour look like? If nightly wine is on the menu, it’s something to consider swapping or skimming back.

My Do’s:

  1. I drink black coffee. No need to add unwanted calories or chemicals to my morning beverage. If you feel you need a little something try coconut oil, coconut milk, or ghee. We also love the line of Laird Superfood Creamers. The small amount of fat will be great fuel for the brain. If you choose to add any of my suggestions, I recommend blending for a frothy bev.
  2. I drink a fair amount of water daily. Jazz it up with dehydrated citrus powder, flavored oils, or fruit/veggie peels. 
  3. I have dessert! My current go to is either a Yasso Bar or a bowl of vanilla Greek yogurt with berries and a bit of dairy free whipped cream. It isn’t a nightly occurrence, but those times I need a little sweet treat this hits the spot. 
  4. I hit the weights. Lifting heavier and more often burns fat. My workouts are short in length but pack a big punch. Most of my circuits include total body moves or what I refer to as “toes to nose”. For example, instead of a simple squat, try a weighted squat to overhead press. The total body move torches everything and engages the core. My theory is,  if you’re gonna spend time working out, why not hit it all in one shot. My clients hear this often. A workout with me has many of these signature moves in it.
  5. I alternate my cardio. Get out of the same old routine. Sprints are moved to compliment a circuit. Long slow cardio may come on the form of a two hour hike in the trails. Spin or swimming is sprinkled in as a change up, again working the entire body!
30 Minutes of Lap Intervals

My Don’ts:

  1. I don’t drink cocktails every night. That is hard to hear for those nightly wine drinkers. But trust me, it can be done. Being in the midst of wedding planning makes this one a bit more challenging. It seems there are cocktails everywhere. I do partake in them on the weekends.  These days, I tend to stick with clear liquors like vodka or tequila and flavored water or fresh citrus juices. If I am ordering a drink out, I ask for it in a “skinny” option. That’s about as clean of a cocktail as one can get.
  2. I don’t keep a stock pile of chips, cookies, or frozen meals in the house . My shopping is 90% perimeter. Meaning I don’t venture into the middle of the supermarket much.
  3. I don’t feel guilty about a splurge. When an opportunity for fellowship with family or friends presents itself, I take it. Then I celebrate accordingly. Life is too short to feel bad about something like that.
  4. I don’t count calories, but I do read labels. Luckily for me, most of the food we consume is label free. I prepare the majority of our weeknight dinners with fresh ingredients. When using frozen veggies or packaged foods, I am conscious to read the ingredients being mindful of any added preservatives, sugars, chemicals. Those extras are big time culprits for inflammation, bloating, and unnecessary fat. 
  5. I don’t believe in exclusivity statements. “I’m never eating x again” “I don’t consume x” I find that by saying that you’ll find yourself in a  situation where you may just have too. If you are invited to a friend’s home for dinner and they serve something you don’t normally eat, you have the option to decide: to possibly offend or hurt them or make the best of it. If you’re at a restaurant that only serves x, you’re faced with a choice. Do the best you can with what you have. Don’t miss out on opportunity to bond with someone or enjoy yourself. When you’re following a good nutrition program and fitness routine on the reg, these one off moments won’t be as traumatic or damaging to your plan.

Need more guidance? Contact me for consulting or training details.

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.