I love highlighting inspiring women/people because they truly get me jazzed and re-energized about life and doing great things!
My newest addition to the How Does She Do It series is Jessie Benson!
Jessie is a friend here in Baltimore and she’s unbelievably inspirational! (Not to mention she’s a blast to hang out with haha) Jessie and I met through the small town city that is Smalltimore, and since then we’ve been entangled through fitness and friendship.
Jessie is the founder of an awesome fitness company called FloYo. FloYo® fitness classes are full body workouts performed on a standup paddle board – that’s right, a regular workout that you might struggle doing, but with even more of a challenge! Classes combine yoga sequences and interval training methods to create a full body workout.
Check out my Q&A with Jessie below!
How do you start your day?
I typically teach first thing in the morning. So I wake up, take my puppy Rio for a quick walk and head straight to the gym or studio to teach. After teaching I come home to eat my steel cut oats, play with Rio, catch up on emails and check social media! (BONUS: You can also follow Rio on Instagram – cute dog photos are always good, right?!)
What do you never leave home without?
My nalgene water bottle. It is always attached to my hand and I have a backup in the car just incase I forget it. I like to stay very well hydrated! :)
What’s your favorite healthy food?
Salmon! I also love quinoa and faro…I make all kinds of crazy concoctions with those two grains!
You’re the FOUNDER of FloYo – so so cool! It’s such an awesome company and idea – how did that come to be? What inspired you to found it?
I had been teaching paddleboard fitness classes for about 2 years when I finally decided to create FloYo®. I always knew that I would own my own business someday but I just wasn’t sure what it would be. I absolutely loved teaching SUP yoga classes and introducing new people to the world of standup paddling and saw an opportunity to try to create a new standard in the way SUP yoga classes were developed and taught. I saw a lot of awesome yoga instructors suddenly taking their classes out of the studio and on to paddleboards, but the problem was that they didn’t really know how to properly paddle, nonetheless teach other beginners how to paddle. So, I saw an opportunity and ran with it. My goal with FloYo is to create an awesome fitness experience that takes people out of their comfort zone while teaching them about the sport of SUP and giving them the opportunity to find balance not only on the board but in their lives. Now FloYo’s main focus is on leading teacher training certifications, workshops and retreats all over the world! Someday I want people to automatically think of FloYo when they see a standup paddler go by!
It’s got to be tough running your own thing all the time – What does your hardest day look like? What got you through it? What made it worthwhile?
Well, the most challenging part of my day-to-day life is finding the balance between teaching and running FloYo. I currently teach 22 group fitness classes a week (yikes, hadn’t actually counted the number of classes lately!) so am often running from one studio to another, so simply finding the time to sit down at the computer and do the work that needs to be done for FloYo is a challenge. I also find myself overwhelmed a lot. There are so many possibilities for FloYo, different directions I can take the company, other businesses to partner with, new locations for affiliates, etc. so staying on task and not getting lost in the bigger picture is a constant battle. I try to simply make lists and stick with one task at a time in order to prevent myself from getting too overwhelmed!
It’s so cool to see you taking FloYo in new directions and expanding what you’re doing – from FloYo on the Surfset board to FloYo in the pool, it’s a whole new way to look at it! Tell me a little more about those new ventures and any new ones you feel like sharing!
Yes, one of the things that I have learned as a business owner is that you always have to keep your company fresh and find new and different ways to get on peoples minds. Being such a seasonal business, I am always trying to figure out new ways to keep the FloYo energy flowing during our colder months. I am really excited about my partnership with BeachFit Baltimore, where I am now teaching FloYo classes on the SurfSet boards (Check out my post about FloYo at Beachfit!). Both the Surfset classes and the pool classes are a great opportunity to introduce new people to FloYo. Not everyone loves the idea of trying FloYo in the open water for the first time, so if we can get them comfortable on a board either on dry land or on a pool where they can see the bottom it helps them gain confidence and want to take the experience outside! I do have a few new projects in the works, but not quite ready to announce them yet! But I will say that one involves a new board partnership and the other is with a few new resorts in the Caribbean…so get excited!
How has leading a healthy lifestyle changed your life?
Since high school, I have always lead a very healthy lifestyle. I started teaching fitness classes in college and really eating clean right after college. But, I will say that in the past few months I have focused more on my own personal health and fitness goals then ever before. This has made such an impact on every aspect of my life. I realized I was teaching all these fitness classes and helping tons of other people achieve their fitness goals, but I wasn’t really pursuing my own and I wasn’t 100% happy with my own body. So, recently I have been setting aside more time to lift weights, more time to keep track of my food and more time just for ME! This has just given me a more balanced life and a better attitude. I don’t feel as stressed and irritable all the time, I am finally starting to find that work/life balance that is so important!
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
Hummm, this changes daily! But at the moment I have been reading this at the end of my yoga classes and it really resonates with me… “The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are; the second greatest is being happy with what you find.” It has taken me a little while to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life and my career, but I finally feel like I have figured it out, so now my challenge is staying true to myself, my goals and my dreams. There are so many people out there that consider what I am doing crazy, but I know I am headed down the right path and I just need to hold on to my vision and keep forging my own path!
And check out FloYo for yourself if you can – it’s a challenge, but a really fun, unique way to get in a workout AND have a blast!