How Does She Do It: Jessie

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 benson floyo | sunshine & the bear

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!

rio on instagram | sunshine & the bear 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?
jessie benson floyo fit | sunshine & the bear 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!

jessie benson yoga class at UA | sunshine & the bear

jessie and esther at rev | sunshine & the bear

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!
Jessie Benson - FloYo at Beachfit | sunshine & the bear 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!

jessie benson floyo | sunshine & the bear

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!

Be sure to follow Jessie & FloYo on TwitterInstagram & Facebook to keep up with her awesome posts! 

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! 

Electric Ride

I was so blessed to join the Electric Ride last night at Rev Cycle Studio! This was an awesome charity event put on to support the fabulous Jessie Benson before she heads to join the Africa Yoga Project!!

You’ve heard me talk about how inspiring and wonderful Jessie is…so happy that she has the opportunity to help such an amazing organization and that we can help her support her!

Africa Yoga Project empowers, educates, elevates and employs lives in East Africa and globally through the power of yoga. Through yoga practice, their programs foster peace and non-violence, improve self-sufficiency, create economic stability and encourage new opportunities for personal and collective growth.  Africa Yoga Project is bringing hope, possibility and change to hundreds of lives a day!

I was super pumped that I could join my gals Molly & Jami for the crazy black-light ride! We got deck ourselves out in glow sticks and glowing paint. The entire studio was decked out in black lights. SO fun!

katekatebear mbakes2123 electric ride

electric ride rev cycle studio

electric ride rev cycle studio That’s definitely the back of my head haha sweet Mickey/bunny glow ears ;) 

floyofit katekatebear mbakes2123 fitjams electric ride

Such an amazing time with amazing people!

Click here for more information on the Africa Yoga Project and how you can help support Jessie! 

Photos courtesy of Rev & Billy Michels Photography :) 

Friday Favorites 8.23


dolphin high five national aquarium

No, that’s not me high fiving the dolphins, but those are two of our amazing National Aquarium dolphins! And now that I know they will high five/fin, I’m going to try to make that happen…

So it’s been another crazy week in the life of Kate, but it’s Friday, so let’s celebrate! Especially with our favorite things!


As you may have seen, earlier this week I got to join my friend and amazing instructor Jessie for an inspirational sunset FloYo class. I’ve done SUP and FloYo a bunch of times, but this was only my second time actually out in the wild on the water. The breeze. The sunset. The sounds of the wildlife around me….it was just beautiful. I absolutely suggest it, or some form of it, to everyone!

floyo maryland

What I’ve learned through kind of joining this community of SUPers is that there are so many programs out there! No matter where you are! Totally worth checking out if your local gym partners for a class or if there’s someone renting boards at a lake/shore near you!

Amazing BLENDS posts

Again, BLENDS = blogger friends :) 

Ok so maybe all of these ladies aren’t technically my close friends, but I follow them and that’s enough, right? haha There have been some super rad posts I’ve seen lately! Here are a few of my latest favorites:

Five Things Friday: AWESOME link out to Top 30 workouts! Perfect to save on your phone or just have on hand for all those times you’re looking to do something different!
Adventures of Z & K

Crossfit Win: Totally cool experience with crossfit. I’ve only done it once, so it’s always cool to hear how others experience it!

Georgia Trip A-Z: I LOVE this idea of doing a A-Z list! Too cute!
Live, Love, Run

Trend to Try: Hot Pink Lips: Because, we’ll I have to try it…just got a hot pink stick in my latest Birchbox!

Awesome styles on TV

I know this amazing local artist, LittleAsianSweatshop, who makes these beautiful hair flower accessories (among other things) and one of her gems was just featured on TV! Woo hoo! Way to go girl! I love it when I see random things on people or celebrities, hoping that some cool artist is behind it. :) 

littleasiansweatshop on heroes of cosplay

One day, I’ll say I knew you when! I have two amazing flowers from her…a comic strip one and this awesome Maryland flag flower!

littleasiansweatshop maryland hair flower

Short list. I guess I’m hoping that will make the weekend start sooner…?

Hope everyone had a great week and is prepping for an even better weekend! My amazing trainer/friend’s wedding is this weekend and I’m so incredibly excited for her!

What are you up to this weekend? 

[Inspiration] Do what makes you happy

do what makes you happy quote

I was lucky enough to go to Full Moon FloYo last night and, during the class, our instructor (the amazing Jessie Benson) said something as we were stretching…

“Take a minute to really clear your mind and think about something that makes you happy…” 

And that got me thinking…what DOES make me happy? What really makes any of us happy?

I have an entire Pinterest board of inspirational quotes and I look at them often. Many of them say something along these lines…

We surround ourselves with these positive messages, urging us to realize that in the end, you won’t remember the hours you spent slaving over a desk but the amazing little/big things that made you smile. It’s a realization I have (and have to have) often because I get so wrapped up in work/etc. that the time slips by and I feel like I’m missing some of these things that make me happy…or at least not recognizing and really embracing them. A few of my favorite things:

  • Riding bikes with Tom
  • A chilled glass of wine with a girlfriend (ok maybe a few glasses…)
  • Feasting on crabs and cold beers with my family and friends
  • Running with our dog, Mahoney
  • Watching or meeting new animals at work (at National Aquarium)

The other thing that Jessie mentioned was how you (we) have the power to make ourselves happy. Although they may, we can’t depend on others to make us happy. This made me think about all the amazing things that just make me smile…not related to another person 

  • Feeling warm sunshine on my face
  • Working out (the after, not the before…) :)
  • Saying “aloha” (honestly…makes me smile every time haha)
  • Biting into a really fresh piece of fruit
  • Watching a movie that really takes me away

So how about it? What makes you happy? Tell me your top 5! 

Weekly Workouts 5.27 – 6.2

So as you saw last week, I’m trying to keep track of my workouts weekly. I try to in my head but we all know that’s not cutting it haha that doesn’t always work, so this is a great way to keep track of what I’m doing! What works, what doesn’t, etc.


I was happy to have an extra day off for Memorial Day. I don’t mind getting up for workouts in the morning, but it’s definitely nicer to get up a little later ;)

I went to the gym with Molly and did a treadmill HIIT run workout with side shuffles. This is a treadmill workout I learned about from Shape magazine back in college! It looks really weird, but it totally shapes up the sides of your thighs and legs!

Then we enjoyed a fun FloYo session with the amazing Jessie Benson!

FloYo Merritt Canton with Jessie Benson

FloYo = yoga on a stand up paddleboard! Check out my post from the last session we did with Jessie here!


This day I was feeling a little sick (more to come on that…) but I still wanted to get something in. I missed my morning working due to an early meeting. After work, my friend Annie was having a fun Stella & Dot party at her apartment across town. I decided to bring my workout clothes there and just run home! I needed to add on a little extra, but I got in a good 3 mile run!

katekatebear baltimore run


Now Wednesday is when I started feeling really sick…like needing DayQuil and other meds sick…ehhh yuck! My body needed a rest and I took it! REST DAY!


Fortunately, I was feeling a BIT better on Friday, so I at least got back to doing SOMETHING. I did one round of the TIU Beach Babe DVD Summer Abs and then two rounds of the Sunkissed Abs workout.


I was still stuffed up on Friday, but I managed to get through one of Rick’s crazy workouts!

katekatebear mbakes2123 TeamRick workout

We did a killer workout that basically crushed our legs, core…and everything else. As per usual. It was GORGEOUS working out on the Under Armour field though – especially during the early morning!

teamrick under armour field


By Saturday, I was getting over my cold…but Tom was just starting it up. FUN FUN! Anyway, we wanted to get out, but not do anything too crazy. It was beautiful, so we took Mahoney, our pup, for a 2 mile walk too and from the dog park near us. We all got a little workout :) 

locust point dog park


Randomly, we also stopped at a bike store and I BOUGHT A BIKE! Woo hoo! Can’t wait to start adding bike rides to my weekly workouts! :)


Today we were both feeling a little weak. I had to work in the morning and then we did some more bike shopping…this time for Tom! Yay! Soon we’ll be biking together.

I didn’t get in a big workout but I’m going to do some yoga stretching before bed tonight. Get myself in the right mindset to sleep and get ready for the week.

Hope everyone had a great week!

Plus, now that I can breathe out of both nostrils I’m coming down from my sickness, I’m excited about getting in a good week of workouts. Tone It Up just posted our workouts for the week…let’s get ready! Here’s to a good week, everyone!