How I Get Stuff Done: Jessica Phoenix

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She’s a mom, multi-task extraordinaire.. oh and a 2-time Olympian and four-time Pan American Games medalist!! Deemed the ‘Wonder Woman’ of the Canadian Equestrian team, Jessica Phoenix is one of Canada’s top professional equestrian athletes. Today, she’s in Toronto taking part in the ‘Mindful Mornings’ breakfast series with the Advertising Club of Toronto ( ) and the National Advertising Benevolent Society. The point of the series is to dedicate time to exposing the media industry to workshops centered around mindfulness. Jessica will share her personal journey and struggles, in hopes to help equip guests to face life’s challenges head-on, even in moments of uncertainty. We got the chance to sit down with Jessica before the event to talk everything mindfulness, and everything in between!

Q: It’s your average day, what’s your morning routine look like?

A: I wake up at 5:30am, have a coffee, start teaching at 6am, and then I’m back in the house by 7am to wake up my kids. We all have breakfast together, which usually includes eggs, English muffins, and yogurt. We leave the house at 8am to drop them off at school and then I’m back home by 9am to begin my regular day of teaching and riding.

Jessica Phoenix Bio Photo 2017 (Nat Kay Photography/c. Roar)

Jessica Phoenix Bio Photo 2017 (Nat Kay Photography/c. Roar)

Q: What does mindfulness mean to you?

A: Mindfulness is an important aspect of a professional athlete’s life, both during competition and in regular preparation, because it keeps you grounded so that you can be at your best.

Q: What kind of workouts do you do now as a professional equestrian athlete that coaches others?

A: I’m physically active all day so I don’t tend to do cross training. On a light day I ride 10 to 15 horses, but often ride up to 25 depending on who’s on the farm that day.

Q: You also run a horse & cattle farm with your husband, Joel, tell us about the jobs you around the barn!

A: We start with making sure all the animals are fed and happy. If Joel’s not home I’ll do the tractor work, which includes putting round bales in feeders, bringing square bales to the barn, emptying the manure spreader, harrowing the riding ring, moving cross country jumps, setting up show jumping courses, feeding cattle, and hauling bales of hay from the hayfields on flat bed trailers (this is all at the end of our regular day of work with the horses).

Q: What has working as a coach and trainer taught you?

A: I think you learn something every day from your students. They all have different personalities and everyone achieves things differently. There’s no one recipe to get to where you want to go. There are many ways of doing things and it always fascinates me how everyone does it so differently, but reaches the same endpoint. The message here is awesome: just BE YOU!

Jessica Phoenix Inspiring Students (Clifford Sjarstedt/c. Peterborough Examiner)

Jessica Phoenix Inspiring Students (Clifford Sjarstedt/c. Peterborough Examiner)

Q: What was the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?

A: When my mentor and coach, David O’Connor, told me that if we were planning to have children we should go for it and not worry about fitting it into my competition schedule. Almost every year there is a major games (Olympics or Pan Am Games or world championships) and to an athlete these games are everything, so for my mentor to give me that advice as a newlywed, that making time for a family is as important as competing, that gave me peace of mind to go for it. I didn’t have to choose one over the other; I was able to have them both.

Jessica Phoenix 2015 Pan America Victory Gallop (Jenni Autry)

Jessica Phoenix 2015 Pan America Victory Gallop (Jenni Autry)

Q: What does your bedtime routine look like?

A: I try to go to bed between 8:30 and 9pm because I have such an early start in the mornings. There’s not much unwinding to do because the days are so active, I’m usually pretty exhausted by the end. I’ll have a glass of water or milk right before bed and then fall asleep.

Q: What’s something most people don’t know about you?

A: I love to go camping. Every summer I go camping with my family at least a couple of times, and I love the relaxation of it, being together around the campfire and out in nature.

Q: What does Healthy is Hot mean to you?

A: I think you feel better about yourself when you’re healthy. When your body feels good and your mind feels good you can’t help but feel hot!

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