One of the things we love about Meet a Mom Mondays is getting to know moms that truly inspire us, either by their background, their careers, their routine, or how they parent. Jamie Hess, 39, and the mom of two boys (Mason, 4 and Asher, 6 months) hits all those marks. She and her husband George live in New York City, where she runs NYCfitfam. “NYCfitfam started after my hubby proposed to me on a treadmill at Barry’s Bootcamp several years ago. That moment launched our public facing persona as a “fit couple,” and we began sharing our adventures in fitness on the ‘gram. As our family grew, the account also evolved, encompassing nutrition, mindfulness, and conscious parenting,” says Jamie. Today, NYCfitfam has grown from an Instagram account into a full-scale wellness platform. “We now have a cookbook, host events, and collaborate with brands in many different ways. It also launched my career as an on-air lifestyle expert specializing in wellness. I appear on shows like Dr. Oz and TODAY, and am the face of Zuda activewear on QVC,” says Jamie, whose mom happens to be legendary broadcaster Joan Lunden. We asked this busy mom about her transformation from PR exec to wellness influencer, the best advice her mom has given her over the years, her fave spots in NYC and more.
You went from the partying scene of being a rep for nightclubs to a top wellness influencer. Along the way, you found sobriety, got married and had a family. What was that journey like?
Spiritual guru and motivational speaker, Gabby Bernstein, described it best: all the girls who used to want to be Carrie Bradshaw now want to be Dr Wayne Dyer! What she meant was that many of us came to NYC with stars in our eyes, wanting to be “fabulous” but getting caught up in the fast-paced “glamorous” world of nightlife and vices. I know I certainly did! There is a natural evolution that takes place as we move away from the naughty parts of our past (Cough cough! Cue images of me on the dancefloor until 5am every weekend!). I still crave the rhythm & the tribal energy of nightlife… only now I get it in class at Barry’s Bootcamp or SoulCycle instead of in a nightclub. As my interests evolved, my career path naturally followed suit. I truly believe if you’re passionate about what you do – whatever it may be! – it never feels like work!
Love second acts, and yours is a beautiful one. In addition to your work, your relationship seems built around healthy habits…
Yes, fitness is definitely the cornerstone of our relationship, and it’s proven to be firm bedrock on which to build a life! We geek out on learning about every new healthy trend and trying them out together. Our “date nights” are usually at 6am on Saturday, instead of 6pm like most couples. We’d rather get a sitter to go run a 5k in Central Park than go out for an indulgent dinner.
How have you introduced your kids to healthy living/fitness?
Mason is at that great age where we’re still “cool” (haha), so he absolutely loves cooking healthy with us and being active. He’ll join us at races or pull up his little stool while Daddy is preparing homemade granola to put in the oven. It’s our favorite way to bond!
So cute. What advice do you give fellow moms who are struggling to prioritize themselves, including workouts, making healthy meals (aka not just eating kids’ scraps!) and other forms of self-care?
It’s all about planning. Failure to plan is a plan to fail. It’s super do-able, but it takes a good amount of schedule maintenance. I work out every day, and sometimes that means securing childcare for an hour, but that’s an expense I’m willing to take on because it’s making me better for my family. Mostly my hubby and I simply trade off childcare duties in the mornings so one of us can get to the gym. There’s always time to sneak that hour in, you just have to find it. For instance, I often take a 6am spin class and am home by 7, which leaves me plenty of time to get the kiddos ready and out the door.
Same with eating… the way to set yourself up for success is to plan ahead. I meal prep, but nothing crazy! Sometimes it’s as simple as putting an apple or an avocado in my purse so I’m not tempted by something else.
That’s kind of hilarious that you have an avocado in your purse! On a more serious note, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Your mother Joan Lunden has become an advocate for survivors after battling breast cancer. What got you through as a family, and how has her experience influenced you?
I literally just had my mammogram yesterday. It’s all about early detection. My mom had a “clean” mammogram, but an ultrasound discovered she actually had Stage 2 breast cancer. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get tested! Just do it. Pick up the phone and make the appointment.
As far as going through it, there’s really no easy way other then putting your head down and taking it on… my mom was a warrior and I admire her so much for her courage. My biggest tip to everyone is to appreciate your family, every day, every moment.
Did her cancer motivate you to seek out a healthy lifestyle?
I was interested in health prior to her diagnosis, but I think it made us a lot more aware as a family particularly of foods, additives, and toxins in packaging. We are much more picky when grocery shopping after learning so much during her cancer journey (she shares about much of this in her last book, Had I Known)
What’s the best advice she’s given you over the years?
Quite simply: My mom is all about putting on a smile and making it happen. That’s what I strive for every day, in every area of my life!
You have a million projects going, from speaking on panels to appearing on QVC…anything else you’d like to share?
Yes, I am a busy bee! I love being busy so I feel very blessed. I am excited to announce I am launching a podcast next month with three co-hosts that will probably be “familiar faces” (*wink*)… think “The View” but with wellness influencers talking about au current topics in our space.
Congrats on all of it! We always love to support local businesses. Would you please share some of your faves in NYC?
Restaurant to go as a family: We’re a diner family! We love our local Metro Diner. Easy for mom and dad to eat healthy while kiddos can get their chicken fingers!
Restaurant to go for date night: We honestly do “date night” different – we like to run a NYRR race in Central Park or take a Y7 hot hip-hop candlelight yoga class.
Place to have fun as a family: We’re big Central Park people (picnics are our favorite!), as well as the Children’s Museum of Manhattan.
Workout indoors: Barry’s Bootcamp & SoulCycle are our go-tos.
Workout outside: We’re runners, so NYRR races are our thing. We also love running the Hamptons Half Marathon every September.
Shop for clothes: I honestly don’t have time for anything other than online, so that’s my go-to. It’s so funny, I had never shopped on QVC before I started on the air there selling Zuda activewear, but now I’m obsessed! Lately that’s been my jam…the boxes showing up to my apartment every day and my husband just has to shake his head and laugh!