How Peloton's Jess Sims and Her Dogs Stay Active Throughout the Colder Months

Sims loves bringing the pit mixes along to dog-friendly seasonal outings.

How Peloton’s Jess Sims and Her Dogs Stay Active Through the Colder Seasons
Photo: Getty Images

When autumn weather made an appearance in New York City last month, Peloton's Jess Sims took to Twitter to make a major (sarcastic) declaration: "I am proud to announce that today (and every other rainy day) is officially 'Dogs Walk Themselves Day' in NYC 🦮." While this wishful sentiment may be something that other pet owners can relate to — one of Sims' fans actually replied to her tweet, "I'm so glad that petition finally worked" — in reality Sims doesn't let the inclement weather slow her down. She wouldn't let a light sprinkle (or a torrential downpour, for that matter) get in the way of her four daily walks with her two pit mixes, 4-year-old Sienna Grace and 1-year-old Shiloh.

"It's just like working out," Sims tells Shape during an interview from one of her favorite New York City hangouts, Muddy Paws Rescue, the shelter where she found Sienna Grace and Shiloh. "On the days you really don't want to do it, it just comes down to discipline and knowing that the benefits of how you feel after will outweigh the feeling of not wanting to do it. And this is very cliche, but as you know, 'you don't have to, you get to.'"

That phrase isn't just a saying Sims implements for rainy dog walks — it's a mantra she's held onto since her days as a college basketball player, and her loyal fitness fans have heard it peppered throughout her toughest Peloton workouts. As rain continues to make appearances throughout the cold-weather season, eventually giving way to snow and slush, Sims hopes other pet owners can use her words to fuel their motivation to continue walking their pups. "It's a time to just really unplug and go out in nature — even on the days when you don't want to because it's raining," she says. "Because then you're like, 'actually, rain is awesome.'"

That attitude is also at least partially influenced by Sims' basketball days at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. "We had a huge training program to do over the summer and there was one summer that was super rainy," she says. "Our coach was like, 'running in the rain builds character.' And it brought me back to lacrosse practices in high school where we would be running through puddles and screaming and it would just be this fun, carefree kind of thing." (

Even though Sims might not need to dig too deep for motivation to keep moving as the weather turns chilly, Sienna Grace and Shiloh sometimes need an extra incentive. "If Sienna were ever not at home with me — which is honestly never gonna happen — I'm genuinely curious how long Shiloh would stay in bed," she says. "He only gets up because Sienna starts to bark and she wants to go out. But it's all about routine, so even when it's raining, they still have to go out first thing in the morning."

To get the pups prepped, Sims starts by asking them a simple question: "I say, 'you want breakfast?' and Sienna starts barking her head off because she knows she's about to get her ACANA Rescue Care for Adopted Dogs — she loves her dog food so much," she says. (Sims has partnered with the pet food brand.) After a morning meal, the trio takes off for a walk, but Sims says they're both mercifully more relaxed when the weather is dreary. "The other really good thing about dogs and humans is that they're very similar to us so when it's raining, their personalities are a lot more subdued — they're a little more Netflix and Chill, so we luck out a little bit there." (

Aside from daily dog walks, Sims will be busy this holiday season teaching plenty of Peloton classes and helping members achieve that coveted "glazed doughnut look" (aka that dewy glow induced by heart-pumping movement) through strength, running, and bike boot camp workouts. Actual doughnuts will also factor into Sims' plans — she counts sampling seasonal flavors as a must-do holiday experience. "When I was in L.A. [to join fellow instructors Robin Arzon and Emma Lovewell in cheering on Cody Rigsby on Dancing With the Stars], I stopped by Sidecar Doughnuts and got a pumpkin flavor that was to die for," she says. "And The Doughnut Project [a small-batch doughnut shop] in New York City always has weekly specials so I'm so excited to see what the holiday specials are. Last year they made a doughnut bread pudding."

Sims also plans to go apple and pumpkin picking. "I grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts, and there's a farm called Brooksby Farm and we'd go there and get the apple cider donuts and the honey sticks and then we'd pick a ton of apples," she says. "So that's something I haven't done in New York, but I just looked up dog-friendly apple picking farms and there are so many within like an hour and a half of the city. So I'm really excited and putting it on the calendar." (

Another seasonal custom Sims is stoked to continue are the Fit Family Fun Peloton classes she started teaching during the pandemic. During last year's 30-minute live Thanksgiving class, she and fellow instructor Alex Toussaint even brought their furry friends along for the cardio adventure. "It was great because my dog was there," she says, "so that's a tradition I'm excited to keep going."

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