The Untold Truth About Peloton Instructor Jess Sims

Peloton. The at-home fitness equipment company, which has its own app, treadmill, and, most notably, stationary bike, has attracted celebrities from soccer star Megan Rapinoe to actor Kate Hudson to singer Lizzo (via Shape).

The company has around 3 million followers and the CEO thinks that 100 million users is a reasonable target (via CNBC). They're seen as a game-changer within their field, and for one of the co-founders Tom Cortese, he thinks it's because of what they have in common with other big name companies. He told CNBC Make It, "We did talk a lot about Apple early on, and we talk about Netflix and Amazon. When you think about these game-changer companies who have this focus on user experience, that is where we looked for inspiration."

A huge part of that user experience is the instructors. Marisa Lifschutz, an industry analyst, explained their importance to keeping Peloton on top: "The way that Peloton has built their instructors into their brand, with many of their instructors achieving a sort of cult status among the Peloton following, I'd say is definitely one of their biggest advantages over alternative at-home fitness equipment and gym and cycling classes" (via CNBC Make It).

And one of those popular instructors is Jess Sims, who teaches Tread, Bike Bootcamp, and Strength, and here's some things you may not know about her.

Jess Sims' parents instilled strong values in her

Jess Sims traces at least part of her success as a Peloton coach back to her family and basketball. She grew up in Peabody, Massachusetts, and her mother taught her the value of helping others (via And she bonded with her father over basketball, which she started playing at age 6, and not only did it bring them close, but it helped give her a focused work ethic: "My dad was the person I could ask for feedback on how I played, and the one I could practice with on the little half-court in our backyard [...] I remember him giving me pep talks and telling me that I could hang with the boys and not to be afraid of being small" (via Well + Good).

Sims describes to Well + Good also mentioned another motivational boost from her parents: "My dad was the one who would tell me: 'Shoot the ball, and be confident in it.' He and my mom used to try and bribe me with $2 for every shot I took and $5 for every shot I made."

Her dad deeply supported her basketball career through high school and into college, where Sims was team captain for three years (via Trinity College). He owned a painting business where he worked during the day and he was the sergeant of the Peabody Police Department, but he only missed one of his daughter's Trinity games (via YouTube).

Jess Sims has a mantra wall to give herself motivation

While Jess Sims is basically paid to workout, that paycheck may not always be the motivation. In an interview with the current captain of her alma mater's basketball team, Sims talked about one of the myths around Peloton instructors — that they are just always motivated. But instead it's more about discipline to show up when things are hard.

She also gets motivation from the Peloton community. On days she thinks maybe she won't do a big workout, Sims said she checks her Instagram DMs and sees that she's tagged by loads of people having worked out "before I've even had my coffee, and I'm like damn, OK. This is what we're doing today. Let's do this" (via YouTube).

Sims also mentioned her mantra wall in terms of motivation, one of which is, "I can do one small thing to shift the day" (via YouTube). She talked more about her wall with her fans on Instagram, and explained why it was so important for her to have the reminder in a down moment. "Mantras help me feel unstuck and empower me to take control over my circumstances. Having them on a wall really helps because they're always present and serve as a 'quick visual menu' in times where I can't think of them." It's not only a great idea for others to try, but it helps show Sims as a person working to keep getting better every day.

Jess Sims has learned to love cooking for herself

Exercise and food can go hand in hand when it comes to overall fitness, but on the Peloton blog, Jess Sims talks about how she didn't always keep that in mind. "I used to order out almost every night for dinner (ouch on my bank account!) and I would eat it right out of the container." And cooking also seemed like it was a bit intimidating to her: "I used to be afraid of cooking because it felt like it was a huge, complicated production to make dinner, but then I realized how easy and fun it is when you choose your own ingredients." And now she's cooking her own food four nights a week.

The New York City-based instructor told Women's Health, "My food is primarily my fuel; it's what makes me feel good and energetic enough to tackle whatever I have to tackle." She starts her day with a glass of water followed by coffee and meditation.

Since New York City summers can be hot, her summertime breakfast might be a smoothie; otherwise, she has eggs and half an avocado on bread. Lunch is a big bowl of shredded veggies and dairy-free cheese and maybe some extra protein, and then for dinner, seafood, some carbs, and veggies — she's a fan of "Brussels sprouts, spinach, and broccoli" (via Women's Health).

Jess Sims' Peloton catchphrase happened by accident

Jess Sims has a huge sweet tooth, loving carrot cake enough to proclaim that she would "lick cream cheese frosting off the floor" (via Women's Health). But carrot cake isn't the sweet treat that people have come to associate with her. Instead, it's the glazed donut. Running on the Tread one time, she saw herself looking sweaty and said, "I'm shiny; I look like a glazed donut right now." It stuck after she said it randomly once, and it's her tagline now. "Everyone knows exactly what that looks like." People can see themselves and picture it and think, "I'm reaching the glazed donut look right now" (via YouTube).

People seem to appreciate the glazed donut connection; after Sims posted an Instagram pic of her smiling with a mouth full of a donut, one commenter wrote, "Donuts are life!! And your workouts kick my butt so I feel better about eating them. Thank you @jsimsfit". And over on Twitter, one user wrote, "@jsimsfit referring to workout warm ups as getting your glazed donut look is one of the best parts of at home workouts for me. #fridayfeeling @onepeloton".

Jess Sims didn't start out with a career in fitness

Jess Sims didn't start her career as a fitness instructor. At Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, she double-majored in psychology and Hispanic studies (via Trinity College). After college, according to her website, her career in education started with "Teach for America in Houston, Texas, which led to becoming a Teacher, Operations Director, Assistant Principal and ultimately Principal at Harlem Village Academies."

But in 2016, she left her master's degree program (via and pivoted into a different kind of education — teaching exercise. And Sims sees an overlap between her work in college and in her educational career: "The transferrable skills of learning how to study for those classes and how to get those internships and how to speak up for myself are the transferrable skills that — no matter what you do — will bring you success" (via Trinity College).

People tend to ask her if she misses teaching, but Sims still sees herself as a teacher but with a different type of classroom, saying she "has that teacher look and the teacher voice. And I really try to be really supportive in class and give very explicit directions" (via YouTube). Once a teacher, always a teacher it sounds like.