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Aug 24, 2022

If You Build It, They Will Come: A Conversation with Attorney Rahlita Thornton

Fitness is often a journey and a destination. And, in our quest to achieve our goals, obtain optimal health and live our best lives, we often end up on paths we didn’t intentionally embark on. In her quest to pursue her calling to and curiosity about cycling, Houston-based Attorney Rahlita Thornton started a cycling club. It was born, not from a preconceived vision, but after discovering a void.

How did you connect with BGR! Houston?
In 2012, I was looking for a walking partner, and not necessarily a running partner, who was like-minded, a fast walker and who would show up consistently. I was interested in connecting with someone who was willing to get up early to work out before the Houston heat and the stresses of the day took over. And, BGR! Houston was this group of ladies who were serious about their fitness. BGR! Houston was also a catalyst to helping me be more committed to fitness again and to shedding unwanted pounds. I also enjoyed the company and made friends who I am still friends with 10 years later.

How did you segue from walking with BGR! Houston to cycling? Why did you start Houston Ladies Cycling Club (HLCC)?
I’m still a member of BGR! Houston. As a busy mom, wife and attorney, I didn’t have much of a social life. My social life became waking up early on Saturdays to ride. I didn’t start out seeking to start a cycling club. Initially, I searched for groups to join but kept hitting dead ends when I tried to reach someone or tried to find their ride schedules. I just wanted to figure out this road cycling thing and to connect with people that wanted to cycle and who lived near me. As a result, out of circumstance, in October 2013 I created a group. That’s how it came to be, that was my motivation. And I found people that lived close to me and people who didn’t live so close to me. But I’ve gained friends who will also drive an hour just to cycle 20 miles! We are a diverse group of women engaging in varied types of fitness and social activities together, such as hiking and road trips, runcations, an annual pool party and other outings.

How would you describe the mission of HLCC?
The mission of HLCC is to link ladies who love to cycle and are serious about cycling, to provide a place to be social, to be a safe space to learn about cycling without judgement or intimidation and to serve as a platform to grow together, with cycling being a common thread in our growth.

Ever the fitness and healthy food connoisseur, I look to you as an accountability partner and resource. What can you share with our readers regarding your fitness and food philosophies?
I’ve always been an active person and into walking, going to the gym and fasted cardio. One of my big things is I don’t want to hurt myself while exercising. I won’t do anything that could cause me to hurt any part of my body and prevent me from being able to exercise. I’ve never had an injury related to exercise because there are certain things I won’t do that could put my knees or hips at risk of injury, such as crossfit or burpees. That is not for me, and that’s okay, everything is not for everyone. As far as food, today I consider myself a flexitarian. My daily diet mainly focuses on plant-based foods and grains, but I do still eat meat. And anyone who knows me, knows I have a chocolate addiction. But that is something that I work on. I have to take hiatuses and do fasts. It’s ongoing, lol.

You bring up a common subject—chocolate addictions. What do you do when you can’t (or shouldn’t) have a chocolate bar or a brownie but need to satisfy your chocolate craving? What is your go to that is satisfying but a healthy(-ier) option?
I have three different things that I do. One, I make a chocolate smoothie where I blend cacao powder, frozen spinach, cashews, banana, nut milk (or water), hemp seeds for added protein and stevia. Secondly, I modify my cookies. I take a regular cookie recipe and minimize the use of white flour and semi-sweet chocolate chips by exchanging them with almond or buckwheat flour and unsweetened chocolate chips. I also add a lot of extra nuts and whole grain oats for added fiber. Thirdly, I make avocado brownies.

Cycling is a great way to cross-train, improve your run performance and add adventure to your workouts. If you too are seeking to connect with a group that doesn’t seem to exist, create it! Be it in the name of fitness, food, art, education, travel, whatever, your destiny may be just waiting for you to discover it.

By: Joy Harrell @joyrunsrealestate

Joy Harrell is a licensed real estate agent and co-owner of The Sift Sisters bakery based in Houston, Texas. She is a native Houstonian and graduate of the University of Houston—go Coogs! When she is not helping people buy, sell or invest in real estate, she can be found hanging or traveling with her hubby, running or biking the streets and trails in and around Houston, mentoring girls or testing new food and cocktail recipes.