Today is Bike to Work Day! If there’s one thing I love about Toronto is that I get to bike to and from work every day at least 6 months out of the year. There’s nothing I love more than a leisurely bike ride to start off and end my work day. It clears my head and is a form of meditation for me. While I’m biking, I’m 100% in the present moment, I’m not on my phone, I’m looking around at the beautiful scenery and am fully immersed in my cycling experience. Cycling in Toronto has taught be to be a better and safer cyclist, opting to always wear a helmet, get great bike lights, etc.
I can’t think of better shoes to bike in than these UNEEK shoes by KEEN. Excited to have them on my feet throughout the summer!
Bike Month kicks off today in Toronto. For all the details, go here.
Sarah Wells is a Canadian Olympic hurdler from Toronto who will be representing the country at this summer’s Olympic games in Brazil. Sarah is an inspiring young athlete who hasn’t let injury or obstacles deter her from realizing her dreams. After a stress fracture in 2011, she tattooed the word “Believe” on her wrist as a reminder that she could still achieve her goal of becoming an Olympian. Low and behold, with much determination and perseverance she made her Olympic debut in London in 2012. Last year, she also took home the silver and bronze medal at the Pan Am Games in Toronto.
This tattoo has inspired a collection that she will be launching in collaboration with WINNERS on June 1st. Her strong self-belief should be an inspiration to all of us. I hope you’ll enjoy the interview below.
1) What first got you interested in hurdles? When did you know that this would be something you wanted to pursue?
I was fortunate to have a high school teacher suggest I try hurdles. Under his coaching and guidance I fell in love with hurdles and hoped to become world-class one day. I really enjoyed the small sense of accomplishment of getting over the hurdles all the way to the finish line—kind of like life.
2) What does your weekly training routine look like? What are some of your favorite workouts to do while training?
My training day consists of 5 hours of training: A warm-up, reaction time drills, hurdle drills, interval training, circuit work, explosive medicine ball tosses, weight training, and stretching. My favourite would have to be the painful interval training because once you’re finished you know you’ve bettered yourself.
3) You took part in the 2012 London Olympics, what did that experience teach you as an athlete?
One thing learned for certain is that Olympic athletes aren’t superheroes. Like me, many have gone through challenges; I saw great success but heartbreak, too. I learned that facing and overcoming obstacles happens to everyone.
4) In addition to being an athlete you are also a motivational speaker. Why is it important for you to promote sports in youth?
I love public speaking to younger people because for me, I saw sport as a vehicle for so many opportunities and I want to encourage the younger generation to pursue physical activity as a way to find self-confidence, a sense of self, see the world, and learn important life lessons.
5) You will be participating in the 2016 Rio Olympics, what are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to bettering myself. The last Olympics I finished as a semi-finalist. This time I hope to make the Olympic final and put myself in the position to run for a medal.
Check out Sarah Wells’ new athletic wear collection in collaboration with WINNERS in stores next week!
I love making healthy homemade post-workout snacks. They are the pefect thing to eat in the morning after an intense sweat session. There are so many varieties of bites you can easily make at home with ingredients from you pantry.
I was excited to make Baklava Bites with fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ for the very first time this week. I love Greece and love their food. I’m a big fan of baklava so I figured I would give this recipe a shot.
What I like about the recipe is that in includes a scoop of the fermented proteins from Genuine Health. Not only are the bites yummy, but they are also healthy and contain a lot of protein (25 grams of fully fermented protein to be exact), which is key for someone that leads an active lifestyle.
Since I don’t use many milk products, it is important to me that the milk used in the new fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ is sourced from clean, grass-fed California dairy farms that are committed to ethical and sustainable practices. Moreover, the product is Non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free as well as hormone and antibiotic-free.
Here’s what you’ll need to make this recipe:
1 scoop of fermented Greek yogurt proteins+ 3 cups of organic walnuts, ground 2 tsp of cinnamon 2 tbsp of ground flax seed 2 tbsp of vegan or grass-fed organic butter (melted) 2 tbsp of organic honey 2 tbsp of water 1/2 cup of organic lemon, juiced
For the “phyllo” almond coating:
1 cup of ground organic almonds 1 tbsp of vegan or grass-fed organic butter (melted) A dash of cinnamon
1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and combine thoroughly.
2. Add in softened butter and remaining wet ingredients. Mix well until a sticky dough consistency is reached.
3. Roll into bite-size balls.
4. Create “phyllo” almond coating by roasting ground almonds with butter in a frying pan until golden brown. Make sure you stir often to avoid burning. Add a dash of cinnamon.
5. Roll each bite into the “phyllo” almond coating.
If you’re looking for a great way to get your daily frustrations out while also getting a full-body workout in, make sure you take a class at Big Hit Studios. Their Sudbury St. studio in Toronto has been one of my favorites since the beginning of the new year.
Led by a brilliant team of trainers, including my personal favorite Karina Vottchal (she’s a badass lady that will get sweating and out breath in a few seconds!), their mix of kickboxing, crossboxing, powerboxing and coreboxing classes will make you stronger and get you toned. I like their classes because they’re a great mix of cardio and technique. Don’t be surprised if the trainers ask you to do a few burpees or push-ups, even with your gloves on!
If you don’t live in Toronto, fret not! Big Hit Studios also has an additional space located in Oakville. For more info on Big Hit Studios, go here.
Notes from the hairstylist:
Braids on braids
“A small twist on these boxer braids, instead of the usual two boxer braids, I decided to do six individual braids. I braided each one the length of Mel’s hair, and then took three on each side and braided those together, to make them look like two long individual braids.”
What I’m wearing: Nike Free TR 6 Women’s Training Shoe (get it here), Nike Pro Hypercool Limitless Women’s Training Capris (get it here), Nike Flow Graphic Women’s Training Tank (get it here), Nike Pro Fierce Women’s Sports Bra (get it here).
I had the pleasure of finally discovering MISFITSTUDIO after having heard great things about this place for the past couple of years. Located on West Queen West, this beautiful space divided into two different studios, is definitely unique to the city. The stained glass windows and antique details in the studio creates a very special and charming atmosphere.
They offer a mix of pilates, yoga and movement classes. Their MISFITMETHOD is “a mindfully created experience where strength and grace support each other, where you are guided to allow the body to flow and the mind to quiet. A wild physical journey full of connection, challenge and technique each class will leave you with a touch of magic.”
I had the chance to take one of their Reformer Pilates class with the lovely Michelle Jobin. This supermom teaches Wednesday mornings from 7-8 am in their cozy Pilates room. The studio offers a great variety of classes that are sure to get you moving and make you leave feeling inspired.
A lot of great things are coming the way of MISFITSTUDIO, so make sure you follow them online here to stay tuned.
Notes from the hairstylist:
Perfect Pilates Fishtail
“A french braid is so easy to do, and it’s a go to for all of my indoor workouts, but why not switch it up with a fishtail french braid. Would you believe it’s done with just two strands?”
Opened just a few months ago, Spokehaüs has without a doubt become one of my favorite places to sweat in the city. Located on Dan Leckie Way, this modern and cool cycle studio has built a great community of spin enthusiats in just a few months.
The classes and instructors always offer fresh and cool new playlists to ride along to. Not one class is the same but no matter what class you take, you always end up sweating your butt off. It’s probably one of the only places in the city that will get me up on a Saturday or Sunday morning just because of how great I feel once I leave the studio.
In addition to regular classes, the studio is doing more and more events. They had their first ever HIGHRIDE a few weeks ago, a special riding event with glow sticks, candy and serious beats. They’ll be doing these kinds of events once a month, so stay tuned for future HIGHRIDES!
The 45 minutes of riding will go by in a flash and will have you feeling great all day!
Great gear and a proper riding hairstyle are two musts for me when I ride. The last thing I want is hair in my face when I’m sweating profusely.
Notes from the hairstylist:
A Spinning Topknot
“Take your topknot to a new level. I added two dutch braids, tied Mel’s hair into a high ponytail and instead of leaving it loose, I put it into a topknot so that it wouldn’t be in her way while she’s giving it her all in class. Putting all of your hair up helps with not having so many knots, tangle, and keeps the frizz down too 😉 I also just wrapped the ends of her dutch braids around the topknot to make it look pretty. Why not have pretty hair while you workout?!”
What I’m wearing: Nike Pro Hypercool Frequency Women’s Training Capris (get them here), Nike Pro Hypercool Frequency Women’s Training Tank Top (get it here), Garneau Women’s Multi Air Flex Cycling Shoes (get them here).
This summer, I want to get lost: Lost in a new country, in a new scenery, in a new adventure. Summer is when I feel most alive. I cannot wait to explore some beautiful new locations near and far away from home.
I’m obsessed with the Tuck Shop Trading Co‘s x Bather Trunk Co. first ever swimwear collection. This GET LOST bathing suit is the perfect addition to my summer travels. The line was inspired by vintage maps that both designers are fascinated by. They worked with both Bather Trunk Co’s Kyle Kaminsky and Bathing Belle’s Danica Salajko on the design of this swimwear line (they designed some similar swim trunks for men as well!).
Who’s ready to get lost with me this summer?
You can support these local Toronto brands and designers by checking them outhere.
Last week, I had the pleasure to shoot with an incredible creative team on a new series I’ll be releasing on 3 consecutive days next week.
In preview of the summer, I’ll be sharing with you my 3 favorite workout classes in Toronto that you should absolutely check out. These are three completely different fitness studios and workouts that you can find in the city. Though I love to workout outdoors as much as possible, these classes are the exception to my rule.
I had the chance to team up again with photographerPam Lau and hairstylist Cabello by Carolina, who I had the pleasure of working with on last year’s 15k Hairspiration series that you can see here. The lovely Michelle Gardin also joined us for makeup.
I’ll be releasing the series on Monday May 23rd, but in the meantime, here’s a little behind the scenes preview of what we did.
1) Rooster and the Pig. You may have to wait up to 2hrs to get into this popular joint but this Vietnamese American bar and restaurant is worth the wait. The friendly atmosphere inside allows for a laid-back dinning experience. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and try something new while you are there. All of their dishes will definitely please your tastebuds!
2) Workshop Kitchen + Bar. Located in uptown Palm Springs, this minimalist and industrial-looking restaurant is one of the places to put on your dinner list. Heavily focused on local ingredients, this farm-to-table spot works with local farms in the Coachella Valley to provide a creative and varied menu. They have a plentiful selection of both vegetarian and meat dishes that are presented in a beautiful manner. The farmhouse-style table located in the middle of the restaurant makes the space super convivial.
3) Norma’s. If you’re looking for an ultra hype and beautiful place to go for brunch while in Palm Springs, make sure you visit the The Parker Palm Springs. Not only is the hotel exquisite but the food at Norma’s is also topnotch. The colorful restaurant serves up your choice of healthy and hearty options including their James Beard Award-Winning Potato Pancake Recipe. You never know who you may rub shoulders with at this intimate and cozy hotspot. While you are there, make sure you spend time in their fireplace lounge or visiting their outdoor garden.
4) Kings Highway. Located at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, this no-frills casual diner serves up good food and good vibes. The hotel partnered up with the same team that created the very popular L.A. Chapter to create a cool western and bohemian vibe. Jud Mongell and Ken Addington base their menu on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients while adding an imaginative twist to it. All late-night cravings will be satisfied at Kings Highway!
5) Chi Chi. The newly redesigned restaurant at the Avalon Hotel is all about celebrating California cuisine. The west coast is made a focal point on not only the menu but also on the pool-centric setting and space. Eating outdoors is a must for a romantic candlelit dinner.
Sometimes in life, you just have to press the reset button. A few weeks ago, I was fell off the wagon. After eating healthy consistently for the past couple of months, I had a seriously terrible week with food. I made bad decisions and ended up eating things that made me feel super crappy. This also coincided with some serious changes at work that made me feel not so stellar. Instead of going further down the rabbit hole, I knew I had to make a change quickly in order to get back on track. Since I’ve been working out so much, it is totally counterproductive to eat unhealthy.
I immediately got in touch with Belmonte Raw and got set up for a 2-day reset cold-pressed juice and raw food diet. Having learned from previous experiences, I didn’t want to do a juice-only cleanse, as I wanted to make sure I had proper nutrition and energy to keep me going throughout the days and my workouts. What is great about Belmonte Raw’s different meal and juice programs is that they have something for everyone. I was particularly drawn to The Starter because it included 1 smoothie, 2 raw meals, 3 cold-pressed juices, 1 elixir and 1 tea. Another plus is that the meals they offer change daily, so you’re not eating the same thing day in and day out.
As with all Belmonte Raw programs, all the juices and meals were delivered straight to my door the first morning of my cleanse. For the first day, I had a Hummus Wrap for lunch and a Veggie Lo Mein for dinner. On the second day, my meals consisted in the Madras Curry & Kale for lunch and the Dreams of Lebanon for dinner. The meals were all portioned well and also very tasty.
With the delivery you also receive a little guide book with your daily food and juice schedule to make sure you space everything out properly. All of their juices are made with 100% organic ingredients. All of their meals are gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and free of all animal products.
After the 2-day reset, I felt a lot better about myself. I felt confident to keep eating healthy and stay on track. Sometimes just a little change in your diet or routine can make a huge difference in how you feel.