Spring Workouts

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No gym membership? No worries! With spring now here, it’s a lot easier to be active outdoors!

There are lots of ways I like to be active when the weather starts warming up, one of which is creating my own HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts in any kind of location I can find. Whether you find a park, soccer field, playground or even rooftop somewhere in your area, all of these locations can be used as your “outdoor gym”.

I usually plan and jot down a quick 15-30 minute interval-based workout (usually anywhere from 5-10 different exercises) before heading out to my location of choice. I sometimes even include props like a skipping rope, a resistance band, free weights or even a bean bag, to switch things up. I then throw everything in a bag and walk towards my location of choice.

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I also either bring my headphones or a portable speaker with me if I’m going alone to add a bit of atmosphere to my workout.

Whether you’re in an urban or rural setting, there are always outdoor spots you can use for your workouts, sometimes you just need to use your imagination. Though it may take a little bit of time getting used to, outdoor workouts are far more inspiring than indoor workouts. Just look at those views!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Printed Fast Track Cropped Legging (get it here), Hyba Open Back Tank (get it here), Hyba Essential Space Dye Hooded Tee (get it here), Hyba Gym Bag (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

5 Questions With: Rebecca Gentry for The Speed Project

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Last week, over 150 runners made the incredible trek from from Santa Monica to Las Vegas on foot for the third annual The Speed Project. They left the Santa Monica pier at 5am on Friday March 10th and in relay form, raced to the world famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign. Rebecca Gentry was one of those athletes who flew all the way from London just to be a part of the journey. She was one of only two women in the winning team so I wanted to chat with her about her experience and what it was like to be a part of such an epic undertaking.

1) For those who aren’t familiar with The Speed Project, can you share with us what that is?

Aside from insanity, it’s a 340 mile relay race starting from Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles ending under the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign in Vegas! Is crosses the Mojave desert and involves continued running through day and night with the support of a crew in an RV. Each team member runs more or less an equal distance, and you high 5 your team mate to make the exchange between yourselves. It’s all about strategic, fast running though varied terrain battling sleep deprivation and hunger!!! 

2) Why did you want to partake in this event? Was it your first experience?

It was my first time racing TSP. I was asked to join the Original team by one of the co-founders Blue Benadum. Blue and I met just over a year ago in Berlin through our mutual work with Nike+ Run Club. I’d followed his journey of the event in 2016 and when he asked me to join the team I knew it would be an incredible challenge and experience for myself as well as an insane way to work hard amongst a great team who were heading out to break records. Furthermore being a runner from London, I thought it would be quite amusing to be cruising through the desert in very high, dry heat – when do you get handed an opportunity like that and turn it down?!

3) What was the hardest part of the journey?

My first leg was actually the hardest. The pressure of being on the team defending the title, and ideally breaking the record, was mammoth. The nerves got the better of my and dealing with a decent incline and LA heat beating down on me as I pushed on the edge of the freeway I felt the pain. I was convinced I was going to let everyone down, but pushed on as hard as I could trying to silence the demons, and was pleasantly surprised when i checked my pace once on the RV! I changed my mindset immediately after that and positively reinforced my mind  with reassurance that I had trained very hard for this and I was doing the best I could. 

4) In addition to running in The Speed Project, you are also the Nike+ Run Club Coach in London, you work as a fitness instructor at Equinox and you are also a fitness model. Do you find that there’s a real supportive women’s fitness community out there?

Massively. In London the awareness of Women’s running has grown exponentially over the past couple of years. I feel that women are becoming stronger and more fierce within the industry. We are busy people and work hard to incorporate fitness into our daily lives for aesthetic reason and health reasons combined. 

At NRC I see groups of women coming to the sessions together. They support one another by making the runs their social time together, they have it in the diaries and they rely on each other to show up. It’s that sense of community and friendship which encourages the progression and growth of each runner. 

In my Equinox treadmill sessions I see majority women attending my classes and they’re always asking my advice of how to stay strong and fit along with how to run faster. There’s certainly an understanding that you needn’t be a) male or b) whippet thin to be a fast successful runner.  Everyone woman pushing the boundary inspires so many more to do the same which is just awesome. 

5) What is the next goal that you are setting for yourself?

Haha well my coach – Blue – would be happy to read that I’ve secured myself a marathon bib for May this year as I’m determined to break 3 hours. As yet I’m still seeing where I could race (I’ve love a bib for Copenhagen) but aside from that, I’m waiting to see what crazy race pops up in my world and I’m sure I’ll be on the start line!!! 

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Spring Beauty Essentials

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With spring just around the corner, the weather changing and the possibility of spending more time outdoors, I felt compelled to share some of my recent go-to beauty products that I’ve been incorporating into my beauty routine. Most of these products are either green or very clean so I’m thrilled to share them with you all today.

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DERMA E Hydrating Facial Oil Treatment

This face oil is 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free and GMO-free. It’s perfect to mix in with your daily moisturizer as it helps target dull, dehydrated and also premature signs of aging. I take this Californian green beauty product with me on my travels and use it either once or twice a day depending on the weather and how my skin feels.

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DERMA E Hydrating Night Crème

This clean night cream has been my go-to these past couple of months. Its extra-rich properties deeply penetrate the skin helping to moisturize and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The cream is enriched with antioxidants, Vitamins C and E as well as aloe. It also helps your skin fight against free radicals and the effects of the environment. It is also, 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free and GMO-free.

 

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Dermalogica Overnight Repair Serum

Slowly getting to know this incredibly popular and successful line of products. This overnight serum helps enhance skin nourishment, cell renewal and also hydrates your skin while you sleep. Argan and rose oils help revitalize your skin and smooth away fine lines. This product contains no artificial fragrances or colors.

 

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Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer

Dermalogica’s primer is a great asset in your daily makeup routine because it does many things at once. Not only does it contain SPF 30, thus protecting you from the sun but it also helps smooth away fine lines while also creating a great base for your makeup, so that your makeup lasts all day. I usually combine this primer with my moisturizer and face oil.

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EOS Active Protection Lip Balm

EOS’s latest product combines jojoba oil, shea butter and antioxidant-rich Vitamin E along with SPF 30 to create a lip balm that will not only nourish your lips but also protect them from harmful UVA/UVB rays while you’re outdoors. The lip balm is also 80 minute water resistant as well as PABA-free, Petrolatum and paraben-free. I know it will become my go-to on warmer spring days or in the summer while I’m out running or surfing!

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Belif Cleansing Gel Oil Enriched

This Belif product is the latest addition to my daily beauty and wellness routine. Their light gel cleansing oil helps remove makeup and residue while also leaving the skin feeling refreshed. The oil is free of synthetic fragrances, dyes, preservatives and animal-origin ingredients.

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Belif Peat Miracle Revital Cream

I have been blending this Belif cream along with my face oil and primer every morning. The cream which contains peat extract, helps rejuvenate and hydrate the skin while also helping to increase the cell turnover cycle of your skin. This cream is free of synthetic fragrances, synthetic colors, preservatives or any animal by-products.

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Consonant Natural Foaming Face Wash

Consonant have become one of my favorite organic and green beauty brands. Added bonus – they’re Canadian! I recently tried their 30-day discovery kit and realized that their products left my skin feeling great throughout. I particularly liked their 100% natural face wash that is packed with tea tree oil and grape see oil that help not only remove makeup but also hydrate the skin and fight blemishes. It is the perfect travel buddy!

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Consonant Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream For Dry Skin

Another great travel-friendly product is their non-greasy hydrating face cream. The use of cassia angustifolia seed extract and grape seed oil help with hydration and also work as antioxidants to help make your skin feel hydrated and radiant.

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Saje Wellness Tingle Mint Invigorating Foot & Body Lotion

Get your feet and legs feeling minty fresh and energized post-shower with Saje’s 100% natural, vegan and plant-based peppermint, shea and tea tree lotion. Their body lotion has become a favorite of mine post-runs and also in the morning.

5 Questions With: Christina Disler of Werklab

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March is mindfulness month so in my hunt to find great people to feature, I stumbled across Werklab, a beautiful and mindful co-working space in Vancouver that was founded by Christina Disler. They recently celebrated their 1st anniversary and have already had a very positive impact on the local entrepreneurs and working community here in Vancouver. We had a super enlightening conversation that lasted far longer than I expected so I’m sharing with you today some excerpts from my great chat with Christina, who shares her inspiration for the space and their mindful mission.

1) Can you give us some background on Werklab and how it all started?

My sister, who is an artist (all the artwork in the space is hers!), was living in Amsterdam before and had told me about the world of co-working. A few years ago, I went to an HR conference and found this stat has stood out for me. The stat said that by 2020, 40% of the work force will be freelancers, contractors, temp workers and that the work force will change. It was a statistic that rocked my world because I realized that 2020 wasn’t that far away. It was at the end of 2015 when the idea came up. The stat was becoming more and more real and the fact that we’re in a tech hub and the real estate’s high, I really looked at it from the light of social impact and almost from a light of project instead of a money-making business. I will admit that I come from a privileged position where I loaned money from my dad to do the construction. I’m also not trying to squeeze every penny out of this whereas I think that for a lot of other spaces, it’s hard to have integrity with building community when there’s really high bills to pay. We have a good rent here and at the end of the day, once you pay your membership fee, you’re part of this community, we don’t pinch you for anything else.

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2) How does Werklab work?

Some spaces do daily drop-ins, here we’re completely membership based. You don’t have to be here full-time. You can start off with just 5 days a month and work your way up. It’s hard to build community when you have all these transient workers signing up online for only a day. How do you foster trust, safety and vulnerability when you don’t know who the next person is that is coming in? We also have a vetting system, we interview people before they enter the space to ensure that they align with our culture and what we’re trying to do. We don’t just want someone that’s going to come in and just use it as an office, we want someone who wants to sign on and be a part of this community.

When I opened Werklab, I didn’t study the best co-working spaces, I studied the best places to work. At the end of the day, someone can come up with a fancier place to work at and more gadgets, but what people are here for is an intrinsic value. It reminds me of working at some of the cool companies; they aren’t necessarily paying you the top dollar they’re offering you an experience. What do you feel when you’re coming through the door? What’s the energy like? All those things are important. 

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3) What separates Werklab from other co-working spaces?

We actually don’t call ourselves a co-working space but rather a modern day work club because everything is membership based and we’re a mindful space. We have yoga classes and we hold events. For example, we’ll have someone from a natural cosmetic shop come in or we’ll have lunch and learns on health, etc. At the end of the day, the way we work has totally shifted because of technology, even when you leave here you’re still working in bed. So we’re trying to infuse and offer you things that you wouldn’t maybe have time to go out and do because you have so much work or are working on a big project deadline. We want to bring those things to you.

We have 73 members now and we try to get at least once a week, something going on in the space. We want to bring people together with the more natural human stuff, I want people to have real authentic talk in this space. 

Also, with the design of the space, we wanted to offer different areas for you to move around. People think that only graphic designers or coders, those are the creative people that are not working 9 to 5. But in reality, a lot of people work remote. You don’t have to be an “in your face creative” to be in a space like this because at the end of the day, creativity is in everything we do – it’s in problem solving, it’s thinking outside the box, it’s critical thinking, etc. It doesn’t mean that you need to be the best artist in order to be creative.

A lot of the time when we get stuck on a road block with work, movement – moving into a new part of the space, standing up, meditating on our bean bag, being able to stretch out on the couch or just having a quick chat in the coffee area, can all of a sudden reset you.

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4) Who are the people that have been drawn to the space?

The demographic is a total range. I thought we’d have a lot of people from the neighbourhood because we’re the furthest space East in downtown Vancouver but we have people driving all the way from Kits and all over town to come here, which is pretty special. Right before people start, we send them a questionnaire that has nothing to do with what they do – asking them where they grew up, where they were born, what’s one thing people wouldn’t know about them, etc. So even before people come in for orientation, we try to find links and connection with others in the space so that they already feel like they belong on day 1, even if they don’t know anyone. I really try to make an effort to go around with them and be there to support them. People call this home, it’s funny but true.

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5) A lot of the people in the community seem to really help each other out here in Vancouver, what does it mean to you to be a part of that and how has it helped?

I think the more as a business we become authentic and the more it is aligned with who I am and who I stand for, all of a sudden all these pieces start falling into place and just feels so serendipitous. There’s something really special about people on the west coast, following their crazy independent paths. It can sometimes feel so alone on the journey and can sometimes be really challenging but there’s so much support for Vancouver as a whole. I don’t know if it’s always been that way but that’s how things are shifting. I was talking to another local entrepreneur – Sonia from Woodlot and we were chatting about how expensive Vancouver is, so a lot of people have side hustles to make extra cash on the side. And all of a sudden, those side hustles start doing really well so they run with it. We’re all trying to survive together and there’s a really beautiful energy around this community. 

The past year has been a wild ride. It’s this living and breathing organism that changes shape every day but you just have to be present with it. It has been quite the mindfulness task in itself to let it happen. 

For more info on Werklab, go here.

Must-Try Fitness Studios in Vancouver: Movement 108

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Vancouver is filled with so many unique fitness studios. Movement 108 stands out in the city because of its unique approach to group classes and while also providing a very intimate and friendly setting. In addition to their indoor gym classes, they also offer outdoor group classes, a refreshing option for those looking to switch up their workout routine. The space’s founder Aaron de Jong shares the inspiration and philosophy behind Movement 108.

What inspired you to start Movement 108?

The idea that exercise is this mandated portion of our day that can’t be social, interactive or educational really bothered me.  I came from working in the personal training world of ‘punching the clock’ and wanted to create my own space where meeting and connecting with people and moving your body really well could all happen under one roof.

How does the Movement 108 philosophy differ from other fitness studios or workout spots in Vancouver?

We are grounded in movement and strength training.  Often coined as ‘sneaky workouts’.  I’d say that the majority of exercise classes focus on high repetition and high heart rate activities that sacrifice form in the long run.  To get strong, you’ve got to strength train, we can’t just keep going to the same classes or hit the treadmill for longer.  There is a place for everything in the healthy workout schedule but we like to play the piece of moving really well in progressions and strength training really well to feel strong in your body.

What are some of the classes and services that you offer?

We love using bodyweight, Kettlebells and TRX as our tools in our functional training.  Our classes consist of Combo classes which incorporate all those tools, Kettlebell classes which are more strength focused and Metabolic classes which focus on strength and conditioning (high heart rate!).  Those are our mainstays on the schedule and we round out the balance with our stretch recovery classes, run group, hiking group and Strength and strength classes.

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Photo by Britney Gill

How important is community at Movement 108?

It’s hugely important.  More and more in our full lives do we want to connect socially during our sweat times.  It’s the only way to cram it all in!  We love it when people who have made 108 their exercise base integrate themselves into the community.  It all starts from us as instructors connecting and grounding into relationships with one another and then opening that space and opportunity up to anyone that walks in the doors.

Where would you like to see Movement 108 in 5 years time?

That’s a tough one to imagine.  Really our goal is to make basic, consistent movement a mainstay in our communities lives.  That starts by us being consistent in our space and not always jumping to the ‘next thing’.  That being said the idea of a second location within the city has got us thinking.  

For more info on Movement 108, go here.

48 Hours in Victoria

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In need of a little island vacation? Make Victoria, BC your next holiday destination!

Located just 30 minutes by seaplane from Vancouver, this wonderful city has so much to offer. From the little coffee shops, to cute boutiques, to the great nature landscapes and outdoor adventures, you can’t go wrong with an escapade in this buzzing town.

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Access to the island was made easy thanks to Harbour Air. It has always been my dream to fly in a seaplane, so I finally got to cross that off the bucket list last week. Harbour Air is North America’s largest seaplane airline and the first fully carbon neutral airline. It also showcases Canadian-made aircrafts and has over 35 daily departures between downtown Vancouver and Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Check-in and boarding is hassle-free plus they have a lovely lounge with complimentary tea, coffee and wifi that allows you to relax before your flight. The sights while flying are absolutely majestic and you get to downtown Victoria in just over 30 mins.

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Once in Victoria, there are many accommodations to choose from. On this particular trip, we had the opportunity to stay at a beautiful boutique hotel called Hotel Rialto, located right in the heart of downtown. Opened in 2009 and renovated again in 2012, this restored 1912 heritage building features 52 beautifully decorated guest rooms that include topnotch amenities. In addition to its central location, another plus is the Café Veneto, the bistro located in their lobby. It is the perfect location for your morning breakfast. They also have the Veneto Tapa Lounge, located adjacent to the lobby, which offers guests a complimentary cheese platter upon arrival and great dinning options.

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There are so many things occupy your time with while in Victoria. If you’re a nature lover, check out one of The Natural Connection‘s guided hikes. Led by Ryan LeBlanc, the company’s owner, you get to discover some of the most beautiful local hikes and point of views. He comes equipped with a gourmet lunch and supplies for your hike. He is a super knowledgeable guide, who invites you to use all five senses when exploring the area. It’s a great way to discover all of the stunning scenery just next to the city.

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If shopping is more up your alley, head on over to the colourful Johnson St. right in downtown to shop at some of the best local retailers, while sipping on a coffee or tea from Hey Happy. Another coffee hotspot that you’ll want to visit is Habit Coffee located on Pandora St. They offer delicious vegan treats and a wide-selection of drinks to choose from.

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Want to stay active while in Victoria, check out the newly opened SpinCo spin studio, also situated on Pandora St. in downtown. The city also has a handful of beautiful running trails located such as the waterfront trail on Dallas Rd or the circuit in Beacon Hill Park.

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Museums and art galleries are also a plenty in the area. The Royal BC Museum is a great way to spend a few hours going through all of the permanent and rotating exhibits. Their current exhibit called Our Living Languages: First Peoples’ Voices in British Columbia is a major eye-opener. They will also be showcasing a new exhibit featuring Terry Fox come April.

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While in Victoria, you can enjoy some of the best vegan and vegetarian food the country has to offer. My absolute favourite on this trip was Nourish Kitchen & Cafe, located in a beautifully restored colourful heritage house in the James Bay neighbourhood. They serve up fresh, seasonal produce and some of the most delicious vegan food I’ve ever had in my life. Note that though they aren’t fully vegan, they sure know how to make some tasty and healthy plant-based meals. You can even just stop by for a quick coffee or use their upstairs rooms The Study and The Parlour to work for the day.

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Other vegan and healthy stops in the city include Rebar – a funky vegetarian hotspot that serves up everything from fresh juices to vegetarian Reuben sandwiches and homemade berry crumble, Jusu – the best mylks, cold-pressed juices as well as vegan salads and bowls, Café Bliss – a cute breakfast and café perfect to satisfy an afternoon craving and Be Love – serves up raw, vegan and vegetarian-friendly creative dishes using organic, seasonal and fresh Vancouver Island products up to 95% of the time.

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Oh and there’s also Jam. It may not be the healthiest option but one cannot visit Victoria and not pay Jam a visit. It’s well worth the wait, their homemade scones and breakfasts are to die for!

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If all of the aforementioned info isn’t reason enough to visit Victoria, I made a little recap video for you to enjoy!

A big thank you to Tourism Victoria for their help with this wonderful trip!

Video shot with: Huawei Nova Plus.

Explore Whistler on a Snowmobile with TAG

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Headed to Whistler and looking for some winter thrills that do not include skiing or snowboarding? Make sure you check out The Adventure Group‘s snowmobile tour.

The Whistler-based adventure group organizes several excursions a day that allow you to explore Whistler’s beautiful backcountry on Cougar Mountain. Whether it’s your first time out or you’re a seasoned pro, TAG has a tour for you! Their expeditions last on average 2.5 hours and allow you to explore everything from great local trails to fresh powder or even wide-open areas with breathtaking views of the forest and mountains.

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Their snowmobiles are fully equipped with seat and hand warmers that will keep you toasty throughout. They also have helmets, goggles as well as gloves and hats for those who may have forgotten some of their gear.

TAG tour guides are super friendly and take the time to make sure everyone is comfortable before, during and after the ride. Plus, the company keeps the tours to a maximum of 5 guests per guide, allowing for a super pleasant experience.

They also provides a complimentary shuttle for guests from the Whistler Village, Fairmont Chateau and the Four Seasons Hotel. The company strives to make sure that their Whistler tours and activities are 100% carbon neutral.

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I had only been on a snowmobile once before but it was a huge thrill to ride out with TAG!

If zipping around on ski-doos isn’t your thing, TAG also offers a wide variety of additional tours ranging from snowshoeing to heli sightseeing and more. For more information, go here.

Get Race Ready

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This year, I’m holding myself accountable for the goals I’ve set for myself and the things I want to accomplish. In order to be successful, there are lots of things I need to take into consideration and take care of. Though some goals are harder to achieve, when you have all the tools necessary and have the right mindset, you can accomplish just about anything. Proper preparation is absolutely key to get race ready.

My main running goal this year is to run my first half marathon, so I’m taking the necessary steps to make sure I can achieve this goal injury-free. Here are some tips and things I’ve learned that could also potentially help you along the way to achieve the goals you’ve set out for yourself.

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1) Train properly.  The one thing I’ve learned from last year’s injury is to make sure you train the right way for the goal you’ve set for yourself. That means, if you’re planning on doing a run, make sure you also cross-train, do some weight-lifting, incorporate yoga or swimming into your weekly practice or other activities that will complement your training and will strengthen other parts of your body. Additionally, it’s important to have a running plan that increases distance, changes pace, terrain, etc. the proper way. Increasing distance more than 10% a week can have a negative effect on your body, so take a calendar and plan the weeks/months leading up to your sporting event. Also, pre and post-workout stretching and foam rolling are just as important as the workout itself.

2) Eat right. This may be obvious but it’s easy to get off track. Make sure you have some carbs and protein 30-60 mins post-workout in order to facilitate the replenishment of muscle glycogen and muscle repair. Making sure you eat clean as much as possible is also key. Being a vegetarian (borderline vegan), I have to watch my protein intake and make sure I don’t develop any vitamin or mineral deficiencies. If you don’t have time to make your own meals, look into getting a meal prep service, there are so many great ones available today.

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3) Go for tune-ups. The one thing I omitted to do last year was going for tune-ups when I started training heavily. Whether it’s visiting a physiotherapist, acupuncturist, RMT, chiropractor or even nutritionist, these people will have a positive impact on your training and can also help prevent injuries or further injuries in the future. These professionals will be able to give you some stretching tips, make sure you’re training properly, getting the right nutrition, etc.

4) Get into the right mindset. You can’t achieve what you set out to do if you’re not in the right mindset. If that means downloading the Headspace app, or signing up for meditation classes, going to see a therapist, whatever you have to do, do it! You need to feel confident, comfortable and in tune with your body and mind in order to accomplish your goals. There’s no shame in taking care of your mind as it is just important as your body.

Now go ahead and crush those goals!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Nike Run Tear Women’s Tank (get it here), Nike Power Legend Brush Women’s All Over Print Capri Tight (get it here), New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Women’s Running Shoes (get them here).

This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek but all opinions are my own.

Must-Try Fitness Studios in Vancouver: Distrikt Movement

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It’s rare to enter a fitness studio and feel immediately at home but when I stepped into Distrikt Movement‘s super fun space in North Vancouver, I instantly felt like I was part of their community. Being new to Vancouver, it’s something that I really appreciated.

Led by two amazing souls – Jian Pablico and Alex MazerolleDistrikt Movement is so much more than a fitness studio. Over the past three years, the two have come together to create an amazing community of like-minded individuals that are looking for a healthier lifestyle while also keeping good vibes at the forefront. I had the opportunity to try out one of their signature classes CRUSH HUSH – a 75 min class that combines HIIT and yoga. All of their classes are cleverly named and marketed but above and beyond that, they leave you feeling great about yourself.

Jian shares below the story behind what inspired the space and the community they’ve been able to create in just a few short years.

What inspired you to start Distrikt Movement?

Our foundation was working with young people. We met and started to collaborate because of our mutual dedication to empowering youth in our separate youth programs (Alex with Girlvana Yoga and Jian Vars/ty Initiative).  As we started to work together more, we began to see the changes in the young people we were connected with and the community we were cultivating. We realized that the community we were building needed a home and just as important, a village of people who would buy in to the same idea. At first, we kept our work with youth initiatives low key but as people started to find out more about the Distrikt, they understood that the studio was much more than just the typical yoga/fitness studio.  We didn’t have programs for youth as a sidebar, but as a foundation and inspiration for how we taught our classes, designed our space, played our music and connected with each other. The young people we know inspired us to open the Distrikt. We wanted a space for them to be seen and flourish alongside a community of healthy, supportive and aspirational people.  We also wanted our youth to be inspired by us and in order to do that, we needed to go beyond just talking about doing what we love, to actually just doing it. 

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What separates you from other fitness studios in the greater Vancouver area?

I think what separates us is (a) our unwavering and unapologetic commitment to young people and (b) Our ability to not worry about what others are doing. We are always trying to be innovative with our offerings.  We do this to make sure we are always relevant and so we keep people inspired to stay connected. There are so many studios popping up everywhere and with that an influx of more studios adding DJ’s to their classes, beer with yoga and retreats for their community. I think what separates us the most is our unwillingness to settle and be content. We want to push the boundaries of what studios are. With that in mind, I feel like we create classes that are unheard of, events that are so unique that they can’t ever happen again and people who are open to it all. For example, we cancel classes for dialogues and open mic nights, we train our youth to take over classes, support causes that our people are passionate about and throw epic parties for no reason except for the sake of community. In short, what separates us from other fitness studios is that we never set out to just be a fitness studio.

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You seem to have developed a great community at the space, what do you attribute your success to? 

We attribute our success to understanding the power of the little things and it is in this understanding that we have built the studio on.  “How we do one thing, is how we do everything”.  We do everything with love and inclusion in mind.  This means that the way we make our playlists, classes and events have the same passion as the way we create community.  This is important because all those little things are what end up becoming the reason why people fall in love with the studio.  When people see how much care we put in to every little thing in the space, they actually also truly see us and in that moment we see each other.

We also care so much about the in-between moments. We believe that the moments before class and after class is just as important as the class itself so we make it a point to not let those moments be unused. We genuinely care about each person in our class and want to know about their day. In the first weeks of our studio, we used to have an automatic check in system that was regulated with a typical keychain that our people could carry around. People would flash the barcode that was on the keychain on a laser on the front desk, smile and get changed to workout. After a few weeks, we stopped using that sign-in system and just made it a point to learn people’s names while signing them in manually.  It totally slowed down the process of sign-ins but it absolutely forced us to connect and see people. Today after you sign-in, before we move, a check-in question is always asked for all of us to answer. This process has created a group of people who are not only signed-in to class but more importantly checked-in to the idea that there is more to this place than just working out. Our great community was created by constantly checking in with people and doing it in the most human way possible.

mde

In addition to your regular classes, you put on a lot of special events and help out youth in the area, why is that important for you both?

We put on a lot of parties because we don’t want to wait to celebrate ourselves and our community. We’ve thrown parties because we designed a new t-shirt, to support a cause, because it’s summer, because summer is ending and just cause we feel like we need one.  For us, events create more meaningful connections so the more we can do them, the better. We also see them as a great opportunity for us to truly see each other more. For example, when we organize an event to support someone’s cause/initiative we are also sharing that person’s story to others.  We are getting a glimpse in to what makes that person who she/he truly is. The more we can do that, the more we grow.  We also throw a lot epic parties so we can just party and dance with our people. It’s great to be able to party late with people one day and then workout with them the next (insert cute quote about balance here).

We support young people so much because we understand that it takes a village to raise a good person and we want to be part of that village and therefore do our part. We are also constantly inspired and influenced by young people. For us, our young people teach us to laugh more, love fearlessly, live courageously and to never forget who are.

mde

For more information on Distrikt Movement or to check out one of their classes, go here.

 

5 Questions With: Ashmore Ellis of Babes Ride Out

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Photo: @yveassad /Yve Assad

If you were to ask me who are some of the women I look up to the most at the moment, these two ladies would without a doubt make my list. Ashmore Ellis and Anya Violet are the founders of Babes Ride Out, a community of female motorcycle riders and enthusiasts that put on a series of moto camping events throughout the United States and around the world. This year, they are celebrating the 5th anniversary of their inaugural Babes Ride Out event in Joshua Tree in October. They will also be putting on a handful of other experiences that have as a goal to unite and celebrate the camaraderie of women on two wheels. I was thrilled that Ashmore was willing to answer a few of my questions. I hope you’ll be inspired to check them out or one day attend one of their events. My goal is to become a good enough rider to make this year’s BRO event in October!

1) What drew you to riding motorcycles? 

I love being outside more than anything. Unplugging from the world and its noise has brought me more mental peace than anything else. Riding motorcycles forces you to live in the present as all of your senses are activated at once as you connect with the elements around you.

2) Babes Ride Out is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year. What can ladies who take part in one of your events expect? 

Babes has its 4th birthday coming up in June and will be celebrating our 5th desert campout this coming Oct in Joshua Tree CA. You could say it’s grown quite a bit and Anya and I are forever humbled by the ladies who commit, take the time off work, spend the funds to get there, and are open to experience this makeshift world we’ve created for a weekend. Our ethos focuses on creating an experience based event structure. You won’t see brands vending, rather giving an experience to each attendee. Each brand we have on site and that is a part of BRO is truly invested in this for the right reasons as they aren’t able to profit, rather really connect and get to know this community on a deeper level. As always, this is and will remain a riding event. No one hangs in camp during the day as we shut it down and hand out multiple maps of riding destinations that range 40-300 miles. Sure, we throw one hell of a party at night but during the day we expect everyone to get out and ride their motorcycles and enjoy the environment.

3) What do you attribute the success of Babes Ride Out to? 

Oh man! We get asked this a bunch and I truly feel its several reasons but the biggest reason is because of the quality of ladies who attend. These women come from all over the world and are open to experience this and share their enthusiasm which has made the event grow at an exponential rate. Their excitement is contagious and spreads like wildfire. Ladies who come solo come back with 5 people next year and so on and so on. I feel its Anya and my job to ensure they have the best time while they are with us so we spend hundreds of hours planning every detail, listening to feedback, etc to make the event better. I have 0 problem admitting we’ve made mistakes along the way but man, we’ve learned so much which makes those mistakes priceless to me. Every single lady that buys a ticket to any of our events deserves our absolute best efforts so we do everything in our power to make sure they get an experience of a lifetime.

4) Do you feel that the attitude towards women riders has evolved much in the past five years? How much has the community grown? 

Ladies have always ridden bikes, so have men. We aren’t doing anything new or super skilled over here so I don’t see any attitude personally. If it’s there, it’s not even worth mentioning. It is pretty cool to see other events pop up and brands putting more efforts into catering to the ladies with new products. Anya started a gear line with some friends which make some insanely beautiful technical gear. It’s called ATWYLD and they are really making a dent in the industry right now with their beautiful and functional protection. I am so proud of them!  

5) What have you learned about yourself through riding? 

I’ve learned how to be extremely self-sufficient and have had to tell myself on many occasions on the road “You are a grown ass woman, you can figure it out”. I’ve learned to find the joy and excitement of being a minimalist while traveling on two wheels. I’ve had to learn to problem solve on the fly, follow, lead, all sorts of things which I feel makes me a better person.

6) Where would you like to see Babes Ride Out five years from now? 

Five years ago Babes Ride Out wasn’t even a thing so looking into the crystal ball is so hard to do at the moment. We want to keep our events growing in the right direction and hold tight to our values of being a true riding event where ladies can connect in a unique environment. We’d love to grow our East Coast event and continue to grow West Coast. Our dirt bike learning event, Babes in the Dirt, has really taken off as well. We currently have almost 1,000 ladies signed up. Sure, not all 1,000 will show up as it’s a free event so no pressure, but 1,000 signed up and said “I AM INTERSTED IN THIS” which is mind-blowing and a big deal to us.

Tickets for EC2 are now on sale. For more info or to purchase tickets, go here.