Trail Running has always been on my bucket list of things to try out. Having recently moved to British Columbia, I thought that this would be the perfect occasion to finally give it a try. There are so many great trails located just a few minutes from downtown like the Grouse Grind, Lynn Headwaters Regional Park, Stanley Park, Rice Lake, etc.
Last week, with the help of a local friend, I did my first ever trail run. Trail running is unlike any sport I’ve done before. It’s one of the few activities that requires you to be 100% in the present moment, it’s like a meditation of sorts. It’s an activity that forces you to focus and work on your feet and eye coordination. You have to make split-second decisions about which way you’re going down and where to put your feet at all times. Also, because you are running up and down the entire time, it really gets your heart rate up and forces you to work on controlling your breathing.
The thing about it that I loved so much, was that unlike road running, you get completely lost in nature. You get to not only see some of the most beautiful viewpoints but also breathe in clean and fresh air and hear little to no noise.
Having good gear is key when trail running. You want to make sure you have the proper footwear that will support your feet and provide you with the right amount of traction. Wearing breathable fabrics and bringing with you some form of hydration and even a snack are key. Experienced trail runners will often go out on their own but it’s never a bad thing to be accompanied by someone who knows the area, if you’re going out for the first time. Other things like having a whistle, compass, phone, etc. are all great, as you never know what could happen while you’re out in the wild.
So if you’re like me and just easing into the sport, I recommend checking out MEC‘s website (here!) as they have run meet-ups, clinics and many races across all of Canada this spring, summer and fall. I am really looking forward to doing my first ever trail race this summer!
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit New Balance and Sport Chek‘s brand new Women’s Only Space at the store in Richmond, BC. This brand collaboration is rolling out across the country. You can already find these women-focused spaces in 18 stores nationwide.
What’s great about this collaboration is that they provide not only running gear but also training and also lifestyle pieces for athletes, fitness enthusiasts or even just fans of the brand.
I had the pleasure of being accompanied by one of New Balance‘s ambassadors, Gemma Slaughter (who finished 10th female overall at this past weekend’s BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, no big deal!), who showed me some of the brand’s new styles and features for this upcoming summer season.
In addition to offering a wide variety of prints and designs, New Balance‘s latest collection features state of the art technology and pays close attention to detail thus creating a line that is not only affordable, but also comfortable and practical!
Thanks to the help and pro running tips from Gemma, I was able to pick out a few key pieces for this current race season and my next half marathon, that is less than a month away in San Diego.
Together Gemma and I picked out, the Reflective Lite Pack Jacket, which is super light and easy for me to bring on my travels and great for running at night.
I also grabbed an Ice Tank, with intuitive cooling fabric, which allows for sweat-activated cooling and 2-way air circulation for fast drying, thus being perfect for hot summer runs. I also couldn’t resist the Accelerate 2.5 Short, vintage-looking and ultra light. These mid-rise shorts will sit right where I want them and aren’t too tight, which should avoid any kind of chaffing while I run. To top it off, an ultra soft Run Viz Longsleeve Top that glows in the dark!
She also recommended the Pulse Bra for a secure feel and fit and most importantly comfort while running.
We completed the ensemble, with a pair of new runners, the Vazee Pace, version 2, for a combination of speed and high performance. These shoes are some of Gemma’s favourites for races and training. I can see why, after giving them a try, they’re incredibly supportive and resilient while also not compromising comfort.
Did I mention that my entire outfit is volt? Gemma says that bright colours allow you to run faster, so coming from someone who runs a half marathon in 1h22mins, I will take her word for it!
A big thank you to Gemma Slaughter for coming to shop with me and for the serious running inspiration. The New Balance Women’s Only Space at Sport Chek in Vancouver is located at 6551 No 3 Rd in Richmond, BC.
This post is sponsored by New Balance Canada as part of the New Balance Women’s Only Flex Spaces by Sport Chek. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.
California is without a doubt one of the most popular destinations for fitness and outdoor adventure enthusiasts. Whether it’s the ocean, the mountains or the desert, there are plenty of landscapes to explore and be active in. You can also find some of the best fitness studios in all of North America.
On my latest Californian adventure, I was able to try out some of the area’s latest and greatest fitness activities thanks to Visit California. With a state that is so rich in fitness, the activities below were only a little taste of what you can actually do while traveling to the area.
1) Aerial Yoga – Looking to spice up your yoga classes? Why not try an aerial yoga session on a rooftop in beautiful La Jolla. Located just a few minutes from downtown San Diego, Trilogy Sanctuary offers a fun variety of yoga and aerial arts classes for all skill levels. Their holistic approach to the activity allows you to have the most enjoyable and relaxing experience while also savouring their beautiful beach city views. Added bonus, they also have a vegan café that is perfect for a post-workout treat.
2) Beach Spin – Indoor spin has got nothing on this one-of-a-kind beach fitness experience. The Del Coronado Hotel is the one responsible for creating this unique class on their luxurious waterfront property. Each spin bike is equipped with Beats by Dr. Dre® headphones that are loaded with high energy music. The hotel’s instructors will lead you through a 50-minute full-body workout that will make you burn 500+ calories. And if you’re lucky, you may even catch dolphins or marine life while pedalling away on your bike!
3) Kayaking Tour – The rad folks over at Everyday California, located in La Jolla, offer a wide variety of ocean-related adventures. Their 2hr kayak tour is not only a great workout but also a fun way to learn about the local history, environment and marine life. Their knowledgeable guides will take you out across the La Jolla ecological reserve for some fun in the sun. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see some local residents – the La Jolla sea lions and also kayak surf back in!
4) WERQ – Located in Huntington Beach, Studio Fusion offers a handful of fun fitness and dance classes for all-ages. Their signature class WERQ, puts their own unique twist on dance fitness as we know it, by combining cardiovascular and strength endurance dance moves to the hottest Top 40 Pop, Rock and Hip Hop music. This class is was a ton of fun and also a great way to sweat!
5) Surfing – Sure, it’s a well known fact that the entire state of California offers pristine surfing conditions but if you’re looking for a great school to learn with or to perfect your surfing chops, check out Toes on the Nose Adventure. They offer small group surf expeditions in Huntington Beach with some great local surf teachers. They’ll take you out just in front of their shop and teach you all the skills necessary to get up on a wave and have a great time while doing so!
6) Beach Yoga – If you’re looking to unwind after a busy week of fitness activities, try make sure you give beach yoga a try. This is one of the most relaxing experiences you’ll ever have on the beach. Also organized by Toes on the Nose Adventure, this small group yoga session is tailored to your individual needs and skill level.
Watch the little recap video of my trip below! For more #fitspiration, go to Visit California‘s website here.
Do you recall transitory moments in your life? Moments when things really changed for you? There have been a lot of transitory moments in my life and a lot of those have occurred during the time I was in Toronto.
A very big moment in my adult life happened over two and a half years ago, when I got back into fitness. I don’t know if it directly coincided with the fact that I had just turned 30, or the inspiration I got from a friend (the beautiful Sosasha!), but it was a big life-changer. It was the moment, when I started being active again. It didn’t really come as a sudden decision but rather was a slow progression from a relatively unhealthy and pretty inactive lifestyle to becoming the person I am today.
Therefore, it was quite a strange feeling being back in Toronto this past week and visiting some of the many places I had worked out in and also seeing my “fitness family”, the men and especially the women that have supported me on my fitness journey.
Toronto is without a doubt the reason why I am so active today. Though I grew up being SUPER sporty and partaking in all sorts of sports, Toronto gave me a newfound love for leading a healthy lifestyle. The city’s many gyms, trails, parks, fitness studios, etc. as well as trainers and fitness enthusiasts really pushed me to reach new goals and challenge myself in ways I never thought possible. People hustle hard here and also work out really hard.
While I lived in Toronto for almost 10 years, I battled with some anxiety due to an extremely stressful and toxic work environment, crappy relationships, etc., so I turned to fitness as a way to help me cope with it all. Fitness has helped me so much that I was inspired to obtain my personal training certification in the fall with NASM, in order to be able to help others with their own fitness journeys.
Coming back to Toronto after being away for more than 8 months this past week, really made things come full circle for me. Not only did I get to refuel by doing some of my favorite workouts in the city, I also got to chat with some of those who inspired me along the way. I’m now leaving my hometown feeling even more inspired to keep moving forward on this fitness journey and can’t wait to see what’s next!
It’s rare these days to see the heritage of properties and venues across the city of Toronto being preserved. However, when Rexall decided to open up their new flagship store in Toronto’s iconic Brunswick House, they made sure to not only preserve but also celebrate the venue’s musical past.
The Brunswick House is without a doubt one of the coolest landmarks in Toronto. What initially started off as a saloon in 1874, evolved into many things over the years including a hotel, a dance hall, a jazz and blues place as well as a concert venue and bar more recently.
I have a personal connection with this iconic place, as Brunswick was the first street I lived on when I first moved to Toronto back in 2009. I frequented the Brunswick House on several occasions for drinks and to watch hockey games during my first couple of years in the city. What I did not know is just how much musical history there was in that building.
“The Brunny” as locals like to call, served as a concert venue for heavy hitters such as Etta James, Buddy Guy, Gordon Lightfoot and even Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey. Artifacts, instruments and old gig posters from these concerts are all featured in the music exhibit and memorabilia collection currently on display inside the Rexall.
In addition to preserving these items, Rexall worked closely with the City of Toronto’s Heritage Preservation Service to restore the building’s outdoor façade and many interior elements that made this place so unique, such as the chandeliers, the tin ceiling, signage and the infamous keg barrel bar. All have been included in the drugstore’s new design.
Rexall‘s new flagship store will offer residents of the Harbord Village and surrounding area high-quality health services and personalized health experiences. There will also be a health centre, which will include a family physician and walk-in clinic in addition to providing drugstore and pharmacy products all under one roof.
Make your way over to the new Rexall store to check out the Rexall Brunswick House Music Artifacts Exhibition before it moves to its permanent home at Calgary’s Studio Bell in 2018.
The new Rexall flagship is located at 481 Bloor St. West in Toronto.
This article was written in collaboration with Rexall but all opinions are my own.
With race season already underway, I thought I would share some of my latest go-to running essentials for spring. I’m eagerly awaiting my half-marathon debut and clocking a lot of miles, so these essentials have been keeping me on track (no pun intended!).
1) Stance Run Fuel Crew Socks – These lightweight reflective socks are perfect for running with a reinforced toe and heel, engineered arch support and also breathable mesh. These Stance socks stay on your feet without moving around, they will never slide off and also look super fly. The entire Stance Run collection is so fun! My new favorite thing is to run races in these wild performance socks.
2) Nike Free RN Distance 2 – The latest edition of the RN Distance shoe is a great new addition to my running gear. I have been using them for my 8-10 km runs because they are very lightweight and also very flexible. The shoe’s outsole has hexagonal flex grooves that allow for greater flexibility of the foot while you run. Additionally, the Lunarlon cushioning supports my feet during these longer distances and so do the Flywire cables that are integrated with the laces, in order to wrap my arch and provide an even more supportive fit.
3) Ciele FSTCap – With spring comes warmer temperatures and higher chances of running in the sun (hopefully!). I always cover my head when running during the warmer months because it could potentially prevent heatstrokes and at the same time, keeps my hair in place. This Ciele cap is super lightweight, UPF +40 protection, easy to bring travel with and machine washable.
4) Spibelt With Waterproof Accessory – This Spibelt is an absolute must for my runs, races and also all of the obstacle courses I’ve been doing. Not only does it keep my belongings dry and clean but it’s also sturdy while not being bothersome when I run. I use the larger belt to stash anything like keys, ID card, money, phone and also gels while I run.
5) Strava Run App – Whether you’re training for a half-marathon like myself, a trail race, a triathlon, a cycling race or just want to keep tabs on your fitness activities every week, the Strava App is a super handy tool! Not only is it a great activity tracker but also a fun and encouraging social platform.
6) Clif Shot Energy Gel – Longer runs often require a little boost of energy so I have been trying out some gels these past couple of weeks as I’ve been clocking more miles to see how my body reacted. Thus far, the Clif energy shot has been my favorite in terms of flavour and also ingredients.
7) Urbanears Humlan headphones – These have been my go-to for running for the past two years. This particular Urbanears model is machine washable, has a tangle-free cord as well as built-in mic that allows you to also be able to chat on the phone if you so desire.
8) Consonant Sunscreen – With the temperatures on the rise, it’s important to wear sunscreen especially when going out for a longer run. The Consonant sunscreen is one of my favorites because it is clean and 100% natural. The cream uses uniquely micronized (non-nano particle) Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide minerals to block the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. The cream is also water and sweat resistant!
Last week I was invited to fly to New York City to check out the brand new Spring/Summer 2017 GapFit collection. The brand teamed up with celebrity trainer Jonny Roxx and celebrity choreographer Tanisha Scott for a special morning celebration that was designed to make us sweat in their latest gear.
We met up at the recently opened Rumble, a boxing-inspired group fitness studio in Flatiron district to preview some pieces from their collections, which included the new GapFit Sculpt, a range of compression shorts and tights designed for high intensity workouts. And high intensity, is what we got that morning! Everyone had the opportunity to try items from their line that was created for both men and women with optimal style, technical innovation and comfort in mind.
The morning started off with a powerful boxing workout followed by some super fun choreography with Tanisha Scott and we capped it off by doing a full-body conditioning workout with Jonny Roxx.
The two Toronto natives are such great ambassadors for GapFit‘s new collection. The pair met on tour with Drake and hit if off immediately, both working in tandem to shape Drake‘s body and stage presence. What’s great about their collaboration with the brand is that they brought in some of their expertise to create a unique workout and dance moves for GapFit.
Both have worked with some of the top stars in the business. Jonny has trained clients like Brandon Jennings of the Washington Wizards, Amir Johnson of the Boston Celtics and Drake. Whereas Tanisha has worked with the likes of Rihanna, Beyoncé, Drake, Jay Z and Alicia Keys, just to name a few.
Jonny and Tanisha are beyond thrilled to be able to collaborate with the brand on this new collection.
“Gap is such a reputable brand. I try my best to align myself with the best. I was excited, when I was approached with the opportunity to work with them. They’re one of the best,” says Roxx. “Gap is the OG classic with great structure and amazing quality clothing that I can pair with anything,” adds Scott.
As for what they look for when choosing activewear, Roxx explains “I look for clothes that are breathable and comfortable. I also look for clothes that do well with sweat and that look great on me in the gym and outside of the gym. I look for clothes that make it easy for me to move. Gapfit is the total package.” As for Scott, she’s looks for three key things, “comfort, functionality and style.”
For this specific collection, GapFit created some ingenious elements, such as Breathe fabric and Aero Mesh. The clothes work not only in a fitness studio or for a run but also after a workout, so you can hit the streets confidently after your sweat session.
After the fun workout last week, we were served some tasty snacks and got to chat with both Tanisha and Jonny. I was excited to be a part of such a special launch and left New York City excited to incorporate the new GapFit collection into my active lifestyle!
TurF recently opened its doors on West 4th St. in Kitsilano. TurF is unlike any other place in the city because they combine a workout space, café and also cute shop all into one. It’s a place where you can “work out, hang out and take out” as they say. I had the pleasure of stopping by for some delicious vegan food and take one of their unique classes led by TurF’s GM Angela Hartman. She also took a few minutes to give me the lowdown behind this magical space.
What was the initial goal and inspiration with TurF?
TurF’s mission is to “create a daily practice to live a life that is enormous”. The idea behind TurF is like a modern day community centre a gathering place for people to grow and contribute to their communities. We put all our favourite things: a conscious sweat, a considered menu and a thoughtful assortment of things we love.
What are some of the classes and services that you offer that are unique to TurF?
We are the only studio outside of NYC and LA that has the method The Class by Taryn Toomey. I’m so happy to offer this class to the community in Vancouver as it has deeply impacted my life. We also have a Boxing Conditioning Program that we worked on with one of our teachers, Tom Taylor. It’s a great mix of proper technique and a great workout. We also have a lot of strength classes like TRX classes and a hip hop based dance program that it SO MUCH FUN.
In addition to being a workout studio, TurF is also a kitchen and café. What is the philosophy behind the food and drinks you serve?
We want people to eat more plants. The base of our menu is Vegan (with a couple vegetarian exceptions) and ethically sourced protein to add onto the menu for those who are not vegan or vegetarian. all the recipes for both the bistro and the bakery came from the kitchens of our founders Delaney and Deanne. The menu was created to nourish and fulfill you. For us this means you can have a great workout and have breakfast afterwards and it would support the workout you just did, along with not getting hungry an hour later.
You also have a boutique of carefully curated lifestyle and workout products, can you share a bit more info about what people can find there?
The Shop was created to have a thoughtful assortment – we have either designed it, tested it or curated it to all go together. We want people to have quality and less things – this means the product you can find at TurF can have several uses or functions in your everyday and that it can all go together. We tried to bring in product that was either not available in Vancouver (like the athletic brand The Upside) and that we think is the best brand in a particular category, like the 2xU compression tights. We also created our own product of pieces we wanted to wear every day.
Where would you like to see TurF five years from now?
Such a good question! I would like to see more TurF locations that support living into our mission for people to live an enormous life. I hope that we are doing something that I can’t even think of right now – we are a group of people committed to always learning and growing and I think TurF will shape in ways that we don’t even see coming.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.