One of the best things about Whistler is the brilliant 25,000 sq ft outdoor spa located just a few minutes away from the slopes. The Scandinave Spa Whistler is the perfect place to unwind after a day of skiing, hiking or outdoor adventure in the area.
Situated right in the heart of nature, this Nordic-inspired spa enables guests to decompress and enjoy a relaxing and rejuvenating escapade. The mountain views and fresh air transport you into an oasis of wellbeing.
One thing the Scandinave Spa is renown for is its topnotch amenities. Their baths, wood burning Finnish Sauna, eucalyptus steam room and waterfalls come together to create the most luxurious experience. This past year, they inaugurated a brand new building at the spa that features a state of the art sauna, observatory deck, lounge as well an additional eucalyptus steam room. You can also book a massage with one of their highly qualified therapists to prolong your Scandinavian bath session.
There are many health benefits associated with Scandinavian baths, also known as hydrotherapy. In addition to it being relaxing and energizing, the baths also help cleanse the body as well as stimulate blood circulation and the release of endorphins.
The spa’s eco-friendly and sustainable building allows them to truly be in harmony with their natural surroundings. They pride themselves in their “green” roof as well as the use of sustainable fibers and stainless steel water bottles. They also make sure to work with as many local suppliers as possible.
The Scandinave Cafe is a real treat, no pun intended. Their delicious and healthy locally-made snacks are the perfect pick me up after a few hours spent unwinding at the spa.
Get a 360 tour of the spa’s facilities below with the Samsung Gear 360. For more information on Scandinave Spa Whistler, go here.
This week, I share my final favorite spin studio in Vancouver. Spin Society opened up their first studio a few years ago on Granville St. in downtown. After a successful couple of years, they launched their second location just a few weeks ago. Everyone at the space is so incredibly welcoming and friendly and their master trainer Lucy is one of the most passionate instructors I’ve ever met. The studio’s founder Dominik Desbois shares the story behind Spin Society.
What inspired you to start Spin Society?
I am an engineer, my background is in bridge engineering. I went to McGill to get my engineering degree. I worked as an engineer for six years and was not satisfied with where my life was going. I stopped and thought about everything as a whole and thought that I needed to serve a bigger purpose. The whole computer 12-hours a day thing was not for me so I decided to go back to school. I went to do my MBA and it’s during that time that I met my wife, who’s a spin addict. She was spinning every single night and just couldn’t get enough of it. So I started researching the subject and thinking about what makes it addictive. At the end of the day, what makes it addictive is the people. You can throw a bunch of bikes in a room and play loud music, anybody can do that. You can throw money at it, build it but unless you have the right people, it won’t work. That’s the part that intrigued me. I’m a builder so how do I build a team that will give people that feeling of “I can’t get enough”, so that’s what drives what we do. From the very start of Spin Society was how do I put together people, because I definitely have my shortcomings when it comes to marketing, that I’m not good at, but I think I have an ability to get people together and work as a team. How do I assemble a team so that we can thrive as a business and I think that’s what we’ve done.
What would you say separates you from other spin studios in the city?
It was tough because when I opened Spin Society, I thought I would be the only one because when I wrote my business plan and the financing and all that stuff, it was a few years before we opened our doors. And then we opened our doors and four other spin studios were popping up. I think through time, was has made us different is the wide-range of people that we can bring together. There’s a really cool feeling at Spin Society when somebody walks through the door, there’s an energy where they feel like they belong right away. We’re a no judgement, no ego zone, you work as hard as you want to and if it takes you a little longer to get to where you want to, it’s fine. At the end of the day, it’s almost like we’ve created a space that’s all about transformation and giving you the opportunity and permission to laugh, to cry, to yell to be angry. Our trainers are amazing, I couldn’t be prouder of our team. All of our instructors are phenomenal at what they do. They will break you down with music to a point where they can inject a lot of positivity. The whole team is super upbeat and positive. It’s a people business.
What are some of the classes that people can take and what kind of experience can people get when they come to Spin Society?
We pride ourselves on the Spin Society method. We work really hard with all of our instructors and our master instructor Lucy. She spends countless hours making sure that everyone is consistent. We want people’s identities to shine but we want everybody to operate within a box that we’ve created, that is Spin Society. One of the big key things here is that no matter what class you take, you’ll get that consistency. The only thing that changes is the music. Besides the music, the very challenging workout, every instructor teaches the same way and uses the same language. You’ll get your ass kicked and if you’re into that, then you’ll get that no matter who you take on the schedule. And besides that, we have a really nice approach to customer service, where we really value the relationships we build. We try to get to know the people that come in by name. We like to cater to everything that you need to make this experience the best that we can.
Spin Society opened up a second location in North Vancouver. There seems to be a big demand for fitness studios out there, can you share your experience with opening up this second studio?
We just opened on December 12th, we really built a unique vibe and space and interior design there. There’s crazy demand on the north shore because people who are over there are just tired of that bridge. You want to be able to stay on the north shore and be able to go to the good restaurants and good fitness studios. There’s no real reason to come downtown anymore and there’s a very young crowd moving in. North Van’s ready for it but it’s going to take time to build. As much as I’d like to think that we’ve built something really cool here, the fitness names don’t quite creep all the way past the bridge yet so it’s just starting from the bottom. Building the classes and the community and letting people know that we’re there.
Where would you like to see Spin Society within the next five years?
I don’t like the franchise model for what I do because I’m really particular about what I wanna build and the energy in every studio so I’d like to keep control of that. But I would love to keep growing it as much as I can. I’m a builder so once I finished building the studio and it’s functioning, I want to be completely hands off and trust the people to just do a really good job and want to move onto the next build. I’m already looking at the third and negotiating the space for the third studio, so when that’s done I’ll probably move onto the fourth. I’ll stop when someone tells me to stop or when the market tells me to stop.
Eastwood Cycle is unlike any spin studio I’ve ever been to. As soon as you step into the Hastings St. flagship, you’re immediately transported into an oasis of tranquility and wellbeing. Their beautifully designed studio brings decoration elements from Morocco to create a colourful and warm environment. The spin studio itself is without a doubt one of the largest I’ve seen, providing a lot of space for bikes and also for pre or post-workout stretching.
Jillian Sheridan started the space with her husband two and a half years ago. She took a few minutes at the studio last week to answer some of my questions about the space.
What inspired you to start off this space?
I had never personally really found a studio, prior to opening Eastwood that I had been to and had felt that I was part of the community right away. I always felt that I was either not a part of the community or a number and no one would ever notice when I would come or go. That was something that I was always searching for; a really strong community. Then my husband and I found spin and fell in love with it. We were looking to do something different and while we were on vacation in Sayulita, Mexico, we did some brainstorming (we do our best work on the beach!) and decided that if there’s something we want and can’t find, then we should just create it. So we decided to take a leap of faith.
What makes Eastwood Cycle stand out from other spin studios?
Our experience and the space for sure. That was really important to us, we wanted to create a space where people would come and want to stay. People can hang out and enjoy the time while they’re here. The design as well because for us it’s not just about the ride itself, but everything from the minute you walk into the studio. We call our front desk staff the “Experience team”. We’re all about the little touch points.
What are some of the different classes that you offer?
The ride is also huge for us, so we’ve created the Icon class and the Athlete class. We found that when we opened, we had this massive demographic that wanted different types of classes. The Icon is more rhythm-focused and structured to the beat of the music and incorporates weights. Whereas the Athlete class, that my husband created, is more in the saddle. It’s great for people training for the road, it’s intervals, hill climbs and usually does not incorporate weights. A lot of our regulars will take both classes and as a result are getting a different experience when they ride each time. It also attracts different people from all walks of life.
In addition to providing spin classes, you also have a variety of products that people can buy when they come to the studio, can you expand more on that?
I do all of our retail. For us we’re not spin, we’re not fitness, this is a lifestyle, it’s about what makes you feel good, what you’re doing and what you’re wearing. All of the products that are here are an extension of who we are. It’s the biggest compliment when you see someone wearing your logo on their chest. The retail for us has been pretty special. We use a couple of different brands out of LA and we also have RYU, who are local. We also have custom yoga mats that were designed for us by a company called Yeti Yoga. We started ordering from them when they had a small Etsy shop and now they’re on Shopbop. They do a bunch of custom designs for us and are out of Portland.
What is new for Eastwood in 2017?
We’re doing a lot with the GranFondo this year. It’s a ride from Vancouver to Whistler. There is about 5000 people that take part in it and we’ll be holding a bunch of different training rides for them. We’ll also have our bikes at the finish line so that cyclists can spin out the lactic acid after their ride. That’s been a huge project that we’ve been working on. In the spring, we’ll be turning downtown into our true flagship that will hold all of our concepts – Eastwood Cycle, Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate. So when we opened Eastwood, we always wanted to house different concepts, that’s why we chose a name that was more of a place that you were going to and wasn’t necessarily associated with one specific workout. So we’ll be doing a rebirth of Eastwood, which is exciting. We’ve been waiting to open box since day one. It’ll be great to refresh the studio and open up new concepts. Once those are up and running, we’ll also be doing boutique studios.
What can people expect with Eastwood Boxing and Eastwood Meditate?
People can expect a different experience for each workout. Boxing will be done with dim lights, loud music and all bags. We’re building it so that each separate room that you walk into, you will have a different experience in terms of lighting, smells, noise and even how you enter. Meditation will be a totally different experience as well. You can get the vibe from our Instagram account, with the colours and quotes, so it has been a fun project and something we’ve been researching and waiting to launch for so long, so it’s fun to finally be able to talk about it and see it come to fruition.
For more information on Eastwood, go here. Check back next week for my 3rd spin studio recommendation in Vancouver!
Moving to a new city or have recently moved to somewhere new? The best way to get to know a new place is to start running. Since I started running two years ago, I have been able to get to know the places I travel to or reside in remarkably better. It has become my go-to way to explore neighborhoods, landmarks and also a great way to meet new people. Here are my three tips for running your new town!
1) Join the city’s run clubs. One of the best ways to make new friends, find like-minded people and discover your new home is by joining the city’s local run groups. They are usually pretty easy to find, either online or via social media. Another way is to look up running-specific stores or brands that make running apparel, as they often have local run groups as well. These run clubs are mostly free and you can drop in at any moment, so it is easy to run with different clubs all around town.
2) Sign up for local races. Local races always showcase some of the best running routes in the city. It is also a fun way to see some of the city’s attractions and get a feel for the running community in your new home. It will also allow you to meet new people and stay on top of our fitness goals, all at once!
3) Research different running routes. Before going out for a run, map out your run online or search for some alternate routes. Long runs are especially fun to plan out because they allow you to cover so much ground in the city. I sometimes even stop at certain points of interest to take photos or take mental notes of places I want to come back to after my run.
This past year, spin has become one of my favorite activities. I love outdoor cycling and love great tunes, so I’ve thrown myself into spinning and have loved every minute of it. One of the things I love most about this activity, is finding out great new studios and instructors to spin with whenever I travel. Since I’m spending a little while in Vancouver, I thought I would explore some of the city’s greatest studios and share my top 3 with you.
RIDE was the first studio I tried out when I arrived in Vancouver. I was immediately drawn to their sleek looking space. In addition to their Vancouver location, they have just opened up a brand new studio in Toronto. The studio’s founder Ashley explains below the idea behind RIDE and what sets them apart in the city.
What made you want to open up RIDE? What is your mission at RIDE?
I created RIDE because of my love for music, sweat, and community. RIDE brings all of these together. Every time I take class I get to let go of the outside world. I love how the music guides your body and takes you into a different state of mind (if you let it…).
What is your mission at RIDE?
To create a sacred space where RIDERS can let go and push themselves mentally and physically. A workout that takes their day from ordinary too extraordinary and to build a community of like minded people.
What separates this spin studio from others?
Every studio has their own vibe and product. RIDE’s not easy. It’s a challenge for even the best of RIDERS. My partners and I have been RIDING for over 10 years and we still feel challenged. We love the MUSIC and we love to PUSH one another to be better and stronger.
How important is the communal aspect to RIDE?
Community is everything. Without our riders we would have never been able to accomplish what we have today. As soon as you step into the studio you can feel the comradery, you see an incredible pack of sweaty like-minded people working together, inspiring one another, riding in unison to the beat of the music. That right there is our COMMUNITY. We sometimes refer to it as “CHURCH” a space where we all believe in one thing and belong to something together.
Tell me a little more about the gear and clothing that you guys sell?
We currently partner with Lululemon and we have a collaboration with Toronto based KOTN dropping shortly. We also sell custom RIDE gear. We are currently setting up our e-comm so stay tuned for online sales.
For more information on RIDE, go here. Check back next week for my 2nd spin studio recommendation in Vancouver!
This past year, I decided to start following a lot of women in the fitness community as a way to inspire and push myself to do greater things. They have been a huge source of motivation, especially during my injury so I wanted to share with you today, some of my favorite inspiring fitness accounts to follow for 2017!
1) @alwaystri – Sarah is a motivational speaker, an Ironman triathlete, a Paralympian, need I say more? Ever since I met her at the Nike Women’s 15k race in Toronto a year and a half ago, I have been following closely all of her training and racing exploits around the world.
2) @melliecay – Melissa is a marathoner and spin enthusiast. She loves yoga, hiking and loves being active while traveling around the world. Her smile and energy are infectious and she’s just as awesome IRL as she is on Instagram.
3) @gofitjo – This mother of two is real go-getter and positive leader. Her fitness journey is one to inspire. She always has super thoughtful and motivating things to share on her account.
4) @yellowrunner – Sally is part of the Nike Trail Team in the US and is one of the most badass trail runners I’ve ever heard of. She recently accomplished the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and UTCT in South Africa. She has inspired me to start trail running and go after some bigger fitness goals.
5) @sashaexeter – Sasha is known in Toronto as one of the city’s top fitness ambassadors. Her drive and hardworking ethic has been a huge inspiration to me these past couple of years.
6) @rarax3 – I had the pleasure of meeting Jamaica just recently in LA. I love her positive attitude and super fun fitness feed. She’s always running somewhere beautiful or taking rad workout pics.
7) @evannclingan – This redheaded New Yorker is an inspiring marathoner with a super colorful and cheerful account. I love her honesty and the dialogue she has with her followers on her feed.
8) @smasheton – I credit this lady for inspiring me to get back into the pool after years of absence. I grew up being a competitive swimmer and with her many encouraging swimming posts, I found the strength to jump back into the pool again. Asheton is a force to be reckoned with.
9) @camille_pic – This French author and health/sport blogger is currently training for an Ironman. Camille always posts great food recipes and inspiring training pics (and also cute dog pics!). No need to speak French to be inspired by her account.
I’m thrilled to have been asked by Sport Chek to be one of their ambassadors for this coming year. It is an honour to be a part of their ultra inspiring #ChekSquad and to be able to share with you all some of my fitness goals for this upcoming year.
1) Run a half-marathon. This first goal is unfinished business from 2016. My one and only fitness goal in 2016 was to run my 1st half-marathon and due to my back injury this past summer, the goal of running a half in the fall was thrown out the window. I’ve never been so excited to have a second shot at something. I have already started training and cannot wait to finally accomplish this goal.
2) Participate in a sprint triathlon. One of my earliest fitness and sport-related memories from childhood is the only triathlon that I did when I was a kid. I grew up being on the swimming team so the swim part was a breeze but never really ran or biked much so I remember those two latter parts being quite challenging. Fast-forward 20 years later, with all the inspiring athletes I’ve been following on social media as of late, I’ve been itching to give it another shot!
3) Finish a Spartan Race Trifecta. I’m a big fan of obstacle races and mud races and Spartan Race is hands down one of my favorite ones to do. I have partaken in Spartan Races for two summers and have become obsessed. What I like about them is that they have 3 different races with 3 levels of difficulty – Sprint (3-5 miles, 20-23 obstacles), Super (-10 miles, 24-29 obstacles) and Beast (2-14 miles, 30-35 obstacles). I have never tried a Super or let alone a Beast but if I’m 100% back to health in 2017, this will be one of my goals.
4) Try new sports. Since I will be spending part of the winter in British Columbia so I want to spend time hiking and also cross-country skiing. I think the BC mountains will be the perfect setting to practice these sports. I am also open to trying a bunch of different workouts, I just want to be outdoors and as active as possible.
5) Get stronger. This last goal is more of a general goal but after this year’s injury, my goal is to correct all of my body imbalances and strengthen my weak areas in order to prevent any future injuries. The stronger I get, the less chance of injury.
What are your 2017 fitness goals?
What I’m wearing: Nike Pro Warm Notebook Allover Print Women’s Tights (get them here), Nike LunarGlide 8 Shield Women’s Running Shoes (get them here), Nike Pro Classic Padded GRX Women’s Bra (get it here).
This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek but all opinions are my own.
The new year is just around the corner so I wanted to share a few tips on how to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!
1) Get Inspired. The one thing that got me motivated throughout the year, especially during my injury and throughout the winter, when it was hard to get up before the crack of dawn to go work out or when it got really cold out, was to follow some inspiring people on my social networks. I chose to follow some other ladies that were also leading a healthy lifestyle and doing some of the things I aspired to do in order to motivate myself to get out there. I followed well over 50 inspiring women who were either cross-training, running, cooking healthy meals, meditating, etc. And since I’m guilty of spending a lot of time on my phone and on social media, it was a great way to find inspiration during tougher times.
2) Set Goals. Make a schedule with short, medium and long term goals throughout the year. Whatever you want to accomplish, you can do it easily if you break it down into smaller easier goals that you can achieve along the way. There’s a great quote that says “Without a goal, you can’t score” and I couldn’t agree more. Set yourself a few goals throughout the year, goals that can be measured, that are specific and that require concrete results and you’ll surprise yourself with what you’ll be able to accomplish.
3) Visualize. If you want something really badly in life, make sure you visualize it, express it in your every thought and breath. Take 2 minutes each morning when you wake up to visualize your goals. Visualize what you want for yourself, what you want to achieve and how you want to do it. The more you believe in what you visualize, the more it’ll manifest itself and you will get it. It may sound phoney but it really truly works.
4) Make it fun. Find new buddies to work out with, have people over to make recipes as a group or look up cool new workouts in your area. The only way you’ll become healthier, fitter and happier is if you’re having fun while doing so. Don’t make it a chore, make it something you’re excited about. Break up your routine, keep yourself interested, entertained and you’ll stick with it.
5) Make yourself your number 1 priority. My injury late this year was a major reminder to make myself my number 1 priority ALWAYS. We often forget to take to take time for ourselves every day and as a result things can happen. I would make up excuses as to why I didn’t need to take the time to stretch pre and post-workout and as a result, I paid for it and had to be out for a longer period of time than if I would have taken those few minutes each day to help myself. There really are no excuses. Make sure to take time for yourself every day in order to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!
The holidays are just around the corner and though it can be the most exciting and joyful time of year it can also be a very stressful time for some. Because I have been on the path to reduce and eliminate as much stress from my life as possible these past few months, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned in hopes that it may lead to a more relaxing holiday season for you all!
1) Download the Headspace app. The Headspace app has been my go-to during the past year when my schedule’s gotten crazy, when I’ve wanted to decompress or deal with a stressful situation. The app is a guided meditation and mindfulness app that helps you deal with whatever situation or feelings you may be going through in life. You can download their free introductory series Take10, they offer 10 sessions of 10 minutes. It has been a HUGE help with my anxiety, insomnia and has helped me become more calm and focused as well as a happier and healthier person.
2) Get sunlight. The sun is a great way to produce serotonin, the feel-good chemical, which is a great way to alleviate stress and anxiety during the holidays. It can also help reduce the Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), something I have been affected by in years prior. My favorite things to do even during these colder months is either going for a walk during the day, go for a run, riding my bike (when there’s no snow!), go snowboarding, etc. Vitamin D will be a huge mood booster and stress reliever during this busy time of year.
3) Stick to a routine. During the holidays, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the parties, events and things you have to do. Hence why sticking to a routine as much as possible is incredibly important. Prioritize the things that you absolutely have to do and ditch or play by ear the things that aren’t mandatory. Squeezing in too much can lead to extra stress for nothing.
4) Don’t forget to work out. The holidays may be extremely busy but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make time for yourself every day. Even if this means getting up an hour earlier every morning, or taking some personal breaks during the day, this oh-so precious “me time” will have a huge impact on your day and how you feel during the holiday season. If you don’t have time for a long gym workout, run, swim, etc. get active for 15-20 minutes, anything counts. Even if you can only do one quick NTC app workout in the morning by your bedside, your head and your body will thank you. I always feel so much calmer and energized after I take time to work out every day. Plus it’s a great way to reflect, focus and make sure that you are taking care of yourself.
5) Ditch the smartphone. Take time to really enjoy the holidays this year. Enjoy in-real-life conversations, debates, enjoy the quality time with your friends and family. Make an effort to put your phone away or put it on airplane mode. You don’t need to be browsing Instagram, obsessing over what everyone got during the holidays, what people are doing, etc. Be grateful for the present moment, the interactions you’ll have. It’ll make you feel a lot calmer and most definitely less stressed!
These TSA approved beauty and wellness products will be following me as I travel for the next couple of months. Just because I will be traveling for a little while, does not mean that I need to say goodbye to some of my favorite products, most of which are local or Canadian made.
1) Saje Immune Remedy – the perfect pocket remedy that helps relieve symptoms of the flu such as colds and coughs that you can roll on your hands and breathe in or roll topically. Natural ingredients such as eucalyptus, cinnamon and myrrh will help sooth and comfort you.
2) Consonant Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream – This non-greasy face cream uses Cassia Angustifolia seed extract to ensure last hydration. The addition of grape seed oil also acts as an antioxidant to protect the skin from future damage. Perfect for long flights!
3) Mabrook&Co Clean Deodorant – I carry this with me at all times when I travel because I love smelling fresh and clean. This local Toronto natural deodorant is one of the best ones I’ve yet to try. I like their small travel formula and like and it contains no parabens, aluminium, phthalates, propylene glycol, petrochemicals, or toxins.
4) Consonant Natural Lip Conditioner – This 100% natural product is made with over 60% sweet almond oil. I can’t go anywhere without lip balm so I love that it’s made from all natural ingredients. It definitely keeps lips hydrated for a long time without needing to re-apply constantly.
5) Dermalogica Hydrablur Primer – I have been using this great product on my eyes since the summer. It’s lightweight and non-greasy and serves as a great base for makeup so that it will stay put during the day. It also mattifies against oil shine while also minimizing appearances of fine lines.
6) Saje Pepermint Halo – Doing long drives or taking long flights can sometimes lead to headaches and feeling a little pressure in the head so I enjoy rolling this refreshing oil on the forehead and temples when I need to. This comforting and refreshing oil helps sooth but also invigorate the head.
7) Vichy Eau Thermale – I love spraying some of this on my face after long days of traveling or even just mid-day to refresh my skin. It reduces redness, relieves dry skin while also improving the quality of the skin and protecting it against external factors.
8) Magpop – Keeping my health my number one priority while I travel. I love these Magpop magnesium, vitamin C and electrolytes effervescent powder packets. They are sugar-free and free of artificial colors and flavors. They’re super easy to carry with you and help keep you in good health because magnesium is used by every cell in the body for crafting new proteins, rebuilding bones, relaxing muscles, relaxing the mind and powering cell action.