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: 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.

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.

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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.

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

 

5 Questions With: Ashley Brodeur of Feelosophy

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Feelosophy is no ordinary yoga class. I wouldn’t even call it a class, think more of an experience, a transcending and magical one if you ask me. Last week, I had the pleasure of spending my Monday night at Moment Meditation in downtown Vancouver for my first taste of Feelosophy; a restorative yoga, massage and music experience created by Ashley Brodeur. I sat down with her to chat about the philosophy behind Feelosophy and #allthefeels.

1) What inspired you to start Feelosophy?

It was really just a need that I noticed; people wanted to be touched more in yoga. Every time, I would touch someone in yoga, I would see it right away, that it was missing from people’s lives to connect more to themselves.

We did it as a trial run, with Anita, that runs Moment Meditation, who also used to own Social Yoga. We did it as a series and it sold out within a day so I asked Anita if it was cool if I just run with it and see what happens. Jian from Distrikt Movement gave me the name, we were just brainstorming together and he came up with this great name. I started off by offering two classes at Distrikt Movement once a month and then it evolved into retreats, corporate stuff and now I just want it to be really consistent for people, so that they can go online and register weekly. What we’ve been finding is that when you touch people, they are way more willing to open up afterwards. They will tend to linger after class longer, they’ll tend to share more of who they are. If you live alone and you’re not in a relationship, you don’t get a hug or a hand hold, I didn’t think people realized how much that was missing in their life. 

2) How would you describe the experience for someone who has never been?

I would say don’t expect to do much but you can expect to feel a lot. You are not moving very much so it can be for everybody. A lot of pregnant women will come to the class, a lot of men will come to the class because it is very accessible. We touch from a place that is very loving. We’re not trying to workout any kinks and it’s not a very intense massage, it’s more of a supportive touch. We’re not trying to adjust you or fix your pose. We then also combine music on top of that. 

3) Music is a really important part of the experience, how much has music affected your practice and why did you want to include that into Feelosophy?

I’m really inspired by how Jian and Ally from Distrikt Movement speak about music. It’s poetry and it can be really powerful and can give people a voice. I think sometimes in yoga, for me, the music can speak to people’s experience. It might not be what I’m saying because there are a lot of things that I haven’t gone through and so I cannot pretend to know about them. I have experienced pain but it’s my level of pain so I don’t speak to that in my yoga class, I only speak about what I know. So the music sometimes can speak to people in a different way. A lot of times songwriters have gone through certain things and transcend it through their lyrics and people can hear that. That can be really moving for people, when they hear a certain lyric in a song that I’ve chosen.

4) How has Vancouver and the people living in the city received what you do at Feelosophy?

Vancouver is the best place to try something new with yoga. It’s been a natural build, mostly through word of mouth and getting people to experience it and if they like it they can share it. I think people here are really receptive. Sometimes they don’t know they need it until they come in for the class. We got a lot of guys lately, who are brought in either by their girlfriends, wives or told by one of their guy friends to come and they tell us they had the best sleep after or that they didn’t know that yoga could be like that. There was a trend for a while where yoga teachers wouldn’t touch in yoga so I think it was definitely lacking. I think it’s giving an outlet for teachers who want to touch more. 

5) Where would you like to see Feelosophy be in 5 years from now?

For me, I want to use it more as a platform to speak about touch. When I was younger, in my early 20s, I was sexually assaulted and didn’t realize how much I didn’t want to be touched. I didn’t realize that that was such a big thing so re-introducing touch for me took a while. Right now, I’m in talks with Devon Brooks, she used to own Blo Blow Dry Bar and she is an advocate for that; trying to re-introduce touch for women who have also been affected by that. I would love to see classes running throughout Vancouver and even Canada. It would be awesome if other people would want to teach it. I could train them and they could offer it at their studios or get more people touching in that style of yoga. But for me personally, just using it as an intro for a bigger conversation around how important touch is, why we’re afraid to touch. Canadians are seen as being really friendly but we’re not a culture that touches. 

For more information on Feelosophy, go here. Feelosophy will be holding a special fundraising event in support of the Africa Yoga Project on March 4th in Vancouver, for more info or to sign up, go here.

Top 3 Spin Studios Vancouver – Spin Society

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

For more information on Spin Society, go here.

5 Questions With: Craig Slagel of RunGo App

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I love combining technology with running. Over the past two years, running apps have been key in documenting my progress as a runner and also keeping tabs on the runs that I have done when I travel. I recently heard of the running app RunGo, which was developed by Vacouverite Craig Slagel. Since I’ve been spending time running around Vancouver, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about this local startup.

1) What is the inspiration behind the RunGo app?

RunGo was inspired by Dynasty, my retired guide dog who I adopted in 2012 just after starting the company. As a runner and frequent traveler, I often had the issue not knowing where to run or getting lost when I tried to explore. When I adopted Dynasty, my friends joked I should use her to guide me and that sparked the idea of RunGo.

2) What separates this app from other running apps currently on the market?

RunGo works like other running apps but also offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions for your runs. With a library of over 50,000 routes worldwide, including running tours and runs curated by local running communities, RunGo is great for traveling and allows you to re-discover your own cities by trying different routes. RunGo also provides all the usual statistics such as distance, pace, calories burned and provides a logbook to store your results. The app navigates you offline, and only requires data or wifi when you add runs to your library. After that, you can use RunGo to guide you, without any data or wifi.

3) You had the opportunity to present your app on Dragon’s Den, why are shows like that and Shark Tank important for startups?

Apps can be very hard to market, especially since there are some really big players in the market who have very big budgets. As a startup we have limited resources and are constantly looking for creative ways to expose ourselves. Dragons’ Den has over 1 million views so being on the show can be a great way to promote your startup as long as you have a good idea and don’t embarrass yourself. It was also great for us as a company – as we prepped our pitch, we really went back to make sure we understood our business, brand, and numbers. It was a great experience and you can see our pitch on February 15th on CBC.

4) Where is your favourite place to run in the world and why?

That’s a tough one – I’ve run in so many amazing places around the world! I love trail running and we are lucky to have amazing trails in Vancouver, BC. But if I had to pick, I think my favourite place would be Marin headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is where I started running so it feels like my running home. The Headlands Run that took you from Crissy Field, over the Golden Gate bridge and up into the Headlands onto a peak with a panoramic view (on a clear day) was probably my most memorable run when I lived in the city.

5) What would you like to accomplish with the app in the next five years?

There is so much I’d love to accomplish in the next five years on top of being one of the leading running apps by then. It’s often said that the best way to explore a city is by foot and our ultimate goal is to give as many runners worldwide as possible, the freedom and confidence to discover all the amazing running routes around them. I was in Dublin just over a year ago and was able to explore the city by running a different route every day. The feeling of completely immersing myself in the city was amazing as I explored routes created by a local running store. It was a completely different experience from when I used to travel for business years ago and was usually recommended to run up and down the river bank by the hotel.

For more information on the RunGo app, go here.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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If you are on the hunt for the perfect vehicle for living in British Columbia and also want to help out the environment, then you may want to consider giving the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a test drive. This compact crossover is the ideal car for all of your BC lifestyle needs. Whether you’re an adventurous couple, a traveling single or a young family looking to explore all that BC has to offer, the RAV4 Hybrid should be your number one pick.

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With fuel prices continuing to soar, the sale of Hybrid vehicles across Canada has increased 45.2% since 2015, thus allowing consumers to save money and also help out the environment at the same time. Hybrid drivers use about 30% less fuel than regular cars, thus reducing their carbon footprint.  The switch to Hybrid is a no-brainer because it does not affect or change one’s lifestyle or habits, other than allowing them to frequent the gas station less often.

The RAV4 Hybrid is an incredibly versatile car that features some of the best innovative technology, comfort and safety features currently on the market. Some of my favourite features that come with the car are the Toyota Safety Sense P – including the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which are very helpful for driving around busy downtown Vancouver. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control also allows for maximum safety when going on some longer trips. The heated front seats and heated steering wheel also allows for utmost comfort while traveling in the winter time.

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The RAV4 Hybrid also has a ton of room for passengers both in the front and the back and with up to 73 cubic feet of cargo capacity, you can comfortably take your friends with you on your next sporting expedition out of the city.

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The RAV4 Hybrid offers 194 net system horsepower Hybrid Synergy Drive, built around a 2.5L four-cylinder, Atkinson Cycle engine. Some additional standout characteristics are the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control System (TRAC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and the All Wheel Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), which is essential when driving on wintery Canadian roads.

Moreover, you know your friends and family are safe when traveling in the RAV4 Hybrid thanks to Toyota’s excellent safety standard, which include eight airbags, a back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Vehicle Proximity Notification System, just to name a few.

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The RAV4 Hybrid‘s vibrant Electric Storm Blue colour, 18″ Aluminum Alloy Wheels, sleek black interior and sporty features allows you to ride in style all around British Columbia and wherever your adventures take you.

For more information on the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, visit https://www.toyota.ca.

Top 3 Spin Studios Vancouver – Eastwood Cycle

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!