3 Things I’ve Learned about Yoga

IMG_20170614_203857

Yoga was never really my thing. I have practiced yoga on and off for almost ten years now. I’ve tried countless studios, methods, teachers, but it never really stuck. I even tried going with friends or my mom at a point in time to be more motivated but it never really clicked until I moved to Vancouver. As cliché as it may sound, moving to Vancouver really made me discover yoga for the first time. Though I’m by no means a yogi, I’ve come to appreciate a 1-2 x a week yoga practice. It’s a great way to switch up my work out routine, increase flexibility, workout a few kinks and also allows for some quiet and down time. There are several things I’ve learned about yoga in the past couple of months but here are the most important.

IMG_20170614_203758

1) You don’t have to be flexible. When I look at videos of people doing yoga or even in classes, I used to think that you absolutely needed to be flexible to be able to do yoga properly. The thing that I didn’t realize was that practicing yoga itself would actually make me more flexible. Growing up, I used to dance and used to be quite flexible, but I was never one of those girls that could do the splits both ways and had the longest jumps or jettés (hence why I opted to specialize in hip hop and tap!). But as an adult, my flexibility decreased dramatically (like real badly!) so yoga has always been somewhat of a “painful” hobby for me. What I’ve been realizing, just like with anything, is that the more you practice the better you get at it.

IMG_20170614_203634

2) Find the right instructor that works for you. This is probably the most important thing that I’ve learned about yoga. Just like with anything else in life, there will be yoga teachers that will not vibe with you, that you won’t like, that will not inspire you and will not make you want to come back to class time and time again. That just means, you haven’t found the right person. It may take quite a bit of time to find the yoga teacher that offers a class that connects with you. So far, I’ve found two teachers in the city of Vancouver (Betty Meng @ Yyoga and Ally Maz @ The Distrikt), both offer different practices but I immediately feel welcome whenever I’m in their class. They offer a no judgement zone and help people no matter where they are in their yoga journey.

IMG_20170614_204030

3) You do you. The thing I had always found with yoga was that it always intimidating. I always felt insecure to go to a yoga studio, worried what people would think, that I wasn’t advanced enough, that I wouldn’t get the moves right and that my practice wasn’t developed enough. But then I realized, no one really cares. As long as you do you, you focus on your own practice, yoga can be quite magical.

IMG_20170614_204116

What are your thoughts on yoga?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba sculptor biker shorts (get them here), Hyba printed bra tank (get it here), Always x Always yoga mat (get it here).

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

Staying Active During Your Period

dav

SUP or Stand Up Paddle Boarding is one of the sports I’m hoping to do a lot more of now that I am based on the west coast. Having access to the ocean and with so many lakes nearby, it’s a great opportunity to improve on my balance and also my paddling skills.

dav

Since I’m a firm believer in challenging myself, I decided to venture off on a SUP excursion last week that departed from beautiful Granville Island and had me paddling all the way through False Creek and to Science World. It was a great way to not only enjoy the warm weather but also work on my SUP skills.

dav

As someone who is constantly in movement and who trains 5-6 days a week, I’m always looking for products that keep up with me and help me perform no matter the time of month. So I was curious to try out the new U by Kotex FITNESS line that was specifically designed for active people, like myself. Whether you prefer pads, liners or tampons, the new series of U by Kotex FITNESS products were engineered to move with your body during any workout or sport. In my case, SUP!

dav

Here are the top 4 things I loved about the new line:

Convenient Packaging: The pads and liners come in a drawstring package so they stayed put in my bag all day and I didn’t have to worry about them falling out, especially as I was constantly grabbing my sunscreen or water bottle. It’s just one less thing I have to worry about when I’m on-the- go.

FitPak* Case: Each box of tampons come with a FitPak* case, a small and discreet pack that protects the product in my bag. This is so important to me since I’m always finding and tossing damaged tampons at the bottom of my bag.

Design: The pads and liners are designed to be more flexible and actually move with your body while you’re active. I tried the liners during the excursion and they stayed perfectly in place. I forgot that I was wearing them!

Comfort: Since I’m always on-the- move, whether it’s working out or travelling, I love that the pads are fast-absorbing and keep me dry. They aren’t stiff or bulky at all. Knowing that the product I was using would keep me protected while I was out on the water gave me peace of mind so that I could give it my all and fully enjoy the beautiful views during my SUP session!

UbK_Fitness_Group

For more information on the new U by Kotex FITNESS line, visit ubykotex.ca. Use this coupon when you purchase any of the new FITNESS products!

5 Questions With: Simone De La Rue of Body By Simone

SimoneDeLaRue-FINAL-3212
Photo by: Tony Felgueiras for WINNERS

Dance and fitness are two of the things I love most. Most people don’t know, but dancing was a huge part of my life growing up. I started dancing at the age of 2 and danced for 23 years, even teaching dancing and doing a bunch of dance contracts as a professional dancer throughout my teens and early life. So when I found out that celebrity dance fitness trainer Simone De La Rue was coming to Canada, I had to chat with her about her ultra popular method called Body by Simone

1) What inspired you to start up your own training method – Body By Simone?

After 18 years of a professional dance career, I was ready to move on and the question I always got was: how to get a dancer’s body? It’s simple, the answer is: dance!

Years of dancing gave me an understanding the body and anatomy, which brought me to the fitness world. I had a desire to bring dance to the everyday woman and help her achieve a dancer’s physique. Hence Body By Simone was born five years ago!

2) What would you say is the main component that separates your method from other dance-cardio fitness classes?

Our dance cardio features interval training and the choreography is more athletic so it appeals to even the most uncoordinated of clients.

3) What are your thoughts on the current state of the fitness industry and particularly the focus on women’s fitness these days?

I think we are really moving into boutique fitness. People are stepping away from traditional gym workouts towards group classes. People want to spin on Monday, do BBS on Tuesday, Yoga on Wednesday.

It’s great for your body and helps keep your mind and body stimulated so you won’t plateau. I think that particularly for women who might be intimidated by traditional gyms and machines, classes like BBS are accessible and appealing because they only require your own body weight.

4) What are some of your favourite songs to dance to at the moment?

  • Show me love 2015-Orignal Mix By Sean Finn
  • Pony (Jump On It) Sick Individual’s Remix By Tough Love
  • Needs to 136 BBM or more!

5) Over the years, you have worked with a handful of high-profile and celebrity clients, what has been the most rewarding part of your journey thus far?

The most rewarding part is working with clients towards a goal, like a movie premiere or red carpet for the Grammys, Oscars etc. It’s really wonderful to see them on film and see our hard work come to life (and my name come up on the screen!). I started off with 5 clients and to see that grow to 5,000 is thrilling!

For more information on Body By Simone, go here. Thank you to Winners Canada for setting up this interview.

Cultivate Wellness

IMG_1568

Mark your calendars! On June 25th, The Habit Project will be organizing an incredible day of wellness in Chilliwack, BC called Cultivate Wellness to raise money for the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer. If you aren’t familiar with The Habit Project already, they’re a wellness company created by two families that make delicious cold-pressed juices and nut mylks. Danielle and Mariah, took a few minutes out of their busy schedules to share more about what they do at The Habit Project and what people can expect to experience at the Cultivate Wellness retreat in June!

Can you explain what the Cultivate Wellness event is all about? 

Cultivate Wellness is a collaborative wellness mini-retreat benefiting the BC Cancer Foundation’s Workout to Conquer Cancer.  We are so excited to gather participants from Vancouver to Chilliwack to take part in this event. 

What are some of the things that people attending will be able to experience?

Participants will be guided through a series of fitness workshops: featuring boxing with All City Athletics, the Class by Taryn Toomey led by Turf, yoga with Studio B and meditation by Moment Meditation. Our sweaty morning will be complimented by inspirational wellness and nutrition discussions by Mariah Vermeer of The HABIT Project, Kate Horsman and Katrina Vanderveen of Fortify Natural Wellness. Our retreat is designed to educate, inspire and provide space for individuals to take time for themselves and to forge new relationships with like minded community members.  A nutritious brunch will be provided by Faspa and Co, coffee by Jack Coffee and cold-pressed juice by The Habit Project. 

View More: http://yingerdesign.pass.us/cultivate2016

Why was it important for you to put together an event for physical and mental wellbeing? How does that tie into your mission at The Habit Project?

We believe habits are powerful and that everyone has the ability to take small steps in their daily lives to incorporate more balance and wellness habitually.  It is our sincere belief that with a focus on quality, balance and intention, we can all create healthy habits that benefit our day to day lives immensely.

We grew up here in Chilliwack on a small farm where we sold bags of apples on the side of the road.  Our parents instilled in us a passion for agriculture and took the time to show us the importance of eating and cooking with whole, natural foods.  In an era where the art of farming and the understanding of where your food comes from has been lost, we would like to continue this path of education and agricultural awareness.

We feel privileged to have the space to host such an event at our family farm, The Chilliwack Corn Maze.  We met Genieve last year at Cultivate, our long table dinner, and were immediately drawn to her motivation to inspire individuals to holistic living.  From there, Cultivate wellness was envisioned and a dream team came together to put on this amazing event.   

juice-122.jpg

In addition to being an event, this day is also a fundraiser for Workout to Conquer Cancer, why did you want to work with this organization?

Everyone has been touched by cancer in some way or another.  We can all relate to it’s power over our lives.  We wanted to work with an organization who focused not only on the research but also preventative health.  Work out to Conquer Cancer is a month long movement in pursuit in raising awareness and crucial funds for the BC Cancer foundation.  These funds fuel ground breaking cancer research and care at the provinces 6 BC cancer agency locations.  Funds raised towards Work Out to Conquer Cancer will support research initiatives for all cancer including breast, ovarian, lymphoid to name a few where researchers are making major advancements into early diagnosis treatment and prevention of these diseases.

After we had already chosen to work with Work Out BC, we hired someone at HABIT who we later found out battled cancer for three years.  Katrina Vanderveen is going to speak at our event for the very first time about her experience and journey through this difficult time.  She is strong and extremely inspiring and sure to touch everyone she meets.  She passionate about healthy living and has recently completed her Nutrition certification and ready to help guide others with cancer prevention.  She started Fortify Natural Wellness under which she will provide nutritional consulting for individuals as well as a granola line.  It’s really the best granola you’ve ever had!!!  We just adore, Katrina.

How important is community for what you do at The Habit Project?

Community is a core value of our company.  We want to be more than just a juice company.  We want to inspire people to reach their goals and build each other up along the way.  We hope to create a HABIT community; a group of people passionate about creating healthy habits and a life made better by wellness.  We hope that in enjoying our products people will feel nourished as well as supported on their own wellness journey by a community of people bound together by kindness and strength.

IMG_1518
There are only a few tickets left for the Cultivate Wellness event taking place on June 25th in Chilliwack, BC. All participants will be receiving a free Lululemon yoga mat at the event and have the opportunity to win some amazing raffle prizes. For more info or to get your tickets, go here. Hope to see you there!

Summer Fitness Bucket List

IMG_20170523_174959

Summer is officially here on the west coast! It has been nothing but blue skies this past week, which is very welcome after a series of rainy months. Since this is my first summer out west there are a lot of things that I want to do while the sun is shinning. So I have decided to create a summer fitness bucket list!

IMG_20170523_174934

Topping my list is this summer is training for several half marathons. I did my first ever half in May and loved it so much that I decided to register for a few more down the road. I am taking full advantage of the fact that I’m out west to pick races in beautiful destinations that showcases some of the best Pacific Northwest scenery.

IMG_20170523_174719

Obstacle course races are also high on my bucket list. There are so many great events being held across British Columbia that I want to hit up as many as possible. So I’ve been doing a lot more strength training and training with weights to get in the best shape possible in order to be a strong competitor for these races. I’ve always lacked upper body strength so it’s something that I’m really working on.

IMG_20170523_175032

Races aren’t the only thing that are on my summer fitness bucket list. I’m also hoping to do more trail running, outdoor cycling, hiking, open water swimming and rock climbing. Basically, I want to be outside as much as possible and be as active as possible for the next couple of months!

IMG_20170523_174800

What is on your summer fitness bucket list?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Racerback Low-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Printed Fast Track Cropped Legging (get it here).

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

Trail Running

bst

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.

dav

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.

davThe 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.

dav

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.

hdr

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!

bst

Outfit provided by: MEC. Photos by: Chris Thorn.

New Balance and Sport Chek collaborate on Women’s Only Space

hdr

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.

hdr

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.

hdr

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.

hdr

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!

hdr

hdr

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.

dav

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.

hdr

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.

dav

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.

Finding your #Fitspiration in California

dav

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.

dav

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.

hdr

Mel Offner - April 25th 2017 - photo 4

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!

dav

Mel Offner - April 25th 2017 - photo 1
photo: codmorse.com

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!

IMG_20170420_230731

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!

IMG_20170421_190210-01

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!

dav

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.

IMG_20170421_190038-01
photo: codmorse.com

dav

Watch the little recap video of my trip below! For more #fitspiration, go to Visit California‘s website here.

Coming Full Circle

IMG_20170429_212245-01

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.

IMG_20170429_212651-01

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.

IMG_20170429_212541-01

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.

IMG_20170429_212341-01

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!

IMG_20170429_212817-01

Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Solid-Coloured Crop Legging (get it here), Hyba Printed Medium-Impact Sports Bra (get it here).

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

Rexall Opens New Flagship Store in Toronto’s Historic Brunswick House

dav

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.

hdr

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.

hdr

“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.

hdr

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.

dav

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.

hdr

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.