How the Apple Watch Has Become the Ideal Fitness Partner

Photo by Mirae Campbell

As an early Apple Watch enthusiast, I’ve always been excited by the possibilities that this watch offers. From being able to track your workouts, to keeping you accountable with friends by closing Activity Rings to now having integrated some great fitness-related apps, the Apple Watch Series 4 has become the ideal fitness and health partner.

I’ve talked about some of my favourite features of the watch on the website before but am happy to share with you today, some of my latest and greatest watch discoveries.

Photo by Matt Massa

Snoww

Though the season may be coming to an end, it’s with tons of enthusiasm that I tested out a cool social ski and snowboarding app last week while in Whistler. Developed by Eddy Healey, a ski fanatic from the UK, Snoww is a ski and snowboarding tracking app that allows you to follow friends and compare vital ski/snowboarding statistics or even compete with skiers/snowboarders to climb your way to the top of the mountain’s leaderboard. Think of Strava but specifically designed for skiing/snowboarding. You can even add Siri shortcuts to get information about your runs while you’re on the mountain but my utmost favourite feature on the app is being able to track in real time the people you follow on the app to see their whereabouts on the mountain. As someone who lives in BC, where backcountry skiing and out of bound riding are a thing, this could potentially be really helpful if ever you were to be out with a group and lose someone. They also have an augmented reality feature that allows you to track someone and see in more detail where they are. The metrics from the Snoww app will then seamlessly be added to your Activity App once your day on the mountain is complete.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by: Mirae Campbell

Yoga

As someone who does a lot of running, yoga has become a great way to cross-train and also stretch plus take care of my body. Therefore, the new Yoga Workout in the Workout App is a great addition to the slew of activities like swimming, cycling, spinning, hiking, etc. that are already available. It’s a fantastic way to set goals for your practice, measure your heart rate as well as calorie burn during each session. Additionally, a great way of ending your practice is by using the Breathe app, which will guide you through 1 minute of deep breathing before moving onto the next thing on your agenda for the day.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell

Running

I’ve been using the Running Workout on the Apple Watch for the past couple of years. Though I’ve already talked about some of the things I love most about the Running Workout, one of the things that I have really enjoyed is being able to run without my phone, thanks to cellular connectivity with the Apple Watch Series 3 and Apple Watch Series 4. Another plus is being to run wirelessly thanks to my AirPods. I’ve enjoyed listening to podcasts and some of my favourite tunes without having to worry about wires. As someone who sometimes forgets to start my workout, having the Automatic Workout Detection is a great reminder to start and stop a running session if ever I have forgotten to do so. Like I’ve alluded to in a previous post, additional features like the rolling mile pace, cadence and target pace are all tools that can help, especially when training for a race.

Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell
Photo by Mirae Campbell

In short, these are just some of the many fitness and wellness features that come with wearing an Apple Watch. With all the testing that Apple is continuously doing and the addition of trackers such as the accelerometer, the altimeter, GPS, heart rate tracker, etc., it comes as no surprise that the Apple Watch has become highly coveted by both people like you and I and Olympic athletes like Canadian Ski Cross Olympic gold medallist Marielle “Big Air Mar” Thompson and Brady Leman, who is also a Canadian Ski Cross Olympic gold medallist.

For more information on the Apple Watch and how it can enhance your workouts, go here.

Apple Watch Series 4 Highlights

I recently received the new Apple Watch Series 4 and after a few weeks with the watch, I wanted to share with you a few standout highlights. I haven’t done a tech review like this in a while so hopefully this will be helpful for those thinking about potentially investing in a watch.

1) Heart Rate Monitor – Something that I’ve used quite a bit while training. The new monitor checks your heart rate throughout the day and also checks for unusually high or low heart rates as well as lets you know if something is irregular. You can also get all your heart rate information via the Health App (which you can also use for sleep, nutrition, activity, mindfulness and more!).

There’s also the new fall detection feature (the accelerometer and gyroscope detects if you’ve fallen plus if you are unresponsive for more than 60 seconds an emergency call will automatically be placed for you) and Emergency SOS feature that allows you to call 911 as well as notify your emergency contact plus send your current location and Medical ID badge for emergency personnel.

2) Updated Workout App – This comes with new workout options such as Hiking and Yoga. Having this new hiking option is a great way to keep tabs on vertical gains and how long you’ve been hiking for.

Another watch improvement is for runners; there are new pace alerts that lets you know whether you’re ahead or behind your desired pace. The cadence metrics also lets you see your steps per minute plus the rolling miles allows you to see the split for your previous mile at any point in time.

If you workout at the gym, you can easily pair your watch with compatible gym equipment, which will help sync accurately heart rate, speed and calories between the machine and your watch. The sync can be done with just a tap of the watch on the machine. (Find out more about the GymKit feature here)

It’s also easy to connect your watch to other fitness apps such as the Nike Training Club, Strava, all of which, will get you credit towards your activity rings.

Finally, the automatic workout detection helps you out if ever you’ve forgotten to start your workout app and you’ve already started to exercise, gone for a walk, etc.

Once you finish a workout, you’ll also now receive an update on your activity rings integrated right into your workout summary, which is neat.

3) Timer – The new version of the timer allows users to repeat their timer as many times as they want once the pre-determined time is up. This is a great update especially when working out because you no longer have to reset the timer, you can just easily press “repeat” on your watch and you’re ready for the next round.

4) Podcast – I love listening to podcasts via the podcast app on my watch and connecting my watch via bluetooth to my Airpods. The bigger watch face allows for greater detail on the podcast that I’m listening to. Listening to podcasts wirelessly while running or working out feels pretty amazing.

5) Watch faces – There are tons of new customizable watch faces available with the new Series 4 watch. You now have access to cool new info such as air quality, UV index, current temperature plus heart rate, music, workout, etc. You can easily customize your watch face from A to Z so you have everything you need right on your home screen and never need to go searching for it!

6) Wallet – Though I have yet to use Apple Pay via my new watch, I love having my boarding passes as well as race confirmations and event tickets directly on my watch. It’s been incredibly useful when traveling or when I don’t have my phone handy.

There are many additional features on this smartwatch but these are some of the ones that really stand out for me at the moment. I really believe the Apple Watch Series 4 to be the best all-around watch out there on the market. It’s really been a game changer for me in all aspects of my life from training to work to every day tasks.

For more info on the Apple Watch Series 4, go here.

#RUN2EXPLORE – Paris

Two years ago this fall, I created a running series as I was traveling across Canada for the television show I was working on. Titled 13 Cities, 13 Runs (you can check it out here), this series was a fun way for me to share some of the discoveries that I made while exploring these cities by foot. I’ve always found running to be such a great means to explore a new city or city that you aren’t too familiar with. Whether running on the streets or on some of the local trails, it’s the cheapest and in my opinion, easiest way to really get a feel for a place when you travel.

So after some brainstorming and with all of the travels I’ve been doing and have coming up in the next couple of months, I’ve decided to revive this series. Now entitled #RUN2EXPLORE, this series will have as a goal to showcase some of the potential trails, routes, etc. that you could explore in one particular city.

I’m kicking-off this new series today with none other than: Paris!

There are lots of different types of routes to explore while in Paris. Though a very busy city, there are still tons of places where you can run uninterrupted around the different neighbourhoods, or “arrondissements” as they call it in Paris.

For this new series, I’ll be highlighting a few notable areas that are worth exploring via running. For Paris they are as follows:

1) Bois de Vincennes – Located adjacent of the 20th arrondissement and right at the Château de Vincennes Metro, this large park and castle is a lovely area to run around in. There are gardens, a lake, waterfalls, lots of trees and even a nudist area, for those who are interested. You can easily run up to 20kms around the park. An enjoyable segment to try out is the following: https://www.strava.com/segments/16329265

2) La Seine – This 777-kilometre-long river runs right through the heart of Paris. There are many of the city’s major attractions that can be seen by running along La Seine; everything from Le Louvre, to Notre Dame de Paris, to the Champs Elysées, Tuileries Garden, Trocadero and even the infamous Eiffel Tower! La Seine can easily be accessed by Metro, there are a handful of stops located just steps away from the river. The following is a worthy segment that runs past some of the city’s main tourist hotspots and that can easily be added to if interested: https://www.strava.com/segments/18330554

3) Versailles – One of the most beautiful areas of the greater Paris; from the gardens to the incredible Palace that dates back to 1682, when it was used as the principal royal residence of France under Louis XIV. You can easily run up to 15 kms around the palace, the Grand Canal, theatre, etc. A good starting point is the following segment: https://www.strava.com/segments/9795698

4) Parc de la Villette – This is my latest Parisian discovery. Located right by the Crimée, Porte de Pantin or even the Porte de la Villette Metro stop, the Parc de la Villette runs right along the canal. It’s home to the Philharmonie de Paris, La Géode movie theatre, the popular concert hall Le Zénith and many other gems. I ran a flat 10k through the park and along the canal. You can get inspired for your own run by looking at the following segment: https://www.strava.com/activities/1885813174

These are just some of the many areas of Paris to explore. It’s such a culturally and historically rich city with a wide variety of landscapes that there’s endless possibilities of segments to explore!

TIP: I definitely recommend prioritizing running through the parks or along the canals and waterways instead of running through the streets of the city as it can be quite hard to constantly dodge people, bikes, scooters, motorcycles, etc. and the sidewalks are usually quite narrow.

CURRENTLY TRACKING RUNS WITHApple Watch Series 3 + Strava App

FOLLOW ME on Strava here.

Why Sole Girls is Sole Awesome

Growing up, I always on the lookout for other like-minded girls and groups to join. I would have been thrilled to have been a part of a group like Sole Girls as a pre-teen and teenager.

Sole Girls is an amazing organization that via creative running games empowers girls ages 6 through 12. They provide them with tools to develop healthy ideas about body image, media, healthy living, peers and self-esteem. They offer weekly sessions, camps as well as workshops for these girls. They also organize events such as Sunday’s Sole Awesome 5K for the entire family, with funds directly going to some of their scholarship programs.

Sunday, I had the chance to partake in their Sole Awesome 5K thanks to MEC and got to meet some of the most incredible young girls. It was a fun morning filled with both running and also super fun activities like 3-Legged Races, on-course obstacles, dance parties, and more! Every kilometre of the run highlighted one of the Sole Programs’ core values, which are: Support, Open-Mindedness, Listening and Enthusiasm.

In addition to Sunday’s events, Sole Girls have lots of programs and initiatives planned for the summer including their Summer Camps, which start in July in and around Vancouver, North Vancouver, South Surrey, Langley and Calgary.

There is no doubt in my mind that if I would have been able to join a group like Sole Girls, when I was younger, that it would have been such a huge help for me after my parents’ divorce. It would have been such a great support system and would have without a doubt helped me with my self-esteem and maybe even help counter the eating disorder I had during my teens.

I was really inspired by all of the positivity that radiated from all the girls present at Sunday’s Sole Girls that I’ve decided to become a Soleteer, a volunteer with Sole Girls! If this is something that might interest you or to find out more about Sole Girls, go here.

A big thank you to MEC and Sole Girls for allowing me to be a part of Sunday’s Sole Awesome 5K, it was a truly memorable experience!

Photos by Scott & Pam McFarlane

5 Best Running Trails in Vancouver

There are so many incredible trails located in and around Vancouver. With that said, it was hard to pick only five but here are some of my go-to’s in the area.

1) North Shore Spirit Trail (North Vancouver) – If you’re looking for a multipurpose trail for road running with minimal elevation and that is not nearly as busy as all the trails in Vancouver, you must go for a run on the Spirit Trail. Created in collaboration with the City of North Vancouver and the local Squamish Nation First Nations community, this trail offers up a mix of city, park, mountain and ocean views. You can run from Lower Lonsdale all the way past Ambleside Park and well into West Vancouver.

2) Lynn Loop (North Vancouver) – Is the perfect terrain for someone who is just getting into trail running. There’s very minimal elevation and the packed gravel make it easy on your feet. You also get the most gorgeous views of the forest and feeling completely immersed in nature. Plus if you’re feeling good after the loop, the trail connects to a handful of other trails, so there’s always the option of extending your run if you’d like.

3) Buntzen Lake (Port Moody) – Located just 30 mins from Vancouver, this lakeside trail offers something a little bit more challenging with uneven terrain, roots, rocks and some elevation. This trail is always super quiet and easy to access through their parking lot or even through Sasmat Lake and the Belcarra Regional Park (you can prolong your run really easily and add a ton more elevation to it if you follow the Sasmat Lake Loop, the Diez Vistas or Buntzen Ridge Trail).

4) Baden Powell Trail (North Vancouver) – Though a very popular trail, I’ve often found myself completely alone for most of my runs on the Baden Powell Trail. The Baden Powell Trail can take you either all the way up to Grouse Mountain or down to Deep Cove. There are definitely some more advanced portions like the switchbacks that make up the Pipeline Crossing but all the trails are clearly marked and beautiful.

5) Lighthouse Park (West Vancouver) – A shorter trail than most in the area as the longest distance you can run is a 6k loop. However, the views from Eagle Point or Shore Shine Point are magnificent. On a clear day you can see the Washington Mountains, the islands, Howe Sound, etc. plus you’re running around in a lush forest. The park tends to get crowded on the weekends or during the summer so plan accordingly if you don’t want to be surrounded by people the entire time.

Looking for more trail ideas? I love checking out the Vancouver Trails website or even just going on Strava and looking up popular routes in the area.

Celebrating the release of Tomb Raider with a Lara Croft-Inspired Trail Run

To celebrate the release of Tomb Raider movie this Friday, I recently went on a Lara Croft-inspired run with some friends out on the trails in Vancouver.

Trail running requires determination, strength and a sense of adventure, which are all characteristics that Lara Croft embodies. As I’ve seen with my running group RUN DISTRIKT these past couple of months, group runs are all about togetherness and support from the other runners out with you. When you hit elevation or difficult terrain, having others running by your side can be immensely helpful to keep you going. And that was the case when we met up on the North Shore to go on this cold and rainy run early in the morning last week. Together, we were able to reach the viewpoint just in time for sunrise. We documented our badass Tomb Raider-inspired run with the video below, which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Video shot by: @theoffners

I’m stoked to be giving away 3 pairs of passes for the new Tomb Raider movie on my Instagram – @melsays. The contest is open to residents of Canada (excluding Qc) and is open to anyone 19+. To enter, comment on my Instagram video by letting me know what inspires you! Winners will be announced on March 15th 2018 and contacted via DM on Instagram. #TombRaider #LaraCroft

For complete contest rules and please click here: bit.ly/2FtwnDY

Thank you to Michelle Moon and Sydney Prevost for being a part of the shoot.

This post was written in collaboration with Warner Brothers Canada but all opinions are my own.

Everything You Need to Know About the OTR Program

The Own the Run (OTR) program is back and better than ever. Whether you’re new to running or a seasoned vet, whether you’re planning to run your first half-marathon in 2018 or a 50k Ultra trail race, the program’s objective is to help local Vancouver runners attain their running goals.

By bringing together the city’s best health and wellness partners and practitioners, the program helps runners work on injury prevention, running efficiency and optimal performance all needed to crush this year’s running goals.

If you’ve been following my running journey these past 2 or so years, you know that I’ve unfortunately been plagued by a few injuries. At first it was my lower back, followed by a stress fracture in my right foot and my latest injury was spraining my left ankle while trail running six weeks ago. But I’m feeling more determined than ever to conquer new distances and set even bigger running goals for myself in 2018. Therefore, I’m extremely excited that an innovative program like OTR is available for runners like myself. My goal is to learn more ways on how to stay injury-free throughout the year and also push myself more than ever before.

This year’s program is a partnership between Myodetox and Vancouver Running Company, Mile 2 Marathon, MOVR plus Kokomo, who are all leaders in their respective wellness communities.

For those interested in partaking in OTR, the program is designed to begin at least 12-14 weeks prior to an upcoming race. The program includes the following:

  • Running Specific Therapy Screen (Duration 60 minutes)*
  • Individualized Exercise Program Development (Duration 60 minutes)*
  • Post Race Massage Therapy Session (Duration 45 minutes)*
  • Exercise Module developed by MOVR app
  • Training Program customized by Mile 2 Marathon (value $100-$200)
  • Full Access to M2M track workouts, and social runs at Vancouver Running Company
  • Membership to Flight Crew Premier 2018 (value $70-100)
  • Option of Nutrition consult at Kokomo
  • Exclusive Technical Running Shirt
  • Ciele Running Cap

All items indicated with an * are actually covered by extended health benefits, so a major plus.

Having access to such quality coaching and support is key to training properly and attaining the running goals that I’ve set out for myself. Furthermore, it’s incredibly inspiring to be surrounded by people who keep pushing the envelop in the health and running community. Excited to see what I can achieve this year!

For more info or to register for Own the Run program, go here.

5 Workouts Worth Checking Out in Lyon

Planning a trip to Lyon, France? Here are a few recommendations for workouts and activities that will keep you moving while you’re in the area.

1) M.ROC – Bouldering has become a super trendy sport in North America and apparently in France as well. M.ROC is a super neat concept bouldering space that offers not only a ton of different walls to practice your climbing skills but also offers a place to relax and be social after climbing with their cool cafe. This “Bloc and Bistro” as they call it has three locations in Lyon. It costs around 15 Euros/day including shoes.

2) Bikram Hot Yoga – Yoga is slowly making ground in Lyon. The latest and greatest studio to open up is a Bikram Hot Yoga studio right downtown on the presqu’île. The studio recently underwent some renovations to be able to accommodate it’s growing number of customers. Owned by a husband and wife duo, they’re rapidly becoming the go-to spot in the city.

3) Parc de la tête d’or – Looking for places to run while you’re in Lyon? Le parc de la tête d’or is an absolute must! The park can easily remind someone of Central Park, minus the madness. It’s located right next to Rhône, so you can easily run through the park and then run along the waterfront, getting the most beautiful views of the city. In the park, you’ll also get to see the botanical garden and the city’s zoo.

4) CrossFit Enyento – Located in the 9th arrondissement, this CrossFit box is home to some of the city’s best athletes. CrossFit Enyento offer a wide-variety of classes that specialize in weightlifting, cross-training and more. They offer free trial classes for newcomers and have great trainers that will make everyone feel welcome and provide you with great training tips.

5) Go to the Alps – Because Lyon is located just 90 minutes away from the French Alps, going on a day trip to the mountain is a must.  There are plenty of resorts and mountains to choose from, whether you’re looking to hike, snowboard, run or even eat local mountain food. Worth checking out: Les 2 Alpes, Alpe du Huez and Courchevel, just to name a few.

Running Through Winter in BC

Running through winter means you need to be prepared for all the elements, especially in BC. There are three key things that I look for when choosing my running gear for winter. All of my running gear needs to be:

1 – Waterproof – because rain is definitely often in the forecast during the winter in BC so you don’t want to be running and feeling completely drenched.

2 – Reflective – because the sun goes down so early every night, reflective stripes or designs on your gear are so crucial so that cars and other pedestrians or cyclists can see you when you’re running.

3 – Warm – because even if the weather doesn’t get to be that cold in BC, it’s still important to pick pieces that will keep you warm especially during your longer runs.

I like shopping for my running gear at Sport Chek because they always have such a great variety of products. I’ve definitely been a big Nike Running fan for the last couple of years. They’ve got great technical pieces that not only fit really nicely but that work well. My latest running finds include the Nike Air Zoom Pegagus 34 Shield Running Shoes, Nike Women Power Epic Lux Flash Running Tights and Nike Women’s Essential Flash Running Jacket. These items will be perfect to keep me dry, visible and warm for the next couple of months training in BC for upcoming races!

Photos by: @Offner

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