How to Overcome Stress with Sweat

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When stress gets to be unbearable, my go-to relief is working out. There is nothing that beats stress quite like sweat does.

Though I’m not currently training for any big races at the moment (I have yet to sign up for that first ever half-marathon that is on my bucket list for 2016! If you have any great half-marathon recommendations, please send them my way!), I’ve still been keeping a pretty intense training regimen each week. It has helped me tremendously with anxiety, insomnia and also stress in general.

There are many reasons why overcoming stress with sweat can be beneficial and with just a few minutes of exercise, you can reap major benefits. I spoke to my favorite trainer, Nike Master Trainer, Eva Redpath (who is currently featured in Vogue Mexico – hello!!) about the subject and she explained to me that it’s all about switching your mindset when comes to exercise.

People are still in the frame of mind – ‘oh my god, I’m so busy, I’m so stressed, I don’t have time to exercise’, I think it’s very important to start reframing that. As soon as you can reframe that, you can reprogram your mind to think about it differently. I want people to understand that the power of sweating it out can absolutely help you conquer all the things in your life, whether it be your job or all the things that you have to do, relationship things, you can conquer that by sweating it out, by relieving your stress. One doesn’t cause the other, exercising doesn’t cause you stress, exercising relieves your stress. If you reframe that then it will 100% become a priority in your life,” says Eva.

I have definitely learned lately that taking care of yourself first is the only way to overcome huge obstacles and to conquer that stress.

If you make yourself your last priority you will not feel empowered to get yourself through challenging situations. If you make yourself your first priority, you will feel energized and empowered to get through everything. We become resentful when we don’t have time for ourselves but it’s not about having time, it’s about creating time,” Eva adds.

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We all lead busy lives and taking a 2-3 hour chunk of your day to exercise is just not realistic for most of us. But as Eva explains, it’s about maximizing the little time you may have.

As little as 10 mins by your bedside in the morning, can add up and does help. A 45 minute HIIT class before you go to work or on your lunch hour or straight away before you go home so that you get your exercise before you go home, all of these will 100% be enough.”

What I’ve learned is that even just a bit of movement will make you feel a whole lot better.

90 to 120 minutes after your workout, there is a release of endorphins and it is mood changing, whether it’s starting your day on that note or mid-day when you need that pick-me-up or at the end of the day because you still have to go home and do a bunch of things. If you think about doing that and recharging your batteries, it will empower you to make that a real choice that you can commit to,” she explains.

When I feel low energy, as soon as I start moving, it creates more energy. Energy creates energy. You will become more awake, more alert and on the ball. The more you’re moving in your lifestyle, even if you have a sedentary lifestyle, the more it will be beneficial. The body is made to move,” concludes Eva.

So you want to get moving but you only have 10-20 minutes for a workout? Check out Eva’s top 3 quick workout recommendations:

1) “Zoom in 10” – 10 minute workout by Kirsty Godso

2) “Fresh HIT” 14 minute workout by Betina Gozo

3) “Ready, Set, Zoom” 13 minute workout by Marie Purvis

All these workouts are available to download for FREE on the NTC app, that you can get here.

 

New Year, New Goals

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2015 was a stellar year for me on the health and fitness front. I ran my first ever races, I trained harder than ever and became the healthiest I’ve ever been.

Whether it snowed, rain, it was super hot or freezing cold, I didn’t let the elements interfere with my training program. I also used all of my travels as extra motivation to get out there and explore new cities and new sights along the way.

Not only did I achieve my goal to run my first ever race, I also ran a 15k race and a handful more during the year. I accomplished things I honestly never thought possible.

I plan on making 2016 an even more kick-ass year health and fitness-wise. My main goal is to not only stay active and healthy but also run my first half-marathon! To accomplish that, I will need to take my training up a notch.

I’m excited to be kick off the year and be a part of Nike’s 21 Days of #BetterForIt that start on January 4th. Head over to Nike.com to take a personal quiz and see what fitness program is best for you. The program will be specifically designed for your personal lifestyle and fitness level. I honestly couldn’t think of a more motivating way to start off this new year and to move towards my new goal, knowing we can do it all together just makes it even better! Stoked to be a part of such an amazing community of women all around the world. For more info, go here.

Get Out Here

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We all need a little motivation to stay active when winter rolls around. My motivation for the past two years: friends. There’s no better motivator than a buddy to get you out the door when it’s cold.

Thanks to Nike’s winter series and all the amazing friends I’ve made by attending the Nike Run Club and their NTC classes, I can now keep on top of my fitness even during winter.

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Photo credit: Nathalia Allen

Last year, Nike organized a bunch of outdoor events leading up to the beginning of winter and this year, they’ve upped the ante with the launch of the Nike.com‘s online shop in Canada. Not only do they now ship to Canada but you can even design your very own custom pair of NikeiD shoes right here in Toronto. Furthermore, they also provide 1 on 1 coaching with some of Toronto’s best running and fitness trainers.

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Photo credit: Nathalia Allen & Tyler Hayward

Their new #GETOUTHERE events have been the perfect mix of running and high energy training.

That said, when I can’t train as a group, I’ve been getting back into the N+TC app, who’s workouts are constantly evolving. I love that I have so many different styles of workouts, workout lengths, etc. to choose from. Right now, I’m really digging Betina Gozo’s Fresh Hit 14min workout on the app. The drop squat and lateral jumps are some of the moves that she’ll make you do.

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Angelica Bengtsson’s Abs and Arms Workout is also one of my current favorites. I like that I can use a park bench as a prop for some dips!

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If you would like to obtain more info or would like to sign up for some of the classes offered by Nike, go here.

Photos by: @Offner unless otherwise indicated.

What I’m wearing: Nike Therma-Sphere Max Women’s Training Jacket (get it here), Nike Pro Hyperwarm Limitless Tights (get them here), Nike Pro Hyperwarm Limitless Hoodie (get it here), Nike Air Zoom Fit Agility 2 (get them here).

Fall Workout

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Photo credit: Nathalia Allen

Fall officially starts tomorrow. As it starts getting colder outside, it becomes increasingly hard to find motivation to stay active and work out. Luckily, one of the best trainers in Canada – Nike Master Trainer, Eva Redpath, shares with us her favorite fall workout and tips on how to stay active.

What are your fall fitness recommendations?

I’m constantly setting new goals to stay motivated throughout the year and find that it’s the best way to kick off a new season. With the time changing and the sun setting earlier in the Fall, it can feel as if it is later in the day than it is and can make people more tired than usual. Getting into a routine of working out early will guarantee you aren’t missing workouts and you’re starting your day off with a sweat session. Try taking a morning NTC class or use the N+TC app to keep yourself motivated by creating your own 4-week program and finish your workouts anywhere at any time.

What is your favorite N+TC workout to make the transition from summer to fall?

When making the transition from Summer to Fall, I love to turn the heat up with high intensity training. Nike Master Trainer, Utah Lee created a killer “Cardio Hustle” workout on the N+TC app. Utah’s 30 minute  high intensity moves incorporate speed-based drills for an all-over body burn. With quick body rotations, power moves and stability work, you create lean muscle, improve reaction speed and build cardio. It’s one of my favourite N+TC workouts and I always finish feeling the burn!

What keeps you motivated to work out as the temperature drops?

When the weather changes, I love to update my wardrobe and this applies to my fitness pieces as well. One of the best ways for me to stay motivated is ensuring I have all the pieces needed for the results I want. Adding new pieces that are designed to keep you warm even in the coldest weather takes the excuses out of season. One of my favourite winter pieces this year is the Nike Therma-Sphere Max Women’s Training Vest. It’s designed for cold weather training to keep you warm without overheating. The Nike Sphere raised nodes provide warmth and comfort and the lightweight, breathable fabric allows you to have full range of motion for full body workouts. It has a durable, water-repellent finish to help with staying dry. Go out and brave the winter in style with its asymmetrical zipper and overall sleek design.

 

Reach and Recharge

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The month of August is drawing to a close. For many, this also means the end of summer vacation, going back to work, going back to school and also the start of fall.

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I always take this time of year to recharge my batteries, set intentions for the fall and get ready for the upcoming months. The fall is always a time of renewal but also a lot of stress for me. The end of summer, always makes me anxious, as it’s my favorite season. For me, summer is synonym with the sunshine, relaxation, the ocean and surf, so the thought of that coming to an end always makes me feel a little uneasy. I’m always apprehensive about the fall, because it also means the days are getting shorter, the weather will get colder and winter is unfortunately looming.

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This summer, I found the Reach and Recharge yoga workout from Nike Master Trainer Traci Copeland, which has allows me to calm down and stay focused. It’s a 30 minute workout that will suit any level of yogi. I like the mix of poses (Warrior series, chair pose, child’s pose) and the inclusion of some NTC moves that I’m familiar with (Core plank twist, push ups, etc). I hope that through doing these types of workouts and a bit of breathing/meditation, will help calm my nerves leading into the fall.

What do you do to recharge at the end of the summer?

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Photos by @Offner

Nike Studio Wrap 4 (get them here)

Nike Pro Indy Bra (get it here)

Nike Avant Capri (get them here)

Nike Dri-FIT Knit Loose Tank (get it here)

Training for San Francisco

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The Nike Women San Francisco Half Marathon is only a few weeks away! Having been training for races for the past couple of months, I’ve realized the importance of also adding other types of workouts to your weekly training plan. Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath shares today her recommendations in preview of the big race!

Eva’s Top 3 NTC workout recommendations:

For anyone training for the Nike San Francisco Half Marathon in October, cross training is an integral part of your training journey. In addition to getting your runs in,  I’d recommend starting to incorporate the Find Your Fast NTC Challenge into your training schedule. One of the great things about the program is that you can design your workouts based on your schedule and fitness level. The workouts focus on strength to increase lean muscle tissue, endurance to improve cardio fitness and flexibility to reduce muscle tension and speed recovery, which are all important for runners.

Three of my favourite NTC workouts are:

Maurie Purvis’ Ready, Set, Zoom: This is a fast paced, dynamic workout to build strength with metabolic and core drills that are designed to help you move faster

Kirsty Godo’s Zoom Fast: This combines quick, powerful movements for speed, endurance and agility

Traci Copeland’s Reach and Recharge: This gives you a great stretch to increase flexibility as well as increases your breathing technique

Staying Fit While Traveling

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Next week, I’ll be leaving on a 5 week trip across the southern United States. Because I’ve been training so hard these past couple of months, the one thing I don’t want to do while I’m away is stop working out. I know it’s easy to stop when you’re not at home, when you’re on the road or in a different country so I’ve enlisted the help of my favorite Toronto trainer, Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath to give me tips on how to stay fit while traveling. In case you aren’t already doing the new 12-week NTC Find Your Fast challenge, this is the perfect time to get familiar with the app and what’s great is that you can easily build a core circuit with a small amount of space in your hotel room.  Hope these tips will be helpful to all of those also traveling this summer!

Eva’s 3 simple training exercises for traveling this summer:

1) Hollow body: is a time challenge, hold it for 60 seconds or 30 seconds. From a seated position, lower to the ground and focus on keeping your lower back connected to the ground, and your core contracted. Extend raised legs and arms out at a 45-degree angle. Keep neck relaxed, core tight and shoulders off the ground.

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2) Side plank with rotation: out of Ready, Set, Zoom, Mary Purvis’ brand new workout on the N+TC app. Start in a seated position, from a seated position, rest your forearm on the ground and get into a side plant. Keep your hips lifted and aligned with your shoulder and knee. Rotate through the chest as you extend your free arm to the ceiling and down towards the ground. Repeat for 60 seconds.

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3) Mountain Climbers:  This can also be a time challenge, 30 or 60 seconds. Start kneeling. Placing hands on the ground, directly under shoulders, form a plank. Back straight, core tight, weight over shoulders. Drive knees into your chest as fast as you can. Keep your hips down, arms strong and upper body still.

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Eva’s general fitness recommendations while traveling:

-“I make a rule for people when they travel, for them to keep in mind that their regular program will shift but in exciting ways. You can explore your city and make exercising a priority. Sometimes, I’ll tell people when they reach their destination, drop their bags and go for a little 5k run. Put on your GPS or your app and go out for a little run to get to know the neighborhood. If you make it a rule that you check-in, drop your bags, you get dressed and you go, if that works with your schedule, then it’s a good way of making some form of physical activity a non-negotiable.

-“In terms of exercising when you’re going to be on the road, any little pocket of time that you can find to get into the N+TC app and do either a 15 minute or you’ve got the Zoom in 5 with Skylar Diggins, which is literally a 5 minute workout. I think that when you travel, it’s really about fitting your exercise into the windows of time that you have available to you.

-“The nutrition part of it will be so key. So trying to make healthy choices while you’re on the road, whether or not that means bringing some protein powder or if you’re eating out at restaurants, you can make food substitutions or watching portion control. Staying properly hydrated. I have two parts of advice for people traveling or on the road: stay as true as you can to the way that you eat even though you’re not prepping your own food, which I always recommend to do. The only way to guarantee you know what you’re eating is to prep it yourself. That’s number one. In terms of getting your exercise in, it’s where it can fit with a couple of basic tools you can bring along with you like your running shoes, your training shoes, you have access to both of the running and N+TC apps, explore your city, walk as much as you can and then when you wake up or when you go to bed, because you know those are two things you’re always going to do, fitting in some sort of physical activity. Every little bit will count and add up!

Road to Nike Women’s 15k – Week 10

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Week recap:

It took me a while to get around to writing this recap because it took a while for all the emotions from this past week to sink in. Race week was one heck of a week for me! Not only was I incredibly busy with all sorts of events and fun things, but race week also made me feel all sorts of emotions ranging from excitement to anticipation, nervousness, joy, fear, etc. I was particularly nervous because it was my first 15k race experience and after the 10 weeks of intensive training I had just accomplished, I didn’t want to let anyone down. I was fortunate enough to be given all the tools and support necessary from the amazing team at Nike (info on nutrition, hydration, stretching, coaching, etc.) so I really wanted to make everyone proud.

Race weekend really got underway on Thursday. We were lucky to get a media preview of the amazing facilities that Nike Women had put together at Harbourfront Centre. It was incredible to not only see all the latest Nike gear but also meet all the incredible Nike Master Trainers from across North America. We even got to do a special workout with them prior to all the NTC classes starting on the Crystal Coliseum, a floating barge in lake Ontario. That was super fun!

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On Friday, I took an incredibly fun yoga class in the afternoon with Joselynne Boschen, a Nike Master Trainer from Los Angeles and also got to check into the luxurious Trump Hotel for the weekend. I took it upon myself to make the most of it by spending their dreamy pool, hot tub and their gorgeous room!

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Saturday started off with an early morning NTC class with my two partners in crime; Meghan and Chloe. We followed that up with a very inspiring special media shake-out run led by NYC run club coach – Coach Bennett and triathlete Paula Findlay. We also got the yummiest post-run brunch at the Trump Hotel, where we had the privilege of meeting some of the Nike athletes that were in town for the weekend, including Ironman triathlete and Paralympian Sarah Reinersten, Olympic snowboarder Spencer O’Brien and also one of the top female surfers in the world – Lakey Peterson. I couldn’t have been more stoked to meet her, having been following her surfing career for the past couple of years. I had to take a pic and throw shakas with her! I finished off my day Saturday with the women in sports panel, a panel featuring some of the amazing athletes that were present during the weekend. It’s so neat to hear women that excel in sports talk about the career and their journey.

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Photo credit: Nathalia Allen

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Photo credit: Jess Baumung

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I was so incredibly nervous when I woke up on Sunday but seeing the crew of ladies I had been training with undoubtedly helped calm some nerves. We didn’t get the sunniest race but we did get some cool weather, which was definitely appreciated. All in all, the actual race itself was such an amazing experience. One of my race highlights: running on the airport tarmac and seeing the city of Toronto behind me. What a thrill!

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How I’m feeling:

Physically, I felt pretty good all week and on race day. After all this training, I was happy that my body didn’t give up on me the day of the race. I am giving my body a little bit of a break this week but the break won’t last too long because I have already signed up for another race. My fiancé and I will be doing the Spartan Race on July 18th, which is exactly 1 month away! Mentally and emotionally, I can honestly say that this training journey and the race itself, is something I will always remember. It’s had a profound impact on me and I’m already thinking of what’s next…

What I learned:

There’s no greater feeling than the feeling you get when you cross the finish line. As cliché as it sounds, it’s so true! The last two kilometers of the race on Sunday were the hardest. I pushed myself on the last few minutes of the race to have an even better time at the finish line but I started feeling a little shortness of breath as I was running towards the end. However, seeing all those people cheering as I turned the corner towards the finish line filled me up with joy. I think my face in the photo below says it all. I was elated when I crossed that finish line. My eyes even started swelling up, I became completely overcome with all sorts of emotion. I felt proud, excited, accomplished and most of all happy!

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The finish line is only the beginning. After training intensively for 10 weeks, I’ve realized that crossing that finish line on Sunday was only the beginning. The beginning of what? I’m not entirely sure yet. The thing I am sure of is that it’s the beginning of a healthier me, the beginning of a more confident me. I doubted myself a lot on this training journey but crossing the that finish line on Sunday proved to me that I am capable of a lot more than I once imagined. Will there be more runs in the future? Most definitely!

Thanks to each and every one of you who took the time to read my training recaps every week. Thanks to all of those who encouraged me along the way (special thanks to Offner!) Thank you for being on this journey with me. I hope your training journey was just as rewarding and positive as mine! Last but not least, a big thank you to the entire Nike Toronto and High Road team that made this journey extra special and memorable. I couldn’t have done it without your support!

Road to Nike Women’s 15k – Week 7

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Week recap:

This past week has been pretty rock n’ roll to say the least! Even if Monday was a holiday last week, the #betterforit ladies and I got out early to clock a 7km run. It being a holiday allowed for a nice peaceful run along the streets of Toronto. Tuesday was my only day off but it was much needed one since I had lined up a double workout on Wednesday. I joined a small group of ladies on the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel (the raddest rooftop in the city!) for a #NTC workout as the sun rose. This was my first #DoneBeforeDawn class and boy was it memorable! That night, I also went to the Nike Running Club for a fast 5k run. I was up bright and early the next day for my routine NTC morning class with Eva Redpath, which was a lot harder than I was expecting. I was still sore from the previous morning so my work out was less than stellar. This past weekend, I went up to Blue Mountain for a special fitness retreat and the 1st #BowerFitxKalola with three lovely ladies (thanks for the invite Sasha!) who are also currently training for the 15k. The retreat was organized by Nate Bower, a boxer that I’ve had the chance to meet when I took his boxing class at Equinox (check out my special blog on his class here), as well as Kalola Spa at Blue Mountain. It was really neat to take my training to a different location and switch it up a bit. We had the most awesome weekend hiking up Blue Mountain, playing beach volleyball, doing yoga, boxing, doing some strength training, stretching and also getting a lovely massage at the end of it all. I didn’t get as much running in this past week but it was a nice change of pace!

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How I’m feeling:

Though I don’t feel anything major aching, my knees definitely seemed to still be inflamed a little so I’ve been trying my best to stretch properly, apply cream and not push too hard when training. With only 3 more weeks to go, there’s no time for injury.

What I’ve learned:

Injuries can occur at any moment. This weekend I witnessed one of my friends get injured while training and it was incredibly scary to see. Luckily, her injury wasn’t too serious but it made me realize that injuries can occur at any moment in time. As a result, I’ve become a little more careful with all of my training.

Training in nature is so different. Spending time at the mountain this weekend really gave me a new perspective on training in nature. Training in the city has been wonderful but sometimes seeing new sceneries and changing the location of your training can really help motivate and inspire you, especially when you’ve been training for so many weeks consistently.

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Distance is less intimidating. When I started training, running 5 or even 10km seemed incredibly daunting but with so many runs under my belt, these distances don’t nearly seem as far anymore. There are only a few more weeks to go but having already run 15km three times now, I’m a lot less apprehensive about race day. Yay! 😀

Only 2 more weeks to go!!

#DoneBeforeDawn

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In July, I’ll be celebrating my one year anniversary of taking NTC classes. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve probably read about NTC before. Doing NTC for the past year has really changed the way a) I view group classes and b) the way my body feels and looks. I think NTC has made me a whole lot stronger and healthier overall and has also allowed me to meet such an awesome community of women not only in Toronto but across North America.

This week, Nike Toronto launched a special #DoneBeforeDawn series of NTC classes across Toronto. This special 6-week series offers Torontonians some early morning classes that will have you sweating while the rest of the city sleeps. You’ll be able to train with Nike Master Trainers in some of the city’s most beautiful locations. Classes are offered in the Annex, CityPlace, The Village, King West, Downtown, St. Lawrence and Queen West!

Want to find out more? Check out the Nike Toronto page here.

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Photos by @Offner

Nike Free 5.0 TR Fit 5 Breathe Print Women’s Running Shoes (get them here)

Nike Dri-FIT 360 Arm Sleeve (get them here)

Nike Advantage Printed Women’s Tank (similar one here)