5 Steps Towards a Healthier Self in 2017

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The new year is just around the corner so I wanted to share a few tips on how to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

1) Get Inspired. The one thing that got me motivated throughout the year, especially during my injury and throughout the winter, when it was hard to get up before the crack of dawn to go work out or when it got really cold out, was to follow some inspiring people on my social networks. I chose to follow some other ladies that were also leading a healthy lifestyle and doing some of the things I aspired to do in order to motivate myself to get out there. I followed well over 50 inspiring women who were either cross-training, running, cooking healthy meals, meditating, etc. And since I’m guilty of spending a lot of time on my phone and on social media, it was a great way to find inspiration during tougher times.

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2) Set Goals. Make a schedule with short, medium and long term goals throughout the year. Whatever you want to accomplish, you can do it easily if you break it down into smaller easier goals that you can achieve along the way. There’s a great quote that says “Without a goal, you can’t score” and I couldn’t agree more. Set yourself a few goals throughout the year, goals that can be measured, that are specific and that require concrete results and you’ll surprise yourself with what you’ll be able to accomplish.

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3) Visualize. If you want something really badly in life, make sure you visualize it, express it in your every thought and breath. Take 2 minutes each morning when you wake up to visualize your goals. Visualize what you want for yourself, what you want to achieve and how you want to do it. The more you believe in what you visualize, the more it’ll manifest itself and you will get it. It may sound phoney but it really truly works.

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4) Make it fun. Find new buddies to work out with, have people over to make recipes as a group or look up cool new workouts in your area. The only way you’ll become healthier, fitter and happier is if you’re having fun while doing so. Don’t make it a chore, make it something you’re excited about. Break up your routine, keep yourself interested, entertained and you’ll stick with it.

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5) Make yourself your number 1 priority. My injury late this year was a major reminder to make myself my number 1 priority ALWAYS. We often forget to take to take time for ourselves every day and as a result things can happen. I would make up excuses as to why I didn’t need to take the time to stretch pre and post-workout and as a result, I paid for it and had to be out for a longer period of time than if I would have taken those few minutes each day to help myself. There really are no excuses. Make sure to take time for yourself every day in order to make 2017 your healthiest year yet!

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Lettered Tank (get it here), Hyba Lettered Leggings (get them here).

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

Got Barrelled While Handboarding

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I LOVE anything ocean-related so when I first heard of handboarding a few years ago I had to give it a shot. I was lucky enough to get in the water with the rad crew at Slyde Handboards (I even wrote about it here!) and was immediately hooked by the sport.

If the name sounds familiar, it may be because you’ve watched the episode of Shark Tank (watch it here), where guest shark Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban invest into the company. How rad!

I had been itching to get back in the water with the crew for quite some time, so I was stoked to have been able to stop by their headquarters this week to check out some of their new board models (can’t wait for you all to see them!) and also get into the water with Slyde Handboards’ founder Steve Watts. Here’s a little recap of the fun we had out in Dana Point.

For more info on Slyde Handboards, go here.

Shot by: TheOffners

2.0 Toronto

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Sharing with you today a great event that will be taking place in Toronto this weekend. Inspired by the popular TED TALKS, 2.0 Toronto is an afternoon of conferences of “holistic principles and practices though the vessel of movement with purpose.

This annual rendez-vous, which will be taking place on Sunday September 25th from 2-5pm at The Extension Room, will be a balanced, multi-disciplinary workout that was crafted by 2.0 Masters, as an effort to connect as a community-at-large, better known as a “tribe”. This year’s theme for the summit is “Authenticity”.

During the afternoon, the 2.0 Masters will not only be teaching their workout methods but discussing with participants about different subject matter that are related to the theme. Julian Ho, the summit’s founder has gathered some of Toronto’s best fitness instructors and wellness leaders to come be a part of this enriching afternoon. Guests include Jamie Snow x Body Flow, Ben Dussault x Primal Play, Quentin Vitko x Metcon and Chris Delos Reyes x Hip Hop Dance, just to name a few.

In addition to these classes, music will be provided by DJ Carmelinda Dimanno and refreshments/snacks will also be provided by The Goods, Flow Water and Nomz. Tickets are available at a cost of $65. For more info on 2.0 Toronto, go here.

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Being Active During Ragweed Season

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Ragweed season is here but there are still lots of great ways to stay active during this sensitive time of year.

Unfortunately ragweed is a plant that can produce a million grains of pollen each day. Ragweed season usually begins in late summer, i.e. now and can continue up until September or even October depending on the year. Southern Ontario is particularly affected by ragweed and though one might think that living in an urban area like Toronto would help, ragweed can grow just about anywhere and therefore is also present in the air in big cities. Due to global warming, ragweed season has been getting longer as a result of trees and plants getting a longer growing time. However, this shouldn’t stop anyone from remaining active as there are many ways to fight against or reduce ragweed allergy symptoms.

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If being outdoors is too much to handle, there are lots of great free fitness classes that are available around the city every week. These full body conditioning-type workouts will keep you active even if you have to stay indoors. Also, Toronto being a very fit city, there are a ton of drop-in classes being offered across town at all times during the day and evening. Anything from boxing, barre classes, yoga, boot camps, etc. You name it, Toronto’s got it.

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If you can still manage working out outdoors, there are a handful of tips that can help you stay active even if your allergies flare up. The first recommendation is to be able to identify what ragweed looks like and to stay away from it. Second, if you have a home, make sure to remove (or get someone to remove it for you) ragweed from your property. A third tip that is essential if working out outdoors is to shower and wash your hair immediately after coming in from a workout. Also make sure to leave the clothes you wore working out, outdoors and wash them right away. If you do plan to exercise outdoors, be sure to use REACTINE® before going outside, as it can start to work in 20 minutes and lasts 24 hours. For extra help when your nose is also dry, REACTINE(R) NaturEase Nasal Spray will help reduce symptoms of dry, irritated nose.

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Workout locations are also key. Opt for working out in sand, or on gravel or even asphalt. Things like outdoor green gyms or alternatively riding your bike, rollerblading or running on a multi-purpose trail are great options. Also, doing yoga, a HIT or fitness class in the sand can help. Additionally, if you like watersports, it’s a great way to stay active without having to suffer from these allergy symptoms. Swimming, , kayaking, canoeing are all great activities you can do far away from ragweed.

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If you want to know when the best time is for your outdoor workouts, you can keep track of daily pollen forecast by following @ReactineCA on Twitter. The times to avoid are usually mid-morning until afternoon. So early morning and evening workouts are usually best!

For more information on REACTINE, please consult www.reactine.ca and follow @ReactineCA on Twitter for the daily pollen forecasts.

This post was sponsored by the makers of REACTINE®.  All opinions are true and are my own.

Photos by: @Offner

#LikeAGirl

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Growing up, I never missed out on an opportunity to be active and play sports. I was the kid that played sports at lunch and every night after school. Whether it was being on the swim team, skipping, skiing, figure skating, karate, playing soccer, volleyball, or even dancing, I was always encouraged to throw myself into sports.

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During a skipping competition in elementary school.

When I hit adolescence, a lot of my friends stopped being active, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, this is a phenomenon that is quite common. More than half of girls drop out of sports by the time they end puberty. Instead of following in their footsteps, I decided to dedicate myself even more to sports.

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My mom always encouraged me to be active from a very young age.

Sports are without a doubt what helped me deal with all the changes I was experiencing both physically and psychologically. Like many girls, I experienced a drop in confidence during puberty. But, as I began to compete in karate and also dance semi-professionally, I felt stronger both physically and mentally. Both of these activities kept me busy and focused. Every time I would partake in a competition or even perform at a dance show, I felt a big sense of accomplishment. Luckily, I had a mom who encouraged me to pursue my passion for sports and did everything she could to keep me active. Her support and understanding was key in me continuing to pursue athletics well into my adult life.

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First time surfing in Mexico in my late teens.

I am a true believer that being involved in sports growing up is key in building one’s self-esteem and confidence, especially during adolescence. It definitely did for me.

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I’m thrilled to see a brand like Always championing girls’ confidence on a global level and right here in Canada. Via their campaign, they have transformed the simple sentence #LikeAGirl to mean powerful and amazing things. Their mission is to help stop the drop in confidence among girls and they want everyone to show the world how they can Keep Playing #LikeAGirl.

How do you Keep Playing #LikeAGirl? Share a photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag to show how you keep playing!

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

Garmin Fēnix 3

FullSizeRender(3)This post was a long time coming. I got the amazing Garmin Fēnix 3 watch at the beginning of 2016 and took the last couple of months to test it out before finally reviewing it. Even after a few months, I have yet to use all of its functionalities, which is pretty incredible.

I had heard great things about the Garmin watches from all of the people I train with but had never had the opportunity to test out any of their products before.

13I have set myself some pretty big personal fitness goals for 2016 and thought this would be the perfect watch to accompany me on this journey. Up until this year, I had solely been relying on the Nike app to monitor my training but wanted to take it up a notch and I definitely did with this watch.

I’ve had the chance to try out a few different types of watches in the last couple of months but this particular one is a keeper.

The reason I love it so much: it does everything! No matter where I go, or what I use it for, it is incredibly reliable, easy to use and gets me the information that I need.

IMG_2291I first started using the watch for running. When I did my first couple of races last year, I didn’t like having to always look at my phone and wait every .5 kms before getting my pace. Now with the watch, I can always keep track of my pace and how long I have to go on a specific run or during a race. The Vibration Alert tells me when I’ve completed another kilometer and the Auto Pause allows me to pause my run if ever I encounter a traffic light or need to take a break. The other downside of relying solely on your phone is that in extreme weather, the phone either overheats or freezes and shuts off. I brought the watch with me to the desert of California and to the Canadian Rockies and didn’t experience any glitches whatsoever.

6IMG_2558The 32 MB of internal memory also allows you to store several of your runs, locations and routes. You can store up to 1000 track points and navigate back to them. I could also use this function to mark a vehicle or a point of interest if I was traveling.

3Some of my favorite running features: the Virtual Pacer, the Race Predictor and also the Recovery Advisor, are key in my progression and training for upcoming races. You can also keep personal records and get a comprehensive assessment of your running dynamics.

8I also took the watch with me hiking in the Canadian Rockies. The GPS and the ABC sensors (Altimeter, Barometer and Compass) were great tools for my hike. The watch allowed me to keep track of where I was going and how far up the mountain I was.

21I also tested the watch out while snowboarding. The Altimeter was a fun little tool that allowed me to measure my elevation on the mountain. Additionally, the Ski/Board mode allowed me to calculate the vertical drop at the resort as well as automatically counted my runs during the day.

FullSizeRender15I hit the pool for the very first time in a long time with the Fēnix 3, going back to my first love, swimming. I spent my childhood in pools competing and swimming in the local swim team. I love that I was able to calculate my distance, stroke count and also my pace while I was in the pool. The watch can also be adjusted depending on the size of the pool.

910I also now take it with me during all of my workouts because I can set the watch up for interval training or multi-sport and can obtain my heart rate and calories burned after an activity.

FullSizeRenderOther watch features that I particularly like: sun and moon information, sleep monitoring, the step counter, Smart Notifications from my phone to my watch as well as Bluetooth and Wi-fi compatibility.

21If you’re looking for an additional challenge and you’re training alone, try the Virtual Partner or Virtual Racer, it will allow you to train or compete against a digital person or another activity.

22With the weather slowly but surely warming up, I’m excited to take the watch with me for a bike ride and explore its cycling features. This summer, I also want to take it SUP and rowing. I may even need to take up golfing and work on my shots.

The watch design itself is one of my favorite features. I love the rose gold and white combo, the big round color display also makes it easy to read. Surprisingly the watch isn’t too heavy either.

The battery life has been excellent during the first few months I’ve been using the watch. The battery lasts around 16 hrs when using GPS and up to several months if you only use the watch modes. You can also customize the design of your watch by going to the Connect IQ store.

In summary, the Garmin Fēnix 3 has completely changed my training. It has become my go-to companion on my training journey towards all of this year’s races and fitness events. My first race of the year is only a month away and I cannot wait to have it on me for race day.

For more information on the Garmin Fēnix 3, go here.