Washing Workout Clothes

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With the amount of time I now spend working out every week, I also spend a lot more time washing my workout clothes than I ever did before. I used to throw my workout clothes in with all of my other laundry whenever I did my wash but realized that it often didn’t get the stink out. If I also happened to throw in my husband’s workout clothes in at the same time, the stench was so strong that it would rub off on all of my regular clothes, which was no fun.

I also found myself going to my next workout and only a couple of minutes into it, my clothes would start smelling again. Unbeknownst to me, there is a thing called the “Rebloom” effect, which is quite common for workout gear because they are made from synthetic fabrics. Though great for sports and movement, these fabrics are not so great for odor. I quickly realized that because of these fibers, my workout clothes became odor magnets and would require special care.

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I gave the Tide + Downy Odor Defense Collection a try because I was looking for a way to avoid the “Rebloom” effect at all cost. What is great about the collection is that it cleans the garments right down to the fiber level to make sure the odor is eliminated for good.

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The product is simple to use. The Tide Pods Plus Febreeze Odor Defense is a 4-in-1 laundry detergent pac that removes odors from fabrics while also removing residue and surface stains.

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The Tide Odor Rescue With Febreeze Odor Defense is an in-wash booster that deep cleans the odor and dirt that has gotten trapped in the fibers. All you have to do is add it to your wash along with the pods.

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The final product to add with the detergent at the beginning of the wash cycle is the Downy Fresh Protect With Febreeze Odor Defense. This will not only eliminate the stinky smell from your activewear but will also seal in the odor protection technology so that your clothes feel fresh all day long.

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The products were super easy to use. All I had to do was to put the pods and beads in the water before adding my workout clothes. As soon as I took my clothes out of the washer and dryer, I could automatically smell and feel the difference. No more stench. Now I can confidently go to my workouts and not worry about my clothes “Reblooming” anymore!

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For more information about the Tide + Downy Odor Defense Collection, visit Tide.ca.

tideThis post was written in collaboration with Tide but all opinions are my own.

Why I Became Active Again

p12Turning 30 was key in my wanting to become very active again. Growing up, I played every imaginable sport and spent most evenings after school practicing a sport or taking part in a sports team.

p16During my teenage years, I remained active by dancing semi-professionally, paying my way through school by teaching dancing and doing little dance contracts here and there.

As soon as I hit university, my level of physical activity really decreased due to all the time I was spending not only studying but working on developing my career as a music journalist and photographer. I put aside sports and physical activity and instead spent several nights a week covering concerts. My irregular schedule and frequent travelinh made it difficult for me to partake in sports leagues or let alone take fitness classes.

p15When I moved to Toronto 7 years ago, I was still pretty unactive. One of the main reasons why I was unactive was financials. I barely had enough money to pay rent so I definitely couldn’t afford the $20-30 drop-in classes around the city, which is what led me to become more creative with my workouts. I first bought a bike and started cycling to and from work. Whenever I would travel, I would also plan some surf expeditions to get back into the water and be active.

p13And then I moved close to the waterfront almost 4 years ago and decided to give the sport I so hated growing up a try: running. The thing that I immediately loved with running is that I could do it on my own time and that it cost no money. It was also easy for me to pack my running shoes whenever I traveled so that I could run wherever I was. Though running has been an upwards battle, I have seen significant improvements just by sticking with the sport.

Through running, I have met some amazing people who have inspired and motivated me to get into racing and get even more active. I started doing any and all kinds of sports at home and also when I was on the road. My motto has become – do everything, regret nothing!

p14Thanks to training and meeting all sorts of athletes, trainers and nutritionists, I have learned so much about the importance of leading an active and healthy life, especially as you grow older. I always loved being active and playing so many sports growing up, I’m thrilled I am now very active again. Not only has it helped me with anxiety, stress, insomnia, self-esteem, etc., it is also key in preventing all sorts of diseases and health issues. Having not been dealt the best family genetics, I want to make sure I keep any potential health risk as low as possible.

Why are you active? What motivates and inspires you to get out there?

p2Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Mesh Short (get it here), Hyba Racerback Medium-Impact Sports Bra (get it here), Hyba Loose Fit Tank (get it here).

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

Top 3 Summer Workouts – Big Hit Studios

PAM_0036If you’re looking for a great way to get your daily frustrations out while also getting a full-body workout in, make sure you take a class at Big Hit Studios. Their Sudbury St. studio in Toronto has been one of my favorites since the beginning of the new year.

PAM_0019Led by a brilliant team of trainers, including my personal favorite Karina Vottchal (she’s a badass lady that will get sweating and out breath in a few seconds!), their mix of kickboxing, crossboxing, powerboxing and coreboxing classes will make you stronger and get you toned. I like their classes because they’re a great mix of cardio and technique. Don’t be surprised if the trainers ask you to do a few burpees or push-ups, even with your gloves on!

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If you don’t live in Toronto, fret not! Big Hit Studios also has an additional space located in Oakville. For more info on Big Hit Studios, go here.

PAM_0292Notes from the hairstylist:

Braids on braids
“A small twist on these boxer braids, instead of the usual two boxer braids, I decided to do six individual braids. I braided each one the length of Mel’s hair, and then took three on each side and braided those together, to make them look like two long individual braids.”

Photos: Pam Lau
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardin

What I’m wearing: Nike Free TR 6 Women’s Training Shoe (get it here), Nike Pro Hypercool Limitless Women’s Training Capris (get it here), Nike Flow Graphic Women’s Training Tank (get it here), Nike Pro Fierce Women’s Sports Bra (get it here).

Top 3 Summer Workouts – MISFITSTUDIO

PAM_0398I had the pleasure of finally discovering MISFITSTUDIO after having heard great things about this place for the past couple of years. Located on West Queen West, this beautiful space divided into two different studios, is definitely unique to the city. The stained glass windows and antique details in the studio creates a very special and charming atmosphere.

PAM_0426They offer a mix of pilates, yoga and movement classes. Their MISFITMETHOD is “a mindfully created experience where strength and grace support each other, where you are guided to allow the body to flow and the mind to quiet. A wild physical journey full of connection, challenge and technique each class will leave you with a touch of magic.”

PAM_0405-2I had the chance to take one of their Reformer Pilates class with the lovely Michelle Jobin. This supermom teaches Wednesday mornings from 7-8 am in their cozy Pilates room. The studio offers a great variety of classes that are sure to get you moving and make you leave feeling inspired.

A lot of great things are coming the way of MISFITSTUDIO, so make sure you follow them online here to stay tuned.

PAM_0534PAM_0526Notes from the hairstylist:

Perfect Pilates Fishtail
“A french braid is so easy to do, and it’s a go to for all of my indoor workouts, but why not switch it up with a fishtail french braid. Would you believe it’s done with just two strands?”

Photos: Pam Lau
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardin

What I’m wearing: Nike Zoned Sculpt Women’s Training Tights (get them here), Nike Zoned Sculpt Strappy Women’s Training Bralette (get it here).

Top 3 Summer Workouts – SPOKEHAÜS

PAM_0693Opened just a few months ago, Spokehaüs has without a doubt become one of my favorite places to sweat in the city. Located on Dan Leckie Way, this modern and cool cycle studio has built a great community of spin enthusiats in just a few months.

PAM_0666The classes and instructors always offer fresh and cool new playlists to ride along to. Not one class is the same but no matter what class you take, you always end up sweating your butt off. It’s probably one of the only places in the city that will get me up on a Saturday or Sunday morning just because of how great I feel once I leave the studio.

PAM_0682In addition to regular classes, the studio is doing more and more events. They had their first ever HIGHRIDE a few weeks ago, a special riding event with glow sticks, candy and serious beats. They’ll be doing these kinds of events once a month, so stay tuned for future HIGHRIDES!

The 45 minutes of riding will go by in a flash and will have you feeling great all day!

PAM_0597Great gear and a proper riding hairstyle are two musts for me when I ride. The last thing I want is hair in my face when I’m sweating profusely.

PAM_0608Notes from the hairstylist:

A Spinning Topknot
“Take your topknot to a new level. I added two dutch braids, tied Mel’s hair into a high ponytail and instead of leaving it loose, I put it into a topknot so that it wouldn’t be in her way while she’s giving it her all in class. Putting all of your hair up helps with not having so many knots, tangle, and keeps the frizz down too 😉 I also just wrapped the ends of her dutch braids around the topknot to make it look pretty. Why not have pretty hair while you workout?!”

Photos: Pam Lau
Hair: Cabello by Carolina
Makeup: Michelle Gardin

What I’m wearing: Nike Pro Hypercool Frequency Women’s Training Capris (get them here), Nike Pro Hypercool Frequency Women’s Training Tank Top (get it here), Garneau Women’s Multi Air Flex Cycling Shoes (get them here).

Toronto Waterfront 10

TW10_logo-TWToronto is getting a brand new 10k run this summer. Called the Toronto Waterfront 10, this new race evolved from the well-known Toronto Yonge Street 10k that usually took place in April of ever year. Now set to take place on Satuday June 25th 2016, this brand new race will showcase some of Toronto’s best running views.

The race will start at Queen and University and similar to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, will head down to lakeshore. The route will then take participants west before returning east along the water. Runners will be able to run along the scenic waterfront for most of the run.

Over 7000 people are expected to race and those who register can also help support any of the three featured charities: the Canadian Olympic Foundation, Second Harvest of Red Door family shelter by fundraising during their training.

On May 12th, the organizers of the #Waterfront10 in collaboration with the RunTOBeer group will be hosting a friendly beer training run that will be starting at the Amsterdamn BrewHouse and that will take runners on some of the actual course route from the Toronto Waterfront 10. The run is open to everyone and will feature 10k, 5k and 3k routes. Once the run complete, the participants will get an exclusive first look at the brand new finishers’ medal for the #Waterfront10. They will also be greeted with a pint of beer and have the chance to meet the pacers, representing the different run clubs in the city, who will be pacing the race on June 25th.

To celebrate this brand new race in Toronto, I am giving away 2 things:

1 free entry into the Toronto Waterfront 10 race

1 free entry to the RunTOBeer event happening on May 12th

For your chance to win, all you have to do is – Follow @melsays on Instagram + comment what event you want to win a spot to below the photo I posted today April 27th 2016 at 12pm talking about the race. I will announce the two winners on Instagram on Sunday May 1st.

See you at the starting line on June 25th!

Nike Free Revolution

DUE_1702I am always looking for ways to switch up my training routine, to keep things interesting and to keep myself motivated/challenged. Last Thursday, I got to train with Canada Athletic’s Head Coach, Jeff Huntoon, who had designed a super unique workout that really put my fitness capacities and endurance to the test.

DUE_0799DUE_0812During the workout, we also got to try the brand new Nike Free‘s for both running and training. Their new geometric auxetic midsole is designed to enable an athlete’s natural motion and develop strength, whether they are running or training. It was great to put these new shoes to the test right away to really get a feel for them.

0A0A8626Our workout was broken up into two parts. We started off with NTC-inspired cross-training with weights, TRX and props and followed that up with a running workout that combined a series of drills and speed work.

DUE_1224DUE_1751The Nike Free Transform Flyknit gave me lot of support and grip for the training portion of the workout. I felt very stable and felt like the shoe was absorbing the higher-impact moves really well.

DUE_1130The Nike Free RN Flyknit were super light on my feet and responded well to speed. I really felt that it adapted well to my stride. The sock-like fit (similar to the Lunar Epic) made it easy to put the shoes on and also mold my feet properly.

0A0A91670A0A92100A0A92520A0A9329It was great to get Jeff’s insight on the importance of not only running but also training, how both are complimentary and necessary to become the best athlete possible. I loved the idea of breaking up a 1hr workout into two distinct portions: half NTC and half NRC.

0A0A95250A0A95360A0A9418I enjoyed the workout so much that I signed up for another similar workout yesterday at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto. It was one of the hardest workouts I’ve done in a while but also one of the most fun.

The special NTC x NRC workouts at the Steam Whistle Brewery will continue for the next 8 weeks. To sign up and find out more about the NRC+NTC Free Revolution workouts, go to: Nike.com/Toronto.

Photos by: Charlie Lindsay and Due Pinlac

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.

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.

 

SPOKEHAÜS

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Opened less than a month ago, Toronto’s brand new cycle studio SPOKEHAÜS brings some much needed energy and variety to Toronto’s spin scene.

This bright and airy modern spin studio is located right in downtown Toronto. The space is small but makes the most of its size. You will find a full changing room for both men and women equipped with showers, mirrors, sinks and great beauty & hair products for post-workout. The space is also equipped with lockers and cubbyholes for boots and additional personal items.

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The studio itself is lined with brand new state of the art SCHWINN bikes. There are 35 bikes in the space (which makes it just a tad crammed, especially when comes time for arm exercises and stretching) set up like a typical spin studio. Big candles are also lit on the podium where the instructor rides.

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Classes are taught by a handful of instructors, all of whom offer a completely different style and selection of music. SPOKEHAÜS has 9 different instructors currently teaching classes at the studio. Classes are offered in the morning, at lunch and in the evening. Up to 5 classes are taught every day and each class lasts 45mins.

I had the chance to check out a class with the founder of the space Christine Tessaro as well as with Derek Friday. Both had unique ways of teaching and breaking down the class. Depending on the class and instructor, you will do a variety of drills through choreographed movements that will result in a full-body cardio workout. The classes will work out your core, legs, butt, arms and heart.

It’s hard not to compare the classes I’ve taken at SPOKEHAÜS with classes I’ve taken in Los Angeles at SoulCycle and Cycle House (which are my two favorites!) and other spin studios across North America. I think SPOKEHAÜS has all the ingredients needed to become a successful studio.

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Everyone at the studio is incredibly friendly and welcoming. They will provide you with shoes (if you don’t already have your own) and will help you set up your bike. It’s the perfect place to workout, whether you’re new at the sport or a seasoned veteran. You will sweat up a storm, I guarantee it!

For more info on SPOKEHAÜS, go here. They are located at 70 Dan Leckie Way, Toronto.

What I’m wearing: Industry Active The Elevate Bra (more info here), Industry Active Streamline Compression Pant (more info here).