How To Live A Happier, Healthier Life With The League App

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For those who have been following me since the early days of, you are aware of my health issues and part of my journey to recovery. But for those you have recently discovered my site or my instagram account, you may be under the impression that I’m the picture of good health. Hard to believe it now, but three years ago I was in a very dark place – both physically and mentally. I was struggling with side effects from a rare kidney disease, I had developed fibromyalgia (a chronic pain condition – which seemed to come out of left field), that consequently led me deep into depression. Trust me when I say I was in a hole so deep, not even a firefighter without a collar bone could pull me out. I was so heavily medicated for my existing conditions, that those prescribed pills created new conditions, leading to a vicious cycle of distress and illness. It seemed as though I was on the road to no where…fast. I was seeing some of the best doctors in the country for my ailments but I knew deep down it wasn’t going to be enough to get me back to being a functional human being.

Join LeagueA sneak peek of League’s all star line-up for health professionals

After several months of online research, word of mouth and referrals, I had assembled a team of health and wellness professionals and I was certain their comprehensive approach would allow me to no longer be dependent on meds and move towards a pain free life. This was something traditional doctors didn’t feel was possible. Amongst this carefully curated team I had an osteopath, nutritionist, reiki specialist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, headache and joint pain specialist, tai-chi and yoga teachers, a personal trainer and a massage therapist. It literally took a small village. You name it, I had it  and without them, I wouldn’t be here today. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning. When you are essentially trusting people with your life, you need to have a good connection with them. The process of assembling this roster was time consuming and tedious. I remember often thinking that I wish there was some sort of database where I could have access to all the top health professionals in the city. Fast forward a couple years and the team at League has brought this exact idea to life and I have no doubt this tool can revolutionize the way we approach our health.

Join League

League has the widest selection of health services right at your fingertips. Their pros are all hand picked, verified and ready to help you achieve your health and wellness goals, which can sometimes be difficult to attain on your own. How does it work? It’s actually quite simple. After joining the app for free, you can quickly find trusted pro’s based on where you live or work, to meet a specific budget or your schedule. You can set up an appointment, cancel and rebook; receive automated reminders, enjoy the convenience of automatic payments and even keep a record of your service history and wearables data all in one place.

Join League

Join League

Join League

Join League

I’ve been relatively healthy for the past year but every now and again I have some setbacks so there was no better time than the present to try a 30 day challenge with League for myself. Also, after suffering two injuries this summer, a severe ankle sprain and a hip flexor injury, one of my main goals was to look for a movement specialist.. I turned to Amber Joliat, Creator and Owner of Misfit Sudio in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, to help open up my hip area with a mix of Pilates and Yoga practice. Unlike any other pilates reformer class I have ever done, Joliat takes cues from her dance background to help connect each move on the machine to create beautiful, fluid sequences that resemble somewhat of a dance. Combined with her melodic voice, angelic energy and sun drenched studio, our 60 minute private sessions are pure magic. I had no idea the severity of the injury until I compared the left side of my lower body to my right in a series of exercises I was lead through by Amber. It was clear during our first session that this is going to be a lengthy process so I am attempting to accelerate it by also seeing League expert Daniel Kocmiel for Facial Stretch Therapy. Unlike regular stretching that attempts to isolate and stretch specific muscles, FST targets facia, the connective tissue found in and around the joints. During my sessions with Daniel, he gently pulls then moves my legs and hips in a smooth motion while being strapped to a massage table. Here he removes pressure between joints, releasing a lubricating fluid and improving flexibility of my surrounding muscles. The below video is an excellent example of what my sessions with Kocmiel look like:

Photos by Nathalia Allen
As long and painful this process may be, I am dedicated to stay the course in order to get me where I need to be. For the remainder of my League program I will also be doing an extreme overhaul of my nutritional diet with the help of League expert and Holistic Nutritionist Nathalie Niddam. Stay tuned to find out how I am decreasing my fibro related pain with the help of a juice cleanse with Elxr Juice Lab and anti-inflammatory diet developed by Niddam. For more information on League and sign up for your free account to get started head to
Posted on by Sasha in FITNESS, HEALTH & WELLNESS Leave a comment

2015 GMC Canyon Stampede Adventure

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I have always considered myself a savvy traveler but found it a bit odd that I have galavanted all over the world without discovering all the beauty Canada has to offer. This summer all of that changed with the opportunity to hit the road again with General Motors and some friends to explore Alberta with the all new GMC Canyon. This trip was a unique dichotomy, where we got to experience working ranch life in Lundbreck and finished our adventure taking in the largest outdoor festival in the world…the Calgary Stampede.





In an effort for our group to both bond with each other and our set of wheels for the trip, we flew from Toronto to Calgary and connected to Lethbridge. There we jumped into a fleet of black GMC Canyon’s to make the trek to Lundbrek, one of the sunniest and flattest places in the country, where we gladly called Sierra West Ranch our temporary home. Probably as remote as you can get in the province, owners Randy and Ginny Donahue affectionately say its “where the pavement ends and the west begins.” The two, who are sweeter than strawberry-rhubarb pie, have a long history in rodeo, riding and of course ranching, which was a the perfect precursor to Stampede. The ranch, nestled among the scenic foothills, was everything I imagined and more. We each were blessed with our own rustic accommodations but us gals decided it would be much more fun to have a slumber party in Sierra West’s loft style log cabin – the largest on the entire property.







Our crew dove head first into our cowboy/cowgirl duties. Learning the ins and outs of ranching, roping cattle and spending tons of time with the beautiful horses. Time spent on social media and our laptops was replaced with cozy bonfires, late night chats and live music played by a real-life cowboy. Although life on the ranch was pretty amazing, I would be lying if I said we didn’t miss being dialled in to what was going on in the “real world” on Instagram and Twitter. Our social media obsessed group was pretty lucky being able to use the 4G LTE wifi from our convoy of pick-up trucks. After a taste of the simple life in Lundbrek, it was time to get behind the wheel of our trucks and continue on with our Prairie adventure. Our first stop on route to Calgary was in Turner Valley, a small town with a rich history in oil and gas in Alberta, to check out Eau Claire Distillery. Alberta is home to the best grain and they harvest for spirits all over the world, so it’s only a matter of time they got into the craft spirits game. Most have heard of “Farm to Table” in the culinary world and Eau Claire is now making “Grain to Glass” something to talk about by producing artisanal, small batched, craft spirits. It seemed as though our tasting began one minute after the legal time to start drinking and over an hour we got schooled on Turner Valley’s checkered history while sipping on single malt & rye whiskey, premium vodkas, London style dry gin, and specialty blends.

GMC Canyon Experience

We were welcomed to Calgary with a hail storm. Yes…in July. It was the craziest thing I ever seen because the temperature had been above 30 degrees celsius for days. Outside of the Hotel Arts, we sought refuge in our trusted Canyon; using the truck’s wifi to snapchat this freak of nature to our friends back in Toronto.  For some reason we decided to put our luggage in the roomy second row of the truck, instead of the bed and that probably was the most intelligent decision we made all day. Funny enough, there’s a well known saying around Alberta, “If you don’t like the weather you need not to worry as it changes every five minutes.”







There was a few things on my wish list while in Calgary. Quintessential things that I was told by my friends I absolutely had to do and see while I was in town. First on the hit list: go to the iconic cowboy hat manufacturer Smithbilt to tour their facility and obtain one of their famous white hats that they have been proudly making since the 1940s. Considered a legendary symbol for the city of Calgary, the white Smithbilt hat has been presented by the city’s Mayor to visiting dignitaries, politicians, and celebs like the Dalai Lamai, Vladimir Putin, Prince William, Kate Middleton and even Oprah over the last 60 years – as the key to the city. After meeting the owners and learning the history, we were each bestowed with our own white Smithbilt before heading to the Alberta Boot Company. The Alberta Boot Company just doesn’t just make any run of the mill boots. They are known for designing and manufacturing the footwear for the Royal Canadian Mountie Police and consumers who are looking for custom cowboy boots. Cowboy boots are as classic as you can get, so it’s design aesthetic will never deviate far from the basic style of boot. Most would assume that Alberta Boot Company’s production technology may have changed to reflect the current times, but we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the way they made their boots 35 years ago, is still the exact same way they are making boots today.




Clad in our western regalia in our pick-up trucks, our crew was finally ready to take on Stampede.  Attending a rodeo event in anything other than a pick-up truck would be blasphemy. The 2015 Canyon was tough enough for ranch life, chic enough for the streets of Calgary and still gave us some Aberta credibility. It has substantial power that makes it useful for trailering or hauling, but inside the cabin remains ultra quiet due to advanced interior engineering, while also being roomy enough for my crew and our gear. I am used to driving mid to large sized vehicles but for the others who are less familiar, they were happy to have the assistance of the standard rear camera to help them navigate in and out of parking spots. Truth be told, although categorized as a mid-sized truck, the Canyon handles more like a sedan.

I’ve heard many tales about the 10 day rodeo extravaganza, but was not at all prepared for what we experienced. The grounds, or otherwise known as the “Mainway” is a large version of a State Fair or carnival you may find in the U.S. Think – rides, games, merchandise vendors, and FOOD. Lots and lots and lots of food. If you were following along on snapchat, you were lucky enough to see what we were indulging in first hand. Everything was super sized and fried. Fried cheesecake, fried oreos, snickers, ice cream, pickles. You name it…it was there. Fried and delicious – as you can imagine but could only handle it for a day or so. We indulged in between catching all the action behind the scenes in the chutes. Frighteningly close to the horses, bulls and their ridiculously fit riders, I got a whole new appreciation for the sport. Every day at 1:15 over the near two week event, cowboys and cowgirls face off in a furious display of grit and skill, with each win building towards Showdown Sunday – the Rodeo’s main event.






While in the chutes ducking dirt and manure from the horses as they kicked their way into the ring, I took advantage of this time to ask questions about how elite rodeo cowboys stay in shape. This is something that has always fascinated me. Their time on the horse or bull may be short, approximately 8 seconds, but those few seconds are a lot for the body to take. These athletes are on the road for months at a time, competing in more than 100 rodeos per year, often sleeping in motels with no gyms. They squeeze in push-ups in tiny rooms or against their trucks at rest stops. During my impromptu chat with one rider, he explained that it’s all about strength and core, “Being lean is crucial. You don’t want to get too big. The bigger you are, the harder you fall,”

2015-GMC-Canyon-truck-shots-1Photos by Amee Rehal

Click here to learn more about how the GMC Canyon is refining the mid-size pickup truck and head to to learn more about the company’s complete brand portfolio. This experience was made possible by the amazing folks at General Motors Canada, and GMC brand team, in conjunction with Gary Sowerby and Lisa Calvi of Odyssey InternationalThe GMC Canyon experience is just one of many amazing adventures I have had with the GM crew. In case you missed it, make sure to catch my Chevrolet Colorado experience in Sqaumish, British Columbia here.

Posted on by Sasha in AUTOMOTIVE, LIFESTYLE, TRAVEL Leave a comment

Puma’s #ForeverFaster Training Collection

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Puma x Rihanna

One of the biggest trends this year has undoubtedly been chic and functional athletic wear. Otherwise known as clothes that can literally take you from the gym to the streets. Personally, I hope this trend never goes out of style. I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that it’s acceptable now for me to leave the gym and go directly to a meeting or lunch without getting a judgemental side eye. Not to mention, I’ve also been able to push the envelope with my personal style by injecting pieces that were previously reserved exclusively for a sweat sesh, into an unexpected evening look – think a sports bra under a chic black blazer paired with a high waisted skirt.

Puma x Rihanna

Celebs have played a role in bringing this trend mainstream and Puma has now joined in on the fun by choosing one of the world’s biggest stars to come on board as their new Creative Director. If you follow Rihanna on Instagram, this news doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The Bajan beauty, who has also been named as the brand’s womens’ global brand ambassador, has shared a few posts alluding to her close involvement with the company. In her newly adopted role, Riri is working with Puma to design and customize the classic styles in addition to creating new styles to add something new to their portfolio.

Puma X Rihanna

For month’s I’ve been teased with the first (and only) campaign image that was released back in the spring. Having collaborated with other global brands in the past such as; Armani, River Island and of course Balmain, this will in fact be Rihanna’s first time to the rodeo as a Creative Director for an international label and I am very excited to see where they creatively take this partnership.

Ruma x Rihanna

I got my hands on some of Puma’s hero training pieces that is just hitting stores now featuring items from the PWRShape collection and the Ignite XT training shoes. The blue coral hued, tights have compression to help with movement and is brilliantly high waisted to add a figure flattering shape and prevents any unnecessary exposure of the rear area when bending over. The sportsbra I’m wearing is actually my favourite from the collection. It provides all the necessary support with stretch fabric, padded shoulder straps and a criss crossed back for added comfort. I’m rocking it sans shirt but the one-piece moulded cups gives a beautiful and seamless shape underneath a tank. For more on Puma’s latest women’s training collection, head to

Puma x Rihanna

Puma x Rihanna

Puma x Rihanna

Puma x RihannaPhotography by

What I’m Wearing: Ignite XT Training Shoe  // PWRShape Tights & Bra c/o of Puma

Posted on by Sasha in FASHION, FITNESS, HEALTH & WELLNESS Leave a comment

Setting Sail with Lacoste #LacosteSailingNorth

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Lacoste Sailing

When I think of the brand Lacoste, two words immediately come to mind. Classic and chic. And what could be more classic and chic than sailing on a yacht with your friends over lunch and vino to view the brand’s upcoming footwear collections? Well, that’s exactly what I did last Friday and sorry, I’m not sorry! Decked out in my cropped Lacoste polo and fresh white Grad Vulc’s on my feet (each of the guests footwear was handpicked to reflect our personal styles), I was ready to set sail for the day.




After noshing on a tasty meal from Sud Forno and custom cold pressed juices, the Lacoste team took us through the AW15 product line-up, which used it’s nautical heritage merged with classic winter styles, giving them a modern update. I had my eyes on the leather Rosolinn ankle boots and knee high version which has a riding boot silhouette. Also a fan fave, the patent leather oxfords, that will undoubtedly be on all of our wish list’s this fall. However, it was the sneak peek at the SS16 women’s footwear collection that got me really excited. The high top sneaker (featured below) has me inpatient for next spring. Lacoste goes back to it’s tennis roots in next year’s collection where you will find references to the sport; think influences from the net found on the court to even the grip tape on a racquet, cleverly integrated into the design. The range is so versatile with literally a shoe to fit anyone’s personal style aesthetic.

My Grad Vulc sneaks are available now at Town Shoes locations for approximately $135 CDN. To view Lacoste’s full collection of footwear, apparel and accessories, head to Thank you Lacoste for such an amazing day on the water with my babes. Could not think of a more fun way to attend a collection preview.



LacosteSailing2_IMG_0187Photography by

The crew (l to r): Colby Jarvis from Lacoste Footwear, Jodi of, Alyssa of, Deanne of MyFashAvenue, Stephanie of and Nathalie of

Posted on by Sasha in FASHION, PREVIEWS & REVIEWS Leave a comment

Inspiring Interiors: Khloe Kardashian’s Workout Walk-In

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Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

I am always the first one to admit that having cute outfits to workout and run in is sometimes the motivation you need to get off your butt and sweat. Off the heels of her fitness inspired August/September Complex Magazine cover, Khloe Kardashian is taking “Fitspiration” to a whole new level with her custom designed fitness closet in her LA home.

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Designed by LA Closet Design, this dream walk-in is the fitness equivalent to Carrie Bradshaw’s luxe closet in the Sex and the City movie. The 150 sqft space has special ” L shelving” for her legions of Nike training shoes, tons of racks for tops and tights to be hung, adequate room for her kettle bells and medicine balls and even a mini fridge stocked with Fuji water. “I’ve added a suede lined shelf that displays head and wrist bands, sunglasses, hair ties and more. I also included LED lighting so the case lights up with the flip of a switch – these items get lost and disorganized in drawers, so I wanted to make sure they were beautifully displayed”, claims the company’s CEO Lisa Adams (below).

The shoe shelving is by far my favourite part of Khloe’s closet and is just the right motivation I need to finally commence my closet make over. Here’s a peek inside the reality star and model’s closet which I guarantee will having you wanting to walk (or run) a mile in her shoes!

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardhashian Fitness Closet

The shoe shelving is by far my favourite part of Khloe’s closet. This is just the right motivation I need to finally commence my closet make over.

Posted on by Sasha in FITNESS, INSPIRING INTERIORS Leave a comment

Green Goodness Smoothie Bowl

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Green Goodness Smothie Bowl

If you follow Instagram accounts that post healthy recipes, you are already aware that smoothie bowls are the biggest brekkie trend right now – and if you’ve ever had one, you would know why. No matter which type your palette leans towards; tropical fruit, creamy avocado or leafy grinds, they are all equally nutrient packed and super tasty.

Although most know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it gets neglected due to people having lack of time in the morning. If you happen to fall under this category, you will be happy to know that my bowls can be made in under three minutes. To keep you fuller longer, you need a smoothie bowl that ‘s best eaten with a spoon. So, basically extra thick! This means less liquid than a regular smoothie you drink, resulting in a rich, creamy, thick consistency. Throwing your fave fruit or veggie elements in a bowl allows you to go craze on super tasty toppings like; shaved coconut, chia seeds, hemp hearts, blueberries, gogji berries and even dragon fruit. Yesterday’s version on Instagram I kept a little paired down in comparison to what you see below with only hemp, chia, coconut and blueberries but it kept me full for hours.

Green Goodness Smoothie Bowl

While I usually opt for acai berry bowls (you can find my recipe here) for obvious reasons, when I feel like I have been low on my greens consumption, I turn to what I call my “Green Goodness” bowl. Yes, I am fully aware that veggie packed smoothies can sometimes taste like a mowed lawn but I promise you this bowl which contains apple, avocado, agave nectar, ginger, cinnamon and blueberries; topped with amazing super foods, totally masks the taste of the disease fighting nutrients from the spinach you get in each mouthful.

What You’ll Need

1/3 Cucumber

1/4 Apple

1/4 Avocado

3 Cubes of frozen spinach or 2 handful of fresh spinach (I prefer to use fresh)

1 Small piece of fresh, peeled ginger (size of fingertip)

1 Cup of coconut water

1 Teaspoon of cinnamon

1 Handful of ice cubes if you’re not using frozen spinach

Optional: 1 scoop of Vega vanilla protein powder and a sweetener of your choice (I usually go with agave nectar)

Suggested toppings: Gogji berries, unsweetened shaved coconut, blueberries, kiwi, chia seeds, hemp hearts, strawberries and dragonfruit


Finely chop ginger, apple, cucumber and avocado and place in blender with spinach. Add coconut water, cinnamon, ice cubes, vanilla protein powder and agave nectar, then blend on high until desired consistency. Pour into a bowl and top with any fresh fruit or super foods you have on hand. And enjoy!

Posted on by Sasha in FOOD, HEALTH & WELLNESS Leave a comment

Hydrate Your Hustle with Vitaminwater’s #TotalBoss Contest

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Vitamin Water Total Boss

While living in the U.S. in the early 2000’s I was lucky to be one of the first All-American student athletes to trial Vitaminwater while playing university tennis in Washington, DC. Being able to stay hydrated throughout the day with a nutrient enhanced water beverage packed with vitamins is an athlete’s dream. For the last year or so, the brand has worked with me as an official water sponsor. From workouts to workshops (and everything in between) they always make sure I have the right tools to stay hydrated with their Vitaminwater Zero line of products, which are naturally sweetened with Stevia. My alignment with the brand doesn’t stop there though. Vitaminwater is a huge advocate of helping young people bring their business dreams to life and is encouraging young Canadians to realize their potential with their Think+Drink+Do campaign. To kick off the program and it’s accompanying “Total Boss” nationwide contest, I headed to Vitaminwater Headquarters last week to participate in a unique creative brand strategy session. Here, some of Toronto’s top young small business owners gathered with a special panel of guests where we learned how to grow our personal brands and achieve our business goals lead by Elaine Liu of Lainey Gossip and Co-Host on CTV’s “The Social”, JJ Thompson; Owner and Creative Director of Media Needs, Devon Brooks; Co-Founder of Blo Blow Dry Bar, and Canada’s newest and youngest judge on Dragon’s Den, Michele Romanow.

Vitaminwater Total Boss

Vitaminwater Total Boss

Vitaminwater Total Boss

Vitaminwater Total BossPhotos by Becca Lemire ( and Robert Okine

If you have an idea on your mind, regardless of how big or small, there is no better time than the present to make it happen – and Vitaminwater may be able to help you bring that idea to life. From now until September 30th, 2015, the brand is giving Canadians a chance to make their next big idea a reality with their “Total Boss” social media contest. Entering is easy…simply share a photo that displays what inspires you on Twitter and/or Instagram and include the hashtag #TotalBoss for your chance to win. The lucky grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 plus private mentorship sessions with a leading Canadian business expert (approximate retail value $10,000). That’s a pretty motivating reason to Think+Drink+Do if you ask me. Click here for more info on the contest terms and conditions and to learn more about the brand head to . Let Vitaminwater hydrate your hustle and enter today!

Posted on by Sasha in CONTESTS, LIFESTYLE Leave a comment

Deciem Fountain’s Super Green Molecule Supplement Giveaway

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Deciem Fountain Molecule

Regular exercise and eating clean are measures that I take to stay healthy but I do have a couple tricks up my sleeve in the form of supplements that are part of my daily regimen that help keep my body running at it’s optimal level. Since introducing Fountain Beauty Supplement’s into my routine six months ago, I have noticed dramatic differences and improvements to my skin, energy level, mood by using the brand’s Hyaluronic, Energy, Super Green, and Beauty and Happy molecules, with the latter being extremely useful during the cold winter months. Developed by the self proclaimed “Abnormal Beauty Company”, Deciem (whose products are manufactured in downtown Toronto) has been quickly gaining notoriety and showing up in beauty reviews in all the top glossy mags and has reminded consumers that although what we put on our bodies topically is important, it’s really what we put inside them that makes the difference.

Deciem Fountain Super Green Molecule

As amazing as all the molecules are, the stand out in the line-up to me right now is the Super Green Molecule, which contains over 40 minerals, 16 amino acids and 11 vitamins . I take the recommended dosage of one teaspoon everyday in either a glass of water or cold pressed juice (if taken directly the dark green colour could stain your tongue). This concoction is a super concentrated beauty and lifestyle supplement of alfalfa chlorophyll, kelp and Deciem’s hyaluronic acid matrix. Chlorophyll has many known benefits; its abundant in vitamins and minerals, has potent antioxidant properties, promotes cleansing, helps control hunger and cravings and enhances overall energy level and general well-being. Like Chlorophyll, kelp is another amazing green that is packed with tons of vitamins and minerals such as; iodine, potassium, iron, magnesium and calcium. It’s known most for its aid in weight management and it’s ability to deliver internal tissue hydration.

Thanks to my friends at Deciem, I am giving away four Super Green Molecules on Twitter to some lucky followers. All you have to do is make sure to follow me and Deciem Fountain on Twitter and tweet, “I want to go green with @DeciemFountain’s Super Green Molecule! #SoSashaxDeciem“. Contest begins today and ends Saturday July 11th at midnight. Winner will be announced via Twitter on Monday. *Contest open to Canadian residents only!

Click here for more information on the Fountain molecules. For more details on Deciem and their extensive portfolio of brands head to




Posted on by Sasha in BEAUTY, CONTESTS, HEALTH & WELLNESS Leave a comment

Go Off Road with Mountain Equipment Co-Op + MEC Outdoor Nation

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MEC Nation_1

As a street athlete and runner, I’m always looking for ways to challenge myself. That’s part of the beauty of running. No matter what level you’re at, you can always find ways to push yourself without being an Olympian or competing at an international level. Whether pursuing races of longer distances or working on increasing your overall pace per kilometre, the sport always presents a way for you to improve .This summer one of my goals has been to get off road and join the trail running movement.  Inspired by the influx of amazing photos I’ve seen on social media as of late, I jumped into my very first trail run about a month ago and got injured. Like most, I naturally underestimated how different it is from road running. However, after having more than a handful of trail runs under my belt, I have started to understand it’s appeal and added benefits.

First and foremost, the varying terrain combined with numerous obstacles create more muscle engagement than running on the street and specifically stabilizes muscles in the foot and the ankle. Whereas, road running’s one directional movement leaves stabilized muscles underworked. Trail surfaces are also typically softer than concrete or pavement, therefore there is far less impact to your legs allowing you to avoid injury due to overuse and impact. And one of my favourite benefits, it’s pretty much hill training in disguise. No matter what trail you run, there is a good chance that there will be some inclines. They may not be long, like a paved road might be, but they will typically vary in steepness, which will constantly challenge your legs and lungs.


The burning question for most runners when they decide to try out trail running is whether or not the focus should be on perceived effort and overall course time, rather than pace time when doing a training run or race. According to Tim Lytle, from MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-Op in Toronto, overall course time and perceived effort should most definitely be the focus over pace time when hitting the trails, as they typically have more technical elements and ups and downs. I had a chance to chat with Lytle for a few moments and pick his brain on running essentials and safety tips for those new to trail running such as myself. According to Tim, “Footwear is the most important thing. I’d encourage a new trail runner to try on a variety of shoes and get to know what brands and models work for them. They also need to ask themselves where they will be wearing their shoes. The tread on the soles of trail running shoes can be very different from shoe to shoe. Some have an aggressive tread that would make running on pavement awkward, while others can be used on both road and trail. In the city you’re generally running on mixed surfaces so an aggressive tread won’t work.  As for clothing, go as simple as possible. I may carry a few gel packs so I like shorts with a zip-up pocket. If you want to get into longer runs like our MEC Ambassador, ultra marathoner and trail runner Luis Villgrain, you’d probably want a running vest or hydration water pack. In the summer, I like to wear a top that’s light and breathable like the MEC T1 ShortSleeved Crew and during colder seasons I’ll throw on a shell. The fabric on the MEC T1 breathes and is amazing at wicking away moisture from the body, a perfect combo.


Tim also shared three useful tips for new trail runners to incorporate for safety and injury prevention; 1) Ensure you have the right footwear for the terrain you’re running and don’t hesitate to walk sections of the trail that are more technical 2) Pay attention to weather and be prepared because even yesterday’s weather can impact the trail today, so pay attention and 3) f you’re worried about running alone in more remote locations, ask a friend to join you. Otherwise pick times of the day when the trail is busy in case you run into any challenges.

IMG_2902Photography by Nathalia Allen

Where should trail enthusiasts head for the best runs? I have really been enjoying discovering some trails out east in Durham Region, typically Seaton Trails and Evergreen Brickworks area has provided some #BeenTrail run vibes as well. What’s Tim’s take on the best trails to hit up? “I really enjoy running the Lower Don River Trail starting from where Taylor Creek intersects with the Don River and ending at Flemingdon Park. The east Don Valley towards Flemington Park isn’t busy and is closer to a wild trail setting compared to a lot of the manicured paths you’ll find in the city. I also run the Beltline Trail that begins near Evergreen Brick Works. I’ll be taking a group of runners from MEC Outdoor Nation through this trail on Saturday and look forward to seeing all the work that’s been done on the trail this year, it’s looking great.”

SoSasha x MEC Trail Running Giveaway

MEC Trail Running Giveaway

Whether it’s your first trail run or you’re a trail running veteran, your experience is all the more better with dialled-in equipment. On my runs I like to wear clothes that look great but are also functional. Apparel with light, breathable fabric that also wicks away sweat from the skin, is key to staying dry on long runs. I love MEC’s Vitality Sleeves Tank and Agility 2 Shorts. The top is ultra light with flat seams for maximum comfortability with the ability to add a layer if you need and the shorts has storage – a back zippered pocket, plus two small drop-in pockets at the waist. Morning runs wouldn’t be complete without a supportive bra and long sleeve base layer that you can throw on to keep you warm. MEC’s Mission Possible Long Sleeve is brilliant. It has clever thumb holes to ensure your sleeves don’t ride up, reflective piping on the front and back for visibility and pockets located on the left bicep to hold keys and other personal items. Last but not least and probably the most important is trail shoes. The Nike Zoom Wildhorse GTX Trail Runners have a seam sealed GORE-TEX upper to keep water out but has a synthetic mesh that still allows your feet to breathe, reflective elements making them visible in low light, and specially designed rugged outer soles with Nike’s signature waffle tread for traction on varying surfaces.

Thanks to the amazing team at MEC, I am giving away this entire look to one lucky follower. Entering is simple. You must be following both me and MEC on Twitter and tweet the following, “@SashaExeter I want to take my trail running to the next level with @MEC! #SoSashaxMEC” for a chance to win. For an extra entry, you can leave a comment on this running lay down on my Instagram sharing your favourite trail to run. Contest begins Monday June 29th and ends Wednesday July 1st at midnight EST. The winner will be announced on Thursday at noon via Twitter. *Contest is open to Canadian residents only. Good luck!

MEC Outdoor Nation

On June 27th and 28th, MEC Outdoor Nation takes over Toronto. turning Evergreen Bricks into the coolest overnight adult campout where camp goers get to take in live music, outdoor activities, trail runs and campfires. The weekend’s festivities will all be about celebrating a shared love for being outside, while dreaming up projects that can help other young people experience the outdoors in brand new ways. MEC, Canada’s fave outdoor collaborator is making this all happen with Outdoor Nation, which is fully funded through their commitment 1% for the planet. What can you expect? Paddle boarding, live music, yoga, hands on workshops, and awesome speakers, its a weekend outdoor lovers won’t want to miss. For more information on MEC’s Outdoor Nation in Toronto click here. Stay up to date on MEC Outdoor Nation updates by following them on Twitter and Instagram.

Posted on by Sasha in CONTESTS, FITNESS, HEALTH & WELLNESS Leave a comment

Summer Ready Feet with Dr. Scholl’s Express Pedi Foot Smoother

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Medi Express

It should really come as no surprise that keeping my feet callus and blister free has been a challenge. The years of playing tennis, wearing heels and running have finally caught up to me. Plus, the older I get, I’ve noticed the tougher my skin has gotten, making it difficult to keep the bottom of my feet and heels soft.

A year ago I made a conscious decision to be more proactive about my foot care. I mean, these are the only feet I will ever have so the fact that I’m just getting it together in that department is tragic.  I had committed to monthly pedicures at one of Toronto’s most prestigious  spas once a month with a polish change in between when necessary. This worked well in the beginning, however as I increased my running mileage and began training for races, I found the results less effective. Two days after the Nike Women’s 15k race, Dr Scholl’s Micro Pedi Foot Smoother miraculously showed up at my door and the timing couldn’t have been better. My feet were looking rough. I was a skeptic at first, refusing to believe that a small, hand-held device would yield the results I would get at a nail salon. However, after some quick Google research, I discovered that cutting calluses actually causes skin to grow back thicker and faster (gasp!). The Pedi Express seamlessly remedies flakey skin and calluses painlessly by smoothing them away with it’s genius micro grain roller.

Medi Express

When I read the contents of the press release that accompanied the box and saw pedicure tips from Toronto’s reigning nail aficionado and owner of Tips Nail Bar Leanne Colley, I became confident that this had to be the real deal. Her advice for best results, which I clearly took as gospel:

  • For deep cracks in your heels, use Express Pedi for a few minutes each day. Once most of the dryness is gone, use 2-3 times a week to maintain smooth skin.
  • Applying a little bit of pressure when using Express Pedi will make for the softest skin and increase battery life.
  • Before applying polish to your nails, clean off residue using a lint-free pad and acetone to avoid pesky fibres cotton balls tend to leave behind. Don’t forget to apply a base coat and paint away!

Express PediPhotography by Nathalia Allen –

Here’s the skinny: I have used the Express Pedi every single day for almost a week and I am already seeing a dramatic difference to the skin on my heels, balls of my feet and the outer corners of my big toe, where majority of the hardened skin has developed. It’s definitely not time to scale back to two times a week yet, but I will be tracking my improvement until the end of the month. The July issue of InStyle Magazine has a few useful tips on how to make a pedicure last which I also plan to implement into my “at-home foot care” routine. The Express Medi’s compact size will make it super easy for me to bring along when I travel and the fact that it came equipped with batteries is definitely a bonus. Dr Scholl’s Express Pedi Foot Smoother ranges between $40-45 CDN and is now available at Loblaws, Walmart, Rexall, London Drugs and Home Hardware store locations nationwide. For more information on the world’s leading foot care brand and it’s products head to

Posted on by Sasha in BEAUTY Leave a comment
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