Upgrade Your Workout In 20 Minutes With Equinox’s MetconBlitz Workout

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Equinox MetconBlitz

For many people, having a crazy busy schedule is often times the reason that they are not getting in regular workouts. The misconception is that you need an hour or two each workout to reap the benefits of exercise. This could not be further from the truth. Through my partnership with Equinox here in Toronto, I have done workouts with their highly trained staff in sessions ranging from anywhere between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours and believe it or not, I have worked just as hard, or sometimes harder in a shorter session than I have in a longer one.

In my personal opinion, the best kind of workout is the one that’s quick, engages your whole body, requires little to no equipment and makes you use your own body weight.  I often times see people in the gym spending hours lifting the heaviest weights but yet they cannot sustain their own body weight when challenged to do chin-ups, push-ups nor have any cardiovascular endurance. Equinox Toronto instructor Julian Ho, teaches eight signature Equinox classes at both Toronto locations which include some of my favourites; METCON3, Shockwave and 3SUM and is also an avid athlete who rock climbs and competes in ultra marathons. This guy gets it. He’s super busy and understands the need to obtain the best results from a workout when you’re strapped for time.

Julian Ho

Ho designed a 20 minute MetconBlitz workout that can be done anywhere and can be modified for different fitness levels allowing you to not only sculpt but also get the benefits of a conditioning session. I had a fun challenge putting myself through the workout outdoors this week. It’s effective because you speed up your strengthening with giant sets, meaning three or more exercises that target the same body part performed in a row. “giant sets can magnify the intensity by increasing the duration your muscles spend under high tension,” says Ho. “That quickens the onset of muscle failure, so you get more results in less time. The tempo varies, which forces your metabolic system to keep adapting without burning out.” claims Julian.

Perform each exercise for 1 minute in this specific order without resting in between. If you’re looking for the modified version…simply do each move for 45 seconds and recover for 15 seconds between each exercise. According to Ho, for best results, do this routine two to four times a week.

MetconBlitz Moves

1. Prisoner Squat/Rear Lunge Combo: Stand with feet slightly wider than your shoulders and place your hands behind your head; squat. Rise up, take a big step back with right foot, and lunge. Step forward to starting position and squat again. Rise up and then lunge back with left leg. Return to starting position and repeat. Continue at a medium tempo, alternating legs with each lunge.

2. Power Lunge (shown below): Stand with feet a stride’s length apart, left in front of right, and bend knees into a lunge. Jump as you switch legs, landing in a lunge with right foot forward and left foot back. Continue as fast as possible, switching legs each time you jump.

Equinox MetconBlitz

Equinox MetconBlitz

Equinox MetconBlitz

3. Deep Olympic Squat: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders and raise arms overhead (as if you were holding a bar). Take 5 seconds to lower into a deep squat, then rise up and repeat.

4. Renegade Arm Extension (shown below): Get in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Raise right arm to shoulder height in front of you with palm facing left. Lower right hand to starting position and repeat with left arm. Continue at a medium tempo, alternating arms. For more of a challenge, lift the alternating leg with arm simultaneously.

Equinox MetconBlitz

5. Clapping Push-Up (shown below): Get in plank position (lower knees to the floor if necessary). Bend elbows, lowering chest toward floor; push up explosively and clap your hands together before returning to starting position. Repeat as fast as possible.

Equinox MetconBlitz

6. Negative Push-Up: Get in plank postiion (lower knees to floor if necessary). slowly bend elbows, taking 5 seconds to bring your chest toward the floor. Push up to starting position and repeat.

7. Lateral Skater (shown below): Stand with feet together, then jump to the left, landing on left foot as you tap right foot on the floor slightly behind you. Push off left foot as you jump to the right. Continue at a medium pace bouncing from side to side in a skating motion.

Equinox MetconBlitz

8. High Knees and Hot Feet: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms extended at sides. Hop up as you drive right knee toward your chest and bend left elbow (as if you were running). Immediately repeat on opposite side, raising left knee as you bend right elbow and extend left arm. Continue at a fast pace, alternating sides, for 30 seconds. Then stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bend knees and elbows, and quickly run in place (in a semi-squat position). Continue at a fast pace for 30 seconds.

9. Mount Everest Climber (shown below): Get in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Jump right foot forward, brining right knee toward your chest. Switch positions, extending right leg behind you as you bend left knee and bring left foot forward. Continue, alternating legs.

Equinox MetconBlitzPhotography by Nathalia Allen (amillionminds.ca) and all apparel courtesy of Nike Canada

10. The Mission Impossible (X Plank and Skydiver): Get in plank position with your feet wide apart, then walk your hands out to the sides and slightly forward so your body forms an X. Hold on for 10 seconds. Next, lie face down with arms extended over your head, palms facing the floor, and legs extended behind you. Raise your arms and legs as high as you can, then bring your arms out to your sides and behind you as you turn your palms toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat, keeping your arms and legs raised the entire time. Continue for 10 seconds. Repeat the sequence (X plank for 10 seconds and skydiver for 10 seconds) twice more.

For more information on Equinox, locations, class descriptions/schedules and how to join the best gym in the world head to Equinox.com.

Posted on by Sasha in FITNESS Leave a comment

My Juicing Guide For Runners With Cedar Juice

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Juicing For Runners with Cedar Juice

There are so many opinions these days on the topic of juicing but I will always stand behind it because of all the benefits I’ve enjoyed while doing it over the last few years. It is the perfect way to detox and reset your body while bringing your digestive system back into balance. Each quarter I do a 3-5 day juice cleanse, that is inline with the change of the seasons and throughout this period, I usually defer from physical activity with the exception of perhaps restorative yoga and deep stretching sessions. In preparation for the Nike Women’s 15k race in June, I have been doing some research on juice cleansing and fresh pressed juices for runners, to see if there is any major benefits or areas of concern for those who are training for a race. While juicing has amazing benefits and is a great way to reset your system, runners need to choose a program that can be safely executed during their training. There seems to be only a few studies that have looked at the effects of cleanses on athletes and much of this research comes from studying Muslim athletes during Ramadan…when they are expected to fast from sunrise to sundown. These findings suggest that runners can train safely during this time, but may need to reduce the length and intensity of workouts.

Cedar-Juice

I recently tested this out a few weeks ago with the assistance of Cedar Juice. I have happily cleansed with the brand before and has been the most enjoyable and effective program I have used to date. You can check out my previous juicing experience with them here). I was in the midst of a fibromyalgia flareup at the beginning of the month and desperately needed to remove inflammatory foods from my diet and clean my system. However, I was a bit anxious to be honest as I was not awarded the luxury of not running during the cleanse due to my training program for the 15k. I discovered a three day juice cleanse doesn’t really interrupt training (especially if you do it over a weekend and take advantage of Sunday being a rest day) because it’s so short. These cleanses encourage a higher intake of nutrients from fruits and veggies, which can boost the immune system and have an overall positive effect on both the mind and the body. If done properly, meaning intaking an adequate amount of water to help flush out the excess of toxins faster, you should actually experience a boost of energy by the end of day two. I started my three day cleanse on a Saturday consuming only hot water and lemon followed by Cedar’s “Kale Me Good” juice an hour and a half before my long run. I played it safe that morning, listened to my body and significantly reduced by long run down to 9 km.  On the Sunday I rested the entire day and made sure to significantly increase my water and green tea intake.  On the Monday, I had a raw salad filled with good fats like avocados and did a light 6km run in the evening. I really felt that I needed that one meal that day to give me the energy for my team run.

Cedar Juice

If you’re interested in trying out a juice cleanse this season and still would like to run or train, I highly suggest you first consult with a physician or nutritionist plus consider adding one raw meal a day to your plan. Especially on the days you plan to exercise. You do not need to to avoid hitting the pavement, but you do need to listen to your body and perhaps run fewer km’s during this time. If you’re in the midst of training for a specific race and are within a month of race day, I would not recommend a “juice only” cleanse as it tends to slow down your times, you can try incorporating 1-2 raw meals a day to supplement the juicing program. However adding fresh pressed juices to your regular diet while training for a race can also be extremely beneficial. Many runners swear by “beet doping” in other words consuming beet based juices before race day or long runs. A series of small but mostly well designed studies have associated beet juice consumption with improved exercise performance because it allows your muscles to perform the same amount of work while using less oxygen – somehow making your body’s energy production more efficient. Cedar Juice’s “Skip To The Beet” concoction also contains carrot, apple, lemon and ginger to give this juice a bit of a kick. When I am not juice cleansing, I still love this blend before my Saturday long runs. Kale based juice is also considered to be an excellent addition for a runner. Kale is one of the most detoxifying foods on the planet. It also helps fight inflammation due to it’s high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which can be a huge benefit while training and for those who suffer from chronic pain issues like myself, rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders. More importantly, constant pounding while running apparently affects your body’s red blood cells, according to Nutritionist Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health. Kale based juice is high in iron. Without iron, your body cannot produce red blood cells and these are responsible for transporting food you eat but also the oxygen you breathe. The last to round off my juice for runners trifecta is the brand’s refreshing “Pineapple Head” juice which contains pineapples, pear and mint. Pineapples, both in food and juice form, contain enzymes that help digest protein and also offer anti-inflammatory benefits. Rich in Bromelain (the natural digestive enzyme & natural anti-inflammatory agent), vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium, making it a perfect compliment to your existing training diet.

For more information on Cedar Juice’s cleanses and delivery options, head to CedarJuice.com. Interested in trying out a Cedar Juice cleanse or implementing some of the juices into your existing diet during your training? I have teamed up with Canada’s “Best Cold Pressed Juice” company to offer my readers a 15% discount at the time of purchase by using the code “SoSashaSpring”. Make sure to follow Cedar Juice on Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on other special discounts, news and offers.

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

Beauty Review | Simple Skincare On The Go

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photo-73

I am officially into the swing of outdoor running season and the temperatures here in the city are finally starting to rise, which means a lot more sweating and clogged pores. Over the last couple months I have been busy with tons of photo shoots, fitness activations, run groups and such so it is extremely important for me to take good care of my skin to avoid unwanted breakouts. My skin is sensitive and prone to acne if I don’t keep my pores clean. I can admit that I have been guilty a few times of leaving makeup on prior to a run and paid the cost for the makeup and sweat seeping into my pores the next day.

I have gotten smart and armed myself with the right skincare arsenal that I now keep on hand in my bag when I am heading to the gym or to run club. These simple (no pun intended) things have helped not only keep unnecessary pimples and zits at bay but have also help to improve my skin. If you’re like me and are into all-natural products that still do the work of other cleansers/makeup removers, you will love Simple Skincare’s Cleansing Micellar Water. It contains the perfect blend of multi-vitamins and super gentle cleansers to help clean the skin while simultaneously removing makeup. With no parabens, artificial colours, scents, perfumes or chemicals that could be harsh on skin. Whether I have makeup on or not, I like to use Simple’s Cleaning Facial Wipes first to remove excess oil, dirt and makeup, then my go-to exfoliating face wash followed by the Micellar Water.

Cleansing Micellar Water

How To Use

  1. Apply a liberal amount of the Cleansing Micellar Water to a cotton ball or pad
  2. Gently rub the cotton ball/pad all over your face
  3. Softly wipe over closed eyes and make sure to not get any of the product in your eyes

There is no rinsing necessary which makes this the perfect cleansing product when you’re on the go. In addition to using these products topically on my skin, I also like to make sure that I am drinking plenty of water as well. In order to help me get my average daily intake, I like to infuse it  with either cucumbers or lemons. The latter is good as a detoxifier, which are also great for the skin. For more information on the Cleansing Micellar Water and to view the entire Simple Skincare product line, head to SimpleSkincare.ca

Posted on by Sasha in BEAUTY Leave a comment

So Sasha x Schwinn Summer Bike Experience

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Ride With Schwinn

After a long and torturous winter season I have decided that I am never going to take summer in Toronto for granted ever again. Now that I have running ingrained  into my life, I’ve been thinking that there is no better time than now to take on a new challenge. Just in time for Bike Month here in Canada, the team at Schwinn have given me an amazing opportunity to not only take advantage of my beautiful city’s best months, but also give me an alternative to stay in shape outdoors as their first Canadian Brand Ambassador.

Summer With Schwinn

There are several outdoors sports and activities to partake in, so you may be wondering why cycling interests me. After doing some research and chatting with some cyclists/bike enthusiasts, I had deducted the following; cycling is going to help increase my cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility. This acts as great supplementary training for the Nike Women’s 15k race this June. Riding will no doubt build my quads, glutes and calves, but working the handle bars will also give my upper body a workout and further sculpt my arms. Last but not least, I can burn close to the same amount of calories cycling, while putting significantly less stress on my legs, ankles and spine. Armed with this newly acquired knowledge, choosing a bike for myself was actually quite easy. Looking for a new set of wheels for yourself? The brand does have a wide variety of bikes to choose from; ranging from road, mountain, hybrid, urban and cruiser bikes.  My team at Schwinn Canada partnered with Canadian Tire to provide me with the best bike for new road cyclists, the Volare 1300 Road Bike. Perfect for fitness riders such as myself or hard core city commuters, the Volare is the perfect bike option giving me maximum control and agility.

Summer With Schwinn

Summer With Schwinn

Last week I ventured to Canadian Tire’s Toronto flagship location at Leslie and Lakeshore Rd East to get the full run down on the Volare by the store’s in-house bike specialist. The retail giant’s enthusiastic and dedicated cycling specialists do an excellent job of providing bike suggestions based on your individual needs, in the event you find making a decision challenging.

Summer With Schwinn

Summer With Schwinn

Summer With SchwinnPhotography by Nathalia Allen of amillionminds.ca

I have some exciting adventures planned this summer with Schwinn starting this month to help celebrate #BikeMonth and will continue until the end of the summer. It’s going to be one crazy ride (no pun intended) and I hope to bring some of you along with me – so stay tuned! You can tag along on my journey via both Instagram and Twitter  and by following the hashtags #LetsRide #SoSashaxSchwinn. For more information on Schwinn and their portfolio of bikes head to SchwinnBikes.com

Posted on by Sasha in FITNESS Leave a comment

STAYCATION | “Running Is Shangri-La Toronto” Experience

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Running Is Shangri-La Experience

When it comes to luxury hotel accommodations in my home city of Toronto, the Shangri-La is on top of my list. Over the course of the last year, the property has been a place where my friends and I eat, play and stay. When I learned a few weeks back the hotel was going to be introducing a new wellness package for guests focused on running and yoga, I had to get a sneak peek. I wasn’t the only one who wanted in on the action either. My Nike Women #WeRunSF teammates, Justine Iaboni of Jetset Justine and Kenton Magazine and Karen Kwan of Health and Swellness, also were along for the ride so it served as a mini reunion. Last Monday I checked into the “Shang” (as we affectionately call it) for a three day, two night stay in their exquisite Garden Room suite.

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Unlike the rest of the of the other suites in the hotel, this 820sqft luxury living quarters comes with beautiful wood chevron floors, 2 full washrooms lineD with cararra marble, a dramatic canopy bed, luxurious Aqua di Parma amenities (only found in the Garden and Owner’s Suites), and 200 square feet of outdoor terrace space. For even the most well heeled travellers, the Garden Suite definitely ticks all of the boxes.

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

What I Wore: Inspire Tight II Full-On Luxtreme Running Tights // Swiftly Tech Racerback Tank // Ultimate Padded Run Sock // Adidas Boost Running Shoes (Running apparel c/o of Lululemon and Shoes c/o Black Toe Running)

Before creating SoSasha.com, my previous career working in the corporate world resulted in an obscene amount of travel – sometimes hitting as many as three different time zones each week. One thing I noticed during this time was 1) hotels usually did not provide an inspiring atmosphere to make anyone want to workout. The gyms are usually the size of their smallest guest room, dark and contain very minimal equipment 2) staff very rarely are educated to provide recommendations to guests for outdoor workouts and 3) there are seldom any healthy food choices. In essence, if you spend most of your life on the road and in hotels, it can be challenging to keep up with a healthy lifestyle. Until now that is! The Shangri-La Toronto’s new “Running is Shangri-La” package has set the bar for wellness stays in the hospitality industry. As of May 1st, 2015 guests at the Shangri-La can enjoy this new option that provides scenic running routes personally tested and amended by Ben Kaplan, Editor-In-Chief of iRun magazine, running columnist for the National Post and author of Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now. Not only is the release of endorphins great for business travellers, the carefully curated routes for beginner, novice and advanced runners is also the perfect way for out of town guests to see and learn the city. Our staycation crew joined the Shangri-La team, Ben Kaplan and Black Toe Running for an early morning 3K trot, which took us through the historic St. Lawrence Market, the financial district with impressive views of the city’s icon – the CN Tower. Looking for a bit more of a sweat? Other routes and distances look like the following:

  • University Avenue up to the Queen’s Park loop, Ontario’s Provincial Legislature buildings and the UofT campus – 4k
  • Trinity Bellwoods Park and Queen West which was ranked one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world by Vogue in September 2014 – 5k
  • The Toronto waterfront with an uninterrupted run along Lake Ontario – up to 20k

 

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

The wellness options don’t just stop there. Have you ever wanted to get in a workout or a stretch in hotel gym super early or late at night and feared being alone for safety reasons? As a female traveler I have definitely had those concerns before. The Shangri-La Group of hotels has brilliantly teamed up with sport apparel and lifestyle brand Lululemon to create an in-room guided yoga video so guests can enjoy a calming flow within the privacy of their own room. I tested out said video and used it as a light stretch before our group run. The 20 minute instructional video is led by Lululemon Yoga Ambassador and Toronto native Amber Joilat and can be accessed in any of the Shangri-La Hotel Toronto’s 202 guest room TV’s and iPads. For added convenience, each guest room comes with a Lululemon branded yoga mat. The hotel’s fitness facility is also still a great place for a sweat session. It my personal opinion, it closely rivals any of the top gyms in the world and offers spin, yoga and kettle bell classes. If that’s not enough, there is also an infrared sauna and stunning pool that was named one of the world’s most beautiful pools by Conde Nast Traveler in 2013. The sun drenched pool deck was the perfect spot for me to take my new Lululemon bikini for a spin (or shall I say lap). I have fallen totally in love with the brand’s surf inspired and reversible collection – below I’m wearing the brand’s  Surf to Sand Tie Top and Surf to Sand Bikini Bottom.

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Shangri La Garden Suite Room Service Sasha Exeter 03

Running Is Shangri-La Experience

Shangri La Garden Suite Room Service Sasha Exeter 02

My visit was very active and action packed so I made sure I stayed nourished by noshing on the hotel’s ample wellness options that are available both at Bosk, the signature restaurant, and in-room dining service. Both have a healthy lifestyle section. If you followed along on my staycation journey on snapchat, you would have seen me conveniently ordering our lunch on an iPad which we enjoyed on my private garden terrace. And no wellness package would be complete without some relaxation and recovery. The Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie is definitely a treat. As part of this amazing package, guests will rejuvenate with the spa’s signature Hammam and Gommage treatment (you can take a look at my review here), which is the ultimate detoxification treatment. Thanks to the awesome Caudalie team, I was also received the Crushed Cabernet treatment – the most popular scrub from the Vinotherapie Spa and was recommended as an ideal “starter” before indulging in other treatments. Over the course of 45 minutes, I was scrubbed down with a concoction of grape-seed, honey, brown sugar and essential oils of the Contouring Concentrate. After a rinse and steam in my treatment room’s private shower, I was lathered head to toe in the nourishing body lotion combined with Caudalie’s Contouring Concentrate that left my skin so ridiculously smooth and hydrated, I still felt the affects days after.

Running Is Shangri-La ExperiencePhotography by Nathalia Allen – amillionminds.ca, Alexander Liang of Kenton Magazine & my Instagram account

Needless to say, it was very difficult when it was time to check out of the Shangri-La and go back to real life. I will miss soaking in the oversized tub post runs, the overly accommodating staff, delectable food and fabulous amenities, but I departed with a distinct feeling that I will be back to repeat this experience again in the near future. Special thank you to the Shangri-La Toronto, the Miraj Hamman Spa by Caudalie, Lululemon and Black Toe Running. Rates for this package begin at $535 CDN per night (*rate does not include the Garden Suite). Click here for more details on the “Running Is Shangri-La” package. For information on on the Shangri-La Group and their properties, head to Shangri-La.com.

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

GIVEAWAY | Let’s Celebrate at the #MogoPerks Party

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Mogo Perks Party

One of my resolutions this year was to be more fiscally responsible and in January I teamed up with Mogo to learn how to do more and spend less, which started with my “Winter Weekend With Mogo” experience. I have managed to stay on track with my New Year’s resolution, thanks to my Mogo Prepaid Visa® Card. It makes it convenient for me to make purchases anywhere major credit cards are accepted, while allowing me to stay in control of my money and avoid the dreaded “D” word – debt. Trust me, this is a feat in itself and deserves a celebration, so I went out and picked up some things to get me “party ready” with my personalized card for this week’s Mogo extravaganza.

This Thursday April 30th, Mogo will proudly present their first #MogoPerks party in collaborating with No Fun Press, Kastor & Pollux and The Creator Class at Toronto’s Neubacher Shor Contemporary Gallery on Queen West. In keeping with the spirit of creative minds collaborating from varying disciplines, the event will feature an installation by T.O. based artist Trevor Wheatley, a live performance by an special guest and the unveiling of the brand’s new Mogo Prepaid Visa® Card co-designed with No Fun Press.

mogo-blogger-giveaway

I will be there partying with my crew and would love to bring one lucky  follower along to hang, so I am giving away two tickets to this “Invite-Only” affair on social media. You must follow both myself and @MogoMoney on Twitter and tweet the following, “@SashaExeter I want to party with @MogoMoney #MogoPerks!” for a chance to win. You must be a Canadian resident and 19+ to be eligible to enter. Contest begins Monday April 27th at and ends Wednesday April 29th at noon EST. Winner will be announced via social media at on the 29th @ 2pm.

For more information on Mogo, it’s CardMember benefits and how you can “Uncreditcard Your Life” check out Mogo.ca.

Posted on by Sasha in CONTESTS, EVENTS Leave a comment

Adams All Natural Peanut Butter Cups

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Adams Peanut Butter Cups

FACT: There is no better food pairing in the world than chocolate and peanut butter. For year’s I’ve been addicted to store bought peanut butter cups and they are usually what I indulge in when I allow myself to have a treat. Due to the super high sugar content however, these cheat days have been few and far between lately. Through my partnership with Adams Peanut Butter, I’ve been having a ton of fun making (and eating) tasty recipes using both the brand’s creamy and crunchy all natural peanut butter.  It tastes so delicious that I often find myself eating a spoonful straight out of the jar. Recently I have even been carrying the mini packs of Adams PB in my bag,  in case I need a little protein boost throughout my busy days. The girl’s on my #OnTheRunTO run crew have also taken a liking to these convenient little packages, that are perfect when you’re on the go.

In March I whipped up a delish and nutrish Adams PB & Banana smoothie, but this month I decided to venture to the sweet side and try my hand at homemade peanut butter cups – because why not?! Besides, using 100% pure semi sweet chocolate and Adams peanut butter pretty much makes it guilt free, no?  Made with 99% fresh roasted peanuts and a dash of salt, Adams peanut butter contains no artificial colours, sugar, flavours or preservatives. I am by no means skilled in the culinary arts and my lifestyle is so hectic which leaves little time for cooking/baking marathons. As a result, most of my recipes are quick, easy and contain very few ingredients. For those of you reading this that also lack time in the day, you will be thrilled to know that this recipe only requires three ingredients and takes under an hour to make from start to finish.

What You’ll Need 

Adams Natural Peanut Butter

  • 200 grams of dark semi-sweet chocolate
  • 3/4 cups of natural peanut butter (I made two batches. One made with creamy and one with crunchy Adams peanut butter)
  • 4 tablespoons of coconut oil (divided)
  • You will also need a double boiler or a small pot with a bowl to melt the chocolate and roughly 12 cupcake or muffin liners

First melt the chocolate. Set up the double boiler or the pot with water to boil on top (be sure the bowl does not touch the water) and set heat to medium high. Add the chocolate with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and allow to melt completely. Stir occasionally to incorporate the chocolate with the coconut oil. Turn off heat and leave on the pot to keep warm.

Adams Natural Peanut Butter CupsPhotography by Nathalia Allen  amillionminds.ca

In a small bowl, scoop out roughly 3/4 cups peanut butter and add in two remaining tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Mix well to incorporate and set aside. Next, line a flat dish with muffin or cupcake liners. With a spoon, scoop in a little melted chocolate to cover the bottom of each liner. Place in the freezer for about two minutes to slightly set. Add a small scoop of peanut butter and coconut oil mix in the centre and gently flatten with the back of a spoon. Scoop more melted chocolate to cover the top, about 1-2 tablespoons. Return to the freezer for 15-30 minutes until serving.

If serving much later than a half hour, remove the cups from the freezer 30 minutes before serving and remove all the paper liners and place them in the fridge to thaw out before serving. If they appear soft to the touch – pop them back in the freezer for five minutes to harden the chocolate. *Recipe yields approximately 10 cups.

Adams Natural Peanut Butter Cups

*So Sasha Tip: When using Adams natural peanut butter products, ensure to flip it and store upside down which makes it easier to use and less messy. For more information on Adams Peanut Butter, available variants and more recipe suggestions head over to adamspeanutbutter.ca.

Posted on by Sasha in FOOD Leave a comment

Kick Up For Kidney Cancer Fitness Fundraiser

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Kick Up For Kidney CancerPhoto by Nathalia Allen – amillionminds.ca

In 2001 I was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease called FSGS and I have been battling with this incurable ailment ever since. Renal issues are actually hereditary in my family, so when I was asked to lend my support to help raise awareness for kidney cancer with the “Kick It Up For Kidney Cancer” event alongside some of Toronto’s most notable faces in fitness, the decision was a no brainer. This super fun and active event is far different from any fundraiser you have ever been to. In the form of a bootcamp workout, participants will work up a sweat to help raise funds and awareness for those diagnosed with kidney cancer.

Taking place on Sunday June 7th, 2015 at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium, the 3rd annual event will be led by some of the city’s top trainers; Michael DeCorte of Jock Yoga, Brent Bishop of Think Fitness and Dara Bergeron of Belly Bootcamp – with the amazing and uber talented Jully Black reprising her role once again as MC. A four hour bootcamp may sound a bit daunting but trust me, it will be super fun! The format is team based, where participants tag in and out with their teammates and follow the trainers lead through the workout demos. I love the fact that the workout utilizes the different backgrounds of each fitness expert, meaning participants will get three totally different modalities – Dana who will focus on a lot of hip training through her belly bootcamp style workout, Brent’s performance based training method and Michael’s yoga focused exercises.

Michael DeCorte Jock YogaMichael DeCorte – Creator of Jock Yoga

I am stoked to team up with Michael DeCorte to offer one lucky reader a customized #KickItUp prize pack. DeCorte is the Creator of Jock Yoga; a contemporary and athletic approach to yoga practice that has gained a cult following here in Toronto. He’s been practicing and teaching yoga for over 13 years and has worked/trained with the most internationally respected teachers and yogis. Similar to myself, Michael has used fitness to overcome personal and health related challenges, which helped us quickly form a solid bond and friendship. You may recognize his handsome face as an On-Air fitness expert on Global TV, CBC and Breakfast Television. In preparation for this summer’s big event, I got to learn about Michael’s connection to the cause and what it means to him, “I‘ve decided to partner with Kidney Cancer Canada because I am passionate about the benefits of exercise and the reality that exercise is one of the only ways we can prevent illness and diseases – particularly kidney cancer. Yoga and exercise helped save my own life from substance abuse and obesity. Also, 3 years ago my beloved grandmother died of kidney failure due to cancer in her bile duct. So when I was asked to contribute to this charity and teach at Kick It Up, I jumped at the opportunity.”

Kick It Up Prize Pack - for post with Michael

Our customized giveaway contains a Hershel backpack, Gaiam yoga mat, #KickItUp branded towel, a complimentary admission to the event, plus a voucher for a private training session with Michael DeCorte. Entering is simple. You must follow both myself and @JockYogaGuy on Twitter and tweet, “I want to help support Kidney Cancer Canada at #KickItUp with @SashaExeter and @JockYogaGuy!” starting today for a chance to win. Contest will close on Tuesday April 28th at midnight EST and the winner will be announced via Twitter on April 29th, 2015. *Contest open to Canadian residents only!

There is an astounding 24,000 Canadians living today with this disease. Sadly, there are no screening tests, no early detection and no cure, which is why prevention and fundraising through events like this are super important. We are determined to beat last year’s fundraising success and make this year the biggest yet and our goal is to raise $100,000 or more. Click here for more information on Kick It Up For Kidney Cancer, additional details on the event and learn how to register. Planning on participating? Take advantage of the early bird reduced registration fee until April 30th! Additional information on the foundation can be found at KidneyCancerCanada.ca

Posted on by Sasha in CHARITY, FITNESS Leave a comment

Getting 15k Race Ready: Training + Injury Prevention

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Nike Women's 15k Training

My #OnTheRunTO squad has cruised through the second week of official training for the upcoming Nike Women’s 15 in June. Every Monday the team meets at the Nike Running Loft in Toronto and we are guided through a customized run route lead by our designated Nike Pacer Christina Tiffin. Over the course of the training period, there will be special moments for the team to better help them prepare for race day. In an effort to keep the ladies happy and healthy over the next several weeks, Nike Canada brought in Dr. Marc Bubbs; Naturopathic Doctor, Strength Coach, Author and Sports Nutrition Lead for the Canadian Men’s Olympic Basketball team. Topics of discussion…the difference between dynamic stretching (suggested for pre-run) and the right way to cool down and stretch post run. Most importantly, the proper way to use a foam roller. Foam rollers are the most popular mechanism for self myofacial release and can increase blood flow through the body, increase range of motion and decrease the chance of injury. I’ve chatted about this in a previous post which you can find here as it’s extremely important for muscle recovery. According to Dr. Bubbs, the first thing to do to start seeing results is to roll out your calves, quads and IT band.

Nike Women 15k Training

Nike Women 15k Training

To address the calves, begin by placing one leg on the roller, then place the other leg on top of it. Raise the hips and slowly begin to roll to the knee. If you find a tender spot, stop and hold.  After 20 seconds, continue to roll through the area four times. Then set the hips on the ground and rotate the leg four times side to side. Through our daily activity and running Doc informed us that the quadricep area can be shortened which can affect the hips and put stress on the lower back. To target this area, begin by lying down in a plank position and place the roller just above the kneecap. Slowly roll down (about an inch per second) towards the hip. Same applies for the tender spots here – stop and hold for 20 seconds, then resume rolling. After four rolls, I like to bend the knee while rolling another four times to get a bit deeper. To get the IT band, turn onto your side and with the roller above your knee and roll up and down along the outer thigh. The best tip though was utilizing a golf ball to get those stubborn and hard to stretch areas like underneath your feet. That little tip has been life changing for myself and the ladies.

NIKE 15K TRAINING

I’ve been getting a ton of questions regarding my team’s training program. We are following the program that was created by Coach Chris Bennett, Nike+ Running Global and Nike+ NYC Head Coach that includes progression, speed, tempo and long runs, 1 NTC workout and a recovery day each week. Here’s a glimpse of the week by week breakdown that can also be found within the full Nike 15k training plan PDF:

Nike Women 15k Training

Nike Women 15k Training

This Monday’s team run was a short 5k route developed by our Pacer Christina that took us on a short jaunt not far from our Toronto run  headquarters.

Nike 15k Training

Nike Women 15k training

Nike Women 15k Training

There are always a few mainstay items that remain in my running/gym bag during run season and this was the perfect time to treat everyone to some of my fave things. Inside the team’s gift bags they received a 18″ Gaiam foam roller, Adams natural peanut butter mini packs, Blow & Go Smooth, OSIS+ Session Label Silk Shine Cream and OSIS+ Magic by Schwarzkopf OSIS+, fresh pressed kale juice by Cedar Juice, Degree dry spray antiperspirant, Vaseline Intensive Care Dry Skin Repair Lotion, Vitaminwater, Smartwater, Simple Skinm’s Cleansing Micellar Water & Cleansing Wipes, Dove Go Fresh Revitalize beauty bars, golf balls (to roll out the hard to reach areas) and of course spring’s hottest Epic Lux Printed running tights from Nike.

Nike Women 15k Training

Nike Women 15k TrainingPhotography by Lesean Harris LeseanHarris.com (@leseanharris)

l to r: Elle Daftarian, Kimberly Lyn, Amy Patel, Michelle Bilodeau, Sasha Exeter, Dr, Marc Bubbs, Cheryl Kozorziz, Melissa Doldron, Jessica Sturrup, Anna Bediones, Shannae Ingleton-Smith, Alex Nikolajev, Kate Matkinson, Andrea Yu and Nathalia Allen

Thank you to all my brand partners for the support and product. Stay tuned for more of our #OnTheRunTO journey over the next eight weeks. Click here for more information on Dr. Marc Bubbs and be sure to get social and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

Posted on by Sasha in FITNESS Leave a comment

Beauty Review | Dove’s Revolutionary Dry Spray Antiperspirant

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Dove Dry Spray

I may be adventurous and willing to try new things, especially when it comes to fashion but there are a few things I am hesitant to play around with. One of those being my antiperspirant. My lifestyle is crazy busy and when my days consists of long hours of meetings, photo shoots, events and sometimes multiple workouts, I can’t leave that to chance. For as long as I can remember, I have used the same deodorant and while I didn’t have major issues when it came to protecting me against sweat, I did however find the collection of white residue under my arms and traces of deodorant on my clothes super annoying.

If you were to rummage through my bathroom cabinets, you will find a ton of personal care products from the Dove family. Everything from hair care, body washes and their beauty bars…all but their antiperspirant until now. For the last month I’ve been testing out the brand’s newest technology, a dry spray deodorant. I will admit, I was hesitant to try it at first based on my preconceived notions on non-stick deodorants, but figured if I love all of Dove’s other products, there’s a high probability I could love this too. Dove’s Dry Spray Antiperspirant is simply just that. A spray that goes on instantly dry – not to be confused with regular aerosol deodorants on the market that go on wet and can irritate delicate underarm skin. This revolutionary product is the first antiperspirant spray that contains 1/4 moisturizers. A welcomed feature for me as I’ve noticed that area can become dry from excessive shaving. Not only do each of the four variants smell heavenly, but somehow the Dove team figured out a way for this spray to provide 48 hour protection.

Using it is easy. First, shake the can well before each use and hold it approximately 15 cm’s from your underarm. Spray for 2 seconds – that’s it! So here’s the skinny…I literally put Dove’s dry spray through the ringer. It survived my crazy hectic workdays and long training runs. My underarms are frequently on display when I work out and during photo shoots so I was thrilled to not have any deodorant residue visible, especially showing up in photos – something that has happened a few times in the past. Dove was not kidding about the extended protection. I come home at the end of the day still feeling as fresh and dry as I did when I left in the morning.  Dove Dry Spray is available now in four scents; Beauty, Revive, Cool Essentials and Original (the jasmine, freesia and water lily notes in the Beauty scent is my fave!) and can be found at most major food and drug retailers nationwide for around $5.99. In case you missed it, check out my Rudsak experience with Dove at World Mastercard Fashion Week here. For more information on Dove and it’s products, head to Dove.ca.

Posted on by Sasha in BEAUTY Leave a comment
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