Seriously, you guys rock. There has been such an overwhelming response to my activewear campaign with Joe Fresh and the pieces itself, I am blown away. The support you all have given me and the brand has been next level and trust me when I saw it has not gone unnoticed. So to thank you, we’re giving you 25% off your online purchases when you use the code “Sasha25“.
This ain’t no one time offer either. This is good for the rest of 2019 and that is actually the best news because the rest of the collections dropping this year just get better and better. Here’s a look at some of my favourite looks from the first summer collection…part two will hit stores and online in June.
Ohhhhh and guess what, I have my own little section on www.joefresh.com/ca that houses all my favourite pieces from the active collection each season. So much easier to quickly find the pieces you see me wearing in the gym.
From the homepage, hover over the “Active” tab
Select “Sasha Exeter”
Click on the “Shop Now” tab
Here are the terms to the promo you need to be aware of. The “Sasha25” promo code is valid online only at www.joefresh.com/ca. Save 25% off regular priced items only. It is only available to Canadian residents only at this time….but hoping that may change in the future. To redeem online, enter the promotional code in your shopping bag. The offer excludes Baby Gift Boxes and clearance items. Cannot be combined with any other coupons or promotional offers, is not redeemable for cash and cannot be applied to previous purchases. Offer valid from May 6, 2019 at 12:01AM EST to December 31, 2019 at 4AM EST. Joe Fresh reserves the right to cancel any order due to unauthorized, altered, or ineligible use of discount and to modify or cancel these promotions.
This post is sponsored by Joe Fresh, however all views and opinions are my own and not of the brands I have collaborated with.
Have you ever been two days into your dream vacation or work trip and your GI tract suddenly turns against you? Trust me when I say it’s not bad timing…it’s travel that is to blame. Why? Well, stomach issues tend to happen when we are out of our routine, which unfortunately means that trip you’ve been planning all year, will likely be a target for an intestinal temper tantrum.
With gut health on everyone’s minds these days, most of you know the importance of eating foods with naturally occurring pre and probiotics, taking supplements and delish drinkable concoctions, but did you know that yoga can actually improve digestive issues day to day and actually help keep GI issues at bay during your travels? This practice of movement and breathing helps relax the gut and is deeply detoxifying – a key factor for improving digestion. Gentle poses and twisting postures can help increase the oxygen to the tummy, aid with bloating, enhance digestion and encourage your liver and kidneys to flush out toxins.
Part one of my gut health series (linked here if you missed it) shares a lot about my own personal experience with tummy troubles, how I developed severe GI issues and most importantly how I overcame them (it’s a must read if you feel like you may be suffering from the same thing), but I’m still learning new things every single day to help me improve my health. On a recent trip to Florida to attend the annual Gut Health Summit with Activia Danone, I actually got to experience first hand the benefits of starting the day with an awakening yoga flow. Some quality time spent with Camilla Lee, a Vancouver based yoga expert and Activia’s personal yoga instructor on the trip, I discovered some simple yet effective poses during our sunrise yoga sessions that can be done alone or before your favourite flow to combat digestive issues.
Marjaryasana-Bitilasana (Cat-Cow Pose)
From a seated position, make your way to tabletop. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Inhale as you draw your belly button to the floor. Look up to the ceiling, and exhale.
Then draw your belly button to spine, tuck in your tailbone, and chin to throat. Repeat 5-10 times. Breathing deeply in these poses will massage your organs as you alternately
From downward facing dog pose, step your right foot between your hands. Inhale and raise your arms above your head. Add a gentle backbend. Exhale and bring your hands down to heart centre and bring the left elbow over the right knee for a gentle twist. Hold here for several breaths. Then exhale and release, step your feet together, and come into a forward fold. Come back to Downward Dog and switch sides. This pose places gentle pressure on your liver and kidneys, encouraging detoxification.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)
Come to your back and bend your knees, bringing them above your feet. Make sure you can graze your heels with your fingertips. On an inhalation, push through your feet to raise your hips. To add a shoulder opener, clasp your hands and press your forearms into the mat. This pose puts gentle pressure on the kidneys and adrenals to give the body a natural burst of energy and function at its highest potential. Now that you have cleansed and cleared space in the body, mind, and heart, open up to what you want to cultivate there. This is a great pose for post-detox intention setting. Hold for several deep breaths, then exhale to release your hands and lower your hips.
Extend your legs out in front of you and then hug your right knee into your chest. With your right hand on your right knee, roll your hips and knee to the right, resting your knee on the ground if possible. Hold here for several deep breaths before switching sides. Reclined twists put gentle pressure on intestinal flow to maximize elimination.
Trikonasana (Triangle Pose)
Step your right foot forward into a low lunge and then straighten the leg. Walk your left foot forward 6 inches and turn the foot at a 45 to 60 degree angle to the front of the mat with your heel flat on the earth. Rest your right hand lightly on your right shin or the floor and reach your left hand to the sky with your palm facing outward. Stretch the crown of your head forward as you reach your tailbone toward your left heel.
Uttana Shishosana (Extended Puppy Pose)
Come onto your hands and knees as if you were moving into Cat-Cow pose. Then keeping your hips where they are, walk your hands forward. Release your head onto the floor or a block and allow gravity to open your heart. Uttana Shishosana pose is especially useful for stretching the belly to relieve cramps after a large meal.
Ardha Pawamuktasana (Half Gas Release Pose)
Look no further than the name of this posture—Pawan (Air/Gas) Mukta (Release)—to discover its healing benefit. This pose compresses the ascending colon on the right side and descending colon on the left, stimulating the nerves to aid elimination. First, hug your right knee in toward the right side of your ribcage. Keep pressing your straight left leg into the earth as you clasp your hands around your right shin to pull it closer to the floor. Hold for 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat on the other side.
This post is in partnership with Joe Fresh. Find and shop more of my favourite activewear looks right now on JoeFresh.com and enjoy 25% off any regular priced merchandise from now until the end of the year using the promo code “Sasha25”. Available to Canadian residents only.
Traveling almost five hours by plane and two hours by car for only two short days, not to mention the jet lag, sounds a bit crazy but a destination as dope as Whistler can definitely make you do some out of the ordinary things. I took off with a bunch of friends a couple of weeks ago for a quick getaway to kind of go off the grid and do all of the outdoorsy things. Honestly, I hadn’t had that much fun in a long ass time.
We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler, which as you can imagine was a treat in itself, and fully took advantage of literally every activity offered on-site. The amazing thing about traveling with like-minded friends is everyone in the group was down to take advantage of the short time we had there, so we did all of the things imaginable during this time of the year – ski, snowboarded, hiked, worked out, and even ran some trails.
But here’s the fun part. Everyone on the trip are all Apple Watch users. Some new and most like me, have had the various versions since the first generation watch debuted. So, as you can imagine, the weekend turned pretty competitive with everyone clamouring to close their activity rings first. Apple Watch has come a long way over the past few years with several updates to both the hardware and software. The one thing I really love about the Series 4 is that no matter what workout or activity I do, the native workout app that is built into the watch can accurately track it thanks to the insane amount of workout options that are now readily available. From badminton, volleyball, functional training to even mind and body movement, the watch captures any and everything. For those two days, we were basically hitting our goals half way into the day.
I’ve used my watch pretty much every day since getting my very first one over 3 years ago and you know what, I’m still discovering features that can enhance how I use it in my daily life and for training. I picked up a few new things during these few days, but I think that was destined to happen when your amongst a group of people that also rely on their watch day to day. The biggest thing for me was how to properly categorize all the different types of movement I do within one session at the gym. My workouts are always start with some cardio (Peloton ride) or dynamic warm-up, HIIT or strength training and usually conclude with stretching or intervals on the assault bike. Instead of choosing only one option on the Activity App when I start my workout, I can actually now account for each individually by swiping right on my watch face while the workout is in progress and selecting the new (or + button) to begin a new workout, so I am getting credit accurately for each style of movement. I will have to take you guys through it live in action on my IG stories one of these days.
We were extremely lucky to be able to ski and snowboard on the best slopes in the country during this time of the year. It was low season so no lines at the chair lifts and not much action on the mountain. I actually don’t ski or snowboard, but promised myself that this year I would do more things that challenge and scare me. So, I was suited and booted in rental gear (I now deeply regret not purchasing a sick outfit of my own before we left Toronto) and did a couple hours of lessons from two insanely amazing instructors. Far from an expert and left learning how to ride both the heel and toe side…the foundation of snowboarding and enough to get me pumped to pick it up again next winter.
I would have never imagined how much of a workout an hour of beginner snowboarding would be, but thanks to this dope third party app we all used called Snoww, think Strava for skiers and snowboarders where you can follow friends and compare/track your stats, I was able to track everything from the amount of time I spent on the hills, distance, max speed, vertical and the number of runs completed. Let me be clear though, my vertical, distance and max speeds were a joke and not worth mentioning but it was still really cool to be able to have all that data and have the met. I am just happy I was able to stay on my feet and survived without broken bones. What was really cool about the app, was that I was able to track my friends in real time to see where they were at. With everyone being at various levels, we were split up into different groups and I could see exactly where the girls in my crew were at any given time. I was able to iMessage them to meet up without even having to take my phone out of my pocket. Brilliant, because my worst nightmare is dropping my phone on a chair lift. The watch’s communication capabilities with messaging, calling and notifications, legit makes it the perfect device for hitting the slopes hands-free.
There was no better way to decompress after our time on the slopes than with a calming yoga flow inside of Audain Art Museum. I am sure you remember seeing it on my IG stories. It was stunning space that was sun drenched thanks to the huge windows and had beautiful lines that left you no choice but to admire every square inch of the place. Yoga was one of the new workouts that has recently been added into the Workout App with Watch OS 5. Looking back at my metrics, I burned less than I would normally during a yoga class but this flow was restorative in nature and exactly what we needed after all the travel and hill time. At the end of our session, we did some guided meditation and used the Breathe App to help with breathing. I love this app so much that I have it as a complication on my watch face. I use it several times a day. With reminders pushed to my watch throughout the day, I end up taking a few moments to do some deep breathing and it significantly lowers my stress level. Below you can take a look at my metrics from that day. You’ll see that I more than doubled my move goal, exercised for 258 minutes, which I am pretty sure that’s the most I’ve ever done in one day and crushed my stand goal:
My favourite part of our Whistler adventure was the trail run on the last day. It’s so much different than road running and my god there is no better place to do it. It’s known for some of the best single track trails for mountain biking and we ended up on one of them halfway through our route. It makes me want to move back out west to consider this my backyard. We had Ray Zahab, ultra distance runner, Canadian adventurer, and Explorer in Residence of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society lead our trail run. But before heading out that morning, we spent an hour or so hearing tales of his unsupported expeditions to some of the planets hottest and coldest places plus his experience running 14,000+ km across the world’s deserts. Ray is also an obsessed Apple Watch user and uses it for his training, fitness tracking and even navigation on his expeditions which has allowed him to speak at numerous Apple Distinguished Educator events internationally.
We learned some tips on how to run optimally to avoid impact and injury on the trails and to focus our gaze a foot in front of us while running instead of directly down at our feet, which I assume most would to in fear of tripping or falling. I’ve just looked back at the metrics that was collected in the Activity App on my phone from my watch and my pace was so much slower than what it normally is but the elevation gain was about 133m and going uphill and downhill in dirt, snow, and ice is bound to slow you down. The air was so fresh and the surroundings was so lush, it was really a beautiful experience and makes me want to seek out trails to run outside the city at home. It really was the perfect way to end this trip.
I could actually go on forever about this watch and the funny thing is, even though I’ve gone through every watch series from one to four, I am still learning new things about it that help make my life and training better. I get messages from so many of you saying you’re on the fence about getting an Apple Watch and I think once you truly understand the depth the device has, it’s really a no brainer. I’ll be sharing some of the new tips and tricks I’ve discovered on my IG soon that have been game changers for me and useful in my day-to-day life and with training.
Spring is here (yay!) and we finally have the weather to confirm this, which means one thing – event season is among us. There are only a handful of events that take place in the city that can incite a bit of FOMO if I have to miss out on it and the Canadian Opera Company’s annual Operanation event ranks high on the list. It is the first big event in the new year where people are actually excited to dress up and go out because the snow and cold weather is behind us.
This year on May 16th the COC will host their 15th annual Operanation event inside the Four Seasons Performing Arts Centre. With this year’s theme being inspired by the fairytale stories of next year’s opera stage, the evening is no doubt going to be a whimsical night full of surprises, adventure and voices of the company’s opera stars.
I can’t wait and I plan on taking the theme seriously when it comes to what I am wearing. I am thrilled to be given the chance to wear something magical from one of my favourite Canadian designer’s, Nikki Yassemi of Narces. I plan on bringing you guys along for the ride via my stories during my visit to her studio for my upcoming fittings and plan on letting you all in on the fun by helping me choose a look for the big night.
If you’ve been lucky enough to attend Operanation before ,you already know it’s THE party of the season and tickets sell crazy FAST. The COC was kind enough to give my followers access to tickets for this spectacular evening at a reduced rate HEREor you can access ticket sales via the link in my IG bio and use the code “SASHA” to grab yours. I can’t wait to see some of y’all there!
I have been wanting to write about this topic for a long ass time. I have touched on leaky gut syndrome from time to time on a surface level over the years, but have never really been able to do a deep dive into just how bad my gut issues were and the FULL impact it had on my overall health. There are two main reasons why I haven’t opened up fully until now. 1) I was fucking embarrassed to be honest, at how bad it had gotten and 2) If it was connected to a sponsored post, I would usually be asked to remove or tone down some of my symptom explanations because some brands felt they were too raw and descriptive *shoulder shrug*. So alas here we are, years later, with a healthier gut, but still a work in progress. Sooooo what exactly is leaky gut? Leaky gut, or “intestinal permeability” is a condition where the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing any undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to literally leak into the gut lining and flood the blood stream. Yup, it really is as gross as it sounds guys! The body then treats these as foreign substances entering the blood. This can cause an autoimmune response in the body including sudden inflammatory and allergic reactions such as migraines, irritable bowel/digestion issues, eczema, chronic fatigue, several food allergies, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
But let’s start at the beginning shall we. Here’s the thing about the gut, the microflora that lives in there is highly specific to each individual and typically stays in harmonious balance. That being said, there can be periods of time within someone’s life where that balance is disturbed by things like environmental factors, chronic stress, drug treatment or toxin overload (worst offenders being antibiotics, asprin, NSAIDS, excessive drug and alcohol consumption ), and the biggest culprit; a poor diet. With my lifestyle back then, I was ticking off most of the boxes with a corporate career that required extensive travel around the country, barely any sleep, entertaining clients late at night and partying hard with friends on the weekend. It took a toll and over the course of a couple years of this lifestyle it eventually caught up to me. And let’s remember, my body was already at a deficit, having been diagnosed with a very rare kidney disease while I was attending Howard University in Washington, DC eight years earlier. In the beginning, these symptoms were subtle and were ignored for almost two years. At the time, they could have easily been mistaken for other things. The vaginal infections, strong sugar and refined carb cravings, and the acne that appeared on my face the day after consuming foods that contained those things. The bloating and gas that took over my stomach immediately after eating. Mood swings and insane irritability. Seasonal allergies that just randomly popped up one day out of nowhere along with itchy ears – SO WEIRD. An increase in migraines and a nagging stiff neck. They were all the early textbook signs of candida overgrowth that eventually resulted in in leaky gut syndrome. How?
Well, even though I found the symptoms to be worsening, I continued to ignore them and be in denial. Truthfully, had I known then what I know now, it would never have gotten as bad as it did. I started to get concerned though when I noticed some real issues with my vagina. UGH. I swear to God, chronic vagina issues are every woman’s nightmare. I had never suffered from yeast infections or UTI’s growing up during my teenage years, but they started to appear out of nowhere. Over-the-counter meds took care of the first four or five infections that popped up and I also found in the early stages if my period came during a yeast infection, once the bleeding stopped, the itchiness and discharge disappeared along with it. I was given strong meds and antibiotics to try and tackle the yeast infections, but my body ended up becoming resistant to them and the infections just worsened. Anyone who has had their share of yeast infections know that antibiotics just wipe out all the good gut bacteria we need and can cause rebound infections. My vagina eventually was permanently left swollen to the point that the vulva was permanently spread apart. The candida/yeast overgrowth was so bad, I could barely walk. Then rectal irritations also became a thing. I remember the itching and burning being unbearable, I would just cry uncontrollably for hours at a time in despair. Frustrating because I didn’t know the root cause nor could I find a cure. I kept most of the gory symptoms to myself because they were so embarrassing. It is awful knowing there is something terribly wrong with your body and zero clue as to what’s going on. The physical symptoms eventually created psychological ones. I developed bad anxiety. My heart would literally race at night thinking of all the things that could be wrong with me that the doctors hadn’t yet discovered. I was convinced my time left on this earth was going to be short and it was clear that if this continued, my relationship with my fiancé would fall apart, there would be no wedding and no babies in my future. So, helloooo depression. It was like a domino effect of symptoms and I was falling deeper and deeper into a hole.
Those years are still a bit of a blur, so I couldn’t tell you exactly when, but shit just f*cking hit the fan. The chronic symptoms I had developed got even worse. I would get super sick on date nights before the meal was even over with insane bloating and fatigue that would set in before the cheque would arrive. When things were at it’s worse; migraines, vaginal irritation, and skin rashes would appear immediately after eating or drinking alcohol. I was so fatigued there was no amount of sleep that would make me feel rested. I could barely move. Soon, the migraines that would last for days, went on for weeks at a time. My neck pain legit was diagnosed as myofacial pain syndrome and there was zero mobility, making it difficult to even drive. You’re probably wondering why a physician had not diagnosed what the hell was going on. At the end of day, most general practicing physicians know very little about leaky gut syndrome and candida overgrowth. In fact, they know very little about a lot of things, but that’s a whole other story. They also are not in the game of “Let’s find the root cause of your issues” because let’s face it, they are taught to tackle illness with writing prescriptions for pharma meds. My G.P. had tested me for Lupus several times, celiac disease, MRI’s, HIV, anemia, thyroid disorders, mononucleosis, Lyme disease, nerve damage tests for the joint and nerve issues. You name it, we tested it and it all came back inconclusive. Finding no answers from the tests was actually worse than being told they discovered something seriously wrong because at least if we found out what it was, we could do something about it. With no concrete answers, I was then being told I was becoming a bit of a hypochondriac and things along the lines of, “You know Sasha, you just need to get more sleep and reduce your stress levels. Or perhaps a career change.” I finally started to keep a diary. I withdrew myself from all my social circles and spoke to nobody. My diary allowed me to vent, dream and document shit. This is when I discovered that a lot of my symptoms were tied to what I was eating. That’s when I knew there was something bigger going on.
By this point, my kidney ailment and fibromyalgia had me basically bedridden, so there was not much for me to do but read and research on my laptop. This is how I first self-diagnosed my candida overgrowth and leaky gut issues. From what I had learned, I armed myself with the knowledge I needed to rehabilitate myself and find alternative practitioners that were down to help me get my life back in a safe and effective way. It took my body a long time to get to that state, so it took almost two years to properly recover, but I am happy to say that those dark days are far behind me. I still have to keep a watchful eye on my diet and stress levels and there are several things I do daily to help keep a healthy balance of gut flora. I promise to share more about this later on in the series, but based on all your DM’s and comments when I was in Miami with Activia for the Gut Health 2019 summit, there seems to be a lot of interest in the topic and I wanted to give some more background as to why I am so passionate about it. I also wanted to share my my truth in hopes that it may help some of you. Have you been struggling with similar symptoms that have gone undiagnosed?
HERE ARE 10 SIGNS YOU MAY HAVE LEAKY GUT SYNDROME
Chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas or bloating
Poor immune system
Headaches, brain fog, memory loss
Skin rashes and problems such as acne, eczema or rosacea
Cravings for sugar or carbs
Arthritis or joint pain
Depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD
Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac disease or Crohn’s
My first suggestion would be to start a daily food journal or diary and keep track of everything you intake for at least two weeks. Make notes on your body’s reaction after consumption – physical pain, irritations, fatigue or mood changes. Seek out assistance for a qualified N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor) and bring along your journal to your initial assessment appointment. A good N.D. will suggest a series of tests that will help confirm a diagnosis and point you in the right treatment direction. The tests are super helpful because they will help identify specific sensitivities and will reveal the types of toxins or deficiencies that are contributing to your symptoms. Here’s a list of ones you should suggest they perform:
Zonulin or Lactulose Tests
IgG Food Intolerance Test
Organic Acid Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Tests
Lactulose Mannitol Test
The answer to the question you’re probably asking yourself right now, “But how long does it take to recover from leaky gut?” Well, it differs from person to person and typically depends on the severity. Most sufferers of candida overgrowth and early signs of leaky gut can be healed in 1-2 months with a serious plan, but a case as bad as mine took nearly 12 months to fully heal. There’s a process, that I like to refer to as the 4 R’s that can help heal a leaky gut…
REMOVE foods and factors that damage the gut.
REPLACE these with healing foods as you follow an anti-inflammatory leaky gut diet.
REBALANCE your microbiome with probiotics (beneficial bacteria). This is key because bacteria in your gut are a major component of the intestinal barrier. They help promote resistance to the colonization of harmful or pathogenic bacteria species by competing for nutrients. Gut microbiota also regulate the digestion and absorption of nutrients and help supply epithelial cells with energy.
In part two of my Gut Health Truth series, I will dish on the foods you should eat and the specific ones you should stay away from if you’re dealing with leaky gut issues. Even if you’re not, following this specific food protocol can be very helpful to anyone that is suffering from undiagnosed chronic pain, inflammation, sleep disorders, and skin issues so stay tuned!
*THIS IS A FOLLOW-UP TO LAST YEAR’S POST ON MY MICROBLADED BROWS!*
It’s been a whole year plus a few months living life with microbladed brows and you know what? That life is damn good. I wrote a post last February on my experience getting microbladed (if you’re new to my blog you can check out last year’s posthere) for the very first time by Nicole Guerrieri, also known as @BrowsxBianca on Instagram. I went back to the infamous brow goddess last week for a touch up…just to make sure the glow up was still on 100. I found her in a cute new space, just seconds from her old spot, and armed with new tricks up her sleeve to help create the most beautiful brows ever for her clients.
There is still three passes of microblading like there was before, but wait for it…no numbing of the skin before the first pass. Nicole knows how much I hate pain, so she neglected to tell me this before my appointment, but did tell me to take some Advil just before coming in. It’s odd because I’ve have had a natural child birth with Maxwell so I probably shouldn’t find this so intolerable, but I do until I get the numbing gel and then it’s smooth sailing. If you’re wondering what it feels like, imagine a cat dragging it’s sharp nails across your delicate skin. Ask Nicole, and she will tell you most of her clients find the pain a 4 out 10 but to me it’s like a 7.5 or even higher.
Apparently, microblading is far more effective on skin that is hard so a pre-numbing cream is no longer used before the first pass of blading. Having the cream sit on your skin for 30 min softens the skin too much and therefore does not allowing for the ‘strokes’ to heal as sharp as they would without the soft skin. Before the second pass she will apply a gel that will numb the shit out of your brow area and it’s glorious. It works instantaneously, helping to make the process much faster than before. Also…we, and by we I mean Nicole, has introduced the shading technique into her offering.
So yes, there is blading and shading and both are different, plus yield different results. According to Nicole, most clients actually need the combination of both. Why? Simply because microblading alone isn’t enough. This is especially the case if you have sparse brows, baldness in some areas, no tails, etc. If you have dense hair at the front of your brow and no tails, microblading cannot give you the density to blend the front with the tail and that’s what the shading does. And if you’re wondering if the shading technique will make your brows look less natural…it is actually the opposite. They will look MORE natural with both. Trust me! If you already have a full brow but still find yourself having to do a little penciling in, you can totally considering just doing the shading alone.
PRE-BLADING AND SHAPING
I think the question I have received the most is, “How will I know she won’t fuck up my brows?” It’s funny how blunt some of y’all are. To be honest, this questions generally comes from WOC because with darker skin, there is always a fear that a new technology, machine, etc could damage our skin in some irrevocable way. But ladies, you need not worry as I was happy to be the guinea pig for y’all.
The shape made for each person is going to be completely unique because it’s based on geometry and Nicole uses the nature curve of your brow to determine the shape. The line work is based on each client’s natural hair flow and density. What you can expect first is still the mapping process, where she shapes with a thin wax pencil. This stencil process will ensure everything is measured to perfection. Also new is the measurement app Nicole has started using to triple check symmetry and from there she makes the necessary adjustments before starting the microblading process.
Pigment colour is not a guessing game either. Nicole chooses the pigment best suited for your brows and complexion. A colour swatch of the pigment is not the same colour as a healed brow, therefore she doesn’t really bother showing clients a swatch, although we do discuss the lightness/ darkness of colour choice together. She does this with everyone because really wants you to be happy with the end result.
If you workout daily or generally are a sweaty person, you’re not going to like this part, but please remember it’s all for a good cause. Absolutely no sweating or water on brows for 7 days. Trust me, sounds a lot easier than it actually is. I know you’re wondering how this has been possible for me and to be completely transparent, I have actually worked out every day since I had mine done – but no runs because my face actually sweats when I run. If it’s just cross training and lifting, I sweat only on the lower back and chest so I am able to get away with it. I could workout in full glam makeup and go to an event immediately after if I wanted to because my face somehow stays dry. That being said, I don’t suggest this to anyone else and after forking over the coins to get them done, you won’t want to run the risk of anything happening to your fresh brows.
So how do you wash your face then? You have to just work around the brows with a cloth and take your shower with head tilted back to wash your hair. Or skip hair washing all together if you can. Nicole will provide a very detailed aftercare kit with all the information you need to properly care for your brows and ensure the best healed results.
PRO TIP: You can expect a lot of changes during the healing period and should not judge the result until at least 2 weeks after your appointment. Your brows will be dark, flakey, too light, etc. but just trust the process! 90% of Nicole’s clients come back wanting darker and thicker brows.
What’s the cost? Well, if you ask anyone that has gotten their brows properly microbladed they will tell you it’s priceless so don’t worry about how much it is, but I know that answer is not going to fly with most of you. Although, that really is the truth. All jokes aside though, the blading will run you $575 and the shading $650. Also, there’s a touch up 4-6 weeks after your initial session included in the initial cost, to make any adjustments necessary.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE AN IDEAL CANDIDATE FOR MICROBLADING
Well, unfortunately not everyone is a candidate for microblading BUT there are other options for you. If you have oily skin, large pores, thick/ textured skin or mild rosacea, you would be a candidate for a ‘powder brow’ instead. This technique is something I just heard of last week and is actually what Nicole does on her own brows. Yes this is the brow that looks filled in with makeup, but its not the harsh shapes you’re thinking of aka “Instagram Brows”. It’s soft and powdery (hence the name). Microblading on skin types like these will not allow you to achieve the natural looking feathered hair strokes. Rather, what you will end up with is a blurred brow and you’ll no doubt be disappointed. Powder brows can be as soft or dramatic as you like.
Something new has popped onto Toronto’s wellness scene and dare I say, it just may be the best thing since sliced bread, or celery juice, if you’re a millennial 😉 Newly opened Dew Sweat House, an minimally designed infrared sauna spa in the city’s east end, is the first of it’s kind in Canada. Co-owned by Sue Kuruvilla, whom I’ve known for so many years I can no longer keep count, and her long time friend Julliane Smola, opened this spot with hopes of introducing the amazing benefits of sweat detoxification north of the border. Sue’s first sweat house experience last year in LA was so life changing, it became the catalyst for the duo’s new venture.
I’ve been a devout fan of infrared saunas for the last decade. It played a big part of my road to recovery and helped me tremendously with the detoxifying process of my pain meds, insomnia, skin issues and most importantly the joint and muscle pain I had caused by Fibromyalgia. But you don’t need to be suffering from a chronic illness to reap the benefits of sessions at Dew Sweat House.
HOW IT WORKS
Each session is 55 minutes. When I arrived, I switched into a sweat-friendly outfit that I was told to bring along with me – sweatpants, long sleeve tee and socks. These items helped absorb the sweat and prevented me from reabsorbing anything back into my skin. As I settled into my bed underneath the infrared blanket, Sue adjusted the blanket temperature setting for me, which can go up to 80 degrees celsius, as I decided what I was going to watch on Netflix. I love me some hot yoga. Actually, I love me some hot anything, so I was able to start at a slightly higher setting than a newbie. But if this whole sweating thing is new to you, they will be sure to ease you into to process at the starting level if you prefer. Fun fact for those who are interested in how much you will really sweat during your session…you can expect two to three times the amount than you would in a conventional sauna.
Here’s the deal, you can walk in to this experience thinking you just want to just zone out, meditate or sleep. You may be there with a friend and you want to gossip or you can choose to catch up on an episode of Dirty John on Netflix. Any of those are all good and fine but without sounding too pessimistic, the meditation route will be the most challenging. If you make it 40 minutes long of deep meditation or sleep, you may find it difficult during the last 10-15 minutes of your session. This is when shit get’s real. This is when the heat really ramps up. I actually decided to x nay Netflix and my noise cancelling headphones, preferring to catch up with Sue instead and chat about life and business and found the time flew by. However, just like she predicted, with 12 minutes left on the clock, I was desperately looking around for the bottle of lemon water she set out for me and happily welcomed a cold towel infused with lavender.
WHAT TO EXPECT POST SWEAT
First of all, you’re going to be a sweaty mess but I kinda loved it and it’s proof you know shit was working. I don’t think I’ve ever been that sweaty in clothes before. You’re going to want to get out of those wet clothes ASAP and into something dry. Heads up, they don’t actually have showers on the premises but they also suggest you wait 45 minutes to an hour before showering anyways. I brought a little plastic bag to house my dirty clothes for the commute home. The Dew team really encourages guests to hang around and chill after their session. I certainly did to enjoy a cup of Pluck tea and a plateful of oranges. I swear they were CaraCara oranges and the sweetest ones I’ve ever had. This is kind of set up so you can take your time and allow your body temp to return back to normal before heading out the door.
You will definitely feel amazing right after your session, but you know what…you’ll realize most of the benefits later that night when you go to bed. I guarantee you, it will be the most restful and deep sleep you’ve had in ages. Dew does a body good and every time you sweat, you will do a bit of good too. By sweating at Dew, you’re helping the team donate free sessions to folks that have recently gone through cancer treatment.
Are you ready to “Dew” this? For more information, pricing and to book online, hit up www.dewsweathouse.com
February is a tough month. For one, it’s freezing cold, unless you live on the west coast. It also seems to be the month that people start to find it hard to keep up with their new year’s resolutions, especially when it comes to health and wellness. Why? Well, most make the mistake of setting one huge goal that is difficult to attain, instead of one more smaller goals that when achieved, can give them the confidence to set more larger goals. However, when someone falls off track towards this one big goal, it becomes harder to stay motivated to stay the course.
Full transparency here, I’m not into New Year wellness resolutions. Come to think about, I am not into resolutions at all. I do however love to find ways to incorporate more healthy habits into my daily routine that help keep me happy, healthy, focused and closer to my goals. Luckily for you, I’ve collaborated with long time partner, Joe Fresh, to dish on some of these things that you can start integrating into your life right away. I’ve linked some of my favourite pieces from the current collection as well and stay tuned for next week but there will be a giveaway announcement here and you won’t want to miss it!
TREAT YOUR WORKOUTS LIKE AN APPOINTMENT IN YOUR CALENDAR
I know, sounds a bit dramatic, but implementing this has significantly changed my life once I started working out again post baby. Blocking time out in your calendar pretty much ensures that you’re not going to miss that workout, run or class, even if you’re schedule get super hectic because guess what? – You’ve already accounted for that time off work or mom duties.
IMPLEMENT ACTIVE RECOVERY
Our bodies are designed to move every day and suffer when we don’t. Some form of activity, even if it’s not intense, is beneficial. It also keeps the momentum going. Have you ever had a lazy weekend or came back from the holiday break and struggled to get back into your workout routine? One missed workout can easily turn into two and from there; it can be a slippery slope. Momentum actually works both ways, so keeping up a habit of doing some sort of movement even on off days from workouts, means you’re more likely to stick to it. Plus guys, it’s important to mix things up, it can’t be hardcore workouts all the time. An active recovery session like Yoga can reduce soreness and speed up the muscle building process.
DRINK LEMON WATER (THE RIGHT WAY) TO IMPROVE DIGESTION
Indigestion issues are so common today. The foods we eat are usually the main cause but there are a few simple things that can make a world of a difference like; not having your morning coffee on an empty stomach, taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and starting the day with lemon water before you do anything.
I do ALL of these things before my morning workout and noticed BIG changes. Everyone at some point has done this little trick, but did you know lemon water is most effective when it’s warm and not cold or hot? It’s important that warm water is used because the temperature is what extracts the Vitamin C from both the lemon and it’s peel. Besides aiding in digestion, it helps to balance pH levels, hydrates your lymph system and promotes healing in your connective tissues and cartilage.
GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER
Not new news by any means, but it’s one of the best ways to keep you on track and motivated. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do all your workouts with your accountability buddy, but at least having someone to check in with or to push you even via a text when you feel the least bit motivated helps. I have a few accountability partners. Réjean, a small group of equally obsessed fitness fanatics who I share Apple Watch metrics with and of course Maxie because she watches my every move and is my biggest cheerleader.
THINK OUTSIDE THE (WORKOUT) BOX
Not every single workout needs to be intense and sometimes I find choosing to walk instead of driving, taking the stairs over escalators and running after my kid all day can yield more steps and calories burned than some low impact workouts. Now that Max isn’t always in her stroller, I take full advantage when we don’t have the stroller with us during outings and we take the stairs.
With her in my arms, it’s an unbelievable workout. Some days, I even bypass the elevator and climb or go down 12 flights of stairs in our condo building. Moms don’t be afraid to incorporate your kiddo into your workouts either. Babies are the perfect size to add weight to lunge, squat overhead movements, and you know what…? It’s so much fun and a great way to bond with your baby.
PRACTICE MINDFULNESS OR MEDITATION
We live in a busy world and if you’re not multitasking and doing four things at once, society views that as being lazy. We do the laundry, cook dinner and keep one eye on our kid. We plough through our food during meals and even spend what should be restful time like getting a manicure or massage, brainstorming for meetings, creating to-do lists and responding to emails. We all need to slow down, just a little bit anyway.
Introduce mindfulness into your daily routine. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting what comes your way. Introducing mindfulness techniques or meditation can help relieve stress, reduce chronic pain and play an important role in the treatment of anxiety and depression. There is more than one way to practice.
I started by just sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes focusing solely on my breathing or on a mantra that I would repeat silently. Then worked my way up to doing this for longer periods of time, practicing mindfulness during other times in the day; while I was eating, while out on a walk, even while I was in labour. This practice will allow your mind to focus more on the present moment in times during the day when you need it the most.
KEEP A JOURNAL
This is a new-ish habit I’ve introduced into my own life and now that I am doing it, I could go on and on about the benefits of writing in a journal.
It’s effective for many different reasons and can help you reach your goals sooner. My old coach used to say that the goals you have for yourself are not real until they are written down. Writing things down somehow just makes you more accountable. are only real until they are written down. The process of writing can also help you clear your head, make an important connection between thoughts, feelings and even reduce the effects of mental illness.
INCREASE YOUR FRUIT & VEGGIE INTAKE BY JUICING
More and more folks are juicing these days after either discovering or re-discovering the New York Times Best Selling book, The Medical Medium. This is great, however people seem to be hung up on this celery juice fad that the author pushes in his book.
While it definitely has some benefits, you can get way more out of juicing than sticking to just celery juice. Our consumption of fruits and veggies is far below the suggestion consumption, so juicing is a great way to consume not only a large number of them but also a variety. I’ve done it for years and have found that consuming fresh juice super charges the body with phytonutrients, which has helped me with my illnesses and with liver detoxification. The time spent in the kitchen also allows me to introduce these veggies and fruits to Maxie in a fun way. It’s never too early to start introducing healthy eating habits and she gets to discover all the different textures, colours and sometimes tastes while I press the juice.
How Can Maximize the Benefits of Juicing
Buy only organic fruits and vegetables, this should be a no brainer, and buy in small amounts. The best juice is made from fresh produce so buy only what you need and use within a week.
Wash your veggies thoroughly and with citrus fruits, you may want to remove the peel because they can leave a bitter taste in the juice. However, make sure to keep the white portion of the rind because it’s super high in antioxidants.
Make sure not to load your juice with fruits and veggies that are high in natural sugars like carrots, apples and oranges. It will make it your juice taste great no doubt but just winds up being counter productive.
Chew your juice. Sounds odd but this is one of the first things I learned when I started. Our mouths produce an enzyme when you chew that is necessary to initiate the digestion of carbs and makes them readily available for energy. Chewing while you’re drinking your juice also matches the temperature of what you’re consuming to the temperature inside your body so the nutrients are best assimilated and bioavailable.
GET THE BEST SLEEP OF YOUR LIFE
Yes, keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet are obvious ways to help induce sleep, but there are some other tips that I’ve found helpful over the last couple years that have dramatically made a difference in my quality sleep. To be honest, quality sleep is often compromised with a baby in the house, which is to be expected, but for the most part, I have developed some really good habits in the bedroom that set me up for sound sleep and here’s some of them:
Set a schedule and stick to it. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day, even on weekends. If you have a baby this can a bit difficult unless he or she is sleep trained. But here’s the deal with consistency, your body cannot establish a normal rhythm, if you don’t allow it to get into a pattern. If you stay up late, don’t sleep in.
Establishing a sleep ritual that you start an hour before bed works wonders. Mine now includes 15 minutes of reading or writing in my journal. NO SCREEN TIME.
Ditch Your Cell Phone. Did you know radiation emitted from your cell or iPad can increase the amount of time your body requires to reach deep sleep cycles and also decreases the time in those cycles?
Improve The Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) The more awake you feel in the morning, the more tired you will feel in the evening. The best way to do this is to expose your body to natural sunlight shortly after waking up so draw those blinds open as soon as your alarm goes off.
SWEAT IT OUT
Never underestimate the powers of sweat therapy. For me, infrared saunas are like a cure all for everything. It aids in detoxification, relaxation, provides relief from sore muscles and joints, clears skin, improves circulation and more.
I swear by it and lucky enough to have a sauna at home but for those who don’t, using one at your gym or hitting up spots like Dew Sweat House for a 55-minute session works wonders. I just had my first Dew experience and can’t wait to tell you all about it.
Now I want to hear from YOU so let’s make this a giveaway. What are the healthy habits you incorporate into your daily routine? Mainly because I am always looking for ways to improve my health and life and I think others would benefit from learning new things too. Post your favourite healthy habit on this IG post for a chance to win a Joe Fresh gift card valued at $250. To be eligible you must 1) Like the photo, 2) follow me and @Joe Fresh and 3) comment with your healthy habit. For bonus entries you can leave more than one habit or tag friends, but sure be sure you tag each one in a separate comment. Contest is open to Canadian residents only and closes on Friday morning at 10am. You can enter as many times as you want until then. The winner will be DM’d directly on Saturday March 2nd.
This post is in partnership with Joe Fresh however all views and opinions are my own
The topic of laser hair removal is still going strong since I started posting from my monthly appointments, so it only makes sense to answer all your questions in one place right here. My decision to begin laser hair removal came from an extreme dislike to bikini waxing. I swear, I would be like a fish out of water on the table during waxing appointments. Flipping and flopping each time the wax was ripped off my skin. Dreading every session and leaving a puddle of sweat behind on the table whenever the poor lady was finished. After I had Maxwell, I knew I had to try something else. Shaving with a straight razor wasn’t going to be it because it left me with razor bumps, nasty ingrown hairs and scarring. I am at the age now where I just don’t want to be bothered with hair removal. Well, at least down there. It needs to GO!
Even though I hate most forms of hair removal, the decision to start laser hair removal treatments wasn’t exactly easy. For one, it’s not cheap. Two, I was worried about my skin and whether I would be able to find someone in the city who really understood how to do this safely working with coarse hair and skin with melanin. Appears like y’all have the same concerns too after reviewing the questions y’all left for my on IG stories. So here’s the list of FAQ’S:
HOW DO I CHOOSE WHERE TO GO FOR YOUR LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Without a doubt, the most important decision, especially if you have dark skin. You need to go somewhere that has amazing aestheticians and have equipment with technology that is safe for a variety of skin tones and hair. I go to The Ten Spoton Queen St West and I have my Instagram community to thank for that. I used my IG stories to ask women of colour in the city for laser recommendations and the responses for the Ten Spot was quite overwhelming. There were of course, a few high end medical clinics that charge an arm and a leg and some cost effective recco’s made, but the Ten Spot locations seemed to have great staff and had the most technology advanced equipment. Plus, there are locations in every corner of the city (and across the country). If you are not in Canada or choose to go somewhere other than a Ten Spot location, make sure wherever you go, has the Vectus Laser Cynosure machine. My suggestion to you would be to do searches in your city for places that carry this machine and then do some price point comparisons.
WHAT MAKES THE VECTUS CYNOSURE BETTER THAN OTHER LASER MACHINES?
Technology has come a long way since laser hair removal was first introduced to the beauty industry. The secret to the Vectus Cynosure is it’s technology. It actually targets and destroys hair cells responsible for hair growth without damaging the surrounding skin.
It has different sized applicators, making it easy to remove hair from faces (with the exception of the eye area), backs, chests, arms, underarms, bikini lines and chests and the important thing to point out, it’s suitable and safe for all skin types; including very light and dark skin tones and hair colours thanks to the diode technology. For those with darker skin complexions that are worried about potential skin damage, the machine has a Skintel melanin digital reader device used prior to every treatment which determines the laser’s power level avoiding in any guess work for the aesthetician and can guarantee no burning. It even has an advanced cooling system to help eliminate any discomfort that may occur the further you get in your treatment.
DOES IT HURT AND HOW MANY SESSIONS DOES IT TAKE?
As you can imagine, almost all of you wanted to know if the process hurts and providing that there may be some discomfort, thought to go ahead and ask how many sessions it takes. And I don’t blame you. If you are considering this form of hair removal, it’s probably because you don’t want to deal with the pain of waxing. The deal is this, my first two appointments (I just finished my sixth treatment) were completely pain free. Like, I literally felt nothing at all and was even became skeptical that this shit was going to work. However, as I’ve progressed through the treatments, the laser strength has increased to help minimize hair regrowth and I am starting to feel some discomfort. And I say discomfort because it is not pain, well at least not yet. Apparently, once you get to the end of your treatment cycle where there is little to no hair left in the follicle, it can become painful but that means you’re closer to semi-permanent hair removal and you won’t have to endure it much longer. As things are starting to intensify, I decided to get myself a numbing cream to help with any discomfort so the aesthetician can use the appropriate laser level. It made a significant difference during my last appointment and I will continue to use the cream moving forward.
We all have different pain thresholds and after going through a natural labour for 43 hours, I would like to think my pain tolerance is pretty high but the cream just helps as I know Glaze wants to go a bit higher with the frequency. If you’re wondering what it actually feels like? It’s no where near the pain level of strip waxing, thank God! You may not feel anything at all in some places, especially in the first few sessions. While over other passes across the treatment area, you will feel a sensation similar to a zap or an elastic snapping, that happens so quickly and disappears just as fast. I almost wish the zaps were consistent throughout the treatment though. Not knowing when the zaps coming, which is probably determined by how much hair is left in the follicle in a certain area, makes me feel a bit tense throughout the entire appointment….even though I am only zapped a handful of times during my treatment. Glaze always has episodes of Friends playing on TV in the treatment room so watch and chat with her to keep me distracted.
HOW MANY SESSIONS DO YOU NEED AND HOW MANY HAVE YOU DONE?
The number of sessions is depends on several factors. Your skin tone and hair type for sure but also the area you are getting done. The upper lip or sideburns may only take 6-7 sessions while doing a Brazilian may take double the amount of sessions. I have just finished my sixth session and we anticipate that I will probably have to do 10-12 in total. But, we shall see!
IS LASER HAIR REMOVAL PERMANENT?
I think this is the most common misconception. I am sad to report that it is not permanent but for what it’s worth, it’s as close to permanent as you’re going to get. I’ve spoken to several women who have gotten laser treatment done and they have all said that they are for the most part hairless but they do get the odd stray hairs popping up and they either pluck or quickly shave but it happens only a couple times a year.
IS IT SAFE TO GET LASER ON DELICATE AREAS LIKE YOUR BIKINI LINE AND VAGINA?
Yup, that is exactly the treatment I go in for. I opted for full Brazilian and I will be honest, it takes some getting used to having a stranger getting so up close and personal with you. She gets in places that not even Réjean sees to be honest. Even handles inside the bum crack.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
This shit is not cheap boo’s. You can go to a medical clinic, in Yorkville for example, and literally thousands and thousands and then there are a few cost effective spots but at the same time, do you want the cheapest option when you’re dealing with your skin? Probably not. The prices at The Ten Spot can be found on their website. I get the “Brazily” laser treatment and it costs $210 + taxes per session. This is their signature style with everything off – including treasure trail, full vajay, and between the bum cheeks.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START NOTICING A DIFFERENCE
I started to notice a difference with the speed of growth after the third session. I am still getting hair growth now though after six appointments. I find that the hair on my bikini line is coming back slower and the hair is much finer. The rest of my vagina still has a ways to go yet, which is why we increased the frequency during my last appointment. I am hoping to be finished after 10-12 sessions.
IS IT TRUE YOU CAN’T GET LASER IF YOU’RE ON ANTIBIOTICS?
I don’t believe that is true but you can consult your physician if you have any concerns about this.
DOES BLACK SCAR FROM LASER HAIR REMOVAL?
Lots has changed in laser technology since it was first introduced 25+ years ago. The old laser machines were only able to treat and remove hair on one type of skin tone. It worked best on white skin and moderately dark hair. Those with skin too fair or too dark often got burned and suffered from hyper pigmentation. The machines back then were not sophisticated enough to detect hair colour and melanin, requiring an aesthetician to use guess work to determine the laser frequency level to use during treatments. Now, with machines like the Vectus, there is no more guess work. A digital reading tells the aesthetician the exact range they should use throughout the treatment. It stores all the client’s information as well from previous appointments to closely track progress.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH HAIR GROWTH IN BETWEEN SESSIONS AND WHAT IS POST CARE LIKE?
Between sessions I usually just leave the hair to grow in for the most part. However, with being on set for shoots and in bathing suits during our travels, I more likely to keep the area more trimmed than most. I use my Philips Bikini Genie Trimmer to maintain the area.
As for post care, absolutely nothing is required. The only thing you will be advised about is that within the first few days of having your session done, you should avoid direct sunlight to the area treated. That is not always avoidable so you need to make sure that you are applying sunscreen as well. I went to Miami the day after a treatment back in November and I just made sure none of the bathing suits I wore were high cut and while I was on the beach, I made sure to stay under an umbrella. I usually am not on the beach baking in the sun a day after going in so normally I don’t have anything to worry about.
DID YOU FIND ANY PIGMENTATION ISSUES BECAUSE I HAVE SO MUCH DISCOLOURATION?
Nope. Absolutely none since starting my treatments. I used to get awful in grown hairs when I waxed and shaved with a straight razor which left marks behind on my bikini line. I have not had one single ingrown since I started my treatments and I am even noticing the marks I once had are actually even fading now.
CAN LASER HAIR REMOVAL CAUSE KELOIDS?
There is almost zero risk of getting keloids, if you’re prone to them, from laser treatments unless your skin gets severely burned during a treatment which would only happen if you have a poorly skilled technician and/or a machine that is not meant to be used on dark skin. To be honest, the chances of burning today with the right laser machine is slim to none.
IS IT TRUE IT’S POINTLESS TO DO LASER BEFORE YOU HAVE KIDS BECAUSE THE HAIR WILL GROW BACK?
I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s pointless to do it before kids. I mean, there are plenty of women who have not gotten pregnant yet and they are lasering their lives away. I waited until after having Maxwell to do it but that’s just because I procrastinated for years. I did ask Glaze to confirm or deny during my last visit and she did say that she advises if you’re planning on getting pregnant soon, wait until post baby. When you’re pregnant, your hormones and prenatal vitamins promote crazy hair growth, so you won’t want to be wasting time and money removing hair that is just going to grow back thicker and faster during those nine months. As for fertility, some of you have asked whether treatments may affect fertility and you will be happy to know that it doesn’t.
Well the question y’all all want to really know is, “Does it work?” Well, I can’t quite answer that just yet. Am I seeing some results so far? Yes, but truthfully, I would have thought I would be seeing far less hair re-growth by now. But, perhaps I just have stubborn hair that is going to need a full round of treatments. We shall see, but if all goes well, I will be getting my armpits done next. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to try out The Ten Spot, ask for Glaze. She’s amazing and has won all kinds of awards for her laser work in 2018. I will circle back with you all in a few months with another update once I have finished my 12th session.
THIS REVIEW IS SOLELY MY PERSONAL OPINION AND IS NOT SPONSORED OR IN PARTNERSHIP WITH ANY OF THE BRANDS MENTIONED IN THE POST.
This post has been a long time coming. I wanted to answer all your questions about Peloton when I got back from Miami, but then I was asked to speak to my experience as a user with CBC News and thought maybe best to wait for the segment to air and the article to come out, which you can read here.
Before I dive into it, I feel compelled to let you know that this post is NOT in any way a sponsored post. I am not being compensated by Peloton to share, which I know may be a shock for some of you. I, like many other Canadians, have waited patiently for the brand’s arrival this side of the border after having gotten a taste of a couple classes while visiting NYC. Leading to a full on obsession with the workout. It’s been a competition of sorts amongst some of my friends…who was going to get one first. Two were actually savvy enough to smuggle their bike in long before the release here almost a year ago,
Lots of questions have come through my DM’s on Instagram, so I am going to answer the most popular ones below. But I want to start by saying this…most workouts get skipped because of lack of time, lack of energy, and most importantly lack of motivation. Running, cross training and lifting are all apart of my weekly routine and before having Maxwell, I never had an issue getting my workouts done. But things have changed considerably since having her though. Fatigue, the unpredictability of the baby’s sleep schedule or her getting sick, and trying to balance a lot more on my plate, made skipping a workout here and there more likely. Not great for a new mom who needed the endorphin high and movement to keep her chronic pain illness in check. My Peloton makes getting in that workout SO much easier. Could you imagine, getting in the best cycling workout right in the comfort of your home? Without having to drive or Uber anywhere. At any time of the day, even while your baby naps. It’s like having a private cycling studio in your house and it’s actually pretty damn amazing.
How It Works
Welcome the world’s largest cycling class! Peloton, originally solely an indoor cycling studio in NYC, is now a high performance workout you can do at home. You can jump in the saddle and do one of the 14 live studio classes a day and feel like you’re right there with the NYC class riders or select one of the 11,000+ on-demand workouts to do when your schedule allows. You get guidance and motivation from some of the world’s best instructors to help you reach your potential with real-time metrics visible on your screen throughout your workout to keep you on track like; cadence, resistance, output, and heart rate. There is no guessing game when it comes to your progress either. The bike keeps a very detailed record so you can track it over time.
You can follow other riders around the world, give them high fives during class and also challenge other riders. I’m super competitive so this sometimes gets really out of hand. On the right hand of screen is where you’ll find the leaderboard. You can see every single rider that has taken the class or ridden the course plus you can also query to see which riders are currently cycling at the exact same time you are, to see how you rank against them. It’s crazy motivating and usually it’s just the thing I need to push myself that extra bit when I think my tank is on empty. And if you’re motivated by Apple Watch badges, you’re going to looooooove the achievement badges you get to celebrate your milestones. It’s pretty dope to hear the instructors announcing some riders achievements. during a class. To think that so many people have received the Millennium Club (1000K rides) or more, gets me on that bike at least 1-2 times a week, unless I’m traveling.
Classes and Programming
The best part, YOU get to create the workout that YOU have time for that day based on your personal fitness level, preference for upper body weights or without, music genre and instructor. There’s 90, 60, 45, 30, 20 minute classes and even 10 minute classes that actually work well as a warm-up or cool-down alongside another workout. Is the Peloton only for experienced riders? One of question I am asked repeatedly and the answer is absolutely not. There are classes and even multi-week course (think, cycling for beginners) where you can build and improve with a program designed for first timers.
Music is the one thing that can get me through a workout I am not really trying to do or when my energy is low. The playlists some of these instructors come up with are craaaaaaaazy good. I usually query the music genre and instructor before every ride to make sure I have the right vibe for my workout. Friday nights are kinda lit…and I get it poppin’ with Robyn Arzon’s Live DJ Ride. For 45 whole minutes I get to do a HIIT or Tabata ride to a live DJ mix right there in the studio. Anyone who has a Peloton will say it’s one of their favourite parts of the class programming.
The smartest thing Peloton has done for consumers, is not make it only about workouts on the bike. Yup, you are not confined to just riding folks. Valuable information for those of you who travel a ton. The Peloton app, compatible for both smartphones and iPad, also has workouts off the bike like pre-run warm ups, guided runs, bootcamps, strength, stretching, cardio, walking and now Yoga, which was just launched last week. So now, you can take your workouts on the go.
Open concept living spaces, home gyms or even small condos, the bike just works anywhere you put it because of it’s design and small footprint. I live in a 1150 sqft condo and we never thought having cardio equipment in here would be possible. Mine lives in my home office and the 4 x 2″ footprint means all my office furniture and decor got to stay put, yay!
My plan when I got the bike was to ride while Maxie was asleep or during her nap time so the quietness of the belt drive was a huge plus. It’s almost silent and as long as my office door is closed and my headphones are in – I can ride without disturbing anyone else in the house. I prefer my cycling workouts to mimic outdoor rides so I’m not really into using the weights but if you who love spin classes that incorporate upper body weights, you’re going to love the classes that use weights which can be conveniently stored within reach in the weight holders.
But the most impressive is the screen guys. I swear, it’s like being behind the wheel of a Tesla. The 22″ HD touchscreen is completely sweat proof and so large it makes any rider feel like they are front row and center in every class.
Ahhh, alas the part you’ve probably been waiting for. You may actually be pleasantly surprised at the pricing. You can take a look at the full pricing online but the Basics Package (meaning bike only) will run you $2,095 CDN that also includes a 1 year warranty. There are three other packages, including a family package perfect for couples who are both looking to ride. I actually have the Essentials package that comes with clip shoes, headphones, and weights. The package is on sale now for $3,034. Oh and I also got the bike mat as well. Turns out, the mat was necessary because the amount of sweat that drips onto the floor during my workouts is insane. It can double as a yoga mat or use it for floor workouts so that’s a bonus. It doesn’t matter which package you choose, or if you get the bike only, your purchase comes with a white glove delivery service and set up so you don’t have to lift a finger or waste time with the assembly.
So should you get the bike? Well, I can’t tell you, or anyone else, what to do, but what I can say is this…the Peloton bike is going to be best money you’ve ever spent on your health. Monthly subscription fees for bike owners is $49 but you can purchase a digital subscription if you don’t have the bike and have access to all the classes via the app for only $19/mth. If you’re love spinning or cycling and find yourself weekly at Soul Cycle or one of the other boutique ride spaces, then Peloton is really a no brainer.
Not yet convinced…? Check out a Peloton bike live in a studio nearest to you and sign up for a free ride. Test the bike out as much as you want before purchasing. They say consumers touch (ride) the bike 7 times before making a purchase, but I am certain you won’t need that many trial rides to know this investment is worth every single dollar. There are currently 5 studios in Canada – 3 in the GTA area. For more on Peloton and to find a studio near you check out OnePeloton.ca.