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My Go-To Cold Weather Running Gear

Well winter has arrived, which means we can pretty much expect single digit temperatures for the next several months. If you’re anything like me, your runs and workouts don’t stop because of a little snow or cold weather, so the only way to feel comfortable and avoid skipping them is to have the right winter gear that can handle the elements. I have certainly worn my fair share of technical winter running clothes over the years in the worst elements imaginable  – rain, hail, sleet and tons of snow so I am pretty particular with the pieces that I wear. They must have breathable fabrics, allow me to move freely, keep me warm of course, plus also be wind and waterproof. That is pretty much a non-negotiable. A combination many brands can’t seem to execute successfully across the board.

Asics Canada + Sasha Exeter

Asics Canada + So Sasha

The  ASICS Lite-Show collection and you can find pieces from it on their website under “Cold Weather Running“. It’s all I’ve been running in over the last two months and so far…so freaking good. I’ve actually found myself wearing less layers than I usually do for this time of the year and have persuaded so many of my my friends to grab pieces from the collection too. I know so many of you also follow my homegirl Ana of BlueBirdKisses.com and she’s been raving about her pieces on her IG stories lately.

Asics Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter

So yay, no more double layers of tights and four layers up top that used to make me feel like the abominable snowman moving as slow as a tortoise. Now on the bottom, it’s just the one pair of the Lite-Show winter tights.  They are extremely thick with an ultra warm lining that make them a little more stiff than regular running tights. Right now, I have three in rotation; two pairs of black (one 7/8 length and one full) and the deep blue. All black is usually my favourite for running and workouts, but for some reason I’m really into the blue. For my easy runs, I’ve only needed to wear one of my Thermopolis Plus LS long sleeves and my jacket but for faster runs or doing hills, where the jacket is just simply too warm for right now, I opt for all season long sleeve as a base layer with the Lite-Show Winter 1/2 Zip over top (also comes in Performance Black and Red Alerte in case you’re not into the Mid Grey/Ironclad colourway I’m wearing above). On the days that it’s colder, I sometimes wear the jacket until I’ve done a 2k warmup and then drop it back off at my concierge before back outside. 

ASICS Canada + So Sasha

ASICS Canada + Sasha Exeter
I am literally obsessed with these Dynaflyte 3 running shoes from the Lite-Show collection

But guys, it’s the Lite-Show jacket that’s really going to be the hero of the collection once the deep chill arrives. I literally have no idea how it’s only priced at $100 CDN. I swear, if it was a product from a competitor, you would 100% be sold in stores and online for over $350. And please don’t let the affordable price point fool you. It’s still one of the best winter outerwear pieces I’ve ever worn. It comes in black and the colour I’m wearing here is called Cordvan. It’s lightweight but still SO thermal and moisture wicking – the number one combination you need to be looking for when it comes to winter running gear! If you’re new to running in the cold, then my suggestion is to invest in the jacket, a thermal plus a regular long sleeve for layering. Those should be top priority but if you can, go the extra mile (no pun intended), and grab a pair of the Lite-Show tights too.

Accessories. Can’t forget those because they are obviously super important this time of year. I know a lot of you had questions about the gloves, ear warmers, hats I wear. You can find all the winter appropriate accessories you’ll need this season at the Toronto flagship location at 364 Queen St West but my Lite-Show headband and beanie you can find right now online. For my American friends though, you can shop all the winter accessories online on the US site. My Lite-Show gloves were great for the fall but as the temperature drops I have had to layer an extra pair overtop so I will probably be upgrading to a new thermal pair shortly to make sure my little fingies are warm during rain and wet snow. The socks will also get an upgrade too. I love the look of no-show socks but once December rolls around they won’t be very practical. I usually switch up to a single tab or quarter sock to protect the ankles more.

Y’all seem to love all the new training and running gear you’ve been seeing on IG and my stories so I will be sure to post and link the items here too as new collections drop.

SHOP ALL MY COLD WEATHER RUNNING PIECES

Tech Talk: Everything You Need To Know About Apple GymKit

If you own an Apple watch and cardio is a big part of your gym workouts, sit down and get ready to have your mind blown.  And if you’re not already an Apple Watcher user, chances are you will be after you’re finished reading this. Along with the Watch0S 4 updates recently, whether you are set up with the most up-to-date watch or still rocking the Series2, you can now make it work directly with your favourite gym cardio equipment.

Thanks to a new fitness-focused feature and NFC (the technology used for tap payments like ApplePay), you can now share tons of information between your watch and compatible gym equipment that’s actually accurate. So, no more frustration when you’re finished your workout with the discrepancy over mileage or calories burned or freaking out half way through a treadmill run when you discover you forgot to start the activity app on your watch – HELLO, ME ALL THE TIME! Now, every single intricate detail to your workout will be synced with your your watch and because it already has all of your basic info such as height, weight, sex, etc – it can give you a more accurate read of what you did during your workout. This info is then stored on your watch and goes towards your activity rings. Forgetting to start your watch at the beginning of a workout will never be an issue again. You can just tap the watch at any point mid or post workout and the data will sync up. So if you’re competitive about closing your rings everyday this is the best thing ever because you will still get full credit for your sweat sesh in the workout app.

So Sasha - Apple GymKit

If you’re not sold yet here’s why Gym Kit is so damn brilliant. Using the Apple Watch independently of your cardio equipment of choice, you’re pretty much only going to get one accurate reading and that’s for heart rate. It’s virtually impossible to accurately track distance and elevation and like, who properly calibrates the equipment before they start a workout anyways? Nobody.

I got invited to Equinox Yorkville a few weeks ago to test out my Apple Watch Series 3 with their new Life Fitness equipment they just recently upgraded to so they could facilitate GymKit and guys, it is a definite game changer. Also, super bummed because for years I was a member at the brand’s two Toronto locations and the minute I gave it up, they bring in this state of the art equipment *cue the tears*. After stepping on the equipment, I tapped my watch and started the workout from the treadmill auxiliary panel. This automatically activated the workout app and away I went running through a simulated trail route I had picked somewhere in Ireland. The data between the two devices were completely identical and even if I stopped to take a break just to see what would happen, the workout immediately paused on my watch too.

So Sasha - Apple GymKit

The data I was able to collect from my treadmill working was actually shocking to say the least. I was able to see distance, time, accurate calories, average pace, elevation gain, in addition to both average and recovery heart rate. It is pretty much impossible to obtain that much data from any other indoor workout.

Ok, so I understand you may not all be runners and some of you would rather walk off the side of the cliff than do a treadmill workout but the Apple Watch also works brilliantly with the stairclimber and indoor bike. You will have the ability to accurately capture the number of stairs climbed, which was not possible before with the watch and if you’re a cycling enthusiast, then you will be happy to know that it will retrieve the same data as a treadmill workout with the watch but it will also capture RPM and power wattage from the bike. If you’re an avid rider you know those are difficult for even outdoor cyclists to capture.

GymKit Compatible Equipment

This was everyone’s number one question to the Apple Canada team during our briefing session. What brands are going to be compatible with GymKit technology? The top three industry players are obviously on board; Life Fitness, Matrix Fitness, and of course TechnoGym. But there’s also Schwinn, Stair Master, Star Trac, Cybex, SCIFIT, and Nautilus with skin in the game too. Even though all the major players are on board, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your watch is going to connect at every piece of cardio equipment at the gym. Well, not yet anyway! It’s currently limited to treadmills, bikes (minus spinning bikes), ellipticals, and stair masters.

Photos by George Pimental and Nathalia Allen

Where Can You Find GymKit Equipment in Toronto?

Equinox Yorkville is the first club in Canada to support the newly launched technology with Life Fitness equipment, but a roll-out to other clubs is planned for the near future says Apple Canada. GymKit has already been introduced into fitness clubs in the United States, London, Japan and Hong Kong.

How I’ve Overcome Obstacles To Forge My Own Path

How do you do it?” – a question that seems to find it’s way into my email inbox and DM’s every single day. There has been so much interest lately around how I balance work with life as a new mum and how I continue to battle two chronic illnesses. But what majority of you seems to be most interested in, is how I’ve managed to create a personal brand, monetize it and strategically secure long-term partnerships with top tier brands; without having 100,000+ followers. If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably already know the answers to these questions, but I know over the last year throughout my pregnancy and sharing my motherhood journey, I’ve gained a new audience that are not familiar with my backstory.

 

The inspiration for this post came a few weeks ago after getting a sneak peek of upcoming Tomb Raider movie. Yes people, Lara Croft is back and the film is out in theatres tomorrow! You’re not going to get any major spoiler alerts from me – SORRY, but what I will say is this; she is one badass woman who has the confidence to forge her own path and the storyline is inspiring AF.

I like to believe that where I am today is because I’ve done the same. Not allowing adversity in get in the way of what I want. I have overcome two chronic illnesses. A rare genetic kidney disease and fibromyalgia – a chronic pain related disorder. Even after doctor’s said at the age of 28, I would never have the quality of life I once had. I was identified as someone destined to move ahead quickly within my company by the leadership team and had much success as a Trade Marketing Manager, but was forced to put my full time career on hold in order to get better. Actually, in order to save my life.  I had hit rock bottom but I wasn’t ready to quit. Did not want to throw in the towel and spend the rest of my life on meds lying around like a vegetable. I wasn’t even 30 yet. I believed I still had time to turn my life around. What did that look like? Two years of working my butt off with a team of pain specialists, the best kidney doctor in the country, a naturopath, nutritionist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, a team of pain specialists, cognitive behavioral therapy to help me mentally deal with all the physical trauma, an insane diet change, medicinal marijuana and a progressive exercise program I created for myself that got me back to being a functional human after being on bed rest for the better part of a year.

Photography by Jess Baumung & Video by Shawn Pinnock

Being able to beat all odds and fight my way back to health gave me the confidence to forge my own path in other areas of my life too. I left a toxic relationship and ended my engagement just months before my wedding. I also created something that I have been able to turn into a full-time job today. Contrary to what people may think; I did not up and leave my full time job to launch my blog. Nor was I making money right away when it first launched. This website started off as a fun little project with the intention to be therapeutic while I got healthy again. It was a creative outlet, not something that I wanted to get into for free stuff or because it “appeared” to be an easy way to make money. The money making part took time. To be honest, once I was well enough to return to work, I kept my job for as long as possible to help ends meet and so I could invest in SoSasha.com. In the beginning I was just creating unsponsored content. There were no big brand partnerships and daily deliveries from PR companies during the first year. And I was totally fine with that. I knew I had to put in the work, get my name out there and create a portfolio that would allow me to one day pick and choose who I got to partner with. However, not having those things didn’t stop me from creating quality work. I knew the value of investing in a professional photography and didn’t cut corners when it came to my visual content. When I started employ the same strategies on my own brand as I used with the corporate brands I spent years building, things started to get moving. I started building solid relationships and working on sponsored content with companies. Some of those brands I still work with today. This year actually marks the fourth year I have worked with General Motors/Buick. I learned quickly what brands looked for in content creation, then began pitching my own campaigns that allowed me to organically share whatever was going on in my life linked to brands I partner with.

That being said, I wanted to share a few things that have helped make me successful in this space. You don’t need to have 100k followers to make this a career but you do need to have good work ethic, drive, creativity and be able to handle the word “no” because you may hear it more than you would like to along the way. Brands and agencies are becoming more aware that having a large following doesn’t necessarily mean someone has a lot of influence.

5 Tips On Creating A Successful Personal Brand in the Digital Space

  1. Know Your Why. Have a clear understanding as to what you want to create and why you are doing it. Wanting free product or a quick and easy way to make money is not going to cut it. Knowing this will not only help give your brand an identity but will help you make the right decisions about the kind of projects you take on.
  2. Invest in Yourself. If you don’t, nobody else will! Having sleek website design, strong photo content and/or quality videos will be worth your time and money in the end, trust me!
  3. Actually be AUTHENTIC. Stay away from taking on projects where you are not 100% into what the company is about. At this point, I think people can tell when something is inauthentic. Before saying yes to working with a brand ask yourself, “if this product or service wasn’t given to me as part of a campaign, would I actually spend my own money on it?“. I live by this barometer. If the answer is yes, I know that its a safe bet to align with the brand. To be honest, a lot of the brands I work with are with products/services we have already been using and loving.
  4. Create Stories and Experiences. It doesn’t really matter what the nature of your content is, I think if you’re able to create an experience or tell a story to your followers you will have a devout audience. If street style content is your thing; once in a while try to incorporate a backstory to the outfit; for example highlight if the outfit is made from sustainable materials or perhaps the designer of your look has a special story that connects you to the brand. If you’re into food content, it may be a good idea to explain why food is important to you – have you developed food sensitivities that force you to create gluten free or vegan recipes? Do you love food so much that it’s the inspiration for your travel that allows you to share culinary wanderlust adventures? Just some food for thought – no pun intended.
  5. Blog > Instagram. This is a very common mistake I see made over and over again. With Instagram being the preferred social channel for the last few years, so many people have been putting all their eggs in one basket.  I will admit, it’s kind of hard not too. It’s fun to create a visually appealing grid, it’s much easier than creating blog content and we are love the instant gratification of receiving likes. Creating a huge profile on that one platform is short sighted. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that nobody owns their own content on IG…Instagram does. Also, when Instagram fizzles out and we move on to another new social platform, where will that leave the ones that are not content creating on other platforms. The real value of your brand relies on where all your content lives and to be frank, your earning potential working with brands is larger when you have more to offer than just a pretty Instagram account.

    This post is in partnership with Warner Bros. Canada for the release of the new Tomb Raider movie, which hits theatres everywhere March 16th. All views and opinions in this post are my own. 

 

5 Things You Should Consider When Looking To Hire A Trainer

I am working with a trainer for the second time in my life. The first time was while I was pregnant with Max (because I needed someone to force me to dial down and modify my workouts) and now postpartum. For years my workouts have always been with my team, a personal strength coach during my years playing tennis or workouts I created for myself. Getting back into a groove in the gym post pregnancy has been tough. Well, at least for me it has been. My body just wouldn’t move the way it used to and I was SO DAMN WEAK. I could have easily used my pelvic floor and wrist issues as an excuse to delay the hard work that was waiting for me because I was getting so discouraged but I figured if not now then when? And let’s be honest, when you’ve just had a baby people give you a free pass and tell you that you look great no matter how washed you look. If you’ve had a baby you know what I’m talking about, “Oh girl please, you JUST had a baby like yesterday and you look amazing!” But for my mental health and self confidence I had to get moving again and enlisted the help of a trainer.

There’s been so many of you sliding into my DM’s lately asking for advice on trainers like; how to find one, who is reputable in the city and why I’ve made SWAT my home for training and workouts? For me, the choosing SWAT Health was an easy decision. I needed someone who understood my limitations that came with postpartum fitness. That means, having the knowledge to put me through a Functional Movement Screen before taking a couple weeks to focus solely on creating a solid foundation again. With the plan of eventually progressing to a more intense program. A trainer who could be creative enough to come up with challenging workouts with the proper modifications for my wrist injuries. Not an easy task when it’s impossible to load any weight onto your hands. Most importantly, even though I am retired, I want to still train like an athlete. This meant the person chosen for the task probably needed to have been an athlete at some point too or experience training them, in order to come up dynamic workouts I would enjoy. I couldn’t think of anyone better than SWAT Health’s Co-Founder Kyle Ardill. The SWAT concept is based on a 360 approach to health and wellness incorporating chiropractic, physiotherapy, and massage into their offering. Since my body needs serious rebuilding right now, I am taking advantage of ALL of it. It’s been a crucial component to my journey because Kyle, Darcy (Chiro) and Phil (RMT) can all communicate to ensure they are providing me with the right rehab program within their respective disciplines to get me results. The education of the PT staff at SWAT is so diverse, the team has you covered whether you’re looking to do power lifting, HIIT/cross training, athletic based training, or group class workouts.

Kicked off my training program on January 8th with an FMS – Functional Movement Screen

So how do you find the right personal trainer? Things have gotten a little interesting in the fitness industry because of social media and it has certainly turned into a hot topic. With so much information at people’s fingertips thanks to the   internet and weekend fitness certification courses, becoming a personal trainer has replaced “handbag designer”, and “DJ” as the new fallback career in 2018. But here’s the thing folks, knowledge in personal training is not measured in a  CanFit Pro certification or having a big social media following. I think it’s also important to point out, a person’s physical appearance on Instagram doesn’t necessarily tell the whole picture. Looking fit doesn’t always mean someone has the knowledge base to train clients. There are loads of folks on the internet sharing their transformation before and after photos and using this as marketing tool to get clients and actually charge them money, which is appalling. More often than not, these transformation trainers as I like to call them, usually have leaned out because they stop putting garbage in their mouths, stopped binge drinking and started working out a bit. Not because of any well thought out training program they expertly developed for themselves. Yet, they are selling training to uneducated consumers who think they are getting a deal because their prices are competitive. And nobody should just assume that someone is a fitness expert because they have the word “fit” in their IG handle. I could go on and on but I think the point here is that people need to be informed, know what to look for and expect when hiring a professional in the field of fitness. If you’re thinking about a finding a personal trainer to help you achieve your fitness goals, I applaud you for making this first and very important step in your fitness journey.

Here’s 5 things you should consider when looking to hire a personal trainer:

  1. Certification vs. Experience. This is usually the first mistake many people make when they begin their search for a trainer. Instead of doing their due diligence and finding out how what a trainer’s experience is in terms of diversity in disciplines, they feel satisfied knowing that the person they have chosen to train them is certified. If you’re pregnant or a new mom, the goal should be to find someone who has worked with prenatal and/or postpartum clients. You may want to know if that person has experience training an athlete, has worked with a rehab client, who has the knowledge base to change up a client’s programming on training day if they are stressed or walk into a session injured.  Someone who is passionate about fitness and continues to educate themselves through courses and programs. A trainer who reads and does research, always wanting to learn because things are always evolving. Anyone can get a certification in personal training in 48 hours but not just anyone has the extensive knowledge base to tackle a wide range of training scenarios. You want a trainer that can provide a wide range of results for a wide range of the population.
  2. Authenticity. Yes folks, your trainer should be authentic…in other words living the lifestyle. And guess what? Your trainer should also be fitter than you, not the other way around. Ever. I never could understand how people would spend their hard earned money on a trainer that looks like a bag of milk. Your trainer shouldn’t be eating their weight in chicken wings or drinking energy drinks/soda. You wouldn’t hire a dentist with bad teeth, a lawyer that has never won a case or an accountant that doesn’t have their books straight. You need someone that has some credibility. Someone who is not a contradiction to the system. Someone who not only talks the talk but walks the walk.
  3. Results. What is a coach/trainer without results? Results are everything. Take the time and do your research. Ask your potential trainer for “receipts” aka show you results they helped their clients achieved. If they can’t show you results you can applaud and admire, then how can they help you reach your goals?
  4. Good Communication. This person should be an excellent listener and communicator. They have to hear what you’re saying. They can’t simply force you to do what they think you should be doing. It has to be a two way street; where they are providing you information and recommendations based on their experience in similar types of situations and the information you have given them. You both should be working together as a team. Your PT should be open and available to answer your questions and concerns outside of training via phone, email or in person. Last but not least, an excellent trainer will be able to fully explain why they are having you do the exercises in each of your workouts.
  5. Personalized Programming. There are a lot of IG famous people, Insta coaches and a plethora of template programs that people are purchasing online. You cannot pay money for a program that is not personalized. I repeat, you cannot pay for a training program that is not personalized. If that is the route you choose to go, there are tons of free options available online. Your program should be created specifically just for you based on where you are and what you want your end result to be.

6 Steps For Easing Back Into A Fitness Routine Post Birth

I guess you can say I had delusions of grandeur when I was pregnant about what my postnatal exercise routine would look like. I had actually assumed that soon as I got my six week clearance from the doctor to begin working out again, I would hit the ground running (literally) and back to my regularly scheduled HIIT workouts. Reality hit me pretty hard after giving birth and I’ve realized it will take some considerable time to ease back into the workouts I once enjoyed and to get back to feeling like my old self. But that didn’t mean I was going to stop moving. I soon figured out that finding alternative ways to stay active (like walking and hiking in Toronto’s High Park and in Hamilton’s beautiful conservation trails) meant that I would have more energy to tackle my crazy days with work and baby. The endorphin release would do wonders for my postpartum blues and most importantly it would help with the transition once it’s time that I can get back to more strenuous workouts.

And just because my ways of staying active are a little bit different these days, things have changed when it’s comes to my antiperspirant. Carrying around this little lady everywhere I go and postnatal hormone induced sweating, I need extra sweat protection these days more than ever. Degree Black + White Dry Spray Antiperspirant is what keeps me feeling fresh while keeping my clothes clear of those nasty white marks most deodorants leave behind. Engineered with Motionsense technology, it releases extra body odour protection the more you move and is formulated to provide 48 hour protection – music to any new mom’s ears.

If you’re a first time mom like me or expecting, it is important to be realistic and patient during this time until your body is 100% ready to take on the impact of regular exercise. Trust me, this is something that I still struggle with from time to time but Réjean does a great job of reminding me on the days I get frustrated. Remember, it takes about 40 weeks to prepare your body to give birth and it can take almost the same amount of time to return to your pre-pregnancy physical self.

Degree Black + White Dry Spray Antiperspirant
Photos by Jess Baumung

Here’s 6 Steps For Easing Back into a Fitness Routine After Birth

  1. Start Back Slowly. As a general rule, it’s best to not return to exercise until your bleeding has stopped and you have gotten the green light from your treating physician. If you push yourself too hard in the beginning, you can set yourself back – trust me! But that doesn’t mean you should be on house arrest by any means. A walk is a great start to getting back to your old routine in a slow and healthy way.
  2. Pay Attention To Your Pelvic Floor. This is something I heard over and over again while I was pregnant and I am actually going to see a specialist this week about mine. If you’re pelvic floor is weak, doing crunches, Pilates or any other abdominal work can put too much pressure down there, drastically slowing down your healing or leading to organ prolapse.
  3. Think Outside The “Studio Workout” Box. You don’t necessarily need to hit up for favourite cross training or boxing class to get back into a fitness routine. I’ve discovered that outdoor walks are a great place to start and the bonus – the little ones usually love the fresh air and scenery. Don’t discount walking like I did in the beginning. Especially when it’s in trails with varying elevations, it can be a great cardio workout with your baby in a carrier.
  4. Loose and Wobbly Joints. Be careful of those wiggly, wobbly joints. Thanks to the hormone called Relaxin, a woman’s joints and ligaments loosen during pregnancy and childbirth and can stay in our body for up to six months. I am currently struggling with severe tendinitis in both of my wrists due to lifting the baby repeatedly with loose joints.
  5. Stay Hydrated. Once you start ramping up your activity post baby, it’s important to stay hydrated especially if you’re breastfeeding.
  6. Stay Fresh and White Mark Free. Make sure you have an antiperspirant like Degree Black + White Dry Spray to keep you dry and smelling fresh throughout the day.

This post was sponsored by Degree Canada but all opinions are my own

What’s In My Gym Bag Beauty Edition

The end of my pregnancy is just around the corner and I have managed to somehow not let Baby Bean get in the way of my regular workout schedule these last two trimesters. Squeezing training sessions in between meetings is just a small sacrifice I have to pay right now to ensure I’m strong for my labour and to help my body quickly recover back to pre-baby shape. If you’ve ever seen me running around the city with my gym bag in tow, you’ve probably wondered what the heck I am carrying in it as sometimes rivals the size of small carry-on luggage. I like to have extra bras and a pair of tights on hand as a back up just in case because my body is changing and growing week by week. Also, I can’t leave home without a few accessories that I like to incorporate into my workouts (skipping rope, gliders for body weight lunges, resistance bands, Apple watch and of course the prettiest water bottle to encourage me to hydrate. But most importantly, having to leave the gym to carry on a work day filled with meetings and photo shoots means I must have my bag packed with a few beauty and skincare essentials to keep me feeling and smelling fresh for the rest of the day.

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

In case you were wondering, yes I am still on my botanical beauty kick, still loving Yves Rocher products and that doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon. I’m doing whatever I can to use as many natural and organic products on my skin that’s proven to be good for both me and the Bean. I have a few go-to products I have become obsessed with slathering onto my body and hair post shower at Equinox.

Summer Collection Perfumed Hair Mist – There’s nothing more worse than sweaty, stinky hair post workout and not having the time to do something to it before leaving the gym. On low impact training days when my hair isn’t left soaking from sweat, I like spraying this new hair mist from Yves Rocher that smells like my favourite season of the year in a bottle.

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

Monoi De Tahiti Dry Body Oil – This is THE perfect product for moderate to dry skin and it works well all year round. The oil is moisturizing, even for the most driest of skin during the winter but it’s light enough to not feel heavy or clog your pores during the warmer months because it’s applied as a light misting spray. The entire Monoï de Tahiti line smells like a tropical paradise and is the perfect accompaniment to the Monoï Eau de Toilette; also one of my personal faves.

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

Riche Crème Beauty Elixir from 100% Botanical Origins – This gem (shown below) is actually intended for the fact but my pro tip is to use it on my elbows, knees, and the back of my heels – all the areas on my body that require a little extra ‘TLC’. I’ve recently nicknamed the oil as my “Unicorn Elixir” because this magical product packs a unique combination of 30 precious oils that can cure even the toughest and driest skin surfaces.

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

Eau de Vahinés Eau de Toilette – These days I will admit, I would much prefer to be heading to a beach escape instead of going to meetings but such is life. After applying my Monoi de Tahiti Dry Body Oil, I love spraying this Eau de Toilette on for it’s long lasting tropical scent that thankfully stays put all day long.

Bourbon Vanilla Scented Shower Gel – Throughout my pregnancy my skin has been extremely dry and by dry, I mean it’s as if the baby has sucked out every ounce of moisture I have in my body. I drink plenty of water but still love to have a hydrating body wash to help with the dryness. Since I have returned from Paris I’ve religiously kept my Bourbon Vanilla shower gel  in my bag. The new series of shower gels come in a compact size and have an  über concentrated formula that is not only preservative and paraben free, but its also pH balanced for the skin with enough to last 40 showers. Also, proving it’s bio friendly, surprisingly 97% of it’s ingredients come from a natural original and 50% less plastic is used in it’s bottles.

Relaxing Eau de Toilette (Orange Blossom Lavender Petitgrain Scent) – With the summer heat finally starting, I have been prolonging my post shower fresh feeling after the gym on super hot days by spritzing this heavenly smelling Relaxing Eau de Toilette. The soothing fragrance from the orange blossom, the aromatic notes from the lavender and the calming accents from the petitgrain essential oils help with relaxation. Once I discovered the relaxation benefits, I started to also spray a bit on myself right before bed. Unlike most Eau de Toilette’s, 96% of the ingredients in this one comes from a natural origin, and even the alcohol content has a botanical background.

So Sasha - Yves Rocher

Lipid Replenishing Lotion – I cannot leave the house without having a moisturizer for my hands. While my dry oil and botanical elixir is great for keeping my skin moisturized, throughout the day my hands need a little more attention. The oat extract in this lotion instantly softens the skin on my hands that have become a bit rough and calloused from lifting weights in the gym. Although the Lipid Replenishing Lotion is a body lotion, I always keep this one and a travel size in my purse because it works so well as a hand cream. It also gets bonus points for being mineral oil, paraben and colorant free.

So Sasha - Yves Rocher
Photography by Bettina Bogar for Yves Rocher

This post was sponsored by Yves Rocher Canada, however all opinions on the products in this post are my own

Joe Fresh #MakeYourMove Collection Week 2

ICYMI, last week I excitedly announced the launch of the curated activewear looks I did with everyone’s favourite accessible retailer Joe Fresh. Full of versatile separates that allow you to mix and match, the collection creates an endless wardrobe of clothes for your workouts at an such an affordable price it will legit blow your mind. Week #1’s was all about classic layering pieces and essentials for spring’s transitional weather that can easily take you to any of your favourite studio classes and workouts (in case you missed it, click here). This week it’s all about adding pop’s of colour, to help us get out of our winter ruts and finding the perfect tight and sports bra for support for our go-to workouts.

As seen on JoeFresh.com 

Tights were the topic of discussion in so many of my snapchat and instagram stories last year, resulting in tons of woman weighing in on what the “perfect tight” is for them. I have been famously known to dislike crops, advocating for the full length because of my long legs however I have become fond of the also flattering 7/8th and I am happy to say that all the full length tights in this collection are tall girl approved. They are also high waisted, like the Melange leggings pictured above,  giving adequate coverage when your bending forward during workouts or yoga poses. But let’s be real, the root of most women’s issues with activewear is finding the right sports bra that provides the right amount of support while still looking flattering. The push-up sports bra (shown above) and the pull-on active bra are my favourites – both under $20.

Photography by Jess Baumung for JoeFresh.com

Reflective Active Jacket $39  –  Push-Up Sports Bra $19  –  Scoop Neck Active Tank $16  –  Stripe Active Tee $29  –  High Waist Melange Active Legging $29  –  Mesh Insert Active Legging $29

Check back here every Monday over the next month as I will be sharing a new look each week built around my fave pieces from the new collection, which will do doubt be yours as well. For more of my #MakeYourMove curated looks and to view the entire Joe Fresh activewear collection head to JoeFresh.com/MakeYourMove.

Train Hard, Snack Smart with Wonderful Pistachios

The two most important factors that play a role in your overall fitness are 1) how you train/workout and 2) how you eat and snack. Everyday I see an alarming amount of people on social media posting their workouts and sharing their runs but no real progress. Most often than not, the reason behind this is poor diet or them not doing the amount of training they claim to be doing on social media. For me, it’s always been simple. I like to stick to functional workouts based on basic training fundamentals, keep my body guessing by frequently mixing up my works and ALWAYS snack smart. And I love the idea of athlete inspired workouts. Why? Because I know they are effective and how could it not be cool to train like some of the best athletes in the world?

For the next year, I’m teaming up with the Wonderful Pistachios brand and will be sharing different ways for you to enjoy them on-to-the go and how they can be incorporated into your favourite dishes at home. Both nutrient dense and delicious, pistachios have long been my nut of choice, mainly because of their monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fibre, protein and antioxidant content. I know for some there is a concern regarding the calorie count with pistachios but the good news is, researchers say sticking to in-shell pistachios can significantly slow down consumption because the empty shells offer a visual cue of how much you’ve eaten. Actually, preliminary behavioural studies have proven that in-shell snackers ate 41% fewer calories than those who snacked on shelled nuts, which is commonly known as the “Pistachio Principle“.

Thanks to the Wonderful Pistachios team, an exclusive group of us were lucky enough to participate in an intimate workout based on Toronto Maple Leaf’s Left Winger, James van Riemsdyk’s off-ice training at SWAT Health – a high performance training studio for elite and professional athletes. The workout, led by SWAT Founder and former football player Kyle Ardill, was no joke. We kicked it off with some dynamic movements and stretches to get are bodies warm and loosened up, followed by speed and agility work. All elite athletes train hard during their season, which are reflected in their physiques, however hockey players are notorious for the strength of their lower bodies. Specifically, quads and glutes. That means, we were getting ourselves into a 40 minute session focusing on the targeted muscles that allow hockey players to be quick and strong on the ice like; skater lunges, weighted side and reverse lunges, one legged dead lifts, a series of glute activations with resistance bands and a killer core workout circuit. If that wasn’t enough, Kyle had me end the session with some sled work (with him on it of course!) with the weight totalling over 300 lbs.

What many people often forget, what you eat post workout can be just as important as the workout itself. Usually we find it difficult enough to squeeze in a workout throughout the day, let alone take time to prepare a meal post workout, but nobody can ever be too busy for a smoothie. They are quick to prep, tasty AF and when you pack them with the right ingredients, they can actually be rather filling, helping you stay full until your next meal. On hand that morning was Registered Dietician and Abbey’s Kitchen founder Abbey Sharp, who helped create our post workout treat, a Pistachio & Tahini Protein Smoothie that you can easily make at home by using the following:

  • 1/3 cup Wonderful Pistachios, unsalted and shelled
  • 1 cup 2% Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 4 ripe figs, stems removed and quartered
  • 2 dates, pitted and diced
  • 2 tsp, tahini
  • 1 cup 1% milk (or you can substitute for Almond milk if you’re lactose intolerant or prefer the taste

Photography by Charlie Lindsay @DonCharleone

OPTIONAL GARNISH:

  • 1/3 cup Wonderful Pistachios, unsalted and shelled
  • 1 cup 2% Plain Greet Yogurt
  • 4 ripe figs, stems removed and quartered

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a blender, pulse the pistachios until they reach a ground up consistency. Add in the yogurt, figs, dates, tahini and milk. Puree until smooth. To serve, pour into two glasses. Top with sliced fig, crushed pistachios and pomegranate arils.

Stay tuned fin 2017 for more of my snack and meal ideas with Wonderful Pistachios #GetSnackin

Make Your Move Towards Your 2017 Fit Goals in Joe Fresh Activewear

It’s the start of yet another year. Despite the frigid cold temps here, January is one of my favourite months because no  matter what has happened in the previous calendar year, January marks the beginning of something new and fresh (pun intended). And the best part is, wherever you are right now is far from who you will be at the end of 2017 and that excitement is what fuels me every single day. After a much needed break over the holidays, I’m kicking off the year by sharing four activewear looks I curated with the amazing team at Joe Fresh from their forthcoming Spring ’17 collection. To showcase how diverse and versatile the line is, I was able to show each look in three different ways, giving you guys more inspo and wearable options at a price point so amazing you’d be crazy to not get the entire head to toe looks.

As seen on JoeFresh.com

When it comes to activewear, I have seen and worn just about everything on the market so my standards when it comes to quality and functionality are higher than most. It’s so important to have the right support and fabrications in your clothes to allow you to feel and perform at your best, or chances are you’re not going to stay committed to working out. Joe Fresh has stepped things up this year and has created what I think is a very solid collection of activewear that can take you from the gym to the street (and everywhere in between) – that feels good, looks great, and is affordable…making it accessible to everyone!

If you were to take a peek inside my closet, you would find a common thread with my workout clothes. I have been known to get a bit crazy about tights. I am VERY particular with the cut and length, preferring a high waisted silhouette to give me adequate coverage in the rear during certain bending, yoga poses or lifting in the gym. Also, with  spring transitional weather being so unpredictable at times, the options of layers is always welcomed.

Photography by Jess Baumung for JoeFresh.com

Floral Running Active Jacket $39  –  Print Contrast Active Legging $29  –  Scoop Neck Active Tank $16  –  Reflective Active Long Sleeve Tee $29  –  Cut Out Active Tee $29

Check back here every Monday over the next month as I will be sharing a new look each week built around my fave pieces from the new collection, which will do doubt be yours as well. For more of my #MakeYourMove curated looks and to view the entire Joe Fresh activewear collection head to JoeFresh.com/MakeYourMove.

Fuel For Your Busy Day – Genuine Health’s Vegan Greens+ O

It is almost impossible to get your recommended daily intake of greens and through the food we eat alone, so I will always be an advocate of nutrient rich supplements like Genuine Health’s greens+ formula. For over two decades, greens+ has been Canada’s go-to green food supplement and if you’ve used it before, that fact won’t be surprising at all to you. Over the last year, it has become a vital part of my routine, giving me the energy I need to power through my crazy days and avoid that mid-afternoon slump. The laundry list of benefits from this superfood formula is what gets people hooked and after seeing a difference in just after a week in my energy levels, mood, cognitive health, and performance in the gym, there was no turning back for me.

Genuine Health Vegan Greens+ O

Genuine Health Vegan Greens+ OPhotography by Jess Baumung

One of the things I really admire about Genuine Health is that they are never satisfied at just creating great products. You know that old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”? Well – this doesn’t apply to this brand and their products.  As a team, they are always looking for ways to make their products better, more accessible, and with more benefits. Genuine Health’s most lucrative category, greens+, has continued to expand offering new and improved variants more tailored to people’s specific needs. The newest product that has been introduced into the line is Vegan greens+ O, designed to help those who like me, have food allergies and ingredient sensitives which can sometimes make taking supplements challenging.

So how could Genuine Health possibly make it’s award winning greens+ any better? First, they have included only organic ingredients – hence the “O” in the name and is also 100% vegan. They have also somehow managed to remove the allergens from their unique herbal blend and replaced them with more effective and innovative ingredients like organic spirulina, broccoli sprouts, chia seeds and sunflower lecithin, so now everyone can enjoy improved health, energy and vitality.

Genuine Health Vegan greens+ O

Check out GenuineHealth.com to learn more about Vegan greens+ O, which now comes in Acai Mango, Vanilla and Unflavoured, where to buy details, in addition to the rest of their amazing product line.

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