Category

FITNESS

Category

Tech Talk: What You Need to Know About Apple TV 4G

I did a TV detox for almost a year. Not intentionally, but with Netflix, Shomi, Crave and other online streaming options allowing us to watch our fave programs on our laptops, what was once one of the most used things in my household ended up sitting on a console collecting considerable amount of dust. Well, a lot has changed around here since getting Apple TV. Since it’s launch in 2010, it’s design had really not evolved and it was still using an interface dating back to the iPod days, quite possibly the reason why the device has consistently been eclipsed by it’s prodigy siblings, the iPad and iPhone. If you’re one of those people who prefer to wait for a later generation of a product so a brand has time to get all the kinks out, then now would be the time to try out the best version to date of Apple TV.

The latest version has powerful hardware, a significantly redesigned remote and an operating system worthy of an Apple product in 2016. Plus, there’s a legit app store now, which turns the device into a killer platform for entertainment, workouts and gaming right in the comfort of your own living room.

Apple TV Fitness Apps

The ultra sleek new Siri remote not only looks attractive when placed on your coffee table or TV console, but it’s also super functional. Say goodbye to endless button pushing kids. With the smooth touch surface, selecting and navigating is made so much easier with swipe capabilities. In addition to the menu and play/pause buttons, which the remote had before, there is now a home button and volume controls. Plus, since it’s wireless you don’t even have to point it directly at the Apple TV console. Worried about having to add yet another remote to your collection? We’ve trained the intelligent Siri remote to adapt to work as our television remote control.

Apple TV Fitness AppsHere’s what you will receive with you Apple TV purchase. *Note HDMI cable is sold separately

Once you’ve set up your Apple TV, which can be done simply on the corresponding app on your iPhone, the well laid out home screen makes it easy to search iTunes for movies, shows and music, and search/download from the app store etc. There aren’t any third-party apps installed by default, which is kind of a good thing in my personal opinion. This means, only the apps you love and use frequently are displayed on the home screen. The only downfall so far to be honest, is not having access to some of the new and amazing third-party apps that have been developed for 2016 that are not available in Canada *welp*. I frothed at the mouth thinking of all the potential binge watching I could do on HBO, Showtime and HULU and the workouts on Beach Body On Demand but nope – no dice for us Canadian residents. However, there are still a handful of apps making Apple TV a worthwhile purchase even if you reside south of the border…and let’s start with some that will get/keep you in shape:

Apple TV fitness apps

Fitness Focused Apps

Think you have no time to get to the gym after work? Can’t get out of bed extra early to make it to that yoga class? Or better yet, need some inspiration for some active mobility stretches before you run? I’ve combed the app store and online to find fitness apps that ticked all the boxes; high quality videos of varying lengths and forms of exercise, affordable prices, an app perhaps with an iOS version that sends me push notifications to nudge me when I haven’t worked out. Even a corresponding Apple Watch app component that will tap into the watch’s sensors to track my heart rate and cals burned. This may be too much of an ask, but I remained hopeful. After spending some considerable time trolling and testing, I’ve realized there is a HUGE potential for health and fitness apps on this platform and has even got me thinking of someday creating my own third-party app. With the updated version of Apple TV, tvOS has made it much easier for third-party apps to be created, so I suspect we will see a lot more comprehensive fitness apps popping up in the near future. Although there are some great options out there, I still think the fitness focused apps haven’t reached their full potential yet. Here’s a few of the contenders that were able to meet some of my tough criteria…

Zova:

Apple TV Fitness AppsPhotography by JessBaumung.com

One of the first tvOS fitness apps created, Zova also comes highly recommended by the peeps at Apple. It offers a ton of free video content, which is awesome, and is even equipped with Apple Watch integration so you’re able to see your heart rate on the TV screen while you workout. However, you have to pay $10+ a month to unlock the premium version. Still cheap in comparison to most others though, but I would have liked to see at least one option in the app store that was available free to users. Furthermore, majority of the videos are much shorter than I would have liked to see – 15 mins or less and no instruction. There’s just a model demonstrating each move sans voiceover. On the plus side, Zova is great for those who want to be led through a quick ab workout, short flow sequence to start the day or pre run stretch routine.

Daily Burn:

Apple TV Fitness Apps

Daily Burn has been featured in Vanity Fair, the New York Times, Shape, Good Morning America and the Today Show because of the success of it’s subscribers and now I know why. With over 500 workouts in 20+ amazing programs from strength training, HIIT, weight training, yoga, dance and more – there is something for everyone. Plus, there is a new 30 minute Daily Burn 365 workout every single day at 9am EST that replays on demand for 24 hours, specifically designed for beginners. When you download the app on Apple TV, your eligible for a 30 day free trial – something that most apps should allow you to do so you can ensure you are getting what you’re promised prior to purchasing. Once your free month is up, the premium membership will run you $36.99/mth. Workouts average anywhere between 30-40 minutes making them great on their own but also works well when you add in a run or other cardio workout but the app does not sync with the Apple Watch to monitor calories burned and heart rate.

Grokker:

Apple TV fitness apps

This yoga focused app also provides users with nutritional plans and cooking videos for those who are looking for some food inspo. Grokker’s program ranges from one week to six weeks in length and the series are designed to save you time with over 70 goal oriented series to choose from. My suggestions, “Get Tight in 28“, “x5 Intensity“, “Daily Muscle Relief” and the “21 Day Relax Mindfulness Meditation“. Love that you can schedule workouts in the in-app calendar as a reminder of which series you should be doing next. Users can also easily track progress such as total minutes of exercise and calories burned to stay motivated. If you have an Apple Watch, you will be able to track your heart rate and active energy during both fitness and yoga workouts while also contributing to your Activity Rings. Free to download and use, but just like the rest of the more sophisticated fitness apps out there, you have to pay for the good stuff. A premium subscription enables you to download an unlimited number of premium videos per month and will cost you $14.99 or $119.99 monthly or annually respectively.

Cody:

Apple TV Fitness Apps

Cody is the priciest out of the bunch because you actually pay per plan, not by month – so if you’re looking for an affordable fitness app, this isn’t it! The cost depends mainly on which plan you pick but on average will cost you somewhere between $40-50 and there is no free trial option. Some may argue that it is in fact good value for money because the videos are super high quality plus Cody offers offline downloads so you can do your workouts on your iOS device while traveling. If you’re the type that likes a variety and prefers to switch things up each day, you may not love that the app forces you to stick within a program, however on the plus side, this is the best way to achieve results.

Honourable Mentions

I would be straight up lying if I told you this was my only use of my Apple TV at home. Let’s be honest here, there are a plethora of entertainment, news, music, food and television streaming apps to make you forget all about cable television. On heavy rotation at our place right now – Netflix, TED Talks, Shomi, CityTV, People Entertainment Weekly Network, The Scene, Kitchen Stories, Made to Measure (for all my fave fashion documentaries and movies), and RedBull TV.

Apple TV is available at Apple stores, Best Buy locations and online at Apple.com starting at $199.

Activia Women #InSync Series and Commercial

This year has been very emotional for me. The word “emotional” usually has a negative connotation to it, but in this particular instance, its all positive. A few months ago I was approached by Danone to be apart of an amazing campaign with Activia Yogurt. The very first thing that stood out about this potential partnership was that it did not appear to be a blatant product push. In fact, when I read the campaign overview I was surprised to see that the project was not product focused at all, but rather a chance for 9 Canadian women to be able to tell the country their story on how they live a balanced life.

Could this really be possible? Can a company actually want to focus on my personal story and journey, rather than promoting their existing products or a recent product launch? Well…turns out, yes they most certainly did and the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. After the struggles I’ve had to endure, there has been many times where I wanted to give up and didn’t understand why I kept getting faced with so much adversity. However, 2016 has been my best year yet and I have finally started to reap the rewards of all the hard work I put into getting healthy and building a personal brand.

Activia Women InSync Series

I’ve fought my illness for a very long time, only becoming more successful with managing it’s ugly symptoms in recent years by learning to live in sync. Meaning, putting a system in place and developing a new lifestyle for myself that contained the right amount of exercise, activity, diet and meditation. Furthermore, also learning to create boundaries between my work and personal life. So goodbye to working until midnight and never having a day off.  Creating a more harmonious balance in my life not only helped facilitate my recovery, but it also allowed me to spend more time with my family, friends and to nurture the first serious relationship I had been involved in for what seemed like ages. Don’t get me wrong, this was no easy feat. This turn of events began almost five years ago and at this time, my full time job was to just get healthy. My weekdays were filled with medical appointments, meetings with my dietician, naturopath, acupuncturist, reiki specialist, chiropractor and RMT, oh and let me not forget my psychologist and the numerous Cognitive Behavioural Therapy classes I had to attend to help me deal mentally with everything going on. My illness isolated me and caused me to become anti-social, ultimately was the end of my engagement (which truth be told was a relationship that was flawed and toxic from the start) not to mention the tangible losses such as; my loss of income from not being able to work, my vehicle, and having to move back in with my parents as an adult. Trust me, it was a lot of loss all at once and looking back now, it’s not at all surprising why I was also suffering from depression and anxiety.

People always ask me how I found the strength to turn things around. To be honest, a lot from that time was a blur and I cannot really remember every single detail. I am athlete and competitive by nature so I think I just wasn’t going to go out without a fight. I knew truly deep down that up until that point, I had not done everything I could to rehabilitate myself, besides drowning my body in pharmaceutical meds prescribed by specialists and laying in bed watching my life pass me by – which was clearly not working. I mean, I didn’t think things could possibly get any worse, so I decided to attempt the alternative route with eastern medicine. This change of direction, in addition to my ridiculously supportive family, eliminating stress, changing my diet and consistent exercise was critical in getting me to where I am today.

As part of this multi-faceted campaign with Activia, I shot an individual commercial going a bit deeper into my personal story, which was shot earlier this summer in Montreal. When you live something day to day, it’s difficult to see how far you’ve come but being a part of this project has allowed me to reflect on everything that has happened and see my exponential growth. I cried uncontrollably the first three times I watched this video.  Almost not recognizing the person in it because just five years ago I was a young women on bed rest suffering from a debilitating illness not knowing what the future holds. My life has changed dramatically and through balance I’ve created, I feel strong, I am happy, I am creative, I feel limitless and I am finally in sync.

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There’s so much more to come in this campaign and I can barely contain my excitement, so stay tuned. In the meantime, click here to learn more about the other 8 women and their stories, search the hashtag #InSync on social media or follow Activia Canada on Instagram and Youtube.

Nordstrom Presents: Camp Nordstrom in Toronto September 10th

It’s been a long time coming for fashion lovers south of the border but Nordstrom is finally opening it’s doors here in Canada this fall. The luxury retailer has pulled out all the stops making sure the highly anticipated openings of their CF Toronto Eaton Centre and Yorkdale locations September 16th and October 21st at 10am respectively, are on top of everyone’s minds. To help celebrate the launch of the much welcomed luxury department store, Nordstrom is hosting a slew of events over the next several weeks but the one I am most excited for is Camp Nordstrom fitness event taking place on Saturday September 10th.

Camp Nordstrom Toronto

Mackenzie White - Nordstrom Camp TorontoMackenzie White, Model and Yoga Instructor

As a leading fashion speciality retailer offering carefully curated clothing, shoes, accessories and beauty collections, Nordstrom has also entered the fitness apparel game by launching their exclusive modern activewear collection, Zella, in 2007 which features flattering workout separates for women designed to let you to move with ease, a men’s and children’s collection, in addition to swimwear . Camp Nordstrom is a one day only fitness event, hosted by yours truly, where guests will be able to check out the Zella line and participate in one of two complimentary fitness classes led by Model and Yoga Instructor Mackenzie White.

Camp Nordstrom

Camp Nordstrom Toronto

Camp Nordstrom TorontoPhotos by JessBaumung.com

What I’m Wearing: “Live In” Leggings and “Pure Energy” Seemless Bralette c/0 Zella by Nordstrom

What can you expect: Taking place outdoors at Toronto’s Sherbourne Common Park on Lower Sherbourne at Queen’s Quay, the Camp Nordstrom event will feature both a morning and afternoon high energy boot camp style class with a yoga cool down, a Greenhouse Juice Pop-UP bar, an interactive photo booth, giveaways and much more.

WHEN:      Saturday September 10th, 2016

                  Registration at 9am & noon

                  Classes commence at 10am & 1pm

WHERE:  Sherbourne Common Park. 61 Dockside Drive. Toronto, ON. M5A 1B6

I will be hosting both sessions and hope to see you there!

4 Simple Tricks to Stay Motivated When You Work Out Alone #TasteVectory

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kellogg’s® Vector®. All opinions are 100% mine.

If you’ve just begun to work out or have been working out for years, there is one thing I’m sure everyone can agree on…it can be insanely challenging to work out alone. I am certain that more than half of the people that spend big bucks on trainers and pricey group classes do so because they need the motivation and accountability, not because they don’t know what they are doing.  Over the years I’ve learned some slightly tactical ways that not only help me avoid skipping solo workouts but also push me a bit more while doing them.

1. Find a Community Challenge:

Vector 21 Day ChallengePhotography by JessBaumung.com

Challenges are good. Finding a community is also good. Combining both is great motivation. I’ve seen both the Adidas and Nike Women community execute this so well over the years. One of my favourite aspects of social media is that other people’s posts can easily inspire you. You can discover new workouts, learn new recipes and even share your own progress if you want. In case you missed it,  I recently posted details regarding this summer’s Vector® Challenge which is perfect for those trying to stay on track with their solo workouts. The Vector® 21-day Challenge acts as a form of accountability in a way, as you must post an image of yourself on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook that shows how you push yourself physically or mentally using the hashtag #TasteVectory for 21 Days. Participating in the contest allows you to be eligible to receive Vector products delivered to your home for 21 days and also gives you an entry for the grand prize, a $1,000 fitness prize pack.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

*You can find full contest details at the end of this post.

2. Listen to Audiobooks or a Podcast:

It is much more easier to get bored on a relaxed, easy run than it is when you have an intense interval or speed workout. Even for those who don’t love running to music, you may be surprised at how many more kms you’re able to run when you are entertained by an entertaining podcast or an audiobook.

3. Make Whatever You Do To Exercise Your Favourite Thing:

If you find an activity you love that counts as exercise, you are almost guaranteed to not miss a workout. And sorry loves, just because you love shopping – it unfortunately doesn’t count as cardio. I always giggle to myself when people say they hate running but have started doing it and find they struggle to stay motivated. Isn’t it a no-brainer that you will find every excuse in the book to get out of doing something you hate? Working out is a bit like a job. Find something you love and you will want to do it everyday. Just because everyone seems to be running or doing crossfit, don’t feel pressured to follow others. You may resonate more with rock climbing, kayaking, aerial/acro yoga or cycling.

4. Create Goals:

It’s not rocket science and definitely nothing new. When you work out day in and day out on your own with no coach or trainer to push you, it’s super easy to fall into a slump. Goals are something we should be setting for ourselves in all aspects of our lives and fitness should be of no exception. They can be big or small but in the best-case scenario, you are setting both. You may have a goal to do 10 pull-ups in a row without assistance or stopping or a goal of running a distance race (half-marathon or marathon). Whatever sounds fun and challenging to you and will make you proud of your accomplishment, set that as your target goal.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

To be eligible for the Vector® Challenge and make sure your entry is counted, please make sure that you tag the appropriate brand handles (Instagram/Facebook @Vector and Twitter @Vector_Ca) and ensure your profile is “public” on the platform you are posting on. Winners for the grand and secondary prizes will be chosen at random from those properly using the hashtag for the 21 days. *Contest is open to Canadian residents only, excluding Quebec and ends September 5th. Click Try Vector®, Taste Vectory® for more detailed rules and regulations. Good luck!

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Get Inspired to #BeTheMotion with Apple Watch & the 2016 Olympic Games

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio are in full swing and it’s almost impossible not to be inspired by the talented athletes on the quest for gold for their respective countries. Although we may not be training for our own appearance at the 2020 Olympics, we can most definitely  train to be our own best athlete.

Degree Be The MotionThe Limited Edition Canadian Olympic Apple Watch Band

If you’ve been watching the games closely you may have noticed some of Canada’s favourite Olympic hopefuls like; Melissa Bishop, Andre De Grasse, Brianne Eaton, Emilie Fournel, and Nathalie Achonwa wearing Apple’s new Limited Edition “International Collection” watch. Not only is the new “International Collection” watch band a great way to show your support for your country during the games, the Apple Watch is a phenomenal tool to help you get fit or stay fit, no matter what your focus is.

Degree Be The MotionPhotos by Jess Baumung Photography

The reason why my Apple Watch is such a big part of my life is because it has all the elements of a superior SportsWatch while also possessing the capabilities of an all-day activity tracker. I use it to track my sleep, my meals, my runs, cross training workouts and much more. There’s no shortage of amazing apps available on this watch, but I have rounded up 4 that will help motivate you in hopes to make you become a better athlete:

Spring Running Music:

Running with music may not be for everyone. Some, like me, prefer to hear their own breathe and footsteps, but if the BPM of Beyonce’s latest album Lemonade is the motivation you need to pound the pavement, then download Spring from the App Store immediately. This amazing app let’s you to leave your phone behind and still access your music. Apple Watch doesn’t allow you to plug in headphones but you can still use it with a wireless headset like my go-to Rose Gold Beats By Dre Solo2 to help you log your miles. Download Spring right now here.

Hudl Technique:

Looking to perfect that golf swing? Want to improve your running technique to get faster in the 5k or on the track? Learning a new sport for the first time? Hudl Technique is a unique app I’ve discovered for iPhone and Apple Watch that allows you to record your technique and review in slow motion playback so you can get a closer look at your form so you can learn how to improve it. Need additional feedback? You can share your technique vids with Hudl users worldwide to get form suggestions and feedback. Download the Hudl Technique App here.

Map My Run:

There are several running apps available on the Apple Watch including it’s native running (and fitness) tracker, but Map My Run has a dedicated and significant community to encourage a running lifestyle. This app lets you log more than 600 different types of workouts, record GPS activities, sync and share activity on Apple Health and MyFitnessPal plus socially share workouts with friends. Download MapMyRun here.

Human:

Not everyday do we feel motivated to wake up and crush workouts right away. Human not only tracks your activities throughout the day but it also pushes you to move at least 30 minutes a day by sending you reminders straight to your wrist. The app also automatically picks up your bike rides, walks, runs and other activities that go on for a minute or more and logs them to the app. Download the Human Activity Tracker here.

Fourteen countries are represented in the highly covetable watch bands (below are some of my personal faves) and they are available for purchase right now for $49 USD. If you’re an Apple fan and in Brazil this summer, you better get your hands on one as they are only sold at one Apple store in the world and it’s in Barra da Tijuca in Rio. Here’s a glimpse of a few bands within the collection.

Apple Watch International Collection

Search for more inspiring fitness tips from myself and other my other #DegreePartners by using the hashtag #BeTheMotion on Instagram and Twitter!

 

GapFit x AKT Hamptons Summer Retreat

As picky as I can be with my workouts, I’m just as particular about the clothes I wear when doing them. Gap has been making workout wear for several years now and it’s growing success and popularity was the catalyst for @GapFit launching separately on Instagram last week, which will focus solely on promoting the latest from the brand’s activewear collections. To celebrate their coming of age in the social space, the GapFit team hosted a fitness retreat in the Hamptons, the destination every New Yorker dreams of spending their summer at!

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So what was on the itinerary for this epic summer weekend? Sweat, sweat and more sweat. Gap teamed up with Canadian cutie and the creator of AKT in Motion, Anna Kaiser, to put us through a handful of workouts and ended the weekend with a stretching and foam rolling class designed for us to test out the GapFit’s hero pieces from the current collection. Women from all over the world arrived in Montauk last Friday (Editors from some of your fave glossies and digital publications; Vogue, Elle, Refinery 29, and Fashionista.com just to name a few) and stayed at the infamous beachside resort Gurney’s Montauk. If you’ve never been to the Hamptons before, the Gurney’s property is exactly what you would expect a hotel there to look like. Fresh minimal, clean aesthetic but not in a stuffy way. A very relaxed vibe that immediately makes you feel like you’re at home visiting a friend at their beachside compound.

Gurney's Montauk

gurneys montauk

gurneys montauk

Aside from the hotel being dreamy, it was the workout gear that got most of the ladies excited when we each arrived to our rooms. Beautifully coloured prints adorned the bras, tights and shorts and the perfect light weight tanks to layer over our looks during or post workout were all packed into the a black quilted Gap backpack. My faves –  Lightweight Mesh Tank and the Breathe Air Twist Back Tank, which both have GDry moisture wicking fabric to keep you cool and dry even during the most intense workouts. Not to be outdone by the Summer Sports gFast Training Tights and matching bra. I’m actually a “workout in my sports bra” kind of girl and the GapFit bras did not disappoint. It was legit 95 degrees during our Hamptons stay so we greatly appreciated the Coolmax® lining in the bras and four way stretch fabric.

GapFit AKT Summer Retreat

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Capris are not my favourite thing and if you’ve been following me on snapchat you are already well aware of this. I have had many a rants about how I feel about my long legs in capri tights BUT I couldn’t deny the cuteness of the gFast cross training tights that also came with matches bras. Not only do they look good but their functional too! The four way stretch system in the tights allowed to move during our sessions with ease and they each seemed to retain their shape throughout the day without the fabric becoming baggy in the wrong areas (you know the unsightly sagging in the bum, crotch and waist areas). Also, have you ever had the drawstring from your favourite pair of tights come completely out of the waistband in the washing machine? It’s one of my pet peeves to be honest. The gFast capris include an adjustable enclosed drawcord to prevent this from ever happening and a flat lock system to also stop everyone’s worst nightmare – chaffing.

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GapFit2016-Montauk_6368Photography by Max Breslow Photography for GapFit

Special thanks to Gap Canada and GapFit for an unforgettable experience in Montauk. I left the Hamptons with sore muscles, a belly full of amazing seafood, new friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. All these GapFit looks are currently available in store and can also be found online at GapCanada.ca.

Join me in Vector’s 21 Day #TasteVectory Challenge

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kellogg’s® Vector®. All opinions are 100% mine.

In case you missed it, I recently announced my involvement in the Vector® Challenge. If you did, you can catch the first post here. For those who have been following me for a while now, you already know that I just can’t say no to a challenge and in an effort to not do it alone, I am inviting you guys to do it with me.

Most of us are aware of the importance of goal setting, but in the real world with demanding careers, personal commitments, health issues, family, etc, it’s sometimes difficult to see them through. I am always open and honest about the issues I encounter trying to stay on track, as I too find it challenging at times, which is why I happily accept challenges like these when they present themselves.

Vector 21 Day Challenge

Last week I talked about how speed work and weight training somewhat intimidates me, but as they say, great things never come from comfort zones. As of August 1st, not only am I tackling both during the Vector® 21-day Challenge, I’m also incorporating them in a 2-a-day workout program consisting of both a workout and run. 

Vector 21 Day Challenge

Haven’t tried any Vector products before? Perhaps this challenge is the perfect way to get you acquainted with their ridiculously delicious Vector® Meal Replacement, energy bars and granola. The cereal, aka the “meal replacement in a bowl” is not only a great option for breakfast, but because it contains proteins, carbs plus 22 vitamins and minerals, it becomes the perfect snack option when you’re too busy when there is not enough time to make something to eat.

Vector 21 Day ChallengePhotos by JessBaumung.com

Participating is easier than you think. Simply post an image of yourself on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook every day with the hashtag #TasteVECTORY for 21 days. To ensure your entry is counted, please make sure that you tag the appropriate brand handles (Instagram/Facebook @Vector and Twitter @Vector_CA) and ensure your profile is “public” on the platform you are posting on. These pictures should show how you push yourself physically or mentally. Everyone participating in the challenge will automatically be entered for a chance to win the grand or secondary fitness prize packs valued at $1000 and $500 respectively. Winners will be chosen at random from those properly using the hashtag for the 21 days. *Contest is open to Canadian residents only excluding Quebec. Click Try Vector®, Taste Vectory® for more detailed rules and regulations. Good luck guys!

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My Journey to Being Pain-Free with Genuine Health’s Fast Pain Relief+

When I created my site a few years back I made it a point to promise myself. It was to only align myself with brands that had products or services I would use if SoSasha.com didn’t exist. In other words, these things would have to be so good that I would use my hard earned money to purchase them. That was a barometer I felt I needed to have for myself to avoid getting caught up in promoting something just for a paycheque or free product etc which happens far too often in this industry. I was introduced to Genuine Health a while back and got immediately hooked on their Greens+ Extra Energy formula. A month or two later, the company rolled out a new line of vegan fermented protein products in the form of protein powders and bars. I was skeptical – I believed the brand was on to something with their Greens+ product line, but was certain that their fermented products wouldn’t measure up. Well, boy was I wrong. Turns out the brand’s Greek yogurt fermented powder is one of our favourite protein supplements and we have yet to find another protein bar that tastes as good as theirs. After my experience with Genuine Health products over the course of the last 7 months, I became intrigued and wanted to try other things.

I have shared my stories on my health condition more than a handful of times so most of you are well aware of my kidney diagnosis and other interrelated issues associated with chronic pain and gut health issues. The muscular and joint pain I have experienced since 2009 at times has been debilitating. I am not proud of the amount of pharmaceutical drugs I have pumped into my body but for years I thought it was the only way to survive. I found relief with medicinal marijuana but extended use just was not a viable option. It would cause me to eat the entire contents of my fridge and it was simply not practical for work and driving purposes. So, I have been suffering in silence trying to regulate the pain with diet and exercise and both may I had has given me dramatic results. However, there is still a few times a month where I am sidelined to crippling pain.

Genuine Health Fast Pain Relief+

Genuine Health

With my current track record with Genuine Health products when I discovered that they had branched out into pain relief, I couldn’t get my hands on the products fast enough. I did my research first and the first thing that stood out was the claim it worked in 5 days. “Impossible. There is no way that is accurate information!” was the first thing out of my mouth, followed by an eye roll. The second thing that caught my eye was the name Biovaflex, the key ingredient to Genuine Health’s FAST Pain Relief+ and FAST Joint Care+ products. This name was brand new to me but after doing some reading, I soon discovered the ingredient that dervices from natural eggshell membrane, has key bioactives that reduces pain and inflammation, while feeding the body all the essential nutrients we need for proper joint health and flexibility in addition to collagen, elastin and nourishing proteins.

Genuine Health

Ok, so back to this “results in 5 days” theory. I admit, I was a pessimist at first but when you suffer from pain as bad as I do, you would be a fool to not try an all-natural product that promises to keep pain at bay in a safe way. When the my package arrived, I immediately ripped open the box, read the instructions for the FAST Pain Relief+ and FAST Joint Care, while my boyfriend poured me a glass of water. I wanted to waste no time getting started. The former is a clinical strength supplement to help relieve acute pain caused by headaches, muscle aches, back pain and chronic flare-ups – and three out of four of these are the bane of my existence. In addition to this life altering ingredient we now know as Biovaflex, this miracle pill also includes Devil’s Claw (a natural inflammatory ingredient) and White Willow Bark, nature’s Asprin, making it the fastest, most natural and effective way to manage pain. And to be honest, the word fast is in the product names for a reason. I started to notice visible difference in just 4 days which exceeded mine expectations. I also started taking the Joint Care product as well at the same time. It increases mobility and range of motion with a noticeable reduction in inflammation markers like C Reactive protein and helps to rebuild joint cartilage. It’s been approximately 3 weeks and I have noticed a huge difference in my joints and neck, which have lead to a dramatic decrease in headaches and migraines. I have only had to take an over-the-counter pain medication once in 3 weeks which used to be a four time a week occurrence. Would I consider this a success – absolutely! Not to mention, I have just decided to personally challenge and push my body into a 2-a-day program where each day consists of a run and workout in which I am sure the only way this is going to be possible is with Genuine Health’s pain relief products.

Genuine Health Fast Pain Relief+

While I have seen some incredible results, I am not 100% pain free. I am not quite sure if I will ever be to be honest, but I am thrilled at the improvements I have seen from using these products. I think if I re-introduced an anti-inflammatory diet, I could essentially be pain free, but only time will tell.

Genuine HealthPhotography by JessBaumung.com

To make complete this pain relief category and to make it a true trifecta, Genuine Health also has FAST Arthritis Pain Relief+ for those suffering from osteoarthritis or severe joint pain. Interested in giving any of the products a try? Click here to find a coupon to receive $5 off your purchase online or at a Genuine Health retailer. For more information on the brand’s diverse product offering head to GenuineHealth.com.

#MyAdvantage at Rogers Cup with National Bank

For over 20 years Toronto’s first and only professional tennis tournament has had a special place in my heart. Now known as Rogers Cup, my earliest memories date back to being 10 years old tagging along to watch some of the world’s best players back when it was called the Players and DuMaurier Open. It was then I knew it was the sport I wanted to play seriously and I had dreams of one day playing on centre court. At 13, I no longer wanted to sit and watch matches from my Mom’s company’s private box and starting working each summer on the “Ball Boy” squad, quickly working my way up to an “On-Court” Supervisor by the time I was 15. As a kid, nothing was cooler than being on centre court under the starts for a big match.

National Bank Rogers Cup

As my own game excelled and I began traveling extensively as a junior, I stopped working at the tournament but some of my fondest memories from my childhood has been on the grounds of this tournament held at York University. Fast forward many (many, many) years LOL and I am still heading to the tournament each summer, but this time with clients, brands I work with or to cheer on my former hitting partners who are still on tour.

National Bank Rogers Cup

Frankie AbandaMontreal’s Franckie Abanda – National Bank of Canada Ambassador

This year, the National Bank of Canada celebrates it’s 10th year as the title sponsor…you may have noticed I recently I traveled to Montreal for the bank’s #ALTCourt soirée to commemorate their anniversary. Unlike the rest of the sponsors that have preceded National Bank, their partnership extends beyond the staging of Rogers Cup.  They have helped many young athletes reach their full potential on the international tennis circuit by providing performance grants and brings significant support to the sport providing opportunities for future Canadian starts like my friend Franckie Abanda. And if that’s not enough, National Bank’s “On The Ball” initiative has been a huge hit – no pun intended! The program collects tennis balls that have lost their bounce and places them on the bottom of classroom chairs across Ontario and Quebec. This reduces the noise levels in classrooms, which increasing students’ ability to focus. To date, the program has collected over 1 million balls helping almost 340,000 students.

National Bank Rogers CupPhotos by Meghan Yuri Young 

I am back at the grounds today to watch the top 3 seeded players take on their opponents and will be enjoying some complimentary drinks between matches at the National Bank booth by centre court. If you’re heading to the tournament today, be sure it to check it out. You can win seat upgrades, prizes, plus their GIF cam and cinq a sept (5-7pm) cocktail hour is the perfect way to pass some time in between games. Get social and make sure to share your images on your favourite social channels from the booth using the hashtag #MyAdvantage.

Tickets for the remaining matches are still available for sale. Head to RogersCup.com to purchase online.

2016 Lolë White Tour Toronto Giveaway

Yoga has come in and out of my life over the last several years and played an integral role in keeping me injury free as a tennis player, helped me on my road to recovery after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia and has allowed me to find a connection with my mind, body and breath. Although my practice hasn’t been as consistent as I would like, there is one thing that remains the same  – every time I get back into it my first thought is always, “I should have never stopped” because I just feel so amazing afterwards.

Lolë White Tour

Through yoga you’re body becomes stronger, leaner and more flexible. Most see changes in terms of their body fat, are able to cope with stress better, learn to slow down and be more mindful, and let go of things that no longer serve them. And interestingly enough, the more more you become in tune with your mind and body, you actually begin to listen to your intuition and inner voice more often.

Lolë White Tour

I’ve tried many yoga studios in Toronto and definitely have my favourites that I hit up; Moksha Yoga, Misfit Studios, 889 Yoga, Chi Junky and believe it or not, the yoga classes at Equinox are pretty damn great…but there’s nothing like doing a flow outside, especially close to water.

Lolë White TourPhotography by Tristan O’Brien (@tristancobrien)

On Thursday July 28th, Lolë brings back their cult fave “Lolë White Tour” yoga event to Toronto at Exhibition Place. This is one of the most unique yoga events you will ever experience, where guests dress in all white and are guided through an incredible session at sunset dedicated to inner peace by some of the Toronto’s leading Yoga instructors. Tickets are not easy to come by but thanks to the Lolë team, I am able to give away a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. Entering the giveaway is easy…you must follow @LoleWomen on Instgram and leave a comment on my most recent Lolë post on my Insta account (@SashaExeter) letting me know why the practice of Yoga is important to you. The winner will be announced and contacted directly on Wednesday July 27th at 8pm. *Please note, contest is open to Toronto residents only. Good luck!

#LoleWhite #LoleWhiteTour 

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