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Test Driving the ASICS Metaride Running Shoe

It’s been almost six months of running in the Metaride shoe, ASICS newest innovation in running footwear and it’s become one of the three shoes that are in my shoe rotation each week for my runs. I get loads of questions about the Metaride when I post in them on Instagram or when other runners see me in them during my runs, so I’m going to share a few facts about the shoe here. Keep in mind though, no matter how well I explain the shoe’s technology or describe how it feels to run in them, the Metaride is just something you have to experience for yourself firsthand.

ASICS Metaride Running Shoe

Asics Metaride Running Shoe

ASICS Metaride Running Shoe

Every runner, whether you’re a jogger, age group competitor or elite runner, the goal is to always run faster and more efficient and ASICS made a strong claim about this shoe helping runners do exactly that. How? The new innovation they call Guidesole technology. The design teamed figured if they found a way to stabilize the ankle at a certain angle with the shoe’s design, it would be able to reduce energy usage and that would allow for more efficient running. The result, a shoe that has given me, and countless other runners, a completely new running experience, where it feel as if my legs are legit rolling automatically with little to no effort.

ASICS Metaride Running Shoe

How It Works

The Metaride shoe works, and works well, because it optimizes all three phases of the gait cycle when you run: footstrike, toe-off and the flight phase…this is when your foot is off the ground. Here’s the trifecta that makes this shoe so unique and a dream to run in:

  1. The improved cushioning helps to reduce muscle fatigue when the foot hits the ground.
  2. The stiff foot and unique curved sole, increases running efficiency by reducing the movement of the ankle joint because guess what? Too much ankle mobility at higher speeds actually wastes energy.
  3. The shoes center of mass is closer to the heel, making it super easy to swing the foot forward

My thoughts when I first saw the shoe wasn’t so positive. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the design and it was slightly bulky, so naturally I thought the shoe was going to be heavy. However I did like the circular upper knit of the shoe. It’s super breathable and helps the shoe fit true to size. On the downside, is the shoe’s weight. It’s heavier than what I am accustomed to wearing and comes in around 10.4oz, significantly heavier than the other two shoes I currently run in, but the additional size and weight is worth the feeling of a more efficient stride.

Photos by David Pike

The MetaRide basically forces you to land mid-foot and then has an extreme toe spring. The landing feels really springy and then launches you forward in your stride. There is a bounding sensation almost when you first put them on, but that settles down as you get into your mileage. After 5-6 km’s on my first run in them, I totally forgot about the sensation of feeling like my feet were in a rocking chair.

Is the Metaride shoe perfect? Nope…but will I continue to run in them throughout the fall/winter season? Absolutely. My only wish is that they develop a lighter version of the shoe or a racing version, as this design is made specifically to be a trainer. The Metaride is available both in store and online for $300.

Receive 25% off All Joe Fresh Activewear and More This Year

Y’all asked. We’ve answered!

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

Photography by Bettina Bogar for JoeFresh.com

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.

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.

Why You Should Start Your Day With A Little OJ!

Remember that old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well for years apples got all the spotlight but it turns out, oranges are really the stand-out star or at least they should be. And when I’m on the go, sometimes a glass of Florida Orange Juice is the easiest and quickest way to get my daily dose of vitamin C. What many don’t realize, it’s also jam packed with tons of other beneficial nutrients.

Sasha Exeter - Florida Department of Orange Juice

Sasha Exeter - FDOJ

I’ve always been a fan of good ole’ OJ…it’s long been my juice of choice because of it’s naturally refreshing and sweet taste obvi and truth be told, mixed with some champers it quickly becomes my fave brunch bevy on the weekends – pre pregnancy of course! When I started taking prenatal vitamins before I got pregnant, my doctor advised me to take my daily pill with a glass of Florida Orange Juice. Why? Prenatal vitamins can sometimes irritate and be tough on some women’s stomach due to the iron content and vitamin C helps aid in the digestion of the mineral. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Orange Juice, although an insanely amazing source of vitamins for all, is a very important part of a pregnant woman’s arsenal. I still find it a bit crazy how this change in my lifestyle has made me realize that my life is no longer about me anymore. The way I workout, how I eat, sleep and even my working hours now all revolve around what’s best for my little bean – who I haven’t even had the pleasure of meeting just yet. Funny enough,  even the most simple things like adding a glass of Florida Orange Juice in the morning and another post workout can make a huge difference, ensuring that we both get other essential nutrients like folate – a vitamin essential to prevent neural tube defects in babies in the womb that is also important for the formation of collagen (an important component of gums, bones, and cartilage). But for those of you out there that are fitness enthusiasts giving cold press juice and protein shakes all the praises, Florida Orange Juice, similar to bananas, is also a great source of potassium, super important for muscle function and plays a role in helping the body maintain it’s pH balance and electrolytes, making it a great alternative to your go-to post workout hydration.

Don’t feel like you’re ever limited to just drinking OJ on it’s own. Because of it’s sweet taste, it can be the perfect addition to your favourite smoothies or cold pressed juices, adding just the right sweetness. Also, if you head to FloridaJuice.com, you will find a treasure trove of healthy snack and meal recipes that include Florida Orange Juice you can make at home – I’m going to be trying out these Oatmeal Orange Pancakes this weekend!

 Sasha Exeter - Florida Department of Orange Juice

Photography by JessBaumung.com

I created this blog post as a paid collaborator for Florida Department of Orange Juice. All opinions and advise are my own and I only work with companies I genuinely love and/or have used prior to being contacted. 

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.

7 Ways to Avoid The Festive 15 This Holiday Season

It has arrived. The time of year that I like to refer to as the “Danger Zone“.  Sure, we’ve attended a handful of pre-holiday parties and most of us have done a great job in pacing ourselves when it comes to our food and cocktail intake. Until now. The weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years is when most people are likely to succumb to their weaknesses and over indulge. And how can we not…? If you’re lucky, during the holidays you are spending more time at home if you have taken a few days off, however that can mean unlimited access to the kitchen. Family and friends you go all year without seeing, invite you over and how could this not be a cause for celebration, right? Pair that with the temperature dropping far below zero, hectic holiday schedules, cocktail parties, dinner parties and missed workouts – it’s virtually impossible to escape the dreaded Festive 15. Ok, so calling it the “Festive 15” may be slightly dramatic because who really gains 15 lbs in the span of two weeks BUT by the time the New Year rolls around, it can sure feel like you have.

After feeling like complete and utter crap come January 2nd due to self induced food comas, a couple years ago I vowed to never start off the New Year feeling like I have to put in work to get back to my pre holiday weight. So, consider this my prezzie to you all, here’s 7 full proof ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays:


START YOUR DAY WITH PROTEIN

The way you start your day, is the way you live your life. Eating a protein-rich brekkie combined with some complex carbs, is like a match made in heaven.  Not like you need another reason to devour some Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs, otherwise known as the most popular meal posted on Instagram! This approach will help you feel full longer, prevent you from unhealthy snacking and give you the energy to tackle the day. You’ll also have enough energy to exercise and have the confidence to say “No” to unnecessary sweets.

A SHORT WORKOUT IS BETTER THAN NO WORKOUT!

Let’s not fool ourselves, most find fitting in daily workouts a challenge, so when the holiday season rolls around it seems virtually impossible to get to the gym. The only way to avoid skipping workouts when your schedule is tight is to make them both convenient and accessible.  For those days you can’t make it to the gym or your favourite class, make sure to have a backup plan to workout at home using your own body weight and minimal equipment. Exercise videos and apps, like my faves on AppleTV, are amazing options too. Invest in a medicine ball, resistance bands, skipping rope and/or a kettle bell that can you give you an effective total body workout right in the comfort of your living room.

AVOID BANKING CALORIES

I remember my younger days when I somehow convinced myself that if I cut back on my calories throughout the day, I could indulge at an event later that night. DUMBEST IDEA EVER! This theory, fuelled only by ignorance, just leads to pigging out. Why? You’re effing starving! It’s easy to get out of control when you’re faced with so many delicious options at a party. Always, and I mean always, eat a little something prior to leaving the house. First and foremost, if you’re a picky eater or have food restrictions, you won’t die of starvation for example if the hostess forgets that you’re a vegan or gluten intolerant. More importantly, it will take some of the hunger edge off but still leave you with some room to eat only what you need and nothing more once you arrive.

A mini plate of protein and veggies are my go-to; a salad with chicken or a piece of salmon with veggies. In my personal opinion, this is single-handedly the most underrated tip to avoid a weight gain, bloating, indigestion and binge eating during the holiday season.

CUT BACK ON BUBBLY BEVERAGES – OF ALL KINDS

Yep, I bet you never believed me – the lover of all champagnes and Prosecco, would be saying this however sadly it’s true. Bubbles are not our friends and is the biggest culprit of belly bloat. Even soda and sparkling mineral water like my current obsession Bottle Green, can be an issue. The carbon dioxide trapped in the bubbles of fizzy drinks causes a build up of air, which can often lead to gas.

AVOID MORNING-AFTER FOOD

Are you hosting family and friends at your place this year? Allow yourself to enjoy the meal you prepared or the items your visitors brings as part of a potluck but be sure to send your guests home with food filled tupperware. You may feel as though the tasty leftovers should be your compensation for being such a gracious host, but believe me, it’s the leftovers that will do you in!

BREW SOME HERBAL TEAS

Photo by Jess Baumung

This one should come as absolutely no surprise but research shows that herbal teas like peppermint and ginger, in addition to chamomile,  can help calm stomach muscles and reduce gas. No teabags in sight in your pantry? Boiling a knob of raw ginger in a pot of water or a cup of hot water with lemon can also do the trick.

DON’T SWEAR OFF DESSERTS

Remember that time when Mariah Carey was doing the “morsel diet” a decade ago where she would literally eat only three bites of any food she wanted, before discarding it to limit her intake of calories? Definitely not a healthy or recommended approach for weight management, but this method is quite effective and the perfect plan of attack for the dessert table during the holidays for people like me, who have a wicked sweet tooth. You’ll get that amazing first taste, a satisfying middle one and then the lingering third bite – that should have you satisfied.

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.

activia-chatelaine_100eos5d_2167

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.

Manulife Vitality: Life Insurance That Rewards Your Healthy Lifestyle

What do you live for?” is a question I was recently asked at work while discussing an upcoming project and a million thoughts and answers rushed into my head at once. Family, love, unity, peace, and health were just a few of the words that immediately came to mind. Sure, I do a pretty good job at taking good care of myself by eating well, working out and staying active, but I have not been thinking about my future in regards to my family/loved ones after I pass. I have always found it difficult to think about death and what happens following but now that I have started thinking about starting a family at some point, the topic can no longer be avoided.

As we grow older, get married, build families and even start businesses, you come to realize that life insurance is a fundamental part of a sound financial plan. For some reason our generation doesn’t normally think about life insurance for ourselves until we are forced to and truth be told, up until a few weeks ago, I did not have a life insurance policy of my own. Turns out, life insurance is more affordable than you may think, so there’s no excuse why more can’t entertain obtaining coverage before any these milestones.

Trust me, I know the idea of life insurance can be daunting or better yet, confusing and it’s hard to know what you really need or want. So here are four reasons why you should be considering it:

  1. To add financial security. Trust me, once you decide to have children, you will want to know your kids (and partner) will be taken care of when your gone.
  2. To protect your family and loved ones if they depend on your financial support for their livelihood. In this instance, it will replace your income when you pass.
  3. To leave an inheritance.  Even if you don’t have any other assets you can create an inheritance for your loved ones by purchasing a life instance policy and name beneficiaries.
  4. To bring peace of mind. No amount of money could ever replace a person. Period. There aren’t many things in life that are guaranteed, but having life insurance can help provide protection for the uncertainties

Photo by Darren Goldstein/DSG Photo.

That being said, I recently discovered Manulife Vitality – a life insurance program that actually rewards people for leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle. For those of you who make a conscious effort to stay active, workout and eat clean, these dividends plus the affordable program options just may encourage some of you to begin thinking about life insurance as well, sooner rather than later. This past Tuesday, I got a chance to help kick off the launch of the Vitality program in Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square, alongside dear family friend, Mike “Pinball” Clemons, Vice Chair of the Toronto Argonauts. The theme/question of the day was, “What do you live for?” and visitors at the event got to share their answers with the Former Argo QB and two time coach. The Manulife branded pop-up had fun, fitness focused activations and visitors were able to get free bike tune-ups, discover TRX exercises with the help of Goodlife Fitness staff, jump into the boxing ring with Pinball to test out Canada’s first ever “Workout Computer”, receive prizes/giveaways and learn more about why Manulife Vitality may be a suitable option for life insurance.

So how does it work exactly? After purchasing a product with Manulife Vitality, you are then required to fill out the Vitality Health quiz online to see how your health measures up against your age. Through this process, you’ll be given your Vitality Age, which could actually be higher or lower than your real age and serves as an indication for your overall health. Part of what makes the program unique is customization – and seriously who doesn’t love products or services created just for them? One of the best parts about Vitality is that once the system has gathered all your lifestyle and health data; a customized, goal oriented program is created to encourage and inspire people to make healthier choices by using convenient and easy-to-use tools. Manulife has have even partnered up with Garmin to include a free wearable tracking device to make tracking healthy activities a breeze. And not to worry all you Apple Watch and Fitbit lovers out there – you can connect these devices to the Vitality system as well!

Manulife Vitality

As you may assumed by now, Vitality program status is simply based on the number of Vitality points you earn each year which results in a tiered system; Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. This status is used to determine a member’s eligibility for rewards and to calculate their annual cost of insurance. By being active, getting regular health screenings and even reading online health related materials, earns more Vitality Points when you track them using the easy online tools provided to members or the Manulife Vitality mobile app. Intrigued yet? If you’re interested in learning more information on the Vitality program or would like to sign-up for your own customized life insurance, head to manulifevitality.ca

This post is sponsored by Manulife, but all thoughts and opinions are my own!

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