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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

CliniqueFit High Performance Beauty + Skincare Essentials

Wearing a full face of make-up to the gym just really isn’t my jam but I would be lying if I said I was always 100% make-up free during my workouts. I usually don’t get a chance to re-do my makeup throughout the work week and so whatever products I put on my face when I leave in the morning, is pretty what stays on until the end of the day. This means, I need high performing products that can keep up with my active lifestyle.

 

Videography by Shawn Pinnock of Cultivate

You know that go-to ice breaker question people love to ask, “What are 5 things you can’t live without?” My answer always includes a long wear mascara and tinted moisturizer. I can’t leave home without them. Most seem to work fine for me when my makeup is done for evening events or for daytime meetings but trouble arises when it’s time for a midday workout or run.  I’ve wondered for years why no beauty brands had thought to create a makeup collection for women with active lifestyles, designed to withstand sweat and humidity. I mean, I couldn’t possibly be the only woman out there craving lightweight, long wearing makeup that allows her to look flawless for anything the day happens to throw at them..

Clearly not, which is why Clinique stepped up to the plate and recently launched CliniqueFit; a collection of high performance makeup and skincare essentials for women with a highly active life. YAS! What you’ll find in the range is 7 phenomenal products that every fitness obsessed girl should have in both their makeup and gym bags to help them look more alive after that 6am Barry’s Bootcamp class before work. Post workout cleansing wipes, a mattifying moisturizer, a light-weight foundation, a hydrating face spray, a lip + cheek flush that I love to apply post workout, plus their hero product; the Workout 24 hour Mascara. The line is super affordable – thank goodness because I don’t think I could live without it and available for sale now in Canada at Shopper’s Drug Mart locations nationwide and Clinique.com in the U.S.

6 Ways To Improve Back Pain Post Pregnancy

I could talk (write) for hours about all the different things women experience postpartum but back pain seems to rank high on the list for new moms. Not really surprising at all when you think about all the demanding tasks in a mama’s day that requires bending, carrying, lifting and feeding; usually with a baby in hand, causing back muscles to work in overtime.  I experienced some back pain towards the end of my pregnancy that made sleeping at night damn near impossible by the time I reached 34 weeks. Carrying around that amount of weight for 9 months can take a toll on the body, especially the abdominal muscles, which need to stretch to make room for the delivery.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to help with postpartum back pain. As soon as I was cleared by my healthcare practitioners , I made chiropractic care and functional training a priority to help with my postnatal recovery. With the help of my chiro Darcy Worthylake, I have recently introduced these 6 spine exercises to improve my back health.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that you could actually make working on back health a fun activity at home with you and your bub. Even though she’s only 7 months, I integrate Maxwell into some of my exercises at home and not only does it make it more fun for me, but it’s also a great way for us to bond. In her mind, she’s having the time of her life playing with mama while I’m benefiting by improving my core and back health.

Ontario Chiropractic Association - So Sasha

It is surprising how by just adding a few exercises to your day can make a world of a difference giving you more support while carrying, lifting and holding your baby; whom only gets heavier as each week passes. If you’re a new mom and experiencing some discomfort due to your day-to-day tasks for your baby, there are four simple exercises you can do at home to help for post partum back pain:

Tips On How Improve Your New Mom Back Pain With Your Bub

Pelvic Bridges

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the ground.
  • Place your baby on your pelvis with their back against your thighs.
  • While holding your baby in place, slowly push your hips up towards the ceiling.
  • Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds.
  • Keep your abdominals tight to avoid sagging your lower back. Inhale as you slowly lower your body back to the starting position.
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Ontario Chiropractic Association - So Sasha

Plank

  • Lay your baby on the ground; face up, while kneeling in front of them.
  • Place your forearms on either side of your baby and lift your body off the ground.
  • Keep your back in neutral spine position and engage your core by contracting your abdominal muscles. Avoid letting your hips fall or stick up in the air.
  • Hold for 10 seconds, working your way up to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 3 to 5 times.

Ontario Chiropractic Association - So Sasha

Stabilizer

  • Lying on your back, bend your knees at a 90-degree angle with your feet in the air.
  • Stabilize your baby so they are resting on your shins and hold onto their hands.
  • Engage your core and hold this position for 10 seconds, working your way up to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Arm & Leg Extensions

  • Get down on all fours with your baby lying on their back and parallel to your chest.
  • Engage your core and slowly lift and extend your left arm and right leg at the same time while maintaining a neutral spine position.
  • Hold this position for 3 seconds, then lower your limbs and give your baby’s belly a tickle as you return to starting position.
  • Repeat on the opposite side, lifting right arm and left leg.
  • Repeat 8 to 12 times.

Ontario Chiropractic Association - So Sasha

Before you begin working on back mobility or any kind of exercise, consult your postnatal practitioner and get cleared to return to exercise. For the safety of your little one, you will want to make sure that your newborn can hold their head up on their own if you’re going to include them in any of these exercises. If you experience any discomfort or pain in your back while performing any of these exercises or persist after trying them, visit your chiropractor to develop a treatment plan for your recovery.

This post is in partnership with the Ontario Chiropractic Association but all views and opinions 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.

The Power of Protein and How It Can Fuel Your Day

Protein is something we are all aware needs to exist in our diets. Most of us think of meat, poultry, fish, eggs or tofu. If working out is apart of your lifestyle or you’re an athlete, you may have protein powder or bars as part of your daily routine as well. But you guys, how many of you use milk and milk products as a form of protein in your diet? I am going to guess not many think of them immediately as a protein go-to but rather think of them as a complement like milk for cereal for example or cheese on…well let’s just say cheese on any and everything because it makes everything taste better.

But before I talk about why milk and milk products are great sources of protein, let me first start with what protein is exactly and why it’s important. No matter what your dietary preferences are, protein is an essential macronutrient we all need to help maintain our overall health. Protein contributes to developing antibodies to boost out immune system. For those of you working hard in the gym these days – getting a jump on your 2018 fitness goals, we need protein to help build  and repair our muscles. Especially after a hardcore workout or training.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

Now here’s the deal with how to best optimize your protein intake. A good rule of thumb is to distribute your protein evenly over your meals, so 30 grams during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, referred to as the 30-30-30 Rule. Utilizing milk products as an extra source of protein is often overlooked but I have made a conscious effort to integrate it into my day because the high quality proteins found in them help satisfy my hunger throughout my busy days.  With an increase in frequency and intensity with my workouts now that my body is a much better place post baby, I find that adding more protein from milk, yogurt bowls and even cheese into my diet gives me the strength and stamina I need to make it through the day with work, workouts and Maxwell.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

I am not sure if any of you out there track your intake of protein but to help you get an idea of the amount of protein you can expect to see from consuming milk products in your day-to-day life here’s some numbers to help put things into perspective for you:

  • A glass of milk (250 ml) contains 8 grams of protein
  • 3/4 cup of greek yogurt (175 ml) contains 17 grams of protein
  • 1/2 cup of cottage cheese (125 ml) contains 15 grams of protein
  • 50 grams of cheddar cheese (1 1/2 Oz) contains 12 grams of protein

Yogurt bowls are an easy way to start incorporating more milk products into your diet. I love added fresh fruit, chia and hemp seeds to mine for a bit of sweetness and crunch. It’s shocking how filling this snack really is. And whenever I need a bit of inspiration on new ways to add milk proteins to my existing meals, I check out DairyGoodness.ca for some recipe inspo. Below you will find the recipe details to a Bean and Barley salad that I discovered recently on the website. I made some slight modifications to it just for taste (removed the olives and used TK peppers) so it still packs all the same nutritional goodness.

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

The Power of Protein - Dairy Farmers of Canada

Ingredients

1/2 of pearl barley and couscous

1 can (540 ml) of black, red, white or lima beans (no salt added)

1 cup (250 ml) of cucumber, cut in half lengthwise and sliced in half

1 cup (250 ml) of bell pepper, your choice, diced

1/2 cup (125 ml) of red onion, diced

1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup (60 ml) of fresh parsley

1 tbsp of dried oregano

3 1/2 Oz (100 grams) of Canadian Feta Cheese, coarsely crumbled

Freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste

Preparation

In a saucepan, bring 6 cups (1.5 L) of water to a boil and cook barley for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Drain, cool under cold water, then drain again.

In a large bowl, mix barley, beans, and vegetables.

In another bowl, whisk reserved oil with lemon juice. Add herbs, Feta and pepper and pour over salad. Mix well and serve.

This post has been sponsored by Dairy Farmers of Canada however all views and opinions are my own

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. 

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.

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.

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

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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.

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