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10 Ways To A Healthier You in 2019

February is a tough month. For one, it’s freezing cold, unless you live on the west coast. It also seems to be the month that people start to find it hard to keep up with their new year’s resolutions, especially when it comes to health and wellness. Why? Well, most make the mistake of setting one huge goal that is difficult to attain, instead of one more smaller goals that when achieved, can give them the confidence to set more larger goals. However, when someone falls off track towards this one big goal, it becomes harder to stay motivated to stay the course.

Full transparency here, I’m not into New Year wellness resolutions. Come to think about, I am not into resolutions at all. I do however love to find ways to incorporate more healthy habits into my daily routine that help keep me happy, healthy, focused and closer to my goals. Luckily for you, I’ve collaborated with long time partner, Joe Fresh, to dish on some of these things that you can start integrating into your life right away. I’ve linked some of my favourite pieces from the current collection as well and stay tuned for next week but there will be a giveaway announcement here and you won’t want to miss it!

TREAT YOUR WORKOUTS LIKE AN APPOINTMENT IN YOUR CALENDAR

I know, sounds a bit dramatic, but implementing this has significantly changed my life once I started working out again post baby. Blocking time out in your calendar pretty much ensures that you’re not going to miss that workout, run or class, even if you’re schedule get super hectic because guess what? – You’ve already accounted for that time off work or mom duties.

IMPLEMENT ACTIVE RECOVERY

Our bodies are designed to move every day and suffer when we don’t. Some form of activity, even if it’s not intense, is beneficial. It also keeps the momentum going. Have you ever had a lazy weekend or came back from the holiday break and struggled to get back into your workout routine? One missed workout can easily turn into two and from there; it can be a slippery slope. Momentum actually works both ways, so keeping up a habit of doing some sort of movement even on off days from workouts, means you’re more likely to stick to it. Plus guys, it’s important to mix things up, it can’t be hardcore workouts all the time. An active recovery session like Yoga can reduce soreness and speed up the muscle building process.

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DRINK LEMON WATER (THE RIGHT WAY) TO IMPROVE DIGESTION

Indigestion issues are so common today. The foods we eat are usually the main cause but there are a few simple things that can make a world of a difference like; not having your morning coffee on an empty stomach, taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and starting the day with lemon water before you do anything.

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I do ALL of these things before my morning workout and noticed BIG changes. Everyone at some point has done this little trick, but did you know lemon water is most effective when it’s warm and not cold or hot? It’s important that warm water is used because the temperature is what extracts the Vitamin C from both the lemon and it’s peel. Besides aiding in digestion, it helps to balance pH levels, hydrates your lymph system and promotes healing in your connective tissues and cartilage.

GET AN ACCOUNTABILITY PARTNER

Not new news by any means, but it’s one of the best ways to keep you on track and motivated. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to do all your workouts with your accountability buddy, but at least having someone to check in with or to push you even via a text when you feel the least bit motivated helps. I have a few accountability partners. Réjean, a small group of equally obsessed fitness fanatics who I share Apple Watch metrics with and of course Maxie because she watches my every move and is my biggest cheerleader.

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THINK OUTSIDE THE (WORKOUT) BOX

Not every single workout needs to be intense and sometimes I find choosing to walk instead of driving, taking the stairs over escalators and running after my kid all day can yield more steps and calories burned than some low impact workouts. Now that Max isn’t always in her stroller, I take full advantage when we don’t have the stroller with us during outings and we take the stairs.

On Me: Sherpa Sweater $29 // On Maxie: Long Sleeve Graphic Tee $8 // Essential Leggings $8

Strappy Sports Bra $19 // Active Short $19

With her in my arms, it’s an unbelievable workout. Some days, I even bypass the elevator and climb or go down 12 flights of stairs in our condo building. Moms don’t be afraid to incorporate your kiddo into your workouts either. Babies are the perfect size to add weight to lunge, squat overhead movements, and you know what…? It’s so much fun and a great way to bond with your baby.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS OR MEDITATION

We live in a busy world and if you’re not multitasking and doing four things at once, society views that as being lazy. We do the laundry, cook dinner and keep one eye on our kid. We plough through our food during meals and even spend what should be restful time like getting a manicure or massage, brainstorming for meetings, creating to-do lists and responding to emails. We all need to slow down, just a little bit anyway.

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Introduce mindfulness into your daily routine. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment and accepting what comes your way. Introducing mindfulness techniques or meditation can help relieve stress, reduce chronic pain and play an important role in the treatment of anxiety and depression. There is more than one way to practice.

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I started by just sitting quietly for 10-20 minutes focusing solely on my breathing or on a mantra that I would repeat silently. Then worked my way up to doing this for longer periods of time, practicing mindfulness during other times in the day; while I was eating, while out on a walk, even while I was in labour. This practice will allow your mind to focus more on the present moment in times during the day when you need it the most.

KEEP A JOURNAL

This is a new-ish habit I’ve introduced into my own life and now that I am doing it, I could go on and on about the benefits of writing in a journal.

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It’s effective for many different reasons and can help you reach your goals sooner. My old coach used to say that the goals you have for yourself are not real until they are written down. Writing things down somehow just makes you more accountable. are only real until they are written down. The process of writing can also help you clear your head, make an important connection between thoughts, feelings and even reduce the effects of mental illness.

INCREASE YOUR FRUIT & VEGGIE INTAKE BY JUICING

More and more folks are juicing these days after either discovering or re-discovering the New York Times Best Selling book, The Medical Medium. This is great, however people seem to be hung up on this celery juice fad that the author pushes in his book.

While it definitely has some benefits, you can get way more out of juicing than sticking to just celery juice. Our consumption of fruits and veggies is far below the suggestion consumption, so juicing is a great way to consume not only a large number of them but also a variety. I’ve done it for years and have found that consuming fresh juice super charges the body with phytonutrients, which has helped me with my illnesses and with liver detoxification. The time spent in the kitchen also allows me to introduce these veggies and fruits to Maxie in a fun way. It’s never too early to start introducing healthy eating habits and she gets to discover all the different textures, colours and sometimes tastes while I press the juice.

On Me: Soft Knit Knot Tank $19 // Essential High Waisted Legging $16 On Maxie: Long Sleeve Graphic Tee $8 // Essential Legging $7 // Leather Footlet $16 – similar here

How Can Maximize the Benefits of Juicing

  1. Buy only organic fruits and vegetables, this should be a no brainer, and buy in small amounts. The best juice is made from fresh produce so buy only what you need and use within a week.
  2. Wash your veggies thoroughly and with citrus fruits, you may want to remove the peel because they can leave a bitter taste in the juice. However, make sure to keep the white portion of the rind because it’s super high in antioxidants.
  3. Make sure not to load your juice with fruits and veggies that are high in natural sugars like carrots, apples and oranges. It will make it your juice taste great no doubt but just winds up being counter productive.
  4. Chew your juice. Sounds odd but this is one of the first things I learned when I started. Our mouths produce an enzyme when you chew that is necessary to initiate the digestion of carbs and makes them readily available for energy. Chewing while you’re drinking your juice also matches the temperature of what you’re consuming to the temperature inside your body so the nutrients are best assimilated and bioavailable.

GET THE BEST SLEEP OF YOUR LIFE

Yes, keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet are obvious ways to help induce sleep, but there are some other tips that I’ve found helpful over the last couple years that have dramatically made a difference in my quality sleep. To be honest, quality sleep is often compromised with a baby in the house, which is to be expected, but for the most part, I have developed some really good habits in the bedroom that set me up for sound sleep and here’s some of them:

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Set a schedule and stick to it. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every single day, even on weekends. If you have a baby this can a bit difficult unless he or she is sleep trained. But here’s the deal with consistency, your body cannot establish a normal rhythm, if you don’t allow it to get into a pattern. If you stay up late, don’t sleep in.

Establishing a sleep ritual that you start an hour before bed works wonders. Mine now includes 15 minutes of reading or writing in my journal. NO SCREEN TIME.

Ditch Your Cell Phone. Did you know radiation emitted from your cell or iPad can increase the amount of time your body requires to reach deep sleep cycles and also decreases the time in those cycles?

Improve The Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR) The more awake you feel in the morning, the more tired you will feel in the evening. The best way to do this is to expose your body to natural sunlight shortly after waking up so draw those blinds open as soon as your alarm goes off.

SWEAT IT OUT

Never underestimate the powers of sweat therapy. For me, infrared saunas are like a cure all for everything. It aids in detoxification, relaxation, provides relief from sore muscles and joints, clears skin, improves circulation and more.

Photography by Bettina Bogar and David Pike for Joe Fresh

I swear by it and lucky enough to have a sauna at home but for those who don’t, using one at your gym or hitting up spots like Dew Sweat House for a 55-minute session works wonders. I just had my first Dew experience and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Now I want to hear from YOU so let’s make this a giveaway. What are the healthy habits you incorporate into your daily routine? Mainly because I am always looking for ways to improve my health and life and I think others would benefit from learning new things too. Post your favourite healthy habit on this IG post for a chance to win a Joe Fresh gift card valued at $250. To be eligible you must 1) Like the photo, 2) follow me and @Joe Fresh and 3) comment with your healthy habit. For bonus entries you can leave more than one habit or tag friends, but sure be sure you tag each one in a separate comment. Contest is open to Canadian residents only and closes on Friday morning at 10am. You can enter as many times as you want until then. The winner will be DM’d directly on Saturday March 2nd.

This post is in partnership with Joe Fresh however all views and opinions are my own

Degree UltraClear Black + White: The Secret to Keeping Clothes Looking New

The most important thing I put on every morning may not be what you think it is. I’m sure most women claim it’s their favourite lipstick, a supportive bra or moisturizer but for me it’s my antiperspirant. I have experimented with deodorants for years, struggling with their lack of sweat protection and until discovering Degree’s Dry Spray Antiperspirants  just over a year ago when I got first got involved in their #BeTheMotion campaign. Engineered with Motionsense technology, it releases extra body odour protection the more you move (key on those long work days that end with a workout) and is formulated to provide 48 hour protection but didn’t really tackle the issue of those embarrassing and annoying white marks that too often get left behind on our favourite garments.

Degree Ultraclear Black + White Dry Spray Antiperspirant not only packs the power of coverage like it’s predecessor, but now also is designed to keep clothes looking new – so good riddance to nasty white marks on your go-to blacks and yellow stains on your favourite summer whites, all done with the subtle scent of rose, lily and fruit that lasts all day.

Photography by JessBaumung.com

Want to keep your blacks, black without your vibe being killed by white deodorant marks? Head to DegreeDeoderant.ca to learn more.

Stutterheim Raincoats x Hudson’s Bay Collaboration

Stutterheim x HBC

Leave it to Hudson’s Bay to make rainwear look chic. This spring the Canadian heritage brand joined forces with iconic Swedish rainwear label Stutterheim to launch an outerwear piece so dope, not only will you not mind getting caught in inclement weather, you probably won’t wait for rain on the forecast to wear it either. Stutterheim is world renown for their handmade raincoats in rubberized cotton inspired by Alexander Stutterheim’s beloved grandfather’s original fisherman rain jacket he found abandoned in a barn. Realizing the classic shell’s understated coolness and potential, Stutterheim decided to update the practical piece with a few contemporary touches making his jackets relevant and wearable for years to come.

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Taking design cues from the brand’s most classic style coat, appropriately named the “Stockholm”, HBC team adapted the piece for their widely popular multi-stripe collaboration collection by giving it the classic green, red, yellow and blue colours, which embodies the wool-point blanket stripes of North America’s longest standing retailer. Typical for Stutterheim, there is quality in every single detail, with extra long sleeves, snap front and deep pockets to ensure both you and your belongings stay dry during the worst rain fall. You will even find swatches for each colour blocked panel in the inside of the jacket. Best part, if you’re clumsy like me and have difficulty keeping your fave outerwear clean, this rain slicker is machine washable.

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stutterheim x Hudsons Bay

Stuttterheim x Hudsons BayPhotography by Jilly Botting and Leslie Woods c/o WRG Magazine

I have somehow been lucky enough to snag one of the 160 exclusive unisex coats alongside some of my friends at WRG Magazine in Montreal and look forward to making dark rainy days a bit more brighter in my jacket. The Stutterheim Raincoats x Hudson’s Bay collaboration is available right now for purchase both at @HudsonsBay stores and online for $400.

Tech Talk: Food Accountability with Apple Watch & Lark App

Food Accountability with Lark

Ok, so here’s the ugly truth people. Exercise alone won’t give you the body you want. Sure you’ll feel better. Have more energy. Sleep better and even move better. I know it’s not what you want to hear and you were probably hoping I would say, “I workout everyday so I can eat what I want!” Could you imagine if that were true?  I would eat chocolate cake for breakfast every single day. But unfortunately that’s not how it works kids. You simply can’t out train a bad diet.

Food Accountability with Lark

Food Accountability with Lark

Since the beginning of the year, you’ve probably noticed I’ve been religiously wearing an Apple Watch strapped to my wrist; to run, at the gym, out and about, to sleep (for those of you who follow me on snapchat) and even with evening wear to events.  This has all been in an effort to find out whether wearable technology can really enhance my life like brands claim it can. This results so far may surprise you. I will be sharing some of my findings over the coming weeks but after reading several tweets on my timeline about food accountability, I felt compelled to jump the gun and share this little secret. I confess…I have an issue with food. I love everything that’s bad for me. Carbs, sugar, anything with gluten and the occasional cocktails – all of which cause me issues due to my health condition. It’s super easy to sneak in a cupcake (or 2) when nobody’s around. It’s almost as if it doesn’t count because only you knew it happened. Well, when I deviate from my prescribed and highly suggested foods, I feel the affects physically. Having to record everything that goes into my mouth holds me accountable. I recently discovered this genius tool while researching apps for my Apple Watch called Lark. I have used the app for six out of the last eight weeks and noticed a considerable difference in what I consumed when I was not recording my meals and snacks through it.

Eating healthy would be much easier if we had a personalized nutritionist telling us what we should eat, what we shouldn’t and suggest healthier choices to our favourite foods, wouldn’t it? Well, imagine if your best friend was a certified nutritionist and she checked in on you several times during the day to give you feedback on what you’ve eaten, your activity level and workouts. That’s Lark in a nutshell.

Food Accountability with Lark

Compatible for both Apple Watch and iPhone devices, Lark uses a mix of artificial intelligence and human experts to help people stay in line with their goals, get fit and lose weight. The app helps you track all the elements that goes into a healthy lifestyle and also has a texting interface that stimulates communicating one-on-one with a personal health coach. Personally, I often get sidetracked with my hectic schedules and in the past it wasn’t uncommon for me to accidentally skip a meal or not get enough water intake but frequent texts from Miss Lark forces me to be more mindful. It was ranked in Apple’s Top 10 apps in 2015 and it’s clear why. Here’s how it works:

The lesson is quite simple, recording your meals and activity makes you accountable and forces you to make better choices during the day when it comes creating healthy habits. Instead of falling victim to shitty takeout during a busy workday, I instead noshed on this amazing Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl created by our resident foodie expert Kristen Vander Hoeven with SOTO Sake; a premium, gluten free Japanese sake and my meal feel into the “green” category otherwise known as the “healthy” zone. Meals that are borderline fall in the “orange” or safe category, followed by the “red” category which probably needs no explanation. In case you missed this ridiculously healthy recipe on the bloggie, you can find it here. And not to worry, Kristen promises prepping a meal with raw fish at home isn’t as scary as you think.
Ahi Tuna Poke Quinoa Bowl
Stay tuned for more on how my Apple Watch is helping me keep a well balanced lifestyle. In the meantime, you can learn more about Lark and download this amazing app for free here.

#LoveMyHood East Toronto Neighbourhood Guide Sneak Peek

LoveMyHood

I feel so grateful to live in a city rich and diverse in culture and with so many neighbourhood pockets, each so different and unique. I’ve lived in many areas of Toronto and in other cities all over the world, but recently I’ve been calling Leslieville home with my love. The area really has that “neighbourhood” feel and we enjoy the fact that our fave spots are within walking distance. With my busy lifestyle, I really appreciate anything that makes my life easier. Some days get so hectic with what seems like a million meetings, events and other commitments. This means I generally turn to easy basics that can be mixed and matched and see me through the entire day. This is one of the reasons I love Bench so much. Simple, oversized tees, classic sweatshirts and hoodies, outerwear plus cozy sweats that I love to wear with my custom Nike Huaraches.

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHood

Bench3_edit

LoveMyHood

LoveMyHoodPhotography by Danielle Reynolds (@daniirey)

Since my move, I have been asked about some of the places I frequent in my new hood, so I am going to be teaming up with Bench Canada for their #LoveMyHood campaign next week to show you guys just how cool the east side is with all the details on my fave spots and staple pieces from Bench. Stay tuned!

Hudson’s Bay Lifestyle Collaboration: 5 Winter Skin Care Solutions

HBNewYou

As seasonal temperatures take a nose dive, so does our skin’s moisturize levels. I am a firm believer that our skincare routine should change each season or during drastic temperature changes. While in Mexico earlier this week, my skin maintained a heavenly, dewy glow almost on it’s own but since my return only 48 hours ago, my skin has already returned to it’s lacklustre state. After living through more winters than I would like to admit, I finally got my winter skin care routine down to a science that consists of a few fool proof tips and cult fave products from Clinique found at The Bay.

HBNewYou

1. Maximizing your moisturizer is one of the keys to supple skin and this begins with proper cleansing and clearing away dead skin cells. It is imperative to have a cleanser that not only removes dirt and residue but doesn’t strip away moisture from the skin. The combination of Clinique’s Foaming Sonic Facial Soap and the brand’s Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush works wonders and prepares your skin for some exfoliation.

2. Clear away dead skin cells. They can actually stop moisturizer from sinking into your skin. Buff your face gently bi-weekly with a mild exfoliant like Clinique’s Exfoliating Scrub or bead scrub of your choice.

3. Apply lotion and moisturizers on damp skin. I used to think this was just an urban skin care myth but did you know you have a three minute window to apply in order to achieve best results? I read this little fact a few years ago and turns out it actually does work. Waiting any longer than that and the moisture begins to disappear from the skin before you can lock it in. During the winter months I don’t play around when it comes to moisturizing. Besides their iconic 3 Step System (which I religiously use during the summertime), Clinique is known for two moisturizers that go the extra distance; Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief   – a light gel that plumps skin with hydration for a full 24 hours and Moisture Surge Intense Skin Fortifying Hydration – a rich, oil free cream gel for dryer skin types. Also great when skin is extra dehydrated by air travel, indoor heating and dry climates.

HBNewYouPhotos by David A Pike for Hudson’s Bay

4. Don’t neglect your skin when your sleeping. It’s easier to think about our skincare during the hours we are awake, but how about when we’re sleeping? Nighttime is when our bodies, and subsequently our skin, does the most healing so why not give our faces some TLC while we get some shut eye. The Clinique Moisture Surge Overnight Mask is brilliant. With it’s ultra creamy base, this penetrating night mask helps your skin replenish any moisture you lost during the day, plus builds reserves for the next day. I mean, who doesn’t want to wake up with glowing, dewy skin in the morning?!

5. Drink more water. We can only do so much with topical solutions. What we put inside our bodies is what matters most. There is still so much confusion as to how much water one should intake daily. Many like to just go with the regular rule of thumb of 8 of 8; meaning 8 glasses of 8 fluid ounces but over the years I have done extensive research on this topic and it’s turn out for women, we actually need 9-10 glasses a day. To stay on top of your intake, try to consume a glass every hour. Don’t wait until you are thirsty or parched, that means you are already dehydrated.

For more Beauty Bestsellers TheBay.com has a variety of product lines and brands for every skin type. For more lifestyle and beauty tips make sure to follow @HudsonsBay on social media or use the hashtag #HBNewYou.

American Express Platinum Dining Experience with Nigella Lawson

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

There is a reason why we have a strong connection to food. It is the only thing that engages all five of our senses; sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. A good meal can make you feel as if you’ve been transported to another place in the world. It can evoke emotion and is usually how we celebrate big moments, entertain or even conduct business deals. American Express has developed an expertise in providing its Cardmembers with access to some of the most exclusive fashion, live music, sports and culinary experiences across the globe and its Platinum Dining experiences have quickly become one of my favourite perks.

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

With an American Express Platinum Card, the world is your oyster. It gives you first class access to phenomenal dining, travel and entertainment benefits, while allowing you to unlock memorable moments to the most exclusive experiences. Another benefit of the Card is access to the Platinum Concierge. Cardmembers can take advantage of the global network of concierge teams to help with any request, big or small, like dinner reservations or travel suggestions. If you’re a self-proclaimed savvy traveller and enjoy food as much as I do, this service makes owning the Card completely worth it. No matter where you are in the world, the Platinum Concierge can help create an itinerary completely based around your interests, in addition to making dining recommendations and suggestions for planning an unforgettable experience wherever you are in the world.

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

Nigella Lawson - AMEX - Photo Op 61-2

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

Last week, I was lucky enough to partake in an American Express Platinum Dining event at Jump, Oliver & Bonacini’s globally inspired American restaurant, located in Toronto’s financial district. For $155 per person, guests of this dining experience were treated to a customized menu by Chef Ben McNally, wine pairings, and a meet and greet with renowned British Chef, Nigella Lawson. Popular across the pond in the UK for her delectable cookbook recipes and popular cooking shows, the former journalist chatted all things food and entertaining with the privileged diners in attendance. Later that evening, we got to nosh on four delicious courses, all from Lawson’s most recent cookbook, “Simply Nigella”.

Nigella Lawson - AMEX - Event 5

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

Throughout the course of the evening, Nigella shared a bit about what’s happening currently in the London food scene – apparently East London is where it’s at these days. She expressed the one thing that all restaurant patrons are looking for from a dining experience, which is to feel and be treated as they are a regular, even if it’s their first time there. “This will no doubt give restaurants repeat customers,” she said. My first impression of Nigella is that for one, she is strikingly beautiful and has that great British wit about her. As posh and refined as she is, she is also down to earth and relatable. It was interesting to hear the basic kitchen items she can’t live without, which she listed as lemons, fresh ginger, sea salt flakes, English mustard, good bread, cottage cheese, blue cheese and as she claims, “I have a real thing for chick peas.”

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

Amex Platinum Dining Experience

The menu read as simple and understated but the flavours in each course were anything but. During the cocktail hour, we started with passed canapés of Broccomole on Tortilla, Brazilian cheese bread and an unforgettable oxtail on Sourdough toast appetizer that had people talking about for the remainder of the evening. To top it off, it was paired with Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne. This was followed by a feta and avocado salad and red-cooked chicken with Cuban black beans and steamed rice as the main; paired with a 2006 Stratus “Red”. To round out the four courses, we ended with Nigella’s infamous Lemon Pavlova, also paired with the champers, which I consumed in micro bites, hoping that it would never end.

Amex Platinum Dining Experience Photography by Danielle Reynolds and Ryan Emberly

Platinum Cardmembers can take advantage of the Card’s relationships with over 1,000 highly acclaimed restaurants both in North America and abroad. Would you like to receive a menu and wine list review before choosing a restaurant to dine in? Directions to where you will be eating? Not to worry, American Express has you covered. And it doesn’t stop there. After making a reservation at one of their restaurant partners, you can receive additional perks such as: glasses of champagne, complimentary appetizers and much more.

 The current directory of restos in Toronto that have partnered with the program are the best of the best: Byblos, Blowfish, La Societe, Momofuko, Montecito, Patria, The Chase, Weslodge, Café Boulud, Canoe, and Harbour Sixty. For more information on American Express and its Platinum Dining Program, head to AmericanExpress.ca. If you’re already a Cardmember and would like to take advantage of these amazing benefits, call Platinum Card Concierge at 1-866-323-6979 or log onto the Platinum Card Website.

How To Workout At Home While Juice Cleansing

ELXR Home Workout

So you’ve ordered your juice cleanse, prepped your body and rid your kitchen of any tempting treats, but what about your workout routine? Besides asking whether surviving off only juice for a few days is tough, “Can I work out?” is the second most common question I get about juicing.  The answer to the latter is yes, but done in a smart and safe way. Getting in a good sweat actually helps the detoxifying process but it’s imperative that you listen to your body. Light workouts not only stimulate lymphatic flow, respiration, and blood circulation but they also improve liver, lung and kidney function. This all helps process and eliminate the toxins being released from your body while cleansing.

ELXR Home Workout

As someone who is used to frequent and intense workouts, I know how difficult it can be to scale back on your physical activity, but trust me you will thank me later. Through my own trial and error, research and speaking with health professionals, I’ve discovered that the best routines are the ones that increase your heart rate slightly and help you break a bit of a sweat.  My go-to for a short to moderate length juice cleanse is ELXR Juice Lab. Providing eight juices and two tonics, the brand’s detox packages provides adequate nutrients, hydration, energy and calories to not only keep hunger at bay but also gives your body what it needs to sustain light exercise. In case you missed my thoughts on my first experience with ELXR, you can check it out here.

My recommendations are to get in a yoga workout first thing in the morning before your first juice or an hour afterwards. If midday workouts are best for your schedule, some light cross-training or rebounding would work well after consuming ELXR’s “Deep Breath” blend as it’s re-energize the body in the middle of the day and keeps you hydrated. I find that mediation is great either first thing in the morning to help you set up for your day or can also be effective at night to help you unwind and de-stress. The latter works well after drinking the final juice for the day – the “Smooth Operator”.

ELXR Home Workout

Because you’re taking in less calories than normal and you’re body is in a bit of a shock to a new way of functioning for a few days, during this time it’s best to remember the “less is more” mantra. Whether you’re just resting your digestive system for a day or cleansing for five, here are a few detoxifying workouts you can do from the comfort of your home…

ELXR Home Workout

YOGA: I think we can all agree that there is no exercise routine more detoxifying than yoga. Whether you are doing a grounded Moksha style flow or practicing jivamukti, ashtanga or bikram, the poses in your chosen flow are meant to help build smaller muscles that don’t get as much attention, give some much needed love to the muscles that are generally over worked while stretching and twisting the body which helps in the process of eliminating toxins.

The “At Home, How-To”: There are tons of amazing videos online but what could be better than having your own personal Nike Master Trainer leading you through a series of awakening flows perfect to start off your day? Traci Copeland’s “Reach and Recharge” yoga workout on the Nike Training Club (NTC) App is an amazing 30 minute power building flow to develop strength and improve flexibility. The app is free and can be downloaded here. You can find Traci’s yoga workout under the “Get Focused” section within the app.

ELXR Home Workout

REBOUNDING/BELLICON: If traditional workouts aren’t really your jam but you still want to get in some low-impact cardio, this is going to be your jam. I have become obsessed with doing these workouts regardless whether I’m on a juice cleanse or not. The low impact bouncing stimulates the lymphatic system, improves cardiovascular health, bone density, circulation and is said to also reduce cellulite.

The “At-Home, How-To”: There are loads of instructional rebounding videos that can be found online. Some of them better than others. I went through about 30 that made me laugh so uncontrollably because of the funny looking exercises, I was not able to even make it through the workout, but this 20 minute JustBounce Bellicon video is effective (if you can get past this guy’s hilarious accent!)

The “At-Home, How-To”:  PopSugar is a site I go to sometimes for quick instructional, out of the box workout videos and this fun “Becoming Beyonce” 10 minute workout video will have you breaking a light sweat in no time.

MEDITATION: Ok, so meditation is not really considered a typical form of exercise but it’s definitely a mental one. When your mind is cluttered and not focused, it can slow down the body. In theory, meditation sounds like a rather simple task but if you have never tried it before, sit down for a few minutes and try to think about nothing but your breath. With our fast pace life with everyone having a to-do list every day with at least 30 things on it, you will be surprised how challenging it is to calm the mind. Mediation gives your brain some much needed exercise and your body some much needed rejuvenation by making you focus on your breath which helps ease anxiety and any pent up emotions that have a tendency to stand in the way between us and our goals.

The “At-Home, How-To”: I would be telling a little white lie if I said that meditating was easy to do. It takes some people months, scratch that, years to learn how to do it effectively. Attempting on my own became frustrating because my mind frequently wandered to all the other things I could have been doing with my time instead of focusing on breathing and clearing my mind. Thankfully, there is an app for everything and I recently stumbled on a great one that helps teach the basics of mindfulness meditation. It takes you through a guided mediation lasting about 10 minutes and allows you to choose the background noise, think rain falling on leaves or crashing waves on the shoreline, to help get you centred. It’s called “Calm” and can be downloaded for free on iTunes.

ELXR Home Workout

ELXR Home Workout

LIGHT BODY CONDITIONING WORKOUT: No gym? No problem! There are tons of workouts I do in the comfort of my home or hotel room while traveling that is safe enough to do while on a cleanse and use only your body weight. 5-10 minutes doesn’t seem like a long time but you would be surprised at the type of workout you can get in during that timeframe. The goal here is to break a light sweat, get your heart rate up a bit and your muscles engaged.

The “At-Home, How-To”: I like create unique workouts based on moves I have learned from Canadian Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath and the NTC app and keep rotating them to avoid boredom. Below you will find a sample workout that I love to do when I am in a pinch for time – and because of it’s low impact, it’s great to do when detoxing:

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – FLUTTER KICKS (click here for instructional video)

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS WITH OPPOSITE KNEE TOUCHING OPPOSITE ELBOW

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – STEP UP’S WITH KNEE DRIVE CHANGING SIDES AFTER 20 SECONDS (shown in photo above)

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – OPPOSITE ARM AND LEG EXTENSION (click here for instructional video)

20 seconds – RUN IN PLACE

40 seconds – TRICEP PUSH-UP TO FROGGER (click here for instructional video)

Finish off this workout with holding a plank for 3 minutes. I know that duration sounds like an eternity…to help me get through I find a song approximately that length of time and work on holding myself in position until the track is over. If you want a bit of a challenge, try alternating your legs off the ground for more stability and core work

ELXR Home Workout Photography by Daneille Reynolds for ELXR Juice Lab. Apparel courtesy of Nike Canada

For more information on ELXR Juice Lab’s remedies and juice cleanses, head to ELXRJuiceLab.com and enjoy 15% off your online purchase when you use the promo code “SO SASHA“. ELXR juices can also currently be purchased at Bolt Fresh Bar on Queen Street West and Maman Toronto located on the mezzanine level inside First Canadian Place.

Step Up Your Training With Boxing at Equinox

Equinox Boxing

There is no better time to take on something new than at the beginning of a new year. To most, January usually translates as a fresh start, where we get excited to set new goals for ourselves and optimistic as to where the next 12 months will take us. In order to achieve my running goals in 2015 I’ve decided to take on new fitness challenges with the help of my home gym Equinox (you can check out my introductory post on the space here). Known internationally for their state-of-the-art fitness facilities, they are also recognized for their intense and boundary pushing classes – which are lead by some of the best in the industry. If you’ve been following me on Instagram it should come as no surprise that I have taken up boxing to prepare myself for race season.

Equinox Toronto

Equinox Toronto

Equinox’s high intensity boxing classes lead by Nathan Bower, packs a serious punch. It is here where Bower, a former competitive fighter and 4-time provincial champion, helps his clients hone their blocking, punching and jabbing skills while increasing endurance with some crazy conditioning. Why boxing? In addition to endurance, the sport also increases stamina and cardio, while engaging muscles from all over your body. This was soon discovered as every part of my body was sore for the next few days after my first class, but as they say; if it’s not hurting, you’re not working! According to my new ‘tough as nails’ coach, “Boxing is without a question the most under-utilized sports in the world for cross training/fitness due to it’s full body conditioning and multiple plane movement patterns. It is one of the few sports that utilize aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.

What To Expect In Equinox’s 50 Minute Boxing Class

12-14 minutes “Warm-Up” This warm isn’t for the weak of hearts and consists of light plyometrics, technique and core work. Bower explains it is designed to put “boxers” in the top end of their HR zone in preparation for the more intense work that follows.

Equinox Toronto

Equinox Toronto

10-15 minutes “Boxing Technique & Footwork” Sounds simple enough right? It’s far more challenging than it sounds. Here is where Bower focuses on technique with his clients, with a large emphasis on how to move and punch. As if this isn’t enough, he also ensures to mix in some leg conditioning during this circuit.

10-15 minutes ” Bag Work” Probably the most rewarding part of the class to be honest as you can let all your frustrations from life out on the bag while utilizing the technique learned in the previous circuit. We are taught that unless we take what we learn and put it to practice, the technique and footwork can be easily forgotten. Therefore, we are encouraged to use the bag as an opponent to understand properly how to move and punch.

Equinox Toronto

5-10 minutes “Intervals” Training” Transitioning from the bag, clients are then partnered up to do some freestyle work. This portion is designed to maximize and push you to your upmost cardio limits. Depending on the size of the class, intervals can range anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute. This is where you can expect to burn a ton of extra calories.

2-5 minutes “Core Work” Boxers are known for their strong core, just as much as their upper bodies, but according to Bower, they are not developed from crunches but rather from constantly rotating while punching and consistent full body conditioning.

Equinox TorontoPhotography by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.ca (@amillionminds)

Nate Bower’s 4 reasons as to why YOU should try boxing:

    1. Stress Relief: Come in feeling stressed; leave feeling refreshed
    2. Extreme Conditioning: Build lean body mass and increase Vo2 Max ( a measure of the maximum volume of oxygen that an athlete can use
    3. Athletic Performance: Boxing is one of the most one of the most athletic sports and when you understand the sport’s fundamentals, it can easily transitions into other sports
    4. It’s fun…you can’t beat that: There should be an element of fun in any workout you do!

Video courtesy of NateBowerFitness.com 

Boxing is just one of the many amazing group classes you will find at Equinox designed to help you pick up your pace and get you moving. For more information on what the club has to offer head to Equinox.com. The site not only contains information on all the locations, class schedules, and amenities but it also contains their popular blog which I turn to frequently for recipes, workout playlists, travel, beauty, rejuvenation tips and much more.

What I’m Wearing: Nike Pro Fierce Bra – features medium support with a contoured silhouette with fabric designed to keep you dry during training // Nike Hyperwarm Tights – made in lightweight material for breathability with a brushed interior that’s brushed for a cozy feel and keeps sweat at  bay // Nike Zoom Agility Training Shoes – with ultra responsive cushioning for flexible impact protection, this shoe is designed specifically for all types of gym and cross training workouts | courtesy of Nike Canada.

Get social and make sure to follow Equinox on Twitter and Instagram for more tips and inspiration!

Breton Stripes Are Making a Comeback

424 Fifth "Amour" Bretton Stripe Shirt

The fashion industry is notoriously known for being cyclical and revisiting the past for inspiration. I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to fashion history so when an oldie but goodie resurrects itself as a current “Must-Have”, I tend to get a bit excited. This fall one of my go-to American brands for affordable luxury, 424 Fifth, has brought back the classic Breton stripped shirt, which just so happens to match new newly dip dyed blue locks.

424 Fifth Breton Striped Amour Shirt

Nella Bella DUKE cluth

Horizontal stripes are feared by many, but I actually think this piece looks great on anybody and 424 Fifth gives several reasons as to why you should own one this season; it’s easy to wear, well priced, casual and versatile.

424 Fifth Breton Striped Amour Shirt

A little history on the Breton stripe…most make the assumption it derives from the U.S. and associate it with the “American Chic” aesthetic, however it actually originated in a French province that occupies the peninsula between the English Channel and Bay of Bicay, which explains it’s nautical affiliation. This long sleeved shirt traditionally has stripes that begins around the breast bone and has a boat neck.

424 Fifth Breton Stripe Amour Shirt

Although this trend has appeared in runway collections by Jean Paul Gaultier and Balmain in previous years, I have more of an affinity to the pared-down take on this classic. For a casual yet chic afternoon look last weekend, I pushed up my sleeves on this slightly oversized Breton shirt with the French word for “love” in sequins across the front, paired it with the brand’s wool knitted flare skirt and seasonally appropriate heels. I was in a flirtatious mood on Sunday and decided to roll the top of the skirt to reveal more leg but when worn the way it’s intended, it’s actually several inches longer making it perfect for the office. My watch has a very special story and not only does it look good but it does good as well. This particular 1 Face Watch style raises money to help alleviate hunger and eradicate poverty around the world and one watch equals food for 16 people.

Vince Camuto Sarmienta Heels

424 Fifth Breton Stripe Amour ShirtPhotography by Nathalia Allen AMillionMinds.ca (@AMillionMinds)

What I’m Wearing: “Amour” Pleated Back Top (also comes in red & white here) c/o 424 Fifth // Knitted Wool Flare Skirt c/o 424 Fifth // Heels c/o Vince Camuto // Sunglasses by RayBan // Watch c/o 1 Face Watch  // Clutch c/o Nella Bella Brand

424 Fifth can be found exclusively in stores at Hudson’s Bay in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the US and can be purchased online on both retailer’s websites. For my inspiration and style tips, make sure to follow the brand on Instagram.

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