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My Road To Recovery Diary Part One

Road to Recovery Diary

If you’ve ever been injured, you are well aware of how tough the road to recovery is. I have suffered injuries over the years of course, but outside of my health condition, nothing has ever put me on the sidelines until now. Hearing the words “You can’t run” was like hearing I was sentenced to death. I will admit, a tad bit dramatic seeing as though I was only told to refrain from lacing up for 4-6 weeks but that really did seem like an eternity at the time. Plus, I was just about to begin training for a half marathon in the Cayman Islands in December.

This injury is a result of one simple thing. Not listening to my body. After suffering a second degree ankle sprain back in May on a trail run, instead of staying off of it completely, I continued to train for the Nike Women’s 15k, hike, cycle, paddle board, skateboard, mountain bike all while traveling working on projects. Overcompensating for my injured ankle resulted in a painful hip pointer injury combined with hamstring tendonosis. Rest with a solid recovery and performance program was my only option after sitting down with Dr. Jaritt Ptolemy and my Strength and Conditioning Coach Danford GomesAt the beginning of September, I began my three phase road to recovery program created by the guys at The Movement Academy here in Toronto to get to that Cayman Islands Half Marathon start line on December 6th.

Road to Recovery Diary

Phase one in September meant putting away my running shoes and committing to a strength training program in the gym three times a week, while getting electro acupuncture and facial stretch therapy treatments twice a week. I will be the first to admit, weight training is not my jam but I am willing to do what I need to do to return to running. With my crazy busy  work and travel schedule, it’s a challenge to find time in the day to work out with a coach and I am left squeezing in workouts when I can, often times at crazy hours. In lieu of working out with Danford in person, we are using a new wearable technology called PUSH that is designed to optimize my training by tracking my movement during my workout so Danford can analyze my performance and make the necessary changes to my program to help me get stronger.  He has the ability to monitor the duration of my workouts (both overall time and active time), the velocity output, and use key metrics to ensure my training is properly optimized. It’s almost as if Dan knew my true feelings about weight training and knew I needed something for accountability. To be honest, if I didn’t wear this band, there would be a high probability of some skipped workouts here and there. Training with PUSH takes accountability to a whole new level. Coach Danford can even see how long my breaks are between each set, usually predicting that I have stopped at some point to take a selfie or check Instagram.

Road to Recovery Diary

For the month of September, my rebuilding stability program looked something like this 3 times per week with 15 minutes of light cardio to warm-up:

Move 1: Alternating step ups on a box with 10 lbs weights in hand (12 Reps x 4 Sets)

Move 2: Inverted standing row with TRX (12 Reps x 4 Sets)

Move 3: Left leg split squats with 10 lbs weights in hand (10 Reps x 4 Sets)

Move 4: Right leg split squats with 10 lbs weights in hand (10 Reps x 4 Sets)

Move 4: Seated row with 40 lbs (10 Reps x 4 Sets)

Move 5: Deadlifts with 40 lbs (5 Reps x 10)

IMG_2952

Road to Recovery Diary

With the development of poor mechanics from running with the ankle injury, I am forced to start from the beginning and learn to run. Not only does Dr. Jaritt help with my treatment and mobility, but he is also assisting me with developing better form. Learning the “proper” technique for doing dynamic warm-ups like A, B’s and C’s, and getting my legs used to running again by with doing strides and band sprints on turf has also been a priority in order to get me to a place to begin hitting the pavement again in October.

Road to Recovery DiaryApparel courtesy of Nike Canada Photography by Nathalia Allen AMillionMinds.ca

My patience and hard work in September has paid off and I am being rewarded with running again next week – finally! I know it will begin extremely short distances and slow paces at first but it’s better than nothing. Based on the requests and questions I have been getting from you guys on social media and email, I will be sharing my progress from now until race day here and will also be having Dr. Jaritt share critical tips that will be useful for any of you that are currently injured or looking to prevent injury. You can follow along on my recovery journey on social media by using the hashtag #SSRoadToRecovery

Upgrade Your Workout In 20 Minutes With Equinox’s MetconBlitz Workout

Equinox MetconBlitz

For many people, having a crazy busy schedule is often times the reason that they are not getting in regular workouts. The misconception is that you need an hour or two each workout to reap the benefits of exercise. This could not be further from the truth. Through my partnership with Equinox here in Toronto, I have done workouts with their highly trained staff in sessions ranging from anywhere between 30 minutes and 1.5 hours and believe it or not, I have worked just as hard, or sometimes harder in a shorter session than I have in a longer one.

In my personal opinion, the best kind of workout is the one that’s quick, engages your whole body, requires little to no equipment and makes you use your own body weight.  I often times see people in the gym spending hours lifting the heaviest weights but yet they cannot sustain their own body weight when challenged to do chin-ups, push-ups nor have any cardiovascular endurance. Equinox Toronto instructor Julian Ho, teaches eight signature Equinox classes at both Toronto locations which include some of my favourites; METCON3, Shockwave and 3SUM and is also an avid athlete who rock climbs and competes in ultra marathons. This guy gets it. He’s super busy and understands the need to obtain the best results from a workout when you’re strapped for time.

Julian Ho

Ho designed a 20 minute MetconBlitz workout that can be done anywhere and can be modified for different fitness levels allowing you to not only sculpt but also get the benefits of a conditioning session. I had a fun challenge putting myself through the workout outdoors this week. It’s effective because you speed up your strengthening with giant sets, meaning three or more exercises that target the same body part performed in a row. “giant sets can magnify the intensity by increasing the duration your muscles spend under high tension,” says Ho. “That quickens the onset of muscle failure, so you get more results in less time. The tempo varies, which forces your metabolic system to keep adapting without burning out.” claims Julian.

Perform each exercise for 1 minute in this specific order without resting in between. If you’re looking for the modified version…simply do each move for 45 seconds and recover for 15 seconds between each exercise. According to Ho, for best results, do this routine two to four times a week.

MetconBlitz Moves

1. Prisoner Squat/Rear Lunge Combo: Stand with feet slightly wider than your shoulders and place your hands behind your head; squat. Rise up, take a big step back with right foot, and lunge. Step forward to starting position and squat again. Rise up and then lunge back with left leg. Return to starting position and repeat. Continue at a medium tempo, alternating legs with each lunge.

2. Power Lunge (shown below): Stand with feet a stride’s length apart, left in front of right, and bend knees into a lunge. Jump as you switch legs, landing in a lunge with right foot forward and left foot back. Continue as fast as possible, switching legs each time you jump.

Equinox MetconBlitz

Equinox MetconBlitz

Equinox MetconBlitz

3. Deep Olympic Squat: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulders and raise arms overhead (as if you were holding a bar). Take 5 seconds to lower into a deep squat, then rise up and repeat.

4. Renegade Arm Extension (shown below): Get in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Raise right arm to shoulder height in front of you with palm facing left. Lower right hand to starting position and repeat with left arm. Continue at a medium tempo, alternating arms. For more of a challenge, lift the alternating leg with arm simultaneously.

Equinox MetconBlitz

5. Clapping Push-Up (shown below): Get in plank position (lower knees to the floor if necessary). Bend elbows, lowering chest toward floor; push up explosively and clap your hands together before returning to starting position. Repeat as fast as possible.

Equinox MetconBlitz

6. Negative Push-Up: Get in plank postiion (lower knees to floor if necessary). slowly bend elbows, taking 5 seconds to bring your chest toward the floor. Push up to starting position and repeat.

7. Lateral Skater (shown below): Stand with feet together, then jump to the left, landing on left foot as you tap right foot on the floor slightly behind you. Push off left foot as you jump to the right. Continue at a medium pace bouncing from side to side in a skating motion.

Equinox MetconBlitz

8. High Knees and Hot Feet: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and arms extended at sides. Hop up as you drive right knee toward your chest and bend left elbow (as if you were running). Immediately repeat on opposite side, raising left knee as you bend right elbow and extend left arm. Continue at a fast pace, alternating sides, for 30 seconds. Then stand with feet shoulder-width apart, bend knees and elbows, and quickly run in place (in a semi-squat position). Continue at a fast pace for 30 seconds.

9. Mount Everest Climber (shown below): Get in a plank position with hands under shoulders. Jump right foot forward, brining right knee toward your chest. Switch positions, extending right leg behind you as you bend left knee and bring left foot forward. Continue, alternating legs.

Equinox MetconBlitzPhotography by Nathalia Allen (amillionminds.ca) and all apparel courtesy of Nike Canada

10. The Mission Impossible (X Plank and Skydiver): Get in plank position with your feet wide apart, then walk your hands out to the sides and slightly forward so your body forms an X. Hold on for 10 seconds. Next, lie face down with arms extended over your head, palms facing the floor, and legs extended behind you. Raise your arms and legs as high as you can, then bring your arms out to your sides and behind you as you turn your palms toward the ceiling. Return to the starting position and repeat, keeping your arms and legs raised the entire time. Continue for 10 seconds. Repeat the sequence (X plank for 10 seconds and skydiver for 10 seconds) twice more.

For more information on Equinox, locations, class descriptions/schedules and how to join the best gym in the world head to Equinox.com.

Living The “Fit Life” With Equinox

The Fit Life with Equinox

With spring around the corner, everyone is obsessed with getting in shape and leading a healthy lifestyle, so my friends at Equinox have asked me to share my guide to living a “Fit Life“. To be honest, if living a fit life was easy, everyone would be doing it. Most don’t because staying fit takes dedication, hard work and often requires a complete change of lifestyle; however for those that make their best effort, the benefits of living this way are endless. Why? It helps you live a longer, happier and fulfilled life. Not mention, it also allows you to get a better quality of sleep, increased energy levels and minimizes the chances of getting sick.

1. Set Measurable and Attainable Goals: Growing up my coach always used to say, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail“. For some reason when I retired from playing tennis, I briefly forgot the importance of goal setting when it comes to fitness and wellness.  With the help of  my dear friend, Equinox Group Class Instructor and Canada’s only Nike Master Trainer Eva Redpath (pictured above), I have re-learned the importance of goal setting. Sure, ideas of things we want to achieve always come to our minds, but one of the most important things I have learned from Eva is that goals don’t mean anything unless you write them down. For some reason, putting your goals to paper automatically gives you a responsibility to make sure they get done. There are two types of goals – those that can be measured and those that cannot. “I want to run a half marathon” to most people is an example of a set goal.  A lot of people want to run a half marathon but the question is when and how fast? A better goal would be, “I want to run the NY Half Marathon in 3.5 hours”. That is a goal that you can work to achieve in a specific amount of time, at a specific place in time. Not only is it measurable, but it’s also attainable.

If working out and living a more fit life is new to you, you’re going to need some assistance helping this new lifestyle stick. According to Eva, “Commit to just 30 days to start off. This is the initial conditioning phase and a month is a great block of time to commit to a change. Research shows it takes anywhere from 21 to 30 days to form new behaviours.”

Eva Redpath’s 3 Tips for “Making Goals Stick”

  1. Create a daily goal. Forget choosing something that you can only do a couple times a week. That will only make your habit harder to stick. Picking something you can incorporate daily
  2. Don’t jump in with both feet and try to change your life in one day. Choose a goal that can be measured and start off small. If you want to “close down your kitchen” at 7pm so you can stop eating before bed…try it first at 9pm and work your way down to the goal time
  3. Form a trigger. A trigger is a ritual you use right before executing your habit. If you want to get more sleep, this could mean creating a way to go to bed the exact same time each night. If you want to quit smoking you could drink a glass of water every time you have the urge for a cigarette

The Fit Life With EquinoxEquinox Toronto Boxing Instructor Nate Bower (natebowerfitness.com)

2. Find Fit Friends: When you look at the things you like to do with your friends they usually include; traveling, eating and partying. These are all fun and great, but if you want to lead a “fit life” why not bring your friends along for the journey? You’re human, so not everyday will you wake up and want to workout, so it’s nice to have others around you that enjoy staying fit and active to keep you motivated. Joining a run crew, a cycling club or a fitness facility that promotes a healthy lifestyle can work wonders. My friends and I have been making regular sweat dates to hit up the group classes at Equinox. They are designed to not only be challenging but fun. The highly trained instructors, like Eva Redpath and Nate Bower, ensure that you walk away from a 50 minute class feeling good about the work you just put in. Learn more about Nate and his signature boxing class at Equinox Toronto here and details on Redpath’s cult fave “Signature Stacked Class” here. 

The Fit Life With Equinox

The Fit Life With Equinox

3.  Shop The Perimeter of Grocery Stores: Close your eyes and picture your grocery store. Chances are the organic, fresh produce section, the meat and seafood departments and the dairy case are all located around the perimeter of the store. Ironically, these are the foods that we should be eating on a daily basis, so this is where we all should concentrate most of our shopping time. Why? The center aisles is where you will find all the non-perishable, gluten laden, sugary and processed foods. Bypassing the middle aisles means you’ll rarely be faced with the temptations of potato chips and cake mixes.

The Fit Life With Equinox

4. Stay Hydrated: Our bodies often confuse thirst for hunger. Staying hydrated helps you avoid overeating and unnecessary snacking. More importantly, water enables your mind and body to function properly. There is tons of confusion still over how much water one should intake daily.  Everyone has heard the advice “drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day” but this only equates to 1.9 litres of water. The “8 by 8” rule remains popular because it’s easy to remember but not supported by hard evidence. Recent studies have shown that the adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 litres) and the 9 cups (2.2) litres for women.

The Fit Life With EquinoxPhotography by Nathalia Allen @amillionminds and Dirk Teunissen @InciteVisuals

5. Get Moving At Least Once a Day: I don’t care if it’s for 15 minutes or for an hour, it is important to move your body daily. Getting a workout in will help release endorphins; which is a natural mood elevator, help decrease any pain related issues, reduces stress, alleviate anxiety, sharpen memory and can boost brain power. It’s very easy on our busy days to say we don’t have time to fit in a workout, but trust me when I say a 15 minute workout is better than no workout at all.

I would love to hear from you…if you have any questions or comments on living a “fit life” hit me up on Twitter or Instagram. For more information on Equinox, to find locations nearest you or to schedule a visit, head to Equinox.com

Equinox Signature Class Series – “STACKED” with Eva Redpath

Equinox Stacked Class

The change in seasons is the perfect time to get out of a workout rut and to explore new fitness routines and the best place to do that is at Equinox. I’ll be the first to admit, I have favourite go-to activities when I want to break a sweat or de-stress, but after years of working out, I understand that stepping outside of my comfort zone always proves to be beneficial.

Equinox Group Classes

Group fitness is what Equinox is known for all over the world. They provide their members with so many challenging and diverse class options, it is virtually impossible to get bored. Over the past few months I’ve been challenging myself with the club’s signature classes which has forced me to push my body to a place I could never get to training alone. One of the most popular classes at Equinox’s Bay St location here in Toronto is “STACKED” taught by the incomparable Eva Redpath, who has earned a cult-like following for her high energy classes.  She is so high in demand at the facility that each week devout lovers of this tough-as-nails instructor either arrive super early or check-in on the club’s app to ensure their spot is secured.

Equinox Stacked

Equinox Stacked

Equinox Stacked

Equinox Stacked

What is STACKED? It’s a healthy dose of high density training through a series of exercises and patterns, all organized into unique “stacks”. An efficient workout that covers everything; cardio/muscular strength, endurance and core work all in one. Think diagonal lunges, SB slam and tuck jumps, one legged burpees, Russian twists, plank walks, military style pushups and more. During the class, Sandbell sandbags, resistance tools and body weight are used to target the body in intervals of 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Eva has the class start with one exercise for 30 seconds, and then continues to add moves in order to “stack” one exercise on top of another, creating a super intense workout. Each class consists of two stacks each containing 6 individual movements. It may sound simple, but trust me when I say the series of movements will take even the fittest individual to the edge of their limits. “The stacks gives my class the opportunity to develop sharper skills in functional moves at the beginning of the stack, get more powerful in the middle and truly challenge their endurance at the end of the stack, ” says Redpath, “This class offers a bit of everything – it’s hard but it’s high energy and fun!”

Equinox StackedPhotography by Nathalia Allen AMillionMinds.ca @amillionminds

Who is Eva Redpath? If you have been following me for a while, this is not the first time you are hearing of this little powerhouse. Probably best known as Canada’s premier face for fitness, she has many credits to her name; Equinox Signature Program Presenter; who recently received Equinox’s “Award of Excellence“, creator of Body Conditioning By Dancers; a unique fitness program designed for women and is Canada’s first and only Nike Master Trainer. Both inspiring and motivating, I’ve nicknamed Eva “Vitamin E” as she has become just as essential as the vitamin in my life. You can get your weekly dose of “Vitamin E” by becoming a member at Equinox in Toronto. For more information on this unique facility, to find a club near you, check classes or to schedule a visit, head to Equinox.com. Stay motivated and get updates by following @Equinox and @EvaRedpath on Twitter and Instagram!

What I’m Wearing: Legendary Lava Training Tights // Pro Fierce Bra // Get Fit Tank // Free TR 5 Print Training Shoes 

What Eva’s Wearing: Pro Hyperwarm Limitless Pullover // Legendary Training Tights // Pro Hypercool Fitted 2.0  // Free TR 4

Apparel courtesy of Nike Canada

Relax and Reset in the Spa at Equinox

Equinox Spa

Achieving optimal physical results means not only do have to train hard, but you also must make time for recovery. For the last couple of months I have been pushing my body to the limits with high-intensity group classes at Equinox however I have made sure to carve out time in my schedule to enhance my performance with the spa services at the luxe Bay Street location.

Equinox Lounge

As you can imagine there are several benefits to having access to spa services at the gym. Not only is it extremely convenient but it can also be very motivating. I would be lying if I said I’ve never treated myself to one of the services for surpassing my weekly fitness goals. More importantly, it’s pretty amazing to have spa staff that have an understanding of not only the facility’s group classes but also your personal training program. Having this knowledge allows you to have tailored treatments based on your workouts that will help speed up recovery, enhance your performance and achieve your fitness goals. By knowing the muscles used during my weekly METCON 3, Stacked and boxing classes, RMT Maria Kovatchev is able to give my body the attention and treatment it needs.

Equinox Toronto

With massage, facials and specialty services – think body wraps, bronzing, laser hair removal, nails, teeth and even lash treatments, Equinox’s highly skilled team has you covered. Similar to the other high end amenities used on the premises, their best in class treatments involve only superior products and there’s literally something for everyone on the spa menu.  You can check out the full list of services here.  With chocolate, strawberry and caviar indulgence facials now on the menu, a gift card to the Equinox spa makes a great gift idea for someone special (or yourself) on Valentine’s Day (non-members welcome).

For more information on Equinox and to find a location near you head to Equinox.com. If you liked this post, you may also want to check out:

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Step Up Your Training With Boxing at Equinox 

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!

7 Ways To Avoid Weight Gain This Holiday Season

weight-management-scale

The holiday season is here and with it comes copious amounts of calorie laden drinks, home baked goods and carb filled sides. You don’t have to stay away from these items completely, but you will need to at least be conscious of your “holiday habits if you want to come out on the other side the same size.  Here’s 7 tips to help you keep off the extra weight during the holidays!

1. Never go to a party hungry. Eating a small snack or even a piece of fruit before heading to a holiday party can certainly take the edge off hunger and help you from overeating on carbs. Drinking 1-2 large glasses of water can also be beneficial.

Holiday Spread

2. Scope out the buffet table. Check out the healthiest choices before filling up your plate. Then, aim for filling half your plate with veggies and the rest with lean protein like skinless roasted turkey or seafood.

3. Escape the couch and get outdoors. Get out of the living room and get active with your friends and family. Choose fulfilled activities that encourage you to venture outdoors such as skating, sledding or venture for a walk to take in the neighbourhood lights.

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

4. Get moving inside. If staying indoors is the only option, there are plenty of ways to stay active.  Hit up a class at your gym that you’ve never tried before. Having an instructor and fellow classmates will help keep you motivated. No access to a gym? Try one of the “Get Focused” 15 minute workouts on the Nike NTC+ app. Hosting a holiday party? Get in a good workout prepping for guests arrival…did you know heavy duty cleaning can burn up to 300 calories an hour?

5. Try the one-a-day program. Limit yourself to one indulgence per day. Don’t deprive yourself of all sugar for the entire holiday break, that will just lead to a binge disaster between now and January 31st. Be moderate in your thought process – one cookie, one eggnog, one slice of cake, just not all at once.

Eggnog Getty Image

6. Be mindful of the liquid calories. Festive drinks may be fun to sip, especially the bubbly kind but make sure to drink in moderation as they can be full of empty calories and tons of sugar (it pains me to admit that one cup of eggnog contains 340 calories).

7. Sleep. This is so underrated. Studies show that a lack of sleep can actually slow the metabolism and increase cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that prompts your body to store fat and gain weight. Sleep isn’t just for your mental health, but also for your physical health so be sure to get 8 hours of rest a night.

Equinox. It’s Not Fitness. It’s Life!

Equinox Toronto

It’s been ages since I’ve been a member of a gym. With the exception of yoga/pilates and NTC sessions, majority of my workouts are done outside all year round. However, after spending some time in Equinox, which is pretty much the Rolls Royce of fitness spaces, I had a change of heart. With clubs in most major U.S. cities and the UK, this luxury fitness brand opened it’s doors to it’s first Toronto location back in 2013 within the city’s high powered financial district. The sophisticated and sleek space nestled high in the sky inside the Commerce Court tower is fully equipped with studio rooms, yoga/pilates practice spaces, a boxing gym, combatants room, enough cardio machines that you never have to sign up or wait to get , state-of-the-art equipment, and the best trainers the country has to offer. Not to mention a full service food and juice bar where you can get pre-workout juices and snacks and nutritious prepped and made to order meals. The company’s branding includes the tagline, “It’s not fitness, it’s life!” which has been my thoughts on exercise for as long as I can remember. If I was asked to create the dream fitness space that would bring that theory to life, it would look exactly like Equinox.  Therefore, I am pleased to announce that I’ve been recently named one of Equinox Toronto’s Brand Ambassador and really excited to turn my training up a notch with the help of their amazing staff and classes.

Equinox Toronto

Equinox Toronto

Exercise isn’t just an activity you do from time to time or to lose weight before a vacation. It has to be apart of your lifestyle, which should be accompanied by good eating and proper hydration. During the next few months I will be prepping my body for the 2015 half marathon season and plan to take full advantage of the amazing classes Equinox has to offer, which will act as the perfect compliment to my running training. So stay tuned as I will be sharing my experiences with some of the classes – I literally can’t wait to get my hands into some boxing gloves! What can you expect to see on the class schedule? the infamous Eva Redpath’s Barre Burn, METCON3 (the toughest strength conditioning class I’ve done to date), Tabata, Studio Cycling, Boxing, Shockwave, Hardcore Conditoning, Pilates, various types of Yoga and much more. Not really into group classes? No problem. Equinox’s highly skilled trainers will match your current fitness level with your goals in order to create a bespoke training program that will both inspire and transform you.

Equinox Toronto

Equinox Toronto

Equinox Toronto

Service and Amenities

Calling Equinox a gym makes me feel as if I’m discrediting it in some way. Amenities such as; a full service spa, sauna & steam rooms, lounge areas, and luxe locker rooms stocked with covetable Kiehl’s products, make it feel like a country club. With complimentary wifi throughout the space, Equinox makes it easy to stream your fave videos, music and workout apps.

Equinox Toronto

Equinox Toronto

Equinox Toronto

What I’m Wearing: Exclusive Hamsa Spiritual Gangsta x Equinox Muscle Tank c/o (found exclusively at) Equinox *Spiritual Gangster donates a meal to a person in need for every item sold // Legendary Wave Capri Tights c/o Nike // Free Flyknit 4.0 Running Shoes c/o Nike 

Stay tuned as I will be reporting back on my favourite group classes, spa services, amenities, and how Equinox has pushed me to achieve my personal fitness goals over the next few months. As we close in on the end of the year my friends at Equinox are offering an exclusive invitation offer until December 23rd, 2014 – which is a great way to get a jump start on your fitness goals for the new year.  For more information on the promotion, to learn more what Equinox has to offer or to find a location near you, head to Equinox.com.

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