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8 Reasons Why You Should Be Weight Training

I have changed up my training significantly lately, which many of you have probably noticed from my stories on Instagram. These changes, specifically in regards to my weight training, has sparked some conversations amongst some of my followers. My goals for the remainder of the year is to reduce my body fat, increase muscle and to get leaner, so my trainer Kyle Ardill from SWAT Health has me lifting some heavy freaking weights plus has introduced some explosive workouts into my weekly routine.

It has been interesting to see the number of women who not only don’t do any form of weight training, but believe that it is bad for them or make them “bulky”. There are not many things I can make a definitive statement about, but I can say with absolute conviction that LIFTING WEIGHTS WILL NOT MAKE YOU BULKY. Actually, you may be surprised by this, but it actually does the complete opposite. Yup, weight training will make you leaner because it helps you build muscle and shed fat at the same time. But more on that later.

There is endless amounts of research that proves that there are benefits to strength training and other forms of resistance training, however women are spending most of their gym time doing cardio and it breaks my heart simply because I know how beneficial it is for us. If your reason for avoiding hitting weights during your workouts is because you hate going to the gym or feel overwhelmed by the equipment – trust me I can totally appreciate that, you can still get in a work lift at home with some basic equipment like dumbbells or kettle bells. Ladies, whatever reason you’re avoiding weights, here’s 10 reasons why you should be taking strength training seriously.

Joe Fresh Active - Sasha Exeter

SHOP MY LOOKS:  JACQUARD PRINT ACTIVE LEGGING // FITTED ACTIVE TANK IN PLUM //  PRINTED CROCHET SPORTS BRA // PINK MESH CROPPED LEGGINGS //  CROCHET BRA IN CERULEAN BLUE // PRINTED MESH LEGGINGS IN CERULEAN BLUE

  1. YOU WILL LOSE BODY FAT QUICKER: Women on average store about 10% more body fat than our male counterparts. This makes complete sense based on the fact that we are made to give birth to little humans. That being said, it can be frustrating finding ways to lower your body mass index. But here’s the truth, muscle mass burns fat. This is a scientific fact. The more time you take to develop that muscle, the quicker you’ll see the fat shedding off your body. And, the beautiful thing about muscle is that there’s no “spot treatment” necessary. If you want to lose fat in your arms, you don’t have to do one thousand bicep curls. Instead, you should build muscle all over your body, including legs, butt, core, arms, and upper body. The more muscle mass you have, the more fat it will burn—regardless of where that fat is stored.
  2. BURN CALORIES, ALL DAY LONG: Ladies listen up…Strength training helps you burn more calories and helps to speed up your metabolism, which means you can lose more weight. Your metabolism is the rate at which your body processes food for energy. When you strength train, your metabolism goes through the roof! In fact, studies have shown that regular strength training can increase your RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate) by about 5%. What does this mean exactly? Well, it means that your body burns more calories throughout the day – even while you’re not working out.
  3. GET STRONGER WITHOUT GETTING BULKY: I know this should have been listed as the first benefit, but I wanted to make sure you kept reading this post 😉 Becoming bulky through lifting weights is a common misconception and let me just be clear – 100% a myth. The heavier I lift, the leaner and smaller I look – hence the recent pivot in my training. Women who weight train, myself included obviously, tend to lose inches and lean out as a result of this kind of training, not gain in size. Here is the magical thing about strength training…you can shed inches where you don’t want them but it also allows you to build in places where you do. I SWEAR IT IS MAGIC. You can literally control your appearance through consistent weight training. You name it…it is possible doing this just 3x’s a week. It can tone you up, slim you down, and even give you curves in places you never thought imaginable.
  4. MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOURSELF: When I say this, trust me it is coming from a non superficial way. By getting stronger and noticing changes to your body over time – like being able to lift heavier and/or do more complex exercises, it helps build confidence and improve body image. And wait for it, it can also help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression and overall a great way to help deal with stress in a natural way. I am currently going through a challenging time and when I am lifting in the gym, I am totally focused on the weights I am lifting and no energy is being given to all the other crap that I have been dealing with. That hour of training acts as an escape for my mind and body.
  5. IT INCREASES BALANCE, STABILITY AND FLEXIBILITY: By not preserving our muscles mass we end up losing it when we get older resulting in weight gain, no to mention loss of flexibility and balance. It’s not a good look. Lifting can help you work your joints through a full range of motion, keeping them flexible and strong helping keep you steady on your feet as you get older.
  6. REDUCES THE RISK OF BACK PAIN, INJURIES AND ARTHRITIS: Call me crazy but as mindful and present as I should be, I am constantly obsessing about how my body will be feeling and looking as I get older. I turn the big 4-0 next year and the next decade I know is going to go by in the blink of an eye, so I am already thinking ahead and so should you. Weight training can help build connective tissue that acts as reinforcement for the joints and helps prevent injury. Strengthening the low-back muscles helps in eliminating or alleviating low-back pain. It’s super debilitating and trust me, none of you want to have to deal with that as you get older. Weight training can also ease the pain of osteoarthritis and strengthen joints.​ Oh isn’t it so fun to think about our golden years?! LOL
  7. IT WILL CHALLENGE YOU KEEPING YOU INTERESTED AND MOTIVATED: Guys, doing the same damn cardio workouts week after week is bound to get boring. For anyone. Not to mention, you may seem some changes to your body at first but there is a high probability you will plateau, which can be super discouraging. Weight training is the perfect way to challenge your body and mind (yes, I think of this as a mental workout too because I have to get my head in the game when I am lifting heavy in the gym!). One of the things I love about strength training is that is always offers something new.
  8. REDUCE THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE: Weight training can improve cardiovascular health in several ways, including lowering LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lowering blood pressure. When cardiovascular exercise is added (and I mean added to supplement not the main form of daily exercise), these benefits are maximized.

If you made it to the end of this post, you deserve a medal because 1) it was lengthy and 2) it means you’re actually open to learning how you can be better.  I’ve never been one for progress pictures and these images were actually taken a few weeks before our big switch in my training, but continue to follow along in the coming two months for more glimpses into my workouts on Instagram, my progress and how we are modifying my training week by week.

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

The Ultimate Sweat Getaway – The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

For the last few years my goal has been to find a warm and sunny place to seek refuge during the winter months. The ultimate wellness vacation, if you will, where workouts, spa treatments and meditation are literally the only thing on the agenda. I finally found it guys and turns out, I didn’t have to look very far. Located in the north end of Miami in the family friendly hood of Surfside, The Carillion Miami Wellness Resort is legit the perfect spot for the fitness obsessed. Not a newbie to the Miami scene, the property actually was built back in the early 1950s, but went through a major rebrand, plus an expansion. The hotel now consists of three separate towers of accommodations, a huge state-of-the-art fitness facility with featuring Technogym cardio and strength training equipment, multiple movement studios, restaurants, a juice & coffee bar and 750 feet of private beachfront.

It’s a luxury to stay in accommodations that make you feel just as comfortable as you do at home. We had one of the two bedroom suites (that range from 920-1,140 sqft) with partial beach views to call home during our stay. It had a separate living room with a pull out sofa, a fully equipped kitchen and spacious bathrooms.

SHOP MY JOE FRESH NIGHTIE (NOW 20% OFF) ON JOEFRESH.COM/CA

It’s unique; world-class wellness center is what sets this hotel apart from the rest in Miami. There are 20+ fitness classes a day for guests to choose from that caters to all fitness levels. Several digital program boards can be found throughout the property that lists the daily class schedule. Classes generally start at 7am, usually with sunrise meditation, which is absolutely beautiful when you get to see if during a class from the Ocean Studio, and end daily around dinnertime. There’s a mix of everything from yoga, cycling, boxing, kettle bell training, Pilates, strength training, Tabata, Barre, dance classes, TRX, roll & release and even treadmill running classes. Seriously, the list just goes on and on.

It was the perfect time to put some of the new Joe Fresh activewear collection to test.  I have been living religiously in their essential strappy sports bra for months, but a brand new design has been released just in time for summer. It has a deep v neckline with a cute and subtle mesh detail. The best design detail however I feel honestly lives in the back of this bra. Multi straps criss cross around the shoulder blades down to the band. Not only cute, but also functional. With my breast size cup being anywhere between a B & C cup, it actually provides me with enough support to wear across all the activities that I do. I liked pairing the light purple colour of the strappy mesh sports bra with these the new purple printed cropped leggings. If you adore this print and love activewear sets instead of separates, the strappy mesh sports bra comes in this print as well.

I wanted so badly to give you guys an inside peek at the group classes but we had to respect the privacy of the other guests and residents – yup, there are people that live at The Carillon year round and I am JEALOUS of their year round access. I did two boxing classes during my stay and it was the real deal.

Took a few boxing classes with this no nonsense coach during my stay and it was the best workout I have had in ages.

I used muscles I didn’t even think I had and could barely raise my arms for the remainder of the trip, let alone pick up Maxie. The instructor was badass and it was far from a fluffy class. We mixed up bag work and worked individually with him and the hand pads. I learned SO much about proper technique and developed a great foundation to build off of.

SHOP MY JOE FRESH STRAPPY SPORTS BRA AND HIGH WAISTED LEGGINGS ON JOEFRESH.COM/CA

Guys, these are the best fitting leggings I’ve ever worn. I’ve worn so many different style of tights over the years from different brands, but this high waisted legging with reflective feature may forever be my favourite. Ok, yes they don’t have the beautiful patterns that some of the other Joe Fresh tights have that are seasonal and this is probably done on purpose. It’s a style that carries over from season to season and is a collection staple. I first got them in green and decided before the trip that I couldn’t leave without another pair, and bought these. What makes them so great? They are the most supportive leggings without being restrictive somehow. They are a perfect length for ladies with long legs like moi and the waist band is high and actually stays put through during any and all exercises, even squats, downward dogs and lunges.

Shop my Ultra Soft Crop Leggings on JoeFresh.com/CA. Tank out soon but currently available in other colours here.

My comfort level is in strength and functional training, so I also managed to get in some solo workouts outside of the group classes, but I wanted to take the opportunity while I was there to work on my weaknesses. Yoga and meditation. Yup folks, it was time to progress a bit from the hand holding of guided meditation and headstands to being able to sit alone with my thoughts for an extended period of time and transition finally to balancing solely on my forearms. IT IS SO DAMN TOUGH. I did manage to get up after a couple of attempts and held it for what felt like forever (in real time about 20 seconds) and I was on a high for the rest of the day. Chilling in the Ocean Studio at sunrise or alone on the beach at 6am set was the perfect way to stat the day and was the perfect spot for solo meditation. Watching the sunrise in Miami is just magical. Almost as good as the sunsets.

I posted one of my solo workouts on Instagram during my time at The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort in their epic gym and I think I got just as many comments about the tights as I did about the exercises. You can view the killer upper body workout that I shared here. The peach and purple pattern on these printed crop leggings reminds me of a painting. I’ve paired them with my plum stappy sports bra, but I started my workout with the new tank top that comes in a gorge orange sherbet colour, that I knotted in the middle. The best thing about these tanks, besides being a flattering razor back and moisture wicking, is that they are only $16, or 2 for $24. I swear by them and have them in every colour they come in.

Still needs some work and foot placement is off but finally transitioning from a regular headstand to this.

Well, if the fitness facility hasn’t won you over, then I think the food and the wellness programming is going to blow your mind. Full spa amenities, obvi, with massage, face, body and Ayurvedic experiences. And hello, the property also has a thermal experience, which is the heart of their spa offering.

It’s actually one of the country’s most expansive hydrotherapy circuits. Similar to Body Blitz here in Toronto, the thermal spa has a series of hot and cold areas to help warm, cleanse and relax guests prior to treatments or after workouts. I am not kidding you, it’s open all day…closes as late as 8pm and it’s complimentary for guests of the hotel. I had to ask a few times just to make sure I was hearing correctly.

The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort also has a nutritionist on staff that you can speak to during your stay with to help design a tailor meal plan just for you or a 28-day kick start weight loss program. They even have a Grocery Guru program where you can get educated on how to grocery shop intelligently and even medical nutrition therapy is offered. If you’re all sorted on the nutrition front, you will be happy to know that the property has so many healthy food options on it’s in-suite dining menu and lobby resto, The Strand Bar & Grill. The seasonal and ingredient driven menu highlight’s southern Florida’s organic community and has tons of options for guests who are calorie conscious. We loved the breakfast so much there. Our favourite thing on the menu post workout in the morning was the insane, mile high Avocado toast.

Most impressive – the wellness lectures that are also made available to guests free of charge. They occur almost every single day and are held midday in the hotel’s wine lounge. For guests who are anti-aging obsessed, there several therapies such as; Cryotherapy, Salt Float Zero Gravity Therapy, Infrared Sauna and other methods to reverse the aging process. These non-traditional spa services each can provide pain relief, detoxification, relaxation, anti-aging results and promotes healing. These non-traditional service offerings can be a la carte or can be paired with additional spa services to enhance results.

Scoop Maxie’s pink polka dotted swimsuit for only $14 here

Now the million dollar question that I know some of you fit mamas are wondering, “Is the resort family friendly?” – it 100% is. There were definitely families around and it was still surprisingly, very quiet. The property is quite spread out, so even though they were at capacity during our visit, you would have never known. There were tons of beach chairs available every single day (no additional surcharge to lounge under a shaded chair between workouts) and always room poolside to chill and eat lunch between taking dips.

Our suite had a huge bathtub. It was amazing to soak in at night after the workouts and it made it easy to give Maxie her baths. The food options for kiddies were beyond delicious. Adults traveling without a family could enjoy their stay without babies and kids milling about, as there are sections of the resort and pools that are adults only. For families with older children, the hotel has options for kids to join in on the fitness fun. I saw a little girl around the age of 5 taking daily private ballet classes. I mean, how luxury is that?! There are also group family fitness classes on the north tower lawn a couple days a week where everyone in the family can get in a sweat together. Maxie is still a bit too young for that, so my mom and I made her feel included and created our own mini workouts with her. I almost cannot handle how cute these matching outfits are. Maxie’s bodysuit is from the Joe Fresh toddler activewear collection.

The bond between my mother and child is just incredible. Also, love how my mother has embraced knotted her tanks. SHOP OUR LOOKS: Printed Active Legging // Toddler Active Bodysuit // Mesh Back Tank

I think one of the best things about Miami is that the gastro scene is on point and there are delicious and healthy food options just about anywhere you go. We rented an SUV while we were there and returning back to Sacred Space Miami to eat at Plant Miami was a non-negotiable. If you’re planning an upcoming visit to Miami, pay a visit to this lifestyle complex that houses a gallery, plant-based restaurant, a curated wellness and lifestyle store, workshops, and Flow yoga and meditation studio.

The Sacred Space Miami

The Sacred Space Miami

The Sacred Space Miami

The Sacred Space Miami

The Sacred Space Miami

SHOP MY LOOK: STRIPED BIKINI BRA // OVERLAP BEACH SHORT, STRAW PANAMA HAT

Have you ever com to the end of a trip looking forward to going home and getting back to your routine? That’s usually me, except this time, this experience was such a vibe, I could have easily stayed a full week. Maybe even a month LOL. With Miami being only a stone’s throw away, I doubt this will be my last visit to The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort. Having experienced it for a few days, I could create an elevated experience to fully optimize the program and amenities.

You can shop my favourite active pieces right now from my very own “Make Moves with Sasha Exeter” product page and find the rest of our looks online by heading to JoeFresh.com/ca and from now until December 31st, 2019, you can enjoy 25% off regular priced items when you use my promo code “Sasha25”. Click here for full promo details.

This post is sponsored by Joe Fresh and The Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, however all views and opinions are my own and not of the brands I have collaborated with.

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

Y’all asked. We’ve answered!

Seriously, you guys rock. There has been such an overwhelming response to my activewear campaign with Joe Fresh and the pieces itself, I am blown away. The support you all have given me and the brand has been next level and trust me when I saw it has not gone unnoticed. So to thank you, we’re giving you 25% off your online purchases when you use the code “Sasha25“.

This ain’t no one time offer either. This is good for the rest of 2019 and that is actually the best news because the rest of the collections dropping this year just get better and better. Here’s a look at some of my favourite looks from the first summer collection…part two will hit stores and online in June.

Ohhhhh and guess what, I have my own little section on www.joefresh.com/ca that houses all my favourite pieces from the active collection each season. So much easier to quickly find the pieces you see me wearing in the gym.

  • From the homepage, hover over the “Active” tab
  • Select “Sasha Exeter”
  • Click on the “Shop Now” tab

Photography by Bettina Bogar for JoeFresh.com

Here are the terms to the promo you need to be aware of. The “Sasha25” promo code is valid online only  at www.joefresh.com/ca. Save 25% off regular priced items only. It is only available to Canadian residents only at this time….but hoping that may change in the future. To redeem online, enter the promotional code in your shopping bag. The offer excludes Baby Gift Boxes and clearance items. Cannot be combined with any other coupons or promotional offers, is not redeemable for cash and cannot be applied to previous purchases. Offer valid from May 6, 2019 at 12:01AM EST to December 31, 2019 at 4AM EST.  Joe Fresh reserves the right to cancel any order due to unauthorized, altered, or ineligible use of discount and to modify or cancel these promotions.

This post is sponsored by Joe Fresh, however all views and opinions are my own and not of the brands I have collaborated with.

Gut Health Series Part Two: 7 Detoxifying Yoga Poses to Boost Digestion

Have you ever been two days into your dream vacation or work trip and your GI tract suddenly turns against you? Trust me when I say it’s not bad timing…it’s travel that is to blame. Why? Well, stomach issues tend to happen when we are out of our routine, which unfortunately means that trip you’ve been planning all year, will likely be a target for an intestinal temper tantrum.

With gut health on everyone’s minds these days, most of you know the importance of eating foods with naturally occurring pre and probiotics, taking supplements and delish drinkable concoctions, but did you know that yoga can actually improve digestive issues day to day and actually help keep GI issues at bay during your travels? This practice of movement and breathing helps relax the gut and  is deeply detoxifying – a key factor for improving digestion. Gentle poses and twisting postures can help increase the oxygen to the tummy, aid with bloating, enhance digestion and encourage your liver and kidneys to flush out toxins.

7 Detoxifying Yoga Poses to Boost Digestion - So Sasha

7 Detoxifying Yoga Poses to Boost Digestion - So Sasha

What I’m Wearing: Strappy Sports Bra in Dark Mauve // Mesh Legging in Purple & Grey courtesy of Joe Fresh

Part one of my gut health series (linked here if you missed it) shares a lot about my own personal experience with tummy troubles, how I developed severe GI issues and most importantly how I overcame them (it’s a must read if you feel like you may be suffering from the same thing), but I’m still learning new things every single day to help me improve my health. On a recent trip to Florida to attend the annual Gut Health Summit with Activia Danone, I actually got to experience first hand the benefits of starting the day with an awakening yoga flow. Some quality time spent with Camilla Lee, a Vancouver based yoga expert and Activia’s personal yoga instructor on the trip, I discovered some simple yet effective poses during our sunrise yoga sessions that can be done alone or before your favourite flow to combat digestive issues.

From a seated position, make your way to tabletop. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders and knees underneath your hips. Inhale as you draw your belly button to the floor. Look up to the ceiling, and exhale.

Then draw your belly button to spine, tuck in your tailbone, and chin to throat. Repeat 5-10 times. Breathing deeply in these poses will massage your organs as you alternately

From downward facing dog pose, step your right foot between your hands. Inhale and raise your arms above your head. Add a gentle backbend. Exhale and bring your hands down to heart centre and bring the left elbow over the right knee for a gentle twist. Hold here for several breaths. Then exhale and release, step your feet together, and come into a forward fold. Come back to Downward Dog and switch sides. This pose places gentle pressure on your liver and kidneys, encouraging detoxification.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge Pose)

Come to your back and bend your knees, bringing them above your feet. Make sure you can graze your heels with your fingertips. On an inhalation, push through your feet to raise your hips. To add a shoulder opener, clasp your hands and press your forearms into the mat. This pose puts gentle pressure on the kidneys and adrenals to give the body a natural burst of energy and function at its highest potential. Now that you have cleansed and cleared space in the body, mind, and heart, open up to what you want to cultivate there. This is a great pose for post-detox intention setting. Hold for several deep breaths, then exhale to release your hands and lower your hips.

Supine Twist

Extend your legs out in front of you and then hug your right knee into your chest. With your right hand on your right knee, roll your hips and knee to the right, resting your knee on the ground if possible. Hold here for several deep breaths before switching sides. Reclined twists put gentle pressure on intestinal flow to maximize elimination.

Joe Fresh #MakeYourMove Collection Week 2

ICYMI, last week I excitedly announced the launch of the curated activewear looks I did with everyone’s favourite accessible retailer Joe Fresh. Full of versatile separates that allow you to mix and match, the collection creates an endless wardrobe of clothes for your workouts at an such an affordable price it will legit blow your mind. Week #1’s was all about classic layering pieces and essentials for spring’s transitional weather that can easily take you to any of your favourite studio classes and workouts (in case you missed it, click here). This week it’s all about adding pop’s of colour, to help us get out of our winter ruts and finding the perfect tight and sports bra for support for our go-to workouts.

As seen on JoeFresh.com 

Tights were the topic of discussion in so many of my snapchat and instagram stories last year, resulting in tons of woman weighing in on what the “perfect tight” is for them. I have been famously known to dislike crops, advocating for the full length because of my long legs however I have become fond of the also flattering 7/8th and I am happy to say that all the full length tights in this collection are tall girl approved. They are also high waisted, like the Melange leggings pictured above,  giving adequate coverage when your bending forward during workouts or yoga poses. But let’s be real, the root of most women’s issues with activewear is finding the right sports bra that provides the right amount of support while still looking flattering. The push-up sports bra (shown above) and the pull-on active bra are my favourites – both under $20.

Photography by Jess Baumung for JoeFresh.com

Reflective Active Jacket $39  –  Push-Up Sports Bra $19  –  Scoop Neck Active Tank $16  –  Stripe Active Tee $29  –  High Waist Melange Active Legging $29  –  Mesh Insert Active Legging $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.

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