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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.

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

How To Live A Happier, Healthier Life With The League App

Join League

For those who have been following me since the early days of SoSasha.com, you are aware of my health issues and part of my journey to recovery. But for those you have recently discovered my site or my instagram account, you may be under the impression that I’m the picture of good health. Hard to believe it now, but three years ago I was in a very dark place – both physically and mentally. I was struggling with side effects from a rare kidney disease, I had developed fibromyalgia (a chronic pain condition – which seemed to come out of left field), that consequently led me deep into depression. Trust me when I say I was in a hole so deep, not even a firefighter without a collar bone could pull me out. I was so heavily medicated for my existing conditions, that those prescribed pills created new conditions, leading to a vicious cycle of distress and illness. It seemed as though I was on the road to no where…fast. I was seeing some of the best doctors in the country for my ailments but I knew deep down it wasn’t going to be enough to get me back to being a functional human being.

Join LeagueA sneak peek of League’s all star line-up for health professionals

After several months of online research, word of mouth and referrals, I had assembled a team of health and wellness professionals and I was certain their comprehensive approach would allow me to no longer be dependent on meds and move towards a pain free life. This was something traditional doctors didn’t feel was possible. Amongst this carefully curated team I had an osteopath, nutritionist, reiki specialist, acupuncturist, chiropractor, headache and joint pain specialist, tai-chi and yoga teachers, a personal trainer and a massage therapist. It literally took a small village. You name it, I had it  and without them, I wouldn’t be here today. There was a lot of trial and error in the beginning. When you are essentially trusting people with your life, you need to have a good connection with them. The process of assembling this roster was time consuming and tedious. I remember often thinking that I wish there was some sort of database where I could have access to all the top health professionals in the city. Fast forward a couple years and the team at League has brought this exact idea to life and I have no doubt this tool can revolutionize the way we approach our health.

Join League

League has the widest selection of health services right at your fingertips. Their pros are all hand picked, verified and ready to help you achieve your health and wellness goals, which can sometimes be difficult to attain on your own. How does it work? It’s actually quite simple. After joining the app for free, you can quickly find trusted pro’s based on where you live or work, to meet a specific budget or your schedule. You can set up an appointment, cancel and rebook; receive automated reminders, enjoy the convenience of automatic payments and even keep a record of your service history and wearables data all in one place.

Join League

Join League

Join League

Join League

I’ve been relatively healthy for the past year but every now and again I have some setbacks so there was no better time than the present to try a 30 day challenge with League for myself. Also, after suffering two injuries this summer, a severe ankle sprain and a hip flexor injury, one of my main goals was to look for a movement specialist.. I turned to Amber Joliat, Creator and Owner of Misfit Sudio in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood, to help open up my hip area with a mix of Pilates and Yoga practice. Unlike any other pilates reformer class I have ever done, Joliat takes cues from her dance background to help connect each move on the machine to create beautiful, fluid sequences that resemble somewhat of a dance. Combined with her melodic voice, angelic energy and sun drenched studio, our 60 minute private sessions are pure magic. I had no idea the severity of the injury until I compared the left side of my lower body to my right in a series of exercises I was lead through by Amber. It was clear during our first session that this is going to be a lengthy process so I am attempting to accelerate it by also seeing League expert Daniel Kocmiel for Facial Stretch Therapy. Unlike regular stretching that attempts to isolate and stretch specific muscles, FST targets facia, the connective tissue found in and around the joints. During my sessions with Daniel, he gently pulls then moves my legs and hips in a smooth motion while being strapped to a massage table. Here he removes pressure between joints, releasing a lubricating fluid and improving flexibility of my surrounding muscles. The below video is an excellent example of what my sessions with Kocmiel look like:

Photos by Nathalia Allen amillionminds.ca
As long and painful this process may be, I am dedicated to stay the course in order to get me where I need to be. For the remainder of my League program I will also be doing an extreme overhaul of my nutritional diet with the help of League expert and Holistic Nutritionist Nathalie Niddam. Stay tuned to find out how I am decreasing my fibro related pain with the help of a juice cleanse with Elxr Juice Lab and anti-inflammatory diet developed by Niddam. For more information on League and sign up for your free account to get started head to JoinLeague.com.

Inspiring Interiors: Khloe Kardashian’s Workout Walk-In

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

I am always the first one to admit that having cute outfits to workout and run in is sometimes the motivation you need to get off your butt and sweat. Off the heels of her fitness inspired August/September Complex Magazine cover, Khloe Kardashian is taking “Fitspiration” to a whole new level with her custom designed fitness closet in her LA home.

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Designed by LA Closet Design, this dream walk-in is the fitness equivalent to Carrie Bradshaw’s luxe closet in the Sex and the City movie. The 150 sqft space has special ” L shelving” for her legions of Nike training shoes, tons of racks for tops and tights to be hung, adequate room for her kettle bells and medicine balls and even a mini fridge stocked with Fuji water. “I’ve added a suede lined shelf that displays head and wrist bands, sunglasses, hair ties and more. I also included LED lighting so the case lights up with the flip of a switch – these items get lost and disorganized in drawers, so I wanted to make sure they were beautifully displayed”, claims the company’s CEO Lisa Adams (below).

The shoe shelving is by far my favourite part of Khloe’s closet and is just the right motivation I need to finally commence my closet make over. Here’s a peek inside the reality star and model’s closet which I guarantee will having you wanting to walk (or run) a mile in her shoes!

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardashian Fitness Closet

Khloe Kardhashian Fitness Closet

The shoe shelving is by far my favourite part of Khloe’s closet. This is just the right motivation I need to finally commence my closet make over.

Nike Women Toronto 15K Race Weekend Activities

Nike Women 15k

Ladies, we’re officially in the home stretch with less than two weeks before the Nike Women Race Series hits Toronto for the very first time. From Thursday June 11th to Sunday June 14th, you can pretty much expect a total Swoosh takeover in the city, with a line-up of activities that will not only inspire you but celebrate women in sport.

Nike Women 15kPhotography by Jess Baumung and Nathalia Allen (respectively)

Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre will be the home of the Nike Women Village and will offer different Nike+ services for runners, a retail space where you can preview and shop the upcoming Fall running collection before the rest of the world, special guest appearances from athletes and coaches, plus 33 NTC workouts lead by the amazing Eva Redpath and other Nike Master Trainers in the Crystal Coliseum – a 30,000 sqft custom built studio situated on a floating barge on Lake Ontario – like NBD right!

TO15_Expo_Map-ZoomIn

Registration will be open to the public for all race day programming on June 6th. You can find more details on Nike.com/Toronto and the Nike+ City Pass (available for download for iPhone, Blackberry and Android) which will be your race weekend concierge on the go giving you access to all the amazing programming, registration for classes ad navigating your way around the Nike women Village, otherwise known as Mecca. See you at the finish line!

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.

Getting 15k Race Ready: Training + Injury Prevention

Nike Women's 15k Training

My #OnTheRunTO squad has cruised through the second week of official training for the upcoming Nike Women’s 15 in June. Every Monday the team meets at the Nike Running Loft in Toronto and we are guided through a customized run route lead by our designated Nike Pacer Christina Tiffin. Over the course of the training period, there will be special moments for the team to better help them prepare for race day. In an effort to keep the ladies happy and healthy over the next several weeks, Nike Canada brought in Dr. Marc Bubbs; Naturopathic Doctor, Strength Coach, Author and Sports Nutrition Lead for the Canadian Men’s Olympic Basketball team. Topics of discussion…the difference between dynamic stretching (suggested for pre-run) and the right way to cool down and stretch post run. Most importantly, the proper way to use a foam roller. Foam rollers are the most popular mechanism for self myofacial release and can increase blood flow through the body, increase range of motion and decrease the chance of injury. I’ve chatted about this in a previous post which you can find here as it’s extremely important for muscle recovery. According to Dr. Bubbs, the first thing to do to start seeing results is to roll out your calves, quads and IT band.

Nike Women 15k Training

Nike Women 15k Training

To address the calves, begin by placing one leg on the roller, then place the other leg on top of it. Raise the hips and slowly begin to roll to the knee. If you find a tender spot, stop and hold.  After 20 seconds, continue to roll through the area four times. Then set the hips on the ground and rotate the leg four times side to side. Through our daily activity and running Doc informed us that the quadricep area can be shortened which can affect the hips and put stress on the lower back. To target this area, begin by lying down in a plank position and place the roller just above the kneecap. Slowly roll down (about an inch per second) towards the hip. Same applies for the tender spots here – stop and hold for 20 seconds, then resume rolling. After four rolls, I like to bend the knee while rolling another four times to get a bit deeper. To get the IT band, turn onto your side and with the roller above your knee and roll up and down along the outer thigh. The best tip though was utilizing a golf ball to get those stubborn and hard to stretch areas like underneath your feet. That little tip has been life changing for myself and the ladies.

NIKE 15K TRAINING

I’ve been getting a ton of questions regarding my team’s training program. We are following the program that was created by Coach Chris Bennett, Nike+ Running Global and Nike+ NYC Head Coach that includes progression, speed, tempo and long runs, 1 NTC workout and a recovery day each week. Here’s a glimpse of the week by week breakdown that can also be found within the full Nike 15k training plan PDF:

Nike Women 15k Training

Nike Women 15k Training

This Monday’s team run was a short 5k route developed by our Pacer Christina that took us on a short jaunt not far from our Toronto run  headquarters.

Nike 15k Training

Nike Women 15k training

Nike Women 15k Training

There are always a few mainstay items that remain in my running/gym bag during run season and this was the perfect time to treat everyone to some of my fave things. Inside the team’s gift bags they received a 18″ Gaiam foam roller, Adams natural peanut butter mini packs, Blow & Go Smooth, OSIS+ Session Label Silk Shine Cream and OSIS+ Magic by Schwarzkopf OSIS+, fresh pressed kale juice by Cedar Juice, Degree dry spray antiperspirant, Vaseline Intensive Care Dry Skin Repair Lotion, Vitaminwater, Smartwater, Simple Skinm’s Cleansing Micellar Water & Cleansing Wipes, Dove Go Fresh Revitalize beauty bars, golf balls (to roll out the hard to reach areas) and of course spring’s hottest Epic Lux Printed running tights from Nike.

Nike Women 15k Training

Nike Women 15k TrainingPhotography by Lesean Harris LeseanHarris.com (@leseanharris)

l to r: Elle Daftarian, Kimberly Lyn, Amy Patel, Michelle Bilodeau, Sasha Exeter, Dr, Marc Bubbs, Cheryl Kozorziz, Melissa Doldron, Jessica Sturrup, Anna Bediones, Shannae Ingleton-Smith, Alex Nikolajev, Kate Matkinson, Andrea Yu and Nathalia Allen

Thank you to all my brand partners for the support and product. Stay tuned for more of our #OnTheRunTO journey over the next eight weeks. Click here for more information on Dr. Marc Bubbs and be sure to get social and follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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

#OnTheRunTO Series Spring 2015

OnTheRunTO Series Spring 2015

In 2014 I had a remarkable year of both personal and professional developments and many of these changes I can credit to running. Last year I beat medical odds and smashed my Nike Women San Francisco race goal and along the way I met some amazing women. In case you missed out in December, I announced my #OnTheRunTO series (the winter series can be viewed here), which will be shared here each quarter. The goal of this project is to introduce you to some fabulous ladies to keep the cycle of inspiration going amongst our community. Here you will learn a bit about the women featured, how we got connected and the pieces from the current Nike collection we are running and training in.

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

After a miserably cold winter where runners were challenged to run in the most extreme of conditions outdoors, we couldn’t be happier to welcome spring. In addition to the excitement of warmer weather on the horizon, the city’s running community has been buzzing since Nike’s announcement that Toronto will be on the list of cities to host a Nike Women Series race (you can learn more and  register here before March 29th 2015, if you haven’t already done so). We got a bit of a head start on prepping for the outdoor run season and began testing out Nike Women’s spring running and training items, which are designed to help you push yourself in comfort and style. last month at Toronto’s Forme Fitness facility.

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

Meet Vanessa Cesario: My initial encounter with Vanessa was actually not through running but within the fashion and blogging circles here in Toronto. Although we’ve known each other for almost two years, it wasn’t until last year that we discovered we shared a love of fitness and running. This young lady frequently surprises me, literally revealing a new talent every time I connect with her. Vanessa, a recent Humber Media Studies graduate and Freelance Creative Contributor, has also worked in the public relations field and is the stylish Creative Director of one of Canada’s leading fashion blogs, The Brunette Salad. If this isn’t enough, she has been developing her photography skills over the past year, has shot numerous social media campaigns for some national fashion brands and recently shot me for a designer fitness collaboration campaign.

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

Why Vanessa Loves Running: “Honestly, my whole life until about two years ago was a constant weight struggle for me. I went up, down, up, down…and always looked at exercise merely as a way to burn calories. And I have to admit – running was always my least favourite aspect of physical activity. After changing my whole outlook on my body, diet and health in general, I started to look to exercise as a means of well being – for not only my body, but my mind as well. I tend to get nervous very easily, and came to realize that running was hands down the best way to blow off steam and de-stress. Running time is ‘me time’, where I can clear my mind while doing good for my body.”

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

Her Fave Items: Choosing my favourite items when it comes to Nike is hard. My personal style is very athletic inspired, so when actual workout clothes are  as stylish as this, my heart just sings.  If I had to narrow down my go-to pieces  from the spring collection, I’d say the Legendary Lava Tights; they are so comfy, super flattering, and the high waisted design ensures that you don’t reveal too much while performing certain moves while training or doing yoga – not to mention that insane print, in addition to the Nike Free TR 5 shoes for training. For running, I’ve been rolling in comfort in the  Nike Air Max 2015 and happy to have been one of the first to trial the shoes here in Canada. They provide the right amount of support and cushioning that I need for the distance I currently run. My Epic Lux Printed Running Capris are great because the Dri-Fit fabric makes sure I stay dry during running. They also have more spandex content than most running tights which makes them more supportive and helps keep them in place.

Vanessa is also wearing Nike’s Epic Lux Printed Capri Tights, Dri-Fit Knit Running Tank Top, and Dri-Fit Studio Tank

Meet Melanie Botswain-Watson: If you’re immersed in Toronto’s run community or attend any of the Nike NTC consumer classes, this is not a face you’re seeing for the first time. A Communications Officer at the Toronto Public Library by day who also moonlights as a model for Nike Canada seasonal campaigns, this lady probably burns more fuel points than anyone I know. If you’re looking for a new workout to try here in the city, Mel is the girl you need to talk to. She has tried just out about every single club, group fitness class and run group in the 6, often times doing two workouts a day!

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

Why Melanie Loves Running: “Running is a really important part of the mix of things I do to keep fit, healthy, sunny and social.  For me, its all about balance and variety. I’m positive that my running has improved because of the training I also do at the gym, yoga studio, spin class, pool  and whatever other space is hosting the next crazy workout I’m eager to try. I find real strength in running with a group. I run with various run crews; Parkdale Road Runners for instance and I love to drop in on runs with other groups such as the Nike Run Club and Tribe Fitness. Having a bunch of supportive, inspiring people, many of whom became mentors that I look forward to seeing, is the best kind of motivation. I hope that my journey inspires other people to incorporate fitness and healthy choices in their daily lives”

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

Her Fave Pieces: The Epic Lux Running Tights are perfect because they feel like second skin. They offer full leg coverage, great for temperamental spring weather, but have sheer panels behind the knees and down the legs for ventilation and added style. I also love that these tights have understated, but always important reflective detailing…plus not only one, but three pockets for necessities such as ID, phone and fuel. My Dri-Fit Knit Long Sleeve is also an essential piece because of it’s versatility. It can be layered with other pieces on cooler days or just worn on it’s own. The phrase “Run Fast Live Fearless” is cleverly hidden on the inside of the shirt’s hem and I expect this powerful reminder will help me through the difficult runs. The Woven Bliss Pants are also fun and functional.  A cool alternative to tights for training, which are now a vital piece in my workout wardrobe.

Melanie is also wearing Free Flyknit 4.0, Pro Fierce Bra, Free TR 5 Training Shoe, Dri-Fit Studio Tank

 OnTheRunTO Series Spring

When I first started running I was doing it to help battle my pain related issues with fibromyalgia and rare kidney disease. However, over the last 6 months I have noticed a bit of a shift. I realized that running has impacted more than just my life. Through this sport, I have been able to connect with other people from all over the world and has given me the unique opportunity to motivate and enhance the lives of those around me – most importantly those who also face challenges due to illness. I am shocked every day at the feedback I get from people on social media, who have the same ailments as me or suffering from something completely different. Knowing that I have shown them that they too can reclaim a bit of their life back from mental or physical illnesses through consistent exercise is huge! Ironically, although they say that I am empowering and motivating them, their comments push me to keep going, especially on the days I find it difficult to get out of bed due to pain in the morning.

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

My Fave Items: Yes, all of Nike’s products are insanely amazing and no matter how many things I receive – to be honest I always want more.  My non-running workouts have increased as of late due to my partnership with Equinox, so it’s important to have training gear that not only provides support, but also comfortable enough to perform. The Pro 3″ Core Compression Training Tights  is ideally what I wear. I feel most free having my legs bare when I workout. Although they are short, I never have issues with them riding up exposing areas that shouldn’t be seen. In regards to footwear for training, it’s really important to have the right shoe that can accommodate the type of workout you’re doing. The Free TR 4 Training Shoe is ideal for my cardio, boxing and strength training. They are lightweight but still provide dynamic support, plus they look great. Based on my gait analysis, the Air Zoom Structure 18 Running Shoe is suited for the way I run and will be the shoe I race in this season most likely. The new firmer foam along the heel in this updated version helps to reduce my pronation and the responsive cushioning is perfect for distance running.

OnTheRunTO Series Spring

I am a sucker for bold tights. In my personal opinion, If you look good…you run good. I’ve had my eye on the colourful Epic Luxe Printed Tights since the Nike Women Showcase in New York back in the Fall. The fit ensures that I am comfortable during long runs, I never have to worry about them sliding down or getting baggy in odd areas, taking away my concentration during training and storage in three separate places. The mesh panels will definitely come in handy during warm weather runs this season.

I am also wearing: Pro Indy Freeze Frame Bra, Tech Fleece Moto, Dri-Fit Knit Short Sleeve  , Rival Pro Bra, G87 Tank Top 

OnTheRunTo Series SpringPhotography by Nathalia Allen www.amillionminds.ca (@amillionminds

For more information on the above mentioned products or to view the full collection, head to Nike.com/Women. All featured products in this post are available for purchase online (excluding Canada), Nike retail locations, in addition to Sport Chek and Sporting Life in Canada. Special thank you to the generous team at Forme Fitness, the ladies involved in this edition of #OnTheRunTO, Photographer Nathalia Allen and of course Nike Canada. For additional info on Forme Fitness’ unique training facility and their small group training classes, head to FormeFitness.com.

Nike Women’s Run Series Announces 15K in Toronto

Nike Toronto

Yesterday Nike released the information that every single female runner on the planet has been patiently waiting for…the 2015 Nike Women Run Series race dates and cities.  For several months there has been tons of speculation and rumours swirling around and now the cat is officially out of the bag – finally! I am so excited that my hometown of Toronto will be amongst one of the amazing city’s around the world hosting a race this year. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or just beginning your run journey, this is a race you will not want to miss out on. I had the privileged of running in the Nike Women San Francisco Half Marathon in 2014, you can check out my race report here, and it literally changed my life. It’s not a race, it’s an experience!

Nike Women 15K Toronto

What to expect: Race date is set for June 14, 2015 with registration opening on to the general public on March 9th, 2015. Nike likes to keep event deets under wraps for as long as possible as the brand loves the element of surprise and they love to blow participants away but what I can tell you is to expect a weekend full of celebrations tailored specifically for the beautiful city of Toronto.

Now that the official countdown is on to raceway, I wasted no time setting the groundwork for what I need to work on before the real hardcore training commences thanks to the Nike Canada team. Yesterday afternoon I got to chat with Sheila Reid, member of the 2012 Canadian Olympic team and learned that she will be the elite face of the race this summer. Her focus in competition is actually on shorter distances and specializes in 1,500 – 5,000 meter track races) and has never ran a road race before. Proof that each and every one of us will be putting ourselves to the test looking to either run farther or faster than we ever have before. I also got a chance to have a gait analysis done at the Nike Running Loft by Kristen Kuzemko, part of the Nike North American Pacer team. It was the first time I had one done.  Not only will t will help me remain injury free but it will also assist me in improving my technique, so I can conserve energy and cause less damage to my joints. I will be sharing a little more about the outcome of my run analysis in a future post. My results were all packaged up in this cool little video which you can view here.

Nike Toronto Queen West Run ClubPhotography by Nathalia Allen (Nike Canada)

I am eagerly waiting to begin formal training and I look forward to hopefully encourage you all to take part in what is the largest women’s run series in the world. Throughout the coming months I will continue to share information on how to train, tips on proper hydration, nutrition, injury prevention and more. In the meantime, do yourself a favour and get a complimentary gait analysis at the Nike Store at the Toronto Eaton Center in order to begin your training on the right foot, pun intended. Click here for more information on the International Nike Women’s Race Series and be sure to get social and follow Run Nike Women on Twitter and Facebook.

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