Tag: exercise

Travel Swellness: The best ways to keep fit during a Mexican vacation


Working out can be tougher when you’re away from home and out of your routine. Do you work out when you travel? Or does it depend whether you’re on vacation or traveling for work?

I don’t think it’s impossible to keep active while you travel. It calls for being regimented, though. For the past several years (this year was an exception) I’ve been in training for marathons almost entirely year-round with a busy travel schedule. Anyone who’s ever trained for a marathon knows that it calls for consistent training (I usually run three times a week, sometimes four, when I’m training, although I think many people run more often than that). I made it work by planning in advance and scheduling my long runs for before and after the trip, and fitting in my shorter distances or speed training during my trips since I typically have limited personal time when traveling for work, and certainly never 2-3 hours to fit in a long run.

On my recent vacation with Expedia.ca to Cancun, though? I had to listen to my body, and what my body (and mind) was telling me was that I needed a break. I was on the verge of burnout a few times this year. So while there were plenty of activities available at our resort, Finest Playa Mujeres; kite surfing, a bike tour, Zumba, and more, I opted to not flit from activity to activity — and anyone who knows me well know that that is my usual M.O.

It has been found that this type of vacation, one filled with activities and excitement to keep one stimulated can help you refocus, in fact. It might be a flurry of activity, but getting your brain engaged will help wake up thinking patterns you haven’t fired up in awhile — this according to a psychologist in Psychology Today. Your exhilarating vacay would serve as a way to reinvigorate that pep in your step.

But I knew that this was not what I needed this time around; I realized this when I did a quick search for surf lessons nearby…but could tell my heart wasn’t into it (and I really love surfing and usually try to grab the chance to whenever I can so this was really indicative of worn out I felt). And so, a light sched of fitness was what I had in mind. I played it by ear and while I surely lost some of my fitness, I’m OK with that;  it was just one week and it’s not as though I have a marathon I’m aiming to PB in shortly. While it’s important to pay attention to your fitness, it’s also key to be kind to yourself.

So my healthy vacay routine? (Sorry if you were hoping for a roundup of hardcore sweat seshes!) It started with getting plenty of sleep. This meant being in bed way before midnight (which never happens in real life).


Thanks to going to bed so early, I would wake up in time to walk on the beach to enjoy the sunrise and stretch a little. While it’s most certainly not comparable to my typical running regimen, I think it’s important to keep moving even if it’s something as light an activity as walking.


There are tennis lessons most mornings at the resort and we took advantage of the lessons. With the pro coach on staff, I learned that I twist my core too much with my swing, must work on that. The lesson incorporated cardio drills, too, such as running suicides — not easy in the Mexican sunshine! The heat always really wipes me out.

swimming laps at Finest Playa Mujeres

Finest Playa Mujeres also has a few very long pools, which are great for doing laps. While I’m still quite fearful of swimming in open water after my triathlon swim nightmare this summer, pools I can handle.


And, last but not least I went for very short runs on the beach. What can I say, I guess I’m a runner at heart. Beach running though is a first for me; running in the sand is tough since you’re always working on getting your footing so I usually avoid it (also because I’m usually scared of twisting my ankle with a goal race in my calendar), but hopefully it helped prep me for running in snow this winter. I’ll probably be ramping up my training this winter and through all of 2017, especially as I discovered while in Cancun that my name was drawn in the Chicago Marathon lottery.

Yes, it was a light fitness week…but it did me good. In any case, you can look forward soon to my tips on working out when you travel (including a Toronto-focused itinerary for visitors to my hometown!). More details on that soon…

When booking your vacay, research what activities are available at the resorts you’re considering when you’re exploring Expedia.ca and choose one that offers your faves. More tips on finding the right vacay for you here. And since how you fuel your body is all part of the equation, check out my approach on how to not ruin your healthy diet while on vacay here!

 With no more beach vacations on my calendar for the rest of winter right now, I’ll have to live vicariously through you. Looking forward to your beachy posts. What are you planning? (And didja know that vacation planning boosts your happiness?)



Leave a Comment December 28, 2016

Fitness Swellness: Sport Chek #GiftOfSport $200 giftcard GIVEAWAY



THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED FOR ENTRIES. Congratulations to Damian O., the winner of the Sport Chek giftcard of $200! (Damian, please check your Facebook messages for more details about your prize, enjoy!)

Game buzz ring, are  you listening?

Is that not how the Christmas carol goes? Because I don’t think it’d be the holidays without including the #giftofsport!

Whether you know a fitness fiend or someone with the goal of getting strong and healthy in 2016, a gift of sport from Sport Chek  is always a good idea. The right apparel or equipment is essential not only to make sure you’ve got the proper form and are safe, for example, but it can help motivate you to getting your workouts done. And even more special about the gift of sport this holiday season is when you consider how much winter is tied into living in Canada and how sport and fitness give us all the chance to connect with family and friends and make the most of the cold and snow and ice. From hockey and skiing to running and snowboarding, yes! Winter isn’t time to hibernate for us hardy Canucks; the cold weather gives us a chance to get closer to one another (even if only to stay warm, brrrr).

Because the gift of sport is not just the tangible goods, say, the right pair of footwear or the necessarysports equipment. It’s actually the gift of becoming better, fitter, faster, healthier, happier, and of camaraderie — all of those good things that come with being active. It’s not just high-tech apparel, but a gift that helps each of us reach a new potential.


I had the chance a few weeks ago to tour the brand new Sport Chek store in Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and it’s all that and then some. As soon as you walk through the soaring oval entrance, there’s an interactive display where you can learn about fitness classes or events in the city, or find out more about the friendly staff (there’s some cheerful, welcoming knowledgeable staff here, such a nice change from this city’s lacklustre customer service). And throughout the space, there are screens featuring athletes or just wicked cool displays that make a pair of sneakers a work of art.

But it’s not all just fun; there’s a ton of opps for learning and improving yourself. Head into this store to get your gait analysed or you can test out your golf swing. Over in the ski and snowboard section, there’s a wall size display that’s interactive; simply stand in front of the huge screen and scroll and  point to learn about the products so you can narrow down your choices. Need to rest your shopping-weary feet or just waiting for one of the Sportchek services to be completed? There’s a lounge area where you can grab a seat and make use of these interactive displays to gain knowledge and get inspired more.


Honestly, you walk in here and you can’t help but feel motivated to get your fitness on. Surrounded by the top athletic brands, the store got me raring to go for winter running and a few ski trips I have in store this winter.

And because I want you to be just as inspired to get healthy and fit this winter season, I’ve partnered with Sport Chek to give away a $200 Sport Chek giftcard. Which you could keep for yourself, or give to a loved one!

How to enter? This giveaway is open to Canadian residents, and you can enter in four different ways (each way counts as one entry, so go ahead and enter in all four methods!):

1. Email me at healthandswellness@gmail.com with your name and mailing address (it just makes it quicker for us to send you the prize  if you provide me with your address off the bat). Please put “Sport Chek” in the subject line.

2. Twitter: Follow me on Twitter (@healthswellness) and  tweet:

I want to #sweatforthis with the #giftofsport  by winning this @sportchek $200 giftcard from @healthswellness. http://bit.ly/1PjEhxW

3.  Like the Health and Swellness PAGE on Facebook (at the top of the page) and then leave a comment on the specific photo about this Sport Chek giveaway — tell me what your favourite workout or sport is.

4. Instagram: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness) and in the photo for this giveaway, tag a friend who loves fitness and sport as much as you do.

The giftcard is valued at $200 and the giveaway will close at 11:59 p.m. EST on Monday, December 28, 2015. Please note that this giveaway is open to Canadian residents only. The winner will be chosen at random. If I cannot reach the winner within five days, another winner will be selected. The winner’s name will be announced on the blog once confirmed with the prize winner.

Good luck! Here’s to keeping fit this season with the gift of sport!




16 Comments December 21, 2015

Fitness Swellness: Aritzia’s Parklife apparel

Photo by Nathalia Allen

Getting your sweat on this summer? Shedding layers of clothing with the blazing hot weather here is always a motivating factor for getting fitter than ever. And this summer, Aritzia has launched a fitness collection called Parklife. The pieces are made of stretchy technical fabrics and there are loads of cute prints and great colours.

I’ve been working out in a few pieces from the line that I received from Aritzia a few months ago. First at a sweaty barre class at Barreworks, then at  the Bower Fitness x Kalola retreat I attended at Blue Mountain Resort (that’s where the shot above is from; I’m with my friends Mel and Sasha who are both dressed in Nike Women) then on a few runs on my own and while hiking in Vancouver.

The fit of the unpadded Crown Bra is comfortable (I wasn’t sure of the plain elastic on the bottom of it, but it didn’t cause any chafing) but I’d say it’s best for low-intensity workouts. The Timeout Shorts are comfortable and don’t ride up on me, but they are definitely one of the shorter shorts in my workout wear collection, so I’d say I only tend to wear them on very warm days and when I’m feeling pretty fit (they don’t offer much coverage!). I also own the Rematch T-shirt in neon yellow and this fits snugly, too snugly for my taste (I usually wear a small and the small I have really hugs the body).

Parklife ranges from $15 for socks up to $65 for tights (although much of the collection is on sale right now).

(Photo from Bower Fitness x Kalola Spa Retreat, Nathalia Allen)

Grouse Grind

Leave a Comment July 13, 2015

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