Tag: workout

Fitness Swellness: What I learned at Sugo Sundays

boxing with Striking Concepts and Sugo

They had me at Sugo.

If you follow me on IG, you know I’m a fan of the food at Sugo, an Italian-American resto at Bloor and Lansdowne; I did an early carboload there for my Detroit Marathon last year, and just about two months ago, celebrated finishing the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee (and Back Across Tennessee) with a meal there. The velvety sauce on the rigatoni, crave-worthy and the perfect comfort food!

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So when Sugo slid into my DMs and asked me if I wanted to participate in their first ever edition of Sugo Sundays, I was little confused as to what the goal of the fitness-focused workshop was but my immediate answer was yes, I’d love to take part!

For three Sundays in September, a group of about 20 or so of us met up at a track and first worked on a warm-up of dynamic stretches with some of the team from Myodetox, followed by a short run and running drills, then a kickboxing session lead by Striking Concepts. And last but not least, refueling on food from the team at Sugo, yasss!

(Plus, the folks from Myodetox offered some stretching and fascia work post-workout as well).

Sugo Sundays got me to foray into running again (I’ve been taking a rest since completing GVRAT mid-August), I had what is possibly my first (!) mini session doing fascia work with a physiotherapist (and I felt so much better afterwards–my body is a bit angry at me still from the 2000+ kilometres I did over the summer), and I found the kickboxing sessions enlightening; I’ve been to other classes at a few studios in the past but I find it’s very often not focused on form but rather just getting things done quickly in a HIIT format, and all I get mired up in is figuring out the damn sequence based on the numbers for jab, hook and cross. Here, thanks to Evan from Striking Concepts, I got to understand for example what angle my arm should be at, the proper positioning of my feet, and more.

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And from the refuel, I discovered that the Sugo kitchen can put out more than just great pasta. I missed week 1 of Sugo Sundays (it was a downpour and even though I’ve run and raced in the rain, I simply couldn’t get myself to bike to the track that day to start the workout drenched), so I missed the classic Sugo carb up (the meal was lasagna, still sad I missed out!). For week 2, the meals was keto (think trout and sauteed spinach) and week 3 was vegan (a quinoa bowl with tofu and an incredible chocolate cake), and both meals were very satisfying and ones I’d happily eat regularly. And I appreciated Sugo co-owner Conor Joerin saying that eating healthy means finding what works for you, adding that the team doesn’t eat pasta 24/7. So true, and why I bristle when people seem surprised I’ll happily eat a giant bowl of pasta or a plate of fried chicken. Do I eat that daily? Of course not! I eat what works for me.

I asked Conor what made them hold Sugo Sundays and he said he was initially inspired by a workshop he’d done with Lululemon a year or so agao and the lasting connections he’d made on that trip. With the pandemic and being a social person himself, he was felt this was a great way to build community and bring together healthy lifestyle-type folks with people from the restaurant industry (who, he noted, are not always leading the most active type of lifestyle). And he felt that with this continuing pandemic, and with us heading into the colder months, it was a great time to bring people together to make connections at a time when we all especially need it.

I’m sad Sugo Sundays is already over… but I can’t wait to set up an appointment at Myodetox and cook up something using the jar of organic tomato sauce made from tomatoes at Conor’s farm! Thank you to Sugo for the invite, and see you over a plate of pasta soon, or a slice of pizza (did you know they recently opened pizzeria Conzo’s next door to Sugo?)!

P.S. Conor promised us a few recipes from our refuel meals, and I’ll share those when I get them!

 

 

Leave a Comment October 4, 2020

Fitness Swellness: Shopping for budget-friendly summer fitness gear

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With the pandemic, I feel as though there are two camps: those who’ve let their fitness fall to the wayside, and those who’ve dived in and are more fit than ever. And to keep your fitness groove on that track, I truly believe getting some proper gear for your workouts will be a big motivating factor. Of course, you can keep using the old apparel you dug out but over time, those sport bras lose elasticity and those shorts have seen better days. Besides that, working out in fitness gear that you feel good in makes it that much more likely you’ll be eager to do another sweat session.

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But everything in the world seems uncertain right now, and many of us are trying to be smarter with how we’re spending (maybe you’ve been furloughed or you’re on CERB, for example). The good news is if you have a small budget, you can still score some great gear for your new active lifestyle. My four tips on how to shop for easy-on-the-wallet gear:

1. Check out retailers outside of the usual brands. Canadian-owned family discount store Giant Tiger, for example. They carry their signature brand of fitness gear, ACX Active, which comes in plus-sizes too and includes shoes, and I can tell you firsthand that the gear is soft and comfortable. I’ve been living in the bike shorts ($6!), and the shoes, while I wouldn’t run a marathon in them, I’ve walked many kilometres in them for the virtual race I’m completing this summer.

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2. Try everything on in the store (even pieces that don’t immediately grab you as your personal style). Firstly, you should try fitness gear on in the store before you buy so you can ensure it is comfortable and suits the activity you’re planning on wearing it for (so if it’s for running, try a little jog in the store, or do a sun salutation if it’s gear you want to wear for yoga). But secondly, you may be surprised by what pieces you like the most once you try the pieces on. Fitness gear often doesn’t show well on a hanger, but once you get it on, you’ll notice the perfect length of a pair of shorts, or the soft drape of the fabric of a t-shirt you weren’t sure about. I knew I loved this orange sport bra ($12!) as soon as I saw it and was even happier once I tried it on and saw how flattering it is.

3. Don’t be afraid to customize the pieces. On the hanger, the piece might not be totally you but don’t limit yourself to wearing the piece as is, and remember this as you’re in the change room trying things on. Think of how you can style the pieces to suit your personal style. Knot that tee or even crop it with a pair of scissors (I love the drape of the blue tank top, and am planning on cropping it).

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4. Add in other summer fitness essentials at Giant Tiger while you’re building your fitness wardrobe. Caps, sunglasses, and sunscreen for example. One of my all-time favourite SPF products is Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Lotion. It goes on and disappears into the skin (it does leave an extremely subtle, flattering luminescence) so I happily slather it on daily (and a derm once told me the best sunscreen for you, if you’re undecided on say SPF 30 versus SPF 45, is the one that you’ll use regularly). For especially hot and humid days (when you’re sweating more and/or plan to be in and out of the water often), another great option is Coppertone Sport SPF 30 Lotion, since it is water resistant.

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Feeling good and looking good as you exercise can be what pushes you to keep up these healthy new habits, and getting some great new options that won’t drain your bank account is worth it. Consider it a small investment into your self-care. 

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Leave a Comment August 4, 2020

Fitness Swellness: Reebok Fast Flexweave

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Marathons are usually my go-to race distance, but what’s this runner doing this spring? Focusing on shorter distances, and I need all the help I can get to go fast.

Running full-out is not my preference. Even though the 42.2k of a marathon is grueling, part of the reason I enjoy them more is the fact that you have to go at a  slower pace, one you can complete that distance in. But with 5k or 10k, you have to go faster (OK, you don’t have to, but when you’re competitive with yourself like I am, you do!).

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Cue the Reebok Fast Flexweave. For my training this spring, I’ve been using this new running shoe. I want technology on my side if I’m aiming to be fast. Its specifically designed for agility and speed. Think quick-burst workouts and speed work…AKA my life right now (…what have I gotten myself into?! I kid, speed work is a necessary evil when you’re training for a marathon, too).

The Fast Flexweave features an upper made of Flexweave, which is an open, figure-8 weave that results in the upper being ultra lightweight. This helps my feet feel weightless and makes it all that much easier to lift my feet and keep on moving forward. Also, there are tailored zones within the Flexweave fabric for extra flexibility and breathability; I love this because running with feet that feel like they’re roasting inside your shoes that feel stiff is so uncomfortable and distracting.

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I prefer a fair bit of cushioning in my shoes, and while these are lighter, they do offer a comfortable amount of stability and durability through the midfoot; I think they strike just the right note in terms of delivering the stability and comfort of the type of sole I usually gravitate toward for a longer run, but in a more nimble and lightweight design for the shorter distance I’m focusing on. And that’s also likely thanks to the design incorporating pressure-mapping technology, so that the Fast Flexweave is flexible where you need it to be and stable where you need it. If only finding a partner to be just precisely flexible and stable when needed were as easy!

Stay tuned as to how my training goes, and I have it on good authority that you may be able to win yourself a pair of Reebok Fast Flexweave yourself! (Keep your eye on this post and my Instagram!)

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UPDATE: You can WIN a pair of Reebok Fast Flexweave!

“Aaaand, you get a pair of Fast Flexweave!” I wish I could be Oprah and give all of y’all a pair…but the good news is I do have one pair of women’s Reebok Fast Flexweave (valued at $130) to give away!  

The giveaway is open to Canadian residents. You can enter in four different ways (enter all four ways as each way counts as an entry — and on Instagram you can enter multiple times!):

INSTAGRAM: Follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness), and LIKE  the photo related to this giveaway , and then tag friends who could use a pair of Reebok Fast Flexweave themselves. One tag per comment, each tag equals one entry.

TWITTER: Follow me on Twitter (@healthswellness) and tweet:

I like to go fast! I’d love to #win a pair of @reebokcanada Fast Flexweave from @healthswellness! http://bit.ly/RbkFastFlex #fastflexweave #reebokcanada #bemorehuman #giveaway

FACEBOOK: “Like” the Health and Swellness Facebook page, and reply on the photo on the page — tell me what season is your favourite for running!

BLOG COMMENT: Comment right here on this post and share with me if you prefer to run on a track, the street or trails.

This giveaway is open until 11:59 p.m. ET, Tuesday, May 15, 2018. The winner will be chosen at random on May 16, 2018 and contacted via the method they’ve entered to provide their shoe size, shipping address and contact info.

Photographer: Sean Pollock, @seanpollock

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50 Comments April 30, 2018

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