Tuesday, July 7, 2015

In the waters with Rosie MacLennan

We sat down with Olympic Gold Medalist, Rosie MacLennan, who also won a Gold Medal at the 2011 Pan Am Games In Guadalajara, Mexico, and will be competing at the Pan Am Games here in Toronto. She is currently pursuing a Masters in exercise science at the University of Toronto, and was the first athlete to carry the Torch for this year's Pan Am Games. 

What is your sport?
What do you love about it?
I love that it combines power, strength and beauty. Athletes need the power and strength to jump high, flip and twist quickly but, at the same time, make it look effortless. The other aspect I really love is that there are always new skills to learn, new routines and ways to challenge and push yourself.

If you could clear up one misconception about your sport, what would it be?
Because our sport is not as mainstream as others, I think it’s a matter of making it a little more relatable. The best thing to do is watch it live - it is quite spectacular! Each routine we do, we jump 18-25 feet in the air, we are rotating between 22 - 25 times and twisting about 8 - 14 times in each ten skill routine. One routine is equivalent to a 200m sprint. In baseball, a batter has 0.3 seconds to decide whether they hit the ball or not and they are deemed successful if they are right 30% of the time. In trampoline, we have the same amount of time, 0.3 seconds, to made decisions and adjustments for the next skill and we have to be correct 100% of the time or we fall.

How often are you training now in preparation for the Pan Am Games?
Right now I have 8 trampoline sessions per week, I have 2 strength and conditioning sessions in a gym, 2 pilates sessions, 1 physiotherapy session and 1 cardio session where I do intervals.

Can you tell us a bit about some of the social initiatives you are involved with?
I have had the chance to work with some pretty incredible organizations. My main focus has always been to get kids more active and enhance girls’ self confidence. I am incredibly proud to be a Jumpstart Ambassador, an organization that helps kids overcome barriers to getting involved in sport. I believe that sport plays a huge role in life, especially for kids as it teaches resilience, determination, physical literacy and also provides a healthy social outlet. I am really excited about some of the work they are doing now which will focus on addressing the drop out rates of girls between the ages of 13-19!

How do you stay balanced with the pressure of competition?
Going into competitions, especially major Games like the Pan Am Games can be incredibly stressful. There can be a lot of pressure and expectations from external sources. When I start to feel that pressure, the best thing I do is bring it back to the basic question of why I do it - why I jump on trampolines and that is because I love it. I love the day in, day out grind of working hard, sweating and pushing myself to be the best that I can be. I love working with my coach, my teammates and trainers to enhance the sport. We obviously have goals, I want to do well in competition and we are constantly striving for the best results possible but if you focus on that one final moment, you miss all the incredible moments leading up to it - the highs, the lows, the challenges and the lessons. Chase the dream but love the journey!

Proudest accomplishment?
I think the obvious answer to this question is when I stood on top of the podium in London but not necessarily for the reason that you might think. Was I incredibly proud to win? Absolutely but what that moment represented more was the journey that I took to get there. It represented 18 years of dedication and hard work, overcoming some really challenging obstacles and reaching a point where I was jumping better than I ever had before but more importantly where I was loving my sport more than I had ever before. The best part was the weekend before, I got to spend a few days with my best friends at my cottage and that reminded me that life wouldn’t really change no matter what happened in London - I would still be the same person. On the day of competition, I looked up and saw my family in the stands and saw the anchors in my life, those who have loved and supported me every step of the way and when I was jumping on the trampoline, I knew that I was living my dream and loving every second of it. I had nothing to lose in that moment.

Who is your role model or mentor?
I have a number of role models and mentors but the one who has influenced me the most in sport is my teammate Karen Cockburn. She is the one who changed my childhood dream into an actual goal when I watched her qualify for the first Olympics trampoline would be in. I watched her in the months leading up to the Games and then saw her stand on the podium- this was a girl from my gym! As a young girl, this was powerful because not only did I realize that my dream was a possibility, I saw what it actually took to get there. Through my entire career, even to this day, she has guided me, mentored me, given me incredible advice and supported me. There is no way I would be where I am today without her.

How do you unwind after a day of training?
On an ideal day, I love sitting outside with the people I love, chatting listening to music and snacking on yummy food. Most days it’s hanging with my roommate, boyfriend or just some relaxing on my own with a good snack and either some Netflix or a good book.

If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be?
That’s a hard question! I know it should be someone famous or maybe someone profound- in that case I would maybe say Tich Nhat Hanh (a Buddhist Zen master who I have been reading recently). Honestly, I would probably say my family. I have two brothers and a sister (plus three in-laws and two beautiful nieces that they have brought into the family). The group of us are rarely in the same place at the same time since they are scattered along the west-coast but every time I see any of them, or all of them, I just feel happy, home and re-energized. Plus spending time with my two-year-old niece, Marlowe, makes life so fun, seeing the world through her eyes with incredible simplicity, curiosity and freedom. My family gives me a really great perspective on what is important and what makes me truly happy.

Tell us about your first experience with body blitz?
My first Body Blitz experience was incredible! I honestly did not know what to expect when I got to the spa but right from entering the building, the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. I found the experience very relaxing. I went by myself so it gave me time to meditate, reflect and really just enjoy the peace and quiet while rejuvenating my (aching) muscles. I don’t often get time to myself so it was great to just be present in the moment and be very self-aware. Every part of the circuit brought a different feeling almost rotating between relaxing and invigorating. The smoothie was delicious too! I left after two cycles feeling the most relaxed and chilled out that I have ever felt and my body felt incredible. It was the first time in a long time that I felt fully recovered going into my next training session.

What is your favourite part of the water circuit and why?
For me it is hard to pinpoint my favourite part. As I was doing it, I really enjoyed the warm salt bath and the Epsom salt bath. They were really relaxing. In retrospect, I actually like the cold plunge pool as well because of the effect it had on my body. It really helped with the aching muscles and also left me feeling quite invigorated. Plus it was kind of like a challenge to see how long I could stay in for. 

We will be cheering her on here at body blitz! Good luck Rosie.

Monday, June 1, 2015

In the waters with Morgan Henderson

We sat down with Blitz Facial Bar Assistant Manager and skin expert Morgan Henderson and talked to her about blitz facial bar, our brand new skin care line and her favourite tips for summer…

What is your job?
Assistant Manager at Blitz Facial Bar.

What do you love about it?
I get to promote healthy skin and educate people on the benefits of facials and at home skincare.

Describe your perfect day.
Going for a run along the waterfront or through the park followed by breakfast on a patio. I would then spend the afternoon at the spa using the waters (they are great for lactic build up from all the running I do) and finish with a facial at Blitz Facial Bar (I try to get a good exfoliation once a week to keep my skin glowing).

Who is your role model or mentor?
Paluna Santamaria and Jenny McConnell, my trainers. This is super cheese but these ladies are my coaches and they have accomplished so much in their careers. They motivate and push me every day. I strive to be as accomplished as them. They also both are beautiful and have great skin as a bonus.

Three adjectives to describe yourself?
Hard-working, ambitious, easy going.

How do you unwind after a long day?
I go for a run. It’s something I love and it’s my time to socialize with friends, get a workout in and unwind after a long day.

If you had to leave your house with one beauty item, what would it be?
Tinted SPF. It the first thing I do in the morning and I don’t leave the house without it. UV rays are the number one cause of aging skin and I want to stay looking young as long as I can.

Tell us about blitz facial products?
Quality. There are minimal ingredients in them and the ingredients used are very beneficial to the skin. They are created to get you results quickly. All of the products are very hydrating without leaving your skin feeling greasy. As a runner, products that are light weight are important to me as well.

How often should you have a facial?
Depending on your home care regime and your skin care goals, anywhere from every three to six weeks. If you have a good skin care regime at home with good quality products, you don’t necessarily need to have one as much as someone who is using generic products or doing minimal things to their skin.

Any facial tips we can do at home?
Wash your face before going to bed. There is nothing worse than wearing make up all day and/or living in a city and going to sleep with all that buildup of pollutants, oil and dirt sitting on your skin.

What was the worst thing you ever did to your face?
Going outside without sunscreen. When I was younger I used to sunbath and never apply SPF. I would never dream of doing that now.

Now that summer is here, what seasonal tips do you have for our skin?
Get a facial. After the winter months of being in the cold and having heat blasted in your home, your skin is probably looking pretty dull. A facial that includes a good exfoliation will sloth off all the dead skin cells to reveal a bright, glowing complexion underneath. And remember to apply that SPF to protect that freshly exfoliated skin. You want to be bright and glowing, not red and burnt.

Must have products from our new facial line.
Exfoliating cleanser – I use a gentle exfoliate every day. I like the feeling of fresh clean skin every morning.
Radiance Serum – Vitamin C will help brighten the skin while reducing the signs of sun damage.
SPF 41 Tinted – I don’t know if I’ve stressed this enough but sunscreen is the most important step in any age prevention regime.

Number 1 question clients ask about skincare?
What can I do to make my skin look younger? (I think you all know my answer to this!)

What is the most common mistake people make about their skin?
Using the wrong products. Most people don’t know what they should be using for their skin type and concerns and just buy what they know from advertising. Everyone is different and that’s why it is best to get a facial and have your skin assessed by a professional who can give you the proper recommendations.

Blitz Facial Bar Leslieville now open, and Blitz Facial Bar Trinty-Bellwoods opening June 12th. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

In the waters with Sarah Walton, body blitz shiatsu therapist, yoga instructor and doula. She talks to us about staying healthy and about healing ourselves.

1. What is your career? What do you love most about it?
I’m a Shiatsu therapist, yoga instructor and doula. I love that my work is never ever boring. Every session is a process of discovery and an opportunity to witness transformation. I don’t heal people; I help them to re-connect with their bodies and help to create a space for healing to occur. Discovering and re-connecting with their bodies creates a doorway into awareness of other aspects of their lives. People are able to make necessary connections about the relationships between the choices they make in their daily routine and what that means for how they feel.

2. How do you stay balanced with life, career, family, friends & health?
Each day, I find a way to connect to my inner core – to centre myself – through qi-gong, mantras, meditation, yoga, self-care or laughing with my daughter who always keeps it real for me.

3. If you could, what advice would you give yourself 10 years ago? 5 years ago? 20 years ago?
Ten years ago, I was in my early thirties and had a young daughter. I had a tendency to overdo things – Back then, I would have told myself to read fewer parenting books and pace myself ,"it's a long trip."
Five years ago, I went through a painful break-up, I would have given myself a pat on the back for making difficult choices that in the long run brought me to a way better place.
Wow twenty years ago! I don't know if I would have listened to anyone's advice, I was pretty headstrong. I probably would just give myself a hug and some band-aids.

4. What are the most common complaints you hear when women come for a treatment?

Mostly women don’t have enough time for themselves because of work, families and taking care of others. Many of my clients are artists who have a career and a family and don’t have enough time to themselves. I see many striving personalities who beat themselves up for not doing enough or accomplishing enough. They even try to be a perfectionist about taking care of themselves. They can be very hard on themselves.

5. What is your advice to them?

Be gentler and kinder to yourself. Acknowledge the efforts you’ve already made and count every victory no matter how small and keep going and push past all
 voices that limit your ability to enjoy all that you do!

6. As a care giver, how do you take care of yourself?

As a caregiver, I consider my body and my being my instrument, so just as a business needs to do maintenance on their equipment, I need to care for myself. It has been a cultural leap to realize that we have to live in these bodies for a lifetime and that we need to maintain them. I grew up with a lot of energy and I thought it was an unlimited resource that I didn't need to replenish. A bout with chronic fatigue taught me the value of replenishing and self care.I try to get a shiatsu massage every week and I definitely visit the waters at body blitz once a week.  Another way I take care of myself is to make conscious choices about where I am going to invest my energy - in my thoughts, in my emotions, in my family, in my friends and in my actions. I ask myself, 'does this nourish me or deplete me?' It was these questions that ultimately healed my chronic fatigue.

7. How has your health changed since using the body blitz therapeutic waters?
 I feel like the waters have a cleansing affect on my system similar to clearing off your desk before work. I feel better and more efficient in dealing with tensions and stresses that arise. I notice that my complexion is better, my monthly cycles are very smooth and I am generally more relaxed and better.

8. Proudest accomplishment?

My daughter and the amazing community and family we have created around us.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The Greatest Love Story

In February, the month of love, we hosted the Greatest Love Story contest, eager to read your stories of love and devotion — to family, partners, kittens, and more (we do not judge)! You sent in such sweet, funny, charming stories; you brought tears to our eyes and gave us hope that romance will never die. Thank you all for sharing your stories.

We are so pleased to announce the winner of our Greatest Love Story contest:
Emily S., with the story below, about unexpected love.


My grandmother, a widow for over thirty years, met the gentleman who moved in across the street, when she was 85. He was 90. They started inviting one another over to share lunch, to enjoy one another's company, and much to their surprise, fell in love. For her 89th birthday, he gave her a beautiful diamond ring — with no strings attached, he said, jokingly. Love can happen in the unlikeliest places.

He died in June of 2013, at age 96, much missed by my grandmother. Before her death in October of last year, at age 92, she asked me if I would like to wear the ring he had given her. She said that she didn't want it to go to one of her children, as it wasn't from their father, but that it was a good reminder that love comes from unexpected places. She was graciously reminding me, I think, that she approved of my same-sex marriage to my partner, whom she admired very much. It's a story about a special ring, a special love, and some very special people.

Thanks for the opportunity to get this down in words! Such a good reminder for all of us. 


Below is a picture of Emily with her beloved grandmother. 
Thank you again, Emily!

Monday, February 2, 2015

In the Waters with Sofi Papamarko ...

We sat down with matchmaker, dating expert and confessed reluctant social butterfly Sofi Papamarko and asked her a few questions ...

Tell us about your work? What do you love most about it?
I'm a matchmaker, so my work involves asking people really personal questions about their (love) lives and then setting them up on dates with likeminded singles. Basically, my job rules. I love every aspect of it, but there is no more rewarding feeling than when I get an email from a client saying they had an amazing first date or that they've been exclusively dating the person I set them up with. So far, I have one wedding, two engagements, a baby and several co-habitations under my yenta belt. I've been doing Friend of a Friend for about a year and a half now and every month, there's been a new success story.

What is the biggest misconception perpetuated by dating experts?
That you're doing something wrong or that there's something wrong with you if you're single. 

What have you learned from your clients?
I'm probably going to get a little Oprah-cheesy here, but...well...the human spirit is indomitable? I have had the privilege of meeting hundreds people, and more than a few times, there have been many, many tears. The things people go through in their lives and they live to come through the other side! It's astonishing. I've talked to survivors of bullying and abuse, survivors of cancer, people who have lost family members and spouses...heartbreaking stories. A lot of people have been through some very, very tough times and then they come to me, open and ready for love. It's inspirational, really.

What is the relationship between wellness and romance?
Folk wisdom suggests you can't love someone unless you love yourself. It's important to take care of yourself mentally, physically and emotionally before you can give your best self to another person. Unfortunately, a lot of women neglect themselves due to work and life pressures. We need to fix that and spread the message that self-care is not selfish. It's integral.

Tell us about your first experience with body blitz?
It was pretty wonderful. I'd heard about body blitz for years and numerous friends had asked me to join them, but I'd never taken the plunge, so to speak. I really loved the water circuit, but the main event for me was the sweet ginger and milk body glow. It was crazy luxurious. It made me feel like Cleopatra and I left all soft and smooth and smelling like a creamsicle.

If you could, what advice would you give yourself 5 years ago? 10 years ago? 20 years ago?
Just keep doing what you're doing, kid. But maybe eat more spinach? Oh, and also, that boy who doesn't like you back is stupid and you definitely shouldn't waste your time thinking about him for even another second.

What book is on your nightstand?
"Consider the Lobster," David Foster Wallace. 

Proudest accomplishment?
Starting my own small business, despite knowing absolutely nothing about business.

Friday, January 2, 2015

New Years tips ...

1. New Year’s resolutions are a guideline not a manifesto. If you indulge a little too much, enjoy it and know you can start again tomorrow.

2. Our bodies are trained to slow down in the winter. It’s ok to hibernate and take time for yourself. Wrap yourself in a blanket and start an epic book.

3. Take advantage of the short days of winter and sleep 8 to 9 hours a night. Your body will thank you.

4. Grab a loved one and go for an after dinner walk. You may even look up and see the moon!

5. Remember to feed yourself, figuratively and literally. Life is short.

6. Treat yourself with tenderness and kindness. You are perfect the way you are. Give yourself a hug.

Welcome to the New Year!