Motivation to Move [And my Tour of Sport Chek MLSQ]

IMG_1194Last week I had the joy of touring the new Maple Leaf Square SportChek. This is my local store, just outside the Air Canada Center, and I absolutely love the innovation it utilizes and the community it brings to the downtown core.

I first met the community team online (@scmapleleafsq) last summer and it didn’t take long for them to become active members of the Tribe community joining us for run’s and out at our summer YogaJam. This relationship gave me the opportunity to sneak peak the store before it was finished, and now it’s done – wholy moly it is rad.

When you enter the main floor, off of Maple Leaf Square, you are instantly transported to every sport lovers dream as the entire  floor is dedicated to sports paraphernalia. When I needed a new Raptors hat for my first game of the season, I knew where to go!

Also located on the main floor is their interactive touch screen. Not only can you find specific in store locations of the gear you covet, you can also get hot fitness tip, including those from Tribe YogaJam teacher Lisa Davidson, and when you check out what activities are going on in the area, on the community board, that you’ll find Tribe represented there too.

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The first floor also contains on the spot jersey customization. Make your personalized selections at the kiosk, then make your way to the booth at the back and watch it come together before your eyes.

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Upstairs is certainly my favourite area in store and where I spend most of my time. The second floor contains their “brand shops” where you find anything and everything for running and training. You’ll also find two virtual shopping kiosks. This is where you can order anything available from SportChek online and have it shipped to your house. You don’t input payment information here, that you can do from the safety of your home computer or device through email for up to 14 days after you created your order.

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The second floor is also where you’ll find all their technology, including my favourite 3D display for the fitbit Surge.

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I received my fitbit in September for my birthday and it has be laps of her living room to beat the coveted 10,000 daily steps – I too have found myself doing the same thing. Talk about motivation to move!

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So, if you are someone who is more motivate by the couch and Netflix once the weather gets cold, I suggest letting Santa know you’re interested in an activity tracker like a fitbit. It is simple to use and is guaranteed to get you moving this cold winter season – or whenever the cold finally arrives!

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Huge thanks to SportChek for the tour of their new store at Maple Leaf Square!

Running Gift Ideas: 6 Gifts For The Runner On Your List

Whether you’re shopping for the runner in your life or looking for ideas for your personal holiday wish list, check out these 6 presents for your favourite pavement pounder. These items will help you perform better, recover faster, and celebrate every run.

As a runner, what do you covet most? What have I left off the list? Let me know in the comment section below. Happy holidays.

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1. Jabra Sport Pulse wireless ear buds. It’s a wireless headset that’s also an all-in-one fitness trainer. The Pulse wireless headphones by Jabra feature a clinical grade in-ear heart rate monitor and audio coaching with the included Jabra Sport LIFE smartphone app. Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, these headphones have a built-in mic, are lightweight, and have ear clips for a secure fit. Available in store at Best Buy and online. $249.99

2. NB Heat Hoodie. When your favourite runner is diving deep into the cold, this scuba-inspired women’s hoodie is their best friend. The shaped hood fits closely and covering the mouth for coziness they won’t have to constantly adjust. And thumbhole cuffs add even more warmth. Available in store at New Balance and online. $89.99

3. Restore by Gaiam Muscle Therapy Foam Roller. Loosens tight, knotted muscles, and improve your favourite runners flexibility with Gaiam’s durable high density foam deep massage 36″ high-density Foam Roller.  Available online. $49.99

4. Tiux Graduated Compression Socks. Train harder and keep your favourite runners legs energized with Tiux Performance Compression Socks. Engineered to help runners improve performance, reduce muscle fatigue and recover faster. Available online. $35.00

5. Massage. What runner doesn’t love a post long run massage. Massage therapy treatment has a therapeutic effect on the body and optimizes health and well being by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Available for purchase online, check out my friends at The Health Loft. $59 for 30 min – $144 for 90 minutes.

6. Race Registration. Race fees can add up, why not support your runner in their habit for healthy, active living by picking up the tab on one or two races. Canada Running Series even offer a multi event pack where you will save by registering for more than one race and gift cards! Available online. $50-$115 per race.

7 Holiday Gift Ideas For Your FitFriend

Everyone has a friend that runs marathons or obstacle races, or a family member who wants to get fit on their holiday shopping list. To help shoppers buy for fitness-enthusiasts here are my top seven get fit gift ideas – and the best news, they can all be bought online!

1. The Asylum

Okay, this first gift doesn’t sound very happy holidays and it’s not, this is a butt kicking extreme at home workout that will make you regret even smelling the beautiful combination of egg nog and gingerbread! I started The Asylum leading up to the Hamilton Road 2 Hope Marathon and it is killer. I was intrigued in the program because of the recent surge in functional fitness style workouts and local programs like Game Changer, so thought giving it a try at home would save me some embarrassment in the park. Insanity: The Asylum is  Beachbody’s latest home fitness programs with celebrity trainer Shaun T. It’s a 30 day elite sports training program, which would be a great gift for athletes of all levels including those just getting started and those training for marathons, triathlons, and especially obstacle races. It includes the 6 DVDs, a workout tracking calendar, a nutrition plan, as well as both a jump rope and agility ladder for the many die hard drills. It does require some floor space (my Toronto condo was tight), but with some creativity you can make it work and it’s well worth it! Asylum is available at Best Buy, Sears, TV Showcase, Walmart, Beachbody.com and Shopnorthern.com for $119.99.

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2. Oakley Extreme Tight Capris

I love the look and feel of these tights, and every time I wear them I feel like I am in a scene from Tron (the new one) come to life. Created for “zoned support and mobility,” the Extreme Tight Capris are a high–performance compression fit capris. They have stretch panels which cover key alignment areas of the body, and a nearly seamless construction which “reduces chafing and increases durability.” The capris also have articulated knees and mesh panels which “provide a natural feel and optimize airflow.” These capris would be a great gift for any active gal who likes putting her clothes through demanding multi–sport workouts, run, yoga, or cross-fit, these capris will have you covered. Available in store and online at http://ca.oakley.com for $100.

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3. Nike+ SportWatch GPS

After my Nike+ SportBand died I needed something new and knew many runners rocking the Nike + SportWatch so decided it give it a try. The reason Why I am so happy with this watch is best described on their sight “Think Less, Run Better Put on your Nike+ SportWatch GPS, go outside and run.” The SportWatch allows you to personalize the scrolling data that you want to see during your run which includes the ability  to track your pace, distance, calories and heart rate and more. It contains a built in USB into the watch strap, so post run you just plug the watch directly into a USB port on your computer to upload run data and recharge the battery. You can also combine this watch with the Nike+ shoe sensor which acts as an optional backup if the GPS signal gets interrupted or for indoor use on the treadmill. The SportWatch also allows you to connect with Nikeplus.com which allows you to connect with friends through Challenges and sharing your run activity on Facebook and Twitter, and also allows you to see your mapped route with pace data, and elevation changes. Available in your local Nike store, at http://www.RunningRoom.com or http://store.nike.com for $169.

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4. Saje Natural Wellness Pain Release Natures Remedy Roll On

While in Vancouver for the SeaWheeze Half Marathon last August I was introduced to Saje and fell in love with this store. The air at the start of the race was filled with the scent of their Pain Release Remedy Roll as their army of volunteers filtered through the start line massaging this oil onto the necks of the eager runners. The Pain Release Remedy Roll On is an all natural pain release remedy which is a safe, gentle topical recovery tool for all skin types. The easy-to-use roll on format is ideal for muscular pain, joint stiffness, external bruising and arthritis, and is perfect for your FitFriend who may need some extra recovery help after those long runs or tough strength workouts.  Available at http://saje.ca for $26.95.

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5. Tiny Devotions Stack

For many years I have been in love with Tiny Devotions and their mala beads and gorgeous stacks. Perfect for yogis, yoginis, or mindful athletes, every piece of jewelry is connected to an intention such as love, joy, patience, focus, adventure, freedom, and strength to name a few. Below is the Bardot Stack, named after Bridget Bardot (a piece I have been coveting for a while). This yellow and cherry quartz, lotus and sky blue fire agate stack has the intention of being a beautiful person on the inside and out. I suggest purchasing a stack over a mala necklace because personally I love to mix my stacks with each other as well as other pieces of jewellery for the ultimate arm party – I’ve even mixed my Gangster stack with my Goddess stack, my RoadID and Nike SportWatch for what I refer to as Endurance Boho or Mindful Athlete style. Available online at http://www.lovetinydevotions.com/ stacks are made in Canada and range in price depending on the stones. The Bardot stack is available for $127.

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6. RoadID, Wrist ID Slim

If you are shopping for a runner, cyclists, or anyone who likes to get fit outdoors, the RoadID should be a must on you list.  Their website puts it best stating that “in the event of an accident, if you can’t speak for yourself, your Road ID will.” RoadID is a silicon bracelet with the emergency contact information of the wearer. After deciding to no longer race with my cell phone, Road ID for me was a must, because “it’s not just a piece of gear – it’s piece of mind.” I purchased a black  Wrist ID Slim which is the slimmest (or smallest) ID in their lineup – also suitable for kids. The website states “with its stylish and comfortable silicone band, you will be tempted to make a lifestyle statement and wear it 24/7” and to be honest I have considered that – especially when off to functions with other fit peeps (read above re. arm party). Like all their ID products, The Wrist ID Slim can be laser engraved with  three emergency contacts and is available in ten different colors. Side note – be sure to double check your phone numbers – I wrote my sisters down wrong 😦 Available at https://www.roadid.com for $17.99. (Shoppers hint: there are often sales and promo codes flying around the internet so do a quick Google search to save on shipping.)

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7. A Gift Card to Your Local Fitness Studio or Race Registration

I love sweating in new ways and January is always a great (although crowded) time to start. Consider purchasing an entry fee to an upcoming race event or a month long membership (or at least a 5 class pass) for your FitFriend at their favourite gym or a new studio within the community. Better yet, make a purchase for the two of you and start 2014 off sweating together!

What’s on your fitness holiday wish list? Share it in the comments!