It’s all about looking good…or is it?

“This is not just a simple game of fashion design.”

shutterstock_221289946New disciplines in sport science have had an unparalleled impact on human performance. Biomechanics, psychology, sport nutrition, and biochemistry have pushed the legal limits of our abilities in athletics.

I have always appreciated the influence technology has on sport performance. For good or bad, there is always something to be learned. Human curiosity has pushed us to a better understanding of our potential, and how to achieve it.

The sport clothing and apparel industry established its rightful place in the technology conversation, and it is as competitive as any industry on the planet.

But, this is not just a simple game of fashion design.

It’s a game of think tanks, secret labs, testing facilities, and multi-million dollar investments in experimental technologies. I’m not talking about some run of the mill engineering. These are technologies that must not only impact human achievement, but make us look good at the same time—and they all have to work by simply lacing up a shoe or slipping on a shirt.

In the sport and fitness world, technology has touched everyone—from youth development, to the weekend warriors, to the world’s top athletes. In fact, the impact science has had on performance is so powerful that virtually every athletic governing body now has technology mandates, and guidelines for equipment, facilities and yes, even clothing.

In light of this, in 2006, the World Anti-Doping Agency began a consultation on technology, to better understand how engineering might impact sport performance outcomes. This led to the realization that an unfair competitive advantage can occur due to technological advancements. This is now recognized as an official threat to the integrity of sport, and is called Technology Doping.

While we all know about the standardization of equipment, like the regulation of bats in baseball, or racquet-length in tennis, or the club guidelines in golf, there are also restrictions and guidelines on playing surfaces, facilities, artificial limbs, and most certainly, clothing.

Take, for example, swimsuits:  The Speedo LZR Racer was so effective it is now regulated in swimming competition. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, 23 of the 25 swim records that were broken were done so by swimmers in LZR suits.

The next year, at the 2009 World Championships in Rome – the technology plot thickened!

“In the sport and fitness world, technology has touched everyone.”

The Influence of Wearable Technology in Sport


At the 2009 FINA World Championships in Rome, 43 world records fell—not due to better athletes, better preparation, or atmospheric conditions, but in large part due to science. In Rome, it was the NASA-designed Speedo LZR swimsuit that turned the swimming world upside down! Much like the get-ups worn by other notable super humans, such as Captain America, Superman, Spiderman, or Susan Storm (played by Jessica Alba) of the Fantastic 4, the Speedo LZR suit took human abilities to new levels. It was designed to mimic shark skin!


In the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games, Canadian and US ski teams wore the Spyder suit. Claims were made that this technology reduced drag in wind tunnel testing by one to three percent. Over a 100 second downhill course that could mean a one-half second to one full second faster time, which is a podium of difference for the world’s top skiers.


Heading into the 2012 London Olympics, the technology/performance quest continued, as Nike pushed human achievement on the track with the introduction of the Pro TurboSpeed suit. Researchers claimed the suit could significantly impact performance times in the 100, 200, and 400 metre events. The TurboSpeed suit’s design has golf-ball style dimples worked into the fabric, which reduces the aerodynamic drag. In 100 metre test trials, the suit cut times by 0.023 seconds, which is a monumental period of time within the most exciting 10 seconds in all of sport—the Olympic 100 metre final! In fact, that amount of time would have meant a silver medal, rather than bronze, for Walter Dix at the Beijing Games.

Nike did not stop there. For the marathon, they put together a shoe 19% lighter than their previous marathon shoe. Putting that in perspective, spokespeople at Nike say that over the typical 40,000 steps taken during a marathon, the 19% savings adds up to the weight of your average car.

On a greener note, 82% of the Nike Pro TurboSpeed’s polyester fabric is made from 13 recycled water bottles. The basketball uniform for the 2012 “Dream Team” was made from 22 recycled bottles.

As science pushes us forward in virtually every aspect of our lives, I am excited about the incredible advancements in the arena of performance clothing and wearable technology. TurboSpeed suits; LZR suits; smart clothing; compression shorts, and thermo-regulating fabrics are all designed to take us a little closer to realizing what it really feels like to achieve human maximum achievement.

It all works to the consumer’s advantage. The apparel companies know the new performance clothing has to be functional, and they know it has to look good, as well. So, get out there and check into the new wearable technology and fashion. There is a lot of cool new gear that could really impact your training and performance.

And, hey…two minutes for looking so good!


Discover Wonderfall in Lake Louise


Mountains beckon nature-lovers at any time of year. Winter snow brings skiers and snowmobilers; spring offers wildflowers and animals waking from their long winter sleeps; summer presents numerous activities and opportunities for adventure, such as fishing, golf and hikes into high mountain meadows. But, what about autumn?

Surprisingly, this can be a somewhat forgotten period in the mountain calendar for tourists and explorers. However, it can also be a hidden gem for those who want to avoid the crowds of summer and the cold temperatures of winter.

Lake Louise is a stunning destination at any time of year. In autumn, the Larch trees put on a special golden show in the region, creating a magical experience for visitors.

Banff & Lake Louise Tourism recognizes this spectacle with Lake Louise Wonderfall until October 12th, 2015, assembling an awesome array of activities, accommodations, and amazing cuisine options for travellers. The Lake Louise Wonderfall experience allows you to luxuriate in extraordinary scenery, participate in all sorts of outdoor and indoor pursuits, and enjoy an alpine picnic or dine in a fine restaurant specializing in haute cuisine.

“Paddling through the breathtaking blue waters can soothe your soul.”


_47A4788 (1)A multitude of wild animals lives in Banff National Park and Lake Louise. For those with a keen interest in wildlife, there are a number of ways to safely seek out viewings. Parks Canada can direct you to scenic hikes in the back country, where you are more likely to see animals in their natural settings. Trained guides can also lead you on targeted treks with critters in mind. There are also great locations for birdwatchers to hang out and spy feathered friends. Driving or biking the panoramic roadways might also bring you into closer contact with wildlife. Whatever you do, make sure you are properly prepared for your adventures, to keep you and the animals safe.


To help you capture amazing images of all the displays of flora and fauna, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is offering a fabulous “Fall Photography Weekend Package” with instructional indoor and outdoor workshops led by celebrated nature photographer, Richard Berry, on September 18th and 19th.


Untitled1WELLNESS presents fitness expert Susan Agrios, who guides participants on an enchanting, healthful journey—hiking, meditating, and practicing yoga—through the amazing mountain country, from September 18th-20th. Google “Training by Agrios” to register for the retreat.

Throughout the month of September, on Saturdays and Sundays, Parks Canada teaches visitors to geocache. Meet at the Lake Louise Campground Theatre and learn how to seek and find hidden “treasures” using a supplied GPS device.

2015 is also the 75th Anniversary of the fabled Icefields Parkway. This famous scenic route guides you through mountain highlands full of turquoise sparkling lakes and vivid glaciers, highlighting unparalleled vistas. Parks Canada encourages you to take it in with their complimentary Icefields Parkway Explorers booklets, available at the Lake Louise Visitor Information Centre.

For those who feel the pull of the water, canoe and kayak rentals are available throughout the park, and at Lake Louise, in particular. Paddling through the breathtaking blue waters can soothe your soul.

Another way to appreciate the magnificent scenery is by going on a trail ride. Brewster Lake Louise Stables and Timberline Tours proffer numerous choices, including a “Spooktacular” option.

Alternatives abound for hikers, too. Choose an easy ramble such as the Bow Summit Lookout trail, or have tea at the top, with moderate hikes to the Plain of Six Glaciers the Lake Agnes Teahouse. If you desire a more demanding track, the enticingly-named Paradise Valley & Giant Steps trek, or the Boulder Pass route will meet your expectations. No matter which way you walk, the majestic views of the mountain scenes and fall colours will delight you.


_47A5000If all of the activity makes you hungry, the Lake Louise Sightseeing Gondola and Whitehorn Lodge Restaurant proposes either the “Lift, Lunch and Larches” package or the “Gondola and Gourmet” option. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise presents more dining choices, in their Fairview or Walliser Stube restaurants. A host of other eating alternatives is available in and around the lake and village. Visit Poppy Brasserie, the Baker Creek Bistro, Laggan’s Mountain Bakery or the renowned Post Hotel & Spa. You can find everything from mountain cuisine to continental to pasta and pizza.

“The Larch trees put on a golden show.”

So, if you’re looking for an autumn getaway that will stir all of your senses, “Wonderfall” is the perfect time to visit Lake Louise!


For more information on Wonderfall, go to: www.banfflakelouise.com

A bit of history:

Both Lake Louise and the province of Alberta were christened for Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Louise Caroline Alberta, whose husband was Canada’s Governor General from 1878 to 1883. Sadly, the Princess never saw the beautiful lake, nor the province, which were later named after her.


Enter for your chance to win 1 of 5 great prizes from Banff & Lake Louise Tourism by sharing your favourite Wonderfall photos on Instagram or Twitter hashtag #lakelouisewonderfall between September 5th and October 12th.



Know Your Foot Type Before You Buy

Most running shoes feel comfortable when you’re standing in a shoe store, but the true test comes several kilometres into your run. You’ll soon realize that the ideal shoe has more to do with your running style and the shape of your foot than it does with the logo stitched on the side. There are as many stride types, foot shapes, and foot strikes as there are runners, and no shoe will be perfect for everyone. To find the best running shoe, learn more about your foot type.  If you have a normal arch on your foot, you’re likely a normal pronator, meaning you’ll run best in a stability shoe that offers moderate pronation control. Runners with flat feet normally categorized as overpronate, so they will run well in a motion-control shoe that controls pronation. High-arched runners typically underpronate, so they will run best in a neutral-cushioned shoe that encourages a more natural foot motion.

  • Motion Control – over pronators
  • Stability – neutral pronators
  • Cushion – under pronators

Any of the top running or sport performance stores will be able to help you determine what type of shoe will work best for you and your sport.  Keep in mind, a pair of running shoes should last between 400 to 500 miles of running (three or four months for regular runners).

Whether you’re a runner, walker or gym enthusiast, here’s a sneak peak at what’s in store for 2015!

Saucony Breakthru

saucony breakthru

This is a brand new, lightweight neutral training shoe that’s built a bit closer to the ground for a faster feel. It has an 8 mm drop and promises to be fast and smooth. The Breakthru will appeal to a broad spectrum of runners and can be used on everything from daily training runs to marathon race days.


Saucony Triumph 12

The Triumph 12 has been completely overhauled with Saucony’s new IsoFit technology—a wrap system in the upper that creates a near-custom fit. The Saucony Triumph is a well-cushioned shoe with an excellent fit for a neutral runner looking for a comfortable ride during long runs.



Adidas Adizero Tempo 7

This shoe is for runners who prefer running in lightweight shoes that provides medial support. For long distance running, this shoe will match the mild over pronated runners. The Tempo 7 brings more mid-foot support for extra comfort and performance.



New Balance Vazee Pace

This speedster is a brand new shoe from New Balance that will bring you a light, neutral, cushioned ride, a snug fit and more toe spring in the front of the shoe to help you roll to new personal records.



Mizuno Wave Enigma 5

A neutral shoe with a luxurious, cushioned ride, the 10.9 oz Wave Enigma 5 is perfect for the runner seeking maximum shock attenuation and the plush, floating feel of “disappearing comfort.” Soft and flexible upper materials are constructed in a comfortable, sock-like fit.



ASICS GEL-DS Trainer 20

The GEL-DS Trainer 20 is a lightweight, stable and well-cushioned running shoe for over pronators. The shoe has been designed to have minimal stitching and material overlays to keep the overall weight of the shoe down, and to enhance breathability and comfort.





MeditationMeditation offers focus, relaxation and insight into yourself

My adventures as a yogi began when I was about eight-years-old hiding in the trees with my friends. We were spying on my mom meditating, who at the time was a yoga teacher. We all giggled when I said, “Look, my mom is going to levitate.”

Somewhere along the way the torch was passed from my mom to me as I made many trips to India, New Mexico and California to study with some of the World’s Greatest Yoga Masters, Swamis and Gurus.

Before I went on this “yogic journey,” I had this gut feeling there was more to the picture than just getting everyone physically fit. As I listened to others tell me they were stressed out, anxious, depressed, not sleeping, not able to focus, concentrate etc. And I too, had so many unanswered questions. This fueled me to want to learn more, to go deeper and explore yoga and meditation as another tool to perhaps find some answers to my own and others’ many questions.

“You don’t need anything, all you need is you and your breath.

While travelling to these places to learn more about yoga and meditation was an exciting new adventure, it was also a very foreign experience for me. What I was about to embark on couldn’t be more opposite than what I was doing. At the beginning it was quite a struggle to go from an extremely competitive environment of speed, strength and power, to sitting for hours meditating: still, quiet, slowing down my breath and heart rate, silent yoga and meditation retreats and chanting mantras with yogis in turbans, long beards, orange robes etc. In essence I went from this fast paced “doing” lifestyle to just “being”. 

At first I had a great deal of difficulty sitting still for even a few minutes. On top of this, the more I sat in silence and meditated, the more questions I had. In fact, my questions were often met with more questions and my thoughts often led to more thoughts.

I actually remember thinking when I was meditating that I must be doing something wrong, since isn’t the purpose of meditation to not think, clear your mind, not have questions and go into a thoughtless state? I thought meditation was supposed to be relaxing and calming, yet my mind was racing.

What I didn’t realize was my mind had always been racing, but I just wasn’t aware of it since I was so busy “doing.” Fortunately over time, my mind quieted and there were less questions, in fact sometimes no questions at all. My thoughts lessened and I was able to sit still and meditate for extended periods of time—sometimes over two hours. I began to go into these deep states of relaxation both physically and mentally and somewhere along the way the dots started to connect.

Over time I began to find the balance to compliment my competitive Type A athletic personality. How did I do this and get to this place? The simple answer is through meditation. The great thing about this is you don’t need anything— all you need is you and your breath! I learned it’s important to also be still and quiet so you can listen to what your body, mind and spirit are telling you. Otherwise you just continue repeating the same ingrained habits and patterns over and over again—overriding or ignoring the “true” messages they are delivering. 

These ingrained habits and patterns are much like a record that gets stuck in a groove and keeps playing the same thing over and over again. Through meditation (sadhana, daily meditation practice) you can find balance, relaxation and focus on what really is important to help you lead a healthier and happier life. Things that may have bothered you before or caused you a great deal of stress or anxiety no longer bother you to the same degree. Like “water off a ducks back” you can be “in the eye of the hurricane”.  I’ve often said you can’t control your external environment, but you can decide what you bring to the situation and how you perceive it.


Sit tall with a straight spine or lie down with eyes closed. The breath is through your nostrils and you want to slow it down since simply slowing down your breath to eight breath cycles is dramatically calming. 

Inhale… abdomen fills with air (relaxes and expands), then the chest expands followed by the upper ribs and clavicle lifting.  The exhale happens in reverse order with the clavicle relaxing, then chest emptying followed by the abdomen pulling in and up forcing out any remaining air (navel point pulls in and up toward the spine).


Find a quiet space in the morning, afternoon or evening to practice your long deep breathing for 3-11 minutes.  If your mind wanders try counting backwards from 27 to 1 (Inhale 27, Exhale 27, Inhale 26, Exhale 26 and so on) or mentally say the following mantra Sat Nam (pronounced Sut Nom… Nom sounds like mom).  Inhaling Sat, Exhaling Nam.

Check in throughout the day to see if your breathing is shallow and in your chest or expansive and in your belly. You can set your watch to go off every hour or two as a reminder to do this.


It’s important to remember. The mind follows the breath. The key to controlling the mind is controlling the breath. Yet of all the positive changes a person can make, learning to breath deeply, and completely is probably the most effective for developing higher consciousness, and for increasing health, vitality, and connectedness in one’s life.




Take your training to the next level

If you like analytics, there are so many great apps that you can download to any phone to help you track your training and keep you motivated. They provide great data like speed, distance and time and can act like your virtual coach or training partner. If you haven’t tried any of these before, here are a few great free apps that could help you in your training.

APP: RunKeeper - GPS Running, Walk, Cycling, Workout and Weight Tracker

Track your pace, measure workout distance, chart weight loss, crush training goals and more with LifeHacker’s 2012 Best Running App! RunKeeper is the simplest way to improve fitness, whether you’re just deciding to get off the couch for a 5k, biking every day, or deep into marathon training.

APP: C25K - 5K Trainer FREE (Go from Couch Potato to Running the 5K)

The OFFICIAL C25K (Couch to 5K) program. You alternate between walking and running until you build strength. This app is designed for people who are just taking up running.  It provides you with an eight-week long plan, with workouts three times a week, ideally with breaks between days. Each workout session is from 30-40 minutes long (including five minutes warm up and five minutes cool down). This is the only 5K training app to be partners with MyFitnessPal for seamless.

APP: Nike+ Running

Whether you’re a beginner or training for your tenth marathon, keep track of your running progress with this popular GPS-powered app. Log your stats including time, pace, and distance, and get real-time audio feedback so you can keep your eyes on the road. Listen to friends cheering you on through Facebook while you run. If your energy is lagging, a Powersong provides an instant boost.  Share your progress with the Nike+ running community and invite friends to race in a custom challenge.

APP: Runmeter GPS Pedometer Run, Cycle, Walk, Jog & Interval Training

Runmeter is designed for those who love loads of data. It records and stores a wealth of running stats including time, distance, pace, elevation, and even weather. The app syncs with Google Maps for detailed terrain and traffic info so you know what to expect on your route. Track your progress visually with cool charts, graphs, calendars, and maps. Unlike apps that interface with a website, Runmeter stores your running history right within the mobile app. Compete against yourself or against other runners by importing friends’ stats. And if that’s not enough, an elite upgrade has many extra features for $4.99.

APP: Runtastic 

Map and monitor your runs with this feature-rich personal training app. Runtastic keeps a detailed log of your progress with route maps. It also graphs results, including heart rate, distance, speed, and elevation. Set goals and upload your progress to the Runtastic website, where you can join an online community of runners to get tips and challenge each other. Make your run even more social by photographing and geotagging cool sights on your route. You can also get cheered on by Facebook friends as you run. Weather and sunlight data helps you pick the best time for a run. Enter post-workout info to record your mood and rehydrate properly.

APP: Run with Map My Run - GPS Run, Walk, Tracker and Calorie Counter

As the name aptly implies, MapMyRun does exactly what it says: it maps and records your run. The app conveniently informs you of how long you’ve been running and your pace as you go along, and once you finish, you can save and share your for comparison with later run times. The app also counts the amount of calories you burn and charts your elevation profile in addition to keeping track of your diet, all while retaining access to your iPhone’s music catalog and incoming phone calls.

APP: Endomondo – GPS Run, Cycle, Walk, Tracker & Personal Coach

Based on the premise that “when something’s fun, you’re more likely to do it,” Endomondo aims to make any type of fitness social and enjoyable. Start off with a fitness test, then let the app help you create a training plan and set personal goals. Endomodo tracks distance, calories burned, and degree of improvement for every workout. Friendly audio alerts let you know if you’re lagging or setting a personal best while you exercise. Share your progress with a global online community and cheer on others. A premium version comes with expanded features.



Aulani Disney Resort and Spa offers something for visitors of all ages

8_11_DVC_92477When one thinks about Disney, they automatically instill images of the famous south Florida’s Disneyworld or California’s Disneyland.

But a little known yet fabulous slice of the magical kingdom beckons guests of every age to find the Hawaiian Disney vacation of their dreams at the beautiful Aulani Disney Resort and Spa at Ouha, Hawaii. In beautiful and relaxing surroundings infused with the stories and surprises of Hawaii, visitors will discover whatever they hope to find in the islands: adventure, romance, tradition and fun.

Overlooking a beautiful beachfront lagoon less than an hour from Waikiki on Oahu, Aulani has been imaginatively designed to embrace time-honored Hawaiian traditions, inviting dreamers from everywhere to savor their time together. From the moment guests arrive at the resort, they will be enchanted by unique surroundings that pay tribute to the authentic arts of Hawaii and the melding of earth and architecture in one special place. And with Disney magic sprinkled throughout, guests will encounter a vacation paradise uniquely designed for families.

Each day of their stay, Aulani Guests will be able to customize their experiences – relaxing on the beach or in the Laniwai Spa, splashing through the pools and water play areas of the Waikolohe Valley, or discovering the island on specially planned excursions. Among the unique experiences at Aulani are the Fireside Mo’olelo for storytelling (mo’olelo is the Hawaiian word for story), and spotting statues of Menehune (the legendary island little people known to accomplish marvelous feats of construction), hidden throughout the resort.

“Aulani draws families into fun experiences that bring everyone together.”


With that special magic only Disney can provide, Aulani draws families into fun experiences that bring everyone together, from movie nights under the stars to explorations of the Menehune Adventure Trail. Families can enjoy lei making, hula dancing and learning a Hawaiian sunset chant, all under the guidance of local artists and guides. At night, the beachside fire pit comes to life as storytellers speak and sing ancient tales of the islands.

The creators of Aulani knew that some guests would like to explore beyond the resort, too. Excursions can be booked to sail aboard catamarans, ride horseback, kayak through protected islets, and more. Many excursions are specially designed for Aulani guests and feature knowledgeable and friendly Adventure Guides.

Hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club villas have been thoughtfully planned to cater to the needs of a family vacation, with refrigerators, flat panel televisions and wireless Internet access. Guests will want to look for the hidden Mickeys. Moms and dads don’t have to worry about kids setting down wet glasses; it won’t affect the already “distressed” look of tables inspired by traditional Hawaiian craftsmanship.


8_11_DVC_95353Aulani has special fun, excitement and vacation relaxation for adults and teens. They can start the day with beachside yoga that rejuvenates the soul, then rent a private poolside cabana offering unique amenities and world-class Disney service. Active adults and teens may prefer Aulani recreation programs. For evening relaxation, sunset-facing hot tubs beckon.

Also enticing is Laniwai, a Disney Spa. For adults, Laniwai is a haven of tranquility in 18,000 square feet of space, with 15 treatment rooms, a fitness center and the 5,000-square-foot outdoor Kula Wai hydrotherapy garden, the only one of its kind on Oahu. For teens there is Painted Sky, a spa specially designed just for them with a yogurt bar, computer access, mixology station and a menu of treatments.

Romantic dinners can be enjoyed away from the little ones in the beachside ‘AMA’AMA restaurant or Off The Hook lounge. Guests will savor the local flavors with fresh fish and cuisine grown by local farmers. Couples may want to complete their day with a sunset celebration or stroll along the ocean’s edge.


11_14_AUL_0078-2Children – known as keiki in Hawaii – can leave their elders and their flip-flops at the door as they enter the cozy world of Aunty’s Beach House, a signature Disney kids’ club. Aunty is related by affection rather than by blood or adoption and her house generally is considered one of the best and safest hang-out spots. She and uncle always have a lot of stories to share about the old days when she was a keiki, and she knows a lot about modern day kids, too. Younger guests will learn the hula, create Hawaiian arts and crafts, play games with favorite Disney characters and enjoy a laid-back movie afternoon when it “rains.”

Aunty’s Beach House is designed for children ages 3 to 12. Special tween programs also are offered through Aunty’s Beach House.

When the mischievous waters call, tweens to toddlers will find themselves drawn to the Waikolohe Stream and the Menehune Bridge. They won’t be able to resist the lure of the Waikolohe Valley water slides and a float down twisting Waikolohe Stream on an inner tube. The enchanting Menehune Bridge invites children of all ages to search for the mysterious little builders hidden within this delightful structure.

About Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Aulani opened in August of 2011 and sits on 21 acres of beautiful oceanfront in Ko Olina, adjacent to a nine-acre, crystal-blue lagoon and white-sand beach. Ko Olina is about 25 kilometres from Honolulu International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from Waikiki.

Uniquely designed for families and inspired by the wonders and traditions of Hawaii, Aulani is a family paradise with a touch of magic. Aulani offers kids, adults and families Hawaiian vacation experiences with a special magic that only Disney can create. Delightful rooms and spacious Disney Vacation Club villas, a perfect location on a beautiful beachfront lagoon, and renowned Disney service and enchanting entertainment let dreamers of every age savor their time together on Hawaii as never before.



Performance base layers are essential to outdoor running

As we know, Edmonton is known for its cold winters so running can be challenging.  But running all-year round can be a successful component to any athletic career allowing to help build a strong running foundation. Training year round can allow you to increase your weekly mileage and speed workouts. Running throughout the winter also trains the mind and gives you that added edge of mental toughness for race season.

Getting out the door may seem hard when it’s cold and dark but it’s actually quite easy if you know how to dress to protect yourself from the elements. Layering is essential and having fabrics that wick moisture, are wind resistant or water proof will make training comfortable and easy. Try some of these must-have items to stay fit this winter and throughout the holiday season.




When you’re up against gusty winds and biting cold, the less skin that’s exposed, the better. Cover up from head to chin with this balaclava made of tech fabric.

Average Price: $25



Cover your dome in an insulating, wind-blocking hat for long, cold runs.

Average Price: $20



Designed for everyday pre-dawn/post-sunset use, the USB-rechargeable 75-lumen Sprinter is ready for any trail in any weather.

Average Price: $68

FlatsLinedrawingsAs in the Workbook


Thermal soft shell jacket combining a high performance fit and insulation for cold weather running.

Average Price:  $210



Great for windy and wet days. These pants offer lightweight coverage for strong gusts of wind and moderate rainfall/snow.  Easy to slip on and off.

Average Price:  $140


If packed snow and ice are making your favorite route look extra treacherous, strap these spikes on over your sneakers for extra traction. As always, though, run with care; sometimes inclement conditions make for a great reason to take a day off to rest and recover.

Average Price: $40



Merino wool gloves plus touchscreen compatibility means warm hands and complete control over your favorite running playlist.

Average Price: $40

Treadmill vs Running Outside

– When the weather or footing is bad, it’s safe and easier (controlled environment)

– No resistance on the body (i.e., wind, hills, etc.) making running easier

– Easier to train at a specific pace and target range

– Can be boring and make one minute feel like an hour

– Can be a pain doing intervals or speed training as you have to constantly readjust your speed

Tip: Setting the treadmill to a one percent grade accurately reflects the energy output and better simulates outdoor running



banff003Go off the beaten path and explore some of Banff’s hidden gems

As one of the most majestic places on Earth, Banff is often seen as the “other” winter destination for Edmontonians looking to wax up their skis and snowboards or take in breathtaking mountain views in a quaint and friendly setting. And while many Edmontonians have ventured to Banff National Park, often it is just for a day or two of hitting the slopes without taking the time to see beyond the obvious and discover the various other splendours Banff has to offer.

And that’s not to say that the hills are not worth visiting, as skiers, snowboarders and more travel from around the world just for the chance of that world-famous powder Banff is known for. Plus, with a variety of major events this year on Banff hills, such as the Lake Louise World Cup from November 22 to December 7, some of the best skiers in the world will compete on regional hills this year.

Although not as prolific as a world championship, Banff is becoming especially popular for its fantastic festivals, culinary delights and local artisans. And for a town that lives in winter for most of the year, why not celebrate it!

“Ski resorts are just one of the many ways to explore and experience the kick off winter in Banff and Lake Louise,” says Allison Gendron, senior manager at Banff Lake Louise Tourism.

“The destination offers multiple ways to the outdoors in the winter, whether it be cross-country skiing, snow shoeing, ice skating, dog sledding, horse drawn sleigh rides, the options are endless in the national park. These activities coupled with world class accommodation and dining, provide visitors with a truly unforgettable  experience,” adds Gendron.

In late November to late December, Winterstart Festival lights up the town with a month-long family friendly festival that includes the Santa Clause Parade of Lights, cookie decorating, wagon rides, choirs singing, craft making, ice sculpting and more.banff002

In January, another great festival becoming infamous for adventure begins. SnowDays is a fun-filled month of heart pumping, mid-week activities and weekend festivals jam-packed with adventures of all kinds.

The events launch on January 10 with a huge street party that includes loads of exhilarating outdoor activities that have become a tradition during SnowDays including the Slide & Ride, an ice playground, a 40-foot ice climbing wall in downtown Banff and much, much more throughout the month.

“Banff is becoming especially popular for its fantastic festivals, culinary delights and local artisans.”

As part of SnowDays, the Ice Magic Festival also begins in mid-January at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise with a 34-hour international ice carving competition. Watch in amazement as internationally renowned professional ice carvers work to sculpt towering one-of-a-kind works of art from imposing blocks of solid ice on the shores of Lake Louise.  With each ice block weighing a daunting 300 pounds, this exceptional art form involves grueling physical labour in a delicate balancing act with precision artistry.

Kids can even get into the swing of things the following weekend with a “Little Chipper” event. Here kids can learn the art and science of ice carving first-hand, with blocks and carving tools on hand. They can also skate with the Ice Queen on Lake Louise and spend time in the Cozy Corner Kids Indoor Activity Centre.

banff001From January 30 to February 1, the famous MEC Ice Climbing Festival takes place. The event includes the 40-foot Banff Avenue Ice Wall in downtown Banff, a grandiose sight to see in itself, which will operate as the hub for all festival components. There you can watch a demo or take a clinic for beginners with the skilled experts. For climbers of all skill levels, clinics are also offered on waterfalls in the surrounding area.  MEC’s “dry land” clinics help broaden your knowledge about avalanche awareness, choosing the right gear, and the best ice routes in the Canadian Rockies.

So next time you think of heading to the mountains, try the “other” winter destination and explore the Banff you thought you knew!



  • More than 4,000,000 visitors travel to Banff National Park every year since 1996.
  • The Town of Banff has an elevation of 4,537 feet making it the highest town in Canada.
  • Banff National Park was established in 1885 as Canada’s first National Park (third in the world) and was the birth of Canada’s vast national parks system.
  • Banff National Park covers 6,641 square kilometres.
  • Banff National Park has in excess of 1,600 kilometres of hiking trails.
  • Castleguard caves in the Northwest corner of Banff are Canada’s longest cave system.
  • Banff National Park has in excess of 2,468 campsites.
  • Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a United Nations designation which helps protect over 20,000 square kilometres of the Canadian Rockies.
  • The name “Banff” is derived from Banffshire, Scotland, the birthplace of two of the original directors of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
  • Banff National Park is home to the following seven National historic sites: Skoki Lodge, Abbot Pass Hut, Howse Pass, Cave and Basin, Banff Park Museum, Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, and the Cosmic Ray Station on Sanson Peak.
  • Skiing was introduced to the Banff and Lake Louise area in 1909 by Swiss and Austrian mountain guides.
  • Mountains in Banff National Park are 45 to 120 million years old.
  • Banff National Park has in excess of 1,000 glaciers.
  • Banff National Park is open all year round.



Just because summer is over, it doesn’t mean your training has to end!  In order to help you maintain your fitness level heading into the winter months, try some of my favorite items to help you train, enjoy and reach your personal best.

Photo Credit: photos provided by United Cycle

cool products_1Capture and share your life’s most meaningful experiences with the HERO 3+ Black Edition. Twenty percent smaller and lighter than its best-selling predecessor, it delivers improved image quality and powerful new features geared for versatility and convenience. SuperView is a new video mode that captures the world’s most immersive wide angle perspective, while Auto Low Light mode intelligently adjusts frame rate for stunning low-light performance. Combined with 30 percent longer battery life, 4x faster Wi-Fi, a sharper lens and compatibility with all GoPro mounts and accessories, the HERO3+ Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro yet.

cool productsUnlike many fitness trackers on the market, the Garmin GPS Vivofit remembers your activity level for the current day and assigns a more attainable goal for the next. A great choice for anyone getting into fitness trackers.

cool products_5This advanced t-shirt from ArmourVent was built to get you to the finish line. It’s the latest innovation for the heat—a new type of mesh that cools you, giving you what you need to power forward.

cool products_4This jacket offers advanced thermal protection with unparalleled breathability, stretch mobility, and moisture management for optimal performance in cold weather conditions.

cool products_3This salute to the ’60s has metal detailing inspired by electric guitars, and the retro riffs are part of a smooth, classic look as original as the icons of rock. Our homage to the era of high-decibel solos and horrified parents, Garage Rock is made of lightweight O Matter for comfort that never dies. It features high definition optics for the ultimate in clarity and protection.

cool products_6You know that point where quitting creeps into your head? Where you’ve had just about enough? That’s when you push yourself one step farther. And these are the capris that’ll help you get there. ArmourVent technology uses a specialized mesh to deliver unbelievable breathability and a light, stretchy, fast-drying fit.

cool products_2Feel the science of soft with Fresh Foam, an innovative midsole created from a single piece of foam that provides a lower, more natural underfoot feel. Developed using specialized design software, this lightweight men’s running shoe also features breathable air mesh and simple no-sew overlays that wrap the foot in the right places. A full-ground-contact, blown rubber outsole complements the shoe’s cushioning and delivers a smooth ride. The New Balance Fresh Foam 980: it’s unlike anything you’ve ever stepped into, and now available in limited edition colors.


Edmonton is home to some fabulous retail shops and boutiques that offer a blend of high performance gear, great training resources, supplements and more. Here are a few that we have showcased but there are much, much more.

12328 102 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5N 0L9

10558 82 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 2A4

7620 Gateway Blvd NW, Edmonton, AB T6E 4Z8

11419 104 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5K 2S2

8537 109 St NW, Edmonton, AB T6G 1E4



Athletics Alberta


Fall is the best time to visit this oenophiles dream

napa_1Nestled between northern California’s coastal mountain ranges and only a one-hour drive from San Francisco, this world famous wine-growing region is an oenophiles and travellers delight.

Best visited in the fall for its “crush season” when grapes are harvested and tours of wineries often showcase such processes, Napa Valley is a splendour of rolling valleys and sun-drenched hills with a mosaic of colours and friendly locals. Visitors in the fall can also avoid the summer crowds and slightly reduced hotel rates.

Beyond the 45,000 acres of vineyards, Napa Valley offers a grand variety of gourmet restaurants, bed-and-breakfast inn, spas and extensive shopping. With generous sunshine during the day and chilly nights, this unique climate is perfect for wine production, as well as for touring the vineyards by bike, car or bus.

While many visit Napa for its grandeur of parks, trails, arts and culture, golf, nightlife and more, the majority come for one reason: the wine experience!

With approximately 700 wineries here, ranging from family-owned farms to large enterprises, wines here owe much to the rich Napa soil that is perfect for growing extensive types of grape varieties. The result is a cornucopia of tastes for all from champagne, to chardonnay, to pinot to zinfandel.

But the best part of the wine experience for many is not actually the type of wine, but the actual experience of watching and learning from experts in wide-ranging tours explaining the intricate art of wine making. Amateur and expert aficionados alike can learn plenty on one of the hundreds of tours available, which range from intimate family vineyard tours to larger production facilities. 

A recent earthquake and aftershocks in August has resulted in some vineyards being forced to temporarily tidy up, but as with anyone living or working in California, life goes on. According to Margaux Lushing of Visit Napa Valley, almost all of the businesses affected by the earthquake resumed operations within a few days.

In terms of historic winemaking, Napa Valley is essentially the new kid on block, but that hasn’t stopped the Napa Valley from being one of the most toured wine regions in the world.

Wild grapes certainly grew in abundance in early Napa Valley, but it wasn’t until settlers starting building homesteads in the 1840s that the valley really began to see the potential for cultivating wine grapes.

One such settler, Charles Krug, is renowned for establishing Napa Valley’s first commercial winery in 1861. His sudden success and leadership sparked an explosion of wineries in the area, but that explosion was brought to a sudden halt as surplus grapes and root disease took hold. Prohibition in the 1920s resulted in the near destruction of wineries in the region.

After the repeal of Prohibition in the 1930s, Napa Valley’s wine industry began to slowly recover with some legendary wineries emerging under famous names such as Louis Martini, Georges de Latour and the Mondavi family.


In the years since, California and specifically Napa Valley wine, has become famous the world over with several hundred wineries operating in the region today. Over 500 of those wineries are part of the Napa Valley Vinters Trade Association, which encourages its members to produce consistent quality wines, provide environmental leadership and care for the region.

Lodging in the area can be difficult to find regardless of season, so it is best to book ahead when possible. Expect to pay around $200 to $250 a night for decent lodging so be wary of anything cheaper. Some of the best areas to stay include downtown, Yountville, St Helena, Rutherford and Calistoga.


Best Wineries to Tour in Napa

Beaulieu Vineyard – One of the oldest producers in the region, BV has created stellar wine since 1885 and has set the standard for some of the world’s finest California wine. bvwines.com

Black Stallion – Located on the grounds of a historic equestrian centre, visitors can analyze over 17 leaf and cluster-style grape varieties at this winery. blackstallionwinery.com

Buehler Vineyards – This family owned vineyard has some of the most understated and best value wines in the region. Members of the Buehler family even take you on personal tours! buehlervineyards.com

Cade Estate – Take in the views of the Napa Valley below from this LEED Gold-certified winery. Try some of their superb Sauvignon Blanc from their trendy outside living room. cadewinery.com

HdV – French expat Stéphane Vivier has taken his Burgundian winemaking techniques to new heights and created fantastic Carneros Chardonnays. Tour the cellars with their on-site sommelier. hdvwines.com

Cliff Lede – Rock n’ Roll meets upper class at this winery where each of its 39 vineyard blocks are named after a rock song. Pair your wine with appetizers and music for a unique tour. cliffledevineyards.com

Chappellet – Located on Pritchard Hill, this winery offers stunning high-elevation views and some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the region. chappellet.com

Corison – This small, family owned winery has forged a name over 30 years. Here you can actually make appointments to sample truly vintage Cabernet Sauvignon creations. corison.com




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