Photo Cred: Vega
Last week I got an invite to a Vega event that was described, “Wake up and flip the script on the festival.” One thing I know when I am lucky enough to get an invite to a Vega event is that not only will it be a fantastic time, but it will also feature the best-of-the-best in fitness from the city, include a nutritious + delicious post workout refuel and of course be an awesome time! This event is the first of it’s kind during TIFF, Vega was hoping to shake up every attendees’ Friday morning and TIFF weekend with this unique, plant fuelled and sweat shaking morning that would have you ready to take on whatever the TIFF weekend throws your way! Liz and I had been anxiously anticipating the event since last week and were certainly ready for what the morning had in-store.
Wake-up & Arrival at The Addisons
I got up before the sun at 5:30, got ready and headed out to meet Liz at the corner of Bathurst & Wellington at 6:25am for us to head over to The Addisons together. We were a buzz of excitement this morning as we were ready and rested for a morning of yoga, sweating and socializing with some incredible folks from Vega and the Toronto sweat community! Upon arriving at The Addisons we were greeted by some awesome folks from GMR working the event where we checked in at the front door, snapped a shot at their photo wall and headed inside to grab out fresh apparel to wear for today’s session.
The Vega Team had outdone themselves with the set-up at the venue, transforming the outdoor patio of a city nightclub into an oasis of green mats, smoothie bars and social space! Each attended had a mat to call home for the class and as everyone arrived Jodie Fischsten lead a warm-up stretch class for those who wanted to get right into things or needed a bit of a wake-up since they likely bypassed the coffee this morning. Liz and I opted to take advantage of the bag check, change into our tanks, snap a few shots in the Phhhoto booth and grab some water before we selected our mats towards the front to settle in for the fun to begin. Before the welcome and intro to Jodie someone approached us to let us know that Lauren Toyota (MC for the event) would be sweating alongside us and asked of if we’d be okay with that? Of course we were, we might even be in her ET segment throwing her a high-five if you tune in!
Lauren Toyota was the MC for today’s event – you probably recognize her from her early career hosting on Canadian entertainment networks, but today you’ll find her sharing her journey to vegan through her popular YouTube channel as she recreates everyday favourites and explores new recipes to fuel your life! After giving us the overview for the morning Lauren signaled the event crew and we were all provided with a Vega Sport® Pre-workout Energizer shot to signal the start to the sweat session that was about to begin!
Yoga with Jodie Fischsten & Sweat Session with Strive Life
Our sweat session this morning was led by Jodie Fischsten and the Co-Founders of Strive Life Ryan Caicco and Martin Reader. Jodie is a yoga instructor from Toronto who leads classes at 889 Yoga, Spynga, Moksha and Downward Dog and Ryan + Martin who are both former professional athletes now spend their days running their community based fitness and wellness program at Strive Life on the west side of the city.
Without further adieu it was time to sweat and Jodie Fischsten was going to start by leading us through a 20 minute yoga flow warm-up to awake our bodies and get ready for what the Strive Life team had prepared for us. We took our time flowing through a few vinyasas, stretching out our upper bodies with some side bends, opening our shoulders with cobra + exhausted warrior and then settled into a child’s pose before transitioning back into our shoes to get a little more sweaty!
If you’ve never trained with Ryan and Martin from Strive Life then you better be ready to stay on your toes and keep your ears on standby for the beep. After a dynamic warm-up – including a lot of squats – we were briefed on our Tabata series. If you’re not familiar with Tabata based workouts you do four sets of one exercise 20 seconds on : 10 seconds of rest. Today’s set included: plank hand w/n + push-up, alternating scissors lunges + high knee drive, plank toe touches, squat progression and we finished it all off with a core burnout! Cheers broke out in celebration of making it through this morning’s workout and the crew gathered around for one heck of a group shot before we refuelled on some Vega smoothies.
Photo cred: GMR
Post Workout Dance Party with Rich Aucoin
After a water break, some delicious Vega based smoothies (mocha, chocolate or berry flavoured) and a short pause in the excitement we were graced with the musical + energetic presence of east coast musician Rich Aucoin who had arrived to get us all up on our feet to dance. If you’re familiar with Rich who know that he’s a performer who looks to not only get everyone on their feet, but also get each an every person engaged in the music through dancing, signing, cloud of drifting confetti or pumped up with his epic parachute. We were in LUCK this morning as we were treated to now only a confetti filled sing-a-long dance party, but before it was over the parachute made an appearance and this group of fit folk were about as excited as we all were in Grade 1 when we were told it was parachute day for gym class! Morning fit endorphins + dance party + parachute = magical nostalgic moment to the max!
Vegan Breaky Treats
Breakfast is my FAVOURITE meal type, I could eat breakfast food at any time of the day, so when I heard there was going to be a pretty epic breaky post workout I was intrigued as to what Vega would have on the menu. We certainly had a WIDE variety of options to choose from as the trays came out it was hard to not try one of everything, but it was easy to not feel bad about your choice or choices because everything served was vega, plant based and SUPER healthy for a post-workout meal. Anything I had a chance to sample is denoted below with a *.
The menu consisted of the following tasty treats:
- Pineapple Chia Pancakes – with coconut bacon crumble and maple syrup*
- Vegan French Toast – with banana-chocolate smash and cashew butter drizzle
- Granola Bowl – with non-dairy yogurt and mixed fresh and seasonal fruit*
- Polenta Toast (GF) – with avocado smash and a variety of toppings (toasted hemp seeds, micro greens, chives)
- Sweet Potato Hash – with salsa fresca and lime ‘crema’*
- Breakfast Burritos (GF) – with scrambled tofu and all the fixings (black beans, salsa, guac and slaw)
Primed for my Friday with a little sweat on my brow, a little post-workout hop in my step and fuelled for my morning at work thanks to the power of plant based nutrition and the awesome folks at Vega I couldn’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment as I made my way to the office. The #VegaShakeUp may have been just what I needed this week to reinvigorate me at the start of this new season and on this day of the week where we tend to find ourselves in a bit of a slump. It reminded me that together with incredible leaders from our city and a community of like-minded sweat loving wellness driven folks a lot of positive change can be had all while having a kick as time doing it! It’s these events that are always a great reminder of how grateful I am to cross paths with these folks and it’s brands like Vega who bring us all together to reconnect and provide us with the inspiration and tools to continue to chase our goals.
Personally as someone who is continuing a journey of reworking my nutrition plan in the coming weeks to aid my training and digestion struggles, it’s being reminded that we are so lucky to have products like Vega + the resources that the team tirelessly puts together to help us navigate the beneficial world of plant based nutrition. I also was thinking to myself today how it felt this morning to not worry about being on camera and just enjoy the moment – select the tank top at the door, dance like no one was watching, sing my heart out before 9am and really just be me and honour the best version of myself + this body that has been working so hard for me!
A BIG thank you to the Vega Team, for this morning shakeup unlike any other and for reminding us that it’s okay to stray from your normal routine and spend your Friday morning trying out new things!
Liz & I pre-workout & our after photo with our new #sweatsister Lauren!