I’ve always had a sparking interest in martial arts. When my sister’s fiancé lived in Vancouver, he practiced MMA training with a few friends of his and loved it. When I expressed interest, he gave me a little boxing 101, and actually gifted me my own set of ladies boxing gloves and wrist wraps. However, life happened, and those old boxing gloves served no other purpose than to collect dust in the back of my closet.
In fact, the only boxing they got to see was when they got tossed into the “To Donate” box when I was preparing to move. Little did I know that just a month later I would be sitting in the dojo of a new training centre hearing my instructor suggest we bring our own gloves and wraps in the following weeks. D’oh!
I recently joined the newly renovated Versus Training Centre in downtown Vancouver, located between Abbott and Cambie along West Hastings Street. My decision was the result of a too-good-to-be-true GroupOn offer for one month of unlimited classes, including Total Strength, Agility and Core, Circuits, and Kickboxing. Enthusiastically, I showed up on my first day to an agility and core class, and, for lack of a better expression, got my butt seriously kicked. Although I could barely move the next morning, I managed to peel myself out of bed again for the following day’s total strength class. I was hooked.
The teachers I’ve had so far are great; they are non- intimidating, have great instruction, and are helpful for all levels of students. Because they cap their classes at around 15 students, the teacher is always able to make sure all students have proper form and are benefitting from the exercise. In fact, one teacher was so on the ball that he saw right through my false-struggling bench press . “Hmmm, that weight looks a little easy for you!” Even some of the students are helpful. When partnered up in a strength circuit, in the midst of shaking through what was probably my 44th push up of the morning, my partner coached me (in the midst of his own plank, mind you), “Come on! Pick up your knees – just for the last 10 seconds!”
All and all, I’m totally impressed with this new gym, and am looking forward to sharing my experiences and growth with you as I continue my training. Yesterday, I brought in a variety box of ElevateMe Bars, along with a handy order form for the manager and staff to check out. I’m hoping they will love them as much as I do, perhaps as a nice ‘break’ from all the protein bars and supplements loaded with unpronounceable ingredients that dominate the market, and add them to their snack bar.
For now, I’ll keep my own stash handy in my back pack. Stay Elevated!
I’ve finally gotten a chance to sit down and get back to my writing. Since returning from my bike trip through Canada, I’ve been ‘on the move’ and relocating into a new place in Vancouver. Okay. I wish that were true. I’ve actually been relocating to several new places within Vancouver!By November, I plan to be settled down into a permanent place of my own, and meanwhile I enjoy the life of a city-gypsy.
This month, I’ve been up and down, and through and though this city more than ever – it’s almost like my bike trip never ended! Vancouver itself is actually quite a decent training ground for anyone on a bike looking to train their bodies for cycle touring. If you can get out and ride early in the morning and avoid downtown (and hence, all the stop lights and pedestrian crossings), you can pick up a modest speed and encounter some challenging hills. Need more of a challenge? Use your bicycle to help a friend move from one end of the city to the other! Even with fully-loaded panniers and a laundry basket tied to the end of your bike, in Vancouver, no one will bat an eye (and your quads will thank you)!
On a nutritional note, moving from one place to the next can create a fertile environment for slipping into poor eating habits. If the move involves several “temporary” places, it’s hard to stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables if you will only have to pack any leftovers to bring to your next location. This past month, I’ve found ElevateMe Bars (especially the new apple pie ones!) to be extraordinarily invaluable for keeping my protein and nutritional profile on par. I’m also keeping an eye out for fresh and cheap eats within the city for when I’m on the go during meal times. Here are a few of my recommendations:
1) Broadway Sushi (Broadway and Stephens): Fresh, light and affordable. I stopped by for a light dinner before a yoga class and ordered a “Kid’s Combo” for $5. This included green tea, miso soup, a small plate of vegetable sushi rolls and 2 rice-filled tofu pouches. The combination of quick and easily digestible carbs (okay, maybe white rice isn’t the best) and vegetable proteins are the perfect fuel for biking and yoga. I was also impressed because it is rare for me to find a restaurant that allows adults to order kids items, and really appreciate the option! Who knows, maybe with my helmet hair I look 12? Either way, this is a great place for eats!
2) Whole Foods Market (Downtown Robson, Cambie/8th, West 4th/Vine): At first glance, their menu may seem expensive, and it’s easy to get carried away at their incredible salad bar. However, if you poke around a bit you will find some delicious and affordable options here. Often their deli will have a special on one of their prepared foods items, and they have recently come out with an ongoing 2-for-$5 promotion for some of their pre-packaged foods (like salads, pakoras, etc) in their refrigerated section. My must-have item is their wheat free, omega-full kamut and spelt bread for only $0.39. Seriously. Oh yes, and if you still need that dessert but don’t want to splurge, they always seem to have samples going on in the bakery! Don’t tell them I sent you – I think they’re onto me!
3) Greens and Gourmet Vegetarian Buffet (Broadway and Trafalgar): Beware – another delicious, all-vegetarian salad bar! For a quick bite, try one of their baked samosas or a “healthy” piece of raw food pie. My favorite (when I just need a nibble to tide me over until meal time) is their sprouted grain bread. You will find this on the cold salad bar, and $0.62, you will be enjoying a filling, moist, and delicious pod of energy and protein. The staff here is incredibly welcoming – definitely a must-go for the Kitsilano dweller.
So cheers to good eats, warm places to sleep, and the opportunity to live in this beautiful city!