Winter Ready!

With winter knocking at the door, this is a great time to get your body ready for all the g-forces, bobbing and turning you will put your body through this season.

Let’s be honest…most of us are weekend warriors and surf a desk or some sort of seat in our regular time. So let’s get those limbs and core strong so the weekends are a little more fun and the weekdays are a little less sore! 

 This not so Olympian workout that can be done at home or at your local gym and it will get you better prepared for what’s to come in the winter season. 

Warm Up

Warm up is very important for the body and mind to prepare for the exercises; it should take about 5-7mins and include exercises like skipping or jumping jacks and stretching.

Here is a great warm up routine that activates all areas of the body

Snowboard Workout

Before doing any exercise routine make sure you’re healthy and have been cleared by a doctor to exercise. If you have never lifted weights or performed workout style exercises I strongly suggest you consult a certified personal trainer to make sure your positioning and movements are correct.

I like to pair exercise together to keep it interesting and to keep moving. When exercises are paired together I find I do not need to rest as much as single exercises.

How to: Each pair of exercises has 10 repetitions (reps) to be performed for 3 sets or rounds, alternating the exercises.  So, perform exercise A for 10 reps and immediately perform exercise B for 10 reps and then rest, that is one set or round. 

Box Jumps + Weighted Twist

Box Jumps: Height is not always the goal; sometimes it’s just to jump. Choose something you know you can jump onto, one step in a staircase, or even a board on the floor. Some gyms will have stackable boxes that are ideal. Start by facing the box or platform in a knees bent and ready position, when you’re ready, with both feet/legs, bend down and jump on to the obstacle, landing in a squat/bent position and stand up tall to complete the movement. Step down and do it again. Challenge yourself by adding more height to the box, start further away from the box or add reps. This is for your mind just as much as your body. Start small and work your way up. This exercise will get your ready for when you have to jump over those fence lines or be limber to dodge a body in the lift line. 

Weighted Twist: Find something that’s heavy for you and sit on the floor with your feet in front. Holding your weight straight out in front, try to lean back a little. Rotate your core so your hands and the weight come all the way to one side, and even behind you, it’s ok to bend your arms and the end of the rotation, a full range of movement is the focus. Rotate to the other side, going to both sides is 1 rep. Challenge yourself by leaning back more or adding weight. 

Step-out Lunges + Plank

Step-out Lunges: From a standing position, step out with one leg far enough to lower your body to let your back knee bend to touch the floor while keeping your front knee over your front foot and toward your little toe. Without your hands to help, push off the floor with your front foot to return to the standing position. Complete 10 reps on one side before switching to the other. Challenge yourself by holding weights, closing your eyes, or adding reps.

Plank: Starting in a push up position, bend your arms so you are supporting your upper body weight on your elbows. This is the plank position. Try pulling the bottom of your spine in towards your chin to maintain proper positioning. Hold this position for at least 20s-30s. Challenge yourself by holding the plank longer or by adding weight to your back

Sumo Squats + Leg Raises                  

Sumo Squats: Standing, spread your feet so they are wider than your shoulders, if it’s more comfortable, you can turn your feet outwards like a duck stance. Keep your back straight and bend your knees to lower yourself towards the floor as far as you can. To come back up think of squeezing your inner thighs to help you ascend. A straight back is the key to good body positioning. Challenge yourself by holding weights and adding reps.

Leg Raises: Start by lying your back on the floor, with your arms either by your side or laid out in a “t”. Thinking about only using your core, raise your legs off the ground until they are in a “L” or perpendicular to the floor, at the top squeeze your core to slightly lift your hips off the ground, and slowly lower your legs back to the floor. This is one rep. Challenge yourself by slowing the movement, adding weight to your ankles, or adding reps.   

I swear by these movements and exercises and implement them or variations of them into my workouts on a weekly basis. But I don’t just train for my sport, I train for life…so bring it!

5 Reasons to Love the Games

The Olympics has changed, well at least for me it has. Now that I am an Olympian I must admitthat I see the Games in a different light. I can relate closer, am included more and I am generally more interested. It shouldn’t have taken becoming an Olympian to really see all the amazing aspects of the Olympics, so I am going to break it down on why YOU should love this precious time too.

The Discovery Of Sports – Coming from a country known for mostly winter it’s hard to be familiar with all the summer sports involved with the Olympics. For example, I know almost nothing about all the track and field events. What exactly are the events in a heptathlon? I still don’t know that answer, but I am keen to discover more about it. The Olympics is great exposure to other sports and how they are played. Another example of this is how one of my besties is using the Olympics to gauge her four year old’s interest in sport. She keeps showing him different sports and asks if it interests him… he keeps saying that farming looks more fun…kids are funny.

The Commercials are the Best – I am the first to say that I don’t watch TV especially commercials, and really I should avoid watching them now too. This is because whenever I catch them I always get a little choked up. The P&G one when the diver is on the phone saying he can’t do it and his Mom very calmly says that he can, gosh I am getting teared up now! Companies really capture the emotions that athletes and parents go through; it’s astounding how well they do it.

The Campaigns are Engaging - It’s great how the campaigns connect the athletes to the audience, be it athletes at the Game or ones on homeland. Be it the Sport Check “Train like an Olympian” or what I am a part of, Canadian Tire’s #StepUpStandTall, my first digital campaign to participate in, they all engage you to care about the Games. I love being a part of the conversation and seeing all the moments that come up over the day. People have an opportunity to discover and connect with me. It’s a chance to donate for free to the Olympic Foundation and to JumpStart Charities just be retweeting and sharing the moments. I am not being paid to participate, it’s just a cause I believe in and the other people involved care about the Games and the stories. Check out all the moments Here

Canada’s Athletes Are There – Whether you love the Olympics or not, when you see that maple leaf on the score board you’re interested. Yesterday I was at a restaurant, baseball was on. I had to ask to change the channel to women’s soccer and I could tell the manager wasn’t very happy about it, stating quietly that not everyone loved the Olympics. About ten minutes later all the tables were turned to the TV and closely watching Canada verses France, cheering with the ebbs and flows of the game. Even the manager was into it and smiling when we had won. Canadian’s do love our athletes.

There Are No Boarders At The Games – Probably the biggest reason to love the Olympics is the comradery found between the countries no matter where you are from. This is best expressed in the picture below with the North and South Korean gymnasts taking a selfie together. This is the only time when we all get together to compete on the same and even playing field. The Games bring over two hundred countries together to celebrate sport, acceptance and a union. It just may be the closest thing to world peace.

I am not saying the IOC is perfect, or the aftermath isn’t going to be a nightmare. What I am saying is that the Olympics are awesome. The sports are eye opening, the commercials make us appreciative, the campaigns engage us, the national pride interests us, and there is nothing like an Olympic Games to unify the world. Why wouldn’t you love the Olympics?? Just one more thing GO CANADA GO!! 

Does Competing Get Results??

Many of the halfpipe team and I have been competing for a long time, a lot of our riders have been competing for more than a decade and yet they sit in the middle of the pack when it comes to  world ranking lists.

There are many factors to think about when asking “why” to this predicament. First, the quality of the fields has increased significantly over the last couple Olympic cycles. Another, the rider has to choose between two circuits contests to compete in, which leaves the rider with hard decisions and a hard to swallow credit card bill. They then have to find work whenever they can to cope with their expenses. Also, the amount of time which the athlete gets to train verses compete may be the biggest factor.

Our Canadian team are pushed to compete during the whole Olympic cycle, leaving little time to train and rebuild.

Choosing training over competing a hard choice for a rider to make in situation where funding doesn’t support this decision; choosing to take a step back with the hopes of leaping forward. Our system has become results driven, especially since 2010 when Own the Podium came into play. Yes, they got us on the podium, but at what cost to the development and sustainability of sport?

I know firsthand the hardships that come with taking time off from the circuit to train. Not being a part of a nationally recognized high performance program with snowboarding’s National Sports Organization and not competing meant that I did not qualify for any support or grants from Canada. For an entire Olympic cycle I fundraised and sought corporate and private sponsors, like Sony Canada, to help me get to my dream. I used hard work, determination and a bit of luck to get me there. Not everyone has this chance that I had.

There is ample evidence that an athlete doesn’t improve going from contest to contest with little support. Like all things that have high yield, they need to be nurtured and sustained, not deserted when things get tough.

Imagine what our talented halfpipe team could do with mainly training camps during the first two years of the Olympic cycle and only worrying about quotas and results going into the qualifying year. Training camps would be open to any recognized provincial athlete who has shown proof of commitment and talent. I believe the yield would be high and Canada would be back in the top ten of the world ranking lists again with more than one miracle athlete. 

You can’t own the podium all the time, at some point you have to build it before you own it.