Blush’s Day at Bliss YogaSpaVendor Spotlight: Bliss YogaSpa

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on March 11, 2015

You want to get in shape for the big day, but the phrase “bridal bootcamp” makes you want to hide inside a tub of Häagen-Dazs. Ditto for the eighteenth revision of your seating chart because your cousin keeps changing her mind on her plus-one. You’re stressed. You look and feel just “blah”. You need to find Bliss. Literally.

Bliss is a full-service yoga studio and spa designed to rejuvenate body and soul. I could feel my tension slip away as soon as I was greeted by the friendly reception staff. After a quick tour of the building–which can feel like a maze but is really a large circle–and a crash course on how to use the digital lockers, I was ready to get my “glow” on.

Bliss offers several classes a day in both their heated and room temperature studios to accommodate every client’s schedule and level of yoga. I opted for the morning Blissful Glow Flow, “glow” being a prettier way of saying “you will drip sweat from between your toes.” The room was warm but not humid, full but not crowded. The instructor, Brandon, led the class through sequences of intermediate poses but left room for students to practice at their own pace; there were many opportunities to either take a break in child’s pose or push through another vinyasa.

From the Moodspace panel that bathes the clay walls in changing colours to the icy lemongrass-scented towels offered during the final savasana, yoga at Bliss is truly a sensory experience. After an invigorating sixty minutes students can hit the showers or unwind in the yoga lounge, which offers complimentary tea or healthy snacks and refreshments available for purchase. I, however, was off to the spa.

After trading my sweat-drenched yoga clothes for a robe and flip-flops, I settled into a comfortable chaise in the spa lounge with a cup of organic tea and an iPad provided by the spa. It wasn’t long before Calli whisked me away to work her magic.

Calli treated me to the Sacred Nature Ritual, which includes a full body exfoliating scrub, massage and facial treatment with natural products. What I’m sure took only an hour felt like a full day of pampering as she relaxed me into that lovely space between wakefulness and dreamland. By the time she was through, my body felt like a puddle of melted butter.

Realizing that I needed a few moments to solidify myself back in reality, Calli handed me a cool glass of lemon water and said I could choose to unwind in the spa lounge again or visit the caldarium. The what?

The caldarium is a gently heated room centered around a bubbling water feature. The glass tiles that line the walls and floor reflect the twinkling lights shining down from the ceiling like a starry night sky. It’s a perfectly peaceful stepping stone on the path back to the real world. I took my sweet time back in the changing room, relishing the steam shower and salon quality hair products before I left.

Bliss also offers group rates and couples packages if you need a pre-wedding pampering session with the girls or a relaxing daytime escape for two. I recommend leaving everyone behind to enjoy a personal day; solo is the way to go for a complete overhaul of body and soul. From arrival to departure I felt welcomed at Bliss, never rushed or uncomfortable. Every facet of my yoga and spa experience was just that: pure bliss.


Orange Theory Fitness: Pre-Wedding Weight LossFitness: Orange Theory

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on January 31, 2014

Orange Theory Fitness

Now baby, don’t you stop it, stop it!” That’s the first song playing when my Sunday morning Orange Theory Fitness class kicks off. Kicks off is an understatement, a blast off is more like it, since the trainer has the class up and at ‘em. After listening to his motivational shout outs, I’ve only got one thought on repeat: succeed. And succeed we do, since after attending to group A, the treadmill crowd, the trainer heads over to correct and adjust the group B on the straps. Group B is doing sort of an aerial push up in reverse on suspension trainers based on “core and functionality”, called “SBT suspension training™” in Orange Theory lingo. It’s one of the things that make Orange Theory “very much a full-body workout.” There’s a rowing machine component to the workout as well, making it a three-tiered system.

“Don’t let that butt go down!” I feel like a salute is in order here, but since we’re in the throes of our workout, I settle for a mental response: sir, yes sir! “One, two, don’t make this hard! Come on, people!” Surprisingly, we’re all smiling as we “step lunge, step together!” around the energetic orange room that’s got words like “power” and “achieve” stencilled along the periphery. The trainer is the best example of what makes it addictive: he’s upbeat and positive, he’s in charge and he radiates health. I want to feel like that and I want to look like that, and it’s easier to focus on goals when you’ve got a trainer that makes it nearly impossible to feel unmotivated. “Base pace,” he calls out, shooting a glance up at the monitor that displays student heart rates.

This is Orange Theory, and it’s a type of interval training made interesting and effective. It’s so much fun that the people working-out say they don’t notice the time go by. “The heart rate is the key focus of Orange Theory,” explains the trainer after class while setting up for the next round of students. “We do what a personal trainer would do and we foster a friendly competition. I like to tell people to compete with themselves.” And compete they do- one of the students tells me she’s seen the difference in her performance (and yes, her body) in just a few classes: “Cardio-wise, I can run longer and last longer. I see a lot of toning and I’m slimmer, more firm.” So how does it work? “You monitor yourself, and it’s all self-paced,” he explains referring to the heart rate tool, helping you determine if you could be working harder or if you should be taking it down a notch, thus maximizing your 60 minutes. It’s also great for those trying to shed a few pounds- a sustained routine of “three to five sessions per week” can help you lose three to five pounds per week, according to their website and to some of the class who practice consistently.

Divided into two groups, the class take turns on the treadmill and the training area. You’re fitted with a belt that sends information to a screen on what phase of heart rate you’re in while you workout. The phases are marked red, blue, green and yes, orange. The trainer explains that “the green zone is about 70 to 80 percent of their maximum heart rate,” and throughout the class he watches for the students entering red: “I bring them down, it’s all about the appropriateness of the workout,” he says. The appropriateness of the workout is another factor that sets Orange Theory apart from other interval training regimes; you’re actually able to self-monitor and your trainer is also watching. Both of these things ensure that it’s time well spent and that you’re not overdoing it (or underdoing it), something that is notoriously hard to do without professional help. The Orange Theory trainer is less like a drill sergeant and more like the head coach of a winning team. He wants you to win- and this makes you want to win.

We’re at the end of the class, and a Prince remix is pumping, “Can you feel the heat, the heat between you and me?” Heat indeed, the class files out smiling and flushed; they look happy and yes, they look hot, emanating that sexy glow that only comes from real physical exertion. This is the workout that guarantees the results you’ve been looking for pre-wedding, thanks to a high energy group dynamic and a trainer that won’t let you down. “Orange Theory is the spitting image of how you want to be,” says one hard-core devotee to me as he heads out of the class. He’s right, when I look around I see people satisfied with themselves, and I too am satisfied. It’s how I want to be.


Zumba Breaks the Sound BarrierFitness: Zumba

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on November 19, 2011

When Alex Perez forgot the aerobics music for his class, he had no choice but to step up the improv: Using salsa and merengue beats he had on hand, he created a new routine in the early 90s that 20 years later has taken gyms and dance studios the world over by storm. According to The Telegraph, over 20,000 instructors were teaching Zumba in 35 countries as of 2009. We signed up for a class with Edmonton’s Yuko Tanaka, a certified instructor, who noted that her own passion for Zumba as a student was so strong that, “I thought of getting certified which has been a great journey for me, professionally and personally”.

We sat down with Yuko to learn a bit more about the fitness craze after our first fist pumping, heart thumping Zumba class!

What are some Zumba benefits?

“Everything! Happiness! You burn calories and work out every single muscle group without noticing and you’ll have so much fun that you don’t even feel the work out until the next day! The music is contagious! You enjoy it so much -most of the songs in a Zumba class are Latin-based rhythms bringing a lot of sensuality- which boosts femininity and confidence! It makes you feel sexy and as a woman, who doesn’t want to be and feel sexy? It also keeps you alert and keeps your brain active, memorizing steps and paying attention for the next cue that the instructor gives.”

How many times per week should one do Zumba for optimal results?

“Everything that you include in your life you want to do it gradually, it’s the same with Zumba. Begin with one class, and then your body will tell you how much it can handle. Three classes a week, then five classes a week when you’re ready. I totally recommend doing Zumba five times a week! It’s great cardio and has amazing results, although you also need to give your body recovery time.”

What do Zumba beginners find most challenging?

“Some people are too shy to show up for class, other feel self-conscious and they don’t want to participate, others say that they have two left feet. Once they are there and they see how much everybody enjoys it, you’ll just go with the flow of the music and start to have a great time!”

What are some of the physical plusses?

“Zumba has a lot of hip movement which automatically engages your core. You can get a beautiful well-defined hourglass shaped waist because of the oblique work! You also get well defined and firm legs and buttocks from all the footwork that is applied during class. You’ll notice a beautiful back and arms with the routines that are designed to target those muscles- like the ones that incorporate tango, belly dance and flamenco songs.”


Get Fit For Your Wedding DayFitness & Nutrition: Dr. John Berardi & Ryan Andrews

Posted by Blush Magazine Posted on December 27, 2010

Let’s face it. Your wedding day is big. You want to feel good, be healthy, and look radiant. What we eat is who we are, so like it or not, food plays a big role in the wedding ceremony. We’ve developed 7 strategies to help you get fit before it’s time to walk down the aisle. You can thank us by mailing any duplicate wedding gifts to our home office. We prefer kitchen appliances.

Strategy # 1 Dumb It Down
You don’t need to know how electricity works to flip the switch. Same goes for nutrition. It’s about putting simple principles into action each day. Future brides will get stressed about the glycemic load of produce and the antioxidant score of mangosteen vs.acai. Don’t waste your time. Focus on eating nutritious foods at the right times in the right amounts. If you’ve landed a husband, we’re confident you’ll have enough basic food knowledge. If your instinct tells you to select broccoli over Pop-Tarts at the grocery store, you’re on the right track.

Strategy # 2 No Dieting
A diet might help you drop a few pounds for the wedding, but it won’t necessarily get you healthier. Moreover, brides to be that become preoccupied with dieting might become out of touch with their body. Anything that doesn’t work into their “pre-wedding spreadsheet” is off limits and the deprivation mindset takes over, this means cravings and overeating. Translation: you’ll eat more wedding cake than all of your guests combined. Plus, why get in shape for the ceremony if you rebound and reverse the efforts by anniversary numero uno. So, instead of dieting, focus on habits like eating just short of fullness and meals every 2-4 hours. If you focus on how you feel as the goal, rather than on fat loss, you’ll find, ironically, that you can’t help but get into better shape.

Strategy # 3 Nutrition Triage
Are you familiar with the term “triage?” It’s typically used in emergency room settings. Triage is dealing with the most significant issue first. If two people come in the emergency room, one has a splinter in their finger and the other just sawed off their leg, what is the most significant issue? Sawed off leg. It’s time for nutrition triage, bride to be. What is your biggest nutrition issue? Don’t spend hours searching for a lower “net carb” English muffin if your lunch each day is chased with a quart of juice. The net carb English muffin is the splinter in the finger. The stein of juice is the sawed off leg.

Strategy # 4 Eat Real, Whole & Unprocessed Foods
Yes, this describes the foods you are thinking of right now. Vegetables, fruits, lean proteins including beans, whole grains and nuts/seeds. If you eat foods that have been shipped to your grocery store from a food science lab, all bets are off. Including our wager that you’ll be fit at your wedding. When you eat enough nutritious food, it will help to keep you from craving, and overeating lousy food. How about beverages? Focus on drinking plenty of refreshing water and tea.

Strategy # 5 No Need To Be Perfect
How much effort did you put into setting up a caterer, invitations, and dress shopping? If it was 90%, you’ll be fine. If it was less than that, you might be in for a rotten wedding. Same goes for nutrition. If you’re dialed in 90% of the time, you’ll be fit.

Strategy # 6 Have Food Ready
The hardest part about eating well is making sure you have nutritious foods ready to eat when you get hungry. You might know what to eat, but if isn’t available, you’ll blow it when it’s time for a meal. Food shop effectively, order effectively at restaurants, and bring foods with you for the times you’re not by a fridge. A day packed with dress shopping and DJ interviewing can mess up eating routines. When life gets chaotic, that’s when we go to what’s convenient.

Strategy # 7 Five Hours of Sweat
Physically challenge your body and break a sweat for at least 5 hours each week. Do whatever you enjoy and will stick with. Just do it consistently and intensely. 5 hours of exercise each week will help you sleep better, manage stress (you can thank us when the alarm goes off on wedding day), and regulate appetite.

There you have it; seven basic tips for being healthy and fit for your wedding. And there’s more where that came from. Come take our free 5-day nutrition course for women at We promise you’ll learn everything you need to know to get into the best shape of your life for the big day.