We recently met talented Canadian Olympian, author, motivational speaker and fitness professional, Alexandra Orlando for The City Series Toronto to chat all things fitness and fashion. Now, with January in full swing and our health regimes hanging on by a thread, Alexandra is here to help motivate us for one of the most popular workouts of 2016: spinning.
The alarm goes off. It’s pitch dark and so incredibly quiet - it feels like the whole world is still sleeping. The last thing you want to do is open your eyes and roll out of your warm little cocoon to face the winter cold. 60 seconds goes by as you debate whether to go back to sleep and then your mind starts spinning. You’re thinking of that rush, that energy, that happiness you’re going to feel in an hour if you just get your butt out of bed. Alarm: 0 You: 1.
Welcome to the love hate relationship of working out in the winter. It’s cold, it’s dark and whether you’re an early morning riser or a late night gym goer - all of us are searching for some extra motivation to just get there this time of year.
Enter spinning. If you’re not a believer yet, trust me - I was right there with you. A few years ago I was terrified of what went on in that spin studio. I’d walk by on the street or at the gym and see all the exasperated sweaty bodies and think “you couldn’t pay me to get on that bike”. I liked to work out alone - gym time was ME time and I liked to stay inside my comfortable weight training bubble. It’s not easy to just wander into the fitness unknown – for anyone. But I was doing myself no favours.
When I retired after the Olympics, I was so battered and bruised I couldn’t keep going even if I wanted to. My body was screaming for me to rest, recover, re-group. Those next few years were a long winding road that forced me to come to terms with the injuries I had sustained as an athlete. My ankles would never be the same, the ligaments torn and stretched on both sides, and a reconstructed ACL (amongst other things) that made it too painful to hit the pavement. I was working out, but not seeing the results I wanted and was consistently frustrated and demotivated. I needed a change. So I stepped - no leaped - out of my comfort zone and took my first ever spin class. I sat in the back row, in the furthest corner away from the instructor as possible. For some reason I thought that would make me invisible (hmm not quite, we see you guys!).
"All of us are searching for some extra motivation to just get there this time of year."
Over the next 50 minutes, I went through a rollercoaster of mixed emotions . I was loving my instructor, hating him, wanting to give up, but then feeling like superwoman - it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. The music flows through you pushing your body to other levels you never thought you had. The people around you become your team - they become the energy that carries you through the moments you don’t think you can keep going. I was hooked. It wasn’t just about getting leaner and stronger, I was a part of a community that helped me fall in love with working out again.
"The music flows through you pushing your body to other levels you never thought you had."
Two years later, I took another leap and became an instructor, which has been one of the most rewarding journeys of my life. So I live in fitness gear 24/7 and need to find ways to make running from the gym to the office back to the gym as comfortable and stress-free as possible.
That essentially means I need to carry my life with me. My purses are weekenders so I can look professional and pulled together wherever I’m running off to throughout the day. The Sakroots Artist Circle Duffel is the perfect accessory for me that fits everything from my spin shoes to heels. It’s bold and bright, which suits my personality, but depending on my mood the Herschel Supply bags are light, waterproof (yay!) and has it’s own shoe compartment. Umm for someone who has 2-3 pairs on her every day - LOVE.