From sweat to style to education to friendships, our EMPOWER Vancouver retreat had it all. Two weekends ago, 15 of us met at Lorna Jane Active Living in Vancouver, B.C. for a weekend of connecting over a love and passion for fitness, style, and fun.
Our first time gathering with the EMPOWER Vancouver crew was sweaty, to say the least. We've seen and experienced firsthand how community workouts can really bring people together, and this was no exception.
So we kicked off the retreat with a fun run around the Gastown neighborhood.
And we continued the sweaty party on the yoga mat with a class taught by Jamie.
The weekend adventure began there and it was clear after just a few hours and a lot of sweat, this crew had connected and we were going to have a blast together for the next two days.
The second day was filled with fitness, style, neighborhood adventures, and a roundtable session where we all dove a little deeper into social media and our techniques.
Would you be surprised if I told you we started the second day with the sweatiest workout? Well, we hopped on the yoga mat to flow, sweat, and work our butts off with our signature HIIT & Flow workout, taught by me (Nicci). Most of the crew were new to the workout, but everyone was quick to hop on gliders and sprint like woah. The sweat flew as everyone pushed themselves and the laughter and excitement filled the room - either they really loved it, or it was the endorphins speaking.
After the sweat dried and we filled our coffee cups, it was time to style it up with Lorna Jane. Janelle, our Lorna Jane style guru, taught us how to pair different pant, top, and bra styles not only for a great workout but also to snap the perfect Instagram photo.
After we all found our favorite outfits we took to the streets with our amazing photographer for the weekend, Terri, and rocked a sporty and stylish shoot on the streets of Vancouver.
The style session segued perfectly into our Instagram Stories roundtable, led by Kusum of Sveeteskapes. We got the lowdown on different ways to utilize Instagram Stories to build engagement on your Instagram account AND your blog. This group was very excited to work on building their brand with the ever-changing ways of Instagram.
We finished off day 2 by splitting into groups and heading out into Vancouver for our scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt list included things like finding a pink drink, striking a yoga pose in front of a mural, finding nature in the city, and getting strangers to do yoga with you. I LOVED this scavenger hunt for 3 reasons:
- It takes you out of your comfort zone. You realize how fun it is to do things you never thought you would, like asking a big group of martial artists to do Warrior II pose with you or climbing the only tree you can find in the city.
- You get to explore a city in different ways. You'll most likely end up in places that Yelp wouldn't have taken you to.
- The scavenger hunt bonds are real. You get silly, creative, and have blast with your team. Oh, the adventures that this crew got into...kissing a soccer player, playing Quidditch, and so much more!
Our third and final day of the retreat started with, you guessed it, a workout! And not just any workout. We got to try firsthand the new Gixo fitness app. So we plugged in our headphones, put on our Gixo swag, and headed out to the streets of Vancouver to get our sweat on together.
We ran hard and fast, did squats and push-ups like there was no tomorrow, and all with the help of our Gixo app trainer who was there cheering us on and pushing us harder the whole way through.
If you haven't tried the Gixo app, it's our new favorite way to workout anywhere at a time that works for us. There are live classes all day long, led by trainers who are there to help you pick up the pace and get a great butt-kicking. Classes are anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and aim to help you build strength, endurance, and all those endorphin-feels.
After some much-needed hydration and retail therapy, we gathered up for a roundtable session with one of our favorite fitness writers, Amanda Vogel. Amanda broke down her ultimate guide to social media strategy. Now if you're a blogger or influencer yourself, you can only imagine the geek-out session we had. We'll be sharing that in a later post, but I'll say now that we left feeling focused, energized about our work, and ready to rock out our social media strategy!
And then it was time to finish out the weekend by flowing together on the mat. Jamie led a very stretchy yoga class to release from the weekend activities and to prep us for an advanced workshop that led straight into a yoga photo shoot.
We inverted, arm balanced, and played with partner yoga, and all to prep us for our own yoga photo shoot.
Everyone had a chance to strike a yoga pose - new or familiar - that they loved, and Terri was able to capture everyone's energy on camera throughout the photoshoot. Yoga babe, Autumn, pictured above, is always down to stop, drop, and yoga. It was a blast playing yoga with everyone!
It's hard to know how a weekend with many new and familiar faces will turn out. I'm a firm believer that an open mind, a little (or a lot) of sweat, and positivity is key to a fun event like this. How do I know this? Well, the Empower Vancouver crew brought just that. I want to thank every single person who came out to Empower Vancouver with open hearts and minds and the willingness to dive into a new adventure. You all reminded me to keep smiling, sweating, and having fun through it all!
And thank you to our sponsors for making this all possible: Lorna Jane for hosting and gifting us some amazing LJ goodies; prAna for the awesome, pink yoga mats; Gixo for the best workout ever and access to your app so we can keep getting our sweat on; Onyx Youth for those decadent face mask; Amazing Grass for your amazing fuel; The Granola Girl for the tastiest granola; and Independently Driven for the best, high performance, non-slip headbands.
The EMPOWER retreats are only getting better ya'll, so make sure to stay tuned for the announcement of our next retreat...
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