Brand Spotlight: Icebreaker

“A chance meeting with a merino sheep farmer had sparked something inside me, a passion. From that moment on I was hooked on the possibilities of natural solutions to technical apparel.”Jeremy Moon, Founder of Icebreaker

Founded in New Zealand in 1995, Icebreaker immediately emerged as a force to be reckoned with in the outdoor apparel world. While all other performance clothing was manufactured with synthetic fabrics, Icebreaker was a breath of fresh air: the company was (and is) committed to working with nature to develop a new kind of outdoor performance apparel.

It seems so simple. Merino sheep manage to thrive through the coldest winters and the hottest summers; why couldn’t that principle be applied to outdoor clothing?

“Whereas most companies start with the fabric, we start with the fiber.”
Pictured: Vertex Flurry Top, Vertex Flurry Legging

Created from natural, raw, super fine merino wool, Icebreaker apparel is biodegradable, annually renewable, ethically sourced and 100% made from nature. The brand contracts directly from the best wool-growers and shares their commitment to nurture and respect the land and animals. The company only uses what they need; the raw fiber is consciously transformed into fabric in a way that minimizes energy and water usage. Reducing the environmental impact is of the utmost importance!

Icebreaker remains a “merino pioneer” – they were the first to see the potential of this natural material that was capable of outperforming synthetics and plastics. Learn more about why they choose merino here.

Icebreaker only ever designs products that serve a purpose. Whether it’s keeping people warm or making them comfortable, Icebreaker creates products that people actually want and that are made to last.

We don’t know about you, but ethically sourced activewear that lives up to its promise of performance sounds like a dream come true.

We are fans in particular of 3 of Icebreaker’s design innovations: BodyfitZONE, Cool-lite, and MerinoLOFT. Layered up, these make for the perfect storm of performance apparel.

  • BodyfitZONE – an innovative technology that uses fine merino yarns blended with Lycra to bring natural warmth and body fit to enhance muscular performance and recovery. Strategically placed zone mesh panels create natural thermal dumping zones for optimal temperature regulation, breathability and next-to-skin softness.
  • Cool-lite – combines merino with Tencel, a natural fiber sourced from sustainable eucalyptus, that helps heat dumping and wicking to enhance cooling in the heat of the day. The merino component resists odor, breathes and regulates temperature when it turns cooler.
  • MerinoLOFT – a natural, intelligent alternative to synthetic insulation and duck down – MerinoLOFT is a machine-washable, wool blend, that provides highly breathable, super lightweight insulation even when wet.

Sporting Life and Icebreaker have teamed up to send you and your family to New Zealand – experience nature at its best! Learn more and sign up here, or visit us in store to fill out a ballot.

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Why Your Child Needs a Helmet This Winter

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We all know the importance of wearing a helmet when you ride a bike – pavement is no joke! However, we often forget that a helmet is just as important for snow sports. Any time you hit the slopes on skis or a snowboard, you need to protect your head from unexpected impact. Even the most experienced skiers take a tumble once in a while! We stressed this idea last season for adults, but we feel as though we need to drive the point home for parents of kids just learning how to ski.

Even if a skier isn’t moving very quickly, a fall on snow can lead to some gnarly head injuries. According to a report from the New York Times, wearing a helmet when skiing has reduced head injuries such as fractured skulls, facial lacerations, and head lacerations by as much as 50%! Helmets also protect your neck from whiplash. Hit a bump and went down hard? Your helmet is what kept your neck from taking the brunt of the impact!

The last thing you want is a scary injury putting an end to a fun, carefree day in the snow – be prepared!

When choosing a helmet for your child, you need to be sure that it fits just right. A helmet is not something to “grow into” – in order to be safe, it needs to fit properly right away. It shouldn’t wobble from side to side, it should be snug, and the chin strap should secure comfortably without being too tight. After you have figured out the right fit, you can move on to aesthetics! Helmets come in all kinds of fun colours to keep your look fresh on the hill.

While many ski resorts do not require helmets, we do not recommend stepping out onto the mountain without one. Our experienced staff at our stores would be more than happy to help you in picking out the perfect helmet for your child’s head.

Along with a helmet, goggles are a must for safety when hitting the slopes. Paired together, a helmet and goggles will keep sun and snow out of your eyes. A helmet also helps goggles fit better; a good fit means less wind and moisture can get in! For busy ski parents, try this new helmet from Salomon – the built in visor will keep you from hunting for lost goggles, perfect for the little skiier on the go!

During our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter ski & snowboard event, junior helmets, goggles & ski poles are buy one get one 50% off!

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5 Reasons to Shop Kids Can’t Wait For Winter

Temperatures are on their way down – winter is coming! Our favourite season of the year is just around the corner, and just like us, we’re sure your kids can’t wait for winter. Skiing, snowboarding, snowball fights, tubing, building a snowman…you want your kids to be prepared to go barrelling out the doors once the first snowfall hits. Now is the time to get their coats, snowpants, and gear ready to go!

Our Kids Can’t Wait For Winter event is on now, and we are offering tons of deals on kids snow gear to prepare you for the imminent cold weather. Below are 5 of the best reasons to shop now – the slopes await!

1. Buy the Jacket, Get the Pant

You can’t play in the snow without snowpants and a jacket! When you buy any new arrival junior ski or snowboard jacket, you get the pant 25% off. Have your kids looking fresh as ever as they fly down the hill this winter – find bright colours with brands such as Reima, Columbia and Sunice!

2. Hardgoods BOGO

Keeping your kids safe on the slopes is the #1 priority. When you buy a junior helmet, goggle or ski poles, get one 50% off! The coolest new Salomon helmet has a built in visor, and new poles will help them improve their stability run after run.

3. Buy More, Save More

You can never have enough accessories to keep your kids warm. The more you buy, the more you save! Buy 2, save 10% – Buy 3, save 15% – Buy 4, save 20% on children’s winter hats, mitts, gloves, and long underwear!

4. Boots on Boots

These boots were made for playing. Sorel, Cougar, Kamik and Bogs are some of our most trusted winter boot brands, and during this event, selected styles are $49.99-$59.99. Keep those toes toasty warm all day long!

5. Junior Half Back Program

Have you heard of our Junior Half Back Program? You can learn more about it here – After purchasing a ski or snowboard package, you as a parent may return the package at the end of the season for a credit of half the value purchased to use for the following year!

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Junior Ski & Snowboard Half Back Program

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Are you a member of our Lifeline program? By providing us with your name, phone number and email, you are added to our client recognition program to make your Sporting Life experience the best it can be! Once you are signed up for Lifeline, we are able to inform you of promotions as well as determine the best service for you and your lifestyle. Sign up here.

As we slowly make our way towards winter, this is the perfect time to take advantage of the Junior Half Back associated with our Lifeline program.

Designed for your budget and for your kids, the Half Back program ensures that your children get properly fitted for safety and performance. After purchasing a ski or snowboard package, you as a parent may return the package at the end of the season for a credit of half the value purchased to use for the following year. Allow your children to flourish in their sport with the best available equipment season after season! This is applicable to junior recreation ski and snowboard boots, skis, snowboards, and bindings.

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#CelebrateWild – Spotlight on Arc’teryx

Arc’teryx has been a staple brand for both outdoor enthusiasts and the Sporting Life community for years. Defined by “Design, Craftsmanship, Performance”, Arc’teryx continues to innovate and create smart, technical pieces that will help you perform your best in the great outdoors.

Arc’teryx is built on the principle of obsessive, precise design and production. A Canadian brand (we love to support fellow Canucks) based out of North Vancouver, Arc’teryx is designed just minutes away from skiing, climbing, and harsh mountain environments. What better setting to inspire the best innovations in technical clothing? Arc’teryx is known for their high quality Gore-Tex hardshells and ergonomic fit, among many other praise-worthy design features.

Since its inception in 1989, Arc’teryx has stayed true to its statement of purpose:

At Arc’teryx, the goal is to create equipment that enables a person to be immersed in the moment of doing, regardless of external conditions. Simple solutions to complex challenges; this is the essence of minimalism and our philosophy of design. Reducing the effects of weather, streamlining use, and moving efficiently creates a timeless, outdoor experience. 

Simple solutions to complex challenges. This is so important to those of us who love the outdoors – Mother Nature is complex enough. Your clothes don’t need to be.

Wild spaces challenge, invite, heal and provoke. They are spectacular, intimidating, soothing , ordinary and vulnerable. They evoke our humanity, the feeling that we are where we belong, and we belong to where we are. From city to ice climbing, to the deepest powder snow, the wild spaces of winter.

Fall/Winter 2017 carries on the brand’s tradition of superior craftsmanship. #CelebrateWild in the new styles and revisions – click below to explore some of the beautiful new pieces available at Sporting Life!

Shop Arc’teryx. New Styles Arriving Daily!
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Benefits of Yoga for Cross Training

Article by guest blogger Andrew Obrecht.
Photos by Blush & Branch.

Your body does a lot for you, especially if you put it through tough cross training workouts. Yoga is the perfect active recovery workout for your non-training days to let your body grow and lengthen, while also benefiting from the meditative side. Like anything, results improve when there is a balance and breaking out of a routine. Yoga will help balance out your strength training workouts and use muscles that may be getting missed. If you can’t make it to a yoga class, incorporate yoga poses into your post-workout stretch routine. Adding yoga consistently to your fitness routine has many benefits for cross training.

1. Increases flexibility and range of motion
Start with a beginner’s class or restorative poses to get your muscles used to the different movements. Just like any sort of training, your body will evolve into the movements the more you practice. Stretching out your muscles and joints will increase your flexibility and improve your range of motion for your other workouts. This will help you push past plateaus and goals in your other workouts because your body will be able to do more, and reach farther.

2. Improves stamina, balance, and stability
Continually moving and breathing will help train your muscles to work longer and hold the poses. It’s a different kind of muscle training and will help with your stamina in your other workouts. Not only will holding poses help your stamina, but it will challenge your balance and stability as well. In yoga, your core is the key to staying up right and moving into more challenging poses. Without having to do endless sit ups, the whole yoga workout relies on your core to keep you balanced. Strengthening it will improve your balance and stability which you will see as improvements in your other workouts.

3. Prevents injury
Yoga helps improve muscle imbalances, relieve muscle tightness and the increased flexibility will help prevent injuries. Yoga helps strengthen all muscles including the little ones that don’t get used as often in regular day activities and other workouts. These muscles often surround the bigger muscles and other joints; strengthening them will help protect your bigger muscles that get used during your other cross training workouts and help prevent you from getting injured.

4. Improves posture and breathing
Whether you’re a runner, cyclist or body builder, similar and routine movements can affect your posture. Stretching out your body during yoga can counter-act those movements and encourage your body to have proper posture during cross training workouts and your every day life. For example, if you’re an avid cyclist all those hours spent hunched over on the bike can be paired with chest opening poses and hip openers.

Similarly, the breathing practiced in yoga can be transitioned into your cross training workouts to improve your movements. Breathing can be overlooked and not thought about while you’re running or lifting, but it’s just as important to practice breathing as it is to open your body through yoga.

5. Boosts other workouts
All the benefits of practicing yoga will boost your other workouts. Increased flexibility, balance and range of motion will allow you to lift more, run faster and workout longer. Incorporating yoga into your fitness routine will balance out your body, muscles and movements which benefits not only your workouts but your every day life as well. As long as you don’t push your body past it’s limits, even while stretching, you will see the benefits of yoga for your cross training in no time.

2016-09-16_-_YYC_Cycle_--_1L2A1448Andrew Obrecht is one of the Founders and Motivators of popular spin studio YYC Cycle. The studio was founded by three ambitious, born-and-raised Calgarians who saw an opportunity to offer an innovative, dynamic form of group exercise that breaks the mold of traditional indoor cycling. Along with their team of Motivators, YYC Cycle provides the community with an incredible fitness and lifestyle experience that extends beyond the studio doors. There’s a reason Andrew has been described as a Fire Starter, Passion Seeker and Connector: Much the way he does in spin class, Andrew will inspire and motivate you in all areas of your life.

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Brand Spotlight – Cannondale

Founded in 1971 above a pickle factory and named after train station across the road, Cannondale has emerged as the leading brand for all things cycling. From top notch innovations to a relentless commitment to being the best, there is a reason that Cannondale dominates the industry! Read on to learn more about this essential cycling brand and browse some of the best urban bikes available at Sporting Life this season.

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The History of Cannondale

1971 – Inception of their first cycling product – the legendary Bugger, first bicycle towed trailer

1983 – The first production oversized aluminum frame. The lightweight efficient stiffness of this frame set a new standard for performance and kickstarted the era of aluminum!

1992 – HeadShok – set a new bar for front suspension performance. The patented technology in the HeadShok carries on in the current model as well as the Lefty fork

1997 – Cannondale became the first US bike manufacturer to sponsor a European Pro Road team(Saeco/Cannondale) who went on to win the Giro d’Italia. This success further proved the superiority of the Cannondale aluminum frame.

2000 – The introduction of the iconic Lefty single-sided front suspension. Lighter, Stiffer, Stronger, Smoother than any fork in the world. True then, true now.

2010 – OverMountain – Ideally suited for the growing Enduro race scene, as the travel, dampening and geometry of the bike can be adjusted to suit climbing or descending.

2013 – The Synapse emerged as the ultimate Endurance Race Bike – it was named “Most Wanted” by Bike Radar in 2013 and “Bike of the Year” by Cycling Plus in 2014.

2016 – The CAAD12 105 Road Bike was named “Bike of the Year” by Cycling Plus.

This Season’s Best Urban Rides

For 2017, the iconic Bad Boy just got Badder. The original urban minimalist bike just got a ground up redesign. Both the Bad Boy 2 and 4 offer a rigid Lefty fork and urban armor, a reflective top tube bumper. New fatter tires on 650b rims are quick but offer greater comfort on harsh urban streets. In addition, the Bad Boy 2 features a light pipe Lefty with cleanly integrated LED lights. Take the city by storm on the Bad Boy!

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Bad Boy 2 Urban Bike
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Bad Boy 4 Urban Bike

For the fitness cyclist or downtown commuter, hop on the Quick this spring! All new for 2017, the Quick features 360 degree reflectivity, making it perfect for urban rides. Its SAVE micro suspension features have been updated to build more comfort and compliance in the frame, and with supremely stable, confident handling, the Quick is the perfect tool to get fit around the city.

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Quick 3 Disc W Fitness Bike

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Quick 3 Disc Fitness Bike
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Get Race Ready, Ottawa!

You’ve trained hard, raised money for an amazing cause, and it’s time for the Sporting Life 10k! With less than a week to go, we’re sharing our last minute tips to help you get race ready. From the right gear to day-of tips, we’ve got you covered, Ottawa.

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Packet Pick-Up

The first (and probably most important!) step to getting ready for the 10k is to pick up your race packet! Come to our Lansdowne Park store at 125 Marche Way on Friday May 12 9:30am-9:00pm or Saturday May 13 9am-9pm. You need to get your bib in order to be able to run. Come early to pick up your bib and shirt! You will need your bib number, which will be emailed to you on Wednesday May 10. Please bring a piece of photo ID or printout of your registration confirmation email. Can’t make it? You can send a friend to pick up your gear for you! All they need is your bib number(s). They will also need an e-mail stating that they can pick up your bib and shirt on your behalf or a copy of your email registration confirmation.

Plan Your Day

Be sure to have a plan on race day! The route starts and finishes on Colonel By Drive, at Echo Avenue, just west of the Bank Street Bridge. All participants will access the start/finish line area from Echo Avenue off of Bank Street.

Arrive EARLY! Plan to arrive at least one hour prior to the start. Remember there will be 2,500 people in this event, so everything from toilets to driving will take longer than normal. There is limited parking at Lansdowne Park. We strongly recommend that you carpool, cab it or take the OC Transpo options. If you want to check your bag, you can do so at the Horticultural Building at Lansdowne Park from 6:30-7:30am. You can check your bag for free, however a donation of $2 per bag is suggested with all proceeds going to CHEO.

Visit the Sporting Life 10k website for a full rundown of race day!

Gear Up

With Saucony sponsoring the Sporting Life 10k, you don’t need to look to any other brand for your perfect running outfit! It is best to be prepared with layers and technical running attire. A water repellent outer layer is crucial for a morning run – 10k won’t be fun if you’re soaked! If you decide not to wear the official Sporting Life 10k tee, be sure to pick a top with moisture wicking fabric. Tights or shorts should be breathable and comfortable as well. While you may not want to get brand new shoes a week before the race, there is still time to break in the perfect new pair of runners! The Triumph ISO3 provides enhanced energy underfoot with an increased EVERUN landing zone, while the ISOFIT System delivers a dynamic fit that adapts to your stride.

Be Prepared

It is important to fuel your body before and after you run. It is recommended to eat about 1.5 hours before your run to give your body time to digest and provide your body with needed energy. Fuel tired muscles with our GU energy drink mixes, gel and chews created for daily training. They contain carbohydrates to keep you fueled, electrolytes that aid in hydration and amino acids that reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage. Try Honey Stinger energy chews and waffles for an energy boost on the go.

Hydration is just as important as being well-fueled. Drink up to 20oz of water prior to your run and continue to drink water as you run to avoid dehydration. There are hydration stations along the route, but if you are concerned about getting thirsty, there are plenty of hydration packs available to easily carry with you through your run!

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Get Race Ready, Toronto!

You’ve trained hard, raised money for an amazing cause, and it’s time for the Sporting Life 10k! With less than a week to go, we’re sharing our last minute tips to help you get race ready. From the right gear to day-of tips, we’ve got you covered, Toronto.

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Packet Pick-Up

The first (and probably most important!) step to getting ready for the 10k is to pick up your race packet! Come to our Yonge Street store at 2665 Yonge Street from Tuesday May 9-Friday May 12 9:30am-9:00pm or Saturday May 13 9am-6pm. You need to get your bib in order to be able to run. Come early to pick up your bib and shirt! You will need your bib number, which will be emailed to you on Monday May 8. Please bring a piece of photo ID or printout of your registration confirmation email. Can’t make it? You can send a friend to pick up your gear for you! All they need is your bib number(s). They will also need an e-mail stating that they can pick up your bib and shirt on your behalf or a copy of your email registration confirmation.

Plan Your Day

Be sure to have a plan on race day! The start line is four blocks south of Sporting Life, 2400 Yonge St (at Yonge St. and Roselawn Ave.). From there, the course heads south (downhill) on Yonge Street all the way to Richmond Street. It then turns west on Richmond St. W, through the Entertainment District, continues south on Peter St./Blue Jays Way past “Gretzky’s” to Front St. The course then goes west along Front St., south on Bathurst St., and then west on Fort York Blvd. to the finish line!

One of the tricky things about getting ready for the 10k is finding your way to the starting line. This is the largest run in Toronto and will provide you with an experience like no other! Remember to give yourself plenty of time as there will be 25,000 people in this event, so everything from toilets to driving will take longer than normal. We suggest plotting your route before Sunday morning, and we strongly recommend that you carpool, take a taxi or take the TTC Yonge St. bus as there is only limited parking available on the side streets surrounding Sporting Life. ALL PARTICIPANTS must be in their corral 15 minutes prior to the start of their “wave” – be sure to arrive early to get settled! If you want to check your bag, you can do so just North of our Yonge Street store from 6-7am.

Visit the Sporting Life 10k website for a full rundown of race day!

Gear Up

With New Balance sponsoring the Sporting Life 10k, you don’t need to look to any other brand for your perfect running outfit! The forecast currently calls for rain, but who knows what Mother Nature will decide to throw our way! It is best to be prepared with layers and technical running attire. A waterproof outer layer is crucial for a morning run – 10k won’t be fun if you’re soaked! If you decide not to wear the official Sporting Life 10k tee, be sure to pick a top with moisture wicking fabric. Tights or shorts should be breathable and comfortable as well. While you may not want to get brand new shoes a week before the race, there is still time to break in the perfect new pair of runners! The Vazee Pace V2 by New Balance offers excellent support and style, allowing you to run faster and feel stronger than ever before.

Be Prepared

It is important to fuel your body before and after you run. It is recommended to eat about 1.5 hours before your run to give your body time to digest and provide your body with needed energy. Fuel tired muscles with our GU energy drink mixes, gel and chews created for daily training. They contain carbohydrates to keep you fueled, electrolytes that aid in hydration and amino acids that reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage. Try Honey Stinger energy chews and waffles for an energy boost on the go.

Hydration is just as important as being well-fueled. Drink up to 20oz of water prior to your run and continue to drink water as you run to avoid dehydration. There are hydration stations along the route, but if you are concerned about getting thirsty, there are plenty of hydration packs available to easily carry with you through your run!

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5 Brands to Wear To & From the Club

Tenniswear designers now offer fashion forward pieces in a variety of colours and styles. It’s time to put away your tennis whites and embrace colour to step up your style game! We’re sharing 5 of our favourite brands to wear at the club, both on and off the court.

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Lacoste
How can we talk about tennis style without talking Lacoste? That iconic green gator is not only in style on the courts, but on the streets as well. This season’s palette is bright and fun, adding a refreshing pop  of colour to classic tennis whites. Make them stop and stare on the courts with a flirty Tennis Dress or a neon Ultra Dry Polo. While you’re relaxing at the club, get fashletic with a tennis themed graphic tee!

Trina Turk
Founded in 1995, Trina Turk‘s beautiful line of athleticwear is inspired by the California’s multicultural mix, creativity, craftsmanship, architecture, and landscape. We totally see this in her colourful aesthetic! With bold signature prints, you will be the star of the tennis court – we love the unique print of the Pop Camo Leggings, which will transition seamlessly from court to street.

adidas by Stella McCartney
Blending the effortless style of Stella McCartney with the cool athletic vibe from adidas, this line is the epitome of “to and from the club”. Add a pop of colour to the courts with the Climalite Tennis Dress, which will keep you cool and dry on the hottest of days. After your game, toss on the Barricade Jacket, which embodies one of our favourite styles for spring: the bomber jacket! Modern and sporty, this jacket will keep you warm and add a hint of style to your pre or post game ensemble.

L’etoile Sport
L’etoile Sport is one of our favourite new brands for spring tennis. Designed by Yesim Philip, the brand’s motto is “play all day” – exactly the lifestyle we are looking to exude! The focus of this multi-purpose collection is on and off court appeal that fuses fashion and function. With pops of orange and dainty mesh, the Pointelle Mesh Lace Top will keep you looking & feeling cool during a match; toss on the chic Windbreaker Jacket with a pair of jeans after your match, and these fashion forward silhouettes will take you straight from the club to weekend brunch.

Under Armour
The ultimate technical sport brand, Under Armour offers lightweight, moisture wicking pieces that will allow you to play your best on the courts. Off the courts, these comfortable tech pieces are easily layered to keep you comfortable on the go. We particularly love the pink hue in this season’s collection, as well as subtle details like the open triangle back of the CoolSwitch T-Shirt – talk about fashletic!

 

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