The ABCDE's of Decision Making


Contextual Intelligence is a new term I discovered while reading this article from HBR (Harvard Business Review). My experience with contextual intelligence is one that has sprouted this acronym I came up with while diving deeper in meditation about decision-making and choices.






Here’s how the ABCDE’s were born...
On Saturday afternoon, after a morning chalk full of high energy classes at Ferris 360 and Equinox Yorkville, I was on a mellow high; a state of mind that was sharp and calm. I took the escalator down to the main floor of Whole Foods and went about grocery shopping, but had a frozen moment when I went to pick up the grocery basket.

I thought twice about spending my time, energy, and money at Whole Foods.

While everyone was busy ticking off checklists and cashing in and out, I was lost in a daydream.

I went through my mental checklist of groceries, I calibrated my time allotment for shopping, I took stock of my other errands, and produced an idea that would birth this blog post and inspire my teachings for the week.




Instead of taking the easy and convenient action of shopping at Whole Foods, I decided to shake things up and discover what else Toronto had to offer regarding organic health food shopping options.


First stop, I had the urge to go for authentic Kim Chi, my go-to for daily probiotics, so I checked out Korea Town’s PAT MARKET for all things Korean! Not only did I pick up a 3L tub of Kim Chi, but I also got some great tasting JapChae (cold sweet potato noodles), seaweed salad, and Gimbap (the Korean version of the Japanese Norimaki sushi rolls). I was pleasantly surprised to see just as many non-Korean’s in the supermarket as that showcases Toronto’s impressive cultural mosaic.

Second stop, I checked out Strictly Bulk on Bloor West, known for organic bulk foods without the high cost of packaging. You can smell the blend of coffee beans, spices, and soaps. Again, the place was filled with Toronto’s signature multiculturalism, and a knowledgeable staff. I loaded up on my nuts and seeds and snack foods, along with a few eco-friendly cleaning products.

My last stop was Fiesta Farms, a place that was highly recommended by friends from the west end. This place is wonderful, thoughtful, family-run, socially-responsible, environmentally aware, eco-friendly, locally supportive, community-driven, and organically authentic. I felt like a real cool food nerd walking up and down each aisle in slow motion, picking up every other product, admiring the label, reading the ingredient list from top to bottom. As a kid feels when he is in a toy store, I felt the same way as a holistic fitness professional. This was my wonderland!

Why am I recalling my boring grocery shopping adventure? Well, with nothing against Whole Foods, I thought I’d take that one moment of redirection with the grocery basket, and propel myself into a place I’ve never gone. Instead of making the thoughtless, time-saving, robotic, convenient decision of providing Whole Foods with my business, I chose to revel in my moment and make a memorable experience out of the afternoon.

I became aware of a similar shopping situation while at H&M, and remembered the documentary TRUE COST. What’s the true cost of every dollar you spend? How much money will satisfy a multi-million dollar Fortune 500 company? What are you supporting with each purchase you make? What effect does it have on manufacturing countries and communities? I love Whole Foods and shop there more frequently than any other grocery store, but that Saturday afternoon was one that made me think of the David Mitchell quote, “My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” Each dollar I spend at Whole Foods could be a dollar spent to help strengthen the food community and local sustainable food system of my beloved home town.

My thoughts preceded my actions. My actions speak the words of this piece.  I am proud of this weekend’s grocery shop decision and wanted to share how it came to be. Here are the ABCDE's that brought life and context to my blue sky thoughts: 

AWARENESS - Exercise in the morning made my mind sharp and clear. Enough so that I could recall the True Cost documentary that opened my mind to social responsibility and sustainability.

BELIEFS - Who I am aligns with my beliefs and values. I believe in this city and I value the diversity and thoughtfulness it breeds. I believe the food I purchase must positively impact me nutritionally first and foremost, but also must positively impact our society and community as a whole.

CIRCUMSTANCE - My car, my freedom, my free time, my healthy food budget, and my time management all paved the path to this journey.

DESTINATION - Every journey must have a destination. This influences the pace, the intensity, and the type of activity. I knew before heading out of Whole Foods that I wanted to discover the west end. My goal was set.

ENVIRONMENT - Weather was beautiful. No rain or snow to divert me. No obstacles in the way. All signs were green.

Although simple and almost insignificant, it is in these moments that life chooses to teach its lessons. The next time I won’t necessarily check mark each of the ABCDE’s, but I will refer to them when something doesn’t feel right. Trusting in our instincts is one thing, but embracing CONTEXTUAL INTELLIGENCE is a skill worth spreading.  

What if people were more conscious of their decisions? How do you make your decisions? You may not naturally think so analytically about them, but what if you did? What if it only took an extra 2-minutes to change the course of your day, maybe your life? 
You never know if you never try... 




Here are 10 of my favorite Ted Talks that I've used as inspiration over the years. I wanted to take this opportunity to share my thoughts with you. Thank you for taking the time to read.

(Scroll to bottom to go from day 10 to day 1)



(Sunday, September 20th, 8:30-12pm, 99 Sudbury)

“Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability”.
“Talents are often buried, you often have to go looking for them, create conditions for them”.
“Your life is created according to the talents you discover or not”.
Thereby life is your talents discovered.


Tomorrow will be a day where a tribe of my favorite presenters showcase their talents, submit to vulnerability, and courageously rise above.
I believe my role in the process of 2.0 is to be a creative leader. My goal is to provide a platform, a stage if you will, to promote people that know profound principles and that do great things beyond themselves. My goal is to create a culture of sharing, creating, and learning that aims to grow the sensitivity and depth of the community.
By attending, presenting, volunteering, and supporting 2.0 Toronto, you are investing in the community’s positive energy towards a 2.0 way of inter-acting, and inter-being. 

Thank you.



(Sunday, September 20th, 8:30-12pm, 99 Sudbury)

“People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek

This Ted Talk was one of my very first lectures. It helped me understand why I do what I do. It lead me to the word INTENTION. Every time I take a class or teach a class, I check in with my intention for the class. To review why I am in attendance helps me dive deeper into the present moment. Intention is purpose and meaning, and it gives life to awareness and one’s surroundings.
When I am in a state of stress, confusion, or fatigue, it is mostly because I am looking for answers and cannot find them. Instead I should be asking questions. Two of the best questions in the world are … are you ready for it?
1. WHY?  Notice how children ask this question all the time? When you stop asking why, you’ve come to a point in your life where you have lost touch with that curiosity, that adventure-seeker, that humility, that sense of wonderment, that inner child. Never stop asking why!

2. WHY NOT? Why is a question that holds us in thought, keeps our bodies from taking action before the thought has processed. Why not is a question that gets you moving. It breaks boundaries, helps us take risks, forgoes the brakes of consequences, and allows us to make mistakes, grow, and learn.

I hope you ask yourself these two questions about 2.0 Toronto.
Excited to meet you on Sunday.







3 MORE DAYS!!!! 
(Sunday, September 20th, 8:30-12pm, 99 Sudbury)

Last night, I took a night off of the countdown write ups to think about my final top 3 Ted Talks to write about. I've been currently thinking on such a high level with this event coming up, my brain is frying as I type! But this is the point of my training in which I call upon all of my resources to summate a big sprint finish. In the last few days leading up to an ultramarathon race, there is always the calm before the storm. I focus not on training physically, i.e., run training, strength training, core conditioning. All of that has been done and practiced so thoroughly in training, it would only do damage at this late stage in the game. Instead, it boils down to MENTAL REHEARSAL, and MOBILITY/FLEXIBILITY. 
Mental rehearsal for EXECUTION and ENERGY.
Mobility/Flexibility for CREATIVITY and ACUITY (sharpness).

I am immersing myself in inspirational and insightful Ted Talks as an activity to help me engage with the profoundness of this event as it pertains to MY life. I call this SELF-INSPIRATION. I aim to do these 'epic' things to inspire my current self and keep my future self motivated to continue pushing the boundaries and expanding the mind. Hindsight is 20/20, no regrets, go big then go home, seize the moment, make it count. 
I hope that with this mental rehearsal, I will put myself in a place of high energy and smooth execution on Sunday.

As for mobility and flexibility, I prep physically as I would for a race. Every night I am myofascial massaging and decompressing with the foam roller and lacrosse ball. Every morning I commit to a yoga flow 5 minute segment. These rituals put me right back into race mode and thus the physical practice positively affects the mental mindset. On race day/ event day, I will thus be ready for any bumps, twists, unexpected occurrences, and can think on my feet creatively and intuitively with confidence.

Tony Robbins' Ted Talk has so many beautiful topics I could talk on and on about each and every single thing, but I want to keep this short and sweet and to a punch line point. Rewind back to his first comment! Tony dives right into an intro line about IMMERSION. He asks how we learn language. We learn it early on in life by immersing ourselves in it. That is something we take for granted. We can't just learn something by adopting its principles. We have to walk the walk! You've got to immerse yourself in whatever you do in order to make a change sustainable.

Practice doesn't make perfect. 
Perfect practice makes perfect. 
Also, practice makes permanent.

I hope you take the principles from 2.0 on Sunday as guidelines to keep you practicing with mindfulness. Be sure to keep in touch with the presenters you enjoy. Be proactive about what you learn. Immerse yourself in the material and moments that take your breath away.

*No Countdown write up on 4 days.

Countdown to 2.0 Toronto: 5 days (Sunday, September 20th, 9-12pm, 99 Sudbury)
Register here

I am fascinated by CONNECTION.
I am inspired by the connections created by people. There are so many ways we can connect. Connection through music. Connection through art. Connection through food.
We can make or break connections, we can manipulate them, or we can ignore them.
But do we really have control over connections? Are we hardwired to be connected and are just now discovering software that can manipulate these connections?
I believe we are all connected to the deepest of our being. Thought there are some that lose connection with themselves and thus cloud the potential for connection with others. We have to help these people.
2.0 is a means to help connect with yourself and with others through movement and education. Registering for this event has already proven that you are connected with yourself because you are hopefully doing this for yourself. Now let’s be open and ready to connect with others and the information our talented presenters will be providing this beautiful Sunday morning.
One of my favorite, short and sweet, demonstrations of connection is not a Ted Talk! It is from the 2009 World Science Festival. Bobby McFerrin is a 10 time Grammy award winner and the artist behind the song “Don’t worry, Be Happy”. Watch his magical performance that connects audience members like you've never seen.



Countdown to 2.0 Toronto: 6 days (Sunday, September 20th, 9-12pm, 99 Sudbury)
Register here

What if you worked in an environment that was free of distraction?
What if you worked in an environment that made you more productive without increased effort? 
What if you worked in an environment that helped you see things more clearly, listen more carefully, and connect more deeply?
Julian Treasure’s Ted Talk on The Sound of Happiness is one that comes to mind when finding interesting coping strategies to address productive work environments. Julian says we need work spaces that provide optimal settings for Collaboration, Concentration, and Contemplation. His tips and advice on small changes to the work environment to optimize how we see, hear, and connect are multi-sensory and multi-disciplinary.
Because I teach and train at Rogers Communications main campus, I absorb the environment within this massive complex. My senses are put on high gear when I enter the building because of how busy the place is. My approach to working in this environment is very complex and multi-faceted. 
I am privy to their employee amenities, insiders on their ever-expanding pursuits, and the excitement of their energetic work dynamics. But I am also bound to their rules and restrictions, challenged by their inconsistencies, and drained by the emotional rollercoaster ride of their competitive work dynamic. The corporate fitness world is very different from others in the industry. The sensitivity it has taught me has allowed me to empathize deeply with employees, and forge an ever-evolving brand for myself that is holistic in nature. This diversified and multi-faceted approach to fitness, health, and wellness, is my solution to helping employees cope with the wide array of their stress inducers. The assortment of tools that must be used to defend against the assortment of stresses are always changing. Hence why 2.0 Toronto has always been about showcasing multiple talents and methodologies. The presenters are institutions in their own fields of study, and when brought together to collaborate and share principles, systems of practice, and philosophies, you have a unique opportunity to experience a multi-sensory/disciplinary approach to managing stress inducers and finding happiness. Julian Treasure would probably say that 2.0 Toronto’s efforts “SOUND GOOD!”



Countdown to 2.0 Toronto: 7 days (Sunday, September 20th, 9-12pm, 99 Sudbury)

I wanted to share with you my latest Instagram post to segue into the Ted Talk I am going to reflect on.
[A shared moment. Connected through nature.
I literally took this shot 10 seconds before the sun went down. 
Amazing to feel how fast the earth revolves.
From day to night. From warm to cold. I went from warm momentous love to contemplative philosophical in 10 seconds.
The warmth of the sunset made me feel free and open-hearted.
The cold of the set-sun made me focused and appreciative.
We experience end to end spectrums of
#‎equilibrium on a daily basis. So the word homeostasis is not just one that revolves around human biology but environmental science. Even though #‎homeostasis is defined as: "The human body's ability to manage a multitude of highly complex interactions to maintain balance or return systems to functioning within a normal range", it pertains to earth and all living things. 
If we can understand the profoundness of this principle we can appreciate all of the ups and downs and side to sides that life brings. 
#‎sunset #‎love #‎toronto 
#‎deep #‎thoughts are flowing through my brain ... time to surf this wave!]

The ted talk I wanted to share is Susan Cain’s “The Power of Introverts”.
To connect the theme of ‘Equilibrium’, and my Instagram post above, I thought Susan’s insights on introversion and extroversion are important reminders about valuing what kind of social beings we are and how to express ourselves most effectively and ultimately, in a balanced manner.
Susan says that our relationship with stimulation is what dictates our intro-extro preference. Some of us need a high level of stimulation to be creative, productive, and vital. Some of us need low levels of stimulation instead. And many of us are those who require both high and low levels of stimulation at different times. Carl Jung says there is no such thing as a pure introvert and a pure extrovert, “if one such person existed, you would find him in a lunatic asylum”. But in general, we tend to identify with one more than the other. Although Susan doesn’t go into too much detail about these ‘ambiverts’, I am fascinated by this ability to be an equal amount introvert and extrovert because I believe I am this myself. My inquiries regarding the origin of introversion-extroversion type-casting leans into the nature vs nurture debate. Are we born a certain way, or is it what we do that influences our type? Am I an extrovert because I am a group fitness coach? Or am I an introvert because I am a personal trainer. In my case, I identify with being both types and therefore I like to think I have the best of both worlds.
At the end of the day, knowing what type of person you are will help you make better decisions for yourself. It will get you into ideal opportunities and out of suboptimal situations. And finally, it will help you nurture relationships that will last and forgo those that will fade, providing you with ample energy to be the best version of yourself this world needs.        





Countdown to 2.0 Toronto: 8 days (Sunday, September 20th, 9-12pm, 99 Sudbury)

This countdown to 2.0 idea of sharing my thoughts on Ted Talks has been brewing in me for a while. Clearly, I am a huge fan of this medium of information delivery and processing. Hence, it has had a massive influence on who I am and what I do. I am so happy to write each countdown note and each presenter profile as the act of writing is so very therapeutic for me. I hope you enjoy each of these notes as a means to deliver information about 2.0 in a tasteful yet welcoming approach. Here is a brief summary of one of my favorites on the power of Work/Life Balance.
“The small things matter, being more balanced doesn’t mean dramatic upheaval in your life.
With the smallest investment in the right places, you can radically transform the quality of your relationships and the quality of your life, moreover, I think it can transform society. If enough people can do it, we can change society’s definition of success”, an excerpt from Nigel Marsh’s Ted Talk: How to Make Work-Life Balance Work. 
At 2.0, our presenters will be touching upon these ‘smallest investments’ and sharing their ‘right places’ to enact transformative behaviors.
In this Ted Talk, Nigel shares his rules regarding balance (this year’s theme).
1. Set boundaries.
2. Pace the process.
3. Approach balance in a balanced way.
I often describe 2.0 Toronto as a Ted Talks for Fitness. Instead of having people learn by listening to lectures, people learn by moving through activities. Whether ideas are experienced through words and graphics or through yoga and athleticism, they are still ideas worth spreading.
We will be raising money for The Stop: Food Community Center. In the past we have raised money for Sears Kid’s Cancer Foundation, The Humber River Hospital Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, and Rogers Youth Fund. I hope you can join us on Sunday, September 20th for 2.0 Toronto’s 3rd year to share in the education, the positive energy, and the company of like-minded individuals. 



9 more days!!! 
Have you registered yet???
2.0 is an opportunity to learn. But not from the best. We are not the best. We would be lying to you if we were the best. What is the best anyways??? We are different. We are outside of the box thinkers and doers. We are agents of change hoping to help as many people find themselves as possible. We blend science and art together and create opportunities for people to become self-reflective and self-fulfilling. 
We are opportunity makers. We are individuals in fitness that strive to make the fitness industry into a fitness community. We seek holism. We seek collaboration. We seek connection. We seek variety and diversity. As holistic fitness coaches and presenters, we value the importance of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual harmony. We hope to share our stories and gifts with you on Sunday, September 20th.

This second ted talk that has inspired us over the last few weeks is one by Kare Anderson.…/kare_anderson_be_an_opportunity_maker…





2.0 is 10 days away. If you haven't registered yet, I have 2 of my favorite questions to ask you.... 1. Why? 2. Why not? 
If you are physically unable or if you already have plans, don't sweat it! 
But if you are on the fence for any reason at all ....
Here are my two cents:
The only way I cope with uncertainty is with KNOWLEDGE. 
To be aware, to be educated, and to be informed are how I cope with the discomfort of uncertainty. 
We live in a world of 'wants'.... 
We all want to know ahead of time what is worthwhile and beneficial to us.
We all want to feel safe and comfortable, and live free from discomfort. 
We all want to know the future before it becomes the present ...

2.0 is an experience that will help you gain insight into the things you've always wanted but currently aren't receiving regarding fitness, health, wellness, nutrition, and direction. 
2.0 is an experience that will inspire you to try something different, to think in a different way, to act differently but more mindfully. 
2.0 is an experience that aims to give you knowledge so that one day, you will be able to look at uncertainty as an OPPORTUNITY.

Brene Brown's ted talk on vulnerability has fueled our motivation to deliver 2.0's most signature event experience yet. We are putting ourselves out there, we hope you will too.
If Brene would describe 2.0, it would probably sound like this ... "2.0 is a chance for you to learn how the courage to be vulnerable may transform the way you live, love, and lead."




***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****

Chris Csak.

One side of Chris is described as a man of few words.
Shakespeare uses the phrase in the play King Henry V, from 1599: “He hath heard that men of few words are the best men.” To me, men of few words are also men of action. Chris’ Pilates and Cycling classes speak for themselves. You’ll find his classes packed to the brim every single week, week after week, season to season, and probably year after year considering he has been teaching for over 15 years.

I met Chris while teaching at the Yorkville Club. Our leaner more agile builds used to work out after our classes together, performing highly functional weight training exercises, alongside bodybuilders and machine based trainers, back when the Yorkville Club was under different ownership. We knew of each other, but never really befriended each other. That’s what happens in the fitness world, you pass by people that could be your long lost lover, your mentor, your soulmate, or your bff. It is such a revolving door. But because Chris and I have been around since the old days of Yorkville, we have a common understanding of the evolution of our environment. Our environment cannot be controlled, we must adapt and change and evolve ourselves. My friendship with Chris has evolved over time.

Over the past year, we would meet together for steam and sauna sessions after our Equinox Bay Street classes and philosophize like two old men that have known each other for decades. That’s when I learned that this man is also a man of many profound words and perspectives. Simply put, we get each other.
I’m going to keep this on the shorter side because that’s how Chris would like it.

I see Chris as a big brother to me. Watching my movements, listening and reflecting, inserting the tiniest bits of encouragement and insightfulness at the perfect moments. No judgement, no ego, just respect and heart.

Chris will be bringing his Pilates to us at 2.0 along with his deep thoughts on our theme ‘Equilibrium’. Looking forward to sitting back and listening intently.


Duncan Yoga

Duncan Yoga


***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****

Duncan Parviainen.
“Let your dreams run wild … be brave enough to follow.”

As I wind down into my 2nd last presenter profile, my words are stringing together more smoothly. Although I only really met Duncan this year, and have known about him since we both started at Equinox Bay Street two years ago, I have vivid moments of memory with Duncan. These photographic moments are vivid because of a few special qualities:
His ear to ear goofy smile. His radiating blue eyes. His gentle but rich hugs. His tasteful flamboyancy and playfulness. His calm and excited spirit.

In this fitness and movement industry, Duncan is one of “those”.
Many of us build ourselves up and in to the career of coaching and teaching. We take the typical route of academic schooling, find that we need more than just an intellectually stimulating profession, but one that bases itself on connecting with others physically. From there, we struggle with working a 9-5er with part time teaching as a hobby, ‘because we’re good at fitness’. We do what we’ve been told and just go with it until it hits us upside the head!  

Duncan is one of “those” rare breeds that listened to themselves at a young age. He is one of those that showed so much star potential at such a young age, that mentors couldn’t help but pull him into the right direction earlier rather than later. His willingness, determination, and self-awareness have brought him to where he is today, and I believe he teaches these values like no other.

When I first asked him to present for 2.0 this year, I was nervous.
An aside … we approach group fitness instructors with shyness because they are like living legends. Day in and day out, they put themselves out there, they exude so much courage, and speak as much truth as they know.

Back to my first time with Duncan ;) … I felt like a groupie nervous about asking him for his autograph! Before even finishing the words to my question to present at 2.0, he said “YES!!!” I was astonished, surprised, and grateful.
To give you a sample of his star power, first off, Duncan has a massive following. Even though he is a relatively young fella, he has been teaching since he was 17 years old! (Age is just a number! Experience and knowledge are everything). His following and practice has been building in strength for years and years. While many of us were in University studying Biology, Organic Chemistry, Business 101, and other subjects that were of no practical use to our current professions, Duncan was perfecting his craft. You can feel this depth of early experience in each of his classes.   

He has a Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training System called Empowered Spirit. He was a pro dancer and a two time Ironman. On top of all that, he is a Lululemon and Vega ambassador.

To say Duncan is an amazing Yoga teacher is selling him a bit short.
Duncan is truly an institution, one that is living life brave enough to follow AND realize his wildest dreams.

He will be teaching his signature Vinyasa Yoga movements for us at 2.0.
Learn more about him at:


The Indominable Spirit

The Indominable Spirit


***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****

Quentin upholds a zest for life that will make you remember him for life.  

Before I started teaching at Ferris 360, I did my research on the rest of the team.  I read through Quentin's credentials and experience and thought okay cool, not everyone has jacked credentials like Sylva, Garfield, and Derek!  I'm good! 
But I was sooo wrong! What’s not on paper are the real credentials …

Here we go: 
With a Taekwondo upbringing, a multi-sport athlete, and a personality meant for the spotlight, there's no doubt to why Lululemon would have him as an Ambassador.

Quentin's positive energy can get you literally high on life.  Just like Jack Nicholson says to Helen Hunt in one of my favorite movies of all time, As Good As it Gets ... "You make me want to be a better man". I have been following Quentin’s growth as a teacher, inspirational leader, and as a student, and I am bewildered by his epic-ness. I feel I can’t say more about him in writing so as to underline my point about learning about someone in person vs. on paper.  Just like all of the other presenters in our 2.0 tribe, paper doesn't do them justice. 

Quentin is an animal when it comes to putting ideas into action with training and coaching. Over the summer, he put on kick ass Outdoor Bootcamps in Muskoka. His Instagram account is super fun and helpful @quentinvitko. Watch out for his latest stuff via his addictive daily VLOGS which are sneak peeks into his day to day lifestyle. Seriously, stay tuned in because this flower is blossoming before our very eyes ... it's a beautiful thing!

I’ve asked Quentin to showcase his fire come event day, so prepare for some heated high kicks and ‘hi-ya’s!’, as his segment will be one of the hottest YANG energies of the day!

Lastly, Quentin, you’ll like this, but I wrote the majority of this profile while on the can! #morningdumpthoughts


Ms. Chi Junky

Ms. Chi Junky


***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****

Rachelle Wintzen.

So I wrote about my #mancrush Ben Dussault yesterday, now I gotta talk about my #womancrush today.

I’m not the first to publicly admit it, and it's not the first time either, and I may sound like a bit of a creep too, but this girl is absolutely drop dead gorgeous! Inside and out!

Rachelle is the real deal. She exudes confidence like Beyonce, she hustles like Jay-Z, and she’s got a New York state of mind! Among all of the high caliber qualities she upholds, I’ve always admired her work ethic. You want this girl on your team, otherwise, you are in for a ride! When she puts her mind to something, or when she says she's going to do something, it's already done without question. Many people talk the talk and without walking the walk, she's one of those dying breeds of people that under-promise and over-deliver. 

Not only does Rachelle operate and own her own private yoga studio called The Chi Junky Studio in Leslieville, but (big breath…) she is also a Certified Yoga Instructor, Holistic Nutritionist, Iridologist, Colon Hydrotherapist, and she teaches branding and professional practice as a Professor at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition…did I mention she is also the face and ambassador of Flow Water!?!?        

Whenever we get together, we share our love for the business of Fitness. Our entrepreneurial minds can’t help but be creative, innovative, and goal-oriented. When with Rachelle, my passion around the idea of fitness as an industry ignites, but my passion grows like wildfire around the idea of fitness as a community.

This 2.0 tribe that we are building in Toronto is growing with intensity. ‘Interdependence’ is one of our foundational principles. The special thing about the tribe of presenters this year is that they deeply understand the benefits that stem from mutual respect and teamwork. For an industry to break free from the shackles of monetary gain and become a community that upholds virtuous gains, that is the 2.0 higher purpose.

Even though we are just beginning, I could not imagine this journey without one of its original tribe members, Rachelle Wintzen.       


Mr. Anchored

Mr. Anchored


***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ***


A friend, a brother, a mentor, and a role model. Ben is this and much more to me.

Ben and I met 5 years ago and it was bromance at first sight. He emits a tractor beam that draws you in where resistance is futile. You’ll know it when you are in his presence. You can’t miss him because he’s got this crazy hardcore look to him: all tatted up, toque indoors, ripped up jean shorts, callused manly hands, Don Draper-esque haircut and grizzly facial hair to pair, with piercing blue eyes like his son. Sounds like I’m advertising Toronto’s top bachelor instead of top fitness pro! His wife Dani would probably agree with all of the compliments I have for this man, though I’m slightly biased as his buddy….I digress.

Sharing Ben’s personal life to cyberspace seems a bit revealing, but it is necessary. To appreciate Ben for all that he is and all that he does, you need context. Ben is the owner and founder of Anchored Social Club, located in the heart of Leslieville. He is a personal trainer and group fitness coach. His facility is minimalist. With the use of lentil bags, swiss balls, gym rings, manila rope, matted floors, a peg wall, and himself, he’s got more than enough knowledge and experience to lead a 30 participant class, let alone a one on one session.

I can think of 3 words that make Ben special....

1. Ben is resourceful. He has an intimate knowledge of the human body and its biomechanics. He used and abused his body when on tour as a pro drummer for the underground ‘Hardcore’ punk music scene. He kept straight edge sober and found fitness as a means to keep up with the endurance of the job.
When we train together, we are ideally outside, climbing trees, scaling boulders, crawling hills, and producing integrated partnered feats of neuromuscular strength and endurance. Every workout with Ben is safe and sound in science, and the most creative, raw, and outrageous experience of movement as art.

2. Ben is altruistic; a true giver. He gives his all in his classes and training sessions. He puts his body on the line so that you can make yours better. Not only does he keep up on all things fitness academia related, but he runs his own business, builds his community, networks with local farmers, nurtures his strong young family, supports his growing clientele, and I’m sure much, much more.

3. Ben is a leader. When you are in his company, you feel safe, looked after, cared for, and all the feelings you need to know you are in good hands. That may not be the first thing that pops to mind with the word ‘leader’, but I believe a true leader builds TRUST. When you trust in someone, you will follow them. Ben is a leader in the field of fitness in that his movement practice is different from main stream. He coaches connection through movement interaction. His signature exercises are executed with trust, communication, and quality. His teachings require that you simply ‘let go’ and listen.

This will be Ben’s 3rd year presenting at 2.0 as he is definitely 2.0 - “the next level”, in all regards.

Get excited for his integrative and interactive movement practice that’ll leave you high on life!   


***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****

Chris Roche.

I’m going to keep this profile short because it’s sweeter that way.
The story of Chris and I goes like this: he taught the best Master Schwinn Indoor Cycling course I’ve ever done. He certified me. He armed me with tools. He enabled me. He inspires me.

When a man can teach you how to fish instead of just giving you fish, you know that man is special.

Chris to me is the epitome of 2.0. As ironic as it may sound, he alone gives identity to 2.0’s tagline by Sir Ken Robinson: “human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a single conception of ability.” Chris is a diversity of talent. His portfolio ranges widely and his personality ranges deeply; you can tell just by listening to him and watching him.
In one of our special 2.0 presenter email feeds, Phil Delaire sent us all a quote, “
Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there and shine." - Anne Lamott

In response to that, Chris motivated us with, “FRIGGIN SHINE (EVERYONE)!!!” followed up with, “(because) I am showing up to shine”.
And my response to that, bring your sunglasses because it will be bright!

Chris will be teaching us “In the Flow”, a beautiful range of motion sequence, choreographed to music, set up to connect every single person in the room.   



***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****

Garnet Suidy.

“Movement is so much more than muscles, bones, abs, and asses”,
Movement brings new life to the body”,
“Movement is life”.

I first met Garnet at a dinner party and came eye to eye with someone I felt very intimidated by. Throughout the night, I could sense he was a deep thinker, very knowledgeable, intensely talented, and apparently he could move! Who was this new sensational guy that I’ve never met before!?!?  

It just so happens that he is THE Master Instructor for BodyArt in Canada, a certified Pilates Instructor, a retired National Level Competitive Figure Skater, and currently studying to become an Osteopath. Wow, with that background, anyone in the industry would feel intimidated! What a force!!!  

Sometimes it takes time to feel comfortable with someone. A rapport needs to be built, a bridge needs to be formed, and mutual understandings need to be met. Upon meeting Garnet, I never felt truly comfortable in his presence, though he taught me something about myself without having to say a word: he made me feel comfortable with being uncomfortable. Maybe I was confronted with someone so similar to me??? (I’ve been told that I’m a thinker, and that I’m intense, and that I can also move!) Highly similar beings are like walking mirrors that make you aware of everything, at times when you don’t want them to. They make you aware of things within yourself that you are intimidated by, or not certain of, or just don’t like. Garnet made me more aware of my insecurities and that allowed me to adjust and tune in to my own consciousness and presence.    

Now I know all of this may sound hokey pokey, and Garnet, if you are reading this, how crazy do I sound!?!?  But feeling someone’s energy isn’t new to us. We can feel someone’s positive or negative energy in the room without an exchange of words or glances. It’s just hardwired into us to FEEL. It affects our energy like an ever changing dance between energies. This constant flux of energy up and down, in and out, high and low, reflects the state of Equilibrium, the forces of Yin and Yang, and thus the relationship between people and all living things.   

Garnet will be presenting a segment of Bodyart which is functional, whole body movements inspired by Qi Gong, Yoga, Martial Arts, Pilates, dance and primal movements. Bodyart aims to balance the mind, body and spirit through movements that follow the principles of Yin and Yang. For those who have never experienced this hit phenomena born out of Europe 20 years ago, you are in for a treat ;)
(As you can tell from the description, and by knowing me, it’s no surprise that this is my favorite method of moving!)

Garnet will also be touching upon the fascinating but ‘matter of fact’ relationship between structure (what we are) and function (what we do).

I am so pleased to have Garnet present for 2.0 this year. His presence throughout the months of planning has been very refreshing. I hope everyone will feel the comfort of discomfort that he brings, as that my friends, brings change.      



Third Presenter that I am profiling is Sylva Mischke.

"Accept the challenge ... taste victory."

This is at the bottom of every one of her emails. It is a personal mandate. It is a social projection. It is a mindset. It is Sylva.

When I first met Sylva, I, along with everyone she's probably encountered, felt intimidated as f***. Don't be mistaken though, this intimidation factor comes as an asset in our industry; there's no bullshit, there's no fluff, there's pure honesty, there's simplicity.

If you can "wear what you share" and "walk the talk", you have won half the battle. Doing it consistently for years on end is winning the other half.

You simply can't argue with consistent, sustainable results.

As I am getting to know Sylva more and more though, I've found a side of her that is very thoughtful, caring, and open-minded. Through some late night texts, to subbing classes for each other, to social media likes, to passerby moments in our gyms: Equinox and Ferris 360, to EDM music, to shop talk and shootin' the shit, our professional teamwork has definitely paved the way to a concrete camaraderie. Maybe I'm rubbing off on this female Terminator!!!

2.0's theme of 'equilibrium' is not only a word that describes a state of being, but also a word that teaches. When I asked my presenters to base their presentation on this word, to some it struck a chord, and to others, it made them think. When a word can evoke sensation manifested through thought or action, it enables learning.

Part of Sylva's success is her physical regimen. This is clearly evident via her creative and extremely helpful instructional-style instagram posts ... check her out >>>>>

Other parts to Sylva's physical success are her deep self-awareness, core values, and philosophy. As she says, "equilibrium needs to exist outside of the weight room as well. Through your diet, your mindset. Through work, rest, and play."

When I first met her, her words to me of "Work hard, play hard, but rest HARDER" have always stuck in my head. Those words made me realize how enlightened Sylva was.

At 2.0, Sylva will be delivering some signature Strengthonomics movements and will also offer insights to her life that will help us all understand the genesis of the force that is Sylva Mischke.

Not only is she an equilibrium-aware powerhouse, but an integral energy to our fitness industry. 


"The Bridge" 

I'm going to be writing a freestyle blurb about each of my presenters for this year's 2.0 TO event as a way to inform and share my connection with these beautiful influencers.

***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****



I met Phil at the CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coaching Certification Course in November 2014, held in Toronto. Our encounters were the most unassuming throughout the 3 days. We casually spoke about the days’ occurrences, a little shop talk, interests, photography, etc., nothing big, just natural, and without intention other than simply getting to know each other. When Paul Chek later introduced Phil to the crowd of 100+ students, my networking business side immediately came out unfortunately and FORTUNATELY! I thought Phil was a photographer hired by the faculty, commissioned to expand the company’s portfolio. Little did I know he was one of Paul Chek’s go-to-guys in Toronto! 

Fast forward a few weeks and I grew the courage to email Phil to meet in person. HE REMEMBERED ME AND AGREED! I was giddy!
This energy that I exuded at the time was so genuine and pure; it set the tone to my current friendship with Phil. When I look back, I think what a special opportunity it was to lock in some face time with someone so experienced in the field of study I am currently infatuated with. Learning about Phil’s highly influential impact on Toronto’s Granite Club as it’s manager for over 20 years, and the highly sought after coaching company he directs, I ironically grew to admire his humility more than his accolades. You would never know this guys’ influence and impact by simply chatting with him, he asks more about you and listens more to you, with no evidence of ego, no hint of pride, something rare in this day in age!  

Phil is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach (CSCS), a CHEK Practitioner Level 4, an HLC Level 3, and a double major in Film and Kinesiology. By industry education, Phil is qualified to integrate many different modalities including traditional exercise prescription, mind-body fitness, soft-tissue therapies, alternative healthcare and orthopedic rehabilitation. The way I see Phil’s caliber of education and experience is incomparable to anything less than the top in the country. He is the most low-profile major influencer in Toronto, acting as “the bridge” (a name his buddies call him), to worlds apart.   

At this point of his career, I believe Phil is in major works on personal endeavors, but is secretly working on something big. At 2.0, we will be fortunate enough to see a glimpse into his mind, but a mind of thoughts truly catered to the crowd and the context of the event theme of ‘Equilibrium’. His presentation on “Back to Basics” will enlighten and stretch perspective, but also tell us exactly what we already know. I believe he will bring us back to earth so that we can connect with each other, and ground ourselves in mind, body, and spirit.   



"Ms. Motivation"

I'm going to be writing a freestyle blurb about each of my presenters for this year's 2.0 TO event as a way to inform and share my connection with these beautiful influencers.

***Sunday, September 20th at 99 Sudbury. ****

First up is MICHELLE CRISPE!!! My Opening Ceremony KEYNOTE SPEAKER. 

I love revisiting the memory of my brief but profound first encounters with Michelle. She was my personal training manager at The Yorkville Club Uptown many years ago. We connected immediately. She dished me clients like no tomorrow without question. She coached without coaching; led by example through her energy and confidence, and provided her staff confidence in themselves....she ninja'd us into self-empowerment, self-mastery, and self-reflection (yes, all of this in the 2 months of work at the club until she left for bigger and better things...had the feeling this bird needed to fly). 
Fast forward years of personal development, I dug deep into all the influential contacts in my life to help consult on my 2.0 endeavor. As I developed, they developed, and oh did Michelle fly far away from her PT management days. Michelle was soaring! Knowing me, I did my research and found out that Michelle was and currently is the celebrity fitness expert for‪#‎themarilynshow. Check out one of vids here:…/Septemb…/9_16_2014/PowerofPositivity
I had the balls to reach out to this now celebrity and she responded back with an unexpected and very kind and humble reply to meet in person. Even as I hold her in the highest regard, meeting her in person, I could sense this next level ora to her that I couldn't really explain. As if she was on cloud 9 24/7...refreshing to find someone practicing what they preach, walking their talk, and living their dreams. What made this connection out of this world was that she was accessible, open, and all ears about MY 2.0 idea! 
We have had a handful of meets over the year and I am proud to say we are working alongside one another on something very special. 
As we develop ourselves, we work on the "I". Yes, there is an "I" in TEAM. If there is no "I" in team, there is no team, there is no understanding of the self, there is no desire, goal, or dream that honors the principle of individualization. To formulate a deep sense of self identity, we need to formulate a dream/legacy. And with that, we need a "dream team". 
Michelle is a member of my dream team; my tribe. She is in my corner, a woman that I can trust, confide in, and collaborate with to make my dream come true. 
Michelle is a Doctor of Chiropractic, a bodybuilding champion, and a celebrity speaker and presenter. Check her out here:
She will be sharing her thoughts on this year's theme EQUILIBRIUM, best practices to promote positivity, and exploring the power of mindsetting.



Holistic Fitness Class Video

Take a peek into my HOLISTIC FITNESS class at Lofts at 90 Sumach!!!

I've been teaching this private small group circuit training class for about 5-6 years now and am grateful for every single class that I teach. This class is my opportunity and privilege to teach my friends and family as they do not have access to the membership clubs in which I teach. Good friends and veteran participants Jeremy Benning and Francis Luta created this beautiful video for me which screams JULIAN HO! Love it love it love it!

Thank you deeply. 

Through this lovely video, I hope you can feel the magic that happens in this little tribe of a class. 

PS. Make sure you watch it in HD!

Ultramarathons Conquered! (Part 1 of 3)

Writing to you from a mind and body that has been recently challenged to the maximum! As you may or may not know, I competed in back to back weekends of Ultramarathon races. An ultramarathon is anything more than 42.2k (marathon distance). Last weekend I defended my title at the Muskoka Limberlost 56k Trail Ultramarathon. I not only won the race, but I broke the course record by 22 minutes! I ran for 5 hours and 26 minutes. I completed the Hat Trick! It was the race of my life. Everything came together for me that day and I am still pinching myself over the results. 

On Saturday morning, while you were still sleeping at 5am, I was running. Then when you awoke to a beautiful blue sky morning and the smell of fresh coffee brewing at 8am, I was running. Perhaps you spent the day in the hot sun relaxing, maybe on the beach or backyard gardening, or hanging out with friends brunching at 11am, I was running. Then as you took some time for yourself to afternoon nap, or TV watch or book read at 1pm, I was running. Finally, when you sipped on your afternoon tea, thinking about your evening plans, another thought may have popped into your head, at 2:28pm, Julian just finished running 80 kilometers. 

I ran 80 kilometers this past Saturday, July 18th, in 9 hours and 28 minutes. Can you believe it?! The feat of running for that long was something I knew I had in me, but many times throughout, I questioned myself, and even doubted myself. I had run the mild trail terrain Sulphur Springs 80k three years ago, along with a road 100k from Caledon to Collingwood four years ago, but to run up and down and around the tricky terrain and monstrous hills of Blue Mountain was nothing I've ever experienced. Apparently this is the most difficult 50 mile race in Northface's Endurance Challenge series in all of North America! From 5am to 2:28pm, I was running, fueling, listening, thinking, breathing, drinking, climbing, hiking, stretching, and more running. Even these simple tasks and behaviors, spread over a full day's worth of time and for some, a year's worth of run capacity, repeating over and over, with no compromise, stretches the depths of mental, emotional, and physical endurance. 

These two events were in the back of my mind since early last year and I am very proud that I am now standing in the reality of completion. The page has finally turned and I am relieved to be able to enjoy these feelings of closure and conquer. 

When you experience such a high in life, there is much glory to be had, but there are also down emotions to be accepted. I wanted to briefly shed some of my thoughts on this...

I am aware of this stage of 'post-ultra blues', and in defense, I am turning to other endeavors. My goal this summer is to learn how to swim more efficiently. I would like to pick up the hobby of DJ'ing. And spend more time with friends; ones that I have drifted from, and make new friends. 'Keeping busy' isn't necessarily the goal to push past the lull, but re-framing it to 'keeping engaged'. As I am aware and engaged, I am also taking the opportunity to embrace this stage of post-ultra blues. When I immerse myself in deep thought regarding my perspective over my emotions, I learn so much about myself. When we love and cherish emotions that are not normally embraced, but more so ignored and shoved into a deep dark corner, we lose the opportunity to evolve and open our minds. I believe we must take the time to learn from all of our emotions (positive and negative), thus allowing us to change from all of our experiences, and give purpose and meaning to our endeavors.  

I am energized by what is now and excited for what is to come.   

(Part 2 - My Ultramarathoning Deconstructed)

My Passions

The following was taken from the previous version of my website. I feel like I am shedding some old skin by upgrading my blog, but I wanted to honour this bit of the past because it is some of my best personal advice I could ever share with you!


“When I grow up, I want to help people”. As a kid in elementary school, I had no concept of how or why; I just had a feeling. 

“When I grow up, I want to help people feel strong and fit”. As a student in university, I had a small concept of how, but still no concept of why. I just had to make some money. 

“When I grow up, I want to help people achieve their goals”. As a young and eager trainer and instructor to the industry, I had a growing concept of how, and a righteous concept of why. I just had to prove myself. 

“When I grow up, I want to help people find balance”. As a fitness coach to the corporate world, I have a systematic concept of how, and a deeper concept of why. I just have to master it. 

“When I grow up, I want to help people…” As an enlightened human being, I shouldn’t need a concept of how or why, I just need to listen to that feeling.    

I run in races to challenge myself and hopefully inspire people. I work as a coach and trainer to educate people. I volunteer as a Pacer Bunny to GIVE to people.



Creating a balance between mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual health is what I seek. Creating a strategy forenhanced quality of life, personal growth, and positive lifestyle behaviours is what I strive. Creating an outcome of stability, happiness, and meaning is what I aspire.



I have a deep understanding of the human body, how it works, and how it can be used to its fullest potential. Whether it be for everyday functional purposes, high level athletic performance and competition, and/or rehabilitative reasons, I wish to share my knowledge and experience with those who wish to receive it. I wish to practice what I preach, conquer my own goals, and master my own weaknesses, so that I can provide as an inspirational leader who is instrumental in helping others achieve their own aspirations and goals.



Food is solely the fuel of life in some eyes; it is also the enjoyment of life in others’ eyes – I see it both ways. Food empowers people. Food allows me to express myself with cooking which paves my growing avenues of creativity, discovery, and happiness. I do not supplement, I do not diet, I do not count calories, I do not restrict; I do nothing that limits this passion of mine. But I keep in mind healthy eating habits, principles, and guidelines and I promote my perspective outwardly. When one stresses about food, it breaks positive patterns, and deters exercising habits. The answer to relieving stress is balance and control with food. Eat in moderation; portion control. Indulge but don’t overindulge. Choose quality over quantity. Feed yourself what you would feed your loved ones. You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.



As music and mood go hand in hand, music and exercise pair perfectly. Music taps into my emotions through musical components such as lyrics, melodies, beats, harmonies, and rhythm. Some songs lead me to places in my memory that help me engage deeper into my running. Other songs pump me up and act as the spotter for that last struggling rep I would normally not push out. Songs positively distract my mind when under stress and over-thought, and provide me pinpoint focus when jumping rope. Music creates a soundtrack for my long rides on the road and helps shape the rhythm of my revolutions. When I am able to connect to a song through one or all of the components of music, it elevates my mood to another level and directly affects my output of energy. Music is the common denominator of mood and exercise, thus conveying the fact that it is an essential tool for success in health and fitness.



I am fascinated by fashion’s ability to create such an impactful message without words. Fashion is freedom of expression. What we wear, how we wear, and why we wear the clothes we have provide us a sense of individuality or uniqueness that we as social beings crave. I believe the way our emotions connect so deeply to music, fitness, and food is analogous to the simplicity of how we dress. The feeling of slipping on new pair of shoes, buttoning up that perfectly fitted suit, or sliding on a rare pair of eyeglass frames is simple fulfillment of desire. Fashion is more than a passion and creative outlet; it is a hobby, enjoyment, and practice, which contributes constructively to mental and emotional health and well-being.

Are you ABUSING the gym?

Dear Athletes,

Last week I wrote about TABATA’S; the most intense protocol for high intensity interval training. I concluded that the Tabata protocol can be an effective method of high intensity training if used in balance with complementary protocols like Yoga, Flexibility training, Restorative conditioning, Massage therapy, and Myofascial Release therapy.
That means with lots of YANG (energy out), we need to rebalance with YIN (energy in)!
I hope you find some equilibrium with your exercise regimen as it will make you better at Tabata’s and all the other activities you wish to pursue.

Are you ABUSING the gym?

After listening to my mentors Tim Ferriss and Kelly Starrett enlighten listeners on “the good, the bad, and the ugly of Cross Fit” podcast, I’ve come to a reminder-thought on the purpose of the GYMNASIUM.

In ancient Greek times, the gym was functioned as a training facility for competitors in the public games of the Coliseum. It was also a place for socializing and engaging in intellectual pursuits. Is this how we still use it? We train, but for what reason? Do we engage or do we disengage when at the gym? Do we find ourselves or look to lose ourselves?

I think we’ve manipulated our perspective on the affect the gym has on our lives and as consequence, we abuse it’s usage. The gym was meant as a training ground, a place for deliberate practice, a place to refine skills and abilities, and a place for learning and achieving flow states.

Now, many people seek the gym as a place to shed calories (as if the calorie was the end all and be all currency of fitness success!?!?). Many people seek the gym as a cathartic dump for their sweat and stress release. Many people abuse the gym as adrenaline junkies; over-training to pump up their egos, while simultaneously running away from truth, honesty, and responsibility.
Harsh reality yes, but a reality nonetheless. I see it daily.

Whether you abuse the gym or use it to disengage from reality, it is extremely important that we regain perspective of the gym as a training ground for activities of higher importance: LIFE.
The gym is the stepping stone to SPORT, PLAY, LIFE-LIVING, and MOVEMENT AS EXPRESSION. We fine tune skills and proactively engage with others and ourselves so that we can approach the more important activities in life with more confidence, finesse, and ease.

Concluding takeaway:
The gym is not the event. The gym is not the race. The gym is not the performance. THE GYM IS THE COMPLEMENT.

Let’s bring back the learning, the socializing, and the deeper purpose that this shrine of a place once used to be known for.