Summer fitness gear to get you pumped

It’s time to throw your excuses out the door! Our favourite workout gear will help you create the perfect exercise atmosphere right at home. (Note: Always consult with your doctor before trying a new workout or exercise product.)


Olympic Diver Jennifer Abel

Olympic Diver Jennifer Abel

Look out London, here I come

At  sixteen, Jennifer Abel became one of the youngest divers to represent Canada at the Beijing Olympics.  Four years later, she is getting ready to compete again in London but was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to speak with Vervegirl.

By Joanna Whitney

Photo Credit Diving Canada

VG: How did you first get into diving?

JA: I started diving when I was four years old. My brother, who is older than me, was already a diver, and I wanted to be just like him. I won my first medal at age six, and that’s when I really fell in love with the sport. It was such a great feeling that I knew I wanted to continue diving.

VG: What was it like to be one of the youngest Canadian divers at the 2008 Olympics?
JA: The 2008 Olympics happened so fast. I was only 16 years old and was training to go to the 2012 Olympic Games (I thought I was too young for the Beijing Games). Since I was the youngest diver on the team, my teammates showed me around and gave me tips. I felt very privileged to have been a part of the Beijing Games. They helped me mature and gave me the experience I need to succeed at the London Games.VG: How often do you have to train, and what types of exercises do you have to do in order to get ready for the Olympics?
JA: I train at least four hours a day, six days a week. We have a couple different training methods to help us get ready for the Olympics. We do dry land training, which means anything outside the pool. It can be trampoline, flips on the floor, flexibility, visualization, etc. We also do weight lifting and ballet classes for our posture and balance.

VG: How does it feel to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games in London?

Photo Courtesy of Alice Kohler

JA: I wouldn’t change my citizenship for anything in the world. I feel so privileged to be Canadian. Every time I travel, I’m proud of where I’m from. I can’t wait to dive in the Canadian colours at the Games. It’s truly an honour.
VG: Other than being in great physical shape, what positive impact has sports had on your life?
JA: Sports is more than just being in good shape. Diving has helped me to learn more about myself. I can make decisions on my own, I know my limits and I’m clear on my likes and dislikes. Diving has also given me the chance to make a lot of great friends both at home and abroad. I also get the opportunity to travel and experience many different cultures.

VG: What advice can you give to young people who may be interested in following in your footsteps?
JA: You can get anything in life if you work hard, believe in yourself and never give up.




Triple Threat Tremblay

Montréal-based athlete Kathy Tremblay is off to England to compete in the London 2012 Olympic Games. Her sport is the triple threat of triathlon, comprised of swimming, cycling and running. Vervegirl Magazine caught up (not literally – we aren’t that fast!) with Tremblay before she hopped the plane for her second and final Olympic Games. Good luck, Kathy! 

By: Heidi Hofstad

Vervegirl: How many hours a day do you train?

Kathy Tremblay: I train three times a day – so around four to six hours. I always start with my Pilates in the morning to just wake up my body. Then I go for a two-hour bike ride – on the weekend I go for three hours. Around midday, I go for a swim. And at the end of the day, I go for a little run. I try to run every second day to prevent injuries . . . this is pretty much my routine.

VG: How did you start in triathlon?

KT: I was just a kid who wanted to be part of a group. There were a bunch of us – both girls and guys – doing triathlon, and all trying to challenge each other. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t do sports, I would have turned out differently. And not necessarily in a good way, because I like a challenge; when people told me I couldn’t do something, I liked to prove them wrong. This is what I channelled into my sports.

VG: Why is this sport made for you?

KT: Because it’s different. I was a swimmer before and just swimming, swimming, swimming – how boring. Even when I was younger, I couldn’t handle keeping my bedroom the same way for a month. I had to redecorate by changing my bed around or making different art for my walls, so triathlon, for me, was just the diversity of three sports. And you play outside, so even if you do the three sports every day, it’s always different because of the elements.

VG: What does it mean to represent Canada at the Olympics?

KT: I feel so privileged, and at the same time, I worked for it. But I’m really, really proud to represent Canada. I’m going to London with my perfect team. With my future husband behind me, with my old coach Alex Sereno­­ – who I started with, and who came back so I can end my career with him – and I’m really happy.

VG: What’s your message to girls about sports?

KT: Doing sports makes you feel so good – you feel great in your body and in your mind, because you just activate your system. You’re more creative – doing sports is just a little source of magic. And don’t be shy. When I was a teen, the boys would tease me all the time, and I didn’t care because I liked to do sports. Everyone has strengths. Just do what you like.

VG: As an athlete, how do injuries affect you?

KT: You’re body talks to you. It’s just a way of saying, you need to back off a little bit; there are things you need to correct. It’s part of the game. It affects you, but at the same time, if you manage it well, you’re going to come back from it. You need to take care of your body, like you take care of your car. People bring their car to a mechanic to work on it, but when it comes to their body, they don’t take care of it.

VG: What gives you your competitive edge?

KT: My experience gives me an edge over others. The only thing I will think about in London will be my race – about being at the present moment. Training is where you learn, where you get the experience, where you get fit – and in the race, you just let it come to you, because you’re ready. I just want to really be myself and not forget all the good things I learned in training and just not get intimidated. I have nothing to lose.


Mixing Glitz and Glam with Sports! Miss Teen North Ontario Plays in Ball Hockey Tournament

Mixing Glitz and Glam with Sports! Miss Teen North Ontario Plays in Ball Hockey Tournament

On June 30th I (Miss Teen North Ontario 2012) was lucky enough to be a part of the Celebrity ball hockey game in the Hockey Night in Canada Play On! tournament. I got to meet and play with ex-NHLers and a few of the Sudbury Wolves OHL players. Despite not having a background in hockey outside of floor hockey during school, I wasn’t afraid to get in there with all the action and I actually had a lot of fun with all the boyz!


At first no one could get anything past the goalies! But then four quick goals were scored bringing the game to a tie of 2 all. Running out of time on the clock to break the tie, the game ended with a nail-biting shootout. Unfortunately, my team ended up losing, however in our defence, their goalie must have been a professional! (LOL)

After the game ended, I drove back to Neil’s Independent Grocer to continue fundraising for Free The Children, however I didn’t return without a souvenir. And I’m not just talking about the T-shirt I got to keep. At some point in the game, I received a slash to the hand that left behind a small and bloody gouge to my finger which is then appropriately covered with a Team Canada hockey band-aid. Courtesy of my concerned little brother.

I would like to thank all the organizers of the tournament for having me and for running such a great event! I encourage anyone who likes hockey to throw a team together and I promise you won’t be disappointed. I just might have to make a team up next year! Click here to watch a bit of the game!



“Smart Girl” Power

“Smart Girl” Power

On a cool morning in Montreal a few decades ago, a young aspiring athlete named Rosey Edeh tried to enter her training club. Her pass wouldn’t work. There was another administrative screw up. The janitorial staff refused her entry. She was looking ahead at another gruelling training session. She could’ve turned around and gone back to bed. She didn’t. And she found a way to get herself into the club that would help lead her to Olympic glory in the 400 metre hurdles for Canada. “You had to overcome that sense of helplessness. This was the only place we had to train. You think, you gotta get in there because you deserved to be there, you deserved to train. I learned how to persevere.” After competing in three Olympics, Rosey set her sights on broadcasting and went on to work at every major network CNN, MSNBC, NBC and finally, Global. She is the inspiration for her daughter Micha, a charismatic and unusually eloquent 15 year old, who is intent on carving out her own path. “I’m learning from her but putting in my own personality.” In a single parent household where there was no time for complaining, Micha happily accepts her mother’s boundless energy as normal and is inspired by it. “She never pressured me and I’m going forward towards my dream career using my own instincts.”  Micha currently competes in elite tennis at Toronto Tennis City and dreams of becoming an entertainment lawyer.


This dynamic duo is representing the 2012 Smart Water Smart Girl challenge, where any Canadian female over the age of 16 can submit a 250-500 word essay about her own inspirational female mentor and have a chance to win an incredible 8 day trip to Tanzania with Rosey and Micha and visit a community health clinic. “We’re going to bring in modern equipment and train staff. It’s an opportunity to highlight and elevate women,” said Rosey during a recent afternoon interview at Global TV.


For all Smart Girls everywhere who have benefitted from strong female mentorship, here’s your chance to tell the world and make a difference in another. Visit or the smartwater Facebook page for details on how to enter. Contest ends April 20, 2012.




Hayley gives back with Right to Play

Hayley Wickenheiser at

by Natasha Tsakiris

Regarded as one of the best female hockey players in the world, Hayley Wickenheiser has been known for her plays on the ice.  Hayley recently added a third Olympic gold medal to her repertoire, after the Canadian Women’s Hockey Team owned the podium at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. 
Since 2000, Hayley has been working with Right To Play as an Athlete Ambassador. Right To Play is an international humanitarian and development organization that uses sports and play to provide life lessons to children in countries affected by war, poverty and disease in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. Cadbury has recently partnered with Right To Play to create The Cadbury Right To Play program.  Children in disadvantaged countries will be able to receive these life lessons every time Canadians purchase a Cadbury product and enter the UPC code at from now until July 31st, 2010.
In addition to making a difference in a child’s life, one lucky winner and a friend will have the opportunity to join Hayley Wickenheiser on a special field mission to Ghana, Africa, to teach life-changing skills to young people.  

Find out more about how to enter the contest here! 


Click here to see Vervegirl’s interview with Hayley.


Making the Grade by Eating Right

healthy teen

By Jackie Middleton

Ever noticed how tired and lazy you feel after munching through a bag of potato chips? All that salt and fat may alleviate your hunger pangs, but they’re also a one-way ticket to sluggishness.  Smart food habits help you stay alert in class, retain information and earn top marks. Vervegirl urges you to skip what’s on offer in the school’s vending machines, and try out these fresh choices to get the most bite out of your meals. Your report cards will thank you for it!

blueberries at

Fruit: Easy to carry, and ready to be enjoyed anywhere, fruit boasts a vitamin-packed punch. Make your snacks count and enjoy apples, bananas, oranges, and don’t discount berries especially those with a blue hue. Blueberries are famous for their brain-boosting properties, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re sweet and tasty too.

nuts at

Nuts: Grab a handful of almonds, walnuts and non-salted peanuts for a fast snack that will keep you on the go, and mentally alert. These nuts are known to help with memory loss so best to stock up before that important history exam!

salmon at
Yes, it sounds like a lab report in your science class but it’s true – salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the substance that helps to keep the brain healthy and firing on all cylinders. Best of all, this lean protein will quell those annoying hunger pains that sneak up on you when you’re trying to study or finish an assignment.

tea at

Peppermint tea: A sure way to experience that mid-afternoon crash is to sip a soft drink. Avoid the calories and the sugar overload with a refreshing tea. Peppermint tea helps with focus, and has an calming influence unlike pop, coffee and energy drinks which initially provide a boost, but soon after spark a jittery downward spiral.

In combination with adequate sleep, and physical exercise, eating right helps you stay healthy, and ahead of the class. Eat, enjoy and succeed!

Note from the Online Editor, Kim Cooper:
Jackie Middleton is a freelance writer for Jackie’s unhealthy addiction to pop culture only rivals her love of chocolate. Check out her blog at

Ice Cream’s New MVP

Ben & Jerry's Caramel Hat Trick at

by Jackie Middleton

Meet Caramel Hat Trick, the latest flavour to entice Canadian ice cream lovers across the country!

With its hockey-inspired name, Caramel Hat Trick lives up to its moniker – it’s truly a triple goal scoring superstar of caramel ice cream, ribbons of caramel swirls and fudge covered caramel chunks! Ben & Jerry’s shoot…and yes, they score! Not only have Ben & Jerry’s unleashed a new delicious flavour that will keep us refreshed all summer long, but they’ve teamed up with the NHLPA – the Players’ Association of the National Hockey League – to help raise funds for the NHLPA Goals and Dreams program. For every pint of Caramel Hat Trick sold in Canada, a portion of the proceeds will go to NHLPA Goals and Dreams to fund grassroots hockey, meaning that kids across our country will get the chance to lace up hockey skates and play the sport they love.

Ben and Jerry's Caramel Hat Trick
John Tavares from the New York Islanders

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s, made a special visit to Toronto to unveil their new ice cream MVP, “I’m very excited to be here and talk about hockey. I’m thrilled to announce a partnership with Ben & Jerry’s and the National Hockey League Players’ Association to help support kids in Canada and the Goals and Dreams program. We couldn’t be happier to be here today.”

Assisting Jerry in celebrating the arrival of Caramel Hat Trick were NHL stars Luke Schenn of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the New York Islanders’ John Tavares, Tampa Bay Lighting’s Steve Stamkos (who tied Sidney Crosby as the NHL’s top goal scorer this past season), and Jason Spezza of the Ottawa Senators. Jason and his NHL colleagues are thrilled about Ben & Jerry’s involvement with kids’ hockey and the NHLPA, “Goals and Dreams is something very close to our hearts and gives us a chance to share hockey with kids who couldn’t go out and get equipment themselves,” explains Jason, “It gives them the opportunity to get out and play.” In the past ten years, Goals and Dreams has donated more than $18-million to the cause, helping thousands of kids play hockey, and now with Ben & Jerry’s involvement, thousands more will finally be able to live their on-ice hockey dreams too.

Caramel Hat Trick

Ben & Jerry’s Caramel Hat Trick – a win-win ice cream situation! The more Caramel Hat Trick we eat, the more Canadian kids will be given the opportunity to play our national game. Who knew that eating our favourite ice cream could be so beneficial to others? Indulge and enjoy!

Note fro the Online Editor, Kim Cooper
Jackie Middleton is a freelance writer for Jackie’s unhealthy addiction to pop culture only rivals her love of chocolate. Check out her blog at

Interview with Hayley Wickenheiser Hockey Star!

Hayley Wickenheiser Right to Play

by Natasha Tsakiris

We recently had the chance to speak with Women’s Hockey Team Olympic Medalist Hayley about her work with Right To Play.
VG: Can you tell us about Right To Play
Hayley Wickenheiser: Sure, Right To Play is an organization that works in 23 countries around the world. Really, the objective of Right To Play is to foster growth and development in children through sport and play. It was created by Johann Olav Koss, who is an Olympic gold medalist speed skater. And it utilizes Athlete Ambassadors, Olympians and professional athletes from 40 different countries. Basically what they do, is they implement programs to help children learn things like protecting themselves from malaria and HIV Aids, as well as learning life lessons like trust, hygiene — just simple things we might take for granted here in Canada. They don’t offer equipment per se or any tangible things, but they help these kids learn life lessons through sport and play.
VG: How did you get involved with the organization? 
HW: I saw an advertisement from Right To Play at the Sydney Summer Games in 2000, in the Athlete’s Village, and I had heard a little bit about it. I knew Johann from the ’98 Olympics, when he was skating, so I signed up and I have been with them ever since.
VG: Can you tell us about your personal experiences as a Right To Play Athlete Ambassador? 
HW: I had an opportunity to go to Rwanda in 2007 with three other Olympians.  We were paired with the volunteers and coaches that train in Rwanda, and then went into orphanages and schools. We watched how they learned these life lessons and we also conducted our own games and played with them so we could see how the whole program works. For me, it reinforced that Right To Play does work, and that the money raised is actually going to where it should be.
VG: What advice do you have for young women trying to succeed in any sport, and trying to reach their goals?
HW: Well, I think you want to have a plan for yourself, maybe write down what your goals are and what you want to achieve and then work backwards from there. It’s helpful to know where you’re going so you can figure out how you’re going to get there. Just stick to the plan you make for yourself because there will be a lot of times when you’ll get discouraged and it will seem really hard. You have to be creative at times and find ways to keep yourself motivated to get there.

Click here to read Vervegirl’s story about Right to Play.

For more information, check out the following websites:

Olympic Gold Medalist Jennifer Botterill

An Olympic medal represents dedication, relentlessly honed talent, a thirst for excellence and a love of the game.  The athletes who compete at this level help create a place on the podium for their country.

No stranger to success or the hard work needed to achieve it, Jennifer Botterill holds 4 Olympic medals, 5 World Championship titles and a BA (Hons) in Psychology from Harvard University.

Jennifer recently helped launch Secret Clinical Sport Marathon Fresh Scent and Secret’s new ‘Inspirations’ program aimed at “helping Canadian females find the personal strength, sources of inspiration and motivation to realize their dreams.”

VG: How did you get into Hockey?

JB: I started playing when I was 13yrs old because it was fun.  I think it’s very important to love what you do and to just have fun with it.

VG: How did Vancouver 2010 compare to your previous Olympics?

JB: Every day took my breath away. There were times when it was really hard, but it was worth it.  Every Canadian watching the games made the experience what it was.  We felt the energy of the crowd and we wanted to make it happen.

VG: In light of the strong showing Canada’s female athletes had at Vancouver 2010, what advice would you give our readers?

JB: Definitely, I felt that our stories were told.  Sport is applicable to everything we do in life and I hope that girls who watched the games will be inspired to get involved.  It can be hockey or yoga or hiking… anything you enjoy that gets you active.

Jennifer graciously posed for a few photographs and even let me hold her Gold Medal.  How did that feel?  Well, the clouds parted, the sun came out and I’m pretty sure I could hear Whitney’s ‘One Moment in Time!’

Career Profile: Ben Buchanan

Aiming for a higher education is a smart choice – it leads to more interesting career options and, in Ben Buchanan’s case, to a dream job.

Ben Buchanan, 28, works as an Artist Manager at The Coast and Booking Agent for Paquin Entertainment in Toronto, Ontario. His job consists of handling the everyday activities of the bands, negotiating contracts, writing grant applications, creating marketing plans and booking tours. It’s his passion for music, and love for the fast-paced environment which is the music industry that motivates him to do his job.

When asked if the career he chose is different from what he imagined, Buchanan replied: “If someone pulled me aside in first year and said, ‘Hey you’re going to manage and book bands ten years from now’ I would have laughed in their face. It’s like my dream job come true.”

Ben Buchanan graduated from Carleton University in Ottawa with a Bachelor’s of Industrial Design and is currently attending Humber College in Toronto to complete a certificate in Public Relations.

By Natalia Cheikh

Thinking of investigating a potential university or college? No need to fork over your savings to get across the country in person. Thanks to Maclean’s magazine, you can check out everything you need to know online during its OnCampus Virtual Fair — free to registrants — on Oct. 22.

Click here to check out some preliminary information and set up your free account.

Olympic Spotlight: Emilie Heymans

Divers are fascinating athletes. In order to succeed, they need strenght and precision, grace and power – qualities that Beijing silver medalist Emilie Heymans definitely has.

Émilie-Joane Heymans is a Canadian diver. Born in Brussels, Belgium but raised in Montreal, she always knew she was destined to be a successful athlete. She tried her luck in gymnastics before realizing that diving was her true calling. She knew she had made the right choice after winning her first gold medal at the Pan Am Games in 1999.

Since then, her career has been a dream, especially in 2003 when she won the World Championship in Barcelona and three gold medals at the Pan Am Games. The 27 year old was then named athlete of the year at the Diving Canada Awards, the Montreal Awards and the Sport Quebec Awards. Emilie Heymans also has a passion for fashion, an interest she will most likely be able to explore now that she has a silver Olympic medal under her belt. One thing is for sure, Emilie is the living proof that when you put your mind to something, you can do it!

By Natalia Cheikh

Did you read about Vervegirl in the National Post on the weekend? Check it out…we want to hear from you!