GRAND PRIZE WINNER
Heather Gardner is a marathon runner, and an indoor-cycling and yoga instructor. Since June 2012, she has been blogging about her three favourite activities, plus at-home workouts, reviews of the latest fitness gear and more. Her online presence, combined with her passion for fitness, has led to her becoming an Oakley Women’s ambassador: She hosts free weekly fitness events for the community, including SpinRaves at Barreworks studio in Toronto, as well as outdoor yoga sessions. (‘Soul’ in her blog’s name refers to yoga.)
GETTING STARTED ‘As an Ontario health and physical education curriculum consultant for the past 10 years, I had spent a lot of time writing about health and active living, but I wanted to establish a platform where I could share my own ideas with others.’
STAYING MOTIVATED ‘When we were kids, my sister and I were involved in community sports and we were active as a family, so that lifestyle is really all I know. I love setting’and crushing’goals. I use my blog as a way to hold myself accountable to my goals, and to motivate myself and inspire others to get active and live a healthy life, too.’
FINDING INSPIRATION ‘A lot of my inspiration comes from the blogging community and their responses to my physical pursuits, as well as my own interests in healthy active living. I recently cycled in a GranFondo in the Niagara region; I blogged about my experience in the 125-kilometre bike race and asked my followers for tips on conquering hills.’
MAKING CONNECTIONS ‘It’s always such a neat thing getting the chance to meet people in person whom I’ve had a relationship with on social media or have gotten to know through my blogging. For example, I recently met a fellow blogger at a conference, and we felt like we already knew each other because we’ve had this relationship online for several months.’
RUNNERS-UP (in alphabetical order)
In 2008, Fevens, based in Waterville, N.S., started chronicling her life as a fitness instructor who is living with fibromyalgia. Her motto? ‘Being healthy isn’t about being perfect.
GETTING STARTED I was working as an insurance agent and I left my job to become a fitness instructor. At the time, I didn’t know of any fitness blogs, so I started one.
FINDING INSPIRATION I just want to be healthy and be able to eat a piece of pizza and not feel bad about it.
FAVOURITE WORKOUT Zumba. You can just go and dance and get completely engulfed in sweat and burn a gazillion calories and everyone just thinks they’re having fun.
BEST PART OF BLOGGING The feedback, especially when I get a message from someone who is dealing with a chronic illness and I can throw a few ideas out there that might help them.
Goguen blogs about mental-health issues and her own personal struggle with depression from her base in Annapolis Valley, N.S.
GETTING STARTED I started blogging in April 2012, when I went on stress leave for the first time because of my longtime battle with depression.
FINDING INSPIRATION Someone told me that because of something they read on my blog, they sought help for depression.
BEST MOOD-BOOSTER Chocolate and funny YouTube videos. I have a long list that I keep bookmarked. One of my favourites is babies laughing at silly things.
BEST PART OF BLOGGING Seeing how people change their viewpoint on depression and anxiety after reading my blog.
Hutchings shares creative vegan recipes and blogs about her vegan lifestyle. She started her blog in November 2010 and lives in Toronto.
GETTING STARTED Going vegan changed everything for me. I needed a way to document it. It started out as an online diary and just kept growing.
FINDING INSPIRATION I have a big stack of magazines and cookbooks that aren’t vegan because I like to make creative vegan versions of mainstream foods to show that being vegan doesn’t mean being deprived.
FAVOURITE SNACK It’s a tie between two of my recipes. My Dorito-inspired kale chips, or my new ‘Nutella’-inspired spread.
BEST PART OF BLOGGING I wrote about how hard it is to be vegan, and a woman commented that she was struggling ‘ but my blog kept her going. Now she’s thinking about opening a vegan bakery.
John began blogging about healthy living, mental health and body image in early 2012. She is based in Toronto.
GETTING STARTED I didn’t put too much thought into creating a specific brand; I just wanted a way to motivate and inspire individuals to look at health and wellness from a different perspective.
FINDING INSPIRATION I did a post about my struggles with anxiety, and I got private messages saying, ‘Thank you for being open about that – it’s really hard to talk about depression and anxiety.’
FAVOURITE WORKOUT I love weight training because I’m a big advocate of building strength and it makes me feel great. Spinning is also one of my favourites.
BEST PART OF BLOGGING Trying to change lives and inspire people to take action.