HOW TO MAKE A FLIGHT TO ASIA MORE COMFORTABLE…

Now that the jet lag has subsided…. kinda… and that normal life has begun again, here isย my take on how you can be comfortable on a flight/trip to Asia…. YOU CAN’T. – sorry to burst your bubble, it’s not fun, but there are ways to make it better!ย 

img_1870I love getting on the plane to go on an adventure, but once I am up in the air for more than 6 hours I am a mess of muscle pain, twitching (until I actually punch my neighbour while I sleep) and a lot of restless and angry faces being made because I just can’t find a comfortable position.

One thing you can do is: come prepared.ย Though I’m not guaranteeing anything, it’s taken me 60 hours of travel and 5 trips to Asia to even START figuring out that these would have been some easy solutions to my problems. Happy travelling everyone!

Neck Pillow
The most uncomfortable thing in the world is sleeping sitting up. I don’t know how people do it, I end up spending the many hours sitting there staring off into space because I can not get comfy. Step one in the right direction is to get yourself a blow up neck pillow – they are small, easy to pack and they will save yourself from a kink that definitely would have occurred if you didn’t have it!

Eye Mask
Item #2 is awesome. If you can’t sleep with the lights on or always find yourself looking at whats going on around you (๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ) then this is what you need.ย 

Ear Plugs
Yes please! You never know what you’re going to get on a plane… Maybe a baby or some kids, a weird noise that just doesn’t seem to go away, a snoring neighbour or maybe you’re just right beside the washroom….. silence is the key to sleep – at least for me!ย 

Lip balm
Ok this is probably weird for some people, but I absolutely believe that Lip Balm has additives in it to make you use it more often…. for that reason I use nipple cream. Yep. You read that right. It’s safe and with one application I am good for the entire day.ย 

Scarf or Shawl
Get bundled. Best way to get comfortable is to be snuggled in something you like. Sometimes those blankets just don’t even do the trick – it also doubles as an accessory for your travels!

Compression Socks
Yep. Swollen feet SUCK! That’s why everyone should travel with their own compression socks (minimum) or compression pants. This will help you feel more like a human being after the long flight and you will be ready to take on the town in your nice shoes!

Tooth Brush
I don’t sleep without brushing my teeth, some people may be able to, but I find it really gross. So I always have a travel sized tooth brush and tooth paste with me to make sure that my teeth feel super clean!

Extra Underwear/Clothes
Yep. That too. After 13 hours of travel – or more if you have a transfer etc – it is always nice to feel clean and like a person again…ย 

Kleenex
There isn’t anything more annoying or nasty for your neighbour than sniffling the entire plane ride. Get yourself some Kleenex for the road. Even if you don’t have the sniffles, you will be able to wipe your hands or share with someone in need.

Sleeping Pills
Ok so this one is tricky. I use Melatonin. If it doesn’t work for you, you could always opt for something stronger! Adjusting to the time in Asia is incredibly difficult and when you are running on limited amounts of sleep and competing 15 hours a day, you need to find a solution. Set your watch to the time of your destination and sleep during their night time hours. That way you will start to adjust and it might (just might) make it easier for when you arrive.

Reusable Water Bottleย 
HYDRATE! It’s so important and there is no reason toย be afraid of using the toilets on the plane. It’s ok! I’ve seen crazy things and believe me, eating and drinking water on a flight > passing out because you wanted to avoid the washroom…

Face Wipes or Face Wash
On to skin care….. On a flight this long (or any flight for that matter), your skin will look like an alligator by the end of it whether you have makeup on or not. Fortunately, you have a lot of hours to make your face feel extra hydrated and happy. Bringing some face wipes or face wash on the plane will make your face feel fresh and clean!

Face Cream/Face Masks/Body Cream
Hydrating stuff in general. Like I said above, the air on the plane is extremely dry and by the end of this flight you will feel like you want to scrub off all your skin. SO a tip would be to bring a face mask or at the very least cream! It might be a bit awkward, but you know what, if it makes you feel better to have a huge amount of cream on your face then go for it.ย 

AND Don’t even try to wear makeup…ย 
Makeup is harsh on your skin and if you wear it flying it will either crack off because your skin is so dry or it will look like you are really oily. Best solution is to bring a minimal amount of makeup that you can apply just before landing – if you don’t need makeup, amen to that and all the power to ya!ย 

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THE GREAT WALL

Now for 3 tips:

Walk up and down those aisles!
Get the blood flowin’. If you can’t sleep or just can’t sit still because your body is aching, go take a walk and don’t worry what other people think. Take your time and make it worth it. After all you have lots of it!ย 

Have things to keep you occupied
A book (or 2), an iPad a Laptop… There are only so many things that are fun to do on a plane, but if there is a way to keep your mind occupied for some of the flight, there is #1 – more of a chance you will sleep after and #2 – it will go by way faster! Download some new movies from Netflix before your flight or get some work done on your laptop, whatever works!

Dress comfortable – but not too comfy
First of all, no one appreciates it when people take their shoes off during a flight. I’ve done it so I can’t judge, but it’s not all that sanitary and it’s definitely not fun if you have stinky feet. The least you can do is put them in some slippers (like the thin ones you get at a hotel) and put your shoes on to go pee! DO YOU KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE MISS????? (๐Ÿคข) and second of all, comfy is best. Leggings, sweats, sports bra, no bra (?) whatever you’re comfortable in is cool!ย 

This is about all I can possibly think about right now…. I hope that you all enjoy reading this Travel Tips blog and I wish you safe and happy travels to wherever you go next!

Until next time!

xo

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GREECE

What an incredible 2 weeks here in Greece. This was a huge step forward for Team Canada and I am so excited to see what’s next! Of course, there are things we can improve, after all, it is the first competition of our season, but we are looking forward to see what we can do to push the boundaries and take another step towards our Olympic Dream.

It would be so crazy to write every single thing that happened during the competition, so I will say that we are proud!! It was our first performance together as a team and it was a success. We learned a lot about each other’s needs and how we can improve in creating a pre-comp “routine” that works for everyone and helps each individual athlete perform their best! All in all, we are extremely happy with how we started our year, we are coming out of this competition with a new understanding of our teammates and are bringing home 7 medals from Alexandroupolis!! ๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿฅ‡๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿฅˆ๐Ÿฅ‰๐Ÿฅ‰๐Ÿฅ‰

After a bit of time to recover, we started our week here in Athens with a trip up to the Acropolis – which is ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘Œ๐Ÿผ- a visit to the 1896 Olympic stadium where they held the 1st modern Olympic Games and more amazing Greek food than my stomach can handle! We also got to visit 2 different clubs where we helped show skills and hopefully inspire the next generation of young athletes, who were so overwhelmingly sweet and generous! โค๏ธ

For the past few days, we were training with Anastasia Ermakova, doing changes and finding new ways to make our routines even better going forward! We even trained in the 2004 Olympic Facilities where Anastasia won her first of four Olympic Gold Medals! ๐Ÿคฉ

Definitely an exciting start to the year!! Today we are off to Italy….. for a day trip ๐Ÿ˜‰ (not a joke, an actual day trip to Rome!!!) and then off to Japan!! Can not wait to share the rest of the journey!

Claudia

11 STEPS TO GREAT GEL

We are on to our second day here at the FINA World Series #2, so here is a step-by-step guide to what I do to get ready for a day of competing!

Wet Hair

I never wash my hair before gelling. I just wet it in the tub or the sink, but for me the tub is faster and sometimes when you’re up at 4AM to get ready, fast is best!

Create the Perfect Pony

The ponytail is the most important part, the tighter the better! I brush my hair into a ponytail that is about ear height – wrapping it with 2 elastics and brushing it with a 2nd brush to smooth out any imperfections (a boar bristle brush works for this!)

Clips

This is the best way to keep your stragglers in place. I buy them in my hair colour (if I can) so that they are practically invisible and then I put them all over my head – since my hair is shorter right now I will have to put them at the back as well as putting them on the crown of my head and the 2 sides (where you are most likely to get a side burn look if you aren’t careful)

The Bun

This part is tricky because it won’t work for everyone, but for me it is a HUGE time saver! I never braid my hair! I just twist it into a bun! After the bun is created, I wrap it with an elastic and done!

Gelling

1. Start the water

Boiling water is THE best, but if you don’t have access to a kettle (or forget one) then a hot hot hot sink will do the trick.

**If using the sink, put your hot water in a cup before pouring it onto your gel powder**  If you put it directly from the sink you will get too many bubbles and the gel has a chance of turning white!

2. 3 packs in a cup or bowl (depends on your own hair – you might need more or less)

Fun fact, you can literally do your gel with ANYTHING. Most of the time I do my gel with a paper cup from the hotel and a pen to stir it… I know it sounds impossible but after forgetting your gel supplies at more than one competition, you learn to improvise!

3. Small amounts of water at a time

The slower you start, the bigger the chance that you will have control over the gel. Too little water, the gel will be too thick and turn white on the head, too much water and well, it will come out in seconds in the pool….

The best is to start with a super thick consistency, stirring out the clumps and adding water as you go until it is clump free (you can always fish them out if you need to) and a bit thinner than honey consistency…

4. Onto the head it goes! 

Now you will want to go fast!

I always use my hand, that’s right, no brush necessary, just dip your fingers into the gel and paint it on.

Make sure to push it into the hair… For my 1st circle around my head I like to use a decent amount of pressure so that I can keep the hair smooth as I go.

5. Twice around the head

The one thing I do constantly and with no change no matter how much time I have, is to go around my head twice. I start at the top, then the left side, the back, then right side and back to the top again to do the next round. This way I know I have gel on every part of my hair and the 2nd round makes that “glossy” finish!

Sometimes when the gel 1st touches the hair it seeps in, making it look stringy and dull, but the 2nd layer already has that gel base so it sits on top of the hair like a nice gloss finish on a painting – use a lighter touch for the 2nd round, that will make the gel nice and smooth!

Bun Cover and Go!

Now, without question and even if I have a bun cover provided to me, I will always use a black nylon sock. It tightens the bun, thickens my hair (I have a very small bun otherwise) and acts the same as a hair net, but is more stable and it lasts for a lot longer period of time!

After gelling, I wrap the sock around my bun twice, pin down the corners into my bun and then wrap a black elastic around it and voila! DONE!

I was taught this trick on the National Team. If we have a bun cover then I will place it on top of the sock, if not, we will use the sock as our cover.

Dry

The best way to keep your gel in place for a longer period of time is to let it dry. I find that sitting under a dryer helps a bit, but it also makes the gel stay a bit sticky because it warms it up again…. Best case, leave it alone.

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*This blog was written in advance and tested prior to being posted!*

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Happy Swimming Ladies and Gentlemen! Let me know if this helped you get ready or if you have some fun tricks you would like to share!

As always, I am here to listen to your questions, share advice or tips and provide you with all things Artistic Swimming, if you would like to send me your comments, please use the comment box below!

 

 

 

AND AWAYYYYY WE GO!!

After 2 months of hard work, many new routines, lots of changes and great improvements, we are on our way to Greece!!

As I am writing this, we are on the plane heading to Zurich, making our way to Athens and then to Alexandroupolis to compete at our first competition of the season!!

This past week, we swam a few of our new routines during demos at the National Qualifier. The reaction we received from coaches, judges, athletes, friends, family and many more was so surreal! In all of my years on the National Team, I have never seen such an amazing wave of support! And that standing ovation… wow!

To all of those who stood up, cheered, clapped and shared your excitement with us on Saturday night, THANK YOU! This is the reaction we have been working so hard for, so thank you for sending us off with so much joy!

These past 2 months we had a huge task. We needed to create new routines, become a functioning team, learn about each other, train, learn to compete and create improvements. We have done all of that and seeing the changes that we have made, its truly amazing. We are always looking to do something bigger and better, that sometimes we forget how incredible it is that we have done so much in such a small amount of time. It is still a work in progress, but I am so excited to see what we can come up with here in Greece!

The team is buzzing with excitement and can’t wait to start competing! We will try to keep you and all of our synchro fans updated on our Team Facebook and Instagram, and I will be sure to share on my accounts as well!

………..

P.S just arrived in Greece, with nothing but smiles!

Claudia

Typical Tuesday

6:30 I wake up with sleep in my eyes as both of my annoyingly cheerful alarms sound to tell me its time to get my butt out of bed. (Can you tell I’m not a morning person?)

6:40 I make my breakfast in a jiffy, a Breakfast Burrito – my favourite thing to have before a big day at the pool.

7:00 I am out the door on an icy death trap of a side walk (that just reminded me that I need to do something about that….) and walk toward my bus stop.

7:08 The bus arrives right on time and I open up my book – this is crazy, but I never finished reading the Harry Potter series so I re-started them…. I’m midway through the 4th.

7:22 I arrive at the metro and run down the many stairs to make it on my train. Once inside I open up my book again and enjoy the 20 minutes of calm before I start my day.

7:50 I am in the change room getting ready for training, today we have a land circuit workout before heading into the water. It is an intense, extremely sweaty session which ends in a little game of dodgeball ๐Ÿ™‚

9:30 – 12:30 For those 3 hours we do as many things as we possibly can! Each day it changes, which keeps us motivated and looking to see what’s next in our day! Since it is the morning session, we are generally more fresh than in the afternoon and can get some really valuable work done. Today was team and duet….. I wont go into all of the specifics because that would take at least a few hours to write and just as much time to read, but run throughs (and lots of them) were on the menu ๐Ÿ˜‰

13:00 After a 30 minute recovery session, I go to heat up the lunch that is provided to me. Today was an Asian Noodle Stir Fry! SO GOOD! Tomorrow, who knows ๐Ÿ˜‰ Something tasty and healthy every day!

13:30  Time to get my massage! After a morning like today and with another session coming in the afternoon, I need to use all of the tools that are provided to me so that I stay healthy, injury free and ready to push myself for the next training session!

14:30 Back at it! We are on to the dry-land portion of our training. On Tuesday’s we normally have a flex session for an hour. I’ll just say… it’s as much of a workout as being in the gym!

15:30 After an active and passive flex session, we are back in the pool for another few hours. And yet again, many run throughs on the menu ๐Ÿ˜‰

18:00 The day is done and it’s time to recover. Hot and Cold baths, rolling, stretching, eating etc. – all part of our last 30 minutes of the day before we leave for the night.

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19:30 After a metro ride and a quick stop at the store, I am back home with dinner ready on the table, thanks to my awesome BF!

* Sometimes it’s hard to cook or expect someone else to cook. We share the responsibility and make bulk meals on the weekend so that we don’t have to put too much pressure or stress on each other after a long day at the office (pool/office – same thing, right? haha)

20:00 Time to watch our favourite show. Currently, it’s “Shameless”. We have not watched anything else for at least a good month, it’s just SO GOOD!

21:30 BED TIME! It’s been one crazy (awesome) day and now it’s time to let my body and my mind recover to do it all over again tomorrow!

Thank you for reading and I hope that you all have a wonderful day tomorrow! Happy Hump Day and see you all in a few days at the 2019 National Qualifier!

xoxo

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STAYING MOTIVATED when life gives you lemons……

Motivation can be hard to come by at times and believe me, life can sometimes just be a total !@#$%. I get it, I really do and not only have I experienced this lack of motivation, I have experienced a lot of sadness and anxiety when it comes to the sport I love…

In my 17 year career, there have been so many injuries, set backs and situations that lead me to question my abilities, my goals, and my passion for this amazing sport. I spent many days asking myself why I have put my body through so many ups and downs to prove my worth.

SYNC (14)

By persevering even when everything felt like it was all being taken away from me and even when I thought that each event would mark the end of my career, I felt more empowered. In all honestly, my road to (someday) competing at the Olympic Games has been a rollercoaster of emotions….. moments of sadness and disappointment, but so so so many more moments of incredible joy and pride. Knowing all of the things I have had to go through to get me to this very moment in my life (and my career) makes me feel proud that I have made it this far and that I have become the woman I am today!

People always look at the negative things… it’s just in our blood so to speak…. but what happens when you look at the good in your life? For example, you have a great boyfriend or girlfriend, people that love you, experts that can help you, people that want you to succeed…. You are alive. And though that sounds so cliche, it is something I thank the universe for everyday. I am alive and I am able to work toward my dream.

SYNC (32)

It’s not easy to be positive, even harder to stay positive, but being able to find your own inner happiness and perspective (and this can relate to anything; school, work, life, etc.) about why you work so hard, why you train every day, why you put your body through so much, and for me, why I want to go to the Olympics….

LIFE will throw you for a loop if you let it and when that happens, be prepared, stay calm and think “What can I learn from this? How can I come out of this a better person? A better athlete?”ย I’m not that person that says (in an old granny voice) “Stay positive, everything happens for a reason!” BUT I am a person that believes that you are in control of how this ends. You are in control of how you handle this situation and you are capable of coming out stronger. Yeah, it sucks, but seriously…. Life would be REALLY boring if everything went as planned!!

Learn from the lemons, make some lemonade and see what happens!

xoxo

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This post was inspired by one of your questions! If you have thoughts to share or questions you want to ask, I’ll leave the message box below ๐Ÿ™‚

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