Here's What Went Down At Our 1st Ever Healthy Is Hot Event
June 24 marked a very special moment in time for our Healthy is Hot family. It was a first for us, our inaugural event bringing people together to celebrate, motivate, cultivate, inspire, be inspired and connect with the notion that when we nurture our health (physical, mental, nutritional, career and a dose of adventure), we are truly unstoppable. And when we nurture those 5 areas as a community, rather than as individual silos, we compound the lasting effects of HIH and are more likely to walk the walk rather simply talk the talk. Safe to say that since the last attendee walked out the doors, the Healthy Is Hot signage pulled off the walls and the adrenaline rush back down to baseline levels, I have been walking the walk, with pride.
Curious about what went down? I got you.
We kicked things off bright and early on a rainy Sunday at SWAT health on Queens Quay in downtown Toronto, the perfect venue for our event. SWAT stands for Synergy, Wellness, Attitude, Training - 4 pillars they stand by and are immediately recognized when you step into their space or work with one of their trainers. Two months ago I was introduced to Kyle who welcomed me with opened arms (gives great hugs) and also destroyed me through our training sessions (does not mess around when it comes to fitness). No one has ever pushed me the way he does, encouraged me to lift weights that f*cking terrified me, or humbled me when he made me re-learn the most basic moves with proper form. It was in my first session with Kyle that I knew in my heart that this was where HIH should hold a special summit for our team of writers and volunteers. Thankfully, Kyle was supportive and intrigued from the get-go, and so we started planning.
We locked down a date. Invited the team. Sent out feelers to brands and companies we believe align with our HIH mantra and set out big goals to make this event memorable from start to finish. We designed tote bags that everyone could use going forward and share that healthy is hot, and accompanying shirts from New Balance with the simple "hih" along the front. An old friend from the MuchMusic VJ Search days has been doing incredible work in videography since we met on that fateful reality show many years ago an he was gracious enough to shoot the entire event, one of our team members signed on to be the photographer for the event and it was all hands on deck the day before to ensure the space was perfect. It was a lot of work, the team put in countless hours in the lead up to the 24th and without them, none of this would have been possible.
But you know what? We did it. (And I hope we do it again soon, very soon.)
People came through, and were greeted with Davids Tea, Brust coffee, cold-pressed juices from Fresh and yummy local bread that was made fresh for our event thanks to COBS. Shirts were handed out, hands were shaken, selfies were taken. I remember having an (almost) overwhelming anxious feeling wash over me as I looked at the space and worried no one would show up, and all of this work would have been for nothing. Thankfully that feeling didn't last long because before I knew it, we were all in a circle introducing ourselves one by one, sharing what we did for HIH and why we felt it was important to be a part of a movement like this. This was instrumental in setting up the day, and if I'm being completely honest probably made some people feel a little shy... But I'm a big believer in embracing the things that make us uncomfortable because that's often when we surprise ourselves the most.
The music began to play a little louder, and Kyle introduced Bree Lowry , an energetic and passionate fitness instructor who put us through a killer workout using booty bands, body weight, and cardio drills. This is where the immediate gratification of health and fitness was seen, the group became alive, laughing, giggling, sweating, working towards something as a group. Within that 45min sweat sesh, we not only burned calories, but we bonded through that sweat. Metaphorically and literally. I hugged a lot of people afterward and left a little dose of Chloe sweat on each of them. Sorry, not sorry.
What followed was yummy, nutritious and fun. Healthy lunches galore from Freshii to fuel the body and a refresher station was set up thanks to Consonant face wipes and Flawless by Friday under eye patches. Legit did not want to take these off... Until I realized I was the only one still wearing them.
At one point I looked at the space that had only a few hours earlier almost induced an anxiety attack, and now was consumed with gratitude for everyone present. And was amazed at seeing a group of people who had never met socializing, sharing stories, letting their silly sides run wild at the photo booth station and filling out our "My Favorite HIH moment is..." notepad when we handed them out.
Up next was the chef-d'oeuvre of the day: the panel. It baffles me that my 4 top picks for the panel were the 4 that sat beside me on that memorable day. These incredible women took time out of their very short weekends and very busy lives to spend time with us, at our small & intimate event, that significance will never be lost on me. Kate Beirness, Raia "Coach" Carey, Sonia Sennik and Jessica left us all inspired by their humility, nuggets of wisdom, life advice and commitment to everything that Healthy Is Hot stands for. It was a panel that I did not want to stop moderating, I wish we could have had hours with these women. All bad-asses in everything that they do, who have all overcome personal struggles and pressures from society and have come out on top. Multiple times I had to remind myself to be present, and not get lost in their words, reminding myself that I was not alone in their hypnotizing answers, I had to remind myself to look out at our HIH family, where my eyes were met with smiles, laughter, at times tears, nodding of heads and a similar hypnotic look I undoubtedly also had.
We wrapped up the day by handing out Thanks Journals to express our gratitude to each person in attendance and try to empower them to practice moments of gratitude on a daily basis, using the journals as a tool. Gratitude is a powerful thing and the effects will ripple into every element in your life - you just have to give it a chance. And as everyone walked out with their Healthy Is Hot tote bags in hand filled with goodies from our amazing sponsors (Bite, Essie, Halo Top, Fresh, Freshii, Saje, Flawless by Friday, Flowwater, Muskoka Brewery, Prana, Palm Bay) and I finally took a big deep breath in, followed by a big deep breath out. We did it. We actually did it.
Since the event wrapped, I have felt a weird sense of sadness... You know when you go on a wicked vacation and come home with a dose of post-vacay blues? This is what that feels like. Which leads me to believe that the only thing left to do is get back to the drawing board and start planning the next HIH milestone. To my team who's reading this, you are angels among humans; Sarah, McKenzie, Nick, Brooke, and Caity. My heart holds a special place for each of you.