August favourites: The 'Life' smoothie bowl & a day in the EPIC life
Happy August, dear friends! It's been a while since I last published a favourites post, so I'm bringing the series back with something extra special for you today. During my last visit to Ottawa in July, I was lucky enough to have the chance to visit the new Basecamp Cafe at EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle. I had been contacted by Stephanie Karlovits, the founder of the holistic fitness and lifestyle centre a few weeks before my trip and we talked about collaborating on a blog post together. After our initial meeting, it was clear that we share the same passion and a similar philosophy when it comes to food and nutrition. We agreed for me to come back a few days later and spend a day in the life at EPIC. So for this favourites post, I'm going to share my EPIC experience with you as well as one of the Basecamp Cafe's amazing smoothie bowl recipes!
A day in the EPIC life
To start off my day at EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle, I arrived at the Basecamp Cafe about 10 minutes before my functional training session and ordered a bulletproof coffee. It was my first time trying bulletproof coffee, and I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was and how energised it made me feel. The cafe is at the entrance of the fitness centre, and is a great open space with sofas and a counter overlooking floor-to-ceiling windows where you can sit and enjoy a pre- or post-workout snack or meal. There's a great selection of healthy food (more on that later), and the place has a really good vibe.
About halfway through my bulletproof coffee, Kathleen Holt came to greet me in the cafe and brought me to the workout space to start our functional training session (functional training is a type of training that combines mobility, functional movement and strength). For this session, we decided to focus on legs, starting with a gentle warm-up, followed by a mix of different exercises and some stretching. What was great about training with Kathleen was that we chatted throughout the whole session - covering topics like my exercise and eating habits, my problem areas (I've been doing physiotherapy for issues on my left shoulder over the last year or so), the philosophy at EPIC, our hobbies and interests - to the point where it didn't really feel like exercise. In fact, I was surprised that it took my sore legs a good few days to recover from our training session!
Kathleen explained that the vision behind EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle goes beyond just training, and that equal emphasis is placed on a balanced and healthy life. I loved hearing about the different pillars behind the EPIC philosophy - functional training, holistic nutrition, nature and self-care - and was really impressed to see a fitness centre that promotes spending time in nature in addition to a regular exercise regimen and healthy eating.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know by now that I love yoga and that I practice at my lovely local studio three times a week. My day job requires me to walk quite a bit to different offices and construction sites, so I'm lucky to get quite a bit of exercise in during my work week as well. On weekends, one of my favourite pastimes is to get outdoors and go for a good hike. But in terms of going to the gym, I always struggle to keep a consistent routine. After my session with Kathleen, I started to realise that perhaps the reason I don't stick to a gym routine is that I haven't found the right space, one that promotes mindfulness, healthy eating, time spent in nature and exercises that work for everyday life - a space like the one at EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle.
After my training session, a delicious smoothie bowl was waiting for me in the Basecamp Cafe. I chose the 'Life' smoothie bowl, made with vegan/gluten free chocolate protein powder, bananas, peanut butter, chia seeds, gluten free granola and fresh fruit - the perfect post-workout meal. Let me tell you, this smoothie bowl was absolutely delicious (which is why I'm super happy to be able to share the recipe with you below!) In addition to smoothie bowls, the cafe serves up all kinds of exclusively gluten free and healthy foods. From smoothies with inspiring names like 'Ascend', 'Inspire', and 'Connect' to vegan salad bowls and conscious treats available from Friday to Sunday (think healthy gluten free donuts and peanut butter cups), the menu really has something for everyone. Now that's my kind of cafe!
I spent about an hour in the cafe after my training session enjoying my smoothie bowl, hanging out and unwinding. Overall, my day in the EPIC life what nothing short of epic - the only downside is that I don't live in Ottawa and can't stop by more often! So if you're in the Ottawa area and looking for a great workout, an amazing coffee or that perfect healthy lunch spot, I cannot recommend EPIC Fitness + Lifestyle and the Basecamp Cafe more highly.
I want to close this post with a special thank you to Stephanie, Kathleen and the team for my EPIC experience and for sharing the 'Life' smoothie bowl recipe. I'll definitely be checking out the Aroma Yoga class the next time I'm in Ottawa!
The 'Life' smoothie bowl recipe
This is the recipe for the smoothie bowl I tasted during my visit to the Basecamp Cafe in Ottawa, and the photo above is the one I re-created at home in London. It's super tasty, easy to make, very filling and the perfect post-workout snack! At the cafe they use their own brand of vegan brown rice protein powder, but if you're not local you can certainly use any brand of good-quality protein powder that you like.
- 1/2 cup | 115 mL unsweetened almond milk
- 1 1/2 frozen bananas
- 1 scoop vegan and gluten free chocolate protein powder
- 1 tsp maca powder
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp gluten free granola (my 15-minute no-bake granola recipe works great here)
- 1 tbsp fresh strawberries
- 1/2 fresh banana
- 1 tbsp peanut butter
Blend almond milk, frozen bananas, chocolate protein powder, maca powder and honey in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Pour into bowl, and top with the chia seeds, granola, fresh strawberries, and fresh banana, working your way in diagonal lines from left to right. Finish the smoothie bowl with a drizzle of smooth peanut butter, and enjoy straight away.