On Saturday evening, I finally braved the cold, dark Canadian evening and checked out the Nike Live Crate in downtown Toronto for an outdoor High intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout. This season Nike launched the #GETOUTHERE campaign in North America featuring athletes from both Canada and the US braving the elements to stay fit and earn the all important sweat equity. I’ve always been into playing sports, less into going to the gym. I tend to either get bored of routine or sometimes anxious and judged in the stereotypical gym atmosphere. I’m also a bit of modern nomad so it’s tough for me to commit to one workout regime in one city. I started using the Nike Training Club (NTC) app when it launched as it allows me to do strength training, yoga, pilates and other workouts no matter where my travels took me - to my parents’ house, to couch surfing in New York to being home in Toronto. The NTC workouts at Academy of Lions take their app from off your iPhone to IRL and certainly feel both more punishing and more effective.
I’ve been checking out the NTC workouts through blogger friends and saw that they were launching the new campaign. Thankfully, I was in Toronto over the weekend so despite the chilly temps, wet snow and rain and mild anxiety thanks to doing an advanced workout while being photographed, I headed down. After all, I’ve recently gotten back into running and outdoor fitness and I’m always up for learning new ways to stay warm in Canada’s often frigid temperatures.
The Nike Live Crate at 229 Richmond Street West is an actual shipping crate that features Nike iD design desks, outtfit grid-style layouts of gear for lifestyle, running and training for men and women along with plenty of iPads to play with all the iD options. It was like a smaller version of what was set up for the Nike Women’s 15KM - except with the options to iD product and of course, emphasizing that nike.com now ships to Canada (finally!)
For the actual #GETOUTHERE workout, we got to try out the new Nike out brand new winter ready gear with our customized locker that included (for the ladies) a bra, tank, hoodie, vest, leggings and shoes as well as a branded towel and water bottle that we got keep. There was a photographer, DJ Feelgood Smalls spinning uptempo tunes like “Hotline Bling” and “Sorry Remixes” and because it’s Nike - even a drone was filming us. I suddenly realized why many of the girls were wearing make up - sweating isn’t cute, y’all. But it sure was worth it!
We did about an hour workout in front of the crate right on Richmond Street as the wet snow and rain came down and people passing by stopped to gawk. Eva Redpath, Canada’s Nike Master Trainer and Ryan Lauderdale, Nike Master Trainer from Los Angeles along with two professional long jump and running athletes as well as assitant trainers that I’ve worked out with before at the Academy of Lions NTC classes. I tend to do the beginner or intermediate workouts on the NTC app so this certainly motivated me to step my fitness game up at home. We did a dynamic warm up that featured plenty of running, high knees, butt kicks and lunges. There were one legged squats to push ups, plenty of plank variations, sprints, partner work and as always, a jumping group photo. Everyone seemed to work up a great sweat despite the chilly temps.
Being a Nike gear and footwear nerd, the wear test experience is a major part of these free workouts. Here’s a real breakdown of how I felt about the fit, style and performance of the apparel and footwear (all prices in CAD):
Nike Pro Fierce bra - $60 - this bra features comfortable, medium support, I didn’t notice any extra bounciness so I would wear it for similar cross training and perhaps running. I wear a size 32D or 32DD regularly and wore a size medium and the fit seemed fine.
Nike Get Fit tank - $48 - I keyed in the wrong address in my Uber (oops) and I ended up two blocks away from the crate. So thanks to my airhead mistake, I was a few minutes late. In my rush to change (and need to take a few snaps, obviously), I didn’t put the tank on. It may have helped a bit with wicking but unfortunately I can’t evaluate it. It looks cute and felt soft though!
Nike Pro Hyperwarm Limitless hoodie - $150 - I liked this fit of this piece, I wore a size small and I’m 5’3ish and 130lbs, the fit seemed fine. It certainly kept me warm and I didn’t notice it showing too much sweat. It certainly kept me drier than some cheaper DriFit-style tops by brands like Uniqlo. I might consider buying it.
Nike Pro Hyperwarm Limitless tights - $150 - These leggings were incredibly comfortable and fit well in size small, I may have been able to size up as I carry a lot of weight in my legs, butt and hips. However, I didn’t find them binding, or the waist gapping - a problem I have with most leggings. They were warm and super flexible and allowed for ease of movement as well. The only downside - the camel toe and the price.
Nike Therma-Sphere vest - $180 - The material of this vest - the Therma-Sphere high tech material is water resistant, incredibly warm and soft to the touch. I ended up taking mine off half part way through the work out as I got incredibly warm. I wore a small and may have sized up with all the layering. While I like the vest, I think I'd prefer the jacket version ($215) for the cold Canadian winter as I find jackets to be more practical. The neoprene-like warmth might be too much for those with a more mild winter.
Nike Free Cross Compete training shoe - $125 - I demoed them in a size 5.5 which fit me snug, how I prefer my fitness shoes to fit. However, if you like to wear insoles in your training shoes, I'd size up a half size. I like the Free Cross Compete, the grip seemed decent in the rain however, I don't know if the Nike Free sole is right for me as I have a high arch, the Free sole is flexible but not necessarily very supportive.
Out of all the gear I tried, I’d be most likely to pick up the Hyperwarm hoodie or tights, although $150 for each piece is a little steep but they did perform well and kept me warm throughout the workout.
I had a great time at the Nike Live Crate #GETOUTHERE work out and would certainly do it again. Unfortunately the crate is now off to Vancouver so the west coast can get the Nike Live experience. Nike Toronto is running outdoor workouts on top of the Bell Lightbox for the next four weeks and you can sign up for free at nike.com/Toronto. If I’m in town, I’m going to be there, enjoying every minute of the burn. Once I get over my fear of running with super fit, incredibly fast people and feeling like an asthmatic snail, I’ll join a neighbourhood Nike Run Club (NRC) too. The social aspect and coaching really does make a difference as the usual podcasts and trap music I usually listen to while working out solo can get a little lonely after awhile. Let me know what you think of the gear and if you’ve checked out any of the free Nike workouts in Toronto or your city. Until then, layer up my friends!