Every February, Lixar’s team strives to break up the winter blues with a little healthy living love. Each week throughout the month, one activity centered around healthy living is planned to keep the team healthy, happy, and having fun. Whether it’s focused on the well-being of the Lixar team, or the community at large, Heart Smart Month is all about being our best selves.
Lixar’s very own Healthy Living Ambassador Maddy Mackenzie stopped by Lixar HQ to bring some namaste to the work day with an in-office yoga class to kick off Lixar Heart Smart Month. We took a moment to find out what makes her tick, what healthy living means to her, and why community is important.
You’ve been the Healthy Living Ambassador for Lixar since 2015. How do you feel kicking off this year’s Heart Smart Month?
I kicked it off pretty well － I went for a walk this morning with Shelley. We were in Gatineau Park, and started off with yoga. We did a lot of hip openers, which is good to get us going so we can move our bodies a bit later. I think there are so many amazing projects that happen here with Heart Smart Month, so I’m happy to be a part of all of them.
How do you define healthy living, and why is it important for you to be an ambassador for that?
I think healthy living can be a lot simpler than we make it out to be. It can be the time to take a pause when we’re working. The hamster is always running on the wheel, so taking a step back and maybe closing down your eyes; even if it feels weird in a workplace setting. Really taking the time to feel your breath.
It sounds so out there, yet so simple － but we almost never do it. I think it can be pretty easy for me, and healthy living is always a huge aspect of my life, whether it’s paddling, or cross-country skiing, or yoga. I think for me the desire to unapologetically go after something you want every day is a way of life.
Do you think that healthy living is only exercise?
No, I don’t think it is.
I think that’s why it gets people scared. We see all these people doing marathons, and pushing it to extremes. I’ll admit, I am one of those people on the extreme end of things.
Sometimes I need to take a step back and notice that it’s all really simple. Maybe taking five minutes out of your lunch, and going outside and getting the endorphins from just breathing fresh air can really change your brain. When you come back to work you feel more refreshed, and maybe change how you approach your co-workers, or how you feel back at home after a long day at work.
I think it’s important to somehow find time to get the oxygen going, and get the blood flowing － whatever that could be. It’s different for everyone.
How do you embrace Canada in the winter?
I’m not a winter fan － my sport is summer based, so I’m a little bit biased! But I get out cross country skiing probably five to six times a week. If not, I’m a big advocate for spending time outside, whether it’s skating, or taking walks in the park. I live in Quebec City now, so I’m fortunate enough to walk downtown and see a lot of beautiful sights at the same time.
Why do you train? What drives you?
I love what I do, I think that’s the most important thing. A lot of people ask me that, and the biggest thing is I’m doing it for myself and not for anyone else. I’m committed to what I do; I have a goal and this innate feeling inside of me that I have to achieve it, so I won’t stop until I get there.
So you’re going for gold, right?
Yeah! I’m aiming for the 2020 Olympics － I’m two years away, and I just started off!
What’s your favourite thing to listen to while training?
I love listening to heavy rap to get me motivated! If not, a lot of remixes. When I’m not training and I’m teaching yoga, I try to really listen to indie folk and more acoustic things.
Why does a positive community or environment matter?
I think that the people I surround myself with have a big impact on how I’ll develop as a person, and how I’ll develop as an athlete.
In terms of my personal experience being an athlete, we spend so much time introverted and into ourselves; so I really believe in spending a lot of time with community and giving back as much as I can. Whether that’s through volunteering or spending time with communities we don’t always associate with like refugees, homeless, or anyone like that.
Also through yoga. I’ll bring the practice to someone who needs it, and it’s so much more than physical for a lot of people. It may start off as that, but usually it’s something else that leads them to stay.
Who’s your biggest inspiration?
I’m actually really inspired by two people. When I first started out with Lixar, I got really into this Canadian author named Danielle LaPorte. I pretty much had a shift about the way I perceived sport and life in general. She came out with this book, it’s called Desire Map. It’s about the way you orient yourself with your goals. We often come up with our goals, and want to feel a certain way when we achieve them. But instead of chasing how we want to feel, we just chase the goals.
For example I’m chasing the podium, but I’m also chasing the feeling that the podium is going to give me. The feeling of accomplishment, pride, satisfaction, family, connection － all those things around me. It’s finding a way to recreate that in your everyday life, and finding that means to make it happen in every aspect.
And then someone else is Tim Ferriss, an author. He talks about how failure is the biggest part of success. I believe in overcoming adversity. It’s hard to wrap your head around, and it’s kind of a big pill to swallow sometimes. I’ve experienced it.
Once you really take a step back, you’ve learned a lot more. That’s what I’m experiencing right now, and hoping to apply it to my future.
February is Lixar Heart Smart Month!
Let’s practice healthy living!