Author: Robyn Shaw

Building a Beast: Marta Wajda’s Success Story

Over the past 3 months, Marta has been working with Coach Robyn to dial in some lifestyle habits that were getting in the way of her potential. Along the way, she lost 8 lbs but more importantly she’s fitter, healthier, happier and more balanced than ever. Here’s what she has to say about her progress so far:
I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to work with Coach Robyn for the past 3 months. When I first consulted Robyn, I explained to her some of my challenges with not being able to achieve my performance or body composition goals. Even though I had these “output” goals; Robyn quickly realized that my issues were with my “inputs” like food and sleep. I had already been logging my meals and activities but she identified that I was changing too much, too often – not allowing my body to adapt to a homeostasis state.
We first tackled overall macros and calories, and brought focus to my sleep habits. Once we built consistency with this foundation, We then worked on managing stress and meal/sleep timing. This was the most difficult part, as I wasn’t as consistent as I would have liked it to be. However, I definitely started to improve my performance and results when I truly dedicated myself to making changes.
This made me realize how important my mindset was in this process. It’s one thing to sit down and feel passionate about a goal; but to actually put in the effort every day is always a struggle as it’s easy to lose that purpose and passion when surrounded by so many other daily tasks. Knowing this, Robyn helped me find ways to become self-aware of my goals on a more consistent basis and also help me prioritize my focus on sleep, meals and training when dealing with stress or lack of time.
Even though I had moments of highs and lows in this process, I am happy to say that I’ve improved a lot of my overall lifestyle within these past 3 months. From hitting new PRs to setting some of habits. I look forward to working with Robyn again!

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Short on Time? That’s No Excuse.

I’ve decided to put together for you a list of Toronto’s best and healthiest take out restaurants that will help you stay on track while you’re on the go. These restaurants are scattered around the city so wherever you may be and wherever you’ve going, there’s an option for you.

IQ Food Co.

With multiple locations around the city and a few in the financial district, this is a great option for those running in between meetings who need a good pick-me-up.

Location:100 King St. W
100 Wellington St. W
181 Bay St.
18 York St.
55 Avenue Road

What we’d order:

Oven roasted steelhead salmon, avocado, roasted sweet potatoes, shredded red cabbage, charred broccoli, pickled onions, organic microgreens, lime juice, spinach, brown rice, sriracha vinaigrette
*This option is gluten free and also high protein with a great dose of Omega 3 to help with inflammation.
*Ask for dressing on the side and dress with half the amount if you’re managing your fat intake

Spinach, kale, cucumber, parsley, celery, lemon juice, chia, coconut water + pineapple (pro tip: remove the pineapple if you’re looking for straight greens)


For tracking purposes: add 1 tbsp olive oil to account for hidden fats potentially used to roast the potatoes or the salmon

Fresh Restaurants

Toronto’s original source for modern vegan food, made-to-order juice and organic, raw, cold-pressed juices and nut milks.

Location: 147 spadina ave.

What We’d Order:

Steamed kale, bok choy & swiss chard

, marinated tofu cubes & adzuki beans, toasted nuts, lemon and tahini dressing, dressing on the side
*This dressing is high fat

. Ask for it on the side or simply sub with lemon juice and balsamic vinaigrette.

kale•romaine•spinach•apple•ginger•lemon•banana•raw almonds
*Added Vega protein boost

Spark Fresh Bar

Spark, formerly Fueled Espresso and Fresh Bar, opened across from the Ossington subway station in place of an old convenience store. It offers commuters a bit of morning zing caffeine, fresh juice or smoothies, or stop by later in time for lunch and dig in to one of their rice boxes or hearty salads.

Location: 739 ossington avenue

What We’d Order:

Almond Lime dressing, carrots, fennel slaw, beets cucumber, tomatoes, pickled onion, smoked hummus, avocado, mixed nuts
*add 1-2 eggs

*If you’re watching your fat intake, hold the mixed nuts, avocado or both. Dressing on the side.

Oats, banana, peanut butter, cinnamon vegan protein agave, almond milk
*add extra protein boost


Flock Rotisserie and Greens

With multiple current locations and a couple new ones on the way, this is a fantastic choice for those who are looking for a great source of naturally raised, freeof hormone and antibiotic chicken.

Locations: 330 adelaide st w
97 harbord st
67 richmond st
175 bloor st
661 university ave

What We’d Order:


Romaine Hearts & Baby Spinach, Steamed Squash, Marinated Black Beans, Daikon, Pickled Onions, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, Soy Beans, Cilantro, Goji Berries, Crispy Chick Peas, Sunflower Seeds with Carrot/Ginger/Soy Bean/ White Miso Dressing
*add chicken

On the side: Steamed Edamame
* A great clean source of protein

Impact Kitchen

CrossFitters, Paleo lovers, this one’s for you. Impact Kitchen offered minimally processed, nutrient dense real food that’s paleo. They also offer lots of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options. If you’re not following a paleo diet, Impact still offers great options providing you with balanced, wholesome meals on the go.

Location: 573 King St E, Toronto

What We’d Order:


  • Protein: steak or chicken or falafel or salmon
  • Greens: arugula or spinach
  • Carb: roasted sweet potato or quinoa or rice
  • Dressing: balsamic & olive oil or lemon & olive oil
    * dressing on the side – just balsamic hold the oil if you’re cutting fat

I also recommend checking out their collagen chocolate pudding. It’s nothing like anything I’ve ever had before and so delicious.

The Big Carrot

The Carrot Kitchen is The Big Carrot Natural Food Market’s new eatery and food service department. They are proud to serve our community fresh, local and organic dishes.

Daily our cooks create a healthy selection of fresh, innovative dishes with ingredients sourced from many local farmers and producers. They use organic ingredients when ever possible.

With a variety of dishes suitable for many specific dietary needs including vegan, vegetarian, paleo, made without gluten and/or dairy, there’s something for everyone.

In addition to traditional vegetarian dishes, theres a new  food service concept including:

Salad Bar, Hot Food Bar, Sandwich Bar, Taqueria, 4 daily soups and stews, Dozens of Grab & Go snacks and meals, Rotisserie Organic Chicken,Pastries and Desserts

Location: 348 Danforth Ave


What We’d Order:

We’d go for a bowl filled primarily with greens and lean protein. Prioritizing nutrients and protein first will help keep you fuller, longer.  Thena carb source (roasted potatos, sweet potato or a half cup of a rice dish on the side, or a bean dish) with light balsamic dressing drizzled on top. Having access to a self serve salad bar provides you with tons of options but it’s easy to get carried away. Stick to simple foods so you know exactly what you’re eating.

The Goods

The Goods offers vegan, organic, gluten free and nut free options. They offer raw, paleo, low glycemic, sugar free, grain free, soy free options. Really, it couldn’t get cleaner.

Location: 1255 Dundas Street West

What We’d Order:
Spicy and hearty chili with tomato, peppers, spices, brown rice, black eyed peas, kale, corn, peas, celery, leeks and carrots
*Black beans give you a good dose of protein while chili is the best for this time of year!


XO Bisous

Location: 60 Adelaide St. East, Toronto

What We’d Order:
The frittata (subbed with egg whites, if available)
The Harvest salad with addition protein and the vegan protein bar

The Grow Op

“This is the Grow Op. Where good juice isn’t bought, it’s grown. By farmers who produce better produce. The stuff nature intended. Because sometimes being better is just that simple

Location: 222 Ossington Ave Toronto

What We’d Order:

Pineapple/Spinach/Apple/Chlorella/Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice

*add 2x hemp protein for a boost

raw zucchini noodles/ roasted almond slivers / green onion / sesame seeds / cilantro / baby spinach/ vegan bean ball / house made almond butter dressing
*tip: for extra protein, ask for falafel balls on the salad
*for less fat, ask for dressing on the side

Garden Gangsters

Previously called Evolution Food Co. you can walk in or Uber Eats from these guys providing you with anything from acai breakfast bowls, breakfast toast, salad bowls and smoothies.

Location: 12 Market St.
171 East Liberty st. 127A

What We’d Order:

Quinoa, greens, cauliflower, tomato, caramelized onion, sweet pepper, feta, mint, roasted bell pepper vinaigrette.
*add chicken for protein

Overnight oats, vanilla almond milk, greek yogurt, vanilla bean, blueberry, blueberry drizzle.
*(pro tip, add your own protein powder into the mix and make it a high protein breakfast)

The Basil Box

The place is for those of you who like OPTIONS! With multiple locations (and even more soon), and the ability to create your own dish, Basil box provides us with tons of fresh ingredients you can put together into your own custom dish.

351 Yonge Street
441 Queen Street West
410-466 Bathurst Street opening soon
200 Bay St, Toronto opening soon

What We’d Build:

Spring Mix

This nutrient-rich mix of baby lettuces, greens, and radicchio blends slightly bitter flavours with soft, tender leaves and crisp textures. It’s a great place to begin your box.

Sautéed Peppers

Red and green bell peppers sautéed with a pinch of salt and pepper. Classic and colourful.

Roasted Edamame

Garden-fresh edamame oven-roasted to bring out the full flavour of these tasty vegetables.

Lemongrass Chicken

Tender chicken, marinated daily with an exotic blend of lemongrass, garlic and coriander.


Chili Lime Shrimp

We cook our succulent shrimp with Sriracha chili sauce and fresh lime juice for shrimp with a bit of a kick!

Our Sweet Chili Lime sauce packs a punch. We combine chili peppers and fresh lime juice to bring some heat to our sweet sauce.
*on the side

Pickled Veggies

This colourful blend of pickled carrots & daikon radish is refreshingly sweet and tart.


We hope that the next time you’re on the go, you choose one of these TASTY and QUICK options.


For more ideas on how to live a more healthy, balanced lifestyle while living a busy life, contact to book your FREE consultation to chat all things nutrition and lifestyle.



I Want You to Keep Sugar In Your Diet

Now that you’ve almost completed our No sugar, More Sleep September challenge, I’m sure a lot of you at this point are  ready to go pile your face into a box of powdered donuts. Or maybe you’re feeling absolutely fantastic, have never felt better and are ready to go 100% sugar free for the rest of your life because you’ve finally realized that sugar is the devil… right?

In order to make sure that you don’t regret any drastic decisions come Monday morning, I’ve put together 6 great reasons to keep sugar in your diet and feel good about it. Whether you find yourself feeling guilty from eating too much sugar all the time, or you think that sugar is going to kill you at first contact with the lips, here’s some middle ground.

1 – Sugar in it’s natural form.

Sugar addicts – Sugar naturally occurs in fruits, vegetables and dairy. Curb your sweet tooth with some raspberries or blueberries (natures candy) or add in some Stevia to your yogurt. There are tons of ways to curb that sweet tooth without resorting to processed, refined sugars.

Anti-Sugar – Sugar’s contribution to conditions like obesity and heart disease has more to do with it’s abundance in diets filled with highly processed foods. It also includes many other factors like physical activity, smoking etc. It’s not black and white. If you’re trying to eat foods in their natural forms (whole fruits instead of juice), you’re exposing yourself to tons of amazing vitamins.


2- Make it a minority

Sugar Addicts – Crave something sweet every morning? Instead of reaching for a donut and some coffee with your sugar, try making some overnight oats with a little brown sugar and dried fruit.

Anti-Sugar – Adding a little honey to your tea or maple syrup to your coffee might just do more good than harm. If you’re thinking that sugars and sweeteners will make you fat, think of it this way – a warm beverage like coffee or tea is known to suppress hunger.  If you’re one of those people who seem like they’re hungry all the time, drink a little sweet tea or coffee. Your caloric intake will decrease even though you’ve added a sweetener to your diet.

3 – It makes things taste better.

Sugar Addicts – So you hear that vegetables are good for you, but you can’t bring yourself to eat any ‘cause… gross. Add honey to your dressing for your salad. Add some dates to a veggie green smoothie or make a brown sugar balsamic glaze for your baked green beans or asparagus.

Anti-Sugar – If it makes you eat your kale and raw broccoli a little less reluctantly (because I don’t care how healthy you are, no one likes a dry kale and raw broccoli salad and I care about your happiness and well-being) add those dried cranberries and honey balsamic glaze.

4- Great quick fuel.

Sugar Addicts – Maybe eating that chocolate chip muffin with the sugar crystals on top (you know which one’s I’m talking about…mmm) isn’t the best choice for a boost mid workout or pre-workout. But having some coconut, cashew date balls that you made in 5 minutes at home are a better option!

Anti-Sugar – Any modern-day folk who engage in physical activity, whether it be a marathon or a family bike ride for a couple hours, need something quick and easily digestible for some energy. You want things that are easily digestible while staying active. Chicken and carrots are going to sit in your stomach and even some fruits can be too fibrous to digest comfortably. No ones bringing a packet of dry oats and boiled water with them on a hike.

5 – You had a bad day

Both Sugar addicts and the Anti-sugar – No one is reaching for a boiled potato when they feel sad. Practice mindful eating and realize why you’re eating that cookie or cupcake. Knowing when to stop is a great way to stay consistent and practise healthy portion control. A cupcake a day isn’t the answer. And purposely making yourself sad for a slice of pity pie isn’t the answer either.

6 – Enjoy the experience, make a memory

Sugar addicts – Structure your lifestyle so that you can enjoy weekends away with friends while you indulge on sundaes and strawberry rhubarb pie without feeling the guilt. If 80% of your life is filled with nutritious whole foods, save the 20% to create memories. When you feel guilty for eating an extra slice of Mom’s pie at thanksgiving, it’s probably because you did the same thing 3 days earlier.

Anti-Sugar – Licking an ice cream cone with your kid at the beach, going to Ribfest with some co-workers, eating that delicious cinnamon raisin bread your roommate made you. These are things that will give you a healthy, joyful life with meaningful relationships. Isn’t that why you decided to become so healthy in the first place – to enjoy life more?

Hopefully through reading this, you realize that there’s a nice, happy, manageable middle ground when it comes to sugar. I know you’re heard the term “everything in moderation” and that really couldn’t be more true when it comes to sugar in the diet. Keep it in there to create some happiness, balance and a positive relationship with food. If this challenge has done anything, I hope it’s created some awareness about how much sugar (or how little sugar) you ate before and how you can make some adjustments moving forward to become more happy and healthy.

Sugar Free Recipe: Sweet Potato Banana Toast

Really, this couldn’t be easier.

What You’ll Need

2 slices about 1/4 inch thick sweet potato, cut lengthwise

All natural peanut butter

1/2 banana

What to do:

Toast sweet potato slices for about 10-15 minutes on high, flipping every 4-5 seconds until tender in the centre

Top it up!!

Sugar Free Recipe: Apple Pie Filling

What You’ll Need

1 Tbs Butter or Coconut Oil

2 sweet apples, sliced

Dash sea salt

1/2 cup cold water

2 Tbs arrowroot

1 tsp vanilla extract


Pie spice

What to do:

Heat the butter or oil in a medium non stick pan

Add the apple slices and salt

Saute the apples over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until soft

In a small cup, whisk water with arrowroot and vanilla

One apples have softened, add arrowroot mixture

Raise the heat a little bit and stir apples until thickened

Remove from the pan and heat

Stir in cinnamon and pie spike as desired

Top on pancakes, waffles, oatmeal, whatever!


Gooey Sugar-Free Apple Pie Filling


416Life Success Story: Nicole Daniel

Nicole Daniel’s Success Story

Nicole Daniel has been following our 416Life template for just over two months. It’s safe to say that it’s working and Nicole looks absolutely amazing. Here’s what she has to say:

I started doing Crossfit at a smaller gym in February 2015. I had always liked strength training but hated cardio, so I feel in love with Crossfit immediately because I could combine both and have fun doing it. After about 6 months I was starting to get into pretty good shape, but then I started my first year of law school. Very quickly, my intense schedule and long commute wore me down and I stopped going to the gym. Then with the growing stress and a depressing winter, my nutrition spiralled out of control and I ate a lot of junk food for comfort. By the spring, I had put on about 20lbs and felt really uncomfortable in my body.
In March 2016 I knew I owed it to myself to feel better, so I made fitness a priority again and started going back to Crossfit classes. At first it was a difficult transition back, and it was frustrating that I was lifting much less than I used to. But eventually my strength started coming back and I made it my mission to improve my endurance and get really serious about training.
I had taken several classes with Derya and found that with her guidance I could understand and perform movements I never had before. I knew that she was the perfect person to help me reach my goals and help me take my fitness to the next level. I look forward to meeting with her weekly because every time she comes up with new and interesting tasks that push me to my limits. My meetings with her are always my best workout of the week because her energy is infectious and her own fitness is such an inspiration. With her strength training programming, I saw almost immediate improvements in all my lifts and I’m stronger than I ever thought possible. Now I’m doing things I never even dreamed of, like rope climbs and sled pulls, and I’ve accomplished my goal of doing a strict pull up.
Once I started training with Derya, I stopped stress-eating and began to eat healthy again … or at least what seemed healthy. I thought carbs were the enemy and loaded up on protein. But as the intensity of my training increased, I was exhausted and though I was putting on muscle, I wasn’t losing fat as much as I had hoped. I finally realized that just eating “healthy” food and counting calories wasn’t enough, and I needed some guidance to understand my specific body’s nutritional needs. At the end of June 2017, I had a 416Life Nutrition consultation with Emilie, who gave me a macros template. It turns out I was consuming way more protein than I needed but not getting close to enough carbs. With my new template, I was actually eating more than I had been and it felt soooo good to eat carbs again! Knowing my macros has made it much easier to stay on track with my nutrition, and I was recovering so much faster. Now I’m always telling my friends that I don’t diet, I just make sure my body gets exactly what it needs to perform. All the amazing information Emilie gave me has also taught me so much about how foods affect blood sugar and the timing of what I eat. The best part of working from the template is that it fits in so well with my life; I can go out with friends, or occasionally have my favourite ice cream and my weight doesn’t spike up like it used to when I “cheated.”
Since getting my template, the weight has practically been falling off and my endurance has improved so much—before, 30 seconds on the assault bike was hell, now I love the AB and go into beast mode. I’ve followed 416Life’s cutting program for about 3 months and I’ve lost the 20lbs I put on last winter while still gaining more muscle than I’ve ever had in my life. I’ve completely changed my lifestyle, but with Derya’s help and the 416Life template, it was easier and more fun than I thought it could be. Now I don’t worry about my weight or care about the scale, and soon I will have another consultation with Emilie for a new template to help take my performance and strength to the next level.


Sign up for 416Life Here and get the same results that Nicole has experienced!