Managing Summer Nutrition

I recently received the following email.

You would think that summer would be the easiest time to lose body fat, but I always gain weight every summer.  How can I overcome all my nutrition vices during the summer months?  What am I doing wrong?

cookies and fresh fruit closeup 300x200 Managing Summer NutritionManaging summer nutrition is a timely topic considering summer is the season of BBQs, parties, beach get-togethers, camping and vacations.  To help ease your guilt the good news is this – a summer out of your normal routine is okay so long as you’re eating well and within a healthy range of caloric intake most of the time.  I am definitely a huge supporter of “everything in moderation” and do not believe in depriving our clients from a fun time just because they are following a health and fitness regime.  Enjoying summer should be a well-deserved treat.

A successful nutrition plan will focus on what you need to be consuming every day rather than what you should not be eating.  So for example, throughout the summer, set a goal of eating 3 fruit and 5 vegetable servings for the day instead of deciding to not eat any ice cream or fried chicken.  This way you’ll focus on getting the nutrients that you need and then if you still have room left, you can indulge in a treat.  Besides during the summer months, its very easy to increase fruit and vegetable intake because the options are so numerous.

In addition, allow yourself one or two “free” days every week.  For example, if you love hamburgers, wine and chocolate, then one day a week allow yourself to indulge in these items.  This will eliminate the feeling of being deprived of your favorite foods and you will be less likely to experience the inevitable binge that goes hand-in-hand with total elimination of your favorites.  This type of plan is feasible for most people.  You are not telling yourself you are never going to drink beer again, but instead, you are just limiting how much.  Just make sure you do not start to make deals with yourself regarding your free days.  If Saturday is your free day, make sure you stick to Saturday.  Avoid indulging on say, Thursday and then promising that on Saturday, you will skip your free day.  These types of compromises can lead to more regular slips.  What ends up happening is you start justifying more and more free days and before you know it, your entire week has turned into an indulgence!

Establishing strict free days to just one to two days per week is important because of the way our physiology and psychology works.  Simple sugars, like those found in chocolate or other treats, cause blood insulin levels to increase.  High insulin levels stimulate fat cells to intake more fat and inhibit muscles from using for fat for energy.  We also know that eating fat and sugar stimulates our craving for more fat and more sugar.  That’s why most people just can’t seem to stop after one cookie.  Strict cheat days will help to avoid the innocent “I’ll just have one” which turns into the whole box or bag!  Sometimes it is better to just hold off and demonstrate your ability to delay gratification!

I encourage people to ……

follow the 80:20 rule for nutrition, which states that if you are eating well 80 percent of the time, you can allow yourself to indulge the other 20 percent. 

Eating well 80 percent of the time will definitely keep you healthy and fit and will be a much more enjoyable process.  This type of belief system is long-term focused.  It is important that your health, fitness and nutrition plan is one that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life.  The only way to do this is to achieve your goals while still enjoying your life and living it to the fullest!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Note:  Check out our website where we post upcoming specialty programs and events.  We try to introduce our clients to something new every month so we’ve got lots of fun, exciting and new options!

 

Are you a runner trying to get faster or train for a 1/2 marathon? Join us for our Advanced or 1/2 Marathon 10 Week running club!  Whether you are just getting started or an avid runner, you can expect to increase your distance and time because you joined this club! You can expect consistent accountability check-ins, a program to follow and access to your running coach throughout the week! It’s difficult to do the long distances on your own. That’s why this group training program will keep you motivated to ensure you cross the finish line.

 

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The Limitations of Yoga

DSC02160editC2 200x300 The Limitations of YogaThe popularity of Yoga exercise has increased dramatically as many celebrities swear of its effectiveness.  But the classical techniques of yoga are not just the latest, trendiest workout; they in fact, date back more than 5,000 years. Yoga, which means “to join or yoke together,” is a system of physical exercise or postures, controlled breathing and meditation, which bring the body and mind together into one harmonious experience.   Lately the scientific research on Yoga has been enormous (well over 2000 studies) which explains why it’s been able to stick around and endure the test of time. The lists of benefits seem endless and include…..

…….improved muscular strength, flexibility, balance and coordination.  It has also been found to reduce falls in the elderly, improve cardio respiratory fitness, increase bone mineral density, improve sleep patterns, decrease blood pressure, manage stress and depression, and improve self-esteem.

DSC02148editA2 300x200 The Limitations of Yoga

Anyone who does yoga regularly can attest that it’s not an easy workout. Many people sign up for classes thinking that they’re in for an hour of laying back and breathing deeply.  While Yoga can be very relaxing, the typical stretching postures work the muscles intensely – you will most likely even break a sweat!  The classic yoga poses such as The Plank, The Warrior and The Triangle each require that all of the muscles in the entire body contract in order to support and maintain the pose for many seconds.

stretch warrior2 300x264 The Limitations of YogaWhen it comes to strengthening and stretching your muscles, yoga has it covered. However, although Yoga does provide some benefit to the health of your heart, it doesn’t appear to be vigorous enough to keep you in your target heart rate zones for the recommended duration of 20-60 minutes.  Also because it is such a slow-moving activity it will not increase your ability to move quickly, have a fast reaction time, good agility, power and speed in your movements – all very important skills to maintain as we get older!  A program that combines cardio exercise like walking, swimming, cycling, jogging or taking fitness classes with Yoga is the best, most balanced approach.  For example, you could power walk or cycle on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, take a yoga class. Or if you can only fit in 3 total workouts a week, go for a 30 minute power walk, take Zumba or cycle before each Yoga class.

Note:  Check out our website where we post upcoming specialty programs and events.  We try to introduce our clients to something new every month so we’ve got lots of fun, exciting and new options!

Are you a runner trying to get faster or train for a 1/2 marathon? Join us for our Advanced or 1/2 Marathon 10 Week running club!  Whether you are just getting started or an avid runner, you can expect to increase your distance and time because you joined this club! You can expect consistent accountability check-ins, a program to follow and access to your running coach throughout the week! It’s difficult to do the long distances on your own. That’s why this group training program will keep you motivated to ensure you cross the finish line.

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Stick to Your Workout Routine

PushUps1 t600 Stick to Your Workout RoutineHere we are mid-summer and many of you are probably beginning to lose your desire to stick to your workout routine.

Many people wonder what happened to the energy and the zest they had in early spring.

Well, you’re not alone.  A lot of people get zealous when the sky is blue, the sun starts shining and the days get longer.  But many soon find themselves dragging and finding reasons to skip workouts just a few months later.  The key to sticking to any fitness program is finding an activity that you enjoy enough to do regularly – that means months and years after you originally set your goals, you’re still going at it.  When deciding whether an activity is the right one for you ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Do I find the activity pleasurable? Do I like it?  Is it a lot of fun? Does it make me happy?
  • Am I interested in the activity?  Is it stimulating?
  • Do I get absorbed in the activity?
  • Do I feel energized during or after the activity? Is it invigorating? Is it refreshing?
  • Does the activity give me a sense of accomplishment?  Is it gratifying?

If you answered yes to all these questions, you’ve made a good choice.  If you’ve answered no to these questions and you find the activity unpleasant, boring, frustrating, and you hate every second of it, you should reconsider your choice and search for an activity that will provide you with more enjoyment.

Afterall, the best activity in the world is the activity that you enjoy enough to participate in enough to experience results and get hooked!

A couple notes…if you are really stuck on participating in a particular sport but it doesn’t fit the above criteria, it doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel on that activity.  For example, when someone starts a running program, almost no one loves it right away.  In the beginning, running may feel like a chore but eventually, usually after a couple months, it will become much more enjoyable.  A lot of runners refer to this phenomenon as “getting into the zone”.  Once you get past the beginning stages when all you can do is watch the clock and pray that the workout is almost over, your body will adapt and it will not be a struggle with every stride.  So in the beginning, will-power and discipline is definitely involved.  Use music to keep it interesting.  Encourage a friend to workout with you to make the time pass more quickly and help you with your adherence.  Be sure to cross-train so you are not only participating in one activity.  And finally, mix up your workouts.  Take running for example, one day run long and slow, another day run shorter but harder – try hills, track workouts and intervals to keep your running program interesting.  Good luck!

Note:  Check out our website where we post upcoming specialty programs and events.  We try to introduce our clients to something new every month so we’ve got lots of fun, exciting and new options!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

PS:  Join us for our Biking Adventure on July 27th will be a blast starting and finishing at Edgefield and conquering a 40 mile bike ride to Multnomah Falls passing numerous waterfalls and incredible views of the gorge.  We will have a half way stop where if someone wants to turn around at Crown Point Viewpoint and make it a 20 mile route that option will be available.

 

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Starting and Sticking To It!

vsitrotation2 Starting and Sticking To It!As a Personal Trainer, I understand that the actual physical fitness program we design for our clients is only a small part of our job.  Our most important role is helping our clients actually DO the program.

That is…starting and sticking to it!  

Everyone knows they should exercise and take better care of themselves but few do.  If you have a desire to initiate a health and fitness program, if you can first focus on changing your mind-set and creating a compelling reason for sticking to the program no matter what other responsibilities surface, you will succeed.  So focusing on developing mental fitness is critical.  All the information and tips are based on Behavioral Change research – there are certain things people who succeed with their health and fitness program do and I want to share this insight with you in hopes of helping you achieve your goals.

First, I want to spend some time discussing the Time issue;

…..that is, a perceived lack of time is one of the most common excuses for not starting or for quitting an exercise program.  But it really does not wash.  I’m telling you right now Read the rest of Starting and Sticking To It!

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Eating Healthy on Your Summer Schedule

plank city2 Eating Healthy on Your Summer Schedule

 

Eating healthy on your summer schedule is doable!

Summer holidays, kid’s clinics and camps, travel plans, camping, and more!  We can appreciate that summer life can be so busy that it becomes difficult to stick to a healthy eating plan.  Here are some ideas for those of you always on the go:

You have got to eat breakfast no matter how busy you are. 

Try these balanced, quick breakfast options:

  • Fruit, fruit, fruit – that’s the beauty of summer.  Everything is in season and it tastes great.  As soon as you get home from grocery shopping, cut up watermelon, mango and pineapple so it’s ready to go.  Wash your strawberries, cherries, plums, peaches and nectarines so you can grab and go.
  • Greek yogurt and some mixed raisins, granola and dried fruit
  • Cereal with fruit
  • Toast and fruit
  • Peanut butter and banana sandwich
  • Bagel with cream cheese and a piece of fruit
  • Homemade muffin and a banana
  • Fruit smoothie made from yogurt and fruit

Heading to the beach or sporting clinics?

Here are some easy, lunch ideas to go: Read the rest of Eating Healthy on Your Summer Schedule

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Exercising while Camping or at the Cottage

It’s typical at this time of year to have to deal with fitting in workouts while at the beach or away on holidays. Most people decide to take a 2 month sabbatical because they can’t seem to find the time to get to a gym but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can give your body an amazing workout with no equipment whatsoever. There are literally hundreds of exercises you can do to target all muscle groups. So, as we tell our clients, no excuses gang!

Here are some ideas to help you stay on track:

Cardiovascular:

If you want to maintain your aerobic fitness and keep on burning calories to prevent weight gain, use the outdoors as your playground.  A hike, run, power walk, cycle, or swim can be done pretty much anywhere.  Get up early and take the time for yourself before your kids, friends and family start demanding your energies. You’ll feel so much better for it. And remember, it doesn’t have to be an all-out time consuming workout. Ten minutes may be all you need.  Every little bit counts and something is better than nothing.

Muscle-conditioning:

The exercise choices are limitless. Lunges, step ups and wall squats are favorite Read the rest of Exercising while Camping or at the Cottage

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Improving Your Body Image

As we get closer and closer to the summer months, more people want to start improving their body image.  Shorts, skirts and tank tops leave little option for covering any ‘flaws’ and many begin setting goals for how they’d like to change their body.

This article was posted a week ago and I was interested to see the response.  Many supported the article and others were very offended.

Dove 300x159 Improving Your Body Image

I read it and although I agree with some aspects, it does not account for genetic factors and individual differences. It is definitely true that some people have it a lot easier than others. They were born with better genetics, stronger metabolism, less fat cells etc.

Before setting any type of weight loss goal, it’s very important for you to examine your genetics and to understand that fat loss is dependent on your genetic breakdown. 

Many researchers believe that approximately 50% of fatness is genetically determined.   Read the rest of Improving Your Body Image

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Run Faster With Track Workouts

Sue Vorenberg recently wrote an article on all the fun runs we can look forward to all summer long in ClarkCounty.

And although most participants are just happy to get to the finish line of these events, but there is a number of people that really want to run faster!

IMG 8709 1 300x200 Run Faster With Track Workouts

If you want to get fast, you have to train fast.

Makes sense right?  The good news is though, not every workout needs to be a hard, speed workout.  If you incorporate a faster run/walk just 1-2 times per week, you will start to notice you are running (or walking) faster in no time! You just need to improve your leg turnover speed and get your muscles accustomed to contracting more quickly.

So here are a few workouts to help you become speedier for any upcoming events.

First, always warm-up first (1/2 – 1 mile warm-up) or 5-10 minutes of walking first then progressing into light jogging.
And always cool down afterwards (1/2 – 1 mile easy cool down)
Typically, if you are going to go hard, you don’t have to go as long.  So you can get away with 3-4 miles of speed training focusing on quality.

GF 3 200x300 Run Faster With Track Workouts

Sample Speed Workouts that you can do on the road or treadmill:

  1. 30 seconds hard / 1.5 minutes moderate x 10-15 repeats for a 20-30 minute workout
  2. 1 minute hard / 4 minute moderate x 4-6 repeats for a 20-30 minute workout
  3. 1 minute hard / 3 minute moderate x 5-8 repeats for a 20-32 minute workout Read the rest of Run Faster With Track Workouts
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Getting Rid of Stomach Fat

DSC02557editC 1 200x300 Getting Rid of Stomach FatSummer is on the way and so, understandably, we get lots of questions from clients wanting to know the best exercise to get rid of stomach fat so they can look their best in their bathing suit.  Unfortunately, and clients never want to hear thisthere is not one specific exercise that will help you get rid of abdominal fat.

You see, this type of localized fat reduction is not possible.  In fact, infomercials or advertisements promising localized fat reduction infuriate fitness professionals who know what is being promised is impossible.  You see, what happens during say, an abdominal crunch, is that as soon as you start crunching, your muscles cry out for energy to perform the movement.  But there is no direct line from the abdominal muscle cells to the abdominal fat cells surrounding them.  So your liver sends some energy, in the form of sugar or fat, to the abdominal muscles.  But that fat could have been sent from your arm, butt or back.  When fat is mobilized from a particular area, it is first sent to the liver to be routed towards its final destination for usage.

So doing abdominal crunches does not mean you are burning stomach fat.  If your abdominal fat is Read the rest of Getting Rid of Stomach Fat

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Need Some Speed!

Need Some Speed!

square drill c 1 300x166 Need Some Speed!

Have you ever noticed that as most people age they begin to move more and more slowly?  It seems to take them forever to get out of a chair, walk across the room or bend down to pick something up.  This is because as we age we lose about 7 pounds of muscle each decade.  And this loss is dominated by a loss in the number and size of fast twitch muscle fibers.  These muscle fibers are the ones responsible for allowing an individual to move quickly, and to maintain agility, reaction time, strength and power.  As these fibers atrophy, we find ourselves moving very slowly.  However, the good news is that this loss can be slowed down and some cases, prevented by training your fast twitch muscles.  The rule is “If you don’t use it, you lose it”.  So it’s important to do whatever you can to keep these muscle fibers working so they don’t perceive that they are no longer needed.

Here are some ideas to help you maintain your agility and mobility as you age.
Try to perform one agility drill a few times per week.

lateralshuffled 1 300x196 Need Some Speed!

Lateral Agility Drill

Position 2 cones, chairs or props a few feet apart.  Now quickly step laterally to the outside of one cone and back to the outside of the other touching down towards the floor or cone on each end.  Try to go as fast as you possibly can.  Continue for 30-60 seconds.

 

sprint drill b 1 232x300 Need Some Speed!

Sprint Drills

Place 3 cones in a straight line each about 25-50 feet apart so that the furthest cone is about 100 feet away from you.  Start the exercise by sprinting or walking fast to the first cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point.  Then sprint to the second cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point.  Then sprint all the way to the third cone, then shuffle backwards to the starting point.  Take a short break and then repeat this 3-5x.

 

 

square drill c 1 300x166 Need Some Speed!

“Rectangle Drill

Place 4 cones in the shape of a rectangle or square with each cone about 30 feet apart from each other.  Start at one corner and sprint to the top of the square.  Then shuffle across the top of the square.  Then back-shuffle.  Then laterally shuffle back to the start.  Do this 3-5x one way.  Take a break and go the other way.

An easy way to incorporate agility training into your training program without even knowing it is by participating in sports like skiing, ice skating, inline skating, squash, tennis, soccer, racquetball, squash, basketball, or volleyball which all involve a high level of agility and speed.  You could also consider enrolling in dance programs like Zumba, Salsa or Ballroom dancing or choreography-based fitness classes like Funk and Hip Hop.  These types of activities will keep you agile and mobile into your later years – and it’s a fun way to achieve these benefits.

Ps. We are hosting the Summer Solstice Amazing Race event to benefit the Clark County Foodbank….a great opportunity to work on your speed!

PS. We are hosting a Triathlon Training Clinic every weekend.  Triathlons are another way to work your entire body, especially your arms!  We will help get you to the finish line.

 

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