Planning For Summer Vacation Schedule

week 2 singleLegSquats2In less than a month, all our lovely, little rugrats will be out of school causing parents to struggle with trying to maintain their consistency with their exercise routines.

Many people feel forced to take a two month sabbatical and get back on track in the fall because they can’t seem to find the time to get to the gym. But it doesn’t have to be this way!  Why let all your fitness go to waste over the summer and have to start from scratch in the fall?!

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Try Two-a-Days to Ramp Up For Summer!

Sherri Run Vancouver April 2017We are about a month away from the official launch of summer and with all this beautiful weather, everyone is starting to realize that they don’t have a lot of time before they are sporting minimal clothing and swim wear!

As a result, many people are ramping up their exercise programs and Two-a-Days are definitely one way to take your fitness to a whole new level and get in great shape right in time for summer.

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OPT OUTDOORS – Amazing benefits of exercising outside

A18275241_10154325949636946_8046380314118133113_ns the days are getting longer and warmer, it’s much easier to find the motivation to get outside and walk, cycle, hike the trails or workout at the park. Taking that initiative to #OPTOUTDOORS may provide even more health benefits than you thought!

Here’s some interesting side effects of exercising in the elements:

  1. Exercising outdoors is good for your body AND your mind! One study found that outdoor exercise was associated with increased energy as well as decreased anger and depression as compared to indoor exercise.
  2. Exercising outdoors may increase your consistency! Outdoor exercisers reported enjoying their workouts more and said they were more likely to repeat the workouts than those exercising indoors. Another study found subjects reaped more benefits from outdoor workouts and were significantly more likely to adhere to their training programs than those who did their exercise indoors.
  3. Exercising outdoors may boost self-esteem! One study found that working out in nature can improve self-esteem Furthermore, researchers found that low-intensity exercise outdoors had the biggest positive effects so you don’t have to go hard to reap the benefits.
  4. Exercising outdoors provides the benefits of Vitamin D! Exposure to sunlight is critical to Vitamin D production which is important to our overall health and functioning and can help you sleep better, improve your immunity and increase endorphins – those feel-good hormones!
  5. Exercising outdoors can burn more calories and provide more physiological benefits! Running on a treadmill or cycling on a bike is just not the same as doing the real thing. When you have to deal with different terrain, elevation and wind, your body is going to have to work harder!

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WHY Crossing The FINISH LINE Changes you!

GF_2016_FinishlineThe number one reason people will consult with a trainer is to help them lose weight. I like to take a different approach to weight loss. Let me explain.

Many people take this approach – ‘As soon as I lose the weight or get fit, then I’ll start doing the things I’ve always wanted to do”. But I like to take the opposite approach.

First, set the goal and in the process of training for the event or activity you’ve always wanted to do, you lose the weight and get fit! 

And it’s such a positive, motivating focus. For example, let’s say you set a goal of finishing a 5km fun run. Setting this kind of goal, because it has a deadline, provides a compelling reason to stick to the program and not miss workouts. In contrast, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds in 2 months, if you get off track, you can negotiate with yourself and say, “Well, I guess I can wait an additional week or two to achieve my goals.”  But if you get off track with your training program while preparing for an event, you can’t call a race organizer and ask them to postpone the event because you aren’t going to be ready. You will realize that every workout or skipped workout will either positively or negatively affect your performance and your ability to achieve your goal.

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High Intensity Training Is NOT Where It’s At!

Sherri_Gorge_Yoga_42017With the popularity of CrossFit, Bootcamps, Tabata and other high intensity formats, it can seem like the only way to train is a high intensity format. However, that’s just not the case!

I’ve been in the fitness industry for almost 30 years and I’ve seen it all and can pretty much guarantee that if the only way you train is at a high intensity, it will lead to illness, injury and/or burnout.

Here’s some of my personal pet-peeves with the high-intensity world:

  • What happened to the warm-up?

    • Physiologically, we know that the body does not do well ramping up quickly from a resting state to a high intensity zone. And yet, time and time again, I hear of programs requiring participants to do burpees, jump squats, power lunges, jumping jacks and various other high impact, high intensity movements during the warmup! The purpose of the warm-up is to gradually get the blood flowing, slowly increase the demands on the heart and lungs, warmup the muscles, lubricate the joints, and activate the energy systems. The warmup should begin low-impact, low-load and low intensity practicing the movements you will do during the workout for about 6-12 minutes.
  • Is it necessary to go hard and race every workout?

    • It is common for people who have bought into high intensity training to make every workout hard. It doesn’t have to be this way. Even elite level athletes go really hard only a few times per week. It is far more effective to mix up your training intensities and durations during the week. Sometimes go short and hard, other workouts are long and easy or moderate intensity and duration. Train all of your energy systems! If you go hard all the time, you will be more likely to get hurt or sick. Plus it’s much more likely that you will burnout. It’s hard to maintain motivation when you feel like you have to race and go really hard at each workout.
  • Did we forget effective progression?

    • If you are just getting started with an exercise program, you should not be performing high intensity exercise. Build a base for a couple months first. Take the time to learn proper movement mechanics. Master the basics first before you start attempting complex, challenging movements. Start with low resistance, low intensity and slow speed and concentrate on your technique. Once you build your base, you can gradually start to incorporate heavier loads, higher speeds, higher intensities and more complex movements. Aim for an increase of 5-10% in volume, resistance and/or intensity every 1-2 weeks. And if you are more prone to injury, be careful with high repetition training. If you do excessive repetitions of the same exercise (especially at high loads and speeds), repeating the exact same articulation over and over again at that joint, it may lead to a repetitive stress type injury.
  • Don’t just work on the pretty muscles!

    • Many high intensity programs, focus on the big muscles group and complex movements while neglecting the deeper, stabilizing muscles. Take some time to isolate some of the weaker, smaller muscles. Remember to work the core, challenge the muscles around the shoulder complex, hips, knees and feet and incorporate balance work.
  • The body doesn’t respond well from 60 to 0!

    • Just like the body needs to warm-up, we also need to take some time to cool down and gradually decompress. Slowly lower your intensity at the end of a workout and take some time to release and lengthen your muscles. The key to optimal health is a potent combination of strength and mobility. We need to be strong but also limber so lengthen and release and your body will thank you for it!

Here are some signs that you may be going too hard, too often…

  • Extreme & extended muscle soreness
  • Recurring Injury/sickness
  • Fatigue or a drop in exercise performance
  • Restlessness and/or attitude changes
  • Unexplained drops in weight
  • Increase in Resting Heart Rate
  • Cessation of menstrual cycle

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, lower your training intensity to determine if that’s the culprit.

High intensity training is highly effective but it’s also important to remember that it’s not ideal for beginners and definitely doesn’t need to be the focus for every single workout.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

run to rememberJoin us for…..
RUN TO REMEMBER WASHINGTON – Memorial Day Mile, 5k and 10k races!
Saturday May 27th in Downtown Washougal, WA – just across the river from Portland Oregon.
Let us honor the brave men and women who have or are currently serving in our Armed Forces and remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom. This Memorial Day Mile and 5k/10k running and walking event on Memorial Day weekend will benefit Battle Buddies, an organization that provides Service Dogs for our Veterans.

Toning and conditioning muscles — adding order to your workouts

Last week we reviewed a technique for ordering your workouts that provides a very user-friendly way for anyone to design and experience a full body muscle and cardio workout. The response has been great so today, we decided to review some other important guidelines so you can assure each of your muscle conditioning workouts is super effective.

Large Before Small

stabilityballbenchpressb(2)First off, the textbook correct way to train your muscles is to start with the larger muscle groups first and then finish with the smaller muscle groups. This means, for example, for your upper body you would perform all your back and chest exercises first, then finish with the shoulders, biceps and triceps. Basically, you would do all your full body, integrated movements first and then you can focus on isolating smaller muscle groups. If you don’t’ have a ton of time, focus on those compound movements like squats, lunges, rows, pulls, presses and pushes, because they use your large muscles as your primary movers and your smaller muscle groups still work to assist so you get the most bang for your buck!

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Super Effective Workout Programming

pushupplanka(1)When people workout on their own, they often have no idea which exercises to incorporate in their program and how to sequence them. They often wander aimlessly through the gym with no real method or rationale to their exercise session. This can lead to poor results and a lot of wasted time. Instead put purpose to your workouts and use a template to assure you address all of the important fitness components.

Here’s a template that is very easy to incorporate and very effective.

Workout Template:

  • Warmup
  • Workout
    • Lower Body Focused Exercise
    • Upper Body Focused Exercise
    • Core Conditioning Exercise
    • 1 minute Cardio Drill
  • Repeat 3-6x
  • Cool Down

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Spring Training Camp

Spring is officially here and as we start to experience the longer, warmer and dryer days it gives many of us a boost of energy. Plus it often reminds us that summer is on its way including hiking, golfing, swimming, tennis, cycling, baseball, water sports and other summer activities!

So along with the spring cleaning you may be tackling around the house, it’s time to get your body in tip-top shape if you want a fun-filled summer.  Here’s a list of exercises that you can start doing to strengthen and condition your entire body so you are prepared for any summer time fun! Read the rest of Spring Training Camp

Bike To Get Fit

Sherri Bike1Cycling is a low-impact activity that works your heart and lungs, strengthens your lower body and burns some calories. Plus it gets you outside which is good for your body, mind and spirit!

Most of us have rode and owned a bike at some point in our life so there’s some muscle memory there and should be easy to get started.

Already Have a Bike?

Great, but if you haven’t rode it for a while, it would be wise to go get it tuned up. Head to or locally or in Portland.

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Spring Break But No Fitness Break

Sherri_SB_2016Kids are out of school in a couple weeks for Spring Break which can often wreak havoc on parents’ fitness routines! But Spring Break doesn’t need to mean a break from fitness!

Be proactive and creative to assure you get your workouts in while involving your kids and teaching them to love an active and healthy lifestyle!

Here’s some tips for an active spring break!

Beach Vacation

If you are getting out of town for an exotic beach vacation, each day plan to do something active. One day, you might kayak in front of the resort, the next day paddleboard. One day you might schedule a bike or hiking tour with the resort. And other day, you might play some beach volleyball.

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