Inspirations to help you Achieve your Personal Best!

I hope you enjoyed an amazing summer! Mine flew by and was full of incredible adventures including Cycling through Italy, teaching at a resort in Mexico, climbing to the top of Mt. St. Helens, attending two of the world’s best fitness conferences, IDEA in LA and CanFitPro in Toronto, fun runs, triathlon, paddle-boarding, amusement parks, and tons of fun with family and friends.  Always living life to the fullest! So you’ll notice I took a hiatus from blogging so that I could live it up! Well, I’m back and ready to ramp things up for fall and send you a weekly post to help you reach for your Personal Best!

As you know, I am a firm believer in setting goals, creating bucket lists, challenging your limits and living life to the fullest.  And I believe by doing so, not only do you create an unbelievable life for yourself, you also inspire others to achieve their dreams.

On that note, recently, I took a group of clients on a Cycling Adventure through Italy. I wanted to document the trip, one for my own memory and two, to hopefully inspire you to commit to your next adventure. Maybe you’ll even recreate our trip one day! Hopefully, minus a few crazy adventures as you’ll read below! Print this blog post and store away just in case you want to  cross “Cycling through Tuscany” off your list one day.

Let me know when you’ve made the commitment to the next adventure on your bucket list!

Yours in health and fitness,


Amazing views while Cycling through Tuscany

Read the rest of Inspirations to help you Achieve your Personal Best!

Do not read if you are eating!

Today, I wanted to touch on an uncomfortable but critical subject…

When we eat, one of the four things happens…

  1. We use the calories and nutrients in the food for our basic metabolic functions like cellular or organ functioning or growth and repair of tissues
  2. We use the calories and nutrients in the food for exercise and movement
  3. We store the excess as energy – aka Body Fat
  4. We excrete the excess as waste – aka ‘Number 2’

As we’ve discussed previously, if your goal is to lose body fat, you want to make sure at the end of the day, your calories in are less than your calories out.  So we either reduce our caloric intake (while increasing the nutrient density of what we eat) and/or we increase our caloric expenditure (exercise) so we experience a deficit and lose weight.

However, what happens when you do have an excess of calories? Well then you either store that excess caloric energy (body fat) or you excrete it (Go #2).  So my question to you is would you rather store the excess calories as fat or get rid of them?!

Clearly, we’d all like to just get rid of those excess calories.  We’re not anticipating a famine anytime soon that would cause you to need to store a whole lot of extra energy!

So then the next question is how efficient are you at getting rid of the excess?  Well let me tell you this.  Fifty percent of North Americans do not have a daily bowel movement!  So if you are not getting rid of it, guess what?! You are storing it.  Average bowel movements are anywhere from multiple times per day to once every few days!  If fat loss is your goal, you’ve got to get your digestive system working for you.

So how do you increase your bowel movements naturally?  I bet you can guess this!  Yep, increase your fiber intake – so eat more fruits, vegetables and beans.  Doesn’t that sound like last week’s instructions?!

Your goal, whether you desire fat loss or optimal health, should be at least one daily bowel movement where you don’t have to strain and groan to eliminate.

Okay, hope that helps.  You can eat now!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan



Portion control tips to maximize fat loss

The biggest problem we face with weight control is as follows. Ask yourself these two questions.

1. How long does it take to consume 1000 calories?
2. How long does it take to expend 1000 calories?

Well, if you were to workout at a pretty good intensity, it would take you probably between 1.5-2 hours to burn 1000 calories. And how long would it take you to consume 1000 calories? Probably only about 5-10 minutes depending on what you are eating!

So you can see why it’s so easy to gain weight and so difficult to lose it for many people.

One critical physics principle to remember is that if your goal is weight loss, at the end of the day you need to have consumed less calories than you expended.

So it’s all about the balance between calories in and calories out.

But a really super important concept to understand is that even though a calorie is a calorie, there are certain calories if consumed now will cause you to consume more calories later.

So if fat loss is our goal, you need to consume calories that are nutrient-rich, high volume for low calories types of food that fill you up now and suppress your appetite later.

What types of foods do this???? Read the rest of Portion control tips to maximize fat loss

Really?! Sorry, that’s not gonna cut it!

As a fitness trainer, I’ve heard every excuse in the book.  And although I can empathize with reasons for someone not starting or sticking to an exercise program, most of the time, the excuses don’t hold any water. If it’s important enough to you to look and feel your best and live life to the fullest, you just have to make it happen.

For example, yesterday it was pouring down rain. And for anyone who lives in an area where you have unpredictable weather patterns, you can’t use the weather as an excuse for not exercising or else your workouts will be super inconsistent which leads to poor results. I always say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.  If you’ve invested in some good outdoor workout attire, you can manage any weather and be completely comfortable.  And once you get out there, it’s actually not bad.

And then of course, people will use their kids as an excuse for not exercising. “I can’t workout, I’ve got the kids.”  Sorry, that doesn’t work.  If you’ve got young children, there’s tons of tools to keep you in great shape such as back packs for walking and hiking, bike carriers and seats for cycling, baby joggers for running…Take the kids to the park and let them play while you workout. Or get involved by playing tag, basketball, Frisbee, or soccer with the kids. Or if you’ve got older kids, get them involved.  They might ride a bike while you run or head out for a family cycle, hike or walk and make sure everyone gets some exercise.  Then of course, there are gyms that provide child-care or maybe swap babysitting with a friend so you can both get your workouts in.  You’ve just got to be creative but bottom-line, you’ve got to make it happen.

Here’s a videoclip of Jackson cycling yesterday in the rain.  He had an absolute blast.  I had him in gloves and a rain jacket so he stayed warm and I had the correct gear on to stay warm too.  He was out there for 40 minutes riding in the rain hitting every single mud puddle and having a great time while I ran beside him.  It was a quality morning!


And what about the people who say they can’t afford a gym membership or personal trainer. Read the rest of Really?! Sorry, that’s not gonna cut it!

I can’t believe she said that!

This past weekend, I shared some great times with my kids. We hosted a BBQ party for our neighborhood friends, went to a pool party, watched a few movies, went to a dinner party at some friends, did a 2.5 mile fun run at the Hazel Dell Parade, hiked Hamilton Mountain, lots of trampoline jumping and hot tubbing, dinner at Beaches restaurant…It was a great weekend.  But to my dismay, when I asked my 10 year old daughter what her favorite party of the weekend was, her response was “I loved everything Mama, except for the hike and the run!”

Of course, my daughter would love everything except for the exercise!!! Ugh!  So I said to her “Baby, would you prefer that I was really out of shape, sitting on the couch eating junk food all day while watching soap operas?!”  Her response was “Mooommmmm” and a roll of the eyes!

I said “Baby, this is who I am.  I love to be active. So as long as you’re living with me, we’re going to be hiking and biking and running and walking and kayaking and skiing….so you’re going to just have to deal with it and somehow learn how to love it. And hopefully one day you will appreciate all these great experiences!”

Hamilton Mountain

Hiking Hamilton Mountain with Brianna, Jackson and Kailee

Hazel Dell Parade Fun Run

After our 2.5 mile Hazel Dell Parade Fun Run

My belief is that as parents we have to set the good example. And my hope is that I will instill a love for exercise and activity that will just become second-nature to my kids. With that said, I have learned over the years that there are certain things I need to do to make these outings somewhat bearable for my kids. Read the rest of I can’t believe she said that!

What would you do?

On Monday, I attended the memorial of one of our clients, Susan Worthy. She had worked out with us for a number of years and it was one year ago that she was diagnosed with cancer. Susan passed on April 27th at the age of 55 years – a life definitely cut too short. She was an incredible woman – extremely intelligent, sweet, kind, caring, gentle but also strong and powerful. She was a pillar in our community and was involved in various organizations, not-for-profits and charities. She was a fit woman and modeled a healthy lifestyle for her family.

Susan Worthy

Susan Worthy during one of her early morning workouts


Many non-exercising skeptics may question the logic of someone spending so much time exercising when they are going to die so young anyways. But here’s the thing, if I knew I was going to die tomorrow, I would not regret the years and hours I’ve spent exercising and taking care of myself. It’s not just the length of your life or the quantity of your years that matters. It’s how you feel everyday when you exercise! I feel better when I workout, I’m less stressed, energized, more confident…I feel physically, emotionally and mentally stronger and better able to tackle anything that comes my way. The critical reason to exercise is that the quality of your life is enhanced greatly. Every day is a better day when you workout.

I believe if you were to ask Susan if she would have still spent so much time exercising if she had known she was going to pass at such a young age anyways, I’m confident that she would say “Hell Ya!”…only she would have left out the ‘hell’!  She was a very classy chick, you know!

In fact Susan worked out with us up until 3 weeks before she passed away. She was a badass because as her trainer Derrick deLay reports, “Even though she had a hard time breathing, she could still do 100 pound full body weight squats!” They better be ready for one tough cookie to arrive at the pearly gates!

Speaking of Derrick, I wanted to share with you an email that he just sent out to his clients. This is one of the reasons Susan loved him so much!

“I wake up at 4 in the morning and 15 minutes later I start my short, 6 mile, bike ride to work. Rain or shine, I ride. Some mornings, usually when I haven’t slept enough, I don’t feel like riding my bike. I know if I do I will feel better, so I ride. About 2 miles into my ride comes my first big decision of the day. Should I turn right or left? If I turn right, I get to ride 2 more miles before I have to climb an easy hill. If I turn left, I immediately have to climb one the steepest, hardest hills in town.

Which way should I go?

99% of the time I turn left. I choose to struggle. I choose gasping for breath and burning legs. I choose hard over easy. I choose long-term over short-term. How do I do it? I talk to myself. I remind myself not to pass up the opportunity to train. I tell myself how much better I will feel, physically, mentally, and emotionally for having done it. I remind myself that the road to mediocrity is flat and easy. I don’t want to be mediocre. Do you? Can you talk yourself into choosing healthy foods, fruits and veggies, over junk food? Can you talk yourself into choosing to exercise a little everyday? Yes. You are the only one who can. Choose to be exceptional!”

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Ps. If you live in the Northwest, join us for our Annual Evening 3 & 6 mile Fun Run/Walk and Live Concert. It’s a great way to celebrate the start of summer and help raise funds for the critical programs at the YWCA.


More exercise & nutrition tips for looking & feeling your best

Dear clients, friends & family,

No matter where you live, I hope you’re getting some sunshine and soaking in the Vitamin D.  That always does wonders in terms of increasing your energy levels and motivation.

Here’s some more tips to enhance your health and fitness:

Cardio – This week I’d like you to try hill training. It will develop your strength, power and overall fitness. If part of your program includes walking, running, or cycling, find a short hill (about 100 meters long) and perform 5-10 hill repeats once this week. It will definitely get your heart pumping.  Let me know how you liked it…

Muscle Conditioning: Here’s another 6 minute clip to add to your muscle conditioning tool box. You’ll need a Kettlebell for today’s set.  Feel free to use a hand weight instead.


If you can’t see the video clip above, click on the link below.

Nutrition Tip– Try to have most of your calories eaten in the first 2/3’s of your day (breakfast and lunch)

Here’s to looking and feeling your best this Spring & Summer!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

ps.  If you live in Vancouver WA or Portland OR, join us for our 3 hour Exercise-a-thon on Sunday May 15th to help the Japan Relief fund.  Call us at 503.287.0655 for more information.

pps.  Our hiking club starts Sunday May 22nd. Challenge yourself to an amazing series of adventures and mix up your program!


I wanted to share this with you…

Dear clients, friends and family,

I wanted to share with you some more great information.  I mentioned last week that we have all been using

for logging our food and activity levels during our Spring Makeover challenge.  It really is a fabulous site.  Logging your food is super easy because it has a data-base of probably thousands of food items making caloric intake calculations really easy.

It will also easily calculate how many calories you expend during exercise each day.

And last based on your weight loss goal, it will calculate how many calories you need to consume each day to reach your goal taking into account your exercise and lifestyle.

You should definitely try it out.  Logging is one of the simplest ways to ensure you reach your goals!

Ted Schatz, my team leader, also posted a list of good foods to always have around for optimal fitness, weight loss and health.  I wanted to share that list with you: Read the rest of I wanted to share this with you…

Losing winter body fat…

Dear clients, friends and family,

I love this time of year. We are starting to see more sun, days are longer and everyone seems to have a renewed sense of energy. It’s one of the reasons we launch our Annual Spring Makeover challenge at this time of year. Plus people are ready to shed the pounds that many accumulate over the winter.

And I’m not immune to this phenomenon. I work out year round but definitely have a ‘winter weight’ and a ‘summer weight’ and they tend to be about 5 pounds different. So I always join in on our Weight Loss challenge to help motivate me to ramp things up a bit and get ready for the beach and all the fun summer activities.

This year, I joined Ted Schatz’s team – personal trainer extraordinaire. I thought I’d share with you his instructions to all of us. Hopefully, you will be able to pull out a few tips and follow along with the program with us. Here’s Ted’s tips for losing body fat safely, quickly and permanently:

Read the rest of Losing winter body fat…

Lose weight while on holidays!

Dear clients, friends & family,

I just returned from Spring Break in the Dominican Republic with my kids. We had such a blast! We stayed at the Dreams Resort and were so impressed with the customer service, entertainment and activities and friendliness of the staff.

Most people when they go away on holidays gain a few pounds because they get out of their routine and are drinking and eating more than usual. Well, one of these days, I would love for you to vacation with me because guess what…I always lose weight when I go away on holidays. And the best part is I still indulge while I’m there. Keep reading to find out how…

Read the rest of Lose weight while on holidays!