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!

I fell off the plan yesterday but so what…

“Personal success is never static.  It usually comes in small steps leading to other small steps that lead to broader achievement”  W. Roberts

I love this quote above because it’s so true.  Sometimes people get caught up in the fact that their goal is so big and zealous that it seems impossible so sometimes they get ‘paralysis by analysis’ and do nothing. But if they just did something, no matter how small or insignificant, that points them in the direction of their goal they would soon be achieving amazing results.  You just have to take it one day at a time, one little small success at a time. So the message this week is “Do Something!” 

Cardiovascular conditioning: With the longer days, this week I am suggesting you incorporate a cardio-split workout as often as you can.  This means that you workout or are active twice in one day.  So you could, for example, get up in the morning and head to the gym for an indoor cycling class and then later in the evening, go for a walk, bike ride or take a yoga class.  Try to take advantage of the burst of energy many people experience in the spring!

Muscle Conditioning:

Read the rest of I fell off the plan yesterday but so what…

Love Yourself Fitness & Training program – Week 6

“Do not be afraid to demand great things of yourself.  Powers which you never dreamed you possessed will leap to your assistance…” O. Marden

Cardiovascular conditioning:   This week make a commitment to be more active in your life.  The International Journal of Obesity released a stat that estimates we expend approximately 800 calories less per day than we did a few decades ago based on our sedentary lifestyles.  So commit to taking the stairs, walking or cycling to do errands or parking a few blocks from your destination. Take advantage of the lighter evenings and head out for a bike ride or walk after dinner.  Just move your body more throughout the day and you won’t have to spend hours at the gym!

Muscle Conditioning – I wanted to give you a quick full body Kettlebell workout set that you can do when you are running short on time.  It will take only 5 minutes and will work your entire body.  Remember, if you don’t have a Kettlebell you can pick one up at a Sporting Good Store and Target stocks them too.  It’s nice to have a number of different muscle conditioning tools.  Feel free to take lots of breaks if you are new to Kettlebell Training and listen to your body and modify any moves that you are not comfortable with. This is a more advanced training approach so if you are new to exercise, you might want to choose one of our previous training options instead.


If you cannot view the video clip above, cut and paste the following link into your browser. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylWhQSmAU1w

You now have 6 different muscle conditioning videoclips. If you ready to advance your program, maybe chose two to three different videoclips and complete them back to back for a more challenging workout. Or mix up your workouts throughout the week so you challenge your body in a variety of different ways.

Nutrition – If you drink alcohol, eliminate or reduce your intake to only 1-2x this week.

Other Helpful tips: You’ve done a full six weeks of training and it’s time to reward yourself.  Go out and treat yourself to a massage, a shopping spree or a weekend get-away.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan