The Vegan Challenge Begins – Here are some tips.

Dear clients, friends and family,

Today is the official start day of the Vegan challenge – a chance to flush our system and eat really clean and fresh for a whole month.

Here are some guidelines, courtesy of Derrick deLay, one of our trainers and the author of, to make vegan/vegetarian month easier for you. Please feel free to forward this to anyone you think might benefit from a diet rich in fruits, veggies and whole grains.

1. Focus on being Vegan one day at a time.
2. Plan, Prepare and Pack your food so you don’t fall back into old habits
3. Instead of looking at this month as giving up something (like cheese), look at it as an opportunity to try new foods.
4. Do your best to eat whole foods. Fake meats and cheeses and overly processed foods are OK every now and then, but the bulk of your diet should be whole foods. (Note, I didn’t follow this guideline. If I was going to have even a remote chance of succeeding at this challenge, I needed some cheese substitutes. So I purchased some Tofu cream cheese, Tofu sour cream, Tofu Shredded Cheese and some soy-based Yogurt. I made Burritos last night with the Tofu shredded cheese and seriously couldn’t tell the difference and my kids ate them up like crazy!)

Here’s a shopping list to help you.

Rolled oats
Loaf of bread (Whole-grain)
Brown rice
Whole wheat pasta

Milk – Try Soy, rice, almond, or plant-milk of choice

Black, Pinto & Garbanzo beans (canned or dried)
Dried green lentils

Berries (fresh or frozen)

Broccoli (fresh or frozen)
Spinach (fresh or frozen)
Canned tomatoes
Marinara sauce

Did you know that going vegan for this month reduces your impact on the environment as much as taking your car off the road for 1160 miles! That is the equivalent of not driving your car for the entire month!

Last but not least – remember exercise and moving your body has to part of any health and wellness program. I don’t care how healthy you eat – if you’re not moving your body, you’re not as healthy as you could be!

Every night (okay, I won’t promise every night), I will blog what I ate for the day to give you ideas. Together, we can do this! It will be interesting to see how our bodies respond.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

ps. Our 10 week Fat Loss program would be a very nice compliment to this challenge. You can get more details at

Okay, here’s the plan to completely Transform your Body & Change your Whole Life!

Dear Clients, Friends and Family,

It has been my honor to provide resources, guidance and support on your quest to be your Personal Best throughout 2009 and I look forward to continuing with you on your journey throughout 2010.

I mentioned in my last blog that I was starting to ramp up my nutrition in preparation for a more aggressive nutrition plan to launch in 2010. Let me explain how this started. First, two of our trainers Derrick deLay and Ted Schatz are strict Vegans and have challenged the rest of us to a Vegan diet for one month. So I’ve been seriously considering and prepping for that. The dairy will be the hard part for me so I haven’t made the mental commitment to that yet but we’ll see… Secondly, I watched the documentary “Food Inc” this weekend and that furthered my motivation to try this lifestyle and see how my body responds. If you haven’t watched the documentary yet, I would encourage you do – maybe even this weekend – and let it be part of your 2010 nutrition and fitness plan launch (ps. You can watch it “On Demand”). If you’re local, join us on January 7th at our Vancouver studio when we will show the documentary and then lead a discussion and Q & A afterwards. Call us at 360.574.7292 to reserve your space now.

If you decide to attempt a Vegan diet (or any spectrum of vegetarianism), follow along with my blog where I will post my eating plan and various tidbits to help us along the path.

Another great resource to provide excellent tips on implementing a more vegetarian diet and fabulous recipes is Derrick’s website ‘Vibrant Vegan’. You can visit his site at

Finally, one of our instructors Karle Wagner sent me the following list and I thought it would be wonderful to share as we ring in the New Year. Here’s to the best year ever!


1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants..
4. Live with the 3 E’s — Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray and/or meditate.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2009 .
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.


11. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don’t have negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don’t over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don’t remind your partner with His/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don’t hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree…

25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything.
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

32. Do the right thing! (It’s the hard thing)
33. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
34. God/the Universe heals everything.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, thank God/the Universe for it.
39. Your Inner most is always happy. So, be happy.

Last but not the least:
40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about.

I love you all and wish you the very best new year – full of lots of love, happiness, laughter, peace and your best health ever!

Sherri McMillan

ps. If you are local and would like a little extra guidance, our trainers and nutritionist are here to help you personally. Many people often need a coach overseeing your specific plan and progress. We’re also hosting a 10 Week Fat Loss program starting mid January which will provide you extra motivation and tools to ensure you really transform your body and change your whole life! You can get more details at

It’s time for a flush of the system…

Dear clients, friends and family.

I hope you enjoyed a fabulous holiday and are ready to focus on your health and fitness. You’re not out of the woods yet – you’ve still got New Years to enjoy!

But if you’re like me, you’re ready to start a little flush of the system. Probably lots of toxins and junk in your system so time to get rid of it!

This week, I’m ramping up my water, fruit and vegetable intake. That will help a lot!

Next week, I’m starting a more aggressive nutrition challenge – I’ll tell you more about it later. Maybe you’ll want to join along with me.

So even though it’s not January 1st yet, start taking some healthy action steps today so you’ll have the momentum going by next week.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

2 Tips for Looking Hot for the Holidays

Dear clients, friends and family.

Looking and feeling your best is a potent combination of exercise and healthy eating. It always has to include both! So here is your next exercise and nutrition tip to get you Looking Hot for the Holidays.

Nutrition Tip: Part of the problem leading to our epidemic rates of obesity and overweightness is people eating past the point of fullness. This will always lead to energy storage and increased body fat levels! So learning to stop eating when you’re full is a big step in the right direction. Use the following hunger scale to help guide you.

The Hunger Scale – Learn to use this scale to rate your hunger and fullness

0 – Ravenous, Primal Hunger. I’m so hungry I could die!
1 – Extremely Hungry, dizzy, shaky, faint
2 – Very hungry, irritable, finding it hard to concentrate
3 – Stomach growling
4 – Hungry but not ravenous
5 – Totally comfortable
6 – Feeling like I ate too much
7 – Stomach is stretched/uncomfortable
8 – Very Full/Stuffed
9 – Very Full and Bloated/Overstuffed
10 – So Full it Hurts, Feels like I’m going to explode, Feel sick to my stomach

LEVELS 0-2: Signifies ravenous hunger. This is when you are most likely to overeat. Avoid this stage!

LEVELS 3-4: These are the best times to eat. Your body is saying that it needs food.

LEVELS 5-10: Starting to eat at these levels indicates emotional, not physical hunger.

Eating until you reach level 6 and higher may indicate that you’ve lost touch with your physical hunger.

Exercise Tip: Incorporate Interval Training into your Workouts. Here’s why.

The benefits of higher intensity exercise are as follows:

*Expends more calories per minute

*More efficient – burns more calories in less time

*Most effective method for improving fitness conditioning

*Most effective method for raising anaerobic threshold. Your anaerobic threshold is the stage of exercise where you feel very tired and feel the need to either stop or slow down. You may feel dizzy or nauseous if you stay at this level too long. By incorporating higher intensity activity into your exercise workouts, you raise your anaerobic threshold. This means that you can exercise at a higher intensity before you start to experience those uncomfortable sensations.

*Most effective method for inducing training adaptations. Incorporating this type of training into your program will enable your body to handle the higher intensities more easily. You will find that intensities that used to leave you breathless and fatigued, no longer challenge you anymore. Soon, you will be able to expend more calories per minute compared to when you first started exercise. When people first initiate an exercise program, a comfortable calorie burning level is approximately 5cal/min. Elite athletes can expend more than 20cal/min and sustain it for over 2 hours! As a result, it takes them a lot less time to burn one pound of fat.

*Most effective method for increasing fat mobilization. This means that as you get fitter, you actually get better at burning fat. Inside of your fat cells, you have enzymes called hormone sensitive lipase and lipoprotein lipase. Hormone sensitive lipase, the “good guys”, are responsible for releasing fat from a fall cell to be used for energy. Lipoprotein lipase, the “bad guys”, are responsible for the uptake of fat from the blood stream into fat cells to be stored. Lipoprotein lipase functions to develop our unwanted bulges. If you have lived a sedentary lifestyle and have eaten a poor diet all your life, you will have a lot of the “bad guys” and they will be very good at their job. You will have fewer “good guys” and they will not be so competent with their responsibilities. The goal is to get more good guys doing their job. But changing the internal chemistry inside of your fat cells may take years. So in the beginning you may not be experiencing results as quickly as you want because you body is actually working against you. But with consistency in your training program, your body will soon start to work for you. Soon you will have increased your ability to mobilize and use fat as a fuel. Training in a high intensity zone will make you fit quick and enable you to enjoy this wonderful training benefit. Soon you will be burning more fat during and after exercise. You will become a fat burning machine!

*Experience a higher EPOC (excess post oxygen consumption). Have you ever wondered why you continue to breathe heavy and sweat after your workout is done? Why doesn’t your breathing and body temperature go back to normal immediately? After exercise you consume a greater amount of oxygen to assist your body in recovering from the stress of the workout and the demands it placed on your body. It is important to know that EPOC uses fat as its fuel. At higher intensities, your EPOC is greater translating into a greater caloric and fat expenditure post activity. Although the effects of EPOC are small, if you expended an additional 100 calories post exercise as a result of a high intensity exercise session, within 100 workouts (5 months), you would have burned an extra 10,000 calories or 3 pounds of fat!

*Intervals are the best way to add intensity to a workout by adding brief, high-energy outputs followed by active recovery phases which will avoid fatigue and injury.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Sometimes you need a little ‘bad’ to get the ‘good’…

Dear clients, friends and family,

I hope you’ve been enjoying the Holiday season so far. Here’s my two quick and easy tips to keep you on the path of looking and feeling your best.

Nutrition Tip: I’m a big believer in doing whatever it takes to get you to eat your fruits and veggies – they are that important! I use this technique with my kids too. Envious friends are always asking how I get my kids to eat so many fruits and veggies. Well, sometimes, you’ve got to add some ‘bad’ to get them to crave the ‘good’. For example, cheese melted over broccoli, celery with cream cheese, salt sprinkled on cut peppers, fruit with yogurt and granola, apples with caramel, carrots and ranch dip etc. Try this approach and watch your fruit and veggie intake increase dramatically!

Exercise Tip: Invest in the right gear. If it’s cold and rainy, it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the right clothing that keeps you dry and warm. You never want the weather to get you out of your routine – especially in the northwest when the weather is so unpredictable. Fortunately, there’s lots of great specials right now. Plus you can always put your needs on your Holiday Wish-list!

Yours in Health and Fitness,

Sherri McMillan

If you’re busy but still want to look and feel your best, you’ve got to read this…

Clients, Friends and Family.

I was just reading this great article that I wanted to pass onto you. This counts for your Exercise Tip for the Day – it’s actually full of great tips!

Nutrition Tip for the Day: When you are super busy, try to eat something quick and easy so you don’t go too long without eating anything. Because when you do that, we all know what happens! Your healthy eating plan goes out the window! Here’s some On-the-Go ideas for even the most time-starved individuals.

*low-fat yogurt, granola and fruit
*raw vegetables and yogurt dip
*fruit and yogurt dip
*Powerbar or Harvest crunch bar
*Rice Cakes and hummus
*glass of juice or milk
*hard boiled egg
*low-fat crackers and cheese
*a couple fig bars

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

I’ve got a little rhyme for you…

Who says you have to wait until January 1st to transform your body and achieve your goals?!

Start today – Think of this little rhyme…

One positive step here,
One little action there,
That’s gonna be your Bikini next year! 🙂

Exercise Tip for Today: Variety is key. Try a class you’ve never tried before. Consult with a trainer. Sign up for a new program. Register for an adventure. Do something that gets you out of your comfort zone to shake things up a bit and stimulate your body to respond positively!

Nutrition Tip for Today:
Holiday parties are starting up. Pigging out on chocolates, cookies and cakes and drinking till you see three of everything is enough to make you feel like you’ve been hit by a truck! It’s perfectly okay to indulge a little over the holidays but you’ve still got to keep your health and fitness goals in check. Instead of forbidding any treats over the holidays rather, focus on drinking 8 glasses of water, consuming 5 vegetables and 3 fruits every day, eat breakfast, and consume 5 small meals/snacks each day. If you’ve still got room for your favorite Christmas cookie, go for it. But eat them slowly and really enjoy the taste. At parties you may find yourself eating a lot later than usual. Try to eat something small earlier and then at the party you’ll be less likely to overeat right before bed. And fill up on veggies at the party first – then you’ll be less likely to eat everything in sight!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Yes, you can cheat!

Dear clients, family and friends,

It’s a proven fact that stress can make you fat. So if your goal is to look and feel your best, you’ve got to figure out how to either reduce your stress or respond to it better. I thought this would be a timely topic considering the holiday season begins tomorrow.

Exercise Tip #1: Breathe. Take 60 seconds to just stop and breathe deeply and be in the moment. Just this very act of oxygenating your entire system including your muscles, tissues, heart and organs brings forth incredible health benefits. Can you stop and do it right now? It’s only 1 minute. What do you have to lose?! (besides some negative energy and a lot of stress!)

Exercise Tip #2: Cheat Days are okay!
(I thought this would be a good tip considering tomorrow!)

A successful nutrition plan will focus on what you need to be consuming every day rather than what you should not be eating. For example, set a goal of eating 3 fruits for the day instead of deciding to not eat any chocolate. In addition, allow yourself one or two “free” days every week. For example, if you love pizza, 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 eat chocolate again, but instead, just limiting how much and when you will indulge. Just make sure you don’t go crazy on your free days. It’s not a free ticket to gorge! And try to avoid making deals with yourself regarding your free days. If Saturday is your free day, make sure you stick to Saturday. For example, avoid indulging on Thursday because there’s an office party and then promising that on Saturday, you will skip your free day. Often you end up of taking more free days than you agreed to and all of a sudden every day turns into a ‘free’ day.

We prefer 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 will be a much more enjoyable process. This type of belief system is long-term focused. It is important that you decide to only do things that you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life. The only way to do this is to achieve your goals while upsetting your life as little as possible. Look at it this way – even our Northwest Personal Training Personal Trainers indulge so don’t try to be ‘perfect’.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Two simple tips to improve your fitness and change your body.

Dear clients, friends and family:

Thanksgiving is two days a way so I’m hoping my daily exercise and nutrition tips will launch you into a very healthy and happy holiday season – minus the 10 pound typical weight gain.

Nutrition Tip: If you have planned your meals correctly throughout the day, you shouldn’t need to eat anything right before bed. Often the calories that are consumed after dinner are those that are eaten not because you are actually hungry and need the energy but because of habitual patterns or boredom. Think of it this way – you are just going to bed. How much energy do you really need? If you find yourself needing to eat late at night, choose something that is low in calories just to get you by until morning.

Side note: Here’s a recipe from the American Heart Association for Pork Tenderloin with Cranberry salsa that you might enjoy as a healthy alternative for Thanksgiving dinner.

Exercise Tip: If your goal is fat loss, try to burn at least 300 calories per workout session. Obviously, anything is better than nothing but if you can commit to at least 300 calories, you will get to your goals much faster. One of the best ways to estimate caloric expenditure is to invest in a Heart Rate monitor. Perhaps you can put it on your Christmas Wish-list?! We find the Polar monitors the most accurate and user-friendly.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Did you know that I am super lazy?!

Hey clients, friends and family:

I am extremely ambitious when it comes to my career. I love what I do and I work hard. In fact, I’ve been accused of being a work-a-holic! Likewise, when it comes to workouts, I am very consistent, disciplined and hardly ever miss a workout. I like to challenge myself with various physical adventures and I love the feeling of really exerting myself. And for my kids, I am an energetic mom that likes to play and do fun things with the kids.

But for some reason, as soon as I enter the kitchen, I become the most lazy, lethargic, unmotivated person around! If it takes 20 minutes, forget it. If it requires multiple ingredients, cooking and fire – yeah, that’s not happening. I am the queen of quick and easy in the kitchen. Get me in and get me out as quick as possible. So adhering to a healthy nutrition plan with this type of mind-set can pose a challenge. But I’ve learned to accept who I am and work around my little limitation which brings me to today’s nutrition point to get you looking and feeling great for the holidays.

Nutrition Tip: Eat your veggies! We all know we should be eating more vegetables for optimal health and fitness. But for some reason the act of cleaning and chopping veggies for 10 minutes or so is just too much of an effort for me to fathom (but working out for 2 hours – no problem…Go figure?!) so I purchase a lot of my veggies already pre-washed and cut and ready to eat. Sure, they cost a lot more but because I do this both myself and my kids eat a ton more vegetables. So if you’re lazy in the kitchen like me maybe this approach would work for you too! Another quick and easy way to ensure you’re getting enough veggies is a product called “Greens Plus”. It’s a blend of 29 nutrient-rich Superfoods, Sea Vegetables and Herbal Extracts that you mix with water or juice that gives you a nice little extra insurance. You can pick up a jug of this at most health food stores or the health food section of your grocery store.

Exercise Tip: Make some Muscle – Strength training is the true fountain of youth! When you lose muscle mass so many other health variables are negatively affected including your strength, endurance, tone, posture, bone density, metabolism, body composition and more. So commit to hitting the weights at least two times per week and watch your whole body change!

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan