Change Your Mind and Change Your Body

Pitfalls to a Healthy Lifestyle – Change Your Mind and Change Your Body

sherrijumpingeditA 199x300 Change Your Mind and Change Your BodySucceeding with your health and fitness program often requires a change in mindset. Sometimes even when you have intentions of doing the right thing, if you have the wrong attitude about it, it can slip you up!

See if you find yourself in any of the following pitfalls to a long-term health and fitness program:

‘All or nothing’ Phenomenon: 

  • You are scheduled for a 60 minute workout but something comes up and you cannot get to the gym for the allocated time.  You scrap the workout and decide you will try to fit it in tomorrow.
  • You have decided to eat healthier but one day you slip a bit at lunch and have a chocolate bar.
  • You decide that since you have already failed for the day, you might as well throw in the towel and indulge in a few cookies, a bowl of ice cream and a bag of chips.
  • Tomorrow is another day.

Can you see how this “all or nothing” approach works against you? 

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Stay On Track This Time!

What went wrong?  Why did you fail last time?

Most people have great intentions and start an exercise program over and over and over again.  They decide to start working out and eat healthy and within a few months, for whatever reason, find themselves back where they started.  Something like a New Year’s resolution, summer, a wedding or a reunion sparks their interest and motivates them to try again.  They decide they will go on a diet or they will exercise every day.

Eventually, most people fail again because they are basically mimicking exactly what they did last time. 

Why do people get in the bad habit of just repeating past attempts doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result – isn’t that the definition for insanity?  The bottom line is that whatever forced you off track last time, will more than likely surface again. 

track 300x199 Stay On Track This Time!This time, though, things are going to be different. You are going to be prepared and you are going to stay on track this time!  You need to develop a strategy for overcoming roadblocks posed by work, kids, fatigue or lack of time.  We are going to determine how you are going to balance it all.  For example, if previously you found work or family responsibilities got in the way of you achieving your goals, your strategy may be to book your workout appointments into your schedule like you would any other appointment. You will carve that time out for you, your most important asset! You would not cancel a business appointment with an important client or cancel your yearly physical with your doctor.  Likewise,

you must never cancel your workouts. 

Another strategy may be to Read the rest of Stay On Track This Time!

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Surround Yourself With Great People!

Surround Yourself With Great People & Choose Your Friends Wisely

This past weekend, I was uploading photos from our Summer of fun and adventures.  It made me reflect how lucky I am to have such an incredible group of friends who like to participate in events and activities with me. Then it made me think that that’s what absolutely every body needs!

597 300x225 Surround Yourself With Great People!594 300x225 Surround Yourself With Great People!339 300x225 Surround Yourself With Great People!048 300x225 Surround Yourself With Great People!
If you want to be great, you have to surround yourself with great people.  If you want to be healthy and active, surround yourself with active and healthy people.  If you want to commit to eating a healthy diet, surround yourself with people who are also committed to that.  You are who you hang with! 
So if all your friends drink, eat pizza and chicken wings and sit around watching TV all day, that’s probably what you will do as well.  And don’t get me wrong, I enjoy living it up as well but, my friends and I all understand, we’ve got to earn it first!


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Everybody needs people in their life who inspire them, challenge them, build them up, support them and encourage them to reach for their potential, their personal best.



Some people will pull you up and others will pull you down – it’s your decision who you will give your time to.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to disown your current group of friends but here’s some ideas Read the rest of Surround Yourself With Great People!

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Kegel Your Way to Better Health

pee Kegel Your Way to Better HealthNo one talks about it but it’s a problem that many women have to deal with on a day to day basis after child-birth.  Urinary incontinence, an inability to control urine flow, can be a socially embarrassing problem that can be managed.  Stress incontinence or the loss of urine when you cough, sneeze, laugh, or jump or endurance incontinence, an inability to make it to the bathroom in time is often a result of a weakening of your pelvic floor muscles.  It makes sense that if you strengthen those particular muscles, you’ll reduce the chances of having to endure regular embarrassing episodes.

A plan of action you can start immediately is Kegel exercises.  Named after inventor and American physician, A.H. Kegel, these exercises involve contracting and releasing muscles to improve bladder control.

The correct way to perform a Kegel is as follows: Read the rest of Kegel Your Way to Better Health

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Ways To Prevent ACL Injuries

We are heavy into football, soccer and basketball seasons and the ski season will be here in no time.  All athletes – young and old – are susceptible to suffering a debilitating Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury.  I thought this would be a good time to discuss what athletes can do to minimize their risk for this injury.

The American Physical Therapy Association urges athletes to adopt the following program (exercises listed below) that includes specialized stretching, strengthening, agility and jumping exercises to help lower the risk of ACL injuries.

One study conducted on 1,435 NCAA Division 1 female soccer athletes found the exercises listed below had an overall ACL injury rate 41 percent lower than the control group.  That is impressive results!  So if you know an athlete, cut this article out for them and have them perform these exercises before each practice or game.  You may save them weeks of pain, surgery and rehabilitation! Read the rest of Ways To Prevent ACL Injuries

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Fall Back Into Fitness, Fall Back Into YOU!

Kids are back to school soon.  Yahoo!  Oops, did I say that out loud?! icon smile Fall Back Into Fitness, Fall Back Into YOU!

GF 3 200x300 Fall Back Into Fitness, Fall Back Into YOU!September is a very busy time in the fitness industry, only second to New Year’s Resolutions.  Summer holidays are over, school is back in session and now it’s time for YOU!  Take advantage of this natural tendency to turn over a new leaf, so to speak, and let’s get aggressive with your health and fitness program. 


Summer time BBQs, S’Mores by the camp-fire and ice cream treats can tend to pack on a few extra pounds over the summer encouraging many to feel ready to get back to eating super healthy and watching what they eat a little more closely. Read the rest of Fall Back Into Fitness, Fall Back Into YOU!

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Sign It – Your Fitness Commitment!

Sign It – Your Fitness Commitment!

signature 300x164 Sign It   Your Fitness Commitment!

Here at Northwest Personal Training each new client signs and Fitness & Training Commitment. This signed agreement serves as a reminder of the commitment that they have made to themselves and to provide a list of the health behaviors that we will help them to adopt over the next few weeks and for the rest of their lives. I wanted to share this list of commitments with you because they are the same commitments you could make if you are REALLY SERIOUS about sticking to you health & fitness plan….it is an extensive list and you won’t be able to tackle them all at once, but at least you will have a list to refer to if you start to slip away from your commitment!

An Optimal Health and Fitness Program Includes:


  •  Exercising aerobically 3-6 days each week for 20-60 minutes each session at various levels of intensity.  Using a Heart rate monitor will keep you honest.  Activities like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, hiking, stair-climbing, or Group classes will do the trick.
  • Conditioning your muscles with resistance training workouts for a minimum of two times per week. One set of 8-12 reps of a variety of exercises for 20-60 minutes is perfect!  Or just workout with your trainer and they’ll make sure you meet this requirement.  Our Group Muscle Conditioning programs will help you achieve this goal also.
  • Eating a balanced diet that is high in fiber content.
  • Eating 5 vegetable servings and 3 fruit servings each day.
  • Drinking 10—8 ounce glasses of water each day.  Drink water before and with each meal and snack.  Purchasing a Jumbo size water bottle will help you adhere to this tip.
  • Planning your meals so that you eat 3 small meals and 2 small snacks each day.  Try to eat every 3 hours.
  • Avoiding eating anything high in fat or calories 3 hours before bedtime.
  • Controlling portion sizes.  If you need more assistance regarding exact caloric requirements, visit our website at  Click on the “Client Fitness Info”.  Then click on “Cool Tools”.  There is a calculator that you can use to more accurately estimate your calorie and protein needs.  You will also find various articles that will help you on your journey.
  • Eliminating any unhealthy temptations from your environment (work, home, car) and replacing with healthy alternatives.
  • Grocery shopping at least once per week to stock up on healthy choices and fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Maintaining a more active daily lifestyle.  Move your body as much as you can in addition to your exercise program.  The International Journal of Obesity released a statistic that reported we expend an average of 500-800 fewer calories than we did a few decades ago because of our more sedentary lifestyle.  At Northwest Personal Training, we believe that all you have to do is start moving more in your life and then you won’t have to spend hours in the gym every week!
  • Getting enough sleep (7-8 hours per night).  Sleep is when your body recovers and repairs.  If you do not sleep enough, you will not be prepared for each workout session and you will not function optimally.
  • Controlling and managing your stress levels.  Identify your stresses.  Outline methods that help you to reduce your stress and practice them regularly.
  • Completing Activity and Nutrition logs every day and submitting to your trainer every week (if you have one).
  • Weekly weigh-ins and monthly measurements help to manage your progress if fat loss is your goal.


SIGN HERE (Print this out and put it somewhere you will see it everyday!):


Put some real focus on these things for the next month and before you know it they will become routine!

Need help sticking to your commitment? That is exactly what we help our clients do every day. Learn more be visiting our website or calling 360-574-7292. 

Yours in health and fitness,


Don’t forget! – our Girlfriends Half Marathon is on October 13th.  Encourage a girlfriend to walk or run it with you and help raise money for Breast Cancer research.  Early Bird rates until early September.


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Stress and Lack of Sleep Make You Fat

stress Stress and Lack of Sleep Make You FatHave heard how stress and lack of sleep makes you fat?

Let’s face it, it’s common for people to be running from appointment to appointment, deadline to deadline always feeling behind on everything.  Whatever happened to the days where you actually got home at around 5:30, had dinner and sat on the front porch talking with your neighbors?

Most of the stress we all experience is self-imposed because we are trying to achieve something we believe will bring us happiness. 

It reminds me so much of the classic film “Citizen Kane”.  If you remember the story, it was about a young boy whose mother came into some money and sent him away to the best schools.  He grew up to be one of the most wealthiest, influential men on the planet.  He had everything that money could buy.  But he also had 2 failed marriages, no solid friendships, and lots of enemies.  On his deathbed, he whispers one word “RoseBud”, the name of his sled he used to play with when he lived with his mom.  The camera fades away with a clip of his estate and all his possessions being burned.  In that instant the message is clear.  He spent his entire life trying to make money to collect the things that all burned in the end.  And the only happy memory he has when he dies is not of the money or the things or his business or his multi-million dollar estate.  It is that of him playing in the snow when he was a young child – when life was simpler.

We can take the message to heart and ask ourselves, do we have our priorities in order?  Are we doing the things in our life we want to be doing?  Why do we let the little things get to us?

Successful stress management happens first by taking a different perspective on our life and adjusting our attitudes and actions accordingly.   

There has been quite a bit of research recently measuring stress hormones and how they affect our fat cells and fat metabolism.

Dr. Pamela Peeke has been the leading researcher in this area and she has found that our body interprets any kind of stress in our live as physical stress and immediately responds using the “Fight or Flight” response. Unfortunately, most of the stress in our lives is not physical stress but rather, work, kids, financial etc – more of the emotional or mental type of stress. But nonetheless, as our stress increases, the stress hormone, cortisol, is released into the blood stream.

Cortisol has two negative effects in terms of fat loss.
  • One, it causes the body to crave more fat and sugar.
  • And secondly, it causes the body to uptake more fat into the fat cells in order to store energy.
    • Both act as a defense mechanism to provide the body with energy to fight off the stress – unfortunately, since we’re not really undergoing physical stress instead, we just get fatter.  Plus high levels of stress have been associated with increased risk for cardiovascular disease.  The message is clear.  If you want to obtain optimal health, you need to manage your stress.  Take baths, get massages, practice retail therapy, write in a journal, read, pray, practice deep breathing, participate in Tai Chi, Yoga or meditation classes.

Do whatever it takes to either interpret your stress differently or take care of yourself so that stress doesn’t tear you down.

In addition, more and more literature is touting the importance of sleep in terms of optimal health and fat loss.  We now understand that….

….when the body doesn’t get the 7-8 hours of sleep every night that it needs to rejuvenate/repair/heal, it finds ways to compensate for the lower levels of serotonin or dopamine caused by lack of sleep.  It does this by increasing appetite and craving foods with sugar and fats that instantly give you the immediate release of serotonin and dopamine. 

It also causes you to store more fat as a defense mechanism to provide you the energy to help manage the longer days.  So get to bed early and get some good R & R !  Plus if you’re in bed at a decent hour, you’ll be less likely to be munching!

Don’t forget! – our Girlfriends Half Marathon is on October 13th.  Encourage a girlfriend to walk or run it with you and help raise money for Breast Cancer research.  Early Bird rates until early September.


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Be a Fitness Mentor

Yep, you can be a fitness mentor!

Boxing 003 300x199 Be a Fitness MentorAre you one of the lucky few fitness fanatics?  You have no problem getting up every morning and getting to the gym for your workout or your early morning run.  You’ve been exercising for years and couldn’t imagine ever quitting.  When you’re on vacation or on a business trip, you always book at a hotel that offers a fitness gym so you don’t get off track.  You exercise 5 plus times per week and it’s never a problem and in fact, sometimes, you have to really discipline yourself to take a rest day.  Sedentary, couch potatoes watch you with envy wondering how you do it!

Were you always so disciplined?  Probably not.  Think back to when you first started exercising.  Do you remember how it felt?  You may have felt a little awkward or clumsy.  You may have been really stiff and sore the next day.  It may have taken you a little while to get into a routine and feel comfortable with what you were doing.  You may have hated every second of every workout!

When did exercise change from a chore to a necessity, to a desire?

When and how did you get hooked?  As personal trainers, it’s our job to get new clients to the point where they’ve caught the exercise “bug”.  This is when clients stop complaining about how much exercise hurts and how difficult it is to stick to their program and instead, start commenting on how exercise makes them feel so good and how they find they need exercise to de-stress, find energy or be more productive at work.

Unfortunately, most people never get hooked on exercise.  They give up before their body starts to experience these wonderful feelings associated with the exercise “high”.  Within 3 months, 80% of new exercisers have dropped out never getting a chance to take their exercise program to the next level.  Scientists don’t know exactly what differentiates those new exercisers who quit and those who succeed but we do know that the first few months are a critical stage.  During this time, a new exerciser needs a ton of support.  On their own, it’s so easy to throw in the towel.  But if they have friends, family or a personal trainer helping them with their pursuit towards a healthier lifestyle, they will be more likely to succeed.

For those of you veteran exercisers- those of you who’ve made it and succeeded with exercise – we have a challenge for you.  Choose one person in your life – a friend, a parent, a sibling, a partner, a child, a co-worker, anyone who has expressed a desire to get fit – and take them under your wings and help them to get fit. 

  • You can share with them some of the obstacles you’ve overcome.
  • You could introduce them to new, fun and exciting activities.
  • You could schedule one or more workouts every week with them for the first 3 months until they slowly develop some independence and can start to wean away from you.
  • You can share healthy recipes.
  • You could register for a program or clinic together.
  • Maybe you could both sign up for something neither of you have ever tried before – that will remind you what it’s like to be a beginner again!
  • You could sign each other up to compete in a fun run or walk together.
  • You could both consult with a personal trainer and do partner training at a reduced rate for each of you.

There are so many ways you can help out!

Many of us have business mentors; well, why not be a fitness mentor?!  You’ll feel so good that you’re contributing and making a difference to someone’s life.  If you can get your prodigy to the point where they’re hooked on exercise for life, they’ll be forever grateful!  So, this is a challenge to all of you avid exercisers out there.  All I’m asking is for you to be a support system for just one person.  Can you imagine if each of us takes on this challenge?  Our society will take a large step in the direction of improved health and quality of life.  We’ll change the world – one person at a time!

On that note – our Girlfriends Half Marathon is on October 13th.  Encourage a girlfriend to walk or run it with you and help raise money for Breast Cancer research.  Early Bird rates until early September.


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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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