Christmas Thanks

MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

During the Christmas season of giving, it’s nice to sit back and contemplate what we are grateful for. It’s a positive action to make a list of the people we love and appreciate and the things we couldn’t imagine living without. So in this spirit, here is a list of things you can be thankful for, from a fitness perspective. Read the rest of Christmas Thanks

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10 Mindful Tips to Dramatically Improve Your Holidays

Most of us look forward to the holiday season and yet, many people also report higher levels of stress throughout the festivities…the endless responsibilities from getting your cards out, decorating the house inside and out, finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones and attending every social party and get-together can add a lot of pressure to someone’s life! Whether or not you buy into the holiday season, we all probably experience some level of stress at this time of year.

Here’s how to ensure the holidays don’t get you down:

Sweat it Out

When the holidays get busy, workouts are often the first thing to go. But exercise is the best de-stressor at any time of year and this still holds true during the holidays. Even if you have to reduce the frequency and duration of your workouts, something is better than nothing. This will keep your energy levels up and you won’t feel like you’ve got to start all over in the New Year.  A quick workout is all you’ll need to help make you feel better when you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with everything you’ve got to get done. The endorphins that are released during the workout will give you the energy to tackle errands with a more positive attitude.

Read the rest of 10 Mindful Tips to Dramatically Improve Your Holidays

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Gifts For Your Fit Friends

People who exercise regularly are the easiest to buy for because there is always some type of new gadget or the latest and greatest workout gear that they need. Plus even if they already have it, sometimes they get used so much and/or get so stinky, that they will need to upgrade.

Here’s a list of the Top 15 ideas that any fitness fanatic would appreciate:

 

  • Wearable Activity Tracking Device – If there’s one thing an athlete is obsessed with, it’s tracking their workouts. Depending on your budget, you might go for an entry level FitBit, an Apple Watch, a Polar Monitor or a Garmin. Be sure to fully understand what your fitness enthusiast currently uses or values. If they are already using an Apple Watch, they probably wouldn’t use a FitBit. One thing an athlete understands is that if you don’t track the workout and post it to Facebook, it’s almost like it didn’t happen!

Read the rest of Gifts For Your Fit Friends

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12 Days of FITNESS

Workouts tend to take a back seat during the holidays. Last week, I provided you a 31 day challenge to help keep you on track during this busy season. Today, I want to provide you a simple, at-home workout using nothing but your bodyweight that you can do anywhere, anytime. It will help keep your fitness in check, the typical holiday weight gain at bay and your spirits high during a typically stressful time of year.

You can do this workout in a variety of different ways:

  1. Do each exercise listed below for 1 minute for a 12 minute workout. Do this 2-3x/week
  2. Do each exercise listed below for 1 minute whenever you can giving yourself a number of 1 minute, mini, energy boosts throughout the day. It may take you all day to get your 12 minute workout in, but you’ll feel great knowing you got it done. Sometimes during the holidays, a minute is all you can spare!
  3. Or if you’re feeling super energetic, perform this workout just like the 12 Days of Christmas. The first time around, you do a 30 second plank. The 2nd time around, you do 2 Burpees and a 30 second plank. The 3rd time around, you do 3 Forward Hops, 2 Burpees and a 30 second plank. Continue until you’ve completed all 12 days of Fitness!

Read the rest of 12 Days of FITNESS

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Maintain Your Health This Holiday Season

We are now deep into the holiday season and most of you are going to struggle to try and fit in your workouts on top of all the parties and shopping and other commitments. Most gyms become ghost towns in December as people fall off the wagon fully intending to get back on track for New Years Resolutions. But there’s no reason you have to allow the holidays to alter your commitment to your health and fitness. Every December we host a challenge for our clients that keeps them on track. In fact, December can be our busiest month at the studio.

So I’m going to share the details of the challenge with you and encourage you to adopt something similar.

Get yourself a calendar or workbook and log each of the following for 31 days.

Purpose: Consistency

  • Workout 80% of 31 days – That means you commit to working out 25 days for 20 min. minimum of any form of exercise over the 31 days. You don’t have to workout at a gym– anything counts! If you don’t exercise 25 days, that’s okay. You’ll still obtain wonderful benefits!

Purpose: Eat Like a Champion, Feel Like a Champion

  • Drink 8 glasses of water every day
  • Eat 5 smaller meals/snacks every day (about 3 hours apart)
  • Have 4 pieces of fruit/vegetables everyday (1 serving = 1 cup or small fruit)

Purpose: Manage Your Stress – Enjoy the Holidays, Don’t Dread Them!

  • Sleep an average of 7 hours every night (at least be in bed for 7 hours even if you’re reading or just relaxing)
  • Spend 60 seconds every day just focusing on deep breathing.

Purpose: Variety

  • Take a Group Fitness Class or new fitness activity you’ve never tried before or have a trainer design a new program for you.

Purpose: Inspire Someone – Be a Catalyst for Change

  • Invite someone to do this challenge with you. Invite someone to workout or do an activity with you.

31 days is all I’m asking! I’m confident though that after this challenge, you’ll start to look and feel so great that you’ll continue and this will just be the start to a lifelong journey of improved health and fitness!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Cover Clover Run 2016Join us for the…..COUVE CLOVER RUN – 3, 7 & 10 MILES – March 25th, 2018
Celebrate in your festive green while running or walking 3, 7 or 10 miles along an extremely fast and scenic course to support local charities! We will make you earn your post-event party but it will be off the charts hosted by Main Event and other downtown Vancouver Pubs & Breweries.

 

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Time To Get FIT For The SNOW

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, you’re probably starting to get excited by the amount of snow accumulating in the mountains. But that first day back is a real killer and the day after is even worse if you don’t adequately prepare yourself for the physical demands of winter sports. Since most snow sports are so fun, many people forget that they are intense physical activities requiring a certain degree of physical fitness musculo-skeletal strength and endurance, cardiovascular fitness, power, flexibility, balance, coordination and agility.  All the twisting, jumping, and bashing through the bumps can lead to really sore muscles and injuries if your body isn’t ready for it – besides if you’re not fit, you may risk an embarrassing performance! Extreme muscle soreness is caused by a combination of two things: performing an activity you’ve never done before or haven’t done for a while and also the intensity of an activity so that the more intense, the more likely you’ll be stiff. When you combine the two variables, that is you go out hard your first day out, you’re asking for trouble.

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‘DO THIS, NOT THAT” Doesn’t Work!

Is High Intensity Training the way to go? Or is Long, Slow Distance Training better? What cardio exercise brings the best results – is it cycling, rowing, running or something else? What muscle conditioning workouts enhance overall fitness best – is it Bootcamp classes, Barre, Yoga, Pilates or traditional weight training?

If someone decides to get fit and commit to an exercise program, there are a ton of options. It can feel like a kid in a candy store so to speak. But there’s only so much time in a week so how do you choose? Here’s some guidelines to help you design a good, solid weekly program that enhances your overall health and achieves optimal fitness. Read the rest of ‘DO THIS, NOT THAT” Doesn’t Work!

3 Best Full Body Exercises!

Time is of essence! In a one-hour workout, it’s difficult to achieve a proper warm-up, an adequate cardio workout, a challenging strength training segment, some postural exercises and an appropriate cool-down and stretch. How do we fit it all in?  Most people want results in the shortest period of time. Who wants to spend 2+ hours in the gym?

Full Body Exercises are the answer to your prayers. Incorporating exercises that combine lower body, upper body, trunk musculature and balance training all into one exercise accomplish three times as much training in the same amount of time. 

Full Body Training is also a more natural and functional way of training. Can you imagine any daily task that you complete regularly that involves only one joint or muscle group? Our bodies just don’t function in an isolated fashion. When you get out of a chair, bend down to pick something up or lift something to put it on a shelf, your entire body functions as a team. And all sports require your muscles to work together. And yet when we train in the gym, most people generally train their muscles separately focusing on only one body part at a time. It would be like a football coach taking each of his starting line players and training them individually before their first game. Even though each player may be in optimal physical conditioning, if the coach hasn’t pulled them together and scrimmage in order to learn to work together, their first game is going to be a disaster. For example, a Leg extension exercise works the quads independently but it doesn’t mean the quads will be able to work together well with the hamstrings or the trunk muscles. Full Body training teaches your muscles to work together as a team as they do in real life situations. During sports or recreational activities, your muscles have to learn to react, support and oppose each other effectively. 

Read the rest of 3 Best Full Body Exercises!

Why You NEED To Lift HEAVY!

Many physiologists and researchers considering Strength Conditioning to be the true Fountain of Youth – the magic “pill” to reverse or prevent a significant portion of the aging process.

Many of the changes people experience as they age are due to a loss in muscle mass. So if we can maintain a significant amount of muscle tissue as we age, we can expect to age much more slowly.

Let’s look at some of the research and benefits of strength training:    

Strength training will increase muscle endurance and strength, improve bone density and posture, boost your metabolism, increase functional capacity, improve your blood pressure and blood lipid levels, decrease joint pain and reduce your risk of falling. In addition, muscle looks good and can improve your overall self esteem and confidence. You’ll move with better strength, balance, coordination and agility and your performance in your recreational pursuits will be enhanced significantly. Read the rest of Why You NEED To Lift HEAVY!

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Best Strength Exercises You Can Do Anywhere!

The evidence is clear – Strength Training is the True Fountain of Youth.

If you commit to conditioning your muscles against resistance at least a couple times per week, you can expect to improve your muscle endurance and strength, increase your bone density, boost your metabolism, lose weight, improve your body composition, improve your posture, increase your functional capacities and improve your overall health and how you look and feel.

The good news is you can achieve all of this right from home with no equipment starting today, right now!

Here are a few of my favorites. Complete 1-3 sets of the following 2-3x/week:

Lunges

Week8 - LungesStand with one leg positioned in front of the other leg. Keep the front knee over top of the ankle or the foot. Keep the back knee underneath or slightly behind your hips. Slowly lower the back knee towards the ground keeping the front knee over top the ankle the entire time. Only go as low as you feel comfortable. Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg – this is your working leg.  Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals contracted. Complete 8-15 reps each leg.

Squats

squatbStart by standing with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart. Set your posture by contracting your abdominals, pressing your chest out and up and your shoulders back and down. Start by slowly squatting backwards while keeping your kneecaps pointing forwards – avoid allowing your knees to collapse inwards.Try to keep your weight equally distributed on all 4 corners of your feet – avoid allowing your arches to collapse inwards. Lower to a comfortable position. You’ll notice that your upper body will come forward slightly while your buttocks travel backwards. Now slowly extend back up. When getting started, you may want to just start with mini-squats until you master the technique and then start dropping lower and lower once your muscles get stronger. Perform a set of 8-15 reps.

Push Ups:

pushuptoes2Lie on your stomach. Position your hands on the floor a few inches beside your shoulder.  Make sure that your elbows are directly over top or to the inside of your wrists. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in its neutral position. Now slowly push up and slowly lower down to the starting position. Perform 8-15 repetition from either a knee or toe position.

The Plank

planktoesStart by lying on your belly with your elbows directly below your shoulders. Curl your toes under and lift your body off the floor. Pull your belly button toward your spine. Remember to breathe. To make the Hover a bit easier you can do it on your knees rather than your toes. If you need more of a challenge you can lift one foot.  Try to hover for at least one minute.

Straight Leg Lifts

Lie on your back with knees bent at about 45 degrees and feet on the floor. Put your hand on your abdominals and pull them in and up so your stomach becomes as flat as you can get it. Keep your stomach in this position throughout the entire exercise as you slowly lift one foot a few inches off the floor. Continue alternating legs. Your back should not move at all during the exercise. Continue for 60-90 seconds. To increase intensity straighten legs, to decrease intensity bend legs.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Join us for our Scary Run – Half Marathon, 10k & 5k
Oct. 29th in Washougal, WA
This race is a fun, costume-themed run/walk. Although titled ‘Scary Run’ your costume doesn’t need to be scary. Be creative and dress in any costume you like as long as you can comfortably and safely run and walk. Feel free to get together with friends and come up with a fun costume theme.

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