15032044_10153833048361946_606800157028111615_nEvery year, we host a Spring Makeover Challenge for our clients to help them shed that winter layer and get in great shape for summer. Each year, I like to participate in the challenge also; first, to be right there working hard side by side with our clients; and secondly, because I too enjoy a little extra warmth in the winter and like to get rid of it in the spring. So as the challenge comes to a close and we go into maintenance or to the next level, depending on our goals, I’d like to share some of the tips that were very helpful for me this year.

Purchase a Hydro-Flask

We all know how important drinking water and staying adequately hydrated is to our overall health. The brain is composed of 70 percent water, lungs are nearly 90 percent water and our blood is about 83 percent water, which helps digest our food, transport and eliminate waste and toxins, mobilize fat, and control body temperature. Think of it this way, every tissue cell, organ and system is comprised of water and functions optimally only in the presence of adequate water levels. Plus drinking water helps to suppress our appetite. To maintain your body’s fluid balance, you need to replace at least 10 cups of water (80 ounces) every day. This amount needs to be increased in hot weather conditions or for those who exercise excessively. Plus, as we age, there is a general loss of water in all tissues – it’s like the plum to prune effect!  Wouldn’t you prefer to be a healthy, hydrated plum than a dried up, prune?! One thing I noticed this year is drinking water was so much more enjoyable and easy with my new hydro-flask that keeps my water ice cold for 24 hours. Head to your local department store and purchase a hydro-flask and I’m confident that drinking enough water will become very easy to adhere to!

Find an Alcohol Substitute

During the challenge, I didn’t consume any alcohol for 6 weeks. That can be challenging with birthdays, special events, parties and travel with friends. I accomplished the goal by substituting a glass of wine with Kombucha. It provides the fuzzy experience of drinking champagne, a cooler or wine but is very healthy for your gut! Drinking excessive alcohol contributes to high blood pressure, breast cancer and damages your liver prematurely. And although alcohol is low in fat content, it is also very high in empty calories. In addition, alcohol activates the enzyme that uptakes fat from our bloodstream and stores it in our fat cells.  Therefore any food you consume in combination with alcohol will more likely end up in our fat storage depot areas like our hips, thighs and abs.  And finally, alcohol lowers our inhibitions making us more likely to make poorer food choices. So by removing or limiting alcohol from your diet, you will find it much easier to lose body fat.

Stock up on Fruits & Veggies

During the challenge I shopped the fruit and veggie sections at Costco often. Our fridge was constantly packed full of apples, grapes, oranges, plums, nectarines, cherries, salads, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, snap peas and other fruits and veggies that I could easily grab and go. If I was hungry, I would eat a cucumber. If I was running to a meeting, I would grab an apple. Even though my caloric intake was low, I was never hungry because I was always filling up on fruits and veggies. I would consume other protein, fat or carb options but the majority of my nutrition was plant-based therefore nutrient-dense and calorically-low.

Use an Activity Tracker

I love my Apple Watch and used it to monitor my activity level each day during the challenge. Any type of activity tracker will provide you feedback on your activity throughout the day and will often inspire you to do what you need to do to achieve your goals. So for example, you could set a goal that you must expend 500 active calories every day and if by evening, you’re only at 350, it may motivate you to go for a walk. Or you may set a goal that you will walk 10,000 steps every day and you may notice yourself taking the stairs more or going for a walk on your lunch break to hit your goals.

I hope these tips are easy to implement for you and help you take your health and fitness to a whole new level!

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details.

pac crestJoin us for…..
June 23rd – 25th
Pacific Crest events begin Friday morning, with the competition and fun continuing into Sunday afternoon. The full, fun weekend includes Tour de Crest Bike Tours, 72.3 BEASTMAN, Olympic & Ultra-Sprint Triathlons, Duathlons & AquaBike, Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10k, 5k, 25K Trail Run and three kids events – truly something for everyone!

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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