Focus On Your Staples For The Summer

Most people find themselves very busy in the summer between kids being home from school, vacations, camping, BBQs and get-togethers. This can cause even the most die-hard fitness enthusiasts to get out of their normal, consistent routine causing their fitness to suffer. But if you…..

…..focus on the staple movements, those that give you the biggest bang for your buck, you can get a lot more done in less time.

Movements that are compound, integrated, multi-muscle, and multi-joint such as squats, lunges, pull-ups, push ups etc. will allow you to continue with great progress even when your workout duration or frequency is reduced over the summer. Plus, many of these movements can be done anywhere so no excuses all summer long!


  • squatbStart by standing with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart.
  • Set your posture by contracting your abdominal muscles, 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.
  • Perform a set of 8-15 reps.


  • lungebStart by holding a set of hand weights at your side.
  • Stand with one leg positioned in front of the other leg.
  • Keep the front knee over top of the ankle.
  • 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 lower as low as you feel comfortable – increase the depth of your lunge as you get stronger.
  • Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg and hip – this is your working leg.
  • Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominal muscles contracted.
  • Complete 8-15 reps each leg.

Pull Up

MSherri_week1_chinups1_t640-550x825ost people can’t perform a full pull-up without assistance.  Fortunately, most gyms offer a Gravitron or other Assisted Pull-up machines enabling most people to incorporate pull ups into their workout routine because the machines offer assistance. The model at your gym may be either a stand-up or kneel model and it may either be computerized or involve only a weight stack. The instructions on the front of the machine will clearly demonstrate how to complete the set-up process. You will also notice that the pull up exercise allows you to choose between 3-4 different grips – a wide grip, a mid-grip, a narrow grip and a reverse mid-grip. We recommend to our clients that they use all the various grips to challenge their muscles with a slightly different stimulus with each set.  Once you have decided upon the grip, technique is pretty simple.

  • As you pull with your arms, your body will lift upwards.
  • Stop once your chin has cleared the bar.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Attempt to achieve full range of motion without locking out your elbows.
  • Try to focus on pulling with the muscles in your back rather than your arms.
  • Perform a set of 8-15 rep.

To perform this exercise at home, you can purchase a chin-up bar at most department stores or fitness equipment retailers for a very low cost (or head to your local park and use the monkey bars).  Since a regular chin-up bar doesn’t offer the assistance most people need, we suggest you either use a small bench or just use your legs to jump up to the bar and then control the release on the way down. If your strength isn’t up to the point of lifting or lowering your body weight at all then you can just keep your feet on the bench/ground and lift and lower as much of your body weight as you can handle.  With time and consistency, you will be able to lift and lower more of your weight soon!

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 abdominal muscles contracted and your back in its neutral position.
  • Now slowly push up and slowly lower down to the starting position.
  • Perform 8-15 repetitions.
  • You can do this exercise from your knees or toes.


  • bridgeb1Lay on your back with your legs bent and your feet positioned on the floor.
  • With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting comfortably on your shoulder blades – [toggle title=”Sample Title” status=”progression_open or closed”]Text here[/toggle]
  • Slowly lift up and down 8-20x.
  • As you develop strength in your legs, you can do this exercise on just one leg – just be sure not to tilt to one side while doing these 1-leg lifts.  .


  • planktoesLie on your stomach.
  • Position your elbows under your shoulders.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles and then slowly lift your body onto your toes and your elbows.  Keep your back straight and shoulder blades pulled together- remember to breathe.
  • Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.

Note: Feel free to start on knees and elbows and as you get stronger, slowly progress to your toes.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Join us for the MIDSUMMER TRIATHLON & MULTI-SPORT FESTIVAL July 30th @ Blue Lake

Mid Summer 2016

You’ll find strong competition on this flat and fast course, and a distance for every athlete! The event offers three distances to choose from (Olympic, Sprint and My First Tri) for the sport of Triathlon, Duathlon and AquaBike. The flat and fast course with little to no traffic warm water and a beautiful start/finish venue make the MidSummer event an ideal race to put on your calendar.

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

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