If there’s one thing that 2020 taught us, it’s the importance of overall health. Most people gain a bit of weight during the holidays and add in a global pandemic and a lockdown with people eating more and participating in less physical activity, it’s easy to see why people might be ready for a reset and a refocus on health.

It’s a great time to commit to exercise and clean eating to improve our physical strength, mental health, stress relief and strengthen our immune system.

Although the principles to healthy living are pretty simple, there can be many different approaches that can produce great results:

In terms of nutrition, will you go Keto, Vegan, Gluten-free, low-carb, low-fat, high-fat or something different?

In terms of exercise, will you run, walk, hike, strength train, Yoga, Barre??

We all have different bodies and will respond to different approaches, so you often need to experiment with which approach provides the best results while still allowing you to feel great.

The good news is that there are typically a few key principles that would be consistent with any type of program and if you focused on these, you would experience some pretty fantastic results.

Nutrition – Changes to your body composition start in the kitchen!

  • Water – Drink 10—8ounce glasses of water each day. Drink water before and with each meal/snack
  • Plant-based – Strive to eat 8-10 vegetable and fruit servings daily. Go local and organic whenever possible.
  • High fiber – Eat a balanced diet that is high in fiber content. Every macro-nutrient is critical including protein, carbs and fats. They all play an important role in optimal conditioning.
  • Portion-control – Plan your meals so that you eat smaller portions. Try to fill up on vegetables.
  • Avoid late night eating – Avoid eating anything high in calories 3 hours before bedtime. Give your body some time to process your meal before you lay down for bed.
  • Avoid temptations – Eliminate any unhealthy temptations from your environment (work, home, car) and replace with healthy alternatives that make adhering to a nutrition plan easier.
  • Food prep – Grocery shop at least once per week to stock up on healthy choices and fresh fruits and veggies and take the time to prep your meals for the week.

Lift some heavy things

  • Strength-training – Lifting weights is the best way to lean up and sculpt your body. Incorporate strength and muscle workouts a minimum of 2-3x per week. One set of 8-15 reps of a variety of exercises for 20-60 minutes is perfect! Movements like squats, lunges, step ups, pushups, pullups, core conditioning and other functional strength moves are great.

Burn some calories

  • Cardio – It’s an internal shower for your cells! Exercise aerobically 3-6 days each week for 20-60 minutes each session at various levels of intensity. Sometimes go hard and fast (1-2x/week), other times moderate intensity and duration (1-2x/week) and other times long and slow (1-2/week). Activities like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, rowing, hiking, stair-climbing, or Group classes will condition your heart and lungs. Try to expend at least 300 calories per cardio workout.


  • Mobility & flexibility – Finish each workout with some release and lengthening to assure you maintain your mobility and flexibility and help to prevent getting injured which can put a damper on your progress.

Lifestyle – set yourself up for success

  • Just move – Add more daily activity into your life. Take the stairs, walk more, stand versus sit… If you start moving more in your life, then you won’t have to spend hours working out! Consciously choose the more active option whenever you can!
  • Sleep – Try to get at least 7-8 hours sleep 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. Plus research suggests that a lack of sleep triggers appetite, fat gain and a suppressed immune system.
  • Manage your stress levels – Identify your stresses.  Outline methods that help you to reduce your stress and practice them regularly. Stress is also linked to increased appetite, weight gain and a suppressed immune system.
  • Complete an activity and nutrition log – every day and submit to someone to review (a trainer, a nutritionist, a friend)
  • Monitor your progress – Do a Daily or Weekly weigh-in and monthly measurements to help to monitor your progress. It helps to hold you accountable.

We are hosting a 21-day Reset Program at Northwest Personal Training that starts January 11th if you’d like to participate in a structured program with a coach! This 21-day challenge will ensure you get you back on track and ready to take on 2021 feeling like the best version of YOU!

Cost:  $75

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Note: As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a complimentary initial in person or virtual personal training appointment to help get you started. Email us for more details.

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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