All Posts By

Dustin Maher

How to Stop Emotional and Behavioral Sabotage with these 10 Mindset Habits

By | Behavior Change, Food For Thought, Health, Killer Kurves, Lifestyle, Mindset

Thinking of making a TRANSFORMATION for LIFE? You know you want to change and you know it’s going to take real commitment on your part to do it.

Are you in the right MINDSET to get you to your goals and keep you there for life? Here are my TOP 10 MINDSET HABITS to inspire and keep you on the road to success even when life gets difficult. It is often the behavioral and emotional sabotaging we do to ourselves that takes us off course.

Speaking of transformation for life… this week I announced the opening of our next 12 week Killer Kurves weight loss and lifestyle program. If you have 40-200 lbs to lose, this could be the program you are looking for.

Click here to learn more and apply ->-> http://madisonbootcamps.com/killer-kurves/

Habit #1 – I fully forgive myself and others.

In order to be successful at major lifestyle changes, you must forgive yourself & others in order to move forward, focused on your best possible future. Forgiveness is powerful; it will feel like removing a heavy weight from your heart. Without all that pain, shame or fear you have been holding onto, you will be so much lighter, ready to take action, ready to make real lifestyle changes and open up that space for optimism and determination to keep moving forward toward your best life.

Habit into Action

“Adopt a mantra that you say to yourself the moment that a guilty memory or feeling arises. The following phrases are particularly effective: “I’m not that person anymore;” or “My attention belongs in the present;” or “I am not here to suffer anymore.” Choose the appropriate phrase and repeat it, without fail, every time you feel guilty. In this way, you are not only telling yourself the truth, for you aren’t the person anymore who committed a past misdeed, but you are also giving your brain a new, more positive input. This will help to wean it off the old wiring that keeps messaging guilt long after guilt is deserved.” – A suggestion from Deepak Chopra, The Huffington Post

Habit #2 – Exercise is a gift, not a punishment.

If you are serious about a physical transformation, you must change your mind about exercise. Exercise is a gift you must give yourself, in some way, every day. Moving your body can no longer be a punishment for poor eating choices. It is a true gift to your heart, mind, muscles and more that will keep “giving” the rest of your long life. Will it still be hard, physically? Yes, it should be if you are doing it right. Will it be so much easier when you have the right attitude about it? Yes, definitely. You will push yourself, lovingly, into workouts you never knew you could do.

Habit into Action

Make exercise an enjoyable experience. Work out with friends. Don’t know anyone in class? Introduce yourself and strike up a conversation with a friendly face. Do the exercises that challenge you, but bring you energy, not drain you of it. Buy new shoes and a workout outfit. Set your alarm with some soothing or inspiring music to get up early and get your workout in right away, before you can make any excuses to not do it.

Habit #3 – Food is meant to serve my body.

Your nutrition will affect every aspect of your life and will improve your chances at any type of transformation. To be successful for life, you must change your mind about food. When you decide to view food as an energy source to serve your body, your choices will reflect your physical needs: slow-burning carbs for extended energy, muscle-building proteins for increased strength, healthy fats to keep you satisfied, vitamin and mineral rich foods to support a strong immune system and healthy body functions. You will no longer choose artificial and convenient foods. You will no longer reach for food to soothe a feeling other than hunger.

Habit in Action

When you eat, ask yourself the following questions. “How will this food serve my body?” “How will it give me energy?” “Will it make me stronger?” “Will it make my body function improve?” and “Am I actually hungry or am I bored or trying to avoid some feelings?” If you aren’t sure of the answer, Google it. There is so much nutritional information at our finger-tips, it is much easier to make better choices.

Habit #4 – I will no longer compare myself to others.

Any transformation will come with doubts. Maybe you’ve lived a certain way for more than 30 years. The best way to quiet those doubts is to stay focused on moving forward. You must keep your eyes on your own paper, stay in your lane and decide how YOU will measure YOUR success. You can no longer use others as a ruler to judge by.

Everyone is doing their best, all the time, including you. Your best can only be appreciated when you judge it against your best, yesterday. Our bodies, our lives, our relationships are all different and can’t be compared or judged as successful or not, since we don’t know all the facts about everyone else’s situations. You do know the facts of your own and you can take full responsibility for the actions and the feelings you have about their outcomes.

Habit in Action

If you wear a wristwatch or bracelet (if you don’t, put a rubber band on your wrist or ask for a Fit Moms For Life bracelet), any time you find yourself comparing, feeling inferior, feeling superior or being judgmental of yourself or others, switch the band to the other wrist. You might be surprised how often you switch.

Habit #5 – Stop compiling problems

Successful people have problems too. They just have a great skill of tackling problems or obstacles one at a time. It is easy to get overwhelmed and not address easily solved problems, because we’ve added them up with all the rest into something that seems insurmountable. Successful people look at problems separately, objectively, and they consider them challenges, not problems. Each hurdle can then be added to your “proud” list once you have solved it.

Habit into Action

Ask a trusted friend or partner to listen to a single obstacle or problem that has been on your mind. Don’t have someone to talk to? Ask a friend in your workout group or your trainer. You don’t have to ask for their opinion on what you should do, but you will find that as you are explaining the problem out loud, alone (meaning without all the other problems you have swimming around in your head) and without emotions, you will have made that problem seem to be less of a problem, more of a challenge and certainly manageable all on your own. It will be a lightbulb moment – try it.

Habit #6– Speak and think only in truths.

On the transformation journey you must decide you will no longer generalize and you will speak and think only in truths. How often do you hear yourself say, “I always fail” or “I never get it right”? Are those statements REALLY true? No, you don’t always fail. You have successful moments all the time, every day. You can no longer generalize about yourself or others. If you are only speaking in truths, it might sound more like … “I didn’t lose all the weight I wanted to, but I did lose inches off my waist and made several new friends.”

Habit into Action

Be mindful and totally aware of generalizations when you speak and think today. Focus on it all day. Any time you think or speak a generalization, quickly write it down in your phone or on a notepad. At the end of the day, take those generalizations to a friend or family member and ask them if they are true about you or your situation. If you don’t have anyone to chat with, ask yourself and be totally honest. Are those generalizations fully TRUTHS? I bet not. It will really improve your attitude and enthusiasm.

Habit #7 – Busy is not better.

Successful people have learned that busy is NOT better. Our culture tells us to judge our lives by the quantity of things we can accomplish in one day. To what end? We are a sick, stressed out, malnourished, overweight population that continues to get sicker. Reject that thinking and judge your life by the quality of your time. Create space around your activities to make memories and relish in the small pleasures.

Habit into Action

Sit down and write down your three most time-demanding activities and decide what needs to go or can be decreased. Do you need to cut down on your hours at the office or in the car carting kids around? Would the kids be okay if they only played one sport and one instrument? Could you reduce your social commitments for FREE time, just for you and your family to enjoy the fun of daily life? Boundaries can and need to be set in a positive way to protect this precious time. Your life needs to be manageable and you need to create space for self-care now—there is no time like the present to take action.

Habit #8 – Expect more of myself and others.

Visualize yourself transformed. You know what you want and in order to get there, you must raise the bar for yourself and others. When you make commitments to yourself and others, you hold them, even if it’s not “comfortable”. Kick “comfortable” to the door and continue to challenge yourself in all kinds of ways. Be brave. Take responsibility for how you treat yourself, others, and how others treat you. Set an achievable short-term goal today. As you do, you will inspire others and you will begin to expect more from them too. Make this a monthly habit.

Habit into Action

Work some accountability into your transformation. If you want to get more serious about nutrition, try food journaling or pre-packaging your week of meals/snacks. Sign up for an achievable exercise challenge or be vulnerable to enough to say you’re sorry or ask for an apology from someone concerning an incident you might be feeling bad about. Sign up for a seminar or class that will help you learn more about your specific goals.

Habit #9– Reduce screen time.

Find a way to reduce your screen time. It’s NOT just our kids who are addicted. Studies show that our sedentary lifestyle is as dangerous as smoking.

Habit into Action

Instead of watching a family flick on Friday night, head out and take the dog for a walk. In the winter, you could shovel the neighbor’s drive or bundle up and go ice-skating or sledding. In the nicer weather, enjoy a fire pit in your back yard or explore a new park. Get out a board game or take a drive to a neighboring downtown to check it out.

Do NOT take your phone, iPAD, computer or TV into your bedroom. Facebook ISN’T THAT interesting and is not worthy of risking your health. Up late surfing for deals? No more – shop during the day and GO TO BED!

Habit #10 – If I need help, I can ask for it.

This transformation is a big deal to you. Those who love you most will understand and be there for you. All you have to do is ask for help if you need it. These are real lifestyle changes that are difficult to start and even more difficult to maintain. Reach out to family or friends who have been successful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Ask them to support you in your efforts. If you don’t have anyone in your circle to ask, you will have to find a mentor, or coach, a stranger in class for help. People are more willing to help you than you think. Just have the courage to ask.

Habit in Action

Ask your partner to join you in your new pursuits. Ask your partner and kids to support your choices, join in the fun of making new healthy habits and be okay with getting rid of the old. Ask a friend to watch the kids while you take an hour to exercise/cook/or learn a new skill. Ask a trainer how to modify an exercise you don’t feel comfortable doing yet. Ask a teacher for extra help or a respected mentor to grab lunch and give you their best advice.

These types of habits are what we focus on and discuss in all our programs at the Transformation Center. So if you are already part of our community, continue to dive deep into these areas. If you aren’t yet, what are you waiting for?

She Regretted Quitting

By | Food For Thought, Health, Lifestyle, Transformation Center

The other day I received an email that came through the contact form on our website.

It was from an awesome woman who had done a 21 day challenge with us a little over a year ago.

She loved it, but thought the membership price was too high.  So for the past 18 months she tried to find something cheaper that got her the results and experience she had in the few short weeks she was with us.

She couldn’t find it, and said she is at her heaviest now and regrets ever stopping.  She realized that the ultra-low-cost fitness options out there just didn’t work for her, and that our membership rates were totally worth being fitter, leaner, and surrounded by a community of like-minded people.

So she came back and committed to 2019!

The $10/month Planet Fitness, $50/month YMCA, or the $1000/month personal trainer may very well be a better fit for you than what we offer at the Transformation Center.

It depends on many factors and when I meet with someone and it becomes clear that we aren’t the best fit for them, I will always refer them somewhere else.

At our current membership rates of $150-$250/month (depending on the program), we are able to provide much more personal attention, customization, accountability, and support than most other options out there, except for one-on-one personal training. But we are about 20% of the cost of one-on-one personal training.

The crazy thing is we haven’t really raised our rates in 12 years.  Even when we were just working out at the park years ago, it was $149-$199/month for the large group bootcamp and $390/month for small group training.  So, despite our expenses skyrocketing, we have been able to keep rates unchanged or reduced.

Our rates allow us to pay our trainers and staff 50%-100% more than most other fitness places, which is one of the reasons why we have the best staff around and turnover is so low.  Our trainers can make careers out of it, instead of it being just a hobby.

I just felt like sharing this to hopefully help you in 2019 to figure out what is the best fitness option for you.  There has never been a time in history when we’ve had more fitness options than we do now and it can be overwhelming to figure out what is best.

If you aren’t completely satisfied with your fitness, health, energy, etc. and are looking to get the guidance of professionals, in an environment of awesome people all striving to do the same, then I would encourage you to CONTACT US.

I Thought I Was Getting Early Onset Parkinsons…

By | Food For Thought, Health

This was sent out to my client newsletter but I thought I would share in hopes it can help at least one person.

I have been writing this newsletter for over 11 years now.  I would estimate I am at at least 1200 newsletters over those years.

My goal in writing is to share what is working right now in the world of health, nutrition, and fitness along with sharing lessons I have been learning through the peaks and valleys of my life.

In other words the good and the bad.

I regularly receive emails or people mention in person that they appreciate my openness and vulnerability.  I do my best to be an open book. Sometimes this gets me in trouble and my wife or staff (who pre-screen my newsletters) tell me to back off and not be quite so open and honest.  🙂

So, I would like to share a little story with you and then a couple of lessons I hope you can learn from that you can apply to your own life.

Here is the vulnerability part…

The past two months have been some of the toughest months I have experienced in the 13 years I have had the Transformation Center.

As the TC has grown to a staff of over 18 and over 120 sessions a week, the pressure to continue to grow, or even maintain, is so much harder than when it was small.

It seems like every person I have talked to recently who says they are interested in the TC and getting in shape has come up with reasons why now isn’t a good time to start.

And then, just by chance, we have had a record number of current clients leave because they have moved away, slipped on their driveway and gotten injured, traveled out of town to take care of their sick parents or a dozen other reasons.

Our average, the number of sessions per week our clients attend has dropped below 2x/week for the first time that I can remember.  Now, I would guess the average gym has a rate that is somewhere between 0.3-0.5 which is so sad, but we normally average just below 3X/week, which is pretty much as high as you will see anywhere in the country.

Then we have had a bunch of leaking problems on the roof with ice build up, which has caused me to spend hours at a time shoveling thousands of pounds of snow off the roof to reduce the amount of ice build up and flooding.  I am all about a good workout but that is a whole other level.

So, the stress (and poor sleep because of the stress) must have caught up with me about a week ago and I experienced something I have never had before.

My thumbs on both hands started to shake uncontrollably.  

When it started to happen I didn’t think too much of it, and tried to figure out what it was.  Maybe I was dehydrated or had low blood sugar. I figured once I corrected that it would go away.

Well it didn’t.

It was so bad that I could barely text on my phone, and I only could if I pinned both wrists to my belly for support.

Then you go down the internet diagnosis rabbit hole and of course the two really scary ones are Parkinson’s and ALS (which my grandpa, who I never met, died from at a very young age).

There were, of course, other less serious diagnoses or causes and one was stress.

Anyways, after about 3 long days of uncontrollable shaking, it started to improve and at the time of writing this, it is pretty much gone and I hope to never experience it again.

So why am I sharing this with you?

We all go through challenges and struggles in life and it’s how we get through them that dictates our experience of life.

About 8 years ago, I made a conscious effort to take radical responsibility in my life.  If something happened to me I would blame no one but myself.

So in my case above, I haven’t done my part to attract the right people to the Transformation Center over the past couple months. Myself and the rest of our team will come up with even more new ideas to keep our long term clients engaged and pumped to come to each and every session.

I have created a plan to change this course, so I don’t ever have to go through this stress and pain again.  I need to take 100% responsibility.

How have I tried to handle this stress?

The three biggest things that I have done to help me over the past couple months are the following.

  • Working out: I have stayed so consistent with this one, and when I am exercising all my problems feel like they go away for the time that I am working out.  I feel better afterwards, and I believe it gives me a clearer head to see what I need to do to fix things.
  • Leaned on relationships:  My wife Tessa was really the only person who knew about the shaking and the high amount of stress I was/am feeling and she has been my rock during this shaky time.
  • Faith: I have specific Bible verses that give me hope and comfort that things are going to be ok.

If I didn’t have those three things going for me, I feel like I would be in a much worse situation without a path towards improvement.

I hope these tips can help you if/when you find yourself in high stress times in your life.  There are so many great ways to help cope, but these are a few that have helped me.

I haven’t shared this with you to make you feel sorry for me in any way, so please don’t.  There are so many people in our community and the world dealing with much more serious challenges.

Thanks for listening and allowing me to be open and vulnerable with you.  We are in this together.

PS One action step I have committed to doing immediately to build back momentum at the TC is to set aside forty 15 minute 1:1 sessions.  For current clients this might be to help you regain focus, help with motivation, or put together a plan to reach a specific goal.

For non-members this might be talking through your goals and your current challenges and seeing if we may or may not be the best fit for you.

This Doesn’t Make Sense

By | Behavior Change, Health, Lifestyle

I have been having some great conversations with clients over the past few days, and many have come back after some inconsistency.

For example, one awesome woman in our Fit over 50 program has been taking care of her aging mom every evening and hasn’t been coming very consistently, like she had for the past year or two.  She was here today and said she was reminded of just how much she liked it and good you feel when you are done with the workout.

She also said how hard it is to come back once you haven’t been in the groove, and how easy it is to come when you are in the groove.

I thought about that and it is so true in my own life.  Let me share a real life personal example.

I am known to share most everything publicly, and I feed off that and use it as motivation and accountability.  Well, last October I did something I don’t normally do and kept a secret, my own personal project.

I hired a running coach with the goal to become a far better runner than I currently was.  So my coach and I devised a plan to run 50-60 miles a week, something that seemed outrageous to me at first, even compared to training for Ironman the past 3 years.  I spent the first 5 weeks building from 42 miles up to 50 and then I have stayed around the 50-60 mile mark ever since.

I have had zero sickness and only a couple days of some achilles soreness.

In case you are wondering, that is around 8 miles M/T/W/Th/F and then 12 on Saturday and 0-6 on Sunday.

Only about 4 people knew about this until a week ago, when I shared it in a newsletter.

I have been getting asked if it has been hard to run basically 8 miles every day.

My answer has even surprised me… no

It’s not because I am some superstar or have any special powers.

It is because I have spent the past 4 months doing it every single day.  I have only missed a few days in the past 120 days.

In other words, the more frequently I run, the easier it becomes to just do it.  I don’t get sore, I don’t get especially tired (unless it is interval day), and I don’t really have to give myself a pep talk.  It’s just like brushing my teeth or taking a shower. It has become who I am, and I will always find the time to do things that align with who I am.

It was much harder to run 3x/week around 5-7 miles each time, like I have for the past few years, because it wasn’t as consistent.

Now there is something that, for me, is going to require a lot of motivation and pep talk to accomplish…

Swimming.

It’s been 5 months since I got into a pool or a lake and I am about to start back up swimming in a few weeks.

What is my point to all this?

I am starting to believe that the thesis of one of the most popular fitness books of all time, Younger Next Year, is correct for every single one of us.  The authors say that you should exercise every day like it is your job, the most important job you have. They were referring to a person 50 and older, but I think it can and does apply to all of us.

Not only will this keep you healthier, it will make it easier to keep as a routine.

Yes, it is a bit paradoxical, but the more frequently you exercise (or do anything for that matter), the easier it becomes.  

Said another way…

The less frequently you exercise, the harder it will be to be consistent.

Without making this any more lengthy, I am not saying you should work out 5-7 days a week at maximum intensity.  That is a recipe for overuse injury.

Find ways to sweat most days of the week and just see how much better you feel.

Do you agree or disagree?

Keep moving,

Dustin

PS Now this concept could be taken too far and if you are working out many hours each day, it can lead to burnout and overtraining, which then makes it harder to want to train.  I am talking about consistency, but varied intensity and duration levels.

PPS Does the concept of exercising or moving most days of the week overwhelm you?  The good news is that you don’t have to start with that. Just start with a couple days a week and build up to it.  Reply to this email if you want help doing that.

Single mom ready to end it all, chooses life

By | 21 Day Challenge, Challenge, Health, Killer Kurves, Lifestyle, Mindset, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Transformation Center

I knew Onica was a special person the day I met her. I only had about 20 minutes to get to know her, but I could see deep hurt within her and yet I also sensed she was a strong, determined woman that was ready to give it her all.

Fast forward about two months and I was sitting at the Transformation Center going through my e-mail when I received the testimonial you are about to read. The crazy thing about reading this e-mail that night was that Onica was standing about 15 feet in front of me, waiting for her Killer Kurves class to start. After you read her heartfelt story, click here to learn more about how Killer Kurves can help you or a loved one. Even if you don’t live near Madison, the video alone is worth 5 minutes to watch. ->-> Click here to watch the video

Take it away Onica….!

My name is Onica and I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. I have gained and lost and lost and gained more times than I care to count. In high chool my diet of choice was Anorexia, I would eat nothing all day and then have just enough dinner so that my parents wouldn’t notice something was off. I kept the weight off until I was 25 and went from jobs where I stood all day and rarely ate breakfast or lunch to a desk job where it seemed like someone wanted to take everyone out to lunch daily. The pounds piled on quickly after that. I had my son at 26 and never lost the baby weight. Two years later I had my daughter and 6 weeks after she was born I joined a weight loss program. I did great and was 7 pounds from my goal when self destruction kicked in. We had recently moved an hour away from our hometown and I knew no one, I was a stay at home mom and it was winter. I learned that I love to bake and more than that I loved to eat what I baked. Again, the pounds piled on, I was more than I had ever weighed, even when I was pregnant.

Fast forward 2 more years, I was now a divorced, single mom trying to make ends meet. It wasn’t easy to say the least. Every small bump in my life made me feel like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a pit that I was never going to be able to claw my way out of. I felt that every single aspect of my life was just too much for me to handle, that nothing I did was good enough, or could possibly be worth anything to anyone, that my kids would be better off if I weren’t around. What kind of a role model was I for them? Wouldn’t it just be better for them if they didn’t grow up with a mom like me, someone who never had any time or energy for them, whose house wasn’t spic and span and who was fat? I had a plan to end it all, I didn’t have a time frame, but I had a plan. It would have appeared to have been an accident so that my ex would still get the life insurance to use for raising the kids and above all no one else would be injured and my kids wouldn’t be the ones to find me. I had a plan.

Then on September 5th an email came into my inbox from Dustin. It was about a 21 day clean eating challenge. My sister told me that she and her husband were going to take the challenge and that I should do it with them. I decided to go for it. Part of that was to meet with Dustin in person to discuss your weight loss challenges and goals etc. That day changed my life, more accurately, that day saved my life. After I gave a short run down on my weight history Dustin told me about his Killer Kurves program, I didn’t think there was any way I could make it work for me financially or with my schedule so I tried to just forget about it. However it seemed that nothing would make the thought of this program leave my head. It sounded so perfect for me. After several days of not being able to stop thinking about it I rearranged my schedule with my kids, worked out a financial plan and I signed up. I can honestly say that signing up for K2 was the best decision I have ever made for myself.

On our first night I was nervous but excited. Everyone there seemed to be in the same boat. The trainers were very friendly and accommodating to everyone’s fitness level and any physical limitations we had. The people were all super friendly and no one was judging anyone else. As the weeks have gone on we have formed a bond with each other, the support and encouragement is like nothing else I have ever experienced. We have turned into a family of sorts and I love it, I can’t imagine my life without K2 now.

One of the things that I have learned to do is to view food as fuel for my body and not a hobby or way to relieve stress. I won’t put a certain brand of gasoline in my car because it gets terrible gas mileage with it so why did I continue to put food in my body that was terrible for my health and energy? It has really changed the way I look at eating.

We are currently starting our 9th week of the 12 week program and I have lost 29.2 pounds and 14 inches. My self esteem is on the way back up and the pride in myself that I feel is amazing! The little things no longer throw me to the bottom of the pit and I am smiling more than I have in years. I’m not where I want to be yet but I am a whole lot closer and more importantly I now have the support, knowledge, and confidence in myself to keep going towards that goal and not to just give up because of a setback or hard day.

If there is anyone out there that is on the fence about joining Killer Kurves, I say do whatever it takes to make it happen! You will not be disappointed. I know I’m not. Your life will never be the same again.

Onica

Wow! When I first read her story I was so moved, I got teary eyed. Since she was also at the TC that night, I went over to her and gave her a big, long hug. I had no idea of her struggles or how Killer Kurves has given her a new lease on life. Her physical and emotional transformation is an inspiration!

Onica, I am beyond excited to see you continue to progress and am excited for the boundless opportunities life has in store for you. Thank you for courageously sharing your story.

Dustin

PS If you are ready to start your own journey of transformation, or just want to learn more, reply to this email or fill out the contact form here: https://madisonbootcamps.com/killer-kurves/ and I or one of my team members will get back to you!

Are you Desperate, Embarrassed, Fed Up, Frustrated, Overwhelmed, or Feel Like You Want to Give Up Trying?

By | Behavior Change, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition, Uncategorized

We would probably describe the above emotions as “negative” emotions and in one way I would agree.

These feelings suck and are what we don’t want to feel.

But…

I think these emotions can also be the best thing to ever happen to a person.

Why?

It is through this pain that we can decide right then and there that we are done living in the state we are living in and are ready to make a change.

Not just “try” but actually commit and “do.”

Now in the fitness world, many unfortunately prey on the desperation of people and offer late night infomercials, pills or creams that are guaranteed to melt fat away, or some prepackaged meals that sound like they will solve all their problems. But these “solutions” are pretty much BS or solve only 5% of the problem.

That is why I am excited when someone comes to me “desperate” because I know they have what it takes–they are ready–to create a life-changing transformation.

A transformation their friends, family, and coworkers can’t stop talking about.

I know what we offer at the Transformation Center is the real deal. It is 100% of the puzzle, not just 5%, as long as someone is ready to make the change.

If you have been following my journey over the past 13 years, you will find that I have hardly changed my strategies and beliefs in terms of how I help people get in shape.

In other words, I haven’t fallen for all the trends, gimmicks and fads.

As my friend Jamie Eason says, “the secret is there are no real secrets.”

It has and always will come down to the following formula for just about everyone.

  1. Mindset: Believe that you need to take care of yourself, if you are going to be able to be there for others. Believe that success is more than possible, no matter how many times you have failed before. Believe that you are worth the effort.
  2. Nutrition: Eat real food. The % of macros or even the number of calories to a certain degree is less important than just eating real food most of the time.
  3. Fitness: Exercise most days of the week with 2-3 days of strength training, a couple sessions of interval cardio and the rest steady state cardio. Move more throughout the day, every day. Doesn’t have to be intense all the time, but aim for less sitting and more moving.
  4. Community: Surround yourself with people who are fitter than you, who have already established the habits you wish to adopt. If you don’t have this, it makes it much more challenging to have lasting change.

There you have it. The not so secret secrets.

Executing this is, of course, the more challenging part and is what we strive to do at the Transformation Center and in our online program, Fit Moms for Life.

So remember, desperation isn’t bad, it can be the flammable ingredient to igniting your success.

Maybe you aren’t desperate yet but don’t want to get to that point before you take action. Desperation isn’t a requirement.

If this message has spoken to you, the next step I would like you to do is to schedule a free 20 min session with me where we dive deep into your goals and challenges and create a plan.

Cathy loses husband and purpose but finds it at the TC and drops 40 lbs

By | Fabulous Over 50, Fit and Fabulous Over 55, Health, Transformation Center

I pinch myself every day to have the opportunity to meet and hang around incredible humans who overcome so many obstacles.

I hope you will be inspired by Cathy’s story.

The one thing I want to point out from her story is that when she started, she could barely get to the ground or back up without help, but because we have incredible trainers here we are able to meet someone where they are and take them to where they want to be.

Here is Cathy in her own words:

January 2018 I was lost in my life. I lost my husband Mike to brain cancer June 23, 2017. Due to the stress over Mike’s illness and death I had gained all the weight that had taken me a year and a half to lose. I had knee surgery in December I needed to find a purpose in my life.  End of February I joined the Transformation Center and the 1 pm Fit over 50 small group personal training session.

I will not forget that first day when Dustin was there to help me get to the floor and show me how to get up. I still can’t believe how bad I really was that day. I could have given up but there was something about being there that helped me keep going.

I set a goal to be under 200 for my 60th birthday.  I missed my first goal by a week, but I did it. My next goal is to ride my bike in The Ride (to raise money for the UW Carbone Cancer Research Center) in honor of my husband Mike. The Ride is coming up this Sunday. I will do my best. A year ago I was 40 pounds heavier than I am today.

My final goal is to keep working out and to keep dropping weight and getting stronger, both physically and mentally.  I enjoy working out at the Transformation Center.

Erin has worked with me to get me to where I am today. He worked around my injuries and surgeries.  I get stronger every day and I am working towards getting strong enough to join the Killer Kurves group to prove to myself I can do it. I have 40 more pounds to hit my final weight goal but more importantly is for me to get stronger, and I know with the help of everyone at the Transformation Center I will meet that goal.

I gained 7 lbs…

By | Behavior Change, Lifestyle, Mindset

I shared this with one of my Fit over 50 small groups a week ago and they said they really appreciated me sharing so I thought I would share it with you.

Ironman for me was Sept 9th and since then I haven’t been exercising very consistently.

I have only done 5-6 runs of 4-6 miles, about 120 miles of biking, and a couple sessions of lifting and core.  Nothing much.

Part of it was planned to give my body some recovery from 8 months of averaging 15 hours a week of exercise (peaking the last three months closer to 20 hours a week), and part of it was that I went into full work mode, putting in big hours at the Transformation Center.

But those weeks turned to a month, and I was struggling to find myself again and figure out a consistent workout routine.

I gained about 7 lbs, lost some additional muscle. I felt flabby and just blah.

Each day that I didn’t work out became more frustrating, the guilt built up and it was even harder to start the following day.

I filled my days with non-productive things to fill the space that working out took up and it was a vicious cycle.

Can you relate?

I am happy to report I broke this cycle a week ago and logged 42 miles of running last week with 44 miles planned this week.

So what changed?

Here are a few thoughts, and things I did. I hope you can apply the principles into your own life.

-I said enough was enough. I was tired of feeling tired and stressed. I knew from past experience, exercise was one of the best things I could do for myself and for my family.

-I recommitted to my WHY.  I still want to work towards qualifying for the Ironman World Championships and in order to do that I need to improve my run massively.  This in itself is highly motivating for me.

-I hired a running-specific coach for the next 5 months to help guide me.

-I created a plan.  I am going to focus on my running this winter 5-6 days per week (along with strength and core) to work on my weakness, and I asked my coach for a specific run training plan.

-I made it as easy and convenient as possible.  My coach wants me to run on soft surfaces as much as possible to decrease the chance of injury.  Many of the go-to places aren’t close to my house, so I have been searching for the best running places that are close to where I live.

-I found running partners.  I am still in the process of figuring out the best fit, but I ran with 6 different people last week to figure out who and what times will work best for my life.

-I got  the right gear.  I will be spending quite a bit of time running this winter.  The last couple winters I got all the cold gear I will need, but I want to listen to church sermons when I run to strengthen that part of my life, so I needed headphones and a way to hold my phone.  I posted on FB asking for recommendations, and within 1 hour I had purchased what I needed to make my runs more enjoyable.

-I discussed the plan with Tessa to make sure she understands my why and will support me in it, by watching my son Bo when necessary.

-I listen to a running related podcast, video, book, or article each day to keep my mind fueled for this goal.

-I am enjoying the journey.  At first my mindset was that I have 5 months of “off season training” before I get to the fun stuff of training specifically for my triathlon races.  Almost like this was a means to an end or that the next 5 months would be torture but a necessary evil to reach the results I want come next summer. Instead, I am taking each day as it comes as it’s own wonderful experience.  I have been appreciating the little things like the colorful leaves under my feet or the cold biting winds that keep my body from overheating. I am trying to enjoy the journey since running isn’t something that comes naturally or that I love (I am starting to like it more though).

-Lastly, I have developed a strong visual belief in a positive future outcome.  The feeling of getting faster, and placing higher up in the races is very motivating for me and keeps me going.

Each person is motivated by different things, and there is no right or wrong when it comes to this as long as it works for you.

Has anyone told you that you have changed?

By | Behavior Change, Health, Lifestyle, Mindset

Change…

A word that society doesn’t seem to like or support.

A politician can’t change their views on a certain topic.

An expert in their field gets put down for changing their opinion on a specific theory or belief.

A family member gets chastised for no longer wanting to do the same unhealthy behaviors over and over.

A coworker becomes isolated for no longer wanting to join the rest for happy hour.

You can change for the better or worse, but I want to focus on positive changes.

Growing or evolving are words I think of when it comes to positive change.

Why is it that most people around you will do everything they can to prevent you from evolving?

In most cases I believe it is because it shines a light on their own life and reminds them that they are still dealing with the same crap they have been dealing with a decade prior.

Evolving can be a lonely road.

That is one of the biggest reasons why making healthy changes isn’t as hard as keeping those healthy changes up for a lifetime.

We have a dozen different anchors (society, family, certain friends, jobs) that keep pulling us down.

How do we combat this?

We need to distance ourselves and drop some of those anchors in our life.

We also need to put on additional life vests.

What do I mean by that?

We need to fill our life with certain people, books, podcasts, courses, and communities that are all striving to evolve together and support each other in that process.

So if you are feeling lonely in your journey to evolving to a fitter, healthier, and happier person, you must start to cut some of your anchors and find a community or two of people who would like to hand you a life vest and do life together in an ever evolving way.

How does sun and sand sound come mid January? You are invited…

By | Adventure

How does sun and sand sound come mid January? You are invited…

 I know it doesn’t seem right to be talking about the cold winter yet, but in the Midwest at least, it is only a few months away.

I personally enjoy the snow and cold weather, but also miss the warm sunshine beating down on my face.

My wife Tessa and I would like to invite you to the 4th year of hosting a fitness cruise in the Caribbean (Tessa’s first). 

It has been a handful of years since I last did one, and we are so excited to invite you for 7 nights of incredible food, weather, people, exercise, entertainment and fun.

Click here to check it out ->->

We have partnered up with one of the finest cruise lines (Norwegian) and have selected one of the greatest and newest ships in the entire world right now (The Norwegian Escape).

Imagine for a moment waking up to a warm, humid sea breeze. You put on your workout clothes and head to the top deck to take part in a fun workout that all ability levels are able to succeed at led by Tessa and me.

After an invigorating 45 ish minute workout and stretch we head down together to one of the 25 restaurants on the ship to enjoy a healthy breakfast of fresh goodness.

Next, we talk about the day and the various activities people are planning on taking part in and either group up for activities or do something on your own. After a full day of fun on the ship or at on one of the islands, we meet back together for an incredible dinner and then catch one of the amazing evening shows.

This sounds awesome! But it sounds expensive. 

Because we are able to get a group rate we are able to offer this cruise for an incredible value of less than $160/day which includes your food, ultimate beverage package, entertainment, room, taxes, workouts, etc.

Pretty awesome huh?

Click here to check it out ->->

We have limited spots available though, so head over to the web page we created and take a look at more of the details and reserve your spot.

As long as you are cool, you qualify for this trip. Usually I have only met half of the guests prior to coming on the ship, so invite your friends, share with your family and let’s create some memories that last a lifetime.

Keep moving,

Dustin and Tessa Maher

PS: The ship will only allow us to reserve a certain number of rooms before they get “released” after which this special price is no longer guaranteed. So don’t waste time, check your schedule and make the necessary arrangements.

Life Lessons on My 34th Birthday…

By | Uncategorized
Life Lessons on My 34th Birthday…

Holy smokes, where did time go?  It feels like just yesterday I was 20 years old and getting certified as a personal trainer. I have tried to take a step back, take a few deep breaths, and think about a couple of life lessons I have learned over the past decade post college.  I will break it up into a couple different categories.

 

Training Client Lessons:

Weight loss is less about calories in and calories out, and more about the state of mind of the individual and their environment.  In other words, it has more to do with the thoughts in their head, their beliefs about themselves, the friends they choose to have, and the small daily choices they make.

Exercise and eating healthy has to be done consistently.  I am amazed at how quickly we can gain weight, lose strength, reduce energy, etc by eating poor and moving less.  Consistency trumps nearly every other variable.

Who their friends, family, and coworkers are means so much.  If I have a client who has an unhealthy (define that however you want) family that they live with (spouse especially), unhealthy friends (or lack of friends), and a low morale/unhappy work environment, it is going to be nearly impossible to see lasting change unless something changes in some of these areas of their life.  Social belonging and mimicking is so strong and powerful.

For people in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and beyond, strength training and interval cardio is the best drug we can give anyone to have youthfulness.  It’s important for everyone, but it becomes ESSENTIAL as we age.

Show me someone who is committed and I will show you someone who will see a massive transformation.  100% commitment is essential.  This doesn’t mean 100% perfection, but it means that despite obstacles and barriers, their motto is keep moving forward and overcoming.

 

Business Lessons:

Never stop learning, adapting, and changing.  If I still had only our bootcamp programs like 3-7 years ago, I would be out of business right now.  We must continue to improve, evolve, and grow.

I can’t do everything.  For the first 5 years of my career it was mostly me doing everything.  It worked for awhile, but not only did it become unsustainable, it limited the growth and how many and how well we could serve people.  Plus it built up a lot of additional stress in my life.

It’s not about me.  It’s about you.  While I hope to lead by example and share my successes and flaws with you, it really isn’t about me, it’s about you.  How can we help you reach your goals faster, better, and with more joy and happiness?

Similarly, the TC isn’t my gym, it’s our gym.  I still feel the pressure to be here 70 plus hours a week to see all our clients each and every day, but I have realized that again it’s not about me, its about you, our incredible community, and our awesome staff.  If I am not around 24/7 it will still run smoothly, assuming our systems are in place.  This has taken a tremendous amount of stress and worry off of me, but it is still a work in progress.  I struggle with guilt a lot. =)

Have the best staff, treat them as well as possible, and make the work environment meaningful, healthy, and positive.  I look forward to finding more and more ways to make it even better.

There will be many hard and lonely days, but with a positive attitude, great support, and a strong work ethic, good days lay ahead.  I believe owning a fitness business is one of the hardest businesses in the world to run.  I won’t go into all the reasons why, but it is SO hard, which is why the average fitness business goes out of business in less than 2 years.  While it is extremely difficult, I don’t know of a more rewarding and meaningful line of work to do.

Change is a good thing but can suck in the short term.  Losing our building last year unexpectedly caused a lot of stress and challenges, but a year later it is clear that it was for the best.  We have a much nicer spot for our clients and staff, and we can’t ever get kicked out again.

It’s ok to be scared.  Similar to the above paragraph, this has been a scary year financially.  Besides investing a large amount of money over the past decade into hiring coaches and teachers to teach me, I live a very simple low cost life.  This year, I went over $1.3 Million into debt to be able to see the Transformation Center become a reality and to purchase our small home.  Getting out of our comfort level is when massive growth can occur in all areas of our life.  I have over 18 employees/team members that expect a check each month to support their families.  While it is super scary, it is also very rewarding and I don’t take it lightly.

Have a plan, but be willing to adapt.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that our Fit over 50 program would be our largest program and that we would be having as many men joining as women, I wouldn’t have believed it. But things evolve and we become clearer on what we do best as we listen to feedback.  It’s been so awesome to see how things evolve.

 

Marriage and Relationships:

I am pretty new to the whole married thing (6 months) so my lessons here aren’t very many yet.

Marry your best friend.  If you love spending time with that person, it will make it much easier to spend the rest of your life with them.

Make sure you have similar beliefs on the most important things in life.  For me this is our Christian beliefs, our desire to have 3-5 kids, consistently eating healthy and exercising, high level of positive attitude, and unwavering belief in one another.

There are things you must give up/sacrifice.  Just like most great things in life, if you want it, you must change or do things differently.  Single life was awesome and I am grateful for the decade of adulthood I got to spend in that stage of life. There are many things that go along with that lifestyle that I can’t do now, but that is ok because it opens up even more amazing experiences.

Communication and expectations are key.  Generally it isn’t what you did that necessarily was the problem, it was that it wasn’t communicated properly or at all and didn’t meet the other person’s expectations.  Tessa doesn’t get upset at me if I am 15 minutes late for dinner, she is upset if I don’t let her know that I am going to be 15 minutes late for dinner. 🙂

 

My own health, fitness, and life lessons:

Life is fragile and can’t be taken for granted.  Duh… We all know it but until it hits you personally, it is hard to fully grasp.  In the past 5 years, I lost both of my grandmas, who I was very close with, my mom, my mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and almost lost my 24 year old brother to a stroke, along with many other friends and former clients getting very sick or dying.

There is more to us than our bodies and here on earth.  Here is where we may disagree and that’s cool!  But for me I believe we are a Spirit being and live in our temporary bodies, but when our bodies die here on earth our Spirit (which is who I really am) will spend eternity in Heaven with Jesus if we choose.  This belief and relationship not only helps me get through tough times throughout my day, it also causes me no fear of death.  I don’t want to die yet, I feel like I have a lot to still experience and give here on earth, but if I were to get hit by a truck today while biking and die, I don’t fear it.

Don’t limit your potential, and take inventory of the dialogue going on in your head.  I won’t spend too much time on this because I have written many times about it, but I got into triathlons and Ironman 18 months ago because I found it to be something that I initially didn’t believe I could do.

I had many stories I told myself, like I can’t swim, my knees are too bad to run, I am not an endurance person etc.  I realized these stories weren’t really making me a better person and were preventing me from realizing my potential.

It wasn’t until my mom’s unexpected death kicked me in the butt that I was ready to commit.

Committing doesn’t mean you know the path, or have all the answers.  Committing only means you are going to figure it out one step at a time.

Simple is more… I have been getting into the minimalist movement just a little bit.  Nothing too extreme, and it has become harder now that I have a house, but I’m not buying things for the sake of buying them. Rather I’m asking if this is something that brings me joy or happiness or reduces my pain.  If I can’t answer that with yes, I generally won’t buy it.

Less stuff means fewer things that break or need fixing, fewer things to lose, less space needed for storage, and fewer decisions you need to make, plus more money to spend on the things that really matter in life.

Lastly, be diligent about what you let your eyes see, and your ears hear.  Whatever you allow to be inputted will greatly affect you, even if you don’t realize it.

I personally chose to limit time spent with Debbie Downers, gossipers, news media, and conversations over a minute that include too much complaining.  I also avoid most movies (I don’t really enjoy them), but I definitely avoid any movie that includes violence or other very graphic scenes.

Instead, I choose to watch/listen to inspirational stories of people overcoming obstacles, good things that are happening in the world, and all the exciting changes that are progressing society.

I spend time with people who smile a lot, are driven and passionate, see the glass not half full but overflowing, and believe that anything is possible.

Thank you so much for reading this and investing a few minutes of your day.  Feel free to share with me some of your life lessons.  We can all learn from each other.

Keep moving,

Dustin

 

A Sample Day of Healthy Eating for Me

By | Uncategorized

A Sample Day of Healthy Eating for Me

I get asked all the time what I eat. Somehow people think I am this perfect angel who only eats kale, organic berries, and triple purified water.

While I would say I do eat pretty well, I live by the 10-20% moderation rule where I am ok not eating well for a small % of the week’s meals.

So ice cream once a week, maybe a frozen pizza—it’s not the end of the world. But for most meals, I eat real and eat clean.

Here is a sample day’s worth. I will preface this by saying this isn’t what I am currently doing, since I am training 15 plus hours a week for Ironman so my calories and carb needs are much higher now. I might have what is below but will eat larger portions or include more carbs with the meals.

This would be more for a typical pre-tri diet where I am only exercising 4-6 hours a week:

Breakfast: 6 whole local free range eggs, cooked in about a tablespoon of coconut oil, scrambled with a cup or two of veggies. Possibly an apple or some berries if it is a big workout day.

Snack or post-workout: Smoothie at the TC made with frozen berries, whey protein, almond milk, and our hydrolyzed collagen.

Lunch: Huge salad with dark leafy greens. Protein would be chicken usually but could be steak or fish. Fats would be olive oil and vinegar with some slivered almonds or other nuts.

Snack: String cheese, a natural (non-nitrate) local beef stick. Possibly a handful of raw nuts if still hungry.

Dinner: Protein (different than lunch) so it might be fish, beef, chicken, or something else. Will have at least one main non-starchy vegetable. Asparagus has been a favorite lately, but brussels sprouts with a tiny amount of bacon has been another favorite. Low carb is important in the evenings unless you are exercising hard at night.

Water intake is about a gallon and I do my best to spread it out throughout the day.

For women, reducing portion size by about 30% is probably best.

These are very general guidelines but I hope that gives you an idea of an ideal eating day with the combinations of fats, proteins, and carbs.

The more you can avoid:

-Alcohol
-Fruit juices
-Enriched wheat anything
-Vegetable oils (canola, soy, etc)
-Added sugars
-Processed products

The much healthier, leaner, and more energetic you will be.

Keep moving,
Dustin Maher