Category

Food For Thought

Struggling with motivation and consistency?

By | Food For Thought, Lifestyle, Mindset

My wife and I are getting ready for our second child and this pregnancy has been quite a different experience for both of us.

With the first, everything was new and exciting.

Tessa loved being pregnant.

There was the fascination and excitement as Tessa’s body morphed into a new shape.

Each week we would find out what size vegetable our baby was and what biological functions were being created during that gestational week.

Then there was the baby room prep and making sure we had all the “stuff” for baby’s arrival.

Time flew by and each week built upon the last as our excitement grew.

Hospital bags for both Tessa and myself were packed weeks and weeks in advance of our due date.

But this time around it hasn’t been quite as exciting. We haven’t marveled quite like we did the first time around, at how Tessa’s body is changing, again preparing to birth a little human.

I haven’t been checking in to see what size vegetable the baby is this week.

This pregnancy is more like a necessary means to our desired outcome, to bless Bo with a sibling and for us to open our hearts to another tiny human.

Before I go on, please don’t take this as us being ungrateful. We are so incredibly thankful that we can conceive and seem to have a healthy growing baby. We are experiencing so much gratitude and we are grateful beyond words every day for this blessing and journey that we are on.

I am, however, even more excited about the baby’s actual arrival, because becoming a father has far exceeded my previous expectations.

The same thing happens in our fitness journey.

I see it in my own life and the lives of our clients at the Transformation Center.

There is an excitement and newness of starting a new plan, joining a new program, and meeting new people.

The body might start to feel better quickly. Clothes fit a little looser and energy is high.

But then when it no longer becomes new, it is no longer as exciting.

I see this happen as soon as week 3 in our programs. Our staff talks often about ways we can help people get past the 3-4 week hump.

For some it happens much later, but everyone will experience this at some point.

Unlike a pregnancy, which has a finite amount of time, living a healthy lifestyle never has an end.

So what can you do to stay motivated?

Here are a couple ideas for you:

  • Find the beauty in each day, in each meal, in each workout.
  • Make things fun. Connect with a workout buddy and plan to hit the same classes together. Find forms of exercise that are fun. But keep strength training in the mix, even if you don’t love it at first–it is so critical to our overall health and injury prevention. And most people come to love it eventually… having great trainers and fun workout buddies makes the time fly by. 
  • Remind yourself why you are doing it. We all have our reasons, but keep these at the forefront of your mind.
  • Sign up for an activity or event that will require you to specifically train for it. This is why I keep signing up for races.
  • Keep learning. Learn new recipes, try new types of exercises, try a new hobby or skill. Learning keeps things fresh and ensures we are always growing.

So if you are struggling with motivation, realize it’s normal.

Things will ebb and flow.

But those who win are those who are the most consistent. It becomes a non-negotiable in their life.

We are here to help, whether you are a current client struggling to find motivation, a former client who has fallen back into bad habits, or someone who has been shy of starting their journey.

Reply to this email and let’s chat.

Keep moving,

Dustin and TC team

Let’s talk about injuries

By | Food For Thought, Mindset, Transformation Center

Injury isn’t a topic that is sexy or exciting to talk about, but it is pretty much inevitable. Most injuries happen just going about life, and on a rare occasion it can happen while working out. I would estimate it’s less than 10% of the time related to working out, at least here at the Transformation Center.

It can be very frustrating, especially for those new to exercise, when they have an exercise related injury. I have seen many throw in the towel way too soon and give up, thinking that exercise just isn’t right for them.

Let me share a personal story.

This weekend I am heading to the Twin Cities to run a marathon. I signed up a couple weeks ago after my poor performance at Ironman.

If I were to have run this marathon around the time of Ironman, I was in good enough run shape to qualify for Boston. Not saying I would have, but saying I had the fitness to get there.

Now, I have been sick for a few weeks, and it’s been 5 weeks since I have done a long run, so I don’t expect a very fast run.

But…

It was only 4 years ago that I first gave running a shot. Many of you know the story, but I had only run a mile or more 2-3 times in my life and hated it.

I hired a coach, and committed to slowly building my miles up.

That first year of running was anything but smooth!

I developed 4 separate injuries from running… two foot issues, one achilles, and one knee/quad injury.

During these setbacks my mind kept saying, “See Dustin, you aren’t meant to be a runner.” There were so many times I wanted to quit.

But I had a bigger goal, finish my first Ironman.

So I would take it easy, modify, focus on foam rolling/stretching and eventually the injury would heal, and then another would pop up.

5 Ironmans later, multiple marathons, and over 30 additional shorter races, and I have only experienced a couple small niggles since that first year.

If I would have given up so soon, and looked at the injuries as a sign to give up trying, then I wouldn’t have had some of the most amazing experiences of my life.

Today’s message isn’t about running, it’s about understanding that you will probably get injured at some point. You might need to slow down or modify, but it doesn’t mean you need to completely stop everything.

At the Transformation Center, we have had clients who have broken a foot or maybe a wrist, or suffered some other kind of injury, but they have come back right away in a boot or cast. Even though they can’t do everything, they can still do something… and something is always better than nothing.

Keep moving,

Dustin Maher

PS Have you struggled with physical issues that are stopping you from exercising? Click here and let’s chat. There are some challenges that we don’t specialize in, but there are many we are very good at working with.

Lose Weight and Gain Health By Avoiding These 5 Foods/Ingredients

By | Food For Thought, Health, Killer Kurves, Lifestyle, Nutrition

There are many articles written about what specific foods you should eat to lose weight and/or improve your health. There is truth to all of that, and I do like the idea that by filling your plate with the right foods, there will be less room for the unhealthy ones.

But I want to take a different angle and share with you what I believe are the top 5 foods/ingredients to avoid or reduce for the fastest weight reduction and health improvement.

Sugar: Eating less sugar will almost automatically cause weight loss and reduce bloating. Make sure to still get a few servings of fruits each day, but reducing processed sugar will have fast results.

Enriched Wheat: By avoiding this, you will dramatically reduce your intake of processed carbs, which again will reduce bloating, water retention, and body fat.

Fake sugar: Even though these contain zero calories, they increase your sweet tooth and many studies suggest that they have long term negative health issues. Sucralose will be the most common fake sugar, but if something tastes sweet and there is zero or very low sugar, it either has a fake sugar or is sweetened with a more natural zero calorie replacement like Stevia.

Low fat: Anything that should naturally be higher in fat should stay in its natural form. Fat doesn’t make you fat and fat can fill you up, help with hormone levels, and can keep blood sugar levels stable.

Vegetable oils: Because it has the word “vegetable” doesn’t mean it’s healthy, lol. In fact, these fats are very unstable, creating a lot of free radicals in our body and are just really bad for us. They are highly processed. Staying away from vegetable oils will naturally reduce your enriched wheat and sugar intake, because they almost always all come together.

If you look at this list, it can pretty much be summed up by not eating processed food. The more man has played with it, the worse it is for us.

I know this list is easy to look at but hard to actually implement.

Why?

Because this “food” is convenient, tastes amazing and is everywhere we turn. Our society celebrates it and consumes it without giving it a second thought.

If you are looking to lose a significant amount of weight, we are now opening up our next 12 week session of Killer Kurves, our most effective and comprehensive lifestyle program that teaches you the steps it takes to tweak your habits to those of more healthy ones.

If you have a BMI of 30 or greater and are ready to make a change, then Killer Kurves (K2) could be the right fit.

Click this link to learn more and watch a short video and then fill out the contact form and one of us will contact you. -> www.madisonbootcamps.com/killer-kurves

If you have a BMI less than 30 and are looking to lose weight, we have an amazing program for you too. Just reply to this email and we can chat more about your options.

Keep moving,

Dustin Maher and TC Team

PS Our 12 week K2 program is only offered 4 times a year and most of the time slots sell out quickly, so check out the link now and get your spot reserved. www.madisonbootcamps.com/killer-kurves

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.