Walking is NOT Exercise

By | Balance, Fabulous Over 50, Fit and Fabulous Over 55, Food For Thought

Welcome to the third and final fitness-related installment of our Transform You 2020 series! Click here if you missed our most recent fitness post. Today’s article focuses on maintaining health and fitness as we age.

Over the past few years, I have had hundreds of people 50 years and older fill out our short application to learn more about our small group training program.

I have called every single applicant. One of the questions I ask is, “what are you currently doing for exercise?”

At least 80% of the time, they say “walking”.

Some might disagree with me, but walking is NOT exercise.

In the NYT best selling book Younger Next Year, they define exercise as something that gets the heart rate up high enough so a normal conversation is unable to continue.

Walking is AWESOME and we should all do more of it. Any movement is better than sitting on our butts. So I am not knocking it.

But, if we want to age and function at a high level, we MUST do more.

We MUST focus on strengthening the muscles, which will lessen our risk of falling and allow us to continue things like hiking, biking and playing ball with our grandkids. It will also strengthen the bones, lessening the chances of osteoporosis.

We MUST get our heart rate to higher levels to increase circulation of our blood, strengthen the walls of the heart and give us those “feel good” hormones.

We MUST focus on core stabilization exercises that will keep our spine safe and upright and generate power for things like tennis and golf.

We MUST focus on proprioceptive (definition below in the PPS) exercises that teach our body to balance and recover from near falls.

You see, walking won’t do much of any of this.

Now, if you are extremely overweight and walking gets you breathing hard, then it IS exercise, and please do it. Fast walking up a hill would be another example that could be considered exercise for most. I know when I power walk up a steep hill, I am out of breath.

The challenge when we age is to find things that get the heart rate up without putting knees and other joints in a high impact state. This is why we love to do things like rowing, bikes, skiergs, battle ropes, and step ups as great low impact tools in our Fit Over Fifty classes.

Whatever your age, I want to encourage you to make sure you have all the above components in your workout routine.

And above all else, please keep moving! As we age, we start to lose more and more muscle mass each year, which lowers our metabolism and makes it more difficult to do the things that we want to do. Exercise–and strength training in particular–is the ONLY way to counter this trend.

With muscle and aging, it really is true that you must use it or lose it. The good news is that even if you’ve lost it, you can turn things around and regain much of what you’ve lost through smart training.

If you are over 50, and near Madison, and looking for small group training with top-notch trainers that specialize in this, we have a class for you. Please fill out the contact us form on this website and we’ll get in touch with you ASAP.

If you aren’t local, I encourage you to find something like the programs that we offer that is near you. Or start playing pickle ball, golf, or some other sport or activity that you enjoy. Find some friends to get moving with you.

However you do it, just keep moving. 😉

PS. One of my favorite quotes that I came up with for my clients is: “Train hard now so that when you are out and about in the world things will become so much easier.”

PPS. Proprioception: The ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium. Even if a person is blindfolded, he or she knows through proprioception if an arm is above the head or hanging by the side of the body. (from MedicineNet.com)

Finally, stay tuned as next week we’ll tackle environment/community, which is absolutely critical to the ability to make lasting change.

How To Impress Your Doctor

By | Fit and Fabulous Over 55, Health, Strength, Transformation Center, Transformations, Uncategorized

Today I’m excited to share a testimonial from one of our Fit and Fabulous clients!

Sue is a great example of the type of client we work with in our Fit and Fabulous over 50 private group (and small group) training programs. Her mind is sharp but her body has let her down over the past decade. Less than a year ago she had her knee replaced, which gave her a new lease on life, but her other knee also needed a replacement.

Lucky for us, Sue randomly found my Fit Moms for Life book online and bought it. She read through it in one day and was excited to put what she read into action! She quickly discovered that our Transformation Centers were only 10 minutes from where she lived in Madison. Sue immediately contacted us, met with me and joined our Fit and Fabulous training group.

Sue only had about 7 weeks to strengthen up before her second knee replacement surgery. We pushed her as safely and quickly as possible to build her strength, increase her flexibility, and burn some fat to take the weight off her joints.

Sue recently had the surgery done and sent the following email to the three trainers at the Transformation Center that worked with her before her surgery.

Hi Liz. ….

Dr.My doctor could tell I worked out because I was so strong. Also…I was shocked when I went in for surgery, they brought in the anesthesiologist and he was getting ready to put in my IV….out of the blue he says…”Sue your arms are beautiful for a 64 year old lady. Most I see are all flab.” I looked at him & said “You have made my day!” He then said “We can tell that you’ve been working out because of how your lower legs look”. They had to give me a nerve block in my right leg by my thighs. He said this area is usually very very flabby for most women …

I wanted you to pass my email on to Michelle & Dustin to show them that all of our hard work is paying off.

My range of motion was 54 in the hospital & today I was able to get 74….so that is progress.

This week sitting in a chair & lying down I’ve been using my 9 lb weights & my new 10 lb weighted medicine ball.

MY doctor said…”Sue you are motivated to get fit……not many of my patients are. I have to tell them to lose weight before I will even do the surgery”.

I know this is long…but I thought all of you would be interested in what my doctors said….& especially about my arms. It certainly made me want to keep moving!

Thank you for sharing your experience, Sue! Your dedication and hard work before surgery and during your recovery is inspiring and demonstrates the importance of strength and fitness at all ages!



I cried…

By | Challenge, Fit and Fabulous Over 55, Flexibly, Health, Strength, Transformation Center, Transformations, Uncategorized

The past two days have been special for me. I have been meeting with potential clients who have filled out the Fit and Fabulous over 55 application for our new program that we are launching in Madison. There isn’t a program even close to this in the Madison area. I spend 30 minutes chatting with each person and I ask a lot of questions and just listen. Each individual story inspires me, challenges me as a human, and makes me a better person.

Everyone has a story and when we block out all the noise in this crazy world and just listen, it can be amazing. Let me just briefly share with you a few of the people I have met (and will get to work with further since 100% have joined our program now).

There was an amazing woman in her mid 60’s who has been a giver and caretaker most of her life. She works full time at a job that requires her to sit the entire day. She is looking to lose about 90 lbs. Walking more then 100 feet is extremely exhausting and almost unbearable. When she married her second husband a decade ago she gained 50 lbs because of the unhealthy lifestyle he lived. She knows too well the challenges of the environment. For her, some simple exercises and eating changes will radically transform her life and the life of her family.

A spunky husband and wife came in who were in their upper 50’s. The wife was the one to come to see me, and the husband came because he didn’t want the wife accusing him of sabotaging her efforts (I found this funny). She was of a healthy weight, but lacked strength. She ate very well, but didn’t want the aging process to take over quicker then it should. She is also prone to bone density issues. He was moderately active and wanted to keep up his golf game, downhill skiing, and continue to enjoy his retirement. He didn’t eat nearly as healthy as his wife, which I could tell frustrated her. I asked him at the end if he would like to join his wife in this program and he said yes, to the shock of his wife. Moral of the story after 35 years you can still learn something about your spouse, and these two together are going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Next was a woman who was soon to turn 60. At one point she was over 300 lbs but has lost over 40 lbs. Her second husband is a quadriplegic who she married about a decade ago. Her story of nurture and selflessness made my eyes water. She has overcome other awful things in her life and is at the point where she is ready to face her past demons head on. She is determined to be strong so that she can continue to serve and take care of her husband and prove to herself that she is capable of anything.

I met another woman who was in her mid 50’s. She had been part of our bootcamps in the past, but wanted something different. Something that was more geared towards her age. She successfully ran a half marathon recently and is in pretty good cardio shape, but her knees are beginning to hurt from all the pounding. She is concerned about her lack of strength, but yet wants to feel and discover the athlete inside of her. She also cares for her adult daughter who has developmental challenges and lives with her and her husband full time. She needs to be physically strong to take care of her.

I took a break from the 55 plus group and met with an inspirational woman in her mid 20’s. She and her boyfriend were both injured a couple years ago doing CrossFit (this is no knock on CF); for the past two years she has battled a bulging disc and gained over 40 lbs. She was a D1 collegiate athlete who is now eager to get back to her former self. She has a good idea what she should be eating, but hasn’t had enough accountability to make it a consistent habit. She will be joining our next Killer Kurve’s session and is probably getting her boyfriend to join as well. Her smile and spirit was incredible.

Another special encounter happened with a single woman in her mid sixties. Her personality and energy were that of a 20 year old. For over 40 years she was a professional dancer and performer. All of that dancing caught up to her joints and she has had a knee replaced, and is in bad need of the other knee and hip being replaced. She uses a cane lightly to walk, and needs to lose 25 lbs before the doctors will replace her other side; and she would like to lose over 75 all together. She watches every Dancing With The Stars Episode saying to herself, “I can do every one of those moves”… until she realizes she is captive to her body right now. I took her to our training room and gave her a couple exercises using the TRX that allowed her to squat and bend her legs deeper then they have been bent in years. I gave her a simple band and put it around her ankles and she did some exercises to strengthen her glutes. She has three beautiful nieces and nephews and they want nothing more then for her to play on the ground with her. Unfortunately, this is nearly impossible right now. I can’t wait to see the progress she makes – it is going to be insane! No more cane, and much easier time getting up from the ground.

So why do I share these stories with you?

Besides the fact that I am super proud of each of these people finding the courage to admit that they need help, and saying YES to investing in themselves, I hope that it does much more for you.

I want to encourage you to take the time and sit down with someone and just ask them questions. Ask them about their life, ask them about love, about their passions, about what makes them tick. We live in such a shallow and busy society that we have lost the art of just listening and supporting.

Second, I believe that we each have a story. We each have a story that is so unique that no one in the entire world has our story. By sharing our story we inspire and teach others. We show our vulnerability, our heart, and our passions.

I want to thank each of these people for sharing their story and blessing me, and I hope that by sharing parts of their story with you, that I have inspired you too.

Lastly, I hope that you can relate to at least one of these stories that I have shared with you. You see, we are all very different, but we all are humans and have the same basic needs and wants.

Tying this back into health, wellness, and fitness, we all desire to have a body that we are proud of, that we can look in the mirror and smile at. We want to have a body that is healthy and disease free so that we can do the activities that we love doing. We want a body and a mind that is sharp, so that our relationships with our spouse, kids, grandkids, friends, and coworkers are as strong as possible.

We all have our demons, our challenges, our mental roadblocks, our injuries, and we have a future. That future is so dependent on the actions we take today.

Thank you for allowing me to share my heart with you today and each day that I write. I am honored that you would take the time to read it.

I hope that this message has inspired you in some way. I am here if you want to share your story with me.



How much balance & flexibility do you have? Take this test!

By | Behavior Change, Fit and Fabulous Over 55, Health, Nutrition, Transformation Center, Transformations, Uncategorized

Do you struggle with balance or flexibility?

No matter what your age, you may struggle with this, but as a person ages, balance, flexibility, bone density, and strength are four things that naturally decrease, unless you do something to counteract this decline.

Today, I would like to cover the topics of balance and flexibility and show you a few simple tests you can do to see where your balance and flexibility ranges are.

In this short video I invite you to take your own balance and flexibility tests…

Stork: Poor (0-10 sec), Average (10-40 sec), Great (41 plus sec)

Single Leg Deadlift: Poor (0-5), Average (6-15), Great (16 plus)

Quad Stretch: Poor (Can’t grab foot), Average (Grab foot butt heel doesn’t touch butt), Great (Heel can touch butt)

Trunk Rotation: Poor (Noon-2:30), Average (2:30-4:00), Great (4:00 or greater)

Squat Test: Poor (Above parallel), Average (Parallel), Great (Below parallel)

Once you complete these 5 simple tests you will have a good idea of where you stand (or fall over). That was my attempt at a joke.=)

Stay tuned for next blog post I will provide you with some exercises and stretches you can do to improve these important balance and flexibility tests.

We recently launched Fit and Fabulous Over 55 in Madison. These specialized small groups will be 45 minute sessions and will focus on balance, flexibility, strength, and fat loss. We will provide you with an eating plan and nutritional coaching designed for post menopausal women that will give you more energy, more strength, and help you keep up with your grand kids (current or future)!

Spaces will be very limited so to get more information and be the first in line ->-> CLICK HERE <-<- to fill out a short application and our FM4L team member Anita will follow up personally with you. Click here to let us know you are interested in our new Fit and Fabulous Over 55 program!

If you don’t live near Madison and are looking for a joint friendly or 50 year old + workout, my Boomin Bodies DVDs are a great option! The DVDs contain two, short total body workouts that are extremely joint friendly.


Will you be around for your grandkids?!

By | Behavior Change, Body Assessment, Challenge, Fit Moms for Life Six Week Challenge, Mindset, Moms, Mothers, Nutrition, Transformations, Uncategorized

The past 6 weeks I have spoken to more corporations, teacher conventions, after school programs and other organizations, than any other time in my career. In many of these interactive sessions I ask this one simple question…

How will your life look and feel 10-20 years from now if you continue some of your unhealthy habits and likely add a couple more unhealthy habits to your life?”

The energy in the room usually goes down as each participant ponders the answer to this question. After everyone takes a moment to visualize what their lives would look and feel like, they discuss, describe and share their sobering outlooks

For some, they see their kids struggling with their weight and health because they as parents didn’t teach and equip them to make healthy eating and exercise part of their daily routine. These people are overcome with extreme guilt.

Others are afraid if they keep up with their current unhealthy habits, they won’t be around to see their grandkids grow up. Or, if they are alive, they are scared they will be stuck on the couch or in a wheel chair unable to play with their grandkids.

Some other people are worried that the active hobbies they LOVE doing right now, will no longer be possible if they add another 10-20 years of poor health habits into their lives.

Others who love to travel are sobered by the thought of not having enough energy, strength, or capabilities to travel the world in their later years. Getting older does NOT have to be scary, though.

Sure there are some things that life throws at us that are out of our control, but for the most part our bodies and health are capable of staying healthy and fit as we age.


Your choice to stay healthy as you age must start TODAY with your small daily choices. You can’t wait another year, or 5 or 10 for things to be “perfect” before you start your health transformation.

Your body can withstand a lot of abuse, but each day you don’t move, continue to eat toxic food, get too little sleep, and/or live a life of high of stress – your body is being abused and all this WILL take its toll. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, strokes, Alzheimer’s, and many other types of sickness and disease don’t happen overnight. These health conditions build over decades.

I know it is SOOO hard to make the healthy choices in the moment, when it doesn’t seem like the little daily choices are a big deal, but eventually these choices WILL catch up to you. I want you to live into your 50s, and well beyond, full of energy and life with a body that is capable of taking you to all the places you want to see, and loving and building all the relationships in your life. Your future active, healthy, amazing life begins with the choices you make TODAY!

 If you’re ready to make a change, please feel free to reach out to me and share your story @ dustinmaherfitness@gmail.com. If you’ve tried to make changes and are facing challenges, please share your struggles with me – I want to help you live your best life.

The #1 Rule For A Healthy Family

By | Behavior Change, Health, Mindset, Moms, Mothers, Transformations, Uncategorized

I recently took a trip to Toronto, and as the flight attendant went through the safety talk, it reminded me of maybe the single most important thing that you can do to ensure your long term success in reaching your goals—whether that is losing weight, feeling better, or setting a good example for your kids.

She said “Put on your oxygen mask before helping others…” To me, that means that if you don’t take care of yourself—if you don’t put on your own oxygen mask first—you won’t be able to be there for others.

So many women, especially moms, put everyone else first. They don’t feel that they deserve to take the time or the money to take care of themselves. They feel guilty doing something for themselves, and they may not feel that they are worth it. But if you don’t take care of yourself, if you let yourself go, then how will you be able to be there for your kids in the long term? What message are you sending to them?  Putting yourself first isn’t about neglecting your family, it is about taking care of you so you can be the best parent, wife, friend to those most important to you.

Taking that step to put yourself first for once, to believe that you are worth it, is one of the most important things that you can do to set yourself up for success. Join tens of thousands of other women by committing to take care of yourself, starting right now! Click here to take our Fit Moms for Life Pledge. If you are ready to put yourself first and be proud of the example you are setting for your kids, sign up now for our free 14 Day 5 Minute Fitness Challenge, starting on June 2! It’s 14 days of quick but highly effective workouts and daily motivations that will help you lose weight and feel amazing.

Learning to put yourself first is all about your mindset, which is the first of my four pillars of success. I’ll be sharing more about what it means to “change your mind, change your life” over the next few days. And I’ll introduce my other three pillars of success over the next few weeks.

Check out this unbelievable video on what you can accomplish when you choose to take care of yourself. The woman in this video is 86 years old!  Check out what is possible when you take care of yourself over a lifetime!

Imagine being able to do whatever you want to do at 86 years old! How does that vision compare to where you are now? Are you where you want to be?

You Are Never Too Old To Start Exercising

By | Body Assessment, Core Training, Health, Lowerbody toning, Mindset, Uncategorized

This video really inspired and reminded me that age is mostly just a number and that no matter your age you can improve and transform.  Sonny was in his mid 40’s before he ever picked up a weight and started working out.  Now it has become a core part of who he is and what he stands for.

I want you to think about your life.  What is something you can start doing that you might have thought you were too old to start.  Lets start redefining age and what it means to grow older.

A Positive Lesson From The Olympics

By | Fitness Modeling, Health, Mindset, Nutrition, Uncategorized

I hope you have been able to get a chance to watch some of the Olympics.

I have enjoyed hearing the stories of the athletes overcoming great odds to achieve excellence in their sport. A couple of the cooler stories came from speed skating and cross country skiing. There were a couple athletes in their early 40’s. One of them won gold while the other just missed placing.

2014-olympics-feb-10-rtgsI think for most of us, we believe that 40 is past the peak of physical excellence, but these Olympians are showing that you can still be world champion at that age. This is so encouraging to me, and I hope you as well, as we all redefine what it means to get older. I get to witness clients in their 40s and 50s telling me they are in the best shape of their life.

Just this weekend, Lizzy one of our bootcampers at the Fit Moms Transformation Center, who has lost about 30 lbs, was beaming to share with me she won a plank contest at another gym she also belongs to. She held it for 11 minutes! For the record I can hold one for just 2 minutes. She also can do 4 pullups. Did I mention she is 53 years old?

Sure there are certain things that change with age, no denying that. But if you fuel your body with the correct nutrients, push your body to get stronger, and keep a youthful mind, you just don’t know what you are capable of. The quality of the rest of your life starts with the decisions you make right now.


Oldest Gymnast… You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

By | Mindset, Nutrition, Uncategorized

Growing older and death are two things that are still batting around 100% our society is living longer today then it has in a long time (this might be changing), but are we living a longer QUALITY of life. I would argue in most cases no.

When a friend shared this video with me I was in awe of her abilities. Her strength was incredible, balance spectacular, and flexibility… flexible. I didn’t realize until after the video that she is 86 years old.

These types of displays of growing old gracefully are the extreme, but show what the human body is capable of when we don’t neglect it. When we make sure we are continually doing resistance training, and eating whole foods that fuel our body.

Let’s all think of Johanna the next time an “I am too old” thought comes through our mind.

What Will Your Life Look Like 20-30 Years From Now?

By | Behavior Change, Fit Moms for Life Six Week Challenge, Mindset, Uncategorized

unnamedI spent a day in Denver meeting with over a dozen of the Fit Moms For Lifers doing 6 Week Challenges and then headed off to ski in Aspen with a family that I am doing a business deal with. I love to ski, been skiing almost before I could walk. I try to get out to the mountains 1-2 times per year. I would consider myself good enough to ski anything except the double diamonds and out of bounds. But this story isn’t about me.

It is about the dozens of people I met and the stories I heard while riding chair lifts and gondolas up. Many of these men and women were 60-80 years old. I would ski with them and they would DOMINATE me. They were faster, smoother, and skied much prettier then me. How can it be that someone 2-3 times older then me could out ski me?

They have kept in shape, that is the answer…

As a fitness pro I would get into their story and want to know what they do to stay in great shape. The answers were unnamed (1)nothing surprising, just the “boring” story of weights, cardio (hiking), stretching, and lots of skiing and biking. I was speaking to one woman who’s a very accomplished skier and still takes group lessons. She was telling me of a woman who was 83 years old that would out ski most of the group on the double diamonds! How the heck can an 83 year olds body (let alone a 30 year old body), be able to handle 35% and greater steepness and huge moguls?

Consistency and practice…

The last part that I want to highlight is that most had talked about taking lessons from someone more experienced even though the person taking the lesson was really good already. The last two hours I bumped into a guy in his late 20’s and we skied together and he was telling me that he had been skiing for about 15 years (he was very good), and he decided to take a lesson from a professional coach. That coach gave him 1 cue that changed his skiing forever. He said over the course of a couple hours his skiing improved 100%. He said he was pissed off that he didn’t know that one piece of information 6 years earlier because it would have made things so much more enjoyable and easier.

So I ask you the question…

Generic older couple taking exercise.Generic older couple taking exercise.What kind of body do you want 20-30 years from now? Do you want a body that can jog on the beach, ski on the slopes, hike up the mountain, walk around the block, swim laps in the pool, bike around the lake, and so on?


Do you want a body that hurts every step you take, gets out of breath at the top of each flight of stairs, would rather be laid out on the couch, in a motorized scooter, in a wheel chair, or not even be around to experience any of that?

While we don’t control 100% of our future we do control a great amount of it by the habits and actions we do today. That is why I am here and that is why I am put on this earth. I want those who want the first set of scenarios to find me. Over the course of the past decade (gosh I am starting to feel old), I have created road-maps and tools to help them get there, and in the process put them together with other like-minded folks who are doing the same. That is my mission, a simple one, but one that will take me the rest of my life to accomplish.

I have close to a dozen programs and one might just be the program for you, but instead of listing them all off, just share with me your story and I will recommend the program that is best. Please also tell me where you live. I am here for you!

In case you are wondering, I am going to take my own advice and when I go out skiing again I am going to enroll myself in lessons. Life is too short to try to do it all on your own, when there are people there to help you learn it faster.