Three Life Lessons From the Past Year–My Birthday Present to You

To sum up my 32nd year, I think Charles Dicken’s quote, “It was the best of times and the worst of times” summarizes the past year.

My birthday year started off rough with the unexpected passing of my mom July 10th and, then a few days, later the stroke of my 25 year old “healthy and fit” brother.Dustin and mom fm4l gear

Lesson #1

Life is precious, health is precious and we aren’t guaranteed another day. We do our best to stay as fit and healthy as possible but that doesn’t guarantee anything. My mom was the pinnacle of health but it couldn’t prevent her massive brain aneurysm. My brother ate pretty healthy and exercises regularly but somehow it didn’t prevent a clot from reaching all of the way up to his brainstem.

Grief is real, but so is joy, and joy can come after grief. Our family is closer than ever and my dad is doing very well and starting to get a clearer picture of what life looks like as a widower.

The Transformation Center saw incredible growth over the past year with the launch of our Fit over 50 small group training program. We have had over 340 (mostly women) join the program the past year and have seen incredible improvements in their health, weight, strength, balance, energy and confidence.

I got back into town early this morning (at 2:30am) from Phoenix where I was presenting at the Functional Aging Institute International Conference. I was honored to be acknowledged as having one of the best and most cutting edge fitness and health programs for 50-90 year olds. Many thanks to everyone who has played a role in this.

Lesson #2

Success is a team effort and we can’t do it alone. This is a lesson I have been learning over the past 12 years in business. Starting out, I had to wear every hat, but as things grow I am able to find people who do certain things WAY better then I could.

There are times in life when we need help and we need to check our egos at the door and ask for help. This year I have had to ask for help more than ever before and my friends, team of trainers and staff, and clients have helped out so much and I am grateful for that.

When we ask for help, we are also letting go and putting trust in someone else. There are things in my life and business that I have clung onto not wanting to let it go, but I am slowly giving those things up to others and it has been scary, uncomfortable, and nerve-racking at time, but it is necessary for growth to happen.

Each year, I try to train for something different, to keep me excited about exercise and to keep my body improving.

With the death of my mom, I decided to commit this year to doing something I really didn’t think I could do, participating in Ironman Wisconsin. This was mostly because I didn’t know how to swim at all and the thought of a 2.4 mile lake swim seemed beyond daunting. I also have virtually no experience with running.

With 3 months to go until the Ironman, I am feeling extremely prepared and confident.

Lesson #3

There are SO many lessons I can share on this topic, but will save that for another day, but the one lesson from this that I want to share is to DESTROY the lies in your head that you “aren’t” or you “can’t” do something.

For 32 years I told myself, I told you, I wrote about it in my book and blog that I “don’t do cardio,” as well as I can’t swim.Dustin run pic

These beliefs stifled any chances of me being able to do it because it eliminated me even asking the right questions.

Once I had decided upon the desire outcome (finish Ironman), I had to ask myself a new set of EMPOWERING questions like:

1. Who can I hire to teach me how to swim?
2. What type of running mechanics do I need to make sure my troubled knees can handle it?
3. Who specializes in creating a program to get me to the finish line of IM?
4. Where is there a community of triathletes in Madison that I can spend time with?

These 4 questions might not sound like much but they opened the door for possibilities.

Since that decision, I officially started training in November giving it my 100%. There have been ups and downs but the trajectory has mostly been up!

At 33, I can say I feel like I am in the best shape of my life. I am not as strong in my upper body as I have been before, but my dramatically improved cardio, leanness and increased energy I have gained trumps it all.

Thank you so much for being part of my life, during the ups and downs. I hope in some small way I can educate and inspire you to not only go after new physical challenges, but in all areas of your life, strive for improvement.

Cheers to another year together.

Lessons from My First Triathlon

I just competed in my first triathlon. My coach, Blake Becker, told me that since this is my first race that I should have no expectations going into it and that things will go wrong and it is a learning experience.

For those who don’t know me very well, I am highly calculated, highly competitive and analyze everything.

The truth was, I DID have expectations and pretty high ones at that.

The Lake Mills sprint triathlon is a 400M lake swim, followed by a 16 mile bike ride and a 5K run to finish up.

This is the first of 4 races this summer for me building up to Ironman Wisconsin, which is the big race I am training for.

I will share with you my race report and then, towards the bottom of this post, some of my lessons that I hope will help you in whatever health and fitness goals you have.

It was a special day for me, my dad came from Minnesota to cheer me on and see what this whole triathlon thing was. He heard me talking about it and the training I have been doing, but he said nothing prepared him for the specialness of the day.

I signed up under male novice, meaning someone who has three or fewer triathlon races under their belt. This started me in an earlier wave, which is what I preferred.

A couple minutes before the start of the swim, out of nowhere, a huge storm blew in with 30 plus MPH wind gusts, black clouds, and a little light rain. The lake, which had been quite calm, turned white capped and was pushing the waves onshore.

This was going to make the first 100 meters out much tougher.

Now, some of you have been following my swimming journey. In November, I began adult swim lessons because I never learned how to swim as a child. By the end of the first lesson, I was able to get across one length of the pool but my heart rate would be well over 180.

I began swimming 3-6 times per week for the next six months with an average of about 4-5 miles each week. One week before Lake Mills, I put a wetsuit on and did some open water swimming. I found the wetsuit really helped keep my legs higher, which is what I was really struggling with.

So given my background, I wasn’t too pleased to see large waves heading for me. There were 60 men in my wave and the gun goes off and I run into the water quickly, hoping to get in front of the main pack, even though I figured I would probably get passed up soon.

The next few minutes seemed like a blur, but wave after wave kept crashing over me as I battled against the current. I would pop my head up from time to time to make sure I was swimming out to the first buoy.D post swim pic

I rounded the first buoy and then had a 200M swim across the shore line…a little easier but still very turbulent. I couldn’t really see any other swimmers around me except for some of the novice women who were really struggling in the water having gone out 10 minutes before me.

I made the turn around the final buoy and quickly got pushed into shore. I got up a little tipsy and more out of breath then I felt like I should have. I had no idea if I was in the front, middle, or back of the pack, but grateful that I stayed very calm in the water and had no fear or anxiety.

After the race was over, I discovered I came out in a relatively fast time of 6:25 in second place, only two seconds back of first place.

As I ran to my bike, I felt quite nauseous. Fortunately, I didn’t swallow any lake water, I think it was that my HR was high and going from swimming to running was something I had yet to practice.

My wetsuit got stuck around my ankle with the timing chip and I was forced to go to the ground to finally get out of the suit. This ended up being one of the only glitches of the day and might have cost me 15 seconds.

My bike was going to be my strongest part of the race. I have been biking for 2 years and really love it. I am a student of aerodynamics and have trained in an aero position quite a bit this year.Dustin bike pic

I have trained with a power meter on my bike for over a year and had a goal of 280-300 watts average for the 16 miles. If I did that, I figured I could ride under 40 minutes which would put me at about 25 MPH average.

I had never trained biking right after a swim, though, and was surprised at how tough the first mile or two was because my HR was well over 160 getting onto the bike. For reference, in my tough bike training days, my HR rarely goes above 160.

My HR soon went to over 170, but my legs started to feel better. After about 5 miles, I felt like I was in a good rhythm and stayed in my aero position the entire time except for a couple sharp turns.

It was very windy out, but I have been training all spring in high winds so it didn’t bother me at all.

My watts were around 275 at the half way mark and I tried to push it just a little harder to get to my minimum goal of 280, but each time I did so, my HR would creep towards 180, which I knew was too high to sustain.

For the first time ever, my legs wanted to give more, but my cardio held me back, in training it is always the other way around.

At mile 12, I was averaging a blistering 25.5 MPH, but had the final 4 miles into a strong headwind. I kept my head down and finished my ride in 38:59 which ended up being about 25 MPH average.

The only bike mishap happened on the final mile when I got confused with bikers just starting the ride and took a wrong turn at about 30 MPH, I had to slam my breaks on, and do a U turn and go back, this might have cost me 20 seconds.

After the race, I discovered that I had the 10th fastest bike time out of around 700 riders. This included some professionals that were competing. I was very pleased with that!

My HR was about 174 as I quickly change into my running shoes.

Running is something I started in Dec, and have very little experience with. I struggled early in the spring with a few minor foot and leg injuries, which slowed my training down a bit.

My goal was to run a 7 min mile pace which is about as fast as I have run in practice on fresh legs.

Dustin run picFirst mile, I took slow as I found my running legs and did a 7:20. My HR stayed in the mid 170s, so I increased my pace a bit for the second mile and did 7:10. My HR was now about 180. I knew from experience, I can only stay above 180 for 5-10 minutes before my body shuts down.

I picked the pace up and finished with a very strong kick and did a 6:55 ish final mile and then threw up moments after I crossed the line, this seems to be a theme of mine. :]

Total time was 1:10:30 and I won my novice category by about 3 minutes and placed 25th overall out of close to 700.

Most things went according to plan, which I was grateful for. I credit my coach Blake and team BBMC for helping me train and prepare for the race, and for the extended amounts of time I prepped and visualized my ideal race.

1 hour and 10 minutes was my BIG goal time and I pretty much achieved that.

My swim surprised me with how good it was, my bike lived up to my high expectations, and my run was a touch slower than I had hoped and WAY slower than I need to be competitive in the future.

To put it in perspective, if my run was as strong as my bike, I would be running 5:40 min miles for a 5K, instead of my 7:10!

Lessons Learned

1. You are only as good as your training and preparation. There is a saying in triathlons and probably most races, that you aren’t going to magically run/bike/swim/ much faster than you have in training, in other words there are no positive surprises. The goal is to execute the race you have trained for.

This is so true. My swim might have been a few seconds faster than my best in training but not by much. My bike was right around my training times, and my run was too.

2. Be grateful for the body you have and what it can do. Whether you are first or last to cross the finish line it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you are having fun, enjoying the great outdoors, and living life to its fullest.

Halfway through the bike, I was in a nice rhythm and I had a big smile come over my face as I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude to have a body that is healthy enough to move it and to experience life in the way I was experiencing it.

3. Community is everything. I was blessed to have a handful of clients come out to cheer me on, and 5 of my staff and clients raced with me and did their first tri. It was so special to share that moment with them.

4. There will always be challenges and unexpected bumps in the road, how you handle them plays a huge roll in how you experience life. Fortunately, I didn’t have too many unforeseen challenges, but the large waves, wetsuit sticking, and the wrong turn were things I didn’t expect, but stayed calm and did my best to overcome.

5. Have fun! If I didn’t love the training, camaraderie, and racing of triathlons, I wouldn’t be doing it. But I LOVE doing the work and look forward to continuing the journey this summer.

6. Be well rounded. I think it is good to have many different hobbies, and interests. I struggle with this because I like to do things I am really good at. For triathlons though, I need to be good at all three disciplines, so I will be putting more of a focus in on my running. I still plan on biking a lot and hard, but my run is my glaring weakness. I have discovered my love of open water swimming and especially swimming with a wetsuit. 🙂

Thank you all for your support, love, and encouragement. It means the world to me as I discover more about myself and who I am and who I can become. I hope that in some small way I am able to inspire you to go after your goals and dreams with a passion and intensity that you have never had before.

Feel free to reach out to me with questions or “wins” that you have had in your own life.

I’m More Than a Number!

I’m more than a number.

Neither my weight nor my clothing size defines my self-worth.

I say this now, like it’s easy. But it’s NOT. It takes constant reinforcement to remind myself of that in this day and age.

Just look in any women’s magazine and you’ll find multiple articles about how to shred fat and drop 10 lbs in 2 weeks… all surrounded by super-lean models.

Scroll through instagram and see “fitspo” everywhere… it’s supposed to be motivating but so many of those models are crazy lean—skinnier than I’ll ever be.

It’s easy to get down on your body and your looks when constantly surrounded by all of this. Especially if there is part of your body that is sometimes hard to love. =)

More than a number

My superpower is getting outside each and every day this year with our two boys. Trading the tablets for the trees; spending our time in the light of the sun rather than the light of a screen. It’s challenging us and changing us and that’s good.

So when People Magazine launched a campaign geared toward “proving that women are more than just a number”, more than just their size, I was initially happy to see a mainstream media outlet taking on this issue.

But unfortunately, the campaign is asking people to share their picture with… you guessed it… their number! People’s #ShareYourSize campaign is asking people to post pictures with their clothing size.

I get that the idea is to show that all sizes are beautiful and that there are many different body types out there.

All that is true, but I’d rather learn something about those people and what their bodies can do for them. I’d want to hear about my friend who is a grandmother and is training for her first triathlon. Or my friend in the Navy who has three kids and who did a tour in Iraq. Or my friend who is bravely recovering from an accident that destroyed her knee.

I couldn’t care less what size clothing they wear. I want to know what they do.

I want to learn about women who constantly grow by pushing themselves out of their comfort zone and challenging themselves. I want to be motivated and inspired by their example, whether big or small. Because that’s how I will become a better version of myself.

So we are launching an alternative to People Magazine’s campaign.

Share your picture on Twitter or Facebook with a sign that says something about you, but nothing about your size or weight!

Share your Secret Superpower—something that you are proud of or that challenges you in some way.

Use the hashtags #shareyoursize AND #morethananumber. Tag @People and @FitMomsforLife and let’s change the conversation!!

We are more than a number. We are strong. We are healthy. We are Fit Moms for Life!

Update (4-29-16)

So many beautiful women who are Fit Moms for Life agree… we are proud to share a few of these amazing people!
morethananumber 4

more than a number 2

more than a number 1more than a number 3

Self-Care Revolutionized

I don’t know why, but making the time for self-care can feel so difficult this time of year.

Maybe it’s because we’ve been sick a fair amount. Or maybe it’s because the days are short. Or that it’s a crazy busy time.

Regardless, it can be too easy to start pushing self-care aside and letting other things creep in and get in the way of workouts, healthy meals, stress-release time, etc.

That’s why I so love this quote from Lisa Bauer, who leads an awesome Yin Yoga class at the Transformation Center on Wednesday evenings.

Many of us equate self-care with being selfish. Self-care is filling up so you can continue to take care of others. Self-care is feeding your spirit, taking care of your body, calming your mind, so you can be more present in the world and with those you love.

Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about self-care as a revolutionary act: Taking care of yourself is kind of like flipping off this cultural notion that we should be going, doing, winning, striving, setting goals, meeting goals — all the time, in order to have worth. Self-care is stepping outside that cycle and saying, “Nah, I’m gonna just be good to myself, and be myself.”

I love that because the funny thing is that when you adopt that mindset, it actually becomes easier to make the changes you want to make… for all the right reasons.

take care of yourself (1)When you stop spending so much energy trying to be the person you think you “should” be, and instead love and care for who you are, it frees up the space to be able to take care of yourself.

When you find that sense of self-love and self-worth, you want to take better care of your body and your mind, because it matters to you.

Then it becomes easier to take the actions that will get you closer to who you want to be in the future, because you love and respect yourself now.

Personally, I’m adding yoga back into my fitness routine because it reminds me of all of these things. Plus, it loosens my muscles and joints and just makes me feel better. I had let it slide as time grew tight. But I’ve realized that I need to let other non self-care things slide instead.

How about you? How can you take better care of yourself? What can you do to start letting go of the notion that you must always be doing more in order to be worthy? How can your actions reflect that shift in perspective?

If you are looking for a place to start, try moving more. Nutrition plays a huge role in your overall health, but exercise can help you feel better more quickly and can give you the energy to make other changes.

Whatever it is, start now! There is no better time.

Need support? Check out the community and support in our flagship 6 Week Challenge program.

Tips from 2-time gold medalist and mom Lindsay Tarpley

2008-7-12-US-WNT-Denver-Practice-8436s-412x600Today I’m excited to share an interview with Lindsay Tarpley, a 2-time Olympic gold medalist in soccer, an owner of Sweat Cosmetics, and a mom of two young kids—Jacob and Alexandra, who she calls her greatest accomplishments.

Lindsay won her first gold medal in 2004 and played on the Women’s National Team until 2011, when she suffered a career-ending knee injury during a send-off match for the 2011 World Cup against Japan. Since her injury, Lindsay has had five surgeries and is still rehabilitating her knee. You can learn more about Lindsay’s history here.

Just this summer, Lindsay joined the Fit Moms program at our Transformation Center in Madison, and we are looking forward to working with her in a budding partnership with Sweat Cosmetics—a company that shares our values of empowering women and encouraging sweat.

I wanted to talk to Lindsay to learn a bit more about her background and her takeaways from competing at such a high level.

And, at the end of the interview, you’ll see a link where you can enter to win one of Sweat Cosmetics’ twist-brush mineral foundation sets. They have generously provided us with several to give away, and my team members tell me that the product is awesome. =)

1) As an elite athlete, what does it take to compete at that level? How do you maintain that level of excellence and still pay attention to the other important areas of your life?

Being an elite athlete is incredible, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. In order to be my best and play at such a high level, I had to make sure I took care of my body, mind, and overall physical well-being. I loved competing at the highest level and it was always an honor to represent the USA. Now my passion has turned to Sweat Cosmetics, which encourages and empowers women to embrace their beauty and live an active lifestyle.

2) Now that you are a mom, what has been your biggest challenge when it comes to taking care of yourself and how have you worked to overcome it?

I learned quickly that being a mom is an all-consuming wonderful challenge! It has taken me a long time to realize that after having my children, I still need to create time for myself. As soon as I walked into the Fit Moms Transformation Center, I felt like it was a community where I could work hard and reenergize myself. It is an encouraging environment that pushes me to be my best. I’ve learned that in order to try and get the best out of my children, I need to set the example and try to get the best out of myself first.

3) Lots of women feel overwhelmed when trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, whether that has to do with getting fit, eating healthier, or just making the time in their busy lives to take care of themselves. What advice do you have for women who want to make a change but struggle to get started or to make time for themselves?

The hardest thing to do is start. It is always easier to say, “I’ll start tomorrow.” I would encourage you to make the decision to start TODAY. Be your best. Do something for yourself. Do it now. Believe me, I understand how hard it truly is, but I am a better mom because I have found time to take care of myself. Fit Moms for Life has provided me a supportive community that pushes me, challenges me and encourages me. As a result of making the time, I am a happier, healthier, more fulfilled person, which makes me a better mom for my family.

4) What’s the story behind Sweat Cosmetics? What are you all out to accomplish?

Our mission at Sweat Cosmetics is to narrow the gap between beauty and fitness. We want to empower women, embrace beauty and encourage sweat. We are all former/current professional soccer players and we appreciate wanting to work hard while embracing our beauty. We launched at the Women’s World Cup this past June with our all-in-one convenient, Sweat Stick. Our mineral-powder is a makeup and sunscreen that contains skin-loving ingredients which will protect and repair active skin. Our stick comes with a magnetic brush for easy clean-up. We are a brand that active women can trust to keep their skin healthy and beautiful. So, go ahead and SWEAT!!!

5) Finally, what is your favorite thing to do for fun?

I feel fortunate that I am very passionate about Sweat Cosmetics. I enjoy being part of a great team of people who want to empower and encourage women. It is important for women to know that they can live an active, healthy lifestyle while embracing their beauty. I love my morning workouts at FM4L and feel thankful that I found a community that helps push me and makes me a better all-around person. Also, I enjoy cooking healthy meals, shopping anytime, and exploring the outdoors.

I hope you got something out of that—I think it’s always helpful to hear from others who are successfully balancing a busy life and still managing to take care of themselves.

TP2-white-standing-with-refill-squareNow for the fun stuff…

I’m excited to announce that we are partnering with Sweat Cosmetics because our companies are so closely aligned in terms of our values.

Sweat has developed an all-natural mineral foundation and sunscreen that my team tells me is very easy and quick to apply, workout-proof, and lasting.

We will be giving away several of their twist brush set + mineral foundation Sweat Sticks ($42 value) over the next few weeks.

Please click here to enter!

When you do, you’ll get coupon codes good for 20% off at both Sweat Cosmetics and Fit Moms for Life.

Good luck!

How My Life Has Changed Since My Mom’s Death

It has been just over 3 months since my mom unexpectedly passed away from a brain aneurysm and 3 months since my 25-year-old Dusin-Mombrother suffered a stroke.

I still get asked quite often “how am I doing?”

I don’t have anything to compare it to but I think I am doing quite well given the challenges my family has recently gone through. For those wondering, Eric, my brother, has now made a 100% full recovery and is back working out almost everyday. Thanks so much for all the prayers and support!

There are many lessons that I have learned from the past few months but the biggest one for me has to be the sense of urgency I have.

Maybe said another way, the reduction in my procrastination and investing my time, energy, and money into my top priorities.

This has also caused me to get more aggravated with others when they tell me one thing, and do another, or they say something like, I will do that later even though they just told me it is one of their top priorities.

I obviously work and am surrounded, 24/7, by people who are either in the process of transforming their health or life or considering it.

There is a HUGE difference in the mindset of those who are in the process of transforming themselves (actually doing the work) and those who are talking about wanting to change.

I have become hyper sensitive to this.

So many people want to be happier, healthier, fitter, have more energy, reduce their pain, etc, but far fewer are actually willing to invest the time, money, energy, reputation, hopes and dreams to see it come to fruition.

Here are some differences between the DOERS VS SAYERS:

DOERS:
-Understand the importance and schedule the time necessary to get the result they want
-Surround themselves with others who are DOING
-Invest the necessary money, even if that means on cutting back on things that aren’t as high of a priority
-Find the time by reducing less important activities
-Understand there will be roadblocks but are determined to overcome them
-Realize that the pain of their current situation is worse than their perceived pain of making the change and the future pain of NOT DOING is even worse.
-Know there will never be a perfect time to start and the best day to start was yesterday and the second best day is today

SAYERS:
-Look at their busy schedule and refuse to move things around to make the time
-Allow lesser-valued activities to take over their lives for the more important things
-See how much it will cost and compare that to what else they could be buying (bigger house, newer car, more clothes, more vacations, etc)
-See the roadblocks ahead and quit before they start because they don’t want to fail
-Are afraid of what others will think and say about them as they make their change
-Have a short term mindset rather than thinking about the long term outcome
-Think that a year from now life will be in a better spot to make the change

I want to wrap this up and bring it back to the health and fitness topic.

I know you agree with me that your health is one of your top 3 priorities in your life.

If that is true, are you spending the time, energy and resources on your health? Are you exercising and sweating MOST days of the week? Are you educating yourself on what you should be eating or how to be cooking? Are you intentional to surround yourself with friends who are doing the same?

You have the ability to change, but it starts with a decision.

Are you a DOER or a SAYER?6 week challenge

I want to end this message with a few things I have done in the past three months to progress in a few areas of my life. This isn’t meant to impress you but rather impress upon you that it is possible.

With my mom’s passing, I wanted to help even more women her age, dealing with menopause and other aging issues, get healthier, have more energy and meet others who are looking to do the same.

In the past three months, there have been over 621 women who have wanted to learn more about our new Fit over 50 small group training program. I have called each and every one of these incredible women up on the phone. I love doing this but I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments when I didn’t feel like making another call and following up.

Some days, I have worked 16 hours and I really never take a full day off of work, weekends are usually 4-6 hours each day.

To make sure I follow up and not make excuses as to why I shouldn’t call up these women each day, I set specific rules up for myself on how fast I need to follow up and constantly go back to my motivation, to honor my mom and provide a life changing program for these women.

My second example is completing an Ironman competition and learning how to swim. I have considered in the past doing an IM but had a million excuses why I couldn’t do one.

Since death hit so close to home, I know I am not guaranteed another day and I can’t let my dreams just be dreams. I want them to become my reality.

Here are the steps I have taken so far to be ready for the Ironman race in September 2016:
-Joined a biking group that meets 2-3X/week so I can go biking with better riders
-Hired a coach who happens to be a professional Ironman who will guide me through the process and bring me into his group sessions with his triathlon students
-Hired a swim coach to start with the basics of swimming 3x/week
-Told you that I am doing it (accountability and social support)
-Watched over 12 hours of YouTube videos on Ironman training (this isn’t necessary since I have coaches who can teach me but I like to geek out to this stuff).
-Interviewed over a dozen Ironman finishers on their experience and what worked and what didn’t work

I have set myself up to succeed in each of these areas by structuring my day and environment to support it.

Left to my own motivation, I know I wouldn’t run, bike or swim on my own. I need accountability and other people to do it with.

You have the ability to improve any area of your life that isn’t a 10. It won’t be easy but it is made easier when you have a sense of urgency, have a plan and set up your environment to support that goal.

If you are a DOER and are looking for help on crafting your plan and setting yourself up to succeed, check out our 6 Week Challenge, which puts all the pieces together for you. It’s like hiring me as your personal health and fitness coach… at just a fraction of the cost.

You can do it. I believe in you.

I Almost Drowned…

Dustin swimThis past weekend, I decided to go out and conquer my fear of water and swimming.

One year from now, I will need to efficiently swim 2.4 miles for Ironman. I have never been able to make it further than down and back at a pool, and haven’t treaded water for more than 2 minutes.

That is why attempting to swim across Devil’s Lake, 1.2 miles terrified me.

With the support of a SUP that stayed near me (so I actually wasn’t that close to drowning :), I was able to make it all the way across in a very slow and inefficient 71 minutes and only threw up 4 times during the swim. I was unable to front crawl, so I spent the entire time laying on my back, flopping.

I will probably use a few different swim coaches for the next year because I know this swim will probably be one of my hardest challenges.


The other day, I was sitting in my office at the Transformation Center working and eavesdropping on a handful of women in their 60s who had just finished their workout.

The one woman was telling the other ladies about her epic hiking trips out to the mountains. The other ladies were inspired and they began to talk about possibly doing a trip either together or with others, and starting off with a smaller hike because of the confidence they have been getting through our Fit over 60 training program.

This made me think of my mom, and three years ago, she agreed to hike a 14,000 plus foot mountain in Colorado because it was what her kids wanted to do. This was the furthest thing from her comfort zone or personal desire.

My mom did make it to the top having given every ounce of her energy and strength. Seeing my mom climbing hands and feet at the top and saying, “only for you kids,” is a memory I will always cherish and it brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it.

Why am I sharing all this with you?

My favorite health book of all time, Younger Next Year, (yes, in many ways more favorite than my own book) calls these sorts of activities “kedging.”

The authors define “kedging” as planning a vacation or event that will require some training and some mental and physical pushing. I believe that these types of challenges will result in some of our biggest breakthroughs in life.

You might be a mom with three small kids, feeling like you have no time for yourself and your body is a larger, stretched out version of before and struggling to feel confident and beautiful.

Set a challenge that scares you and find the necessary people and expertise to make it a reality. The confidence you will gain can catapult you to the next level in any part of your life.

You might be a woman in your 40s watching your parents age and wondering how to avoid facing some of those same health challenges as you get older. You want to be able to get down onto the floor and play with your grandkids and avoid taking tons of meds or dealing with severe daily pain.

Set a challenge that scares you and find the necessary people and expertise to make it a reality. The confidence you will gain can catapult you to the next level in any part of your life.

You might be a woman in your mid 50s and have put on 30lbs of fat all around the midsection from the big “M” word. You hardly recognize the body that you were just 5 years ago and wonder if your best years are already behind you.

Set a challenge that scares you and find the necessary people and expertise to make it a reality. The confidence you will gain can catapult you to the next level in the next phase of your life.

You might be a 65 year old newly retired woman who has seen her energy, strength and balance deteriorate rapidly over the past few years and are concerned what life will look like 10 years from now if this continues.

Set a challenge that scares you and find the necessary people and expertise to make it a reality. The confidence you will gain can catapult you to the next level and reverse many of the “natural” experiences of rapid aging.

These are the type of clients that I and my incredible team of trainers work with both in Madison at our Transformation Centers and bootcamps and online through our home DVD programs each day.

Want to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself, achieving massive results while helping others do the same?

Join us for a special live webinar on Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 PM Central, to learn more about becoming a Fit Moms for Life Leader.  

Click here to reserve your spot!

Do something that scares you and your life will never be the same. Learn more about leading here: http://www.fitmomsforlife.com/lead_now/

Does It Really Matter?

Many thoughts crossed my mind as I made the painful 4.5 hour drive from Madison to Minneapolis after hearing the news that my mom was on life support after suffering a massive brain aneurysm.

One of the questions rolling in my head was: does it really matter?

My mom was one of the healthiest people I have ever met. She ate incredibly well, managed stress better then most, maintained a healthy weight, got enough sleep and stayed decently active. Maher family crop

Why then could she suffer this without warning at 66 years old? I asked the doctor this question as we were ready to take her off life support.

He said the usual, “Life isn’t fair and your mom had very bad luck.”

After taking a step back and having a week to think about it, my answer (and therefore, my calling) is “Yes, it does still matter”.

My mom’s odds were in favor of living well into her 80s or 90s with a good quality of life.

But more than that, my mom’s quality of life was off the charts. Besides the hospitalizations to give birth 4 times, she was never in the hospital. She rarely got a cold or any sort of sickness, she didn’t take any prescription drugs that I am aware of and her energy levels were incredible.

Plus, she was an incredibly healthy example for her kids and her friends. I can’t tell you how many of her girlfriends she helped eat better and feel better.

We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow, but living a healthy lifestyle is still the best way to live in my opinion.

I am humbled by the outpouring of financial support for the Joy “Fit Moms” Scholarship. We have raised over $9,000 so far.  We are finalizing the scholarship application process and will be opening that up soon.

->-> Click here to donate if you feel like doing so.<-<-

Regardless, keep moving.  Put good fuel in your body.  Take care of yourself.  Do everything you can to maximize your odds of living a long, happy, healthy life.

We only get one go of it here on Earth, and who knows how long each of us will have.  Make the most of it while you can.  

It’s totally worth it.

Lessons Learned–100 Pull-Ups a Day for 100 Days

Even as a fitness professional, I struggle to stay consistent with my workouts. I know that may surprise you, but I’m human, just like you and I struggle with the same issues. I’ve learned that I need to create challenges every once in awhile to keep my motivation high.

Most recently, I decided to challenge myself to 100 pull-ups a day for 100 days—that’s 10,000 pull-ups in a little over 3 months.

I am proud to say I completed this with near perfection. The only slip up was one day I forgot and went to bed with 20 to go. Waking up the next morning I realized it and did those plus that day’s 100.

2015-07-06_1149
->-> Click here to watch my pull-up video on my personal Facebook page <-<- 

This in many ways was one of the toughest challenges I have ever put my body through. It was so tough because of the grind of 100 consecutive days. It didn’t matter if I was traveling, working 18 hours, had a nagging injury, or so on, I had to get it done. No excuses, I did it.

Why… Because I try my best to live up to my word and my commitment, both to myself and to you. I publicly put it out there to the world, which in turn gave me extra support and accountability.

On day 94, it was 9:30 at night and I was completely exhausted. I hadn’t done any pull-ups and had no desire to do so. Instead, I decided to take a 2 hour nap on the couch and wake up at 11:30 pm and do my 100.

I have had many trainers, clients and friends ask me how it was. I will give you a few pros and cons.

Cons:  

  • My lats (major pull-up muscles) became severely overtrained starting around day 25 and never really recovered. It became nearly impossible for me to raise my arms completely up because it felt like they were going to rip from the bone. The first 10 pull-ups each day made me want to cry it hurt so bad. This is why we trainers say to not lift similar muscle groups on consecutive days.
  • The daily grind of the challenge decreased my desire to lift and workout the rest of my body with weights. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I hardly lifted during the three months. I trained hard in stair climbing and biking, though, during this time.
  • I lost the joy of pull-ups because it became a chore and a burden.

Pros:

  • When starting the challenge I could do 14 pull-ups in a row at 190 lbs and 6’5. I can now do 29 straight pull-ups at the age of 32. A couple years ago, I trained hard in pull-ups and did 21, so I am blowing those numbers out of the water.
  • It forced me to be extremely disciplined each day regarding the pull-ups. I would have to seek it out and be very intentional. It became a non-negotiable in my life to go to bed having done 100 pull-ups. It became part of who I am.
  • My back, biceps and grip are extremely strong right now, and despite the fact that I didn’t lift much else, my body looks very fit and strong.
  • This experience has given me confidence that I can set a seemingly overwhelming goal for myself and achieve it.

Now it is your turn… What goal or challenge would you like to set for yourself?

Welcome to our new blog!

It has been a long time coming, but we are finally launching a blog here at Fit Moms for Life.

In doing so, we hope to give you tons of practical tips and ideas on how to eat better, exercise regularly (and love it!), and get stronger—mentally and physically. We want to help you live your best life inside and out.

We aim to post once a week. Subscribe to get these tips and tricks delivered right to your in-box.

Who should follow us?

Join us if you believe that:

Women can be strong, and strong is beautiful.

You can only be at your best for others when you put yourself first once in awhile.

Life should be FUN–there’s much more than just getting through the day!

It’s time to quit focusing on weight loss and body image.

It’s time to stop listening to the false promises of the diet and fitness industry, because pills and quick-fix solutions will never work.

You are ready for a deep, authentic, real approach to getting healthy, fit, and strong… and feeling better than you’ve ever felt.

You are ready to work with people who actually care about your success and who will support you every step of the way.

You are ready to feel beautiful and proud of who you are… inside and out… regardless of the number on the scale.

Life begins when you start caring for yourself the way that you care for others—so let’s start NOW.

If that’s you, join us. We are so excited to work with you!