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.

How to fall in love with your health in the New Year

How many times have you set New Years resolutions in January, only to abandon them by March?

We’ve all done it!entertainment-career-resolutions

But it can leave you feeling guilty and like you’ve failed yet again to improve your health, exercise more, eat better, etc, etc.

It sets up a negative spiral in your relationship with your body and your health.

The good news is that there is a better way and you can fall in love with your body and your health—you just have to shift your mindset first.

This year, when you are thinking about the resolutions you want to make, skip the ones that involve losing weight, getting into better shape, etc.

Instead, focus on loving and accepting yourself. Decide that you are worth taking care of—that it is worth the effort to put yourself first once in awhile.

Then, instead of thinking “I should exercise more” or “I should lose weight,” ask yourself “How can I do more to take care of myself?” “What can I do to put myself first?” “How can I make my health more of a priority?”

Pick 1-2 small action steps that you can start now and that feel doable in the context of your life.

Then take action. Right away!

Make those 1-2 things the focus of your attention and energy for the next few weeks. Tell a friend or family member what you are doing and ask them to hold you accountable.

Once you start to experience some success in taking action and making changes, it will start to shift your view of what is possible.

Then you can ask yourself those same questions again: “What else can I do to take better care of myself?” And pick another small action to start focusing on, once your first actions start to become part of what you do each day.

That is the key to starting healthy habits that last. Start small with actions that you can sustain. Early success will keep you going, and they will ultimately become part of who you are and what you do each day without thinking about it—just like brushing your teeth.

It doesn’t even matter what the actions are, as long as they are taking a small step on your path towards health. However, actions that help you feel better will naturally keep you motivated to continue.

There are our top picks for healthy habits to start to incorporate into your life. These things will all help you look and feel your best. However, pick something that resonates with you and that you can work into your life!

  • Move more, whatever that means to you—walk each day; exercise a certain number of times per week; take the stairs instead of the elevator; etc.
  • Reduce the processed food that you eat—if your great grandma didn’t eat it, then you shouldn’t either.
  • Eat more veggies—drink a green smoothie each day.
  • Drink 96 ounces of water each day.
  • Get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Don’t eat carbs alone—always eat carbs with a protein to help balance your blood sugar and reduce cravings.

Make 2016 the year that you enjoy success with your New Years resolutions and fall in love with your body and your health!