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.

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.

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