How do I get started? This is a question I get asked many times from people who have either let themselves go for many years, or others who seem to have tried everything, but can’t seem to stick to anything or nothing seems to work. I truly believe getting started is the most difficult task (second most difficult is that 4-6 month period when you have began to reach your goals and the motivation to push even further decreases).

Here is what I suggest.

1. Have the end goal in mind. What specific and measurable results do you want to see and in what time period?

2. Visualize everyday how you will feel in your new fit body. Also visualize how bad you would feel if you continue with your unhealthy habits.

3. Realize results aren’t going to come overnight. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, so getting in shape will take time. However, you will begin to see noticeable changes within a couple weeks whether it be having more strength or energy.

4. Understand that there will be setbacks and challenges. When obstacles occur do not allow yourself to feel defeated or do not feel sorry for yourself. Take the initiative and get right back on your plan as soon as possible.

5. Take baseline measurements. I like a pushup test, mile run test, pullups, plank, body fat, and body part measurements. All of these will be able to be retested once a month and seeing progress can add to your motivation.

6. Find people who share similar health goals and try to spend less time with those who bring you down. Changing your environment is pertinent to changing your behaviors.

7. Study and research, knowledge is power, well at least applied knowledge is power. There is no one way for everyone, but there are some pretty consistent commonalities. Study the experts and those who have been successful at what you are trying to do and mirror them.

8. If you are not a self starter, hire a trainer or expert. A qualified fitness professional can cut the trial and error time down and get you faster results. A fitness professional can provide you with accountability to stick with it, and paying for a service, for some, will increase the commitment factor.

9. Include resistance training at least 3 days per week. Resistance training won’t increase bulk, it builds and tones the muscles to give your body a better look. Other benefits are increased strength, energy and mobility. Resistance training will also reduce body fat, and lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

10. Make sure you are having fun! Exercise is meant to be enjoyable. Work hard and appreciate how your body is changing.

11. Most importantly, realize that eating right will be 80% of your weight loss success. Eating what ever you’d like and working out will not achieve your weight loss goals. Apply the 80/20 rule to your eating habits; eat healthy 80% of the time and the other 20% eat what you want. Working out and eating well are the keys to maintaining successful weight loss.

Continue to set specific goals and push yourself further from time to time – strive to run a marathon, climb a mountain, or do 5 pull-ups. Continual goal setting increases your motivation to stick with it!

I am Dustin Maher, America’s Trainer to The Moms. I am a leading expert on getting moms in shape. I have appeared over 100 times on local and national TV, appeared in many magazines, and newspapers and been on over 25 radio shows. I have a blog ( that receives over 1,000 visitors per day and an active mailing list of 6,000 people. I run 11 fitness bootcamp locations in Madison, Wisconsin, and have sold over 10,000 fitness DVDs. My mission is to reach one million moms by the end of 2015 with the support they need to change their mindset, eat better, exercise effectively, and be part of fit families and communities so they can transform their bodies and their lives.

by Dustin Maher