Friday, April 20, 2012

"Fit Moms for Life" book by Dustin Maher: Review & Giveaway! (Closed)

Are you looking to adopt a healthier mindset and lifestyle for yourself and your family? Become stronger and more energetic? Lose a few extra pounds and keep them off permanently? Or perhaps gain a few extra pounds?

If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above questions, I wholeheartedly recommend checking out the brand new book "Fit Moms for Life" by Dustin Maher. I was contacted by Renee, Dustin's PR rep a few months back regarding a review/giveaway for this book, and I was initially a bit hesitant because I'm actually underweight so the last thing I wanted to do was become even thinner! However, Renee assured me that Dustin's recommendations have also helped his underweight clients gain a few pounds (5-10 on average) so the book could definitely help someone in my own situation.

So, first of all, a little background on the author (and fitness tycoon) Dustin Maher. Dustin is a certified personal trainer who began teaching fitness classes in university. He graduated in 2006 and started working full time as a fitness professional, moving on to develop MamaTone classes and a program called Fit Fun Boot Camps which has grown into one of the largest boot camp programs in the US. To date, he has worked with over 5,000 people looking to improve their fitness levels, and sold more than 10,000 of his fitness DVDs to clients around the world. He also blogs and offers a newsletter including fitness and nutrition tips, inspiring stories and other tidbits. (Side note: it's one of the few newsletters I regularly take the time to read, so I definitely recommend signing up!)

If you're like me, you might be wondering why such a young guy (just 28 years old, and no children of his own) has chosen to work primarily with moms. First of all, he is very close with his own mother who stayed at home to raise Dustin and his three siblings, with an unwavering dedication to meeting their needs and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Secondly, he just enjoys it! He finds that moms bring a lot of energy to their workouts, appreciate having the time to focus on themselves, and are especially proud when they achieve results. Finally, he loves that in working with moms, he is also influencing future generations to be healthier and more confident.

The Fit Moms for Life program focuses on the entire person and is based around five pillars of health: mindset, nutrition, strength training, burst training and environment. Dustin asserts that this approach to fitness is well rounded and sustainable, and one busy moms can fit into their lives. It also reinforces that there is no "quick fix" to getting healthy and fit; one needs to be committed to the process and recognize that it's going to be challenging, but certainly worth it in the end! I really like that his approach is both holistic and pragmatic, unlike many other weight loss and health programs out there which strike me as gimmicky and too good to be true.

Before delving further into the book itself, here's a video narrated by Dustin which describes the pillars in more detail and includes numerous clips of featured moms rockin' some hardcore fitness moves!

Fit Moms for Life is broken into sections focusing on each pillar in more detail.

The first section on mindset explores concepts such as motivation, building confidence, positive thinking, setting SMART goals (i.e. those which are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timed) and conducting an effective "before" assessment (with respect to fitness, nutrition and other self-care elements). It does a great job illustrating why mindset and preparation are such an important part of a lasting fitness strategy. It provides moms with a number of tools to reinforce motivation and commitment when things get tough.

The second section on nutrition includes 16 rules to eat by, foods to avoid, keeping a food diary, planning meals, healthy snacks, grocery shopping strategies and many other helpful resources. This is one area where I've become fairly knowledgeable myself over the last few years, via independent research and communicating/working with associated professionals, and I'm happy to report that the info presented in this section of the book jives with my learnings elsewhere. This isn't to say I didn't discover a new thing or two. In fact, I was intrigued by one of Dustin's rules to avoid grains after 4 PM, and while I haven't followed this 100%, I have cut down on grains and carbs in general later at night, and I have to say I've noticed a positive difference in energy level in the morning. All in all, some super-valuable stuff in this part of the book.

The third section covers the "meat and potatoes" of the Fit Moms for Life program - strength and burst training. Two prominent concepts stressed here are that 1) lifting heavy weights will not cause women to bulk up and 2) long duration, steady-state cardio is not the way to get fit and lose weight, and may actually make you fat. In addition to explaining why strength training and burst cardio are the way to go for optimal fitness, this section includes practical instructions for putting together a workout routine and a complete, fully-illustrated sample workout. Now admittedly, I (currently) don't work out and have done very little of this in the past, however this section did a good job convincing me that I should start. While the idea of lifting heavy weights is somewhat intimidating, Dustin continually asserts that women can do a lot more than we think, and we often end up surprising ourselves. So hey, maybe even this here scrawny bod could kick some butt if sufficiently motivated! And the fact that cardio is recommended only in short bursts is appealing as well - less time required for a complete workout with better results. Sounds pretty good, right?

(Now, to get things started.... :) 

The final section of the book discusses environment, including the "fit mom, fit family" link and creating a fitness community of like-minded individuals who keep each other motivated and on-track. In this section, Dustin describes his latest mission: to have one million moms in the Fit Moms for Life community by the end of 2015, via embracing the program's philosophy and approach either individually or (even better) as members of local workout-oriented support groups.

Several appendices are included as well, including fitness for new moms (and moms-to-be), documenting your fitness journey, additional resources and FAQs. He also includes a full list of his workout DVD programs.

Finally, the best (in my opinion) part of the book: spread throughout the chapters are 31 real-life stories of women who took part in one (or more) of Dustin's programs and experienced profound transformations in mind and body. The women profiled range in age from mid 20s to early 50s, which I was happy to see as it illustrates that it's not too late to get started if you're past your physical prime. Each story includes before and after pictures, weights and clothing sizes, and tips from the woman on achieving nutrition, fitness and general health goals. The stories themselves are varied and unique, ranging from overcoming pervasive medical challenges, to beating clinical depression, to takings things to the next level and becoming a certified trainer! I really enjoyed reading every one of these stories, and went back and read some of them a second time. I found that they added a real element of credibility to the program.

A few more general comments on "Fit Moms for Life":
  • It is an easy, accessible read. Perfect for overworked, sleep-deprived moms! ;)
  • Dustin comes across as confident without being arrogant or pushy. He recognizes that there isn't always necessarily one "right way", that individuals are different from one another, etc. 
  • The book contains a balanced level of information in the different sections - not too much and not too little! Dustin is quick to admit when he's not an expert in a particular area and includes additional resources for more information as appropriate.
  • While the book is marketed to moms specifically, much of the advice is applicable to all people, young and old.
  • There's a certain element of authenticity and trustworthiness in the writing which really makes me believe what I'm reading. In fact, there's even a little joke going on between my husband and I that "Dustin Maher says..." has become one of my go-to vocabulary staples. :)
  • Finally, while this book could easily have been a fluffy, thin-on-content offering produced solely for the purpose of marketing more lucrative products (in this case, Dustin's DVDs and bootcamps), I want to stress that this absolutely isn't the case here. While there is some level of promotion for Dustin's other products (and why wouldn't there be?) Fit Moms for Life can definitely be used on its own to kick start an individual down a path to better fitness and overall health.

Buy It:

Order one or more copies of "Fit Moms for Life" directly from Dustin's website! Single copies can be purchased for $17.99, however if you order in bulk you can get them at a discounted rate ($14.99 if you order three or more, and $12.99 including free shipping if you order 10 or more.)

Win It:

One lucky Manager to Mom reader will win their own copy of "Fit Moms for Life"! To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Comments do not count as entries, however feel free to add a comment to remind yourself that you entered! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure:  The prize is being provided and shipped to the winner by Dustin Maher Fitness.  I received no financial compensation for writing my review or offering this giveaway, although I did receive the sample item free of charge.  This is my completely honest opinion above and may be different from yours.


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