Dustin Maher: America's Trainer to the Moms Journey to Success
By Shelby Murphy
AMERICA’S TRAINER TO THE MOMS
Dustin Maher Fitness, LLC
ACE certified, bachelor’s degree in kinesiology
Being called a "Mama’s Boy" is not something most people take kindly to. Dustin Maher, however, wears the label proudly... and has already turned his self-proclaimed identity, as well as his unique connection with moms, into a growing empire.
Maher's strength comes from the fact that he knows who he is and where he’s going. The confident son of a stay-at-home mom who sacrificed a lot for her four children, Maher loves working with moms. With a handsome grin and the youthful charm to make any mama proud, Maher (who isn't married and is nowhere close to busting out of his 20s) proudly proclaims his goal to be America's Trainer to the Moms.
Maher is blazing his own trail through the fi tness world, with three thriving MamaTone classes and an iPhone app developed from pieces of his core training DVD, 250 boot campers enrolled in his 12-location Fit Fun Boot Camp and more than 1000 moms from nine countries having purchased his monthly DVD program, Fit Moms for Life.
But it didn't start out that way. Maher, from the first grade on, had dreamed of being a weatherman. It was his passion. That is, until his freshman year in college, when his love for fitness clouded over his weather aspirations. He had been studying exercise and nutrition on his own, and Maher began teaching anyone who would listen -- which often times was his mom and her postmenopausal friends -- the benefits of moving your body and eating right.
So Maher, a student at the University of Wisconsin, switched his major to kinesiology with a minor in business. He also picked up a job at the university recreation center, where he cleaned weight machines and answered questions. Soon, Maher applied to teach a circuit class and got the job. It was his first boot camp style class. He then recognized the need for a 30-minute core class, which Maher felt was his specialty. His boss asked him to write a curriculum for his proposed class. Soon thereafter, Maher and eight other trainers were teaching his core class, which became the most popular class on campus with more than 400 weekly attendees.
It was at the Rec Sports Center that Maher earned his ACE certification and trained more than 30 students and faculty members his last two years of college. During his senior year, a local health club hired Maher. He initiated his core class there, as well as doing general fitness assessments. After graduation, Maher knew he had the tools to begin focusing in on his niche -- mothers. He wanted to develop an exercise class for stay-at-home moms, somewhere they could get a great workout, have free childcare and socialize with other moms.
MamaTone Fitness was born. Women in the community responded overwhelmingly, and soon the program had a following of 60 moms. Maher was also training one-on-one with clients, working about 50 hours per week and moving toward burn out. He knew he needed to begin leveraging his time better. Maher shifted all of his clients into groups of four, which cut his hours in half, and began eyeing the profi table boot camp model. At the same time, Maher had received requests for a program similar to MamaTone for working moms. He decided to create some early morning workouts but made them co-ed. Two years ago, Maher formed Fit Fun Boot Camps with two different locations.
Within a year, the boot camp grew to eight locations. By the second year, it amassed 12 locations, 16 different start times and about 250 campers. Always looking forward, Maher knew that he needed to develop a program to reach more people in a way that would further leverage his time and expertise. Maher found Ryan Lee, a highly successful information marketer who also began infi tness. With Lee's help, Maher created Fit Moms for Life, a monthly DVD program.
Each of the 12 DVDs featured Maher training a different mom at her home, along with nutritional segments and interviews. "I tried to keep it very personal," says Maher. "Like me training you in your home." Maher and a buddy who videoed weddings produced the first four DVDs. Then, two months later, after some evaluation and improvements, they produced the remaining eight, plus two bonus core DVDs, completing
a total of 10 DVDs in two days. Going low-budget allowed Maher to learn along the way.
Maher is used to being in front of a camera, however. A master at generating publicity, he's been on TV or radio more than 80 times, leveraging that exposure to build his classes and boot camps and sell DVDs.
In fact, he now trains five reporters on an ongoing basis. And most of them are moms.
Beyond being critical in building his business, his ability to garner TV and radio spots led Maher to partner with another of his mentors, Steve Hochman, and launch a coaching program to teach other trainers how to do the same. In August, Maher will release Fitness Media Dominator Coaching Program. But what drives Maher forward is his mission to reach one million moms.
"I"m most excited about creating a movement for moms to come together in a healthy way," he says.
With a strong online community (his blog gets 1,000 visitors per day) and more DVDs in the works, Maher is now aiming to create a grassroots organization in which moms across the country and around the world can
meet in small groups and use his programs within their homes to get fit while holding each other accountable. Also called Fit Moms for Life (the name of his DVD program), these communities are based on the Body for Life model, which still has support groups meeting today.
"It's about creating a vision," says Maher, "and the ability to communicate your message within a system."
And Maher’s vision is clear.
"In Fit Moms for Life, I see a very large, brandable community of moms who are seeking to put themselves first and become better role models for their kids."
Maher’s mother is, no doubt, very proud.
What’s Your Favorite...
...workout equipment? plain old dumbbells
...healthy snack? ants on a log -- celery, peanut
butter and raisins
...quote or saying? "The greatest discovery of my
generation is that human beings can alter their lives
by altering their attitudes of mind." --William James