Where is your Oxygen Mask?

Where is Your Oxygen Mask?

Kristin, a mother with three kids, is frantically throwing the carry-ons into the overhead containers. Kristin and her kids are meeting her husband in Orlando for a fun filled week at Disney World. Kristin’s husband has had business meetings the past 3 days and she is looking forward to seeing him.

“I NEED help!”

As Kristin gets her three kids, ages 2, 5, and 7, buckled in and seated on the plane, she lets out a deep sigh, thinking to herself,

“Wow, traveling has sure become stressful since kids have come along. Heck, life in general has become so overwhelming at times it is hard to see one minute into the future, let alone one year. I am so burnt out, I feel like I just give, give, give. I basically take care of my kids alone since my husband is always traveling for work, and when he is home, he is dealing with issues on the job. I am responsible for feeding the kids, taking the older ones to school, picking them up and taking them to soccer practice and then off to swimming lessons.

After that I have to have a meal waiting for them and then off to bed or homework for the 7 year old. Then I also have to work part time because my husband had to take a pay cut during these tough economic times. That isn’t even the hardest part. I am having to keep an eye on my aging parents and trying to help them figure out what they are going to do in their later years and dealing with their medical issues. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I NEED help! Can anybody hear me? Help! Help! Help!”

Kristin is about ready to scream, when the flight attendants begin to go through their safety speech. Kristin had heard this a hundred times before, but for some reason today was different. Maybe it was because she was exhausted, or because of the dialogue she just had running through her head. Whatever the case it hit her, and it hit her hard.

“That is IT!”

Over the loudspeaker came, “In the rare case that the plane would lose cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall down from the ceiling. Take your mask and put it on your face. Make sure you have safely secured your mask, before assisting those around you.”

All of a sudden Kristin froze. “That is it!” Kristin thought to herself. That was her problem. She had been going through life helping everyone else around her, but she forgot one important thing… her own oxygen mask!

This article is written for those who feel like life is taking control. You never feel like you have enough time in the day, or enough energy, or enough confidence, or enough passion. You have been the caregiver to everyone in your life, you kids, husband, boss, parents, friends, church, and neighbors. All of the stuff you have done to this point is great, you have done so much and helped so many, but the one person you haven’t helped is yourself.

Here is my question to you.

If you don’t help yourself, who will?

But Dustin, you don’t know my life, I don’t have time to spend working on me. Look at all these other people and situations I have to deal with!

You are right, I don’t know your situation, but I can promise you that having worked with thousands of woman, I can guarantee that if you begin to put yourself first, take care of yourself, and respect yourself, all other areas of your life will get better.

Your relationship with your kids will be better because you will have more energy to play with them and more patience when they misbehave. You will be a better wife, because you will have more confidence in your body and you will be more optimistic. You will be a better contributor at work because you will be able to think clearer, and focus more. You will be a better volunteer at church or other outreaches, because of the greater self-awareness in your ability.

So how do you begin to put yourself first?

I have created the 5 pillars of health and fitness that have been proven by thousands of women to be the 5 keys to getting healthy and staying healthy.

What are these 5 pillars?

5 Pillars of Health and Fitness

  • Mindset
  • Environment
  • Nutrition
  • Strength training
  • Burst training


Different fitness professionals have very different perspectives on what people should do to achieve their optimal fitness. I’m not saying my way is the only way. There are absolutely tons of different ways to get in shape and to stay in shape, but what I can tell you is that my program works. It’s not a gimmick or a fad or a magic pill that promises amazing results with no effort. It’s an approach to fitness that is well-rounded and sustainable, and one that busy moms can fit into their lives.

My program is built around five pillars of health: mindset, nutrition, strength training, burst training and environment. You might be able to get some results in the short term by just focusing on one or two of these areas, but I believe you’ll get your greatest results when you incorporate all five. I’m going to cover each of these pillars in a lot of detail in the upcoming weeks, but for now let’s just look at the big picture of what each one means.


I actually think the mindset is the most important aspect for someone who wants to change their life and their fitness level. You’ve got to believe that you can make a change and that you’re worth it. So many people have negative attitudes towards healthy eating or exercise. They feel like they’re going to be overweight no matter what they do – so they don’t do anything. And so many people, especially moms, don’t believe that they’re worth it. They put everyone else’s needs above their own, and neglect their own health. With that kind of a mindset, it’s going to be really tough for you to get in shape and keep in shape.


The next piece of the puzzle is the environment. This is really key to maintaining the changes you make in your mindset, nutrition, and exercise routines. The good news is that, as a mom, you have a lot of influence on the environment within your home and your family. More likely than not, you make most of the decisions about what foods come into your house and what activities your family does. You can switch your weekly “movie and popcorn night” to “dance party in the living room night,” and you can choose to spend snow days with your kids sledding instead of baking (and eating) cookies. But you also need to look at who you’re spending time with, how you spend your free time, and how you entertain yourself. You have to make an effort to be part of a fit family and a fit community.


You’ve got to be eating healthy. People think that they can eat poorly if they work out enough – and most people find out the hard way that just isn’t true. I’ve seen so many people try this, but they all learn that their body’s not going to change that much by doing just the exercise portion. I want you to eat a good combination of whole foods, in small portions, 4-6 times a day. Planning ahead and starting a food journal will help a lot.

Strength training

This is what I’m all about as a trainer. I’m a big fan of strength training using heavy weights, and I’ve seen it work for hundreds of women to get into the best shape of their lives. Contrary to popular belief, running marathons or doing long-distance cardio doesn’t help your body to burn fat and keep it off. In fact, I believe that traditional cardio makes you fat. Obviously you have to build up to lifting heavy weights, and do it safely, but my program is all about pushing yourself to your max – which means leaving those five-pound dumbbells behind.

Burst training

I’m not a big fan of traditional, steady state cardio, where you raise your heart rate moderately for long periods of time. Burst training is much more effective and takes a lot less time. With burst training, you exercise at a very high intensity for a short duration – anywhere from ten seconds up to maybe a minute – and then you rest or go to a lower intensity to bring your heart rate back down. Then you bring it back up for that short duration again, and go back and forth for 10, 15, maybe 20 minutes. (You may have heard of “interval training” before. That’s a similar philosophy, but the transitions are more gradual. Burst training is more intense, and more effective.)

woman runner in a green forest.

So there you have it, the 5 pillars to guarantee success in fat loss and overall health. You might be able to see some success without all 5, but chances are it won’t last.

In the upcoming weeks I look forward to getting deeper into all 5 of these areas so you can live life to the fullest, have a sexy body that you are proud of, and have endless energy to keep up with your career, family, and friends.

If you want to start now, visit my website at dustinmaherfitness.com and download your FREE fat loss report, “How To Fit Into Your Skinny Jeans and Still Have Room Left Over.”

I am Dustin Maher, America’s Trainer to the Moms. I am a leading expert on getting moms in shape. I have appeared 88 times on local and national TV, appeared in many magazines and newspapers and been on over 25 radio shows. I have a blog (www.dustinmaherfitness.com) 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.

PLEASE NOTE: We at 5 Minutes for Mom are NOT health professionals, nor do we make any health or medical claims or advice here. Please consult your doctor about all medical issues and make sure you follow your doctor and health professional’s instructions regarding your health and diet.


  1. TracyS says


    Is the Burst Training effective for those of us that are insulin resistant? I am not diabetic, but I have PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome) which makes a person insulin resistant (pre-diabetic). I had some success a couple of years ago with eating better and just the straight cardio (walking) and lost about 25 lbs. ( went from no exercising to walking 3-5 days/week so I’m sure that’s why it was so effective at first) Unfortunately, I stalled out after about 6 months and about 10 lbs crept back up on me and nothing I do now seems to be effective. I was thinking I had to add more time to my walks/jogs, but quite frankly, it’s boring and really don’t have the time for a 1.5 hour walk.

    Would burst training be running full out for 30 seconds to a minute, then walking for a minute or two and continuing that pattern?

  2. says


    Great question. Assuming that your doctor has cleared you for exercise, burst training would be awesome for helping level out insulin levels. Yes you could run hard for 30 seconds and then rest for a minute and do between 6-15 sets of that.



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