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Marty Auchter was your average overweight, under-exercised, cigarette smoking, visit-the-bar-a-bit-too-often type of guy. The Cedarburg resident had been too busy over the years ó college, a law degree from Marquette University, the tax director position at Sargento Foods ó to notice.

That was, until an elk hunting trip placed a giant magnifying glass on his health.

"I went on an elk hunting trip in Colorado and was huffing and puffing the whole time," Auchter says. "I was always far behind the last guy. I was smoking at the time and clearly out of shape and I thought, ĎIíve got to do something about it. I need to be in the proper physical condition if I want to be able to get out and enjoy hunting.í"

The day after he returned, Auchter quit smoking. Two weeks later, he joined Form & Fitness gym, even though he never really considered himself a "gym type of guy."

Itís been three years since Auchterís epiphany and he couldnít be happier ó or healthier. The 39-year-old is 25 pounds slimmer, stronger and has completed a triathlon, numerous 5K and 10K runs and this year, a half-marathon. He is already scheming for 2010: a marathon.

Starting an exercise routine is only half of the battle. Sticking to it is another hurdle altogether. Auchter set challenges to stay focused. His first goal was get in shape to be able to enjoy hunting. Later, he set his sights on completing a triathlon. Auchter also changes his workout routine every month to keep it interesting. In summer, Auchter takes his cardio workout outside.

The workouts helped, but it was a change in diet that led to most of Auchterís weight loss. He enrolled in a 16-week nutrition class at his gym, where healthy habits were reinforced and new information was passed along. Auchter, who once maintained a six- to eight-can-a-day soda habit, now only adds the sugary substance to the occasional alcoholic beverage.

Auchter is a busy guy, and one who can work long hours. Dinner had always been a challenge for the tax attorney and oftentimes fast food was how he ended his day. These days, Auchter prepares his meals in advance. He will cook up a chicken on a Sunday and then use it for a variety of meals throughout the week.

"If I know I can be eating within 10 minutes of getting home, I am not tempted to pick up fast food," he says.

Itís not about a dramatic weight loss or taking on some impossible goal, Auchter says. Instead the fitter average Joe believes the path to success is to focus on something in your life you wish you could be doing better.

"Maybe itís keeping up with your kids or grandkids," he says. "Or maybe you want to be better at your hobby. Whatever it is, thatís where the motivation to get into shape begins."