Benham Sims: For the Love of a Teacher

TCarrhe person who has had the most profound impact on my life was a teacher. He is now battling stage four cancer and so many students who were touched by him are reaching out.

I was terribly shy in High School, my parents marriage was breaking up, it remains an ugly and profoundly sad period of my life. I was an at risk kid, but I had a special teacher who encouraged me.

This is what I wrote on his Facebook page:

As I was driving to work, I was thinking of the many lessons I learned in your class. I finally realized that the most important gift a teacher can provide is not knowledge or even wisdom, it is confidence. In reading the many posts of former students, I was struck by the love and shared belief that you profoundly changed the course of our lives because of the confidence you instilled in each of us.

Mr Carr, I was a shy, insecure, teenager when I met you. Now at 54, I can attest that my life has been full. I graduated college and law school including winning the scholarship for outstanding oral advocate;), tried cases, saved lives, won awards, written laws, presided over, prosecuted, and defended thousands of cases, served as a Special Justice on the Kentucky Supreme Court, and attended two National Democratic Conventions. I am married to a special woman, and the father of two wonderful young men. I have great friends who I love beyond words and have work that gives my life meaning.

I may not have achieved all my dreams but if anyone would have told me when I started Riverview-this was my future-I would have laughed and then cowered in fear. From a terrified teen whose shaking hands caused the papers to rustle so loud that other kids looked away in embarrassment with my first speech to a lawyer who values inappropriate ties, cufflinks, loud socks, humor and kindness over all other human attributes.

Your teaching showed us what we could be…..if we but tried. The love flowing to you now is only surpassed by the realization of how many lives you forever altered. Ron we love you, for the most basic of reasons, you showed your love and faith in us first.

My most prized possession are his words in my yearbook….can you even imagine what kind of teacher-what kind of person he must be to write something this kind to a strYearbookuggling young man. It has been 35 years and it still chokes me up. To my beloved friend and teacher:
Ron Carr

John Y. Brown, III: How to Survive a Winter Storm

jyb_musingsHow to survive a major storm –and (maybe) find your inner hero

As we hunker down tonight for Kentucky’s Blizzard-Palooza, I am reminded of an even bigger storm I endured over 20 years ago and, as awful as it was, I actually remember in a weirdly endearing way.

I was a newlywed and recent law school grad and had just moved to Tamarac, Florida, to start a new job in Ft Lauderdale. I chose Tamarac because I was able to get a great deal on a condo rental and had rented it sight unseen.

As we drove into Tamarac we noticed it wasn’t the young hip town we had hoped it would be but was a retirement community. The first restaurants we saw were all buffet restaurants and each block was dotted with prosthetic stores. I admitted to Rebecca
I probably should have researched Tamarac better (this was pre-Internet days; there was such a time) but encouraged her to look on the bright side: it was a great deal, we wouldn’t have rowdy neighbors, and hey, it was Florida.

We found our pink pastel retirement condo, unpacked, picked up some toiletries, rented some movies at Blockbuster and got dressed-up and headed out for our first big date night in Florida.

We got home late and as we got ready for bed, Rebecca flipped on the television and yelled for me to come quickly.

“What is it?” I asked.

Rebecca pointed to the TV, “Look! They are warning that a major hurricane is coming tomorrow and saying we should evacuate”

“Nah.” I muttered reassuringly. “It’s Florida. They have hurricanes all the time. We’ll be fine.”

We turned off the TV went to bed and didn’t wake up until noon the next day.

We leisurely headed to grocery to stock our new home but noticed the grocery was busy–crazily busy– and much of the shelves had been cleared.

We bought a few items and headed home to find out more about this hurricane. It was called Hurricane Andrew.

I still wasn’t overly concerned. I’d been through hurricanes before. But Rebecca hadn’t and was getting worried.

I decided to snap into action as the strong protective husband I sensed my wife and our small shih-tzu dog, Julep, were yearning for me to be. Since the grocery stores had limited choices, I went to Miami Subs and bought half dozen sub sandwiches. I proudly
showed Rebecca how I’d outsmarted our bleak circumstances and made sure we wouldn’t be without food.

But instead of being relieved, Rebecca looked more nervous than before and told me she thought we should evacuate like everyone else. She had been watching the news and miles of streaming cars were south Florida in a mass exodus.

“Look,” I implored. “How many times will we get to say we lived through one of the worst storms in modern history —and survived it?” I paused. “Think about it.” I paused again. “This is an historic opportunity.”

It was my way of coping. I was trying to appear brave and considered Mother Nature throwing down the gauntlet to us. The movie Forrest Gump hadn’t been released yet but I was already channeling Lt Dan defiantly trying to take on a vicious storm on a sinking
shrimp boat. Of course, in my version, I wouldn’t be outside on a sinking ship but inside a air-conditioned pink condo eating a gourmet sub sandwich. But it’s the same basic idea.

As I jabbered on, I noticed fearful tears welling up in Rebecca’s eyes.

“What about Julep?” She asked. “What if we all die?”

I felt a lump welling in my throat and despite my brilliant sub sandwich maneuver, I was beginning to second guess the wisdom of my plan to stare down Hurricane Andrew.

We looked again at the TV and now it was eerily quite outside—the chilling calm before the storm.

Reporters were telling us the roads were now clear; that the city had been evacuated and those who stayed behind were hunkering down to brave the storm.

“Get the dog.” I said resignedly. “We’re leaving.”

Rebecca hugged and thanked me, got Julep and a change of clothes, and we hopped in the car and were off.

We had a clear shot —hardly any traffic –all the way to north Florida as we outran Hurricane Andrew. It was a bizarre consolation prize for our (my) foolhardy delay.

We were nearing the Georgia border and now were exhausted and ready to find a hotel room for the night. But tens of thousands of others had the exact same thought and started hours before us. Hotel after hotel told us they were full. About 5am we were
nearing Valdosta, GA and found a La Quinta Inn. There was a single room available someone had reserved but they hadn’t shown and the manager graciously gave it to us. We didn’t dare tell the manager about Julep in case they had a “no pet” policy. I tucked
Julep under my arm and smuggled her by the manager and she thankfully didn’t yelp.

The next day we took it easy and reflected on how grateful we were that we fled and were safe and dry in a nice hotel with electricity. We stayed a second night and the next morning I called UK law school to see if final grades had been posted. I called
from the phone in the hotel room (we didn’t have a cell phone; there was such a time) and gave the administrator my social security number while still on my knees, where I had just prayed fervently for good grades allowing me to graduate.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!” I yelled into a pillow to muffle the sound of my ecstatic scream when I received the merciful news I had graduated from law school.

As an aside, I have always had an affection for LaQuinta Inns ever since.

We decided it was time to head home to survey the damage and face the consequences. We pulled in just before nightfall and to our amazement our condo building hadn’t been hit at all. We even had electricity. We had remarkably been spared.

Other towns nearby, like Kendall and Homestead were nearly decimated. 25,000 homes were destroyed and 100,000 more damaged. Over a million homes were without electricity –many for weeks. 26 people died and property damage totaled over $26 billion. Hurricane
Andrew was the most destructive hurricane in American history.

We went inside and threw away the four extra sub sandwiches, unpacked and turned on the TV just as if nothing had happened since we turned it off two days earlier.

It’s truly amazing how quickly we can return to our petty normalcy even after just being spared major devastation.

A few days later I returned the movies we had rented from Blockbuster and was charged a late fee. I argued that Blockbuster should waive the late fee because the hurricane was an “Act of God” that caused me to flee the city for several days and return
the movies late. I tried explaining in a lawyerly fashion that these clauses were in all contracts and called a force majeure clause. The teenaged clerk looked at me like I was a babbling ass, which I was. But that didn’t stop me.

“Look, I’m a lawyer.” I explained. “Trust me. This is not something you want to fight me on.” I didn’t threaten to sue Blockbuster over the $2 late charge but tried to insinuate that was a distinct possibility.

The clerk told me he’d have to talk to his manager the next day but had to charge me the late fee for now. I shrugged and paid the late fee and strutted out of Blockbuster as dauntingly as I could in a T-shirt.

I probably hadn’t impressed my teen accuser, but told myself I had grown a lot the week of the storm. I was now a law grad and just had my first legal run-in over a movie rental late charge and, despite losing, had made some forceful legal points.

And, of course, I now was a fearless survivor of a major storm.

I got into my car and headed back to my pink pastel condo where I was sure my wife and shih tzu were waiting eagerly for their hero to return home.

Maybe tonight in Kentucky there are some young insecure newly married young men awaiting the avalanche of snow and fearful they won’t know how to handle it. Fear not. This may be the night you find your hero’s voice. Or maybe it won’t be and you’ll end
up like me with only a silly story about how you survived Kentucky’s winter storm in 2016. Either is fine as long as you are lucky enough to come out unscathed.

My advice? Do what they say on the news and don’t get hung up on ideas involving sub sandwiches. And most importantly, realize your wife really knows best and if you trust her instincts, you’ll both be fine — and she’ll still love you and pretend you’re
her hero.

And, finally, if you decide to pick a fight with a teenage clerk, don’t. Just pay and walk away. Trust me on this. I’m a lawyer, you know.

Good luck!

Josh Bowen: Movement is Medicine

joshIt is December. It is holiday time. The amount of stress increases exponentially. More people get sick with the cold or flu and their time decreases because of the demand of parties and social events. Instead of taking to over the counter pills or doctor prescriptions, what if you just moved? How can movement help in making you feel better?

Over the last 30 years, as Americans, we have been obsessed with medicine. From antibiotics to steroids and everything in between, we medicate our selves and quite honestly and quite simply we OVER medicate ourselves. We don’t move as much as our ancestors did, we get sicker more often, we carry more body fat and our stress levels seem like nuclear time bombs just waiting to go off. True, we live longer but in my opinion we don’t live as quality of lives as generations before us. We live on prescription and over the counter medications. And they are killing us.

I am not a doctor, I am not what you would call a “health professional.” I am person who specializes in fitness and movement and have watched first hand how movement can better people in the following areas; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and even sexually (get your mind out of the gutter, I have not witnessed that first hand but people have told me and I take their word for it, dammit.)

Lets define movement for a second. Movement defined as “the act of moving your body or a part of your body.” Now I will had a phrase to the end, “in a fashion that increases blood flow to the body’s tissues, decreases harmful inflammation and increases feel good hormones the body.” That is how we will define movement, anything where you move. Like weight training, walking, going up stairs, running (oh god), sport activities, playing with your kids etc. You get the point…MOVE!

So, can I ask you a question? Has anyone ever been to a doctor for something and instead of prescribing medication that doctor told you to “start moving?” That is not a shot at the medical professionals but I would dare to say that movement (as defined above) could treat and prevent many of the diseases that kill us. From diabetes to heart disease to certain cancers, movement has scientifically shown to decrease the death rate and improve a person’s well being.

You people who are reading this are smart. You are educated. You know what is important overall but what about during bouts of constant stress and anxiety or when you have a cold or infection. How does movement work then?

Activities to Consider When Sick

Walking
Swimming
Biking
Light weight training
Yoga
Light jog

Activities to Avoid

Heavy weight training
CrossFit style workouts or High Intensity Interval Training
Sprinting or running long distances
Exercise in extreme temperatures

How Exercise Affects Your Immune System
(One time exercise)

Brief Vigorous Exercise- no immune suppressing effect
Moderate Intensity Exercise 45-60 minutes- can boost your immune system
Prolonged Vigorous Exercise over 120 minutes- can decrease immune function causing you to get sicker

Long term moderate intensity resistance Training– stimulates innate immunity (natural immunity; white blood cells, mucous, stomach acid)
Chronic moderate exercise– strengthens adaptive immunity (acquired immunity; acquired white blood cells, vaccinations if any).

Textbook Guidelines to Exercises While Sick
(From Precision Nutrition)

To close this out here are a few tips

To Keep From Getting Sick

Eat organic food
Eat green vegetables
Drink a ton of water
Don’t eat crap
Lift weights
Move

Josh Bowen: Don’t Waste Time

joshTime vs. Money

Money.

Although important, money only buys things. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less.

Time.

The most unpredictable measurement of human existence. Why? Because you never know when it is going to end. Time is the most important currency in existence. Time allows you to create something that could, last forever. Money doesn’t do that. Time may no last long but time could have unlimited value. A dollar will always be a dollar.

The biggest excuse one can give is to say they don’t have time. When in fact, they are saying, “I don’t want to make time.” The point being, if it were important to you, you would make time.

If that relationship was important, you would make time

If working out were important, you would make time

If your health was important, you would make time

If it were important to you, you would make the time.

We all don’t have 24 hours in day. The concept of hours, minutes, seconds is man made. Something to organize your sleep and work schedules. It gives us a guide to lead our lives by but its not factual. YOU decide the measure of your time. Your decided how much you are willing to spend on a given item or task. You and you alone decide where to put your energy. Time is up to you. Are you using it wisely?

None of us are making it out of here alive. No you. Not me. The reality is, one day our time will be up. We will fade off into the distance and only be memorialized by the people we leave behind and the value we added to the universe. How would you like to be remembered? Are creating something that will last forever?

Here are a few ways to use your time better:

Stop Wasting Time

Don’t waste your time. Don’t waste other’s time. Many of us that say we don’t have time, waste more time than we are given. Is that you? Do you waste your time on pointless activities? Do you waste time on toxic relationships? Do you waste time by eating poorly and drinking substances that ultimately reduce the amount of time you have? Start with your why. Why do you exist? Why are you on this earth and what are you here to do? What is your passion? You must answer these questions and go back to them daily in order to use the time you have better.

Do Less

Reality check. Some of the things we do are pointless. These activities keep us from being able to do the things we really would like to. Simplify your life by getting rid of the things, activities and even people who are distracting and not contributing to our mission.

Stop Thinking

You think WAY too much and don’t do enough. On a daily basis I repeat the following to my clients, “don’t think, just do.” We spend wasteful time thinking about what we are going to do next, instead of taking action on what we want. You don’t have forever, so stop thinking so damn much.

Know How Little Time You Have

On average, each day, you will spend time doing the following:

7.6 hours sleeping
8.8 hours working
1.1 hours eating
1.1 hours doing chores

Leaving you with 5.5 hours to do with as you choose. Add in an hour to work out and you don’t have very much time. Compound this over a life time and it gets really bad. You must make the time you have count. Make the time to do the things that set your soul on fire and help you follow your passion. At the end, you will be glad you did.

Time is our most precious commodity. It is also our most unpredictable. It can be over in a split second. Let your why lead you.

Oh and PS… stop wasting time!

Josh Bowen: How do you lose body fat? 5 strategies you must start

joshThe battle of body fat can be a slobber knocker. The amount of misinformation is appalling. The amount of self proclaimed “fitness professionals” is even worse. This leads to a lot of information out there and hardly an ounce of it is credible. Thousands of diets, workout plans, calorie counting etc., are common ideas thrown around the world for people who are trying to lose weight or more importantly, body fat. Have you ever wondered why big tasks broken down to simple strategies, performed daily in the exact way, often leads to success? Somewhat like the assembly line that lead to more efficiency in car building and other industries. No? Well I have and I know the secret to losing weight and fat and I will share here. And surprise surprise, its not rocket science and it sure as hell isn’t a secret and everyone could do it, if they wanted it bad enough. Got your attention? Good…here we go:
Weight Loss vs Fat Loss
Are they the same? No. If you are continually weighing yourself, you are wasting your time. Weight loss does not equate to an effective, healthy program. So what you lost 5lbs, its pretty easy, just drink a lot of water and call it a day. Worry more about your composition, what your body is composed of not he actual number it says on a scale. Its literally irrelevant. Point being, focus on fat loss and throw your damn scale away…nobody cares! To go deeper, check this article I wrote about stopping the process of weighing yourself http://eepurl.com/bcqeDv
Alcohol
Stop drinking it. Stop drinking it. Stop drinking it. I cannot stress this enough. If you want to change your physique, you have to at least cut back, if not take it out completely. I promise you, you will thank me someday. It is making you fatter, consume more calories, and when you drink too much you act weird in public. Drink water instead. Simple enough. For more on this check out this article I wrote about alcohol and working out http://eepurl.com/2aaSz
Weights over Cardio
For the love of God, stop running. Please stop it. It tears your body down, makes you completely inefficient at burning fat and you run your muscles off. Push a sled, do some farmers walks, or get on the rower or bike but stop running. Lift. Weights. Please! For more on this topic click this link http://eepurl.com/bglMZP
Sleep
Quite possibly your best fat burner. Those who get less sleep, tend to have higher body fat percentages. Moral of the story…sleep more.
Nutrients and Calories
You’re not fat because you are consuming too many calories, you are fat because the calories you do consume are not nutritious and have no value…period. McDonalds has no nutritional value whatsoever. Your body looks at it as foreign and doesn’t know what to do with it. Lean proteins and fruits and veggies, it knows how to process and how to use the energy. Look at your labels, if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. In fact reduce the amount of foods you eat that have labels. It will come off easier that way. I go into more detail on this article http://eepurl.com/bwPvun
To effectively lose body fat, you need a plan, you need strategies and you need to be consistent. At Aspire Fitness we offer specific nutritional plans for a variety of preferences and lifestyles. Each program is consistently designed for the client and their needs and wants. Check out one of our nutrition clients and their 2 month check up:
3 lbs 3% bodyfat 1 inch off chest 1 inch off shoulders  2 1/2 inches off arms 2 inches off waist 1 inch of thighs 2 inches off hips  Total of 9 1/2 inches lost in roughly 2 months of work.

She worked out with weights, got plenty of sleep and ate a balanced nutritional plan. With our custom nutritional plans we can specifically work with you on portion control, focus on macronutrients and get results.

Josh Bowen: Stop Proving Yourself to Everyone Else

“If you find yourself constantly trying to prove your worth to someone, you have already forgotten your value.”

joshI have heard it a thousand times. I have seen it just as many. Being honest with you, I have done it too (more on that later). The attempt of proving yourself to someone or multiple people is common, especially for people who want to please others. And lets be honest here, even the most stubborn and rogue of us have people we want to please. We find the need to try to “fit in” or be somebody we are not just to get an anticipated reaction from someone we care about or are interested in. The practice of constantly proving ourselves to others is futile, destructive and a waste of time. The only person you need to prove anything to is you. No one else matters. Not your husband, not your boyfriend, not your boss, not your best friend, not even your parents…just you.

Personal story time. 

At several points in my life, I was on this self destructive path. While not as detrimental as other’s stories, it was abnormal for me to focus on being something I wasn’t to be liked by someone, who at the time, mattered. About five years ago, in the midst of running up and down the road traveling from city to city, I miraculously found a girlfriend. It was a very strange relationship with a lot of ins and outs that don’t matter for this topic but I found myself constantly having to live up to a standard that was foreign to me. Essentially, I was living up to a physique that I never worried about before. Just like when women try to get in shape to be more attractive to men, I found myself killing myself to be leaner and more athletic than I ever had before. Without her knowing, I was trying to compete with boyfriends of the past who were ripped out of their minds.  I was trying to be something I wasn’t and honestly never wanted to be, just so I guess she liked me more. This obviously was a waste of time. But the result was awful. I completely altered my diet and my workouts, going completely off what I normally did. I would drink protein shakes, eat tuna and rice cakes and do a bunch of CrossFit style workouts and then cardio (I have never done cardio since).

As you can imagine, I bottomed out physique wise. I did a lot of cardio, ate very little, and lost my damn muscles and myself. All to try to impress a girl. What a waste huh? Here is the result of all my hard work:

I weighed 175lbs on the day that was taken. I had not weighed that amount since I was 19 years old. I had lost myself trying to prove something to someone, who at the end of the day didn’t care much about me anyway. So what was the point? There wasn’t one. After, I got out of that mess I put the weight back on and now I am at a comfortable 200 lbs.

This happens all the time. People will chose the job their parents want versus the job that they want. Women will starve themselves to look more attractive to their significant others. Men will do whatever it takes to impress a girl that they like no matter how much it deviates from who they are. Stop this process! it is unhealthy and will not get you anywhere. Here is why..

The people worth impressing just want you to be you

If it matters to you, it should matter to them. If it doesn’t they aren’t worth your time. I believe you only have a few close friends, everyone else will go in and out of your life serving some purpose and then leaving. You being you should matter to the people who love you the most. If the guy you are dating can’t accept you for who you are, dump his ass. Same goes for the guys too.

Only you know whats best for you

Everyone will give you advice. However, they don’t have to live in your skin. You know whats best for you. Act like it. Let others take you as you are, or not at all.

F*** society

Society’s message to us leaves a lot to be desired. To be honest, its evil. Magazine photos are photoshopped to create an unrealistic perception of what a woman should look like and even what a man should look like. Its unfair to our psyche to expect us to look and be like something that isn’t real to begin with. Let go of this, be yourself and be who you are.

You can’t please everyone

Its impossible to please everyone. So why try? You end up not pleasing the person you should be pleasing in the first place…YOU.

When we embrace our authentic selves, we open ourselves up to real relationships, real happiness and real success. Your time is NOW!

Josh Bowen: Are Carbs the Enemy?

The barbell version of the Russian Twist
Aspire Fitness is proud to present a 24 Hour workout-a-thon called Sweat4Surgeries on January 29-30 with all proceeds going to Surgery on Sunday. I will be training for 24 straight hours with no stopping. Join us!

Are Carbs the Enemy?

To over simplify the destruction of the American diet by saying any one thing is the culprit, is in fact a problem. No one “thing” is the problem and the reason so many are overweight and out of shape. Yes, our nutrition is an issue, but quantifying it by labeling carbs or fats as the sole issue is a gross generalization. Carbs are no the enemy and in many cases can be very helpful for muscle growth, energy levels and nutrients we need. The type of carbohydrates matters more than anything. Lets discuss.

What is a carbohydrate?

Carbs are organic molecules classified according to their structure, simple and complex. A simple carb are smaller, more easily processed molecules known as mono and disaccharides since they contain one sugar molecule or two molecules linked together. Complex carbs are polysaccharides since they contain more than two sugar molecules linked together. Example of a simple carbohydrate would be processed sugar, example of a complex carbohydrate would be legumes, vegetables, anything high in fiber.

Everything is digested as a simple carb no matter what it is. It is just that “healthier” carbs are digested slower than sugar. This digestion can be dependent on several things however:

1. Enzyme action in the gut or mouth
2. Fiber and fat slow digestion so coupling foods can decrease the digestion rate
3. Our perception of the sweetness of the food

The digestion rate is important because the cause of Type II diabetes is due to a constant uptake of insulin due to high blood sugar. The receptors get tired of receiving insulin and quit working, driving your blood sugar up and causing diabetes. This is why it is important to have at least 35 grams of fiber in your diet to help slow the insulin rate. The best fiber will come from vegetables. For more on your digestion and how it works click this link http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=faq&dbid=16#digestion

What is up with low carb diets?

Low carb diets became popular via the Atkins and Paleo diet. For the most part, one would eat high protein and fat and very low carbs, carbs only coming from vegetables. Will this work? Short term yes but nutrients will always out trump calories or source of calories. If you are some one who works out regularly, going low carb for a long period of time may hurt you rather than help you.

What is wrong with restricting carbs long term?
(from John Berardi at Precision Nutrition)

1. sluggish metabolism: when carb intake is low T3 cannot be converted to T4 through your liver thus slowing your thyroid function, stalling your metabolism
2. lower levels of muscle/strength building hormones: Cortisol goes up and testosterone will go down
3. higher levels of stress hormones: Cortisol, that bastard stress hormone is increased when carb intake is low
4. weight loss will stall: refer to #1. If your thyroid sucks so will your weight loss

We needs carbs

Carbohydrate intake is dependent on: your activity level, carb source, goals, and genetics. The more active you are the more carbohydrates you need. If you goal is to build muscle and thus lose fat, low carbohydrate intake is not going to get it done. The type of carb source (more on that in a minute) matters as well. Your genetics will always override everything, some people tolerate more carbs than others.

Portion Sizes

Here is a great illustration of portion sizes to keep everything in check and it is extremely easy to apply to you:

For Women

For Men


Use this as your guide to have a healthy portion of of all the macronutrients without having to count calories.

A few people do best with low carb diets

1. People with neurological disorders; epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
2. Very sedentary people. The less active you are the less you need carbohydrates

Use this as your guide to eat carbs

Any time meal

Post workout meal

To summarize the carb myth, it is important to realize what you are putting into your body and WHEN you are taking it in. Anything can be done in the short term and reveal results, however long term is much more important and these are tried and true strategies.

Josh Bowen: What Does Your Poop Say About You?

As part of my 30 day squat challenge, I am trying a few different ways to squat. Check this out.
On Thanksgiving morning, Aspire Fitness will be hosting their 2nd annual Turkey Burn workout from 8-9am at Aspire Fitness, 130 W Tiverton Way Suite 125. This workout will get your metabolism cranking before you head to the Thanksgiving table. The entry fee is $10 and will be donated, 100%, to Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and organization that does photography for families who have lost their children at birth. The money will be donated in the name of Joseph Webb DeMoss. Hope to see you there!

Are you full of s**t?

I hope not because that would be unfortunate. But as odd of a topic as your own poop may be, its very important to your health. What you put in your body reflects what you put out. If you eat sh*t you will feel like sh*t. As I dive deeper into my own health and trying to find clues as to why things are the way that they are, I have been reading more on the gastrointestinal tract and how it is the key to our longevity. If you GI tract isn’t healthy, you aren’t healthy. That health is dependent on your eating habits more so than anything. Unless acted upon by disease (which could be nutrition related and often times is) the foods we eat can either make us stronger or be slowly killing us. Your poop and pee will tell a lot about us and unfortunately we are too embarrassed to talk about it.

But being the brash person I am and someone who wants to educate the masses, I want to talk about things poop related. Looking in the toilet after you take a “William Shatner” may give you heads up on your health or lack there of. So lets begin.

A famous quote by a guy I have never heard of states, “everyone poops.” And he would be correct. The equation is simple; you eat and then you shit. Easy enough right? Well not so fast.

How is food digested?

For a short and concise step by step on how your food gets to your colon check out this link http://www.mydr.com.au/gastrointestinal-health/how-your-food-is-digested

The 4 S’s

Once your food is eaten it has to travel 30 feet of the intestinal tract to get to the point of excretion. From there, once you hit the “john” you can base your findings on the four S’s” size, shape, smell, and shade. These four will tell you more about your health and are more consistent than nearly any thing outside of a blood test. Your poop tells you how healthy you are.

Colors

When evaluating the situation, check out the color/shade to find out an underlying issue.

Brown- normal
Red- lower GI bleeding, beets
Green- undigested bile, Crohn’s disease, Antibiotics, green leafy veggies
Yellow- gallbladder problems, parasite
White- antacids, liver disease, pancreatic disorder
Black- upper GI bleeding, iron supplements, meat, Pepto (learned that the hard way, no pun intended)

Shape/Size/Smell

Little lumps- it is staying in the intestines too long, so water is being reabsorbed. A lack of dietary fiber.
Too liquid- it is moving through the intestines too quickly so water is not being reabsorbed due to an increase in fiber, a cleanse or infection.
Pencil thin- a mass in the colon could be restricting the stool. Could be an indicator for colon cancer or polyps.
Floats and stinks- body is not absorbing fats. Could be the result of a malabsorption condition, weight loss drugs or Olestra.
Hard and dry- it is staying in your intestines too long, so water is being reabsorbed. Could be due to dehydration, constipation or medications
Non-existent- a sign of disease is not going at all. Your body will become toxic because it cannot excrete it’s waste. Drinking water and increasing your plant fiber will help in making you become regular.A few facts

1. During the course of a lifetime a person will do #2 to account for 9,000 lbs.
2. A healthy turd should look like a torpedo
3. Artificial sweeteners are not recognized by the human body and thus not absorbed, so they pull water into the intestines leading to loose stool
4. Poop is made up of 75% water and the rest a combo of fiber, dead and live bacteria, and mucus
5. Normal is relative: different cultures go more or less depending on location. South Asians go three times more often than British people due to the higher fiber count. Once a day is common for Americans
6. Diarrhea is your stool on speed. It should take 24 to 72 hours for your food to become fully digested and to move on to be excreted. Diarrhea passes all those steps.
7. Poop should sink. Floating stool is cause for concern and meaning you are not absorbing the fat content of your diet.

I realize this may have been uncomfortable to read but it is also a very important topic. Your poo could give you clues as to how healthy or unhealthy you are. Pay attention to signs. I leave you with this funny..

Josh Bowen: The Cholesterol Myth

joshHere are a few statistics for you to wrap your head around:
1. Heart Disease is the #1 killer of all Americans 35 and older 2. 2700 people die daily from heart disease, thats almost 1 million a year 3. in 2010 it cost Americans $108.9 billion in services, medication and lost wages 4. 1 in every 6 adults has high cholesterol as defined as higher than 240 mg/dl total cholesterol  5. From 2002 to 2012 the percentage of people using statin drugs (cholesterol meds) is up from 20 to 28%. 6. Heart disease continues to climb every year even though statin medication has climbed as well 7. CEO of Pfizer (the company that makes Lipitor) makes $87,500 per day or $21 million per year. He needs you to take your medication.
Cholesterol is a funny thing to me. All of our panic and focus to put people on (potentially) harmful drugs came from research done 50 years ago. One study essentiality spurred  the increase of statin drugs being prescribed to millions of Americans each year. Is it necessary? Does cholesterol cause heart disease? What causes high cholesterol? All very good questions.
What is cholesterol? 
It is a waxy, fat like substance found in all cells of the body. It helps make many hormones, Vitamin D and and substances that help digest food. There is HDL and LDL cholesterol. HDL is looked at as good cholesterol because it carries part of cholesterol to your liver and your liver disposes of it. LDL is looked at as bad cholesterol because it supposedly builds up in your arteries. This is the reason doctors focus on increasing HDL and lowering LDL.
What causes high cholesterol?
Years ago it was thought that fatty foods clogged your arteries and would give you a heart attack. This is the reason for the 1980’s “low fat” craze. This low fat obsession also led to a dramatic increase in obesity and heart attacks and strokes. Go figure. Now we know that it isn’t necessarily the high fat content of your diet that causes high cholesterol but rather the amount of processed sugar that is driving the numbers up. Eggs and meat are not contributing to the problem as much as donuts and cake. Period.
How Dangerous are Stain Drugs?
Here are a few:
1. Statin drugs interfere with the production of CoQ 10 which supports the bodies immune system, maintains normal blood pressure, boosts cardiac and skeletal muscle health 2. Inhibits Omega 3 fatty acids from the metabolism of Omega 6 fatty acids. Causing increased inflammation and increasing insulin resistance leading to diabetes 3. Negates the bodies ability to make cholesterol, which is essential for brain health 4. Causes excessive muscle damage and soreness 5. Studies have shown that statin use increasings calorie consumption by 9% 6. Speeds aging and lowers sex drive 7. Causes liver damage
Is it worth it? In my opinion, no.
Does Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease?
(excerpt from “The People’s Chemist”)

Searching for a correlation between cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis is as simple as looking at the arteries of dead people.  This search began in the early 1960s.   In 1961, researchers Mathur and colleagues studied the levels of cholesterol and the degree of atherosclerosis seen at autopsy within the arteries of 20 deceased patients as well as 200 more cases selected from medical libraries. All cholesterol levels were taken within 16 hours of death. No correlation could be observed between these patients’ blood cholesterol levels and the amount or severity of “atherosclerotic plaque” within the arteries.  Cholesterol levels, whether high or low, had no impact on the growth of atherosclerotic plaque – the major cause of heart disease. In 1962, The American Heart Journal published the research of Dr. Marek and colleagues who also searched for a correlation between cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. Among 106 cases studied, the level of cholesterol did not affect atherosclerotic changes in plaque.  His results matched others that were conducted by the same methods, in the same laboratory, and in the same populations.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that at autopsy, postmortem patients who died suddenly showed no correlation between total cholesterol levels and atherosclerosis. Researchers Jose Mendez, Ph.D., and co-workers point out that their findings agree with previous studies. Notably, they cited researchers Lande and Sperry, who as early as 1936 also failed to find a correlation between cholesterol levels and atherosclerotic plaque. These studies shake the foundation of the current medical model for treating or preventing heart disease.
Let’s go ahead and hammer the nail into the cholesterol myth coffin. If it is true that the risk of heart disease rises as blood cholesterol rises, then we should see elevated total cholesterol among those who die early from heart attack. This, too, has not been the case. Specifically, half of all heart attacks and strokes occur in persons without elevated levels of cholesterol.
Let’s cover the coffin with a layer of cement. If cholesterol caused atherosclerosis; then we would find atherosclerosis throughout the estimated 100,000 miles of adult blood vessels (arteries, veins and capillaries) within the body through which cholesterol travels. Yet 90% of the time when atherosclerosis is found in the coronary arteries the rest of the arteries remain unharmed by cholesterol.

Josh Bowen: Head Trash — You vs. You

“So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains and we never even knew we had the key.”

joshStrong lyric from The Eagles “Already Gone,” but it pretty much sums up the topic for today’s entry. I have written about it countless times and you may be tired of hearing it but its the beyond the truth, we are our own worst enemy. You are. I am. We all are. The eight inches between your ears will derail you faster than any opposing person could. It’s not your talent or lack thereof. It’s not your readiness for change. It’s not your background or where you grew up. It’s not where you went to school or where you didn’t. It’s you. It’s your thoughts. It’s what you tell yourself, secretively, where no one else can hear. Outwardly, you may be confident but inside you are telling yourself, “you can’t do it.’ As my mentor, Todd Durkin calls it “head trash.”

If you buy into psychology, which I do, you will remember something called “Self Fulfilling Prophecy.” This simply means that if you think it, it happens. For example; if I constantly tell myself that I am fat, every time I look in the mirror that is what I am going to see. Your mind is stronger than anything else. You literally can think yourself into believing anything. Often times this works against us more than it helps us. We get in our own head, believing that we aren’t good enough for something and of course the result is exactly what we thought. If we could flip it and get rid of the shit between our ears, imagine what could be possible? There literally would be no limits.

Everyone on this earth goes through this. Self doubt, negative thoughts, past mishaps, broken relationships, death, disease and all points in between cause our head trash. It sits there in our mind, camping out on your brain just laughing at you because it knows it has you beat. It toys with you. It baits you into believing it’s bullshit. And whether you believe it or not sometimes you like it. It keeps you from responsibility. It is the easy way out to not face your fears or you past heartache. Its easy to wallow in your own self-pity. Its easy to be mediocre. But this isn’t what life is about and its sure as hell not what you want. This head trash has you in hand cuffs but you can break free. You can shut the door on negative thoughts and open yourself up to positive ones. You can, if you want too.

Take the damn trash out! Here is how..

Make a List

On several occasions, I have had clients write a list of what they like about themselves. It is easy to pinpoint the flaws but what do you like about yourself. What makes you happy? What components of your day get you excited or are aspects you love? Let’s start here first. Then make a list of what makes you happy and a separate list of what you do everyday. Compare the lists. Do everything on that list that makes you happy and throw the rest in the trash. Positive thoughts make for positive realities.

Say Goodbye to Toxic Relationships

Lets be real here, if you are around positive people you will be more positive, if you are around negative people, you will be negative. Period. It is that simple. In times of life crisis you need positive energy. If the people you surround yourself with are negative, they have to go. They are making you worse. They are feeding into that little monster in your head who is camped out telling you that you are not worthy. I would be willing to bet that this reason carries nearly all the head trash in our minds. Kick that shit to the curb.

What People Think of You is None of Your Business

Sorry for the language but I come from a good place when I say, “F**K what people think.” This has just as much to do with your thoughts that anything. “What will we they think about?” “How will people react?” Who cares. Don’t fall into the mental tug-o-war over who thinks what about you. They aren’t you. They don’t walk in your shoes. What they think does not matter. What you think does. The less you care what people think about you the better you life will be and the less head trash you will have.

Thought + Decision = Behavior. Change the thought, change the behavior. Say goodbye to negative thoughts. Say goodbye the heartache that sits on your mind. Say goodbye to the self doubt that consumes you. Say hello to being your absolute best.

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