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.

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