Josh Bowen: Body Image

bowenLast night I had the pleasure of seeing my little brother tie the knot with his beautiful bride. These are moments that you never forget and no matter how “tough” you are, will always bring a smile to your face. These are the times in life you just need to “smell the roses” so to speak to enjoy the moment and live in the moment. A great feeling from yesterday, for sure. Now onto the task at hand..

I was in an airport recently and I went to the magazine stand to look for some reading material. There were dozens of different magazines covering subject’s matters from money to parenting to exercise. However, I started to see a trend that did not set well with me. It seemed like every magazine cover was obsessed with physical characteristics highlighted by “Ripped Abs in 30 days” “Lose 30 LBS without Dieting” or my favorite, “Reduce Your Belly Fat by Eating this Fruit.” If that isn’t bad enough, the covers of these magazines make things worse. On the “Muscle Mags” you have an Incredible Hulk like figure with muscles in places most people don’t have places. On the other side of the coin the magazines aimed at women have relatively thin, almost emaciated cover models. What is going on here? What is the “media” trying to tell our society?

Now, I have no issue with the people on the covers of these magazines, they are in great shape (in most cases) and it’s their job to look like that. I myself have trained; physique athletes, a Miss America contestant and other “body conscious” athletes. I have no issue in competing in something that judges your body in some way. What I do have issue with is the projected image of what is beautiful and in shape. It is unrealistic for the average person that picks up one of these magazines and expects to look like these people. Most of these individuals have been athletes all their life, have put in the hard work to look the way they do and have a great genetic profile. Should that stop them from trying? No! But should it convince them that because they saw this on a magazine cover that they are inadequate if they don’t look this way? Our society’s opinion on what is acceptable, beautiful and realistic is warped.

I am by no means a small man; I am 5’11 and 200 lbs with relatively low body fat. By most standards, I am a bodybuilder (I do not compete). I was blessed with somewhat decent genetics but how can I expect to look like these individuals in these magazines? I cannot. This public opinion has caused people to go on a quest of something unrealistic and causing people to forget about what’s important; overall physical and mental health. Our self-image has become distorted because of what we see and what has been projected as acceptable. This happens to both women and men. Referring to women, it is unhealthy to look like a stick and have no muscle tone. Quite frankly it is more attractive to have muscles and maybe, just maybe a little body fat. This is just my opinion.

The reality of it is its OK to have a little body fat and have a little extra weight to lose. I cannot tell you how many times a client has brought in a picture of a Victoria’s Secret model and said, “I want to look like this.” My reply is, “No you don’t.” The perception of what is attractive and what is beautiful is altered by what we are shown everyday. We have a generation of young girls striving to be “skinny” and an age group of young boys wanting to be the largest my ripped person on earth. This is not healthy.

My conclusion is this; I am not attacking exercise related magazines, model related ads. movies with buffed up actors or actresses or the individuals in them. They work hard for their bodies but to expect to look like them for most people is unrealistic, de-motivating and in some cases doesn’t look good anyway. So from me to you, love who you are, continue to work out hard and use good nutritional tactics. Keep working towards your goals but don’t be discouraged by these “perfect” cover models. Love who you are, continue to challenge yourself and love your body.

Josh Bowen: 5 Things to Start Doing

joshIf I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times, fitness impacts everything about ourselves. From personal relationships to our jobs to our self confidence in ourselves, working out actually enhances ourselves to be better at many things. BUT life is busy and often times other people take priority over ourselves. Our spouses, our friends and family and our jobs take precedent over our own needs. It is a huge dichotomy over what we need to do and what we want to do.

I train people all day. I often think about my clients needs before I think of my own. For example my toe. I have a staph infection and for 10 days refused to do anything about it for fear I would miss a session or something would be off. Thankfully, I was able to squeeze into an appointment between clients and all was great. However, my unwillingness to take care of myself could of caused a big problem.

I also focus a ton on my client’s mental and emotional well being. This is important to me because if the mind is cleared and focused anything physically will be a piece of cake. I often find that people do not do a good job of taking care of their selves in one manner or another. So I compiled a list of 5 things that you should start doing for yourself to make life a littler easier and a lot more enjoyable:

Start Spending Time with the Right People

These are the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy and exciting ways.  They are the ones who make you feel more alive, and not only embrace who you are now, but also embrace and embody who you want to be, unconditionally. If someone does not do any of the above, think about the relationship you have with them and what can be done to improve it or eliminate it.

Start Appreciating What you Have

It is easy to look at what other people have and become envious. It is also natural. However, when it becomes a battle internally on why someone has something you do not and then you take it a step further and continue to beat yourself up for it, this becomes a vicious cycle. I challenge you to look around you and see all the things that you do have and just how special they are to your life. Worrying about what you do not have is a waste of time.

Start Giving your Dreams a Chance

In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.  You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.  Most of the time you just have to go for it!  And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.  Either you succeed or you learn something.  Win-Win. Fear nothing, achieve everything.

Start Accepting Things When They are Less Than Perfect

Remember, ‘perfect’ is the enemy of ‘good.’  One of the biggest challenges for people who want to improve themselves and improve the world is learning to accept things as they are.  Sometimes it’s better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal.  No, you shouldn’t accept a life of mediocrity, but learn to love and value things when they are less than perfect.

Start Concentrating on Things You Can Control

You can not control what happens to you but you can control how you handle it. Concentrating on things you cannot control is the biggest waste of worry and energy. When you start to worry, ask yourself “what can I control?” If the answer is nothing then there is no reason to worry about it. Give yourself the credit you deserve by concentrating on things you CAN control. Life will be much simpler then.

Life is hard and will beat you to your knees if you let it. However, how we handle ourselves defines how we handle life. By implementing the above you can take your happiness and life to the next level, which will only help you fitness goals.

Josh Bowen: 30 Day Aspire Challenge

joshI have spent every morning drive to work, evening drive home and workouts listening to a variety of motivational videos on YouTube.

I feel these videos give me the juice I need to start and finish my day, plus have a great workout. I listen to the prophetic one liners that grab my attention like no other. The powerful statements that resonate in my brain and soul to keep pushing and working hard.

The best videos will be centered around the “why.” The why is most important driving force in any attempt to capture your dreams. As I explained last time, my why was the relationship I have with people and the ability for me to make an impact on them.

I use fitness to do that. Others use other methods to do the same. Everyone’s “why” is different. It is unique. It says a lot about the person and who they are, not what they do.  Now lets cut to the chase. Motivation, inspiration and accountability are all things I can offer anyone, client or not.

Today, I would like to throw down a challenge for anyone who is willing and able to accept it. We will call it the 30 Day Aspire Challenge or #aspire30 for short. This challenge is meant to keep us all accountable to improving ourselves. It will also keep you motivated and accountable before the holiday season is upon us.

The Rules

Number 1- if you decide to take this challenge you need to find one thing (only one) to focus on improving or taking action on for 30 days. This could be increasing the number of workouts you do per week or cut out all processed sugar. reading two books or eat at least three meals a day. It has be something that can be measured and it needs to be specific. Eat better is not a specific goal, eating at least two servings of green vegetables per day is. Figure out the goal and take action on it starting tomorrow.

Number 2- To hold yourselves accountable and to create a buzz, I challenge you to use the hash tag #aspire30 for everything social media post you make related to your goal. If you don’t do social media that is fine, shoot me an email or text to let me know if you want a little extra accountability.

Number 3- This should be fun. Have fun with it and see what happens in your life. I guarantee there will be a difference in your world if you just focus on one thing for the next 30 days. My challenge to myself to read 2 books; Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last both by Simon Sinek. I am a slow read so getting these read in 30 days will be a challenge but a challenge I am ready for.

So who is in??? See you on the other side.

Josh Bowen: Eat This, Not That

joshScenario..

It is January. You are out at night holiday shopping with your kids. It is cold and you are starving. You worked all day and rushed home to pick up the kids so you could go shopping. Traffic is awful. It is 9 pm at night and you have not eaten since your noon lunch break. You have screaming, hungry kids. You do not have protein powder because you left it at home and there is no where to get a Quest bar. What do you do?

The above happens all the time. It has happened to me (minus the kids) and I am sure it has happened to all of you. The options are stop somewhere and eat or not eat at all. I do not believe in starving yourself just because you forgot to prepare orange roughy and green beans. You need to eat. You also need something fast. Therefore you may need to stop at a “fast food” restaurant.

Now before I go any further, this newsletter needs to come with a disclaimer. I am not advocating eating fast food on a regular basis, nor am I encouraging anyone to eat food that could be classified as “non food.” If at all possible we should prepare our own food and eat organic products. However, I understand this is not practical all the time (as my lovely client likes to tell me). So…I have compiled a list of better options to eat at several popular fast food joints if you had to eat there. So lets start with some rules on fast food dining:

Rule 1: Be cautious of condiments

Some fast food restaurants add a lot of fat and excess calories to their foods via condiments. Say no to the mayo and ranch.

Rule 2: Do You Want Fries With That? No!

Beware of anything that is fried like onion rings and french fries. Substitute fruit or a salad if at all possible.

Rule 3: No Liquid Calories

Say no the regular coke and sprite. At least order a diet coke (not advocating just saying) or even better a bottle of water.

Side note: Chicken Nuggets are never made out of chicken…At McDonald’s it takes 38 ingredients to make 1. Food for thought.

So now what? What can I eat if I absolutely need to eat something and fast food is my only choice? Here is a list of “better” alternatives at popular fast food restaurants (again refer to the PSA above):

Chick-fil-A Chargrilled Chicken Sandwich

  • 270 calories
  • 3.5 grams fat
  • 1 gram saturated fat
  • 65 mg cholesterol
  • 940 mg sodium
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 33 grams carbohydrate
  • 28 grams protein

 

Wendy’s Ultimate Grill Sandwich

  • 320 calories
  • 7 grams fat
  • 1.5 grams saturated fat
  • 70 mg cholesterol
  • 950 mg sodium
  • 2 grams fiber
  • 36 grams carbohydrate
  • 28 grams protein

Taco Bell Fresco Style Bean Burrito

  • 330 calories
  • 7 grams fat
  • 2.5 grams saturated fat
  • 0 mg cholesterol
  • 1,200 mg sodium
  • 9 grams fiber
  • 54 grams carbohydrate
  • 12 grams protein 

McDonalds Grilled Snack Wrap with Honey Mustard OR Grilled Snack Wrap with Chipotle BBQ Sauce. Each:

  • 260 calories
  • 8 grams fat
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat
  • 45 mg cholesterol
  • 820 mg sodium
  • 1 gram fiber
  • 27 grams carbohydrate
  • 18 grams protein

Arby’s Santa Fe Salad With Grilled Chicken — not including dressing

(includes cherry tomatoes, red onion, corn and black beans, cheddar, and lettuce)

  • 283 calories
  • 9 grams fat
  • 4 grams saturated fat
  • 72 mg cholesterol
  • 521 mg sodium
  • 6 grams fiber
  • 21 grams carbohydrate
  • 29 grams protein

KFC Oven Roasted Twister (without sauce)

  • 330 calories
  • 7 grams fat
  • 2.5 grams saturated fat
  • 50 mg cholesterol
  • 1,120 mg sodium
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 39 grams carbohydrate
  • 28 grams protein 

Chipotle Naked Chicken Burrito: No tortilla, sour cream, cheese, or beans with salsa, light rice and lettuce. 

  • 390 calories
  • 11 grams fat
  • 3 grams saturated fat
  • 125 mg cholesterol
  • 935 mg sodium
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 39 grams carbohydrate
  • 36 grams protein 
So this gives you choices from popular fast food restaurants on where to eat if you ABSOLUTELY had too. Use this knowledge with care. This should only be used on an as need basis. Also, if you are going to eat at a fast food joint, make sure the next day’s meals are clean and nutritious. You lose a lot of nutritional value not preparing your own food, especially if it is not organic.

Let me know your thoughts! And if you like this edition please share on your Facebook page or forward it to a friend who may gain some wisdom from it.

Josh Bowen: Hormone Sabotage

joshOne of the best books I have read on fitness and nutrition is entitled, “The 7 Principles of Fat Burning” by Eric Berg. This book documents how hormones truly affect our bodies and cause the resistance to lose body fat. It is a fascinating read that take the information that I will talk about today and expounds on it.

First things first, I am not an endocrinologist and I am not a registered dietitian. I like to think of myself as a problem solver, a MacGyver of sorts. Because in all reality that’s what we do as trainers, we solve problems with the knowledge base that we have, no matter how unconventional it is. With that said, there are a lot of theories out about how people lose and gain weight.

With the rise of obesity at an unparalleled high, people are trying to get healthy and lose body fat in record droves. From Atkins diets to the Zone diet, to the weird tropical fruit diet and my favorite the carrot stick and apple diet (holy cow!), people are trying to find the quickest way to lose weight. The fact is there is no easy way, if it were easy the obesity rates would not be where they are now. We would not be spending billions of dollars on medications that control weight related diseases.  This is not an easy process by any stretch of the imagination. However when I look at weight loss books and these fad diets, I rarely see anything about a person’s hormones. When in fact it is your hormones that decide where and how much fat you store. That’s a fact. Throw the calories in vs calories out, out the window, your hormones are in the driver’s seat. Let’s take a look at them:

Fat Burning Hormones

Fat burning hormones are that will help you burn body fat,

Growth Hormone-released from the pituitary gland (brain), it travels down through and works in the liver. It has anabolic (building muscle) and lypolytic (losing fat) properties. A key function is building up collagen and cartilage. Without it your muscles fall apart. Stimulated by protein and intense exercise (not light exercise)

Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1)- made by the liver and triggered by growth hormone. Function is to give the body fuel between meals and does it through releasing stored sugar and fat. Stimulated when the stomach is empty.

Glucagon-raises blood sugar by tapping into the fat reserves. Helps control blood sugar between meals and is stimulated by dietary protein and intense exercise

Adrenaline- main hormone that releases fat from fat cells. Triggered by exercise.

Thyroid Hormones (T3 and T4)- speed up the metabolism, increase the size and number of mitochondria (that is a good thing)

Testosterone- stimulated by exercise and countered by estrogen. This is a good thing, even for the ladies (in small doses).

Fat Storing Hormones

Fat storing hormones are hormones that when present will cause the body to distribute fat to certain areas.

Estrogen- released from the ovaries of a woman but can also be converted from testosterone. Can also be found in meats we eat because it is the most common injected hormone into animals. The very presence will nullify all effects of the thyroid hormones that maintain your metabolism.

Insulin- Most anabolic hormone in the body but also is at its highest following a high carbohydrate meal. Can push fat into the fat cells causing an increase in body fat.  The main culprit in Type 2 diabetes.

Cortisol- The nasty stress hormone. Your body does not understand types of stress, it only reacts and adapts to stress. Whether that be stress from work, home or mental, physical, when it is stressed it will release cortisol. This will affect your body composition.

OK. Now without getting so technical with you, let’s look how we can turn off the fat storing hormones and turn on the fat burning ones.

The 10 Fat-Burning Triggers

1. The Absence of Sugar
Sugar has the most impact on the metabolism because it causes the release of insulin and in the presence of insulin not only will fat be blocked from being used as a fuel but sugar will be converted to fat. To burn fat DON’T eat sugar. It doesn’t matter if its whole wheat or white bread these starches turn into sugar fairly rapidly. High fiber foods are acceptable because they slow the insulin response. Fruit: apples have a high sugar count but also high in fiber blunting the effects of insulin. Bananas, raisins, canned fruit; dried fruit have lower fiber and have a greater effect on insulin. When sugar is not consumed, glucagon is turned on. Sugar also decreases potassium in the body causing it to store more fat than sugar. Also excess sugar mixed with excess protein will impact insulin in a huge way.

2. Vegetables
Weight problems are often caused by a failing endocrine system (4 body types). Raw vegetables have qualities that aid in healing the body’s organs. High in fiber and low in sugar with healing properties. It is very common for people to have normal body fat but be 50-100 lbs over weight because of the fluid retention. This is why the BIA does not work properly on most people and why some can drop 20 lbs almost overnight. Potassium helps lower insulin and also needed to adequately hold protein in the body

3. Protein
A powerful fat burning trigger if not consumed in excess.

4. Essential Fatty Acids
Eating fat will help me burn fat? Yes it will! Eat foods high in Omega 3 such as salmon, tilapia, cashews and almonds. Your body needs these for proper brain function and hormone creation.

5. Skipping Meals, Reducing Calories or Letting Yourself get Hungry
When you skip meals or restrict calories your blood sugar decreases several hormones are released: cortisol which will turn the body’s tissues to sugar (muscle). Also creates cravings for nutrients it needs: sugar (sugary foods, high saturated fat foods). Here’s the rule EAT BEFORE YOU GET HUNGRY and NEVER SKIP A MEAL, ESPECIALLY BREAKFAST..

6. Gland Destroyers: Alcohol, Caffeine
Alcohol triggers insulin and also destroys the liver. 7 calories per gram for alcohol and most alcoholic beverages contain excess sugar or starches. Caffeine weakens the adrenal glands and liver and irritates the gallbladder. The liver has to detoxify the caffeine from the body causing it to weaken.

7. Water Retainers
A huge hidden source of being overweight is water weight!!!! Eating foods high in MSG will cause sodium retention and make one stay heavy. Artificial sweeteners (sugar alcohols, splenda, xyitol). Because they are sodium depleting this causes increased insulin and water weight. Counteract with potassium high foods (labels)

8. Exercise- DUH!!! High anaerobic exercise!!!!

9. Stress
Stress plays a huge part in the weight loss/gain game. When you become stressed your body releases cortisol and wants to use muscle tissue as fuel instead of body fat. This does the reverse of what resistance training would do, lowers your muscle tissue and increases your body fat percentage. Also some people tend to be emotional or nervous eaters, consuming more calories than is necessary.

10. Sleep
when you sleep your body releases growth hormone. At its peak serum concentration, about 4 am, your body can now build muscle tissue and lose body fat. This is the period of time where your body changes. A vital part of losing weight is getting enough adequate sleep. Research suggests that you need 6-8 quality hours of sleep to take the benefit of the growth hormone spike.

To sum all this wonderful information up, I would suggest that if you are trying to lose weight you should pay close attention to the 10 items listed above. These nutritional/behavioral habits may allow you to burn more body fat, build more muscle and allow you to achieve the body of your dreams.

Josh Bowen: Got Protein?

joshNutrition is polarizing. Nutrition is not black and white. Nutrition can not and never should be the same for everyone. These statements are the reason we have so many diet books, nutritional questions and a population of people that have analysis by paralysis on trying to eat “healthy.”

As I have written before, not all proteins are created equal. Some contain more essential amino acids than others. To keep from rehashing old material click on the link above to read about the differences in proteins.

The biggest question I get is “How much protein should I take in?” This is a great question and one that has been researched for the past 50 years. The results may be slightly different but the one fact that stays the same is “it depends on your activity and level of intensity.” Meaning in order to know how much you should take in, you need to align your intake with your activity and how vigorous that activity is.

In a normal untrained person, the recommended protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (or 0.36 grams per pound of body weight). This recommendation is for sedentary people and only is a bare minimum to keep from protein degradation or the burning of muscle as fuel. In this example a 150 lbs person would take in 54 grams of protein per day. Obviously not enough to build muscle tissue.

For individuals participating in high intensity training, protein needs to go up to 1.4-2.0 g/kg (or around 0.64-0.9 g/lb) of body mass. In our 150 lbs example, this person would need to take in 95-135 grams of protein per day. A much more ideal percentage of protein.

Hold up there is more…

Beyond the basics of preventing deficiency and ensuring a baseline of protein synthesis, we may need even more protein in our diets for optimal functioning, including good immune function, metabolism, satiety, weight management and performance. In other words, we need a small amount of protein to survive, but we need a lot more to thrive.

We can only store so much protein at one time.So in order to optimally supply your body with much needed protein, you must eat it periodically throughout the day. Eating a 16 oz. steak and calling it a day, is not going to give you the overall effects that eating 5-6 servings of high protein foods will.

Can you eat too much protein? Possibly, but it would be hard. Protein can be converted to sugar and stored. However, it is an inefficient process and not one the body wants to undergo. Studies have shown that a high amount of protein intake (up to 1.2 grams per lb) has no health risks to the kidneys.

So which protein is best?

Research has shown that foods high in the essential amino acid, leucine, increase protein synthesis (breakdown of protein to be stored) higher than the other two essential amino acids. Foods high in leucine are spirulina, egg white, fish, poultry, and meat.

Take home points…

1. Shoot for at least half your body weight in grams of protein per day. If wanting to gain muscle increase to your body weight in grams.

2. If weight loss is a struggle, evaluate where and how much protein you are getting. Odds are it is not enough for your body weight and fitness goals.

3. Try to eat protein in every meal.

4. Choose whole foods over supplementation. However, choose supplementation over nothing at all.

5. Can’t stress this enough, if you want to get leaner you must consume more protein!

Josh Bowen: 5 Pillars of Success

joshAbout 3 hours ago I had dinner with an old friend I had not seen in a while. During our conversation she let me know that over the last several weeks she had been incredibly busy with holiday activities. Work parties, ugly sweater parties, keg parties and hell maybe even an egg nog party. I say that in jest however I know she has been busy with the holidays.

I can only imagine what it would be like for someone who was married and had kids. All the events leading up to the Christmas or Hanukkah must be exhausting, let alone the events themselves. I purposely put off a grand opening event at my new studio just because it was December and I didn’t want to monopolize anymore of my people’s time.

What I am getting at is time is limited. Food choices are plenty but they can be very unhealthy and not what we would classify as “JB friendly.” All in all this time of year is hard on everyone, including our fitness goals. SO…after thinking about what I wanted to say tonight, I decided to share with you all my 5 Pillars for success. They also happen to be my companies core values.

Inspiration
It can often be hard to get inspired to workout or eat right during this time of year. However, we must all realize that one bad meal does not mean you have to eat another and another. Stop the snowball effect by realizing this is marathon and not a sprint. Also, become inspired to inspire others. Others that may be going through something that you have been through. This is an important pillar of success. What goes around comes around.

Motivation
It can be just as hard to become motivated to keep good patterns rolling. Motivation can come from within or it can be external. However, do not be a procrastinator and say you will get to it after the first of the year. Time is ticking and time waits for no one. Start now or continue the path that you have been on. Do not quit.

Accomplishment
A big thing for me with clients are “small victories.” Whether it being able to walk up the stairs without feeling faint or being able to hop off the table with no issue or being able to accept their body for what it is, accomplishment is huge. This time of year we should all reflect on things we have accomplished and continue to build as we move into 2015.

Greatness
“The way you do anything is the way you do everything.” That quote defines greatness. If you are going to do it, do it all the way. No half-stepping. Go all in and never turn back.

Experience
“Life is the about the journey.” Enjoy the ride and hope that every experience can be learned from and built upon for future encounters.

Do not sweat the small stuff and keep your head on straight during the 20 plus days. January will be here before you know it. If you want to get a quick start on your New Year’s Resolution, look no further than yours truly.

Josh Bowen: Aspire to Inspire

joshI am a fitness writer. I write about fitness. But interestingly enough, I often times write about life more than fitness. I believe fitness is only a component of our make up as people. However, its impact on us is felt is all realms of our being. So with Thanksgiving over and December steadily approaching, I wanted to write a piece that could be applied to a variety of aspects of life. I set out for 2014 with only two things in mind that I wanted to accomplish; publish my first book (released in January and can be purchased here.  and launch my personal training studio. In 4 days I will have accomplished both. And I will say it feels good. I worked hard to get here and I will have to work even harder to stay and grow here, but I can say I did it.  “How do you want to be remembered?” Is a question from a great speech I routinely listen to that often puts me into a zen-like thinking spell. I hope to be remembered for inspiring others to have aspirations of greatness because greatness can be achieved by all, it is not limited to the chosen few its in all of us. Sometimes you just have to pull it out of yourself. Aspire Fitness is here, 130 W Tiverton Way Suite 125 Lexington, KY 40511 7 days and counting… Thank you to all that help me get to this point, you know who you are. Thank you.  Here are a few thoughts…

I can be accused, justifiably so, for being a workaholic and someone who is passionate and borderline obsessed with his work and craft. But I will say for all that I sacrifice; personal time, vacations, time with friends and family, I do my work, not because I have to but because I want too. I lead this life the way I want. Everything is my choice. Some people will love me and some won’t. That is the nature of life.

So putting fitness aside, I thought I would write about life in general. And pose the question to everyone; “Are you living to die or dying to live?” Here are five steps to separate yourself from everyone else and be who you are suppose to be:

Radical Self-Responsibility

We have become people who always point the finger at others. As to say it is always someone else’s fault or problem why we are where we are. At the end of the day, the responsibility falls on our shoulders. If you didn’t workout today, that is your fault. Manage your time better. In order to get out of the usual and become someone of distinct characteristics, we must take full responsibility for everything.

Stop Caring What People Think

Right or wrong we all care what people think of us…to a degree. I care what my family thinks of me. However, I do not let them sway me one bit. Some people will love you, others will not, stop caring what those who only want the worst for you, think. “Wolves do not fret over the onions of sheep.” Are you a wolf or a sheep? You pick?

Stop Being So Superficial

At the end of the day, we will all die and the way we looked or the things we had will not matter. What will matter most is the impact we had on the people we leave behind. Treat your body right but don’t obsess. Have nice things but realize they are only just that, things.

State Your Opinion

This is a difficult one. In today’s landscape, having an opinion can be looked at as a hindrance more than a benefit. However, I was always taught to stand up for your beliefs and to give your opinion if asked. To this day I do not shy from stating my opinion no matter how unpopular it is.

Realize Life Will be Over Soon

To quote a phrase, “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time.” None of us are here for a long time. We are given a certain amount of time on this earth and we must make the most of it. If you want to try something, go try it. You want to start your own business, go start it. Fear absolutely nothing and careless what anyone has to say about it. Leave a legacy someone could be proud of. It will make a vast difference in the world, trust me.

We were all meant to be extra-ordinary in our lives. But you can’t do this from your desk or your couch at home. You must get off your ass and change your mindset on being you, the real you. Show people who you are. It will make a world of difference.

Josh Bowen: Enthusiasm — Turkey Day Edition

joshThis week has been a hard week.

As most of you know I have been planning my own studio for a long time and this week a lot of my hard work has come to fruition. I am very close to opening my own business, through hell and high water.

But what I learned about myself this week is it is easy to lose enthusiasm when going through hard times but you must persevere. Soon, my dream of having my own business will come true and for that I am thankful and enthusiastic.  So why not talk about enthusiasm and the components of during Turkey Week?

So I went back into the archives and brought back this piece that I wrote three years ago for a magazine in Pittsburgh. It fully explains how I feel enthusiasm is created and how greatness can be pulled from us.

Give this a read and please have a Happy Thanksgiving (eat and drink responsibly).    “There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” I bet that got your attention.

So does enthusiasm really separate those that are mediocre and those that are great? Is it passion? Is it hard work? What is it? Well, let me rephrase the question; what separates those that get results and those that don’t?

I’ve pondered this since I started working out as skinny, 18 year old kid. Why did I get results and others didn’t? Why did some of my clients get results and others didn’t?

Here is the deal there are many attributes that separate the haves from the have not’s:

  1. Fun- those that get results do not look at working out like a chore. In their own way they make exercise fun. Whether they work with a trainer, take a group exercise class or just make their workouts enjoyable to them. If you enjoy something you will do it. Take it from me you can make exercise exciting and fun or dreadful and boring, you make that decision in between your ears.
  2. Attitude- those that get results have a great attitude. They don’t let minor setbacks deter them or keep them off track. They stay positive always and they encourage others to do the same. Remember, your mind if stronger than your body, if you feel a negative towards something odds are you won’t perform well. Conversely, if you take a positive approach the outcome will be much different.
  3. Hard work- Make no mistake about it getting results is hard work. It takes time and you must dig deep and be persistent. When you get to the gym you have to work hard. You never can skip workouts and you have to always make them count.
  4. Perseverance- there will always be obstacles. There will always be flat tires, babysitters can’t watch the kids and you have to stay late at work. The best look at obstacles like opportunities, conquering them towards becoming a better person. At all costs never, EVER give up. Keep moving!

There are more attributes that contribute to success in a gym setting but these four are what I commonly see in people that overcome the odds and shatter their own personal goals. Remember this, life is all about wins and losses; some days you win, some days you lose but as long as you learn from the mistakes and keep a level head on the wins you will be ok. Momentum is all you need to carry you to the finish line. Tell yourself 2015 will be the year of YOU. No more excuses, no more procrastination, no more obstacles. This is your life, you chose what you do with it. Choose wisely.

Josh Bowen: Why I do What I do

thinkEveryone knows this iconic logo.

And regardless of your electronic preference, most people trust this company. Not for what they do or how they do it but rather WHY they do it. Apple’s why is ingrained in every aspect of their business. It is the main reason they are able to dominate their chosen field. They have beliefs. They hold those beliefs true and center their products around them. It is an amazing concept. Their why drives their massive conglomerate. One of the best companies in the world.

What strikes me as interesting about Apple is they are a company built on a belief to be different. Their competition has the same access to the smartest talent, best systems and unbelievable technology. Yet their competition pales in comparison. All things being equal, Apple beats everyone because they are built on their why.

Apple is also successful because they had a leader who knew his why (Steve Jobs) and created an environment on that. It was a company that inspired. Their purpose, their why and they vision all laid out the same.

This leads me to the purpose of my email tonight. Something I know very well but also something that needs to be told to the world. “JB, what is your WHY?” I thought you would never ask.

11 years ago I started down a path to get into the fitness industry and be somebody. What was a hobby for me (lifting weights) became a profession (teaching people how to lift weights). At an early age I realized how powerful I could be. How much impact I could have. And how my job really had nothing to do with fitness, it was a way of helping and improving people’s lives.

Without sounding cliche’ my initial why was to help people. However, this was more of a result. It is obvious that I wanted to help people but what was driving me to get up every day and work with clients and trainers? Their had to be something deeper. And there was.

Ask me any day about my client experiences and I will be happy to show the definition of being triumphant, fighting through adversity and overcoming all odds. From all walks of life, people I have worked with have done it all. My connection with them has been my driving force to push them farther than they can go. Thus pushing myself as far as I can go.

My “why” is my relationships and connection to people. Not fitness. Fitness is just my chosen vehicle to connect with people, establish a relationship and provide the groundwork for a better body, mind and life than ever before.

This is my gift. This is my “why”. This is what drives me. This is my purpose. This is what separates me from others. It is not a job and it is not a hobby. Its my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

To end the sermon of sorts, I would like to tell you all about a daily habit I have established. Everyday I drive to and from the gym, I listen to motivational YouTube videos. These videos pump me up for the day and remind me to constantly keep pushing. Here are a few favorites of mine with some takeaway quotes for your memory bank:

Unbroken

“The only way to be truly satisfied is to do great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do”
“Fear kills dreams, will paralyze you.”

Hero

“They aren’t giving out success but you can earn it, take it.”

Desire

“When you die, die on E”

What is your why?

Let it be known.