Josh Bowen: Is it Really About Fitness? 5 Reasons Why its Not

joshThe title of the blog may seem confusing and even appalling to most. It may lead you to question my sanity after 11 years as a personal trainer. “How does he not know what his job is?” Just hold on for a minute. For years I have had this approach when it came to clients, focus on more than fitness and nutrition.

See I believe fitness is a vehicle that we use to improve people. People HATE exercise, for the most part. For one reason or another most people disdain the process of trying to get into shape. They have goals but most of the time those goals are deeper than fitness. They impact every aspect of their lives. So, if it deeper than fitness why do we not concentrate on more than fitness? This approach may actually help you jump start your fitness and go on a quest to better yourself.

In my mind exercise/fitness and good nutrition affect every aspect of my life. Therefore, not only do I affect the physical part of me and they way I look but I also affect several other aspects of my life; relationships, better sleep, energy, confidence etc. So if you knew that working out would help boost your confidence and help you have the courage to ask a pretty girl on a date or make a great speech in front of the CEO of you company, would you be more aped to do it? Of course you would. Here are 5 of the most impacted areas of our lives that fitness increases more than anything else.

1.  Confidence


The picture on the left is from my high school graduation in 2000 and the picture on the right is from last year. On the left I weigh an astounding 140lbs on the right 200lbs. Forget the numbers and the obvious physical difference, the number one benefit that fitness has provided me is confidence. Without it, I would not have been able to speak in front of hundreds of people, write a book, go on a bootcamp tour for 14 days across the US or be a personal trainer. Physically I am different but the most effect has been in my confidence.

So many of my clients will list confidence as their number one benefit from working with a trainer and starting an exercise program. The proof is in the pudding.

2. Relationships

As a continuation from confidence, I find that increased relationships with others is a direct reflection from being fit. Often times clients will meet new people and friendships are born or their existing relationships improve because of heightened self confidence.

3. Diligence

A direct reflection of being fit is increasing one’s diligence and determination. Get tasks completed because they have more energy or confidence is common place.

4. Clarity

The hormonal effect of exercise is documented but what you often forget is the increased ability to think clearer. This aspect comes in handy in todays fast moving world. I always have told people I never make decisions until I have worked out that day. Working out will give me the extra time and mental clearness to think about making a decision.

5. Self Esteem

Confidence and self esteem are different. Self esteem is how you view yourself and how you feel about it. Fitness supplies the increased self esteem that one feels like they can conquer anything. Feeling better about the way you look is the best feeling in the world.

All in all, I do not concentrate on fitness. I concentrate on the effects of fitness and how it effects and impacts our lives. Anyone who has started an exercise program an continued with it can tell you that there are more than just five aspects that help better their lives. Focus on the effects working will give you, instead of thinking about whether you can do it or not.


Josh Bowen: 6 Rules to Success…As Told By The Champ

The hardest thing to do in life is to be yourself when everything around you wants you to be someone else. I struggle with the status quo. I struggle with being like other people. I have to be me. Like it or not. Arnold was a polarizing figure. A bodybuilder, with perhaps the best physique ever, turned mega movie star, turned Governor of California turned back to move star. He defines success, perhaps when success shouldn’t have been attained. A guy with a lisp from Austria, new to the United States takes the world by storm.

Because of the following 6 rules that we can all live by…


1. Trust yourself

At the end of the day we can only rely on ourselves. No one can care about our success or failure more than us. We must trust ourselves and go with our gut feelings. Continue to strive for personal greatness and always remember nothing is fatal or final.
2. Break the rules

To hell with the rules. Your not suppose to do this or do that. Screw them. We don’t need them. We set the rules. We are the measuring sticks by which all are judged and we didn’t get there by playing it easy and playing by the rules. Break them and break them often.

3. Never be afraid to fail

You will fail. I will fail. However, we must not be afraid to fail because where there is failure there is success. The only way to succeed is to fail. If you have never failed you have never tried. Push the envelope of what you think is possible. You will learn a lot about what it takes to succeed.

4. Don’t listen to the naysayers

Nothing is impossible. With a strategic game plan and a hellacious work ethic, anything is possible. Don’t listen to people who say you can’t do it. They are only feeding your drive to do it. Haters will hate, do not listen to them. Follow your heart an your gut.

5. Work your butt off

Hard work is a given. Nothing will be given to you. You want it bad enough you will go get it. Work your ass off every day with your goals in mind. When you take off remember there is someone out there working towards what you want. Keep pushing and never let up.

6. Give back

Pay it forward. Give back to what has given to you. When you succeed teach others your ways. Mentor young minds to stimulate greatness in them. Leave a legacy no one can match. Be the measuring stick.


All things are possible through fitness. The above list, if followed, will produce success in any field or endeavor. This is short, simple and easily applied. Go toward your greatness.

Josh Bowen: Living to Die or Dying to Live: 5 Steps to Being You

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

joshRecently I was reading an article I found on Facebook called 5 Regrets of Dying,” and the first regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” This got me thinking about life in general and how I see people who live their lives for someone else and not for themselves.

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:

1. 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.

2. 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?

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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’s Saturday World Series of Poker Workout for The RP

Globally-recognized personal trainer Josh Bowen will this week be providing intensive physical workout routines for The RP as he prepares to compete in the World Series of Poker.

This morning’s workout is below.

Visit Josh’s web site here and sign up for his newsletter here.


Josh Bowen’s Thursday World Series of Poker Workout for The RP

Globally-recognized personal trainer Josh Bowen will this week be providing intensive physical workout routines for The RP as he prepares to compete in the World Series of Poker.

This morning’s workout is below.

Visit Josh’s web site here and sign up for his newsletter here.


Josh Bowen: The Anti-Crunch — 10 Better Exercises than Crunches or Sit-ups


Do me a favor and Google “ab workout” and see what the response will be. 59,000,000 results for “ab workout!” That is astounding and also very scary. The general consensus of anyone with a great stomach (both male and female) is they must do thousands of crunches and/or sit-ups. When in all reality the best stomach physiques have less to do with how often they exercises their “core” and more to do with what they fueled their body with i.e. what they ate.

Shocking huh? You were under the impression that a six pack came from doing tons of crunches? Wrong. In fact, let me show you how ineffective doing sit-ups and crunches can be, per the American Council on Exercise burning 3,500 calories through situps alone requires you to perform an impossible number of reps. If a 145-pound person performs situps at a moderate pace of 20 per minute, she burns about 4 calories per minute. To burn 3,500 calories, this person would need to perform situps for 875 minutes — and perform an unattainable total of 17,500 sit-ups.

I don’t know about you but the rate of return is not in your favor. So you may now be asking yourself how do I achieve a great abdominal physique? Simple answer; eat better.

However, the article today has nothing to do with how to make your abs pop and everything to do with alternatives to work your midsection and strengthen the muscles involved to reduce lower back pain and combined with a great strength training program and proper nutrition can give you the body you have always wanted.

Below is a select group of my favorite “core” exercises. Each one involves multiple muscle groups and can be added to most every program. I have included videos of each of these exercises with a brief (very brief) description.

*Since my audience is the general population, I did not feel the need to go over everyone’s head with complicated anatomy, physics and biomechanics. Most people’s attention span is very short, the videos are straight to the point but if you need more explanation on any of the below, please feel free to email me at

Anti-Crunch Exercises

The Plank

Variation: Reaching Plank

With proper alignment, straighten your body to 180 degrees with hips facing down and no excessive curve in the back. Slowly extend one arm out and then place it back on the table or ground.

Variation: Plank Rotation

Same as above, however this time rotate at the shoulders and hips from left to right touching the ground or table slowly. Rotate through the shoulders not the lower back.

Read the rest of…
Josh Bowen: The Anti-Crunch — 10 Better Exercises than Crunches or Sit-ups

Josh Bowen’s World Series of Poker Tuesday Workout for The RP

Globally-recognized personal trainer Josh Bowen will this week be providing intensive physical workout routines for The RP as he prepares to compete in the World Series of Poker.

This morning’s workout is below.

Visit Josh’s web site here and sign up for his newsletter here.


Josh Bowen: 12 Hints to Hiring a Personal Trainer


You may decide one day to work with a personal trainer, like myself. It potentially could be the best decision you have ever made. However, it does require you do a little homework. No different than any profession, there are some great ones and then there are some not so great ones. Sometimes it falls down to a matter of personality and preference.

*insert from my book 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom available now on Amazon in paperback and e-book.

1. Know what you are looking for
Hopefully this book has helped you make things seem clearer. You have a better idea of what you want out of fitness. Seeing a personal trainer takes commitment. You need to know what you are looking for both in yourself and your trainer. Who do you want this person to be in your life? A motivator? Someone to hold you accountable or someone to refresh your workouts? Having this in mind will help in making a decision.

2. Know your budget
Trainers that are accomplished and have loads of experience are not cheap and nor should they be. Know what you are willing to spend and what you are able to spend.

3. Make sure personality clicks
A trainer can have a high level of skill but if the personality of his or her client doesn’t match or click, it won’t work. Ask a lot of questions about past clients with your personality type. If it gels, great if not move on.

4. Check qualifications but do not be blinded by it
At one point or another I have held 16 nationally recognized certifications and I hold a bachelors degree in Exercise Science. It shows my knowledge base and my passion for learning but it does not show what type of trainer I am. Check your potential trainers qualifications but realize that experience and passion for people matter more than pieces of paper.

5. Ask for testimonials
Ask to see what the trainer has done with other clients. This can give you a great idea of what type of trainer you are dealing with.

6. Watch them train
If possible, watch a few sessions while working yourself out to see the body language, engagement etc they have.

7. If they don’t discuss goals in detail, walk
A must for every client is goal setting, without goals we are just working out. There is no point to training with a trainer if they don’t discuss your goals.

8. See if they practice what they preach
How a trainer takes care of themselves is an indication of how they will take care of you.

9. Ask for their 6 week plan
See, based on you and your goals, if they have a plan of action for you.

10. Pick someone who is motivating
A positive, motivating person can make even a dark situation seem light.

11. Set up a consultation with your trainer
Most trainers will do a consultation to show what they offer. Take advantage of this to see if you click.

12. Choose wisely
There are a lot of great, qualified trainers out there. I have personally hired, certified, managed a good number of them. Find the best one that fits you.


Josh Bowen: Top 12 (and one) Fitness Motivation Quotes


imageIt is the middle of the week and this is when the weekend distractions start to hit. Use the following quotes from my book 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom plus an extra one to build a fire inside to workout today. Remember, all things through fitness…

1. “Strive for progress, not perfection” -Unknown

2. “The finish line is just the beginning of a whole new race” -Unknown

3. “Never settle for second when first is available” -Lou Holtz

4. “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed”-Michael Jordan

5. “Procrastination is the assassination of motivation” -Unknown

6. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” -Jim Rohn

7. “Ability is limitless” -Unknown

8. “To get something you have never had, you have to do something you’ve never done”-Unknown

9. “The difference between a goal and a dream is a deadline” -Steve Smith

10. “Fear nothing, achieve everything” -Josh Bowen

11. “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will” -Mahatma Gandhi

12. “You want me to do something… tell me I can’t do it” -Maya Angelou

+1. “Happiness can only exist in acceptance.” -George Orwell

Josh Bowen: 5 Things I’ve Learned About Life From Being a Personal Trainer

Shape6My 11 years in the fitness industry has taught me a lot about life. It has taught me what to do and in some cases what not to do. Life often emulates art and I have always thought of personal training as art, it makes sense that I have learned some important life lessons. In no particular order, these are the 5 things I have learned about life from being a personal trainer:

1. Anything can be achieved with passion.

I’m not the best personal trainer and I am far from perfect. I am however passionate, a word that is thrown around in the fitness industry more than anything. My definition is simply one who eats, sleeps, breathes their work. That I do. Fitness taught me how. Through ups in downs, passion has let me conquer personal issues as well as professional. An unrelenting quest to be the best version of myself was taught to me from my experience in this industry. I attribute everything I have accomplished personally and collectively due to that passion. Without it, I have nothing.

2. If you want something bad enough you will do whatever it takes to achieve it.

My clients and clients of other trainers have taught me this. My client Rolodex is full of people who conquered the odds, all because they wanted it bad enough. In my book 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom I tell a story about a woman from Columbus who lost an extraordinary amount of weight and developed a community of enthusiastic people wanting to do the same. Or the woman who I have trained for many moons, who at first just wanted to be fit but now owns her own personal training business, all because wanted it more than other people. If you want it bad enough, you’ll go get it.

3. No one gets to where they are, alone.

I didn’t get to this point by myself. I had help…a lot of help. That help came in the form of support from others a long this 11 year journey. It also came in the form of detractors and negative people who taught me what I didn’t want be. No matter how successful you are, you got there with help. If I was never given a shot to train at Gold’s Gym in 2004, I would never be here today.

4. Bad times will always pass.

Obstacles are put in front of us not to stay and best us down but to leave after we have conquered it. I’ve seen it a thousand times, some one who goes through turmoil but keeps at it and never quits, always turns out for the better. If I have learned anything from working with trainers and clients is, regardless of the situation, if you keep at it, never waiver and never quit you will come out of the dark and into the light. It’s that simple.

5.Look to add value versus make money.

Money comes and goes like the wind blows. No matter how much you have you cannot take it with you. Having money is not impressive, adding value to other’s is. I have learned this through experience in the fitness industry. I have seen people with lots of money that truly had nothing, nothing because they were not adding value to others. The single most important lesson we can all learn is how to add value to someone else’s life. Whether it is to listen, be a shoulder to cry on or help a friend in need, adding value to someone means so much more than money. “Choose legacy over currency,” is a favorite quote of mine and it means to simple to add so much value to someone that you build a legacy and are never forgotten. A very important lesson.

I could write a list longer than this but for time purposes I will keep it short. Being in fitness has taught me so much that I feel honored to talk about it day. The lessons I have learned are so important not only to my life but the lives that interact with on a daily basis.