“I do not know anyone who has gotten to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It won’t always get you to the top but it will get you pretty far.” Margret Thatcher
As a society we have grown into people who are looking for the quickest and most efficient way to live our lives. Cars, microwaves, computers, the internet were all invented to make our lives easier. Health and fitness is no different. Go to any magazine stand and look at Muscle and Fitness or Shape magazine and you will see pages after pages of advertisements for the latest muscle builder or fat loss supplement. I’ve always pondered what it would be like to survey 1000 people and ask them one question; If you could have the body of your dreams without working out or dieting by taking one pill per day. Would you do it? The only catch is it would knock off 10 years to your total life span. What do you think people would say? I have a gut feeling it would be an overwhelming amount of people that would take the pill, taking the easy road to success, cheating their bodies, their mind, their soul and their lifespan.
The problems these days are people are not willing to get their hands dirty and not patient enough to stick with anything long enough to make it count. We have been programmed to believe quicker, efficient is better. I disagree, efficient is not better, effective is and what trumps everything is quality and hard work. It’s not easy to go to the gym 5 days a week and work your butt off. It’s not easy to juggle kids, marriage, jobs and try to get healthier or have the body you have dreamed of.
It’s not easy and it never will be. My rant today is nothing short believing in you. Believing that the hard work you are putting in is worth it. Believing that anything and everything is possible with hard work, determination and preparation. As humans we were meant to struggle but we were also meant to persevere under any and all circumstances. You don’t need the easy way out, you don’t need the quick fix and your life will not be complete without the effort it took to get what you want.
We will not lose….ever. That’s my rant for today. Repeat after me; I WILL NOT LOSE. I’m out.
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”
It is said that 80 percent of communication is non-verbal. It is also common knowledge that there is a psychological effect to touching. In fact there are several scientific research articles stating that when a person is touched by a person they trust, it elevates oxytocin levels and decreases the stress related hormones. Touching has also been shown to develop relationships between two people.
It is the first language we learn,” said Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and the author of “Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life” (Norton, 2009), and remains, he said, “our richest means of emotional expression” throughout life. One form of touching that is always acceptable and has the power to show appreciation, respect, care and develop the trainer/client relationship we are all after; the high five.
The high five, the same form of non-verbal communication professional athletes exude. The same expression we learn through pee-wee football and little league baseball to show praise for a good job. The high five is the ultimate trainer’s tool for relationship development and appreciation for a client.
Right, wrong or indifferent I touch my clients. I give them high fives to show they have done a good job; I give them a hug when I feel they need it and I tap them gently on the muscle being worked. The power of the high five allows me to do the following:
Develop a great relationship
When I give a high five to a client I show them respect and gratitude for the work they are doing. Sometimes that message is difficult to convey through words. For my super competitive clients this takes them back to athlete days and puts them in an environment they are use too. For everyone it shows appreciation for their work, something sometimes their out-of-the-gym life doesn’t supply. After a great set of bicep curls, supply a simple high hive to show you are paying attention.
Conveys to potential clients my relationship with my clients
In a gym setting, during a 60 minute session on average 14 people will watch at least 20% of the session. This is marketing at its highest! I want to produce the vibe that I care about my clients, especially for potential clients watching me. Post workout, end the session with a powerful high hive, someone on the treadmill above will notice.
The word fun is often not associated with exercise. People view working out as a chore or that it hurts. Add a few high fives and a smile and now it becomes a little more tolerable. Honestly, after a few sessions, people realize how fun this really can be! Not everyone is an athlete or will think exercise is fun, provide a high five during the session changes the feelings towards exercise.
Help carry the load
Performing a high five to a client, physiologically, signifies I am offering to “carry” their load. “We think that humans build relationships precisely for this reason, to distribute problem solving across brains,” said James A. Coan, a psychologist at the University of Virginia. “We are wired to literally share the processing load, and this is the signal we’re getting when we receive support through touch.” Before a session, especially for my clients who come after work, provide that high five to show you understand their day and you are here to help “carry their load.”
The power of the high five is over reaching. It takes little effort but supplies dramatic reward. Personal training is all about relationships and how those relationships develop, no better way than to communicate through providing your client a simple high five.
Josh “JB” Bowen is an industry veteran, holding many positions within the industry and is currently a personal trainer in Lexington, KY and Quality Control Director for Compel Fitness. He was a global 2013 top ten finalist in Life Fitness’ Personal Trainer to Watch, and author of the 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.
When starting or continuing a fitness program, it is vital to know the “insider information” from the pros. The following is a satire, a joke and a ruse designed to make you laugh and or cry while evaluating your fitness knowledge. Be mindful that some of us believe in these principles. Proceed with caution.
1. The proper amount of protein intake each day
All of them…duh.
2. Monday is International Chest-Day
Nothing is scheduled…nothing.
3. Posting your workout on Facebook.
You didn’t know? It scientifically proven.
4. Leg days are not to be skipped.
Its a must. And…
5. If you do squat, you must squat low
Not like this…
Commentary is worth it.
More like this…
6. Toning and muscle are the same thing.
7. This is what happens when you take too much pre-workout
8. Priorities, Priorities, Priorities
Get your behind to the gym!
9. You can’t out train a bad diet
10. This is not good gym behavior
It had become apparent to me. It didn’t take long at all. More often than not, clients came to me to lose body fat. Seems simple, correct? Not so fast. I could suggest everyone eat organic grilled chicken, raw green vegetables and do loads of cardio but that would be futile and a waste of time. So to help my clients and help loads of other revolutioners I compiled a list of 10 Ways to Lose Body Fat. Here we go:
1. Reduce Sugar
I refer to my two favorite books on this topic; “Sugar Shock” and “7 Principles of Fat Burning” when suggesting and advising clients on reducing their sugar intake. In order to lose body fat we have to turn our “fat burning” hormones on and the “fat storing” hormones off. Reducing the amount of processed sugar reduces the peaks and valleys of insulin secretion. This increases the effect of growth hormone, which decreases body fat. Choosing food with more fiber or nutrient dense foods like vegetables, help keep insulin levels low and fat burning hormones high. Also, you can refer back to a previous blog where I explore sugar and its detrimental effects on the human body http://wp.me/p2T52x-61
2. Consume Healthy Fats
Fat!!! Won’t fat make me fat? As I explain in this blog post here, essential fats do not contribute to increasing body fat. On the contrary the help the body reduce the amount of body we have. Other properties such as; decreasing inflammation and improving the cardiovascular system are all benefits of consuming healthy fats.
3. Reduce Wheat, Soy and Dairy
In my new book, The 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom, I discuss the facts about wheat, soy and dairy. In most cases, these three will trigger an inflammatory response in the tissue causing the body to hold onto body fat. Soy and dairy, specifically, have been found to increase estrogen in both men and women (refer back to the 7 Principles of Fat Burning for more information). Here is a great article discussing milk and why we shouldn’t drink it.
4. Drink a Minimum of 64oz of Water
Water has zero calories and is a necessity to life. Drink it.
5. Manage Stress
Stress kills. Stress also adds body fat. The higher one’s stress, the higher your stress hormone, cortisol is. The more cortisol, the more body fat. Try massage, working out, relaxation techniques or change you attitude or situation. Either way, reduce the amount of stress on yourself to a tolerable level.
6. Increase Green Leafy Greens
Vegetables are essential in the fat burning process. They typically are low in calories and high in nutrients. Nutrients that pack a punch for burning body fat. Broccoli, kale, spinach and asparagus are all great sources of vitamins and minerals your body needs to thrive and reduce unwanted body fat.
7. Eat Complete Proteins at Every Meal
Protein helps repair and ultimately build muscle. Muscle boosts your metabolism. Eating protein helps burn body fat. The concept of complete vs. incomplete protein is some foods have a complete amino acid (building blocks of muscle) and others don’t. Beef, chicken, turkey, fish and eggs are all considered complete. Grains, nuts, seeds, beans are all considered incomplete proteins.
8. Lift Heavy Things
Resistance training boost the metabolism in the short term by increasing fat burning hormones testosterone and growth hormone and in the long term by increasing muscle, devouring unwanted body fat. Lift heavy things.
9. Fresh Lemon in Warm Water
Because lemon is an alkaline food, drinking it with warm water can help with the body’s pH levels. Also, it can help aid in digestion and waste reduction, allowing the body to rid itself of food that has not been deposited into the colon. This also helps with the skin to create a radiant glow.
10. Love the Body You Have While Working for the Body You Want
As difficult as it is, we must accept what is. Unfortunately, none of our bodies will change over night. There is a period of waiting. However, while we wait we must learn to love ourselves for who we are and not who we are not. Love yourself and your body, while you are working towards the one you want.
2014 is here and moving along steadily. Have you started on your resolutions? Have you already given up on your resolutions? Whichever boat you are in, I would like to share with you my mantra for 2014. With a brief description of what each eloquent line means to me.
Warning! Motivation and inspiration may ensue. Enter at your own risk.
To live by choice, not by chance,
We all have choices in this world and by all accounts we are judged by those choices; good, bad or indifferent. Make choices that add value to your life. Be with people who make you better and rid yourself of those that bring you down. Don’t want for things to happen, make things happen.
To be motivated, not manipulated,
Ultimately you are motivated or you are not. There is no one foot in and one foot out. Either you do it or you don’t. And by such we cannot be conned or fooled into living our lives for someone else. We are unique in our decisions and should hold our ground when making them. Be you and don’t let others sway your judgment or motivation.
To be useful, not used,
We are meant to add value to other’s lives, not be used for our unique talents and genuine generosities.
To make changes, not excuses,
Change can be scary. It is a place outside our comfort zone. However, it is important to make change when change is need. It is not important to make excuses for why you can’t doing something because you are scared to change.
To excel, not compete.
Life is about wins and losses. You win some, you lose some. The only competition is the person in the mirror. Only make comparisons to the person you use to be versus the person you are.
I choose self-esteem, not self-pity,
Confidence and the self belief in one’s ability will drive you further in life than feeling sorry for yourself when life doesn’t go you way. Live to fight another day and be thankful to be able too.
I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinions of others.
Your gut will never lie to you. Your heart will, your brain will and your eyes will but never you gut. It is your inner voice that knows all. Always listen to it. It will always tell you to keep pushing and make headway. That anything is possible and all the doubters are wrong.
I choose to do the things that you won’t, so I can continue to do the things you can’t.
The choice to get up early, work late, workout when everyone is asleep, eat broccoli instead of French fries is all ours. We can chose to make the sacrifices necessary to be extraordinary, it is up to us. Do what others won’t so you can continue to do what others can’t.
Without consistency there is no progress
When I was an exercise science student at the University of Kentucky, I had to take swimming in order to graduate. Why? Who knows but also would think it would be difficult. I’m not an avid swimmer, I do better under the water than on top but I absolutely hate cold water. I freeze easy and it’s hard for me to move any part of my body. The very thought of cold water makes me cringe but I needed this class to graduate and I was taking it in January no less. The first day of class the teacher throws us in the water to see where our “skills” were. Back stroke, front stroke, butterfly all your favorite Olympic disciples were graded. She would decide if we needed to be in the class or would need to drop it. I couldn’t of done worse. I damn near drowned in the water and ran out of gas easy because it was so cold. Did I mention I don’t do cold? Anyway, the next class the teacher pulled me aside and asked me to drop the class. Appalled, I asked why and she replied “you don’t have the skills to pass my class.” I told her I wouldn’t be dropping her class and I would show up an hour early everyday to practice. Her reply, “good luck.” Seriously, who makes swimming hard?
So everyday I showed up to the UK aquatics center an hour before class to practice my strokes. I braved the cold weather and cold pool, to get use to it so I could show this teacher she was wrong. I was consistent and with my consistency, I saw progress. Real progress. So good I amazed this teacher and I got an A in the class. Now, everyone should get an A in swimming, that’s not impressive, the point is I was consistent and I got better. Much better. We have to apply this principle to fitness. You can’t expect great results with minimal effort. The infomercials lie to you. Using a Shake Weight is not going to help you lose 15lbs, it’s just that simple. But also with that, you can’t expect significant results if you are not consistent in two areas:
1. Your workouts
2. Your diet
So here are two strategies to help with consistency as we make this fitness journey together:
1. Commit less- This may sound weird but as I’ve said before we often commit too much too soon that it becomes sensory overload and we quit. It becomes too much to maintain. Had I told the teacher I would be in the pool five days a week, there would be no way for me to keep that pace consistent (nor would I want too). Commit to what you think you can do. This works for your nutrition as well. Commit to eating one vegetable at dinner, 3 nights per week. Any one can do this. This creates momentum. There is great value in little, everyday successes. Foundation is always something to build off of.
2. Commit more- Contrary to the above, some people may be able to commit to more because they are ready for more. If this is you make consistency a commitment, a marriage. Start what you finish and don’t let off the gas pedal.
In order to see progress we NEED consistency. It is vital to anything we want to accomplish.
A word that strikes utter fear in people. And with good reason. As you see above the statistics are staggering. Every year, cancer becomes more and more prominent. In comes in all faces and types, packaged differently to wreak havoc on the human body. This post is not so much about the stats or what causes cancer but what can we do to prevent or slow the progress of this problem. This post is not to show you how smart or not smart I am as it relates to the disease. This about my grandfather, who is 88 years old and is putting up the fight of his life against several types of cancer. Over the past several months, I have seen the personal struggle he has gone under and the downward spiral of an independent country boy. It took hold of him and it will not let go. It is tough to watch but it shows how tough he is to continue to put up a fight against insurmountable odds.
This is also about my beliefs. Something that I often catch strange looks for and snide remarks about. However, I firmly believe in my heart of hearts that all things are possible through fitness. It is our fountain of youth, protector of disease and an absolute must for the human body. My motto is all things through fitness, it is the name of my website and is etched on my skin. I believe it because I have seen it.
Read the rest of…
Josh Bowen: The Cancer Fight
The new year opens up the flood gates of new gym goers, all with the mission to get in “shape.” Many of these gym goers have never worked out before and have never been to the “gym.” This is a new playground, a new adventure and a new experience. Many will be intimidated and may do things they don’t know are wrong. So with a little fun, I have compiled a list of “rules” for your gym experience. Here we go (print these off and take them with you!):
1. No one is staring at you…they are staring at themselves.
Not really a “rule” but a statement! Believe it or not, people are not staring at you working out, in fact they are staring at themselves. Why do you think they put mirrors up? To check our form? No! To check if we are showing definition in the triceps. Duh!
2. Re-rack Your Weights
One of the first rules we learn as a child; if you bring your toys out, you have to put them back where they came from. You take the 5lbs dumbbells across the gym to do hammer curls, take ‘em back Jack!
Read the rest of…
Josh Bowen: Rules of the Gym
“Procrastination is the assassination of motivation”
Time is something you can never get back. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. It is our most precious resource. So why wait? Why wait for anything, knowing what we know. The answer probably falls down to priorities and things that get pushed to the back of the line, tend to be less of a priority than others. I do this with opening the mail. It is literally, one of my top three most hated things. I will push off checking my mail for days, sometimes weeks. Why? Because it is not a priority to me. If it were, I would open my mailbox everyday and sort through it. People treat fitness, like I treat the mail. Its something we can do tomorrow, or Monday or the first of the month or the FIRST of the year! People treat it like the red headed step child of their lives or like I treat the mail. The bad part about it is, I can open my mail anytime and it will always be the same, YOUR time on earth is precious, there won’t always be tomorrow.
Now, not to get morbid because that is not the point but procrastinating doesn’t get you anywhere. It wastes time. And by wasting time, we get further and further away from where we want to be. Today is December 4th, 2013 and I know there will be a large percentage of people that read this that are waiting until January 1 to start their fitness program. Why wait? I won’t bore you with trite statistics about New Years Resolutions but the proof is in the pudding. More people fail than succeed. I’m here to help you succeed and take action now so when 2014 makes its appearance you are already on the road to success. Here are some action steps to take:
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”
Step 1- Start. There is nothing magical about starting on the first, a Monday or a new year. Literally nothing, other than psychological. Get out and start moving. You don’t have to go purchase a gym membership or buy fancy workout equipment, but do something. Walk, run, bike, lift weights, yard work, something, anything to get you moving.
Step 2- Start small. There is no need to go all out. Life is all about momentum. Instead of committing to working out everyday, try 2-3 days. Build up your tolerance and your confidence. If going to gym is not your thing, start working out at home. Just do something.
Step 3- No analysis by paralysis. Google fitness and you’ll find anything and everything you could ever want to know. Theres too much information out there. Hence the reason why I wrote the “12 Steps to Fitness Freedom” In my book I take all the jar gain and all the rhetoric and condense it to a nice 12 step process. Shameless plug, available January 7th!
Step 4- Have fun. Do something you like to do. You like to dance try Zumba, you like to life heavy things (best way to get into shape in my opinion) do that. The point is to do something. Obviously some thing’s are better than others but my suggestion is always to get started now, never to wait.
Step 5- Personalized fitness. Everyone needs guidance particularly with things we don’t know much about or can’t seem to motivate ourselves towards. Even I need help with my fitness. Go see a personal trainer. Interview them and see if it may be a good fit. If you want more information about me click on this link
2014 is right around the corner but 2013 still has some legs to it. Make the most of the time we have.
Now drop and give me 20!
I am proud to announce the latest entry in the growing library of The Recovering Politician Books: Josh Bowen’s “Twelve Steps to Fitness Freedom.” A longtime Friend of RP and contributor to The Recovering Politician, Josh was recently named by Life Fitness one of the top ten personal trainers to watch in the world.
While I have the opportunity to work out with him twice a week, you can now glean all of his wisdom in less than 200 pages. If you are like me and have made a New Year’s resolution to get it better shape, there is no better way to fulfill it than to follow Josh’s advice.
Here is an excerpt from my Foreword.
Click here to review and purchase
I can imagine one of your first questions when reviewing this book jacket was: “What in the %$#&*$ is a ‘recovering politician’ doing publishing a book about fitness and physical well-being?”
Well, from a thematic standpoint, Josh Bowen’s ‘Twelve Steps To Fitness Freedom’ fits well into the mission of our Web site, TheRecoveringPolitician.com: As our former politician contributors proceed on their own post-politics second acts, we aim to empower all of our readers to launch their own second acts, with the whole toolkit of good health, high quality of life, and overall happiness. It’s no wonder, then, that Josh Bowen’s Thursday columns at our Web site are among the most viewed by our readership.
But from a more prosaic perspective, this particular recovering politician would have never made it into his second act if it were not for Josh Bowen. When we first met about a decade ago, I had an upper back pain problem that nothing could resolve – I tried massage, reiki, energy healing, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, you name it. So when I walked in my local gym and met a buff, tattooed physical trainer, you can imagine that I was initially skeptical. But after several months of strength training, Josh’s instruction was invaluable, and I have never since suffered that pain.
Fast-forward several years, and this middle-aged mess developed a new lower back disc issue. But of course that wasn’t all; my 40s had been plagued with all of the typical issues of my age group: low energy, less stamina, and that infamous flat tire of belly fat. A decade wiser, Josh prescribed a holistic program for me, including diet, supplements, and of course, his carefully monitored strength-training program.
Through his wealth of experiences travelling the country training physical trainers, and his voracious reading of all of the latest scientific and physiological studies, Josh Bowen is as good as it gets in helping his clients reach their fitness, health and wellness goals. I know I couldn’t have done it without him, and I expect that you will find invaluable advice in the pages that follow.
Josh Bowen’s careful instruction and deep personal concern for his clients has worked for me. And I bet this book will work for you as well. So that’s why this recovering politician has published this important book. Proudly. Enjoy.