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.


Will Meyerhofer: What You Never Hear

Will MeyerhoferHere’s what you never hear anyone say at a Biglaw firm – followed by a discussion of why you never hear anyone say it.

Here we go…

Let’s work on this together. It’ll be more fun.

People write me all the time, complaining I’m too down on Biglaw. Nothing new there, but one guy, recently, expanded on the topic, adding that he works at a firm where everyone, so far as he knows, is happy – enjoying a rewarding career in a supportive, non-exploitative environment.

Perhaps you can see this coming: It turns out this guy owns the firm – and specializes in oral arguments before federal appellate courts. Prior to becoming managing partner, he attended top Ivy League schools.

By way of a reply, I opined:  “Your experience might be considered atypical.”

In reality, his experience should be considered ridiculously atypical. Redonkulouslyatypical. Yet this presumably brilliant legal mind couldn’t manage to grasp that reality from where he was standing – at the top of the heap.

This man claims, without irony, that every lawyer at his firm is happy. But, that little voice in the back of your head begins to counter, before you’re even aware of having the thought: it’s your firm.

They work for you. Of course they act happy, just as the maid cleaning your hotel room – the one without a green card, with a family to feed, smiles and acts delighted to see you when you pop in to grab your extra iPad mini and she’s on her knees scrubbing the shower.

Presumably, someone else, some possibly unhappy little person at this guy’s law firm, is doing the work he would rather not think about – the work that has to be done. Maybe it’s a junior he’s never met. And I’d bet good money that other guy’s doing it all by himself, probably late at night or on a weekend.

Read the rest of…
Will Meyerhofer: What You Never Hear

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.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Diet Update


10422129_10154374013165515_2145931767846929601_n10338713_10154374013220515_5125868687903418794_nSo, I got a haircut.

And I lost 23 lbs.

(Jan 2nd 2014 vs July 2nd 2014)

I’m calling it the “Facebook Diet” because a key motivator is regular Facebook updates on my progress.


Out with the old –and too big.

21 months ago I bought a pair of jeans that are 34w as an incentive to fit into them 2 months later. 

21 months –and 21 lbs– later I fit into them. Not what I would call “a comfortable fit” but I am wearing them anyway.

And got rid of all my 38w pants today along with a few other (now) oversized clothes.

jyb_musingsOff to Evolve consignment store and Goodwill.

And 19 months late is still better than never. Or even 20 months later.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Finding Your People

jyb_musingsMy two cents.

For 20-somethings there are plenty of challenges –finishing education, entry level jobs, marriage, first home, starting family and so on. These are just some of the major life challenges often stared down in the 20s decade.

But the life challenge during this period that is perhaps most important of all is what I call “finding your people.” 

By that I mean finding out where you fit and can be you–be your best self and thrive most naturally. Not the people our parents believe or think we should fit with. And frequently not the people we ourselves in our 20s believe or think we want to fit with.

Sometimes we find this group in the course of our education or work or just stumble onto them. Sometimes it’s the last group we think of looking to.

Sometimes they find us.

And, ironically, it is often the group we find ourselves among while we rest –between looking for groups we are trying to fit ourselves into. In this instance we can stop looking and just pull up a chair and sit down.

We are home.

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.


Beth Gamulka: View from the Great White North

Beth GamulkaLast month I had the pleasure of reconnecting with many classmates at the same reunion that Jonathan Miller enjoyed. I went to a panel discussion about health care reform. As a physician who is interested in health policy, I was eager to hear what the panelists had to say. My former classmates were now health services researchers, physicians, and health policy experts. Other audience members were now health insurance executives, policy makers, and health care users with diverse political affiliations. It didn’t take long before I felt as if I had mistakenly walked into a foreign language film without English subtitles. While Canadians may spell and pronounce words differently, understanding American English is usually not a hardship. The language used in public discourse on the Affordable Care Act, however, simply does not resonate with Canadians.

While I have lived in the US, I have never practiced medicine there, nor have I ever been a consistent user of US health care services (unless you count sporadic interactions with the University Health Service in college– but let’s not). I have spent over 20 years as a health care provider and a lifetime as a health care user in Canada. I am not a comparative expert on US vs. Canadian health care models. I have simply experienced the Canadian system both as a physician and a patient/ advocate.

There are three key components of the Canadian universal health care system that are integral to its success and might illustrate the true differences between citizens of both countries (aside from the Canadian propensity to be polite and apologetic). The first is the way in which Canadians view their right to health care. It is an expectation but not one that is felt to necessarily be an immediate one. Canadians are very patient people (unless they are watching an NHL playoff game on TV and the cable goes out). I think it is similar to garbage collection. I pay taxes to the city of Toronto and in return I get my garbage collected on a regular basis. While I might want the garbage collectors to come every day, instead I have to wait patiently to have it removed according to the schedule.

What if there is a chemical spill or a major hazard that would require removal of toxic waste urgently? There is a way to initiate an emergency system to get that garbage removed. Access to health care is seen in much the same way.

Another component of Canadian Medicare that supports its success is the belief of most Canadians that every citizen has the right to access the system. While there may be geographic variations with respect to the services that are offered, those differences are not unique to this country. It is similar to public primary and secondary education. This belief is part of the fabric of the country.

The last characteristic of Canadian Medicare might sound odd. I actually believe that we have less government and third-party intervention in the doctor-patient relationship in Canada when compared to the US. While government involvement in instituting Obamacare has met with resistance from insurance companies and individuals on many levels because of the fear of losing free choice, the recent Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision suggests that there is a long road ahead. As a physician, I see patients and bill the province’s Ministry of Health, who then pays me for the services that I have provided. Neither the patient nor the physician has to get approval from a third party for the care that is needed. The role of health insurance companies is for extended benefits only, such as dental and psychological services, medical device costs, medication costs, and use of private hospital rooms. While there are government controls on overall costs and resource allocation, there are certainly no government or third parties interfering with moral decision-making for the patient.

Canada has usually been a little behind the times when compared to the US. In a reference to the ‘80s fashions worn by Robin Sparkles in 1994 in an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Cobie Smulders’ character says, “The ‘80s didn’t come to Canada ‘til like ’93.” While that may be the case for access to stores like Target (which finally opened in Canada in 2013), access to health care in Canada is the exception. While uninsured rates for those without health insurance are followed closely south of the border, and are thankfully dropping, they are negligible in Canada and have been for 50 years.

In 2004, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) launched a TV series called The Greatest Canadian. It was a reality show/documentary, of sorts, that encouraged viewers across the nation to nominate the greatest Canadian. The winner was not Mike Myers, Wayne Gretzky, Alexander Graham Bell, William Shatner or Jim Carrey. It was Tommy Douglas, the politician who is rightfully considered the father of universal health care in Canada. This year, the federal government ran an on-line survey asking Canadians which of the country’s accomplishments “make you most proud to be a Canadian?” The answer, not surprisingly, was Medicare. So this Canada Day (yes, July 1 is a real holiday here with beer and fireworks and everything), I will pick up a bottle of Molson Canadian and toast Mr.Douglas.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Suboxone

jyb_musingsKudos to Laura Ungar of the Courier-Journal for her clear-eyed, bold and much needed investigative piece on Suboxone. It isn’t critical as much as asks (and attempts to answer) sobering questions after the much heralded anti-addiction drug has now had time to demonstrate if it has been as effective as it’s early champions heralded it would be.

Four years ago, I agreed to disagree with several doctors –in a discussion that turned contentious at times– that Suboxone, alone, was all many addicts needed to overcome their drug addiction.

The doctors, well-meaning but short sighted, in my view, insisted on the above position and dismissed my skepticism because I wasn’t a trained medical expert.

That is a tough position to be in if you are trying to convince someone of your opinion who is a “trained medical expert.” So I backed away without backing down entirely.

I don’t have medical training and they each did. They knew and cited studies and treatment outcome data. All I had is that in my experience people, including doctors, who felt supremely confident in themselves in successfully treating the deeply mysterious and heart wrenching disease of addiction, eventually had their over-confidence displaced by humility.

I wish that weren’t the case and that there were a kind of “magic pill” to fix an addiction to other kinds of “magic pills.” But it’s not that easy. As I said then, and still believe, some medications may serve the equivalent role of “water wings” to someone trying to beat addiction–help them float while they are trying to learn to swim. But water wings, by themselves, are only a tool, and a limited one at that. Especially if you are trying to learn to swim and they are the only thing between you and drowning.


John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Meditation Competition

jyb_musingsOn Saturday mornings I attend a meditation group….and have for several years.

I try not to get competitive but this morning I am really feeling it…and am gonna out meditate everyone in the room.

I may even trash talk a little. 

“Don’t bring that weak meditation posture in here, yo!!” Or when the timer goes off ending the session shout, “Bam! That’s what I’m talking about!!”

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.


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