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.

Mona Tailor: KYnect Round 2

mona1November 15th, 2014 marks the opening of enrollment for KYnect, the Kentucky created health insurance exchange. KYnect has made so many strides over the year since they first went into place. They have been a presence at local fairs and events throughout the state. They have shared information about the options, educating the public, and passing out reusable grocery bags so the citizens are aware. Here in Louisville, I’ve seen them at WorldFest and St. James Art Festival. They even opened a store in the Fayette Mall in Lexington, KY this week. Finally, there’s even a mobile app this year! These ways of improving their name recognition are not in vain.

As Governor Steve Beshear stated in his NY Times op-ed last year, Kentucky ranks highly in all the wrong things when it comes to health- smoking, obesity, heart disease, lung cancer, and diabetes. Through the efforts of our state with KYnect supported by Governor Beshear and outgoing Lieutenant Governor Abramson, our state has made amazing strides to improve the health care of its citizens.

Prior to the ACA going into effect last year, 20.4% of Kentuckians were uninsured. Gallup conducted a poll in August, and our uninsured rate dropped to 11.9%. We along with Arkansas had the largest drop in the country in terms of the uninsured.

Beyond the numbers, as I reflect on our patient population, I have seen a drastic difference. To give you an idea, last year, we were so accustomed to having uninsured patients at our downtown Louisville clinic, that we were experts at the Wal-Mart $4 formulary. We knew what inhalers were the cheapest to get our chronic lung disease patients. We knew how to titrate the complicated twice a day 70/30 insulin because that’s what our patients with diabetes could afford. We knew the resources and financial assistance available to hook our patients into the system to be able to just get that imaging or that colonoscopy that would help us provide a diagnosis.

This year, I can count on my hand the number of times I’ve referenced the Wal-Mart $4 formulary. Instead, we are focusing on referencing formularies to find the medications that will be covered on our patient’s insurance plan. The inhalers our patients struggled to afford are now covered by their formularies. The easy to take daily basal insulins which better regulate blood glucose and improve diabetes are readily available for our patients. The only hitch we encounter with imaging and other tests is a matter of finding a time that works for the patient to schedule it.

The Affordable Care Act has had a very positive impact on our state. Not everything is perfect, but this is the best start we have had in as long as I can remember. Rather than repealing the entire legislation, it would be better to fix portions that have been difficult to implement. But please, do not take away this opportunity for affordable healthcare that Kentuckians have access to. Our health depends on it. I hope our Senator recognizes and appreciates this positive impact for Kentuckians as we begin the enrollment process for 2015 this weekend.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Better than Gingko!

jyb_musingsMemory supplements may or may not help improve mmemory. But I have discovered a way to make you feel again like your mind is a steel trap.

Going off a prescription medication that has listed as a side effect “Memory.” It wasn’t clear from the side effect list if “memory” was affected negatively or positively as a possible side effect. Turns out it is negative. Fortunately, however, “Not caring about having memory loss” was NOT another side effect. So, my doctor took me off it.

It’s nice having the memory again of a 51 year old rather than a 91 year old. Like taking off ankle weights after wearing them all day, I feel like I can mentally run and jump again like never before. I feel ready to re-memorize all the books of the Bible, memorize the alphabet backwards (just for the heck of it), and learn a new language on Rosetta Stone in one day (but probably not today).

I probably won’t do any of these things. In fact, I am sure I won’t. But it is nice to have the thought that I might and could. Even better than the results I had with Gingko which I bought several years ago but admittedly never gave a full chance. (Full disclosure: I couldn’t remember where I put the bottle.)

Josh Bowen: 7 Fitness Habits of Highly Effective People

joshThis weekend I have been away at Disney World, learning from the best in the fitness industry. Most of what was covered was very simple and based on habits. So it got me to think about the fitness journey and the impact our habits have on our success or failure.

What are the habits that successful people have? In my humble opinion, here they are:

  1. Eat Whole Foods What is the ultimate secret to fitness success? Eat like you want to be successful. Eating non-processed, non-packaged, non-shit (sorry for the language) is the secret. Cleaning up just one aspect of your diet will make a huge difference. Focus the next 30 days on something, whether it is to eat more vegetables, cut out alcohol or eat more protein. We will call this the Aspire30. A 30 day whole food challenge. Are you ready?
  2. Stay Consistent No matter what you do, consistency will always be key in success. No one needs to workout every day. Decide upon a frequency (preferably 3-4 days per week) and commit to it. Again, let’s institute the Aspire30. 30 days straight of at least 3 workouts. That’s 12 workouts per month. Commit and execute. Also, stay consistent with your nutrition. Pick a focus and go for it for 30 days. This turns into a habit.
  3. Get Plenty of Rest Work + Rest= Success. You only gain muscle and lose fat during rest. Sleep is vitally important to that body fat loss. 7-8 hours per night. Focus for 30 days and see what happens.
  4. Lift Weights This is a no brainier. People who want to be in the best shape of their lives lift weights. The road to success is not on the treadmill or elliptical. It’s in picking up heavy things multiple times for a long stretch of time.
  5. Stay Hydrated Being properly hydrated effects your results…period! Those who don’t get results are not hydrated enough. Drink at least 100 ounces of water each day to maximize your goals and feel better.
  6. Have Laser Focus Focus on each task at hand with laser precision. For every problem there is a solution, your solution is to focus on the weak areas without being distracted. Do not cancel on yourself!
  7. Never Give Up Sometimes it doesn’t come to us as easy as it did. Sometimes we need to evaluate our habits to see if that is the problem of why we don’t results. Regardless, you should never give up. Never stop fighting and sure as he’ll never stop believing in your dreams.
  8. Bonus: Have Non Negotiables Set times periods you devote to workout. If you schedule a session, don’t cancel it. Make every effort to commit to the time you set aside.  To take yourself where you want to go or have never been, you must focus on the habits you form. Your thoughts become your reality, rid yourself of clutter and unnecessary static. Use the habits above to build a healthier you and look the best you can.

Josh Bowen: How to Survive the Holidays

joshNovember is here and so is the holiday season. Holidays are the worse when it comes to temptation to eat foods we ordinarily wouldn’t. But that does not mean we should throw our fitness goals out the window til January. Here are a few statistics and helpful hints to keep you working towards your fitness goals during the holidays.

Statistics

1. Average person will gain 10-15 lbs between November 1st and January 1st

2. 75% of all candy consumed in the United States will be consumed on Halloween

3. There will be 180 million pints of alcohol consumed on New Year’s Eve

4. Average meal for Thanksgiving is 3500 calories
The Holidays

Halloween- The Sugar Holiday. Where Insulin and Glucose run rampant.
Thanksgiving- The Overeaters Anonymous Holiday. Trytophan the cause of Nap time?
Christmas- The Sugar, Fat and Santa Holiday.
New Years Eve- The Adult Beverage Holiday.

Client Survival Tips

Be active, everyday. Do NOT cancel your workouts. Now is not the time to cancel your workouts, it is the time to squeeze them in if you are busy. These are important, each one is a momentum builder. Lift weights, do a little cardio, walk your dog…something. Everyday.

Control stress. Stress makes everything worse.

Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during the holidays. If you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it. Maintenance of your present weight is a big enough challenge during the holiday season. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.

Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. Anticipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays (“after all, if I’m never going let myself eat this again after Jan. 1st, I might as well eat as much as possible now!”) Besides, restrictive diets don’t work in the long run. They increase your loss of lean body mass vs. fat, slow down your metabolism, increase anxiety, depression, food preoccupation, and binge eating, and make weight re-gain more likely.

Eat a light snack before going to holiday parties. It is not a good idea to arrive at a party famished. Not only are you more likely to overeat, but you are also less likely to resist the temptation of eating the higher fat and higher calorie foods.

Choose your beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. By contrast, water and diet sodas are calorie-free. If you choose to drink, select light wines and beers, and use non-alcoholic mixers such as water and diet soda. Limit your intake to 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per occasion. And, watch out for calories in soda, fruit punch, and egg nog as well.

Enjoy good friends and family. Although food can be a big part of the season, it doesn’t have to be the focus. Holidays are a time to reunite with good friends and family, to share laughter and cheer, to celebrate and to give thanks. Focus more on these other holiday pleasures, in addition to the tastes of holiday foods. The important thing to remember is balance and moderation. It’s OK to eat too much once in a while.

Maintain perspective: Overeating one day won’t make or break your eating plan. And it certainly won’t make you gain weight! It takes days and days of overeating to gain weight. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual eating plan the next day without guilt or despair.

Josh Bowen: 3 Reasons Why Soreness Doesn’t Mean Results

joshBack when I first started working out, I loved the feeling. When I first started working with clients, I loved hearing them tell me about it.

Soreness.

One of the first questions, in the old days, we use to ask clients who had been working out on their own, “are you getting sore still.” With little to no scientific research to back up our clams, we obliterated body parts into submission, thinking that everyone need to be sore to get results.

I was wrong.

To this day, I have attracted a client base that loves to be pushed and I love to push them. At times I can be relentless and somewhat domineering. However, I don’t believe the old school “Arnold rules” that says in order to achieve maximum results you must be so sore you cannot walk or move your arms. To be that sore every time you workout seems silly and counterproductive. Every once in a while is OK :) I look to a segment of our population for proof that get paid to workout, professional bodybuilders. Ask any athlete, especially physique athletes and they will tell you the last thing they want to be is sore. It messes with their routine and training. It will happen from time to time but it doesn’t define their progress.

For research to back up my claim, here is a popular research article from the National Strength and Conditioning Journal by a couple of guys I have met and have heard speak several times.

Shifting through all the research jargon I took the following statement to heart, “the applicability of DOMS in assessing workout quality is inherently limited, and it therefore should not be used as a definitive gauge of results.” OK moving right along. Let us get out of the research world (secretly I dislike it) and move to the practical side of things.

You want to be sore? That is great but it does not actually mean you are progressing. It does mean you either broke down your muscle tissue down significantly to create DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) or you introduce a new workout, exercise or rep scheme that your body was not ready for, thus causing soreness. Again, I love to be sore but the point is not to workout every time until you are are so sore you cannot move. This is counterproductive.

So here are my 3 reasons:

1. Soreness can interrupt to today’s workout: Recovery is important, being able to recover after a workout is even more important. If I am training a client full body 2-3 days per week and their legs are so sore they can barely lunge, squat or kettlebell swing this impedes my ability to program correctly for that day. Sure, if your legs are really sore, you can always do arms. However, I love when clients are pushed hard and have the ability to recover (because of adequate protein and rest) fast enough to workout at the same intensity or higher. How you recover workout to workout is more important than how sore you get workout to workout.  *Reminder…this applies to people who push themselves. If you are not pushing yourself, there is no need for recovery, you are already recovered.

2. Intense soreness could mean a lack of quality nutrition and rest A little soreness hear and there is great. Not being able to move (unless you first started working out) is not so good. This could be an indication of improper rest and inadequate nutrition, in particular a lack of high quality protein intake. Protein’s job is to help build and repair muscle tissue. Without it, the muscle will break down and will continue to break down to the point of injury. Same thing goes for recovery. If your muscles never recover you can never get to your full potential.

3. Your body can only take so much I have to tell myself this all the time, “you can only workout so much.” I don’t get as much sleep as I would like and there are some days where I have to rely on protein shakes as my main food source. There is no way I could handle soreness that would prevent me from training myself day to day. Your neuromuscular system is not designed to take a pounding every single day. It needs rest and needs food. 3-4 days of vigorous workouts, coupled with some active rest or complete rest days is enough for most people to get where they want to be. Less is more in this case.

The point I am trying to prove is that you do not need to continuously push your body to point where how sore you get should be a concern. A little tenderness is OK, outright muscle pain, after every workout does not mean your muscles are growing and you are getting better. Do not use this as an indicator of such. Rant over.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Ebola

jyb_musingsOk. For what it’s worth….and I’m not a doctor or anything ….but I am very intuitive about things like pandemics and mass diseases. And I am starting to get a much better feeling about this whole Ebola thing and how it is going to play out.

I’m predicting in a few days we can all go back outside again.

Probably.

Just a feeling. But it’s a pretty strong one.

The exact same feeling I got with Avian Flu and SARS just before we found out they weren’t going to cause our extinction. So there’s even a track record here for me with these sorts of things.

===

My wife and I are on our laptops and I peered over to see what she is reading. It is –again–an article about Ebola.

I have tried to reassure her that she won’t catch it and even if she does to try to look on the bright side: She looks really great in yellow and will rock that Hazmat suit.

Unfortunately, I don’t look good in Hazmat. They make me look bloated and I have really worked hard to slim down. One more reason I hope I don’t get Ebola.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Game on, Hawking!!

jyb_musings

Smarty pants astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has joined Facebook and said in his first post “I have always wondered what makes the universe exist. Time and space may forever be a mystery, but that has not stopped my pursuit.”

Oh brother. Whatever.

Well, you know Mr Hawking, you may be the smartest man alive but a lot of us on Facebook have some pretty brilliant moments ourselves. I am upping my scientific and intellectual Facebook game. Be forewarned. And remember, it’s OK to hate the player but don’t hate the game? Feel me? You are no longer in the ivory tower on Facebook. You are now on the street. And it’s about to get real.

So, for starters, you aren’t the only one on Facebook who wonders about what makes the universe exist and about space and time and stuff like that. I think about them too. Not all at the same time. But I think about them sometimes. And think about many other complicated sciencey things too.

When I am on an airplane I like to look out the window at the clouds and think to myself, “Let’s see. There are three kinds of clouds. Stratus, cumulus, and one other.” See? You are probably already realizing we are a lot more alike than you originally thought. That’s OK. That will happen to you a lot on here. Keep an open mind on Facebook. Ok? That’s important for everybody — but especially for guys like us.

10580031_10154805192810515_2724657550179636568_nOh…and after I think about the different types of clouds, I’m not done. I keep going. I saw this one recently (see below) I keep staring at the cloud formations until it comes to me, using my vast imagination (again like you) and I figure out what the cloud shape reminds me of. This one reminds me of a puppy dog.

I am interested, Mr Hawking, to find out if your mind works this way too and if you agree the cloud looks a lot like a little puppy dog? Cutie, huh?!

Anyway, congrats for joining Facebook. This may be the most exciting and surprising intellectual journey of your life. And I suspect — if you give it a chance–you will finally get some answers to all your questions about the universe.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Fridays at 51

jyb_musingsWhat makes Fridays nice at age 51 is the vague but pleasant recollection that 15 or 20 years ago something really fun –maybe even edgy and exciting– used to happen on Friday nights.

Even though you can’t quite remember what it was.

You realize that was a long time ago and isn’t going to happen tonight. Because you are too tired and have to pick up the kids later.

But the fuzzy memory that something fun used to happen to you on Friday nights still sustains you.

And is enough to still make you “thank God it is Friday.”

Just with a lowercase “T.”

Josh Bowen: 3 Thoughts We Should Stop Having About Fitness

joshI have been traveling the last few days and have had several conversations with people on the planes I’ve been on about fitness. One in particular with my taxi cab driver who picked me up at the airport in Florida.

The lady must have been in here early 40’s and in decent shape but really wanted to be in better shape. After finding out what I did for a living she instantly started probing me for information. And as it is in many cases the person will ask questions or state beliefs only to validate their own beliefs regardless of my opinion on the subject matter.

15 minutes into our ride she had told me how diet X didn’t work for and neither did diet A-R but diet W and Z were the bomb.com. What?! She also referred to anything lifting related as the “man zone” and quickly wanted to tell me how doing an hour of cardio was great but was boring and she wasn’t sure she could tell a difference. You don’t say?

So, as only I can do, I referred her to my book 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom as a step in the right direction for her. Maybe the book could do a better job of explaining the components of fitness than I could do. Either way these random conversations with people boggle my mind. I still cannot understand why we have such a hard time understanding the core principles of fitness. We continually over diet, we look at food as either bad or good and we have no concept of what is too much or not enough.

Let’s set the trend here with the 3 Thoughts We Should Stop Having About Fitness:

Thought 1: Diets Work
If diets work then why is obesity and the number of diet books on sale at an all time? Diets don’t work. Have never worked. Will never work. They are often too stringent and restrict our favorite foods. They are also not nutrient driven and only focus on the amount of calories you eat, forgetting about the nutrient value of protein, carbs and fats.

Thought 2: More Exercise is Better
Using exercise to lose fat is like using a band aid to on a gun shot wound. Thinking you can go workout to eradicate that pizza you just ate or that bottle of wine you just drank is lunacy. The average person cannot eat what they want then go workout and expect to look the way they want. You also can workout TOO much. Your nervous system can only handle so much (this is where the value of rest comes into play) exercise thang it can become fried and will need a break. 3-4 days of vigorous exercise is usually enough for most people, anymore than that and the body will not be able to handle stress (unless nutrition, rest and genetics intervene).

Thought 3: Lifting Weights Makes Women Look Like Men
It doesn’t. Never has. Never will. There are outliers to everything, however those are few and far between. Want to be leaner? Want to have a defined waist, shoulders and back, pick up heavy things. With the help of great nutrition habits, lifting weights will make anyone look great naked. And that’s a great thing!

My hope is I can put these to bed and never have to discuss them again. But the majority of you reading this already know these so if you could forward to friends and family, it would help he education of the exercising public and maybe increase my subscribers! Until next time.

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