Josh Bowen: Stop Comparing Yourself

joshJudging by the title, you may not think this will not be a fitness or nutrition related post. I, however, believe fitness is 100% tied to our self esteem and how we feel about ourselves rather than actually picking up weights or doing cardio. We exercise to feel better about ourselves and ultimately give ourselves more self esteem and confidence. Why do you think so many people take gym selfies? Let’s be honest, its not a workout if you don’t record it right? I’m being sarcastic…obviously.

BUT…I am serious about fitness tying into our psyche. As our bodies improve our self esteem should improve as well, right? If you only compared yourself to yourself you would find  that you would be happier with your results and feel the momentum swing of results (no matter how big or small). The unfortunate part, as a general rule, we don’t compare ourselves to ourselves, we compare ourselves to society norms (whatever that is) and/or other people. This is a recipe for disaster not only in our results but also how we perceive our results. I truly believe this derails people from achieving their personal Mount Everest.

So many times, as a trainer, I am inundated with this:

“I want Jennifer Lopez’s butt”

“I want the Rock’s shoulders”

“How come my arms don’t look like some of your other clients”

I am just as guilty. I fully admit it. I often have to stop myself from looking at the Rock or some other athlete and thinking, “Damn I’m working hard but these guys are bigger and leaner than I am.” This thinking is futile. This thinking is a waste of time. This thinking will derail you off YOUR goals.

I feel bad for women in this scenario because of all the media messages and marketing that is thrown their way. The magazine stand with the perfect model on it can get in your head and think you are less than what your are. The Victoria’s Secret fashion show with the twigs walking around with no muscle puts a stigma in people’s head, that this is how you are suppose to look. It’s all bulls**t. YOU and you alone define what you want to look like, not society, not Vogue magazine, not Sports Illustrated and sure as not Hollywood.

So what do we do to stop this wasteful process? I have a few ideas;

Compare Yourself to Yourself

We are all born unique and different from everyone else. Therefore we should celebrate our individuality and not worry about what any one else is doing or looks like. Your journey is your journey, not the person next to you. Not what you see on television It is personal to you. It is futile for me to compare myself to the Rock. He has different genetics, different circumstances, different behavior patterns. We are no the same. We may train the same, but we are not the same. The same goes for you. Be different. Be you.

Skews your Judgement

The quest for the perfect body can often lead to extreme measures. Supplements, weight loss diets, extreme fitness routines, everything underneath the sun to be “perfect.” Well there is no such thing. This attempt can skew your judgement and start trying and doing things you often wouldn’t. Put the diet pills down, they are only hurting you. Eat real food and pick up heavy things, it works.

Psychologically Damaging

How we feel about ourselves is all we have. Our confidence in ourselves and our bodies is vitally important. When we follow the status quo we lose our identity and thus lose our precious form of self. Believe in yourself. Get 1% better everyday and let that carry you to your goals.

I realize this piece is all over the board and may not be for everyone. I also realize that most of us can be more happier with ourselves if we just stop comparing ourselves to others. Take this article to heart and maybe share with others.

Josh Bowen: What is Causing Your Headaches?

joshHope everyone had a great weekend and is ready to attack Monday like nobody’s business. The year is flying by and the holidays will be here before you know. The time to be consistent and focused is important. What you do now, will effect what you do later.

We have all had headaches at some point or another in our lives. Some literal and some figuratively (haha). But what is a headache? And more importantly, what causes a headache?

A headache is not actually a pain within the brain, or the brain does not have pain sensors. The pain is caused by a disturbance to pain sensitive tissues around the brain. Nine areas around the head and neck have these pain sensors (cranium, muscles around the neck, eyes, ears etc.). There are also 200 different classifications for headaches but they fall into one of two categories; primary vs. secondary.

Primary headaches are benign, reoccurring headaches not caused by disease or structural problems. Secondary headaches are caused by underlying disease such as; colds, ear infections, tumors etc.).

The causes of headaches is not 100% known but there are some research studies to suggest that your nutrition has a vital role in: determining how often you get headaches, how severe the pain is and how long they last. Here are 4 common nutritional deficiencies that may be causing your headaches:

Magnesium and Folate

If you do not get the recommended 320 to 420 mg of magnesium per day, it could lead to migraine like symptoms. Magnesium helps the release of several neurotransmitters (ACH, dopamine) that are vital to movement and stress reduction. You can boost magnesium in your diet by eating more green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds. Although it is rare, a deficiency in folate can lead to headaches as well. Unless pregnant or nursing, you should be getting 400 micrograms per day. Sources of folate are eggs, nuts, beans, and seafood.

Going Low Carb

We could argue at length about carbohydrates but going to too low carb for too long can lead to headaches. 20-50 grams of carbohydrates per day is considered “low carb” and can significantly increase the likelihood of getting headaches because the brain is not getting its preferred fuel source, glucose.

Vitamin A and Zinc Toxicity

Too much of any thing is a bad thing. Especially Vitamin A and Zinc. Vitamin A a fat soluble vitamin that if taken above the recommended levels can cause health concerns. 10,000 IUs per day is above the recommended dosages for Vitamin A, this can lead to headaches. Too much Zinc, 40 mg per day can also lead to headaches. Usually this is from over dosing on supplementation rather than from food sources.

Food Allergies

Being allergic to something can cause mild to severe headaches. Wheat, dairy, nuts, eggs etc. can cause severe headaches if eaten by someone with an allergy. Proper allergy testing would be recommended if headaches are a constant to see what you were allergic too and possibly taking it out of your diet.

Bonus!

Dehydration 

Becoming dehydrated can lead to severe headaches in people. It  is a way of your body telling you to drink water. Making sure you are getting over 100 ounces of water per day will keep you from being dehydrated especially in the hot sun.

Headaches are your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. Look to your nutrition for the clues.

Josh Bowen: 4 Reasons Why Building Muscle Should be Your Top Priority

Summer has flown by and by the time we know it, it will be Christmas time again. I digress, however. Here is to a great week and continued great month of July.

Onto the topic at hands…muscle.

I posted the above picture this week on both my personal Facebook page and the Aspire page, to great feedback. It essentially shows six different bodies, who all weigh the exact same and are the same height. But how could that be? How could the same person weigh the same, be the same height and look completely different? Answer….MUSCLE. Muscle is the reason for the discrepancy in aesthetics. So muscle weighs more than fat? No. And every time someone says that it makes me cringe. One pound of fat and muscle weigh the same, as do one pound of rocks and feathers. Difference is, it takes more muscle and feathers to weigh a pound. Muscle takes up less space, therefore you can weigh the same and look dramatically different. You also carry less water when you have more muscle.

So does that mean the scale is lying to me? Probably. Your scale is not accounting for the amount of muscle you have on your body which can make the number on the scale irrelevant. In fact, just today I had a client text me that they had gained 12 pounds from when they started but dropped 9% bodyfat, making for a dramatic difference in physique. My question is always which would you rather have; less weight or better looking body? You know the answer to that.

So why is muscle so important and should be a top priority for everyone?

Muscle Fights Obesity

Less muscle equals more body fat. More body fat leads to insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity leads to diabetes. Both are inflammatory. Both will cause you to eat your muscle tissue up. Muscle increases your insulin sensitivity, keeps your body fat low and helps fight off diseases.

Muscle Fights the Aging Process

After the age of 25, in untrained individuals, you can lose up to 10% of your muscle tissue every decade. This will help lead to obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and many other diseases. Essentially without building muscle, you will end up fat and weak by the time you are 70-80 years old. Quality of life will be low and disease will be high. Correct that by adding quality muscle to your frame and keep doing it year after year.

Muscle Boosts Your Metabolism

The age old saying of “muscle burns 50 calories at rest for each pound versus fat.” is false. However, the more muscle you have on your body the more your body will need oxygen to recover from your workout, thus burning more body fat and upping your metabolism. This is called Excessive Post Oxygen Consumption or EPOC. This is the “after burn” after your workout that helps boosts your metabolism and decrease your body fat.

Side note: No one and I mean no one can survive, long term, on a diet of 1200 calories or less. Not a woman and not a man. It is a recipe for metabolic destruction and long term issues. DON’T do it! Eat to lose people, eat to lose.

Muscle Looks Good

Everyone wants to look good, period end of story. That is why we are here, to look good. Sure there are other reasons but ultimately we want to feel good and look good. Muscle looks good on everyone, literally everyone. No one has ever said that muscle looked bad on someone. Sure those freaky bodybuilders may have too much muscle but they look better than having too much body fat. Men, women whoever, all look great with muscle. Just how much is a personal decision. Muscle is sexy, period.

I joke all the time in the studio saying, “if you don’t have muscle, you don’t have sh*t.” It is a joke but there is a lot of truth in jest from time to time. Muscle is the driving force in our everyday lives from the time we get out of bed until the time we go to bed, muscle is involved. We must grow it an take care of it.

Josh Bowen: Metabolism

joshOur topic for this week: metabolism. And more importantly how do we increase it. But first we must cover what metabolism actually is. Scientifically, metabolism is the amount of calories you burn everyday without doing anything. This is referred to as resting metabolic rate or basal metabolic rate (BMR). So essentially, it is the amount of calories you would burn while laying in bed for 24 hours. It is impacted heavily on the following: the size of the individual, the amount of muscle on the individual, hormonal factors such as T3 and T4 conversion and amount of testosterone and growth hormone release, also environmental factors such as sleep, foods we eat and alcohol we drink. Some of these you can control (amount of toxins you put in your body and sleep you get) and some you cannot (hormone factors).  So how do I increase my metabolism?  Eat more When someone wants to lose weight, the first thing you try to do is cut their calories. Unfortunately,this can back fire and crush your metabolism. For women, eating less than 1200 calories a day will kill your metabolism. It will put your body into a state of shock and at some point, everything you eat will be converted to storage because your body thinks it is starving. I’d say 1800-2000 calories for men is a baseline. If you are eating smart and eating the right whole foods, this will increase your metabolism and have a dramatic effect on your body fat.  Drink Water Researches have found that drinking water (at least 64 ounces a day) can help boost the metabolism to burn at least 50 more calories a day. That is 5lbs per year. I advise everyone to drink as much water as they can, at least 100 ounces per day, everyday.  Eat Breakfast Women who skip breakfast are 4 1/2 times more likely to be obese. That in itself is a reason to eat breakfast, everyday.  Eat Fiber Research has shown that eating at least 25 grams of fiber a day can increase the metabolic rate as much as 30%. Pick foods that are green vegetables like broccoli and kale over whole grain and wheat. Quest bars also have a ton of fiber in them.  Eat Organic Food

Canadian researchers report that dieters with the most organochlorines (pollutants from pesticides, which are stored in fat cells) experience a greater than normal dip in metabolism as they lose weight, perhaps because the toxins interfere with the energy-burning process. Other research hints that pesticides can trigger weight gain. Always choose organic when buying peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes, and pears; non-organic versions tend to have the highest levels of pesticides. * From Prevention Magazine

Eat Protein in Every Meal Protein increases metabolism because it takes longer to digest (in most cases). Researchers have found that eating protein can increase post meal calorie burn by 35%.  Lift Heavy Things Best way to boost your metabolism is picking up heavy sh*t. Men and women should both be doing more lifting and spending less time on cardio machines. Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, so therefore the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism is. You don’t build muscle tissue from the elliptical. Lift heavy things.

Bonus! Cut out the alcohol Alcohol KILLS your metabolism! When you drink you burn less fat and more slowly than normal, not matter how hard you workout or focus on weight loss. You can’t train hard and drink and expect to lose weight, your body won’t let it happen. Drinking the equivalent to two martinis you can decrease your metabolism by 73%. Something to think about here.

Josh Bowen: How to Really Read a Food Label

joshA couple of years ago it became crystal clear to me. A concept that I had taken for granted for so many years as a trainer. It was not until I sat down at my parents’ dinner table, with the intention to discuss nutritional habits and my mother (who has been a nurse for like 90 years) drops a bomb on me. “I have no idea what the labels that are on the back of foods, no clue what it means.” WHAT! “You don’t know how to read a food label?” “You are a nurse!” Now before all the nurses out there decide to bomb my house, I am in no way saying that nurses lack knowledge in any way. What I am saying is, in general, most people do not know how to read food labels. Thus, not understanding what and how much of the foods we are eating. This is a big problem. But, this is a problem I intend to solve with today’s entry! Yes, JB to the rescue!


OK. Let’s start simple. Take a look at the food label above. We will start at the top; Serving size. This generally references how many servings are contained and what the size of each serving is. This is where some people go wrong because they will see the total calorie amount and tend to overeat because they consume too many servings. Regardless of what the food is, keep mindful of how much of it you are eating by keeping track of the serving size.

Now lets look at the calories per serving. So regardless of the serving size this will tell you how many calories per each serving. So if something is 100 calories per serving and you eat 2 servings, that’s 200 calories (and yes I am a University of Kentucky graduate.) To the right you will see calories from fat. To attain this number you take the total number of fat grams and multiply it by 9 (fat is 9 calories per gram). Now be careful here, fat is not the enemy. These food labels give you the impression that fat is the enemy, it is not. Avocados will have a lot of fat calories but they are good for you!

Now lets take a look a little lower. Fat is the red headed step child of the 3 macronutrients but I digress. The top line will show you the total fat grams and then its broken down into Saturated fat, Unsaturated Fat and Trans Fat. In some foods you will see unsaturated fat broken down into polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. Each will have the total number of grams and a percentage. That percentage is based on a 2,000 calorie diet. This may or may not apply to you. If you are eating less calories, the percentage would be less and vice versa.

Going on down the list you will see sodium, potassium (sometimes) and cholesterol. As I have said in past blogs, choosing foods with more potassium than sodium is always a great idea. This will help with the reduction of water retention.

Now onto carbohydrates. Pay close attention to this one because it can get confusing. Underneath carbohydrates is Dietary Fiber and Sugar. Dietary fiber blunts the effects of insulin so you want a decent amount of fiber in your foods. From time to time you will see the phrase “net carbs” this refers to taking the total amount of sugar and subtracting the total amount of fiber from it. Hence the term “net carbs.” Pay attention to something interesting, on every nutrient you will see a % daily value compared to a 2000 calorie diet, with the exception of sugar. There is no recommended daily consumption of sugar. This is because we shouldn’t be eating SUGAR!!!!

The last nutrient is protein. Again, the same drill for fat and carbs, total number of grams. As a review, fat is 9 calories per gram, protein and carbs are 4 calories per gram respectively.

Most foods will list Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron. The percentages are based upon RDI (recommended daily intake) for these nutrients. The percentages are per serving how much of these nutrients you are getting based upon a 2000 calorie diet.

This is vital skill to learn and will keep you out of a calorie surplus because you understand how much per serving. Keep all of these in mind when you are choosing a food. Use these tips to help you decide on a food:

1. Pick foods that are low in sugar and high in fiber.
2. Pick foods that a nutrient dense and high in calcium.
3. Pick foods that have more potassium than sodium.
4. Typically, foods that do not have a food label (fresh vegetables and fruits) are better for you!

 

Josh Bowen: Death by Stress

joshStress kills, and here are the statistics from the American Institute of Stress:

Stress increases the risk of:

Heart disease 40%
Heart attack 25%
Stroke 50%

Also…

44% of overstressed people overeat and 44% lose sleep every night. Extreme stress events (i.e. divorce, jobs loss) reduces grey matter in regions tied to emotional and psychological functions leading future psychiatric problems.

And finally…stress causes up to 60% of all human diseases. Wow. Our stress is killing our bodies.

So lets look at the main culprit in our physiology that is causes havoc on our bodies, cortisol. Cortisol is the “stress” hormone. It is released during times of stress from our adrenal glands (glands that sit on top of your kidneys that also produce adrenaline amongst other hormones). Now mind you, our body looks at all stress the same, no matter if it is; psychological, physical or emotional stress. Either way the following happens:

1. An individual is faced with a stressor. 

2. A complex hormonal cascade ensues, and the adrenals secrete cortisol.

3. Cortisol prepares the body for a fight-or-flight response by flooding it with glucose, supplying an immediate energy source to large muscles.

4. Cortisol inhibits insulin production in an attempt to prevent glucose from being stored, favoring its immediate use.

5. Cortisol narrows the arteries while the epinephrine increases heart rate, both of which force blood to pump harder and faster.

6. The individual addresses and resolves the situation.

7. Hormone levels return to normal.

So what is the big deal? The environment of the typical American is such where we rarely take time off (raise my hand), are constantly moving without resting and have so much on our plate that we become overstressed and do not know how to manage it. Our bodies over produce cortisol and we are constantly in fight or flight. Put all that together with a lack of physical activity and poor nutrition and you have a recipe for disaster. Here are a few ways cortisol is destroying our bodies:

Weight Gain/Obesity

The repetition of cortisol release due to stress causes weight gain in many people, more specifically body fat retention. Cortisol can relocate stored triglycerides to visceral fat cells (deep and under the muscle tissue). This type of fat is what kills us. Cortisol also suppresses insulin release causing increased blood sugar levels leading to cells that are starved for glucose and signaling to the brain for the body to overeat and thus the unused glucose is stored as body fat.

Blood Sugar Imbalance and Protein Degradation 

Under stressful situations, cortisol provides the body with glucose by tapping into protein sources (dietary protein stored in the liver and muscle) and increasing blood sugar levels leading to diabetes. Cortisol essentially uses protein as fuel and can lead to burning up your muscle tissue.

Inflammation/Immune System Suppression

Cortisol functions to reduce inflammation in the body, which is good, but over time, these efforts to reduce inflammation also suppress the immune system. Chronic inflammation, caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet and stress, helps to keep cortisol levels soaring, wreaking havoc on the immune system. An unchecked immune system responding to unabated inflammation can lead to myriad problems: an increased susceptibility to colds and other illnesses, an increased risk of cancer, the tendency to develop food allergies, an increased risk of an assortment of gastrointestinal issues (because a healthy intestine is dependent on a healthy immune system), and possibly an increased risk of autoimmune disease.

*****above taken from

4. Jones DS, Quinn S (eds). Textbook of Functional Medicine. Gig Harbor, Wash.: Institute for Functional Medicine; 2006.

5. Weinstein R. The Stress Effect. New York: Avery-Penguin Group; 2004.
So how do we combat this? Taking from my chapter in Jonathan Miller’s book, “12 Steps to Surviving a Crisis” http://therecoveringpolitician.com/12steps

Stress Reduction/Rest/Sleep

Sleep/rest can aid in the reduction of stress thus reducing your overall cortisol secretion. Taking a day off or taking a vacation, sleeping and learning to let go of things that do not matter will contribute to reducing your stress. Also, getting people out of your lives that cause you stress and incorporating those that have you back always are good ways to kill your stress.

Nutrition

Same mentioned earlier, our hormones have a big impact on our bodies. Crisis and stress enhances that. Nutritionally we eat to survive but can also eat to thrive. Excessive cortisol production will cause our bodies to tear down muscle tissue and cause us to store unwanted body fat. It will also suppress our immune systems during times of stress. Not good. The American diet consists of too much processed foods, alcohol, wheat and sugar. Reducing these can help dramatically with your stress levels and body fat percentages. 

Foods shown to reduce cortisol production are eggs, lean beef, sweet potatoes, fruits, and lots of vegetables. Raw, organic vegetables are preferred because of the high amounts of vitamin C, a cortisol reducer and anti-inflammatory. Almost including foods high in fiber (not bread) will help level out blood sugar levels.

Resistance Training

The human body does not know the difference between “good” stress or “bad” stress. So any stress put upon it will cause hormone secretion. Resistance training (lifting weights) is a stress to the body, however it allows your body to strengthen and grow your muscles and strengthen your bones. Very important in times of crisis. Also, will allow you to blow off much needed steam.

If you are a beginner start with 3-4 days of resistance training. Make sure you give your body 48-72 hours between body parts before you hit them again. As you progress you can start incorporating Tabatas, plyometrics, cross training into your program. Make sure you get ample rest and nutrition, as this you will your recovery and reduce your stressful situation.

Conditioning

It is said that the heart is your most important muscle in your body. That is correct, without your heart most processes in the body could not take place. The heart transports blood, oxygen, and waste amongst other things. It cannot take heavy stress over a long period of time. Diet, exercise and reduced stress play an enormous part in the hearts health. In times of crisis the heart takes a pounding due to increased hormone secretion, high blood pressure and increased anxiety.

Strengthen your heart by training, not just cardio. Cardiovascular training will help increase the amount of blood pumped in a heart beat, thus making it more efficient. 3-4 days of vigorous activity is best. Beware, over doing cardio also causes stress to the body. Keep it simple in times of crisis.

Holistic Health

Taking into account more than just practical medicine, holistic health is a huge part of well being during a crisis. Here we will concentrate on herbs that will reduce cortisol production and holistically improve your body versus turning to practical medicines.

Black tea, green tea, ginkgo all have cortisol reducing properties. Implement them into your diet and watch your stress levels and cortisol production decrease.

Meditation

As discussed earlier rest and relaxation play as big a part of crisis control than fitness. Being able to relax and meditate will increase serotonin production to relax the body.

Take 15-30 minutes per day and shut out all the distractions and just let your mind/body relax. If need be get a massage!

Flexibility/Yoga

Yoga/meditation/massage all have similar outcomes on the brain. Allowing you to relax and shut out the worlds problems. Becoming more flexible will reduce the amount muscular stress on your body thus will help the overall stress.

Take a yoga class or just take time to do some dynamic movements like lunges or body weight squats will do wonders for your flexibility, joints, tissue strength and stress levels.

Fitness is the vehicle to get you to your goals. Use it wisely during times of crisis and stress.

Josh Bowen: Your Stubborn Shoulders

joshMy blogs/newsletters/fit tips/whatever you want to call it, are usually meant to educate and inform and not concentrate highly on the technicalities. It is difficult to show form and function of movements in an email and have them received on a great level. However, today I thought we would try it and see how it turns out.

So here we go.

This week I shot a video on proper shoulder warm-up. My friend and chiropractor Dr. Tim Rogers has been working with my left shoulder for months now to get it to behave. We have put these distinct shoulder warm-ups into my workouts to ensure my shoulder progresses. I also am staying away from bench press and shoulder pressing because it increases the inflammation in the tendons and causes irritation the day after workout.

Now I made the video because I saw a gentleman warming up the other day at the gym and he was circling around with a 10lbs dumbbell repeatedly, trying to warm his shoulder up. I see this a lot in baseball as well, circling the bats around “warming up” the shoulder. Now why would this be dangerous? What issues could this cause? A lot!  We could write on this topic all day and I could break out the extensive anatomy and biomechanics but the reality is no one reading this cares.

You want simple, education, So I will break this down as simple as I can make it.  Your shoulder joint is the most complex joint in the body because of the amount of range of motion it has and the fact so many different muscles and joints insert or originate from it. It also is surrounded by very thin muscles that rotate it, also called the rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscabularis and teres minor). Big words, little muscles. In fact they are about as then as a piece of paper, yet we take a heavy weight and do a circular motion with it and expect it to be ok time and time after we do it.

Not the case.

Not only to we have the shoulder joint to be concerned with, we also have the hip joint to worry about. See when we have an injury we cannot just look at the site of the pain, we have to evaluate where the source is coming from. Interestingly, poor flexibility and improper glute activation on the right side can cause injury to the left shoulder. This is because often times, injuries happen in diagonals. Walking or gait is about rotating at the hips and swinging through with the arms. If anything in that motion is restricted, injury could occur.  This is why it is crucial to warm your shoulders and your hips up together for proper function of the both joints. So without boring you anymore with shoulder function and mechanics, let me explain the exercises on the video below.

The first exercise is the one you DO NOT want to do. This could cause long term damage to your shoulder. Just stop doing it.

The second set of exercises has to do with a band, the first I am standing, lowering my shoulder blades, squaring my shoulders, with my grip so that my palm is facing the other wall. I pull with my elbow down and squeeze an depress my back. This aligns my shoulder correctly and incorporates my glutes on the opposite side because as I said before, injuries happen in diagonals.

The third exercise is the band pull aparts. This is great for horizontal training of the shoulder blades and the muscles that attach. Straighten your arms and sit up nice and straight. Pull the band till it touches your chest, with your arms straight.

The fourth exercise is the monster walks. Get a band and place your feet, wider than hip with the part. Step to the left and right as wide as you can go and drag the other foot back to the starting point. This warms the hips up, which going back to what I said earlier is just as important to the shoulder as warming the shoulder up. You should feel this in your butt.

Last but not least is the kettlebell swing. Grab a decently heavy kettlebell and drive your hips back and hinge at the hips. This is great for getting your glutes involved and ready to lift upper or lower body.  I hope you enjoyed that tutorial of the shoulder warm ups. Until next time…

 

Josh Bowen: Aversion vs Ascension

joshFear is paralyzing. The fear of failure. The fear of success. The fear of being looked at as abnormal. These can all avert us from achieving things in life. We condition our thoughts to drive us or to sink us. We can choose to go workout when we “don’t have time” or we can choose to apply for a better job, inversely we can choose to make excuses that we don’t have time or that we are not qualified for that position. Either way, you choose to do it or don’t. We choose to avert the situation or you choose to ascend to great heights and try without fear of failure. The choice is ultimately yours.

Either fears win or freedom wins.

Excerpt from the book Motivational Manifesto by Brendon Burchard:


“Why are some people more driven by fear than freedom?

It can only be because in the past they were conditioned to be fearful, either by those around them or by their poor application of mental faculties. There is no genetic curse or personality trait that permanently condemns one person to fear more than another even a genetic predisposition for anxiety can ultimately be flipped on or off by mental conditioning. We are not slave to our history; we can be freed by our conscious thoughts and disciplined habits.

This is not to blame our past or excuse our fears. When people choose fear as an adult, they are choosing not to manage or overcome it. This is difficult work for many because fear has become their default impulse. The thoughts ruling their minds and their self-talk replay the cutting barbs of the critics and misguided caretakers who once demeaned them. The good news is we can change this conditioning. When we awaken to responsibility, we realize that nothing can be done about our past but to see it from a new perspective. We can release ourselves from its grip. We cannot control how others treated us yesterday, so let us work instead on understanding how we are currently dealing with those who stoke our fear today. The great efforts to move our lives forward always come down to a new moment when we interrupt our fear and activate our freedom by choosing how to feel, interpret, and direct our lives.

Part of the mastery of life comes from anticipating that the same kinds of characters that sought to instill fear yesterday shall be met again today or tomorrow. Knowing this, we become wary of people who chip away at our freedom. These are the worriers, weaklings, and, in rare cases, the wicked. 

From the above you can see certain situations and people can have an effect on ourselves, preventing us from being who we want to be. The worriers, weaklings and as he says in rare cases the wicked, steal our freedoms and instill fear in us. Lets discuss these three:

The Worriers

The most common are the worriers. These are people that without knowledge, are often the people who induce the most amount of fear. The are not unkind or malicious but always extra cautious and always reminding us “be careful” or “are you sure you want to do that?” or “thats not who you are, you cant do this.” These people can disrupt our ascension to greatness. We must tune them out and listen to ourselves. You can do this. This can be you. And being careful never created greatness.

The Weaklings

A wise man told me once, “don’t argue with fools because from a distant you can’t tell who is who.” This couldn’t be more correct. Weaklings will speak out against your hard work. They will ask, “why do you workout so much?” They will say, “you can have just one piece of pizza, it won’t kill you.’ They downplay hard work and dedication because they are not hard working or dedicated. We must not give these people our ears and keep moving.

The Wicked

We have all met someone (or lots of someones) that are just out to tell us we cannot do something. Or are so malicious in their intent, it only disrupts our flow and our attaining greatness. These are the people of the world who do not want you to succeed because it will make them feel better about themselves. The wicked are the people on social media watching your progress in life just hoping you will fall off the wagon and return to your previous state. We must rid our lives of these people. Listen to your heart, gut and soul not some one who can’t do what you are doing.

Victory can be ours if we stay true to ourselves, trust the process and keep a positive attitude. We must also eliminate people who are not contributing to our mission or do not see the our goals as important or attainable.

Josh Bowen: 4 Nutrition Myths

joshI love myths. They are fun to me. This wild and wacky fitness world provides us with a LOT of myths and the problem lies in the fact people believe them. Quite frankly, sometimes I get caught up in the myths. It is very easy to do with all the magazines, fitness gurus and my favorite the internet trainers, dispelling all this wonderful information to the world. EVERYONE is an expert these and its hard to decipher what is correct and what is not. And truth be told, there are no absolutes, sometimes it just depends. So, let us take a stroll down my four favorite nutritional myths, shall we?

If you eat after a certain time, it turns to fat

This one is predominant and would be willing most people believe this. There is no clock on your stomach that says after 8pm everything that is eaten will go straight to your fat cells. It is a fallacy. For example I eat after 10pm (because of my long days and nights) nearly everyday. I workout late at night and my body needs fuel to repair my muscles and replace what was lost. If this myth were true, people in different time zones would be in massive trouble. Its not so we are all safe. However, people who tend to have a regular schedule (eat dinner around 6pm) who cut off their snacking or eating before 8pm tend to take in less calories and do not tend eat out of boredom. However, there is nothing wrong with having a protein shake or some type of protein packed food prior to bed time. In fact, it can be very beneficial while you sleep.

Cholesterol causes heart disease

It has not been until recently that this has been questioned. Most, for a long period of time, have been under the assumption that cholesterol had a significant impact on the increase of heart disease. Now that is starting to be questioned http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mark-hyman/why-cholesterol-may-not-b_b_290687.html. The fact that 75% of people who have heart attacks have a normal cholesterol (whatever that means) damn near debunks this myth. If I had to put something in jail as the culprit for the rise of heart attacks and heart disease, I’d lock up sugar. There you have it.

Eating less calories means I will lose more weight

False. False. False. In the short term this could work, in the long term this will cause metabolic turmoil and can cause you to gain weight because your metabolism is screwed up. We are predesigned to be grazers and eat periodically, even though we had to “eat what we killed” we still snacked on fruits vegetables. My advice, do not play the calorie game, eat whole foods and give your body what it needs to survive. 1200 calories or less or anyone is not going to make that happen.

Whole grain bread is better than white bread

Not necessarily. There is a minute difference in the following: color, fiber and micronutrient content. But this is minute. Even thought white bread goes through more processing and is stripped of its vitamins and minerals, many white breads are later fortified with those same vitamins and minerals. The fiber amount is not that different and you can do a lot better by eating high fiber vegetables than you can eating wheat bread. Simply put, if you are eating wheat bread as a substitute for white bread and to increase your fiber per day, you are better off eating neither and concentrating on your vegetable intake. For more information check this link out http://examine.com/faq/is-whole-wheat-bread-better-than-white-bread.html

Josh Bowen: Why Your Body Hurts: 5 Inflammatory Ingredients

joshPain is a unique thing. It often comes out of nowhere and in some cases for unknown reasons. We often push it off as arthritis or old age (guilty) in hopes that it will get better. We stretch (not recommended), foam roll, apply Rock Sauce, take NSAIDs etc. to decrease our pain. These are are all great thing and do have some effect on our pain levels but they only deal with the site of our pain, not the source. We often can look to our diets for the reason we are in so much pain.

Make no mistake about, inflammation can be deadly. Whether in the muscles, joints or in the organs, when our bodies become inflamed we are under serious distress. In fact, excess inflammation can cause obesity and diabetes. For more information on that check out this article http://chriskresser.com/how-inflammation-makes-you-fat-and-diabetic-and-vice-versa/.

Now that I have your attention, lets look at five ingredients that cause inflammation:

Sugar

Processed sugar can go by many names on an ingredient list. Just look for anything ending in “ose” like fructose and lactose. The ingestion of sugar causes the body to send messengers to elicit an inflammatory response. Do you best to stay away.

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Not to be confused with the anti-inflammatory Omega 3, Omega 6 fatty acids are still essential but when too much is eaten in the diet, an inflammatory response happens. These are commonly found in; corn, salad dressings, sunflower oil, soy and mayonnaise.

Refined Carbohydrates

White flour products such as; bread, instant rice, mashed potatoes, cereals are high glycemic and stimulate the production of AGE which causes inflammation.

Aspartame

Many people who try to go sugar free will opt for the diet sodas and many diet drinks or calorie free drinks. Problem is many of the drinks contain aspartame and that can increase the inflammatory response even more. Aspartame is neurotoxin which means it effects your brain and your body will instantly try to get rid of it, causing an inflammatory response.

Alcohol

Alcohol is the liver’s enemy. They do not get along. It is a foreign substance that should only be used sparingly. Excessive use weakens the liver and other organs the liver interacts with, causing inflammation.

Fact is, when trying to decrease body fat and be “healthy” inflammation is not our friend. When trying to decrease your pain, the foods above and others do not serve us well. Do you best to rid these and watch the body fat and pain go away.

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