Josh Bowen: The 7 Cardinal Rules of Life

joshWhen life imitates art its time to take a step back and evaluate the situation.  For some reason it always takes me a few days to get over hard losses, whether its just my passion for Kentucky basketball or I view it as an outlet or some other reason that is not apparent, I take loses to heart. But with every loss there is time to reflect, not just on the season at hand but also on you the individual. For the players, they evaluated where they sat skill and NBA readiness wise and as a fan I evaluate what I learned from the season. I took this; nothing and no one is unbeatable, sports as in life aren’t fair, team work and hard work conquers all and finally do your best to make everyone around you better.

So  I am just a crazy Kentucky fan right? Maybe. But I do have an ability to learn from literally every situation and that is a skill I pride myself on. (By the way, this piece will have no fitness related advice in it, I am still on the motivation/inspiration tip this week.) So as I am reading this week, preparing for what I am going to write about, I see a picture with seven statements on it. It is essentially a code of how to live your life to the fullest. So I feel the need to share those seven principles with you tonight. So, here we go…

Make Peace with Your Past 

I raise my hand and admit there are some things in my past that are hard to left go of. BUT to look to the future, you cannot be concerned with what happened in the past. Past failures do not predict the future. If there is something back there that needs tending to handle, if not keep moving forward.

What Other People Think of You Is None if YOUR Business

Easier said than done, but what some one thinks of you is just that, a thought. Lets take Kentucky’s coach John Calipari as an example. A hall of fame coach, multiple final fours, one national championship, produced some of the best NBA talent in the game today. Yet, he is vilified and thought of as a cheater. Truth is, he is the best at what he does and his approach is about helping others more than helping himself. What is so bad about that? Nothing. He doesn’t care what anything thinks of him, as long as he is doing his life’s mission, that is all that matters. We should all practice the same.

Time Heals Almost Everything

It may hurt today and tomorrow, but give it a few weeks and the hurt will subside. All you need is time.

No One is in Charge

No one is in charge of your happiness. No husband/wife, girlfriend/boyfriend, car or purse. Literally nothing on this earth can make you happy but you. Usually unhappiness comes from lack of purpose, if you are feeling that way think about your purpose. If you don’t have a purpose, find one and chase it.

Don’t Compare Your Life to Others

This can work a variety of ways. We all have problems but when it comes down to it, we would keep our problems instead of trading them with someone else. It can always be worse. On the flip side, comparing yourself to someone else is a waste of time. You don’t know their struggle and what they are going through.

Stop Thinking Too Much

Face it. You don’t have all the answers. No one does. So if you can’t control it, why are you worried about it? I like to use the adage, “Don’t think, just do.” Over the years I have seen clients and friends crippled by their own thinking. It is necessary. Do not let your mind run roughshod on your life.

Smile

I know, I know. You are sitting there saying, “this dude never smiles.” I get it. I need to and I will continue to improve on this aspect. However, even through all the dark days the easiest thing to do to make a difference is a simple smile. Try it. I will.

It is all so simple yet all so complicating. It’s life. It was designed this way. It is a grand challenge but remember your purpose and be driven toward it.

Josh Bowen: Back Against the Wall? 5 Strategies to Handle Adversity

 

be the best

I truly believe the statement to the left ; to be the best you must be able to handle the worst. Whether we like it not, can deal with it or not, adversity will always be in our way. No successful person, in any field, has gone through life without adversity. It makes us who we are. Some will quit when faced with it and some will rise to the occasion  and champion the responsibility and use it as a learning experience. Either way, every situation in our lives cannot be perfect. As sure as there will be death and taxes, there will be adversity. It is how you faced it that counts.

Take Responsibility

Control what you can control and accept what you can’t. However, do not point the finger and feel that you cannot change the situation because you absolutely can. It may not be immediate, but all situations can be changed. Remember, at all times you can control your own destiny.

Focus On Solutions

If all you do is focus on the problem, you will become frustrated and quit. Focus on the solution to the problem or at least do something about the problem. Complaining will do nothing for you here. Compartmentalize the issue and focus on a game plan to fix it.

No Fear

No matter how bad it gets, never have fear. Easier said than done but fear nothing or no one and watch what you will achieve. There is a supreme difference between fear and danger, danger is real fear is not. “Fear nothing, achieve everything.”

Have a Sense of Humor

This one I am working on. Everything will pass in life, might as well have fun with it. Make fun of the situation and yourself, keep your sense of humor and it instantly becomes better.

Never Quit

Quitting solves nothing. Quitting says it wasn’t important to you. Quitting is an easy way out. Never give up on something you truly want.

Adversity makes the best out of strong people. Let it make the best out of you

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Josh Bowen: Six Rules of Success – As Told by the Terminator

joshWords of wisdom from what may seem like an unusual, the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger. An Austrian born man, who came to the United States with no money and hardly speaking English. He transformed himself into the greatest bodybuilder, the greatest action movie hero and even the Governor of California. One has to ask their self, “how did that happen?”

With persistence, relentless hard work and a little work, that’s how. If you watch the video above it shows Arnold going through his six rules for success. Below I will go through them in my terms and how I relate them to fitness and life. Here we go…

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. Finally, believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one will.

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. Keep it legal but turn the “I can’ts” into “I will.” 

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. Just remember, what you are most scared to do is often the one thing you should do. So go out and do it.

Don’t listen to the naysayers

As John Calipari says, “haters gonna hate.” Do not listen to them. 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. Follow your heart an your gut.

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.

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. Give back to the community, donate money to a genuine cause, be an example for others to follow. These add up over time. I am proud to say that on Saturday we raised over $300 for the American Diabetes Association for diabetes research. Give back.

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. Brown, III: The Perils and Power of Praying with your Partner

jybderby_1During a recent routine physical, my doctor found some concerning results in my blood work and asked me to come in for some follow up tests which indicated I needed to see a specialist for still further tests to rule out anything serious.

I felt like I would probably be OK but was concerned and that night after I told Rebecca about it asked if we could pray together and she said, “Yes. Of course.”

I felt comforted by my wife joining me in prayer. I believe in the power of prayer and couldn’t imagine anything but good coming from it. Rebecca and I had done this before at the suggestion of a friend who told us praying together can be a great habit for couples if you can not worry about “sounding eloquent” and stay focused on your own praying and not your partner’s.

We knelt down, held hands and I prayed first. I asked God to please help me be free of the health problems that were concerning me and then added some “filler” prayer about other people and things so it wouldn’t seem to Rebecca (or God) like I was being overly self-centered and praying only for myself.

Then it was Rebecca’s turn. She asked God to please give her a “fuller heart” and then something else I couldn’t quite make out. I asked her to repeat it. I figured if I couldn’t hear it, God may not have been able to either. Rebecca again prayed for God give her a fuller heart and then followed with a more detailed way of saying what she had already said. Frankly, I didn’t feel the second part of her prayer added  much at all. But I was trying to focus on my praying and not Rebecca’s.

We both said “Amen” and then stood up and hugged. As hard as I tried not to think about Rebecca’s prayer, I couldn’t help notice she never asked God for me to be free of any health problems. I figured it was just an oversight on her part. I couldn’t imagine Rebecca purposely not praying for my health because she felt like she would give up an important chit with God that she was saving for something more important. So, I just let it go.

The next morning Rebecca and I got coffee and saw a good friend from church who had gone through some serious health challenges a few years ago and now was doing well. I shared with him my recent health concerns and he kindly assured me, “John, I’ll be praying for you to get a good medical report.” I made sure Rebecca was listening and responded, “Thank you. I’ll be doing the exact same thing myself!” I paused and looked over at Rebecca to see if she had anything to add. But she didn’t. Rebecca just smiled and hugged our friend goodbye and wished him a happy Derby weekend.

This was Rebecca’s second prayer snub for me in 24 hours and was obviously much harder for me to dismiss as just an oversight on her part. I didn’t say anything but was definitely bothered by it.

That night Rebecca and I were at dinner and she asked how I was doing. I told her I was a little anxious about the follow up blood tests being done the next day and hoped everything was OK. I tried to resist saying anything more but couldn’t resist. “Do you remember when we prayed last night?”

“Sure.” Rebecca answered lovingly.

“Well, I kinda noticed when we were praying that you didn’t pray for me for my tests to come back clear.”

“What? Yes, I did!” Rebecca shot back defensively.

“No. You really didn’t. Because I was listening closely for it and it just didn’t happen..” I paused to let it sink in and added, “At first, I thought it was an oversight. But when you had a second chance to pray for me this morning  at coffee and didn’t take it, it bothered me.”

Rebecca explained, “The reason I didn’t ask God for you tests to be clear is because I have been taught only to pray for ‘God’s will to be done’ instead of asking for specific things that I want Him to do for me.”

“What?” I responded incredulously.  “You’re saying you didn’t pray for my health because of some new prayer orthodoxy you just learned?”

“Yes.  I’m serious. ” Rebecca defended herself.

I sighed and shook my head. “I’m sorry. I just don’t think I can buy that.  If you were praying for our children —or even our dogs for that matter —- I suspect you would ask God to ‘please help them be in good health (or whatever you wee wanting for them) and then maybe after that add ‘If it be Thy will.’ But I can’t see you just praying, ‘Thy will be done’ without offering God other suggestions if it involved our kids or our dogs.”

Rebecca looked both perplexed and exasperated.

I continued, “Look, I’m not mad. I can’t tell you how you should pray. That’s between you and God. All I know is that if you were the one having medical tests tomorrow, I would ask God for your tests to be clear”

“OK. OK. OK! “ Rebecca interrupted, “I’ll be sure to ask God for your tests to be clear the next time we pray.”

“Don’t do that.” I said defensively. “I’m not even sure I want you now.”

“What?” Rebecca blurted in confusion.

“I sure don’t want you to pray for my health if it’s just to make me feel better. I want you to really mean it.”

“Of course, I’ll mean it,” Rebecca said . “I’m just not very eloquent at praying and wasn’t thinking. I want nothing more than for you to be well. I just forgot to say it.”

“Really?” I asked. “Do you mean that?” Rebecca assured me she did and I began to feel better about things and changed our conversation to a lighter topic.

Later that night before bed, Rebecca and I knelt down again and held hands in prayer. Rebecca went first this time and asked God for a “Fuller and more loving heart” but this time added, “And please help with John’s health”

I have to admit I was a little disappointed. “Please help with John’s health?” seemed weak and vague to me –and unlikely to have much of an impact at all. But I didn’t say anything. I was just glad Rebecca was trying. I bowed my heard and took my turn, I asked God to please help me to get “A clean bill of health with my medical tests” and before I could finish my prayer, Rebecca interrupted and added, “And please God help John to get a clean bill of health with his upcoming medical tests.”

Rebecca nailed it that time. Sure, she was just repeating my prayer verbatim, but I felt like Rebecca finally “got it” and was fully on board with doing all she could, prayer-wise, to help me out.

We said, “Amen,” and stood up and I thanked Rebecca.

The next day at the doctor’s office Rebecca and I held hands waiting for my results to come back. It was a long wait. I apologized to her for being so silly about how she prayed for me. I told her I was scared and wanted all the help I could get. She kissed me on the forehead and I said, “Thank you for being hear with me today. As always.”

Rebecca said, “Of course. That’s what I do. I’m always here for you and the kids. That’s my life.”

I smiled and said, “Well, I guess ‘being there for the ones you love,’ is about the most important job a person can have in this world.” Rebecca kissed me again on the forehead and we continued to wait.

Eventually the doctor came in and told us that the new tests didn’t indicate anything that we should be concerned about. It was a huge relief. There would be some follow up tests but I was essentially getting a “clean bill of health.” I hugged Rebecca tightly and thanked her for being such a good and supportive partner.

That night Rebecca and I knelt again to pray. We thanked God for all our blessings —with a special mention for my good test results. There were no special requests this time for either Rebecca or me. I was willing to pray for something for Rebecca if she wanted me to but she said she couldn’t think of anything. I did throw in a special thanks to God for providing me with such a loving an supportive spouse.  I felt like it was the least I could do.

Praying together as a couple is a very good thing. But not as simple as it sounds.

I know we aren’t supposed to focus on each other’s prayers, but Rebecca noticed my special thanks to God for her and thanked me afterwards. There was nothing more I had wanted from Rebecca prayer that night.

It felt feally good and I was already looking forward to praying together with Rebecca tomorrow night.

And secretly hoped Rebecca would thank God for giving her such a “loving and supportive husband.” But decided I probably wasn’t going to say anything if she didn’t.

Josh Bowen: Alcohol — Your Results Limiting Factor?

joshI have learned a valuable lesson this weekend, one that should not come as much of a surprise; I need to take better care of myself. The past two Saturdays I have gone to my chiropractor, Dr. Tim http://www.infinitemindbody.com/  for a bum left shoulder. My shoulder has been giving me issues for a few months and while I know what to do, its sometimes easier to hear someone else tell you. Dr. Tim is a wealth of knowledge and I always have great takeaways any time we talk. So he helps me with my shoulder and asks me about what else I have going on. I tell him I have had some digestive issues lately and he asks about my beef intake. If you know me, you know I eat a lot of beef. Nevertheless, we get on the topic of blood types (A,B,AB,O) and eating specific to those blood types. So me being inquisitive, I read up on it and see I should not be eating very much beef at all, that my blood type doesn’t process it very well and can cause digestion issues.

So a light bulb goes off in my head…our foods are causing us digestion issues and not allowing us to be the best version of us. This is helpful for me but could also be helpful for my clients. While I am not proficient at this concept yet, I wanted to bring an older article back to light that is a big concern for me and trying to get people to drop the body fat that they want. It is alcohol. And here is how it could be killing your results!

Given it is March Madness, many of you will be celebrating the Unbeatables (aka University of Kentucky) with a few adult beverages. Many of these activities will involve wine, beer, bourbon (if in Kentucky) or other alcoholic beverages. This leads me to a common question I get from clients, “can I drink alcohol and still get results?”

As with most questions I receive, there is no yes or no answer, it simply just depends. It depends on how much and how much of what you are drinking.

I am a firm believer in moderation and balance. I believe you can achieve your fitness goals and still have a drink or two, here and there. So for argument sake lets define moderation; no more than one alcoholic drink for women and no more than two for men, per day. An alcoholic drink is defined as 4 oz. of an “adult” beverage.

So JB what are the drawbacks to drinking alcohol as it relates to my workout?

Glad you asked, here are 5 side effects to drinking alcohol and working out:

Dehydration
Muscles are composed of 75% water.Inadequate water intake zaps the muscles of strength. When alcohol is in the system the kidneys must filter large amounts of water to flush the alcohol out of your system, causing dehydration. Too combat this, after drinking alcohol drink 32 oz. of water. This should help with the dehydration and lessen your hangover.

Fat Storage
Although alcohol is a carbohydrate, it does not convert to glucose like most carbohydrates but becomes a fatty acid and is more likely to be stored as fat. If you exercise and drink alcohol, it causes your fat metabolism to be put “on hold.” The caloric content of alcohol adds up to seven calories per gram. A 12-oz. beer, on average, contains around 146 calories, 13 g. of carbohydrate and a few vitamins and minerals. A shot of gin has around 110 calories.

Vitamin Depletion
Alcohol depletes vitamins A, B, C, calcium, zinc and phosphorus.This nutrients are vital in the retention and increase of your muscle. To combat this depletion, if you are going to drink take a multi-vitamin prior too. This will help decrease the depletion because you are taking in excess nutrients.

Lowered Testosterone
Alcohol increases estrogen in men, thus lowering the free testosterone in the body. Testosterone helps build muscle tissue.

Beer Belly
This could go with fat storage but a common characteristic of a man or woman that drinks too much beer is the beer belly. Because alcohol is a toxin, the liver must filter it out of the body. If taken in excess over the course of years the liver will secret a fluid that will build up in the abdominal wall. Causing the dreaded beer belly.

2 “Healthier” Options

There are better options to drink than others. Again, these options are lower in calories but anything in excess, regardless of caloric value, will derail your progress in body transformation.

Wine
Is the most friendly of all alcoholic beverages, averaging just 20 calories per ounce for most wines. Check below!

Wine Calories Per Ounce      Carbs Per 5-oz Serving
Chardonnay 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Pinot Grigio 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Zinfandel® White Wine 20 0.4 g 100 calories, 2 g carbs
Cabernet Sauvignon 20 0.8 g 100 calories, 4 g carbs
Merlot Red Wine 20 0.8 g 100 calories, 4 g carbs

“Hard” Liquor
Not exactly sure why it would be called hard but these are more caloric intensive than wine but not as bad as liquors, mixed drinks or some beers. Refrain from adding sodas to the mix or the calories will go up.

Hard Liquor Calories Per Ounce Carbs Per 1.5-oz Serving
Vermouth 32 0.2 g 64 calories, 0.4 g carbs
Coconut Rum 51 5.3 g 77 calories, 8 g carbs
Beefeater® Gin 65 0 g 98 calories, 0 g carbs
Rye Whiskey 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Scotch Whiskey 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
White Rum 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Vodka 69 0 g 104 calories, 0 g carbs
Cognac 69 2 g 104 calories, 3 g carbs
Tequila 69 5.3 g 104 calories, 8 g carbs
Gilbey’s® Gin 79 0 g 119 calories, 0 g carbs

A life with synergy requires balance and drinking alcohol has its benefits but also its drawbacks. Anything in moderation will be fine, the probably lies in excess and will lead to lower muscle tissue, increased bodyfat and lower quality of life. You should also check out these links for “drinking for your blood type” it is great information.

Beer http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/depictor5.pl?470

Wine http://www.dadamo.com/typebase4/depictor5.pl?454

Josh Bowen: Stop Relying on Cardio

joshI have been to hundreds of gyms. All over the country and even in England. And no matter what gym I am in, I always see the same scene. No matter the time, no matter the weather, every cardio piece will be occupied. Every treadmill, every elliptical and every stair master all taken with people who are busting their butts for 30, 40, 50 minutes, all in hopes they lose the elusive body fat.

I hate to break the news to you but it doesn’t work. Long term anyways.

But why do gyms pay thousands of dollars for 50-100 pieces of cardio if the activity is all for not? An why do gym patrons get on these machines, like mad men, and forget about all the other form of fitness (lifting weights) the place has to offer? And why does this kind of behavior exist anyway? Where does it stem from?

Answer: its on every piece of cardio machinery, “the fat burning zone.”

For the purpose of this article, I want to discuss a myth about the “fat burning zone” and why doing aerobics as your sole source of exercise may not get you to the promise land.

Before we dive deep into this step, I want to preface it by saying cardio has its place in everyone’s program. To what degree, will depend upon your goals, abilities, and preference. For example, as a trainer, I am on my feet most of the day walking around training clients. I have estimated that I walk anywhere from 2 to 4 miles per day just training clients, depending on the client load. This, by most people’s standards, is cardio. The problem with relying solely on this activity is that there is no 24-48 hour calorie burn (excessive post oxygen consumption) that allows for great body fat loss. Lifting heavy things is the only way to create an environment where the body will burn constant calories past the actual workout itself. There is also a myth associated with cardio.

Myths are fun, especially when that myth is prominent. The “Fat Burning Zone” myth has stood the test of time, through several decades and held its own in exercise mythology. To this day, people still believe that maintaining their heart rate in the “fat burning zone” is better than short bursts of interval training. Perhaps this has something to do with every piece of cardio equipment having a fat burn option, thus disallowing yourself to get your heart rate past a certain point.

Let me explain this in more detail. The theory is that if I keep my heart rate at low level (60-65% of max), my body will burn more fat than if I were to run a 15 second sprint. That part is true as you will use fat as the predominant fuel source during your workout. Heart rate and intensity are inversely related to which energy system you use. The lower your heart rate, the more oxygen that is available and when oxygen is available you use fat as fuel. The higher your heart rate goes, the less oxygen you have available, and the more you must rely anaerobic sources (glycogen, glucose, and creatine) to perform the exercise. So the thought is, I will walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes, keep my heart rate low, and burn body fat. The answer is no. You can walk on a treadmill all day if you would like, but it’s not going to change your body composition. For one, your body will adapt very quickly. And two, you are not burning a significant amount of calories needed to burn body fat. Want proof? Take an Olympic marathon runner and put them side by side with an Olympic sprinter. What is the difference? There is lower body fat and more muscle tissue in the sprinter. There is a reason for that.


Research conducted at the University of Tampa found that doing steady state cardio—such as running on the treadmill for 45 minutes at a consistent pace that’s not near maximal effort (think sprinting)—helps out with weight loss…but only initially.
The subjects lost a few pounds in the first week and then nothing more. The reason? Within a week their metabolism had adjusted and now didn’t need to work as hard to burn off the fat.
One of the biggest “problems” with just running at a steady, moderate intensity pace, is that the calories you burn are limited to the time you spend sweating.
Once your body adapts, the benefit is limited.

Research has shown that quick bouts of exercise are more beneficial in cardiovascular health but also in body composition change. Dr. Al Sears, M.D. the Director of The Center for Health and Wellness, who has reversed heart disease in over 15,000 patients, has this to say in his book The Doctor’s Heart Cure. “When you exercise for more than about 10 minutes, your heart adapts by becoming more efficient. It achieves this efficiency through downsizing. Long-duration exercise makes the heart, lungs and muscles smaller so that they can go longer with less energy, but there’s a trade-off. The cardiovascular system becomes very good at handling a 60-minute jog, but it gives up the ability to provide you with big bursts of energy for short periods. Far from protecting your heart.”

There is a place for walking on a tread mill, riding a bike, or hopping on an elliptical. It has its place in most everyone’s program design. For example, someone that trains intensely 3 days out of the week and prefers another 1-2 days of cardio, could perform some steady state cardio to keep from overloading the neuromuscular system.

So what should I do instead of doing long bouts of cardio?

The Treadmill
The average person will get on a treadmill and go for 30 minutes. Running or walking for that amount of time can become mundane.  So let’s reduce the amount of time (less is better sometimes) and increase the intensity.

Beginner
Walk on the treadmill for 5 minutes (pick a speed and incline that feels comfortable)
Hop off and do 10 body weight squats, 5 push-ups,  and 10 triceps dips.
Repeat this 4-6 times.

Intermediate
Jog on the treadmill for 5 minutes (again pick speed and incline that’s comfortable)
Hop off and do 10 squat to shoulder presses, 20 push-ups, and 20 band bicep curls.
Repeat 4 times.

Advanced
Sprint on the treadmill for 90 seconds (at a speed and incline you can handle)
Hop off and do 20 kettle bell swings, 20 squat to presses, and 20 push-ups.
Repeat 5-8 times.

The Elliptical
The elliptical is another piece of fitness equipment often used that sometimes becomes a crutch rather than helping with results. It can become boring pedaling for 30 minutes 4-5 times per week and not feeling like you are getting anywhere. Here are some conditioning workouts to break the monotony and increase your results:

Beginner
Start on the elliptical and pedal at a speed that is comfortable for 5 minutes
Take the intensity up two fold for one minute
Hop off and do 10 squats, 10 band bicep curls, and 10 triceps dips
Alternate for the desired time

Intermediate
Start on the elliptical and pedal at a speed that is comfortable for 2 minutes
Take the intensity up three fold for one minute
Hop off and do 10 squat to shoulder presses, 20 push-ups, and 20 band bicep curls
Repeat 4-6 times

Advanced
Start on the elliptical and pedal at a speed that is comfortable for 1 minute
Take the intensity up as high as you can for 2 minutes
Hop off and do 20 kettle bell swings, 20 squat to presses, and 20 push-ups
Repeat 5-8 times

These subtle tweaks can be applied to any apparatus, implementing a different approach to your old school “cardio” routine, and taking it into a conditioning program. Depending upon your goal, conditioning can be done 1-5 days per week.

These are subtle changes, yet effective ones. Every client that I have implemented these strategies with has seen some type of difference. Try it for yourself.

Josh Bowen: The Art of the Comeback

joshA few names…

Donald Trump, Magic Johnson, Britney Spears, Apple, Drew Barrymore, Robert Downey, Jr. and George Foreman.

What do they have in common? All wealthy? Successful? Dedicated to their craft? Yes but they all have had to make a comeback. In a variety of ways they had to dust the dirt off and come back stronger than ever. Were they burnt out a some point? Of course, but they kept plugging away. The came back from adversity and made the most of their 24 hours they are allotted everyday.

Ok. Let’s put this in our terms. We are talking fitness, nutrition and lifestyle. We are in the month of March and by now most people have given up on their fitness goals. But not you.

The snow may have interrupted your flow. You may have gotten sick and it caused you to miss a workout or two. And you may have had work stress that may have prevented you from working out with your trainer or going to the gym on your own. Is this you? Here is some advice on how to make the comeback:

Go
Go back to the gym, go back to your trainer go back to eating decent again. No reason why you can’t. No reason for you to feel defeated. This is marathon not a sprint.

Remember Why You Started
Why are you here in the first place? What is it that you desire? Why is it important? These are all questions you must ask yourself. You must also decide if it is worth to you to keep going. My money is always on, it is.

Simplify
Stop making this complicated. It’s not. You eat 3 quality meals, workout 3-4 times per week, drink a ton of water and sleep as much as your life allows. It’s not rocket science but it does require your patience and your consistency. Without both, forget about it.

Either you are in or out. Your mind decides which one. The above list I’m sure got down on themselves and was very burnt out on their craft but they never gave up. Their spirit was in them at all times. They made the comeback, just as you will.

Josh Bowen: Food Prep 101

“You either prepare to succeed or prepare to fail…there is no in-between.”

joshYou have great intentions. You want to eat better. You want fitness results. But you didn’t bring any food to work today. So you go out with the rest of the crew and eat Mexican.

Is this you?

I am prepared to take you through a course of food preparation. But first lets digress on why you would prepare your food:

1. Selection- I find that clients that prepared their meals ahead of time select better foods. Clients that do not prepare meals, tend to select whatever is available. Selecting whatever is available is a great way of messing with your fitness results. Need help grocery shopping? Check out this grocery list http://eepurl.com/bbcDCH

2. Cost Effective- Today I fixed 3lbs of chicken and a half pound of rice. This will last for 10-12 meals. The total cost $60 or $5-6 per meal. To eat out and get the same meal would cost $10-15. That is a savings of $5-10 per meal. In other words, prepare your meals.

3. Results- Everyone wants results but few are willing to do what it takes to get them. If you want results, prepare your meals. It is that simple.If you must eat out, check this out on steps to eating out http://eepurl.com/bc_ACD

Now let us get down to the “nitty gritty” on how to prepare your food.

1. Prepare ahead of time- Take a day or two and prepare your meals for the week. Plan what you are going to have (in accordance of your goals) each day and only cook what you need. This will save you so much more time and headache and at the end of the day..money.

2. Keep it simple- Do your best to keep it simple. A great protein source, a steamed vegetable and a small amount of carbohydrates (depending on goal) is a great way to prepare your meals.

3. Variety- If you want variety for taste purposes, use different seasoning and sauces to switch it up. Keep the additives to a minimum but also it is important to have fun with your meals. Getting a cookbook and trying different recipes is a great idea as well. A resource is my friend Kate. She an author and chef and you can find out more about her at http://simplynutritiousbykate.com/

4. Fun- Try you best to look at this as fun, rather than a chore. This process is to help you see fitness results and keep you on track and more efficient.

For your enjoyment, here are some of my lovely clients food prep pictures:

food prep 2

food prep 1

food prep 3

Josh Bowen: 10 Rules for Fitness Success

joshI want to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You’re probably thinking I’m Jack Nicholson in the A Few Good Men. No, I’m just JB and I have to tell you truth, the cold hard facts. Nutrition will always stand in your way from being a success or a failure in your fitness journey. It is the rule, science backed, and JB approved. You CANNOT out exercise your diet. So, why do people overeat and make bad nutritional decisions? Well planning and preparation are everything and those that do not plan, fail. It is that simple.

You must plan your meals ahead of time to be a success. Eating habits play a huge role as well. Habits are powerful behavioral patterns that allow us to perform many of our daily tasks without conscious effort. Translation, sometimes what we think we are eating is actually good for us! That’s scary! Social pressure from our inner circle can influence the way we approach our diet on a daily.

Last and most important people overeat for emotional escape. There is a strong correlation between “comfort foods” and making humans feel good. Refined sugar, sodium, high saturated fat filled food causes our brain to release serotonin. This causes our bodies to relax and feel good. This becomes a behavior and not a physiological need for food. After a stressful day, people tend to throw the rule book out the window and eat whatever makes them feel better. Not good.

So with that said here are The Rules, that if followed can produce some great results.

The Rules

Rule #1

Preparation
Prepare all meals in advance regardless of location. Coolers, bags, Tupperware etc. Must prepare for success and not prepare to fail. Most important rule. If this is absolutely out of the question refer back to this article for strategies for eating on the go http://eepurl.com/bc_ACD or this on what to eat out http://eepurl.com/8AjIn

Rule #2

Breakfast- Must be the largest meal of the day. Breakfast literally means to break the fast. When our bodies sleep we utilize glycogen from our liver stores to keep our blood glucose levels normal. When we wake up our body requires glucose to revitalize our body and allow our brain to function at a high capacity. Also, eating breakfast prevents overeating the rest of the day. This will get our metabolism moving for the rest of the day.

Rule #3

Choose a Cut Off Time- This is more behavioral than physiological. Start by setting a cut off time for when you will stop eating. At first, start with 8 pm and progressively move it up til you are eating dinner at 6 pm and not eating again to the next morning (if you workout late at night, adjust the time because you need post workout nutrition). This discourages late night cravings which can destroy our diets. This will get clients in the habit of cutting off their eating habits at a certain time for maximum weight loss. Dinner must be 1/3 smaller than breakfast for optimum weight loss.

Rule #4

Drink Water- water plays a part in most physiological aspects of our body, from anabolism to washing waste out our body. YOU MUST drink water and lots of it. 10 glasses a day will not cut it. Shoot for a gallon every day. The more water you ingest the less your body retains. View this article for more on water http://joshjbbowen.com/2012/12/31/the-old-gallon-jug/

Rule #5

Squat- Simply put DO IT!!! Squatting is primal movement pattern we have been doing since we learned to walk. It involves virtually every muscle in your body and quite frankly is a must for anyone. Read more about it here http://eepurl.com/–1Lz

Rule #6

Eat Fiber- Fiber’s most important property is it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Also helping the body in ridding certain waste. 30-40 grams.

Soluble- dissolves in water. Oats, legumes (beans, peas and soy beans) apples, bananas, berries, barley

Insoluble- whole wheat bran, nuts, seeds, skin of fruits and veggies.

Rule #7

Stress: Manage it!- Stress can be a huge culprit in preventing weight loss and eventually leading to weight gain. We either do not eat or over indulge because of our stress levels. Worse, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol that cannibalizes our muscle tissue as well as slowing our metabolism. Learn more about your hormones and how they impact your body fat loss and retention here http://eepurl.com/7YX6b

Rule #8

Limit Alcohol Consumption- People are more likely to eat 20% more calories while drinking alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin to the human body that must be eradicated before any other nutrient. Thus slowing down the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates, slowing the metabolism. Limiting this even 50% will have amazing turn around effects.

Rule #9

Limit Refined Sugar- sugar increases the rate the pancreas releases insulin, thus causing an imbalance. If it is not required by the body it is put into storage. Devoid of 90% of its vitamins and minerals contributing to an ineffective metabolism and poor recovery and weight control. Also inhibits the release of growth hormones depressing the immune system. Increase ingestion will increase inflammation of joints requiring more time for recovery.

Rule #10

Work out 3-4 days per week. Preferably mostly resistance/strength training based programming with concentration on whole body lifts (squats, deadlifts, lunges, pushups, presses). More muscle, less body fat. The equation is simple, backed with proper nutrition and you have a recipe for success.

The combination of all 10 of these guidelines would make a dramatic difference in who you are and who you want to be. The question is the execution. You’ve got it!

Josh Bowen: Pour a Little Sugar…Out

Humans have been using sugar since the 5th century. And since that time, humans have been consuming it in record amounts. In fact in 1801, historians estimate each American consumed 8.4 pound of sugar each year. In 1909, Americans consumed 85 pounds of sugar a year (6 lbs of corn sweeteners, 80 lbs of cane and beet sugar). In 1999 Americans consumed 151 pounds of sugar (84 lbs from corn sweeteners). Oh and by the way a person dies from Type 2 Diabetes every 7 seconds and it wasn’t officially discovered until 1935! Wow! There is a direct relationship to the amount of sugar one ingests to the potential for contracting Type 2 Diabetes.

Sugar is very debilitating to the human body, causing hormone issues and ultimately leading to Type 2 Diabetes. It is also very addicting. Princeton University did a study and found that sugar has the same effects on the brain as cocaine and other street drugs do. “Our evidence from an animal model suggests that bingeing on sugar can act in the brain in ways very similar to drugs of abuse,” says lead researcher and Princeton psychology professor Bart Hoebel.  Some of this information may surprise you, as there are a lot of myths out there as it relates to sure. Here are a few, with the real story.

Both “reduced sugar” and “No added sugar” mean the product has no sugar? NO

FDA allows the term “reduced sugar” on all products that have 25% less sugar than the leading brand. Meaning that the product could still have 75% of the sugar content of the original formula. “No added sugar” is used for a variety of foods with naturally occurring sugars such as jams, jellies, yogurt, milk, tomato sauce.

Low sugar

If a food is labeled “sugar free,” it contains no sugar? Not necessarily

“Sugar free” foods can legally contain trace amounts of sugar (less than .5 grams per serving). Meaning 1/8 of teaspoon of sugar might be in the food you are eating. If you consume one serving its no big deal, but if you are eating several of these items it could add up.

 “Low fat” and “Fat free” mean “Sugar free?” False

Low fat yogurt is a perfect example, low in fat but high in sugar. It is possible the product could have more sugar than its high fat counterpart. Many low fat muffins, breads, cookies and salad dressings have more sugar than the regular product. Many of these products also contain health harming artificial sweeteners.

Raw sugar, brown rice syrup, and maple syrup are better for you than refined sugar? No

This is a way manufactures fool consumers by capitalizing on their desire for natural sugars. Raw sugar and maple syrup have different flavors but their nutritional value is no different than plain table sugar. They are all metabolized like sucrose raising blood sugar levels and suppressing the immune system.

Fruit juice concentrates are better for you than refined sugars? False

Foods containing orange, pineapple, or other fruit concentrates may look healthy but they are metabolized in the same way as refined sugars. Fruit concentrate is stripped of its vitamins and minerals, fiber.

Honey is much better for you than sugar and we process it differently? Not true

Honey is made up of 1/3 fructose, 1/3 glucose, a little maltose and water. Honey is more concentrated than sugar. It has 5 grams of sugar per teaspoon versus 4 grams for table sugar. Some studies even have shown that honey raises your glucose levels higher than table sugar and suppresses your white blood cell count more.

Sucrose is natural? NOPE

In its natural state sugar would be a 20 foot cane stalk. Natural means you can pick it off a tree or bush or dig it out. To make sugar, sugar they have to add hydrocholoric acid or sulfuric acid to rid it of impurities. In addition, sodium nitrate or salt is added as are chlorine and other harmful agents.

Anything labeled “All Natural” is better than anything refined? No

There is no legal term for using the word natural under US food law. Companies can call anything natural that they want. In fact some sweeteners are made from all natural ingredients but are highly concentrated sources of sugars

Fructose comes only from fruit? No

Fruit consists of many sugars, only one of them is fructose. Fruit also contains glucose, dextrose, maltose, galactose. You can also get fructose from processed foods and beverages as well as pharmaceuticals, flavors and cosmetics. Fructose typically is chemically refined from corn in the US. People get it confused because they think of fruit. Fructose is more readily metabolized to a form of triglycerides in the liver and in the blood.

Sweeteners are ok to use in substitute of sugar? No

Most popular sweeteners used today:

High fructose corn syrup

Sucrose

Brown sugar

Molasses

Maple syrup

Dextrose

Maltodextrin

Xytol

Honey

Splenda

Aspartame

These cause water retention and decrease potassium, causing the adrenal glands dysfunction because of the mineral imbalance.

sugar sigar

At the end of the day most of us (myself included) have physical goals related to decreasing our body fat. The first place I would start in that quest would be to evaluate the amount of sugar I took in. From here we can decrease as necessary to achieve our goals. Foods higher than 5 grams per serving of sugar would be the first I would dispense of. This is easier said than done but keep it simple and great things will come.

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