Josh Bowen: Head Trash — You vs. You

“So often times it happens, that we live our lives in chains and we never even knew we had the key.”

joshStrong lyric from The Eagles “Already Gone,” but it pretty much sums up the topic for today’s entry. I have written about it countless times and you may be tired of hearing it but its the beyond the truth, we are our own worst enemy. You are. I am. We all are. The eight inches between your ears will derail you faster than any opposing person could. It’s not your talent or lack thereof. It’s not your readiness for change. It’s not your background or where you grew up. It’s not where you went to school or where you didn’t. It’s you. It’s your thoughts. It’s what you tell yourself, secretively, where no one else can hear. Outwardly, you may be confident but inside you are telling yourself, “you can’t do it.’ As my mentor, Todd Durkin calls it “head trash.”

If you buy into psychology, which I do, you will remember something called “Self Fulfilling Prophecy.” This simply means that if you think it, it happens. For example; if I constantly tell myself that I am fat, every time I look in the mirror that is what I am going to see. Your mind is stronger than anything else. You literally can think yourself into believing anything. Often times this works against us more than it helps us. We get in our own head, believing that we aren’t good enough for something and of course the result is exactly what we thought. If we could flip it and get rid of the shit between our ears, imagine what could be possible? There literally would be no limits.

Everyone on this earth goes through this. Self doubt, negative thoughts, past mishaps, broken relationships, death, disease and all points in between cause our head trash. It sits there in our mind, camping out on your brain just laughing at you because it knows it has you beat. It toys with you. It baits you into believing it’s bullshit. And whether you believe it or not sometimes you like it. It keeps you from responsibility. It is the easy way out to not face your fears or you past heartache. Its easy to wallow in your own self-pity. Its easy to be mediocre. But this isn’t what life is about and its sure as hell not what you want. This head trash has you in hand cuffs but you can break free. You can shut the door on negative thoughts and open yourself up to positive ones. You can, if you want too.

Take the damn trash out! Here is how..

Make a List

On several occasions, I have had clients write a list of what they like about themselves. It is easy to pinpoint the flaws but what do you like about yourself. What makes you happy? What components of your day get you excited or are aspects you love? Let’s start here first. Then make a list of what makes you happy and a separate list of what you do everyday. Compare the lists. Do everything on that list that makes you happy and throw the rest in the trash. Positive thoughts make for positive realities.

Say Goodbye to Toxic Relationships

Lets be real here, if you are around positive people you will be more positive, if you are around negative people, you will be negative. Period. It is that simple. In times of life crisis you need positive energy. If the people you surround yourself with are negative, they have to go. They are making you worse. They are feeding into that little monster in your head who is camped out telling you that you are not worthy. I would be willing to bet that this reason carries nearly all the head trash in our minds. Kick that shit to the curb.

What People Think of You is None of Your Business

Sorry for the language but I come from a good place when I say, “F**K what people think.” This has just as much to do with your thoughts that anything. “What will we they think about?” “How will people react?” Who cares. Don’t fall into the mental tug-o-war over who thinks what about you. They aren’t you. They don’t walk in your shoes. What they think does not matter. What you think does. The less you care what people think about you the better you life will be and the less head trash you will have.

Thought + Decision = Behavior. Change the thought, change the behavior. Say goodbye to negative thoughts. Say goodbye the heartache that sits on your mind. Say goodbye to the self doubt that consumes you. Say hello to being your absolute best.

Josh Bowen: The Struggle is Real

joshHave your ever heard the expression, “you are your own worst enemy” or “they can’t seem to get out of their own way”? These statements are common descriptions of people who sabotage themselves, whether conscious or subconscious, from achieving a desired result. It can often be frustrating especially if you are not aware it is going on, like in terms of addiction or you are conscious of your behavior but cannot seem to control it. Many times we often wonder why we did something because we knew it would end in the opposite of the way we wanted. Like procrastinating studying for a final exam the before the test, knowing that you will not do well but putting it off nonetheless. This is self sabotage. You are sabotaging your results by doing the opposite of what you should.

Psychologist and author, Robert Firestone says that self sabotaging thoughts and behaviors are perpetrated by an inner critic we all posses,naming it the “critical inner voice.” This inner voice is not positive and often reflects self doubt, procrastination and the “anti-self.” This undermines our goals, stunts our growth as people and flat out tells us we don’t deserve what we are trying to achieve. Firestone also says this come from early life experiences that have molded us to who we are today. The negative we heard early in life, transforms us to who we are today. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We can chose what thoughts to listen to, just as we chose what clothes to wear everyday. No matter the circumstance of our early lives and how they shaped our minds, we can chose to fight against that. Life is all based on choices, we can chose to listen to the naysayers or we can make a conscious choice to believe in ourselves. We can chose to be our own worst enemy or we can chose to be our best ally. The choice is ultimately yours.

Here are a few self sabotaging behaviors I see exhibited:


Procrastination is the assassination of motivation. It is the king of all self sabotage. It is the gap between intention and action and it is in this gap where the self operates. We make an intention to act but when the time comes, we make a choice to do nothing or leave it incomplete. We set a goal with zero intention on ever achieving it. Why? Because we perceive it as hard or too much or we are too busy. All of which is bullshit. If you wanted bad enough, you would of done it. If you want to drop bodyfat, you would of ate better. If you wanted to get a better job, you would of done everything in your power to get it. If you wanted a better life, you wouldn’t sit around complaining about the one you have. We procrastinate because we think tomorrow will always be here, one day it won’t and you will be sorry. If you want to do it, go do it. You are not too busy, you have 24 hours in a day just like everyone else.
We think of procrastination as an irrational delay because our reasons for action simply aren’t sufficient to motivate action. More accurately, procrastination is a-rational, without reason—because the real issue is emotional. Although we may know intellectually what we ought to do right now, we don’t feel like doing it. So we focus on short-term mood repair: Feel good now, worry about that intention later. Short-term gain, long-term pain.

With procrastination, we delay taking action longer than we know we should. In the case of chronic procrastination, we waste time that we can’t afford to waste. We can actually wind up wasting our whole lives. Make it happen.

Emotion Dodger

When attempting to attend to negative emotions we often put road blocks in our chosen path. We “shoot ourselves in the foot” to quote a phrase, by ignoring negative feelings with food, alcohol or other substances. Food addiction is real and is different than alcohol and drug addiction because in order to live, we need food. Therefore, food addiction can be very difficult to attend to because we cannot shun food because that creates a whole new problem. I often find people behave irrationally nutritionally because of their state of mind, at the time. They have negative feelings and then use food as a medicine of sorts, taking to processed sugar and starch to make them feel better, which in turn makes them feel worse. We essentially try to deal with our issue but create more issues instead of tackling the issue at hand. This is the root of self sabotage. Many a client I have seen mask their pain via food. Some to more of a degree than others but it is real, very real.

Again, I am no psychologist but this problem exists, I have witnessed it. Being the problem solver I am, dealing with the root or the source of the issue is more beneficial than the site of the ordeal. At some point we all have to face ourselves and our problems to become stronger and better people. Masking our pain with food, alcohol, drugs, sex etc. does nothing but hurt us. Rise above.

Not Good Enough

The psyche is a strange thing. It can make you feel like you can put the world on your back and walk with it or it can beat you to your knees and make you afraid of anything an everything. The phrase, “I don’t feel good enough” incites a vigorous response in my gut. I detest when someone tells me that they do not feel good enough, no matter what it is. We have become such a society where it is shunned upon to be confident, that you can’t say “HELL YES I’m good enough.” It almost seems more appropriate to say, I’m not deserving of it” or “I don’t belong.” This is negative thinking and complete bullshit. YOU are good enough….for anything and anyone. There is always self doubt, we all have it. I have it. But there is also a difference between going after what you want and not achieving it and wanting something  and never going after it because you don’t feel like you are worth. You are always worth it. In high school they said Michael Jordan wasn’t good enough either. In case you didn’t know….he is the greatest to ever touch a basketball. Case closed. Believe in YO SELF.

I have learned a very valuable lesson, if you want it go get it. As cliche as it sounds, tomorrow doesn’t exist and what you do today will ultimately take you into the rest of your life. Challenge the status quo and be yourself.

Clive Pohl: The Living Building Challenge: Visionary from the Start

Designers and builders have long looked to rating systems for “how-to” guidance on green building. From the early days of the current environmental movement they were intended to serve as recipes for improved performance and environmental stewardship. Looking back at the earliest iterations we see a snapshot in time that describes a tension between our desire to improve and the relentless influence of market forces.

Variation in the early standards were a reflection of their author’s priorities. Some were heavily influenced by corporate interests who professed a commitment to sound environmental practices – until it impacted their bottom line. Some positioned themselves just ahead of the marketplace in a mission to gently lead economic transformation while others, in recognition of a rising carbon count, ignored economic constraints and advocated for a leap toward true sustainability. They embraced the notion that a “sustainable” marriage would never be good enough. Perceived as too expensive these standards were mostly ignored.

Though they all sought popular embrace it was, of course, impossible for one standard to provide universal satisfaction. After all, much of the construction industry held fast to the notion that a market economy is America’s only true core value.

As the aughts became the teens the plight of the polar ice caps entered mainstream consciousness, catastrophic weather patterns became increasingly commonplace, and our complicity in climate change more widely accepted. Jurisdictions around the country began to embrace legislation requiring credible compliance, building codes were rewritten to reflect increased urgency, and an army of skeptics (from architects and engineers to general contractors and their subs) had no choice but to hook up to the bandwagon. Even reluctant manufacturers began to recognize the value in environmental branding and compliant materials became increasingly affordable. The marketplace was transforming.

Rating systems, too, evolved to reflect this new economic paradigm and while consensus remains a distant target it is safe to say that they are becoming increasingly alike. They are, in fact, learning from and moving toward the most ambitious and visionary standard, the one that never allowed economic forces to dictate: the Living Building Challenge (LBC). Launched in 2006 the uncompromising principles described by the LBC attract the curiosity of the others with a gravitational pull commensurate to the ever-widening recognition that we have run out of time to simply reduce our environmental impact. In fact, the extent of our past misdeeds demand that we must, as quickly as possible, learn how to build environments that surpass sustainability by replenishing and recharging our resources. Anything less would be like approving spousal abuse as long as it is “occasional”.

Utilizing the metaphor of a flower the LBC posits that buildings should, like flowers, be rooted in place, harvest all of their energy and water on site, be entirely pollution free, and support the larger community through equity and inspiration. These are principles that were inconceivable to the earliest rating system authors and, yet, they represent a target that has been certifiably attained by 25 industry leaders with many more closing in.

Organized by seven “Petals” and 20 subset “Imperatives” the LBC standard further expands the definition of minimum requirement by going beyond the usual standards. It insists that our built environment should

  1. Give Back. Net POSITIVE water, energy and waste means that these buildings are providing energy and water for others and putting waste back into productive use.
  2. Reconnect. Biophilic design principles seek to right a long standing imbalance  by encouraging daily connection with nature. We spend 90% of our lives indoors. Even our neighbor’s access to nature cannot be impeded.
  3. Inspire. Recognizing the value of both sides of the brain the standard encourages an embrace of design elements solely for human delight – alongside the analytics that ensure efficient performance.
  4. Respect. By creating built environments that uphold the dignity of all members of society regardless of their physical or economic capacity the LBC aims to harness the power of transparency as a force for social change. Some LBC programs worthy of further exploration: the JUST Program for social justice, the DECLARE Label for chemical toxin transparency and the new Equitable Offset Program which accumulates funds to provide renewable energy infrastructure for charitable enterprises.

Beyond continued advocacy one can only give thanks to visionaries like co-creator Jason McLennan who chose to see beyond the allure of the almighty dollar and to believe that humanity can, if so informed, live in a “socially just, culturally rich and ecologically restorative” manner. While this is clearly easier said than done, the way is being paved and the rest of must simply face the right direction and place one foot in front of the other.

Josh Bowen: Breakfast of Champions

joshBreakfast. The most skipped meal of the main three we typically eat. Why? Well, most people will give you the greatest excuse of all time “not enough time.” I will tackle this “time” issue in a moment but would also like to offer this piece of information:

In a recent study by the American Diabetes Association of 5,000 men and women found the following of people who eat breakfast consistently;

34% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes
43% less likely to become obese
40% less likely to develop fat around the midsection

Now I realize this breakfast “debate” could go on forever but when you look at the root of the word, it literally says break the fast. Therefore, I am behind the breakfast concept and really believe this is all about behavior rather than just eating. If you eat first thing in the morning, you are less likely to be starving by the time lunch rolls around and less likely to gorge yourself on whatever is in front of you. Eating breakfast also allows you to get the required macro (protein, fat, carbs) and micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients your body needs for daily performance and body fat decrease. Basically, it is a requirement of life!

So I have you bought in one breakfast, now lets talk about the objections to eating breakfast.

I don’t have time

Make time. Period. You make time for other activities, you can make time for this. Some of you are rolling your eyes but this is important. Waking up 30 minutes early is not going to kill you. Diabetes, obesity and fat around your stomach will.

I don’t know what to eat for breakfast

This is a fair objection. So lets dissect it and help you out.

So you are a busy mom or dad and you have to get the kids dressed and out the door as quickly as possible. Or you are a stressed out college kid who needs to get to class but wants to sleep an extra 15 minutes because you were up studying last night. Or you are a hard working personal trainer who needs to get to the gym before 5:30 am to meet his first client on the day and needs to get a lot of food in quickly. Did that cover everyone? Good. Here are few ideas for breakfast that do not take a long time and still satisfy the objection of good sources of protein, carbs and fats.


Always a good option for breakfast, whether whole egg or just egg whites, they do not take much time at all and are pack with protein and micro nutrients to help start your day. If you are in a hurry get the liquid egg whites and zap it in the microwave or add them to your smoothie.


I use the brand “Love Grown Foods” oat clusters that are GMO, gluten and everything else free. It literally tastes like cereal and can be used as such by adding a little almond milk. Quick, easy and a great source of carbs. My preference if you are going to eat cereal. You could always sprinkle some protein powder on top as well.


Many of my clients love smoothies for breakfast. They are easy to make and you can get really creative with them. Here is a great illustration on how to make a smoothie:



Quest Bars

Everyone knows I have a love for Quest bars and while I don’t always recommend eating them for breakfast, if you are in a hurry a bar plus a handful of almonds would do the trick. Stop with the Power Bars, Coby.

Protein Shake

To go along with the smoothie idea, having a simple protein shake mixed with almonds and oats, would be a great substitute for the old school eggs and oatmeal.


I mentioned these already but almonds and nuts are packed with great nutrients and more importantly fat that your body needs for high performance. If it were a matter of nothing or nuts, go with nuts or you’ll go nuts.

Side Note: McDonalds Egg White Delight does not count as breakfast.

I realize we are all in a hurry. I realize that we can all make a zillion excuses. And I realize not everyone will read this email and put anything into practice. BUT I hope you see the value of breakfast and some of these options will help you get something in your system before you go to work or school.

Josh Bowen: Failure Doesn’t Exist

joshFailure does not exist. The very nature that we can fail at anything is fallible. When you attempt something you may or may not achieve the outcome you were looking for but there is a learning experience that will carry you on for future attempts. It would be blasphemous to never give it another go. The concept of failure implies that one can something wrong that they never can attempt again, which is laughable. The sheer experience is success enough to us learning and growing, thus not failing.

As humans you crave the experience of everything. We want to feel it and be in the moment. But yet most of us are afraid of failing at something we really want or at least think we do. Why is this? What could possibly be the worst that could happen? If you don’t get the job you want, that is your dream job, does your career end? If you struggle starting your own business that you have wanted your entire life, does life end? Whats the worse that could happen when asking a girl you always wanted to out with on a date? These are the thoughts we have and are often talked out of by ourselves no less. We are afraid of failing, when failing does not really exist in the first place.

Failure, as it typically is perceived, is just an opportunity to grow through an experience of greater challenge or adversity. Failure is just an opportunity in disguise, a blessing that will shape us into who we will be. In every situation you have two choices; quit or keep moving. It is that simple. If you quit, you will regret the decision days, months, years from now. If you keep going, you may be surprised in the outcome. The destination you cherish may be one more attempt from happening but you will never know if you quit.

There are tons of examples of famous people who refused to give up and didn’t believe failure was possible or even an option. Here are a few:

Albert Einstein

Wasn’t able to speak until he was four and his teachers said he “wouldn’t amount too much.” He later became one of the greatest scientists the world has ever seen.

Michael Jordan

Was cut from his high school basketball team. He later went on to be the greatest basketball player ever to play.

Walt Disney

Was told he lacked creativity. His films are some of the most creative and loved in the history of movies.

Steve Jobs

Helped found Apple in his 20’s and by his 30’s the board of directors fired him. So Jobs founded another company, which was eventually purchased by Apple and was back working with the brand again.

Milton Hershey

Had three different candy companies before Hershey’s became a candy giant.

Arianna Huffington

Was rejected by 36 publishers. She created the Huffington Post.

What do all of these people have in common? The obvious is they wouldn’t take no for answer, they kept giving it their all and they didn’t believe failure existed. They learned. It made them who they are. The struggle made them appreciate their achievements. How much more are we capable of, if we just stop being afraid of something that doesn’t exist.

What would you do if failure didn’t exist?

Josh Bowen: Five Things Money Can’t Buy

joshWith everything going on around us, I have to stop and think about what really is important. What puts my soul on fire and makes me get out of the bed at 5 am? Helping people is the obvious answer, its what gives me the most return on anything I do. I do what I do simply because I love helping people get better.

But something else struck me over the last several days; the most important things to me are not things at all and money can’t buy them. This puts life in perspective for me.

When I visited Mrs. Carmany’s (my client) 2nd grade class on Thursday, I didn’t know what to expect. Would they receive me well? I honestly worried I would say something I shouldn’t and have to sit in time out.

But something really cool happened. When asked about my gym and the name of it, the kids wanted to know what Aspire meant. So I asked them a question about who their “hero” was. Without hesitation and with no time to think, a young boy raised his hand and said “you are my hero.”


That kid could of asked for anything and I would of given it to him, that meant so much. That is something money cannot buy, the love and admiration from a young soul whose innocence and heart was greatly appreciated. For a tough dude like myself (some of you are laughing, I see you) this softened me up. This also set my mind in motion, what other things around us do we have that money cannot buy?

So here goes…

  1. Freedom We all to often take our freedom for granted. We have the freedom to chose and freedom to be whatever we would like. If we want something we have freedom to go get it, no questions asked. Be thankful for this.
  2. Purpose Money cannot buy you purpose in life. You can bounce from job to job, relationship to relationship but unless you truly go after what you want most in life, your purpose will not be fulfilled. What moves you? What are you passion about? What would you do if you knew you wouldn’t fail? Go do that.
  3. Peace of Mind Like the Zac Brown Band sings, “there is no price on a peace of mind.” I really believe there is no price on a peace of mind. Being at peace with the way things are and not bothered by things out of your control is the ultimate form of freedom. We should all strive to be around people and things that give us a peace of mind and shy away from people and things that stress us and ridicule us.
  4. Great Friends There is nothing better than a person or persons that would drop anything to come to the aid of a friend. There isn’t a price to have someone who constantly strives to make you better and is there for you when you are down. Remember this; the definition of a great friend is someone who sticks around when you are at your lowest, trying to build you back up. Money cannot buy this.
  5. Love There are a thousand sappy love songs about love and how there is no price tag on it. I will save you the serenade but its factual. Money cannot buy love. Love has to be felt more so than shown. It comes in all forms and can come from anyone. Always tell your loved ones how you feel about, for you never know when it will be the last time.  Was this about fitness? No, I get it but this transcends my world. We are so bogged down thinking about what we DON’T have, we forget about what we DO have. If we could all go back to 2nd grade and have no worries and be innocent again, maybe the world would be a better place?

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