Andrea Bowden
Andrea Bowden

Choose Well

  • I wake up every day on grounding sheets in a room with no electronics except the fan. Like usual, I have slept at least eight hours.
  • My tea, and the milk I put in it, are organic. The water I drink is purified.
  • The products I use to clean, moisturize, or cover my skin are carefully chosen for minimal impact on my hormone balance.
  • Virtually all of the foods in our refrigerator are chemical free. Our meals are almost exclusively plant-based, with the occasional organic, free-range meat.
  • I eat virtually no sugar, or processed foods with ingredients I can’t pronounce.
  • I take a product called Juice Plus faithfully which naturally wards off disease.
  • I listen to uplifting podcasts and books; I surround my home with positive memes.
  • I exercise most days of the week. I allow my body ample recovery time from a hard workout.
  • My job is rewarding and enjoyable.
  • I go to sleep with a loving husband next to me.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had the flu in my 56 years.

There are a number of factors that lead to health. I know people who drink more than enough alcohol, but that they are surrounded by loving friends, family and church, gives their immunity an advantage my EWG approved shampoo will never match. I know people who cut their required sleep-time most nights, but that they ply their skills in generous service to others, boosts their immune system in ways no amount of my clean shopping habits will ever touch.

However, I don’t think it is our right to neglect the most valuable commodity on the planet: our own bodies. I think it’s wrong for anyone to believe they have authority to abuse the one means they’ve been given to live out a purpose that is intended for the benefit of others. It is our obligation to nurture and care for the bones, circulatory system, muscles, brain synapses, bacteria, mitochondria, and neurochemicals. Your health impacts me and everyone else on the planet. When you are not healthy, we all suffer.

Today, I’m forced to watch faceless people shuffle throughout the grocery store filling their baskets with a menu that will tonight poison their bodies, while they will believe their covered mouth and nose is protecting them from illness never acknowledging the truth.

Motivation Is Not Crap

I listened to an excellent motivational video on YouTube today during my workout. I like motivational videos. It’s not a regular thing with me, but I’ve listened a few times in the gym.

The one I ended up with today was primarily David Goggins’ voice. David Goggins being, arguably, the toughest man on the planet. He most definitely gets my attention because, in my mind, he deserves it. If you listen to what he’s saying and not what he’s doing, most of the time, I think he’s on target.

Today, however, I was listening with an ear toward erroneous thinking. Why wouldn’t whatever this guy is saying help someone get up off their ass and into the gym? –Because that’s who he thinks he’s talking to– I wonder if those are, indeed, the people tuning in. But, I’m willing to bet the people who are listening are trying to motivate their sedentary friends and family with the same vernacular.

And it doesn’t work.

You can’t say motivation is crap, for example. Motivation is not crap. Motivation is absolutely THE sh!^! Motivation is what you want to manipulate in order to get past unmotivated. If you want to make some sort of change, motivation constitutes every question you’re asking yourself every day.

“What will it take to keep me motivated to stay the course?”

“What is my mindset/my behavior/my actions that will keep me motivated to lead me from here to there?”

“When will I wake up/go to sleep/eat/read a book/study/connect with people to keep me motivated to push when I don’t want to?”

If you want to stay motivated, ask if you have a positive attitude about what you’re doing to get you where you want to go.

If you want to stay motivated, ask if your goals are within a normal continuum your friends and your family and your co-workers might expect of you.

If you want to stay motivated, ask yourself if you believe you are genuinely and 100% in control of the outcome.

If you say no to any of them, your intention and your motivation will be weak and you need work.

Coaching can help. A good coach can help you identify stuck points, break through motivation, and get you from here to there. If you are ready to find the athlete in you; that Strong; that Confident, but you are stuck, I’d love to help!


It’s A Perfect Day For A Perfect Day

I’m not an optimist by nature. But I recently decided I really want to be one.

All the super smart people I know say I can change my brain to believe anything. It just takes practice.

So I’m practicing being an optimist. And, if I were honest with myself, and with you, I’d have to say.. it’s working!

I spend less time figuring out how to break out of a negative situation (that has never even happened) and more time asking how I can experience a positive situation. If you think like I do, you’ll understand what I mean. We hypothesize what could go wrong, and spend a lot of brain calories trying to figure out how to deal with it. Rather than visualize all the great things that could happen.

If you’re ready to change into an optimist, let me give you an example of how I’m rewiring my brain.

Last night, before I went to sleep I thought “Tomorrow’s a perfect day to be a perfect day.” Which of course leads to “What could happen tomorrow that could make it a perfect day?” The second I asked it, my brain sought to answer it.

Voila! Optimism made simple!

Just kidding. It’s not that simple. But it’s a great maneuver.

I accept

There are a lot of things I can do to improve the way I look including shaving my legs, wearing just the right shade of foundation, and coloring my hair. All of which I do.

I have this thing I do with all my clients where I ask them to give me three individual words that precisely describe how they want to feel. One of mine is: “I Want to Feel Attractive.”

I want to feel attractive because, well….honestly, the opposite is… Repelling. I like being a person people want to approach, talk to, be around, share life with. So I participate in socially acceptable things like whiten my teeth and wear clean clothes. I even practice kindness and compassion, just in case those attributes have any effect on dark circles or supple skin.

Somewhere along the way, however, I turned “Attractive” into “Younger Than I Am.” Or “Absent Of Any Deformities That Are A Representation Of My Age.”

I have come to be a person who argues too often with her wrinkles. Shouts profanities at her defects. Abhors slower race paces. It’s come to be much more than just trying to cover up. Frankly, it’s become an unhealthy relationship with reality.

I just don’t think I want to live like that anymore. I don’t know what caused me to be so obsessed with wanting to be 36 forever. But I’m ready to let that go.

I want to feel like it’s an honor to be an aging person. I want to respect every stage of the process.

I’m not going to lie, as freeing as it feels to release myself from the responsibility of trying to be something I am not, it’s also a vulnerable place.  I don’t want people to say anything “…. for her age.” I fear if I wear a necklace, people will ask “what happened to your neck?” I don’t want to be judged because I’m moving too slow. I don’t want to hurt.

I just feel like aging is really hard. But there’s no way around it. And I think the best way to deal with all of its annoyances is to accept it. Do the best we can to make healthy choices, so at least we’re setting ourselves up to win. And love the process… somehow.

Anyone want to go with me?









I Bought A Sandwich Today

I’ve been staring at the inside of my refrigerator for about five months now. And today, I bought a sandwich.

It’s a turkey panini. Fully opposite of what I’ve come to know as my normal dietary intake of plants.

I felt like a criminal. Or an alcoholic.

Not to say I was afraid of being caught doing something I wasn’t supposed to do, but to say I was publicly defying synaptic pruning that systematically renounced sandwiches.

I even opted for the potato salad rather than the greens.

I’m not saying I need to be religious about my food. But I guess I’m saying I’ve been very religious about my food.

Fighting back the temptation to believe this means I’m fundamentally a person who makes excuses for her life; like I need to justify something I’m not supposed to be doing and I hate that quality in a person, I’m wondering what that makes me.

I hate excuses. Can I just eat my sandwich?

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick

Stop the epidemic of inactivity! 80% of Americans don’t get even 20 minutes of moderate activity every day! 50% of people who start an exercise program quit within a few months. I need a math scholar to tell me what that means statistically. But it looks like a lot of people want to exercise, they just can’t stick with it for some reason.

What are we spending our marketing time on? If it’s getting people to start an exercise program, it might be time to make a pivot toward preventing people from quitting. I believe we personal trainers can no longer be passé about horrific retention rates. I believe we need to work much harder at coaching clients to maintain an exercise program.

Yes! I’m saying the epidemic of inactivity is OUR responsibility to take! And I’m encouraging you to believe it is a worthy battle!

Inactivity is a world-wide health problem with links to every sort of disease known to man. We are the true health professionals. I believe there is no better time than now to take the lead through more focused education and intention   to help people quit their lifestyle of inactivity.

I hope you’ll join me!

Me and David Sedaris on the Trails

I have this iteration of my life where I write and speak like David Sedaris — but only in my voice. I think this is not such an outrageous fantasy because David shares the same penchant for imagining fame and notoriety as I do. Until I started listening to him, I didn’t know this was a thing.

For example, as I write this, I’m running on a favorite trail where someone passes whose best friend is a famous photographer and she can’t help but notice this specimen of an athlete sprinting down the hill as if she were prancing on icicles; her feminine musculature like Rodin would have sculpted had he made a woman Thinker. By the time this photographer’s best friend runs to her car I’m gone. In the following days and weeks they perch at the trailhead with a detailed description of me like someone would recite for a lost dog. “She ran away during 4th of July… or the mask-wearing era. Have you see her?” And some people will recognize me, and some people will not.

Eventually I’ll show up for another run, and with enthusiastic whispers everyone on the trail mouths “That’s her!” They point and stare- for at least a mile- until finally someone, probably a young child or a teenage girl bravely approaches “that photographer over there has been looking for you. You’re super cool!”

Then, I’m on the cover of Self magazine and Vogue, not just as a great athlete “for my age,” but as an athlete. And then I’m on the cover of 17 Magazine as an inspiration to young women to stay active and don’t ever give up.

From then on, I’m the life of the party. People like me not just because I can do pull ups, but because I’m capable of compassion and generosity just like they are. After that, people see that I’m fun and nice and they like being my friend.




How to Get and Stay Motivated to Move Part 3 — Be Real with Yourself

In the first two parts we covered topics like assessments, having a realistic plan, and being good for your word as ways to get and stay motivated to move.

Today I’d like to talk about failure.

Be Real With Your Self

  1. Do you need a Plan B?
  2. Do you need to up the ante?

Oh my goodness, ya’ll, sometimes shift happens! In fact, it is guaranteed to happen! So you must have a plan B for those times when you absolutely can’t stick to your exercise and nutrition plan, no matter how important your goals are.

The cool thing about Plan B is: It’s a PLAN! Yes, it’s a legal clause in your goal-setting intentions that allows for an alternate set of exercises and an alternate combination of foods when things like the in-laws come to visit, or a snow storm hits.

Right? So, enjoy a small piece of cheesecake with family on your husband’s 50th. Shovel snow off the driveway instead of squats and bench presses in the gym. It’s all good! It doesn’t mean you abandon all hope for success. It doesn’t mean now you have to quit. It doesn’t mean you have to start all over. It’s just Plan B.

However, that said: it IS Plan B and NOT Plan A. So when everything settles, the in-laws leave, the streets are clear: you are back to Plan A with vegetables at every meal and building muscle in the gym.

On the Other hand, dear athletes. Do you need to up the ante?

If you want to drop sizes, SAY IT! You can’t claim “Failure” if you haven’t even been straight with yourself about what you Really want!

If your Goal is to “Eat nutritious meals most of the time, and to be in the habit of exercise,” and you are doing that faithfully, then you are living up to that standard, whether you put on size or drop size!

In this case, If you are eating nutritious meals most of the time, and in the habit of exercise, then you can also  justify eating a dozen donuts and a large pizza every day and still be living up to your standard. But don’t be disappointed when you’re still looking at the same waistline month after month.

I think we are so afraid of failure, we keep the stakes low. I am here to challenge you to raise your standard for yourself! YOU CAN DO THIS! If you want to wear smaller jeans, first of all admit it! And then set a standard for yourself that is challenging enough to help you move forward, yet reasonable for your life. And then work it!

Your size has nothing to do with who you are, but if you want to make that change, tell the world!

Upping the Ante is a bold move, I know! It’s an ever-wavering balance of measuring real life with how you want to feel. But I promise, it is the only real way to get where you want to go.

Follow this series of getting and staying motivated to move next week when I talk about your success.

Andrea Bowden is a Certified Health Coach offering 12-week programs to help you meet and exceed athletic goals in North Phoenix. She can be reached through



Right Up There

I had a therapist tell me she would not answer my call until I rang her 5 minutes late. She was challenging my perfectionist nature to sleep at night knowing I did not make an appointment on time.

This was about 20 years ago, and I have not given myself such a robust dare since.  Until today.

Today, I just didn’t want to be a rule-follower.

Today, I intentionally stopped about 200 meters short of the top of Shaw Butte mountain, turned around and ran down. It took a full two minutes of sprinting to convince myself not to go back up and finish it right.

And today I purposely did not tuck in my chair (or my husband’s chair) at the restaurant where we had cold beers and appetizers. The whole way home, willing myself to have done it right.

These are the regrets sticklers of perfection struggle with.

I don’t want drivers to be angry with me at merge lanes, so I measure our distance, the environment, their car, assess if they’ll want me to go first, or if they will want to go. Knowing dr. office receptionists believe they control the world, I enlist my subservience before pressing the number. I give eye contact and wave at every passer on the trail lest they think I’m unfriendly.

I make a lot of decision in an effort to be perfect for people who mostly don’t give a shit about whether or not I succeed or fail. But today I just didn’t want to care. So risked my reputation for giving 100%, and risked the waitress thinking I’m lazy.

I know we all have a desire to be accepted. Nobody wants to be alone. In fact aloneness is life-threatening. People who are isolated and/or lonely have poorer mental and physical health. Especially during disasters, like the government mandated social isolation we’re experiencing now, serious mental illness due to loneliness and lack of social support is exacerbated.

Maybe my perfectionism has nothing to do with my desire to be accepted.

Maybe I just believe if I don’t reach the top of the mountain today, then what happens tomorrow? Is it going to be ok to not get there tomorrow? And then the next day? And then the next? Pretty soon I’ll find myself on the couch with Cheeze puff crumbs in my lap, flipping through endless episodes of The Office on Netflix.

I guess I just want my effort to earn me something.  Money. Success. Notoriety. Popularity. Maybe it has. Maybe it hasn’t. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.

I think ultimately, we just have to know what’s best for ourselves. For some people, not finishing is not a big deal. Not cleaning up their environment before leaving a restaurant is not a big deal. And that’s what works for their life. Honestly, I like being a person who finishes things right. As exhausting as it can be, I like being a nice person. I didn’t mind that I lived one day on the edge of a nightmare for incomplete work. But I really don’t want to live there. It just doesn’t feel right.





Vote For Your Brain

Vote For Your Brain

I miss those days when a bagel and cream cheese was a healthy food option — Man, I miss a bagel and cream cheese!–  I miss Teddy Grahams and Cheezits.  I miss not having to read the food label for every item outside the produce aisle. I miss the freedom of believing “grass fed” or “free range” meant what I thought it did.

Those days of just eating whatever’s in the grocery store are over for us because I guess we’re a little dogmatic about our food selections. We believe we are casting our ballot with every purchase.

I don’t think our way should be the exception. But it’s not easy. I don’t think people like us should be in the minority. But I understand why.

As physical and psychological diseases continue to grow, it is getting harder and harder to live well.

As studies showing a positive correlation with exercise and physical health continue to grow, it is getting harder and harder to live well.

As studies showing a positive correlation with exercise and mental health continue to grow, it is getting harder and harder to live well.

As access to experimental research that shows fruits and vegetables are our best defense against disease, it is getting harder and harder to live well.

I am a die-hard-Capitalist-American. I believe a free-market society is the best way to run a country. And I believe in the human spirit to rise above difficulty and make the right decisions for the greater good – especially if we are free to make that choice. But I am concerned about the human brain becoming increasingly incapable of making the right decision due to poor nutrition and inactivity.

Brains cannot make sound decisions if they are filled with sugar and processed food-like-things. And brains cannot make sound decisions if they don’t get exercise –  and sleep, which is much more achievable with good nutrition and exercise.

Can the epidemic of inactivity and poor food choices be causing voters to become more and more dependent on what others can do for them? Knowing what to do – as I believe most people do – is a whole lot different than having the motivation to do so. Is there an eroding of freedoms because too many choices are being made by brains that lack energy to make shit happen?

Just asking.