Monday, June 29, 2015

Summer Challenge Results

Below, please find a handful of my Part 1 Summer Challenge contestants and their amazing progress photos and reviews/what the challenge did for them! I couldn't be ore proud of everyone who completed this challenge!!!
This was an 8 week challenge where all contestants received a custom diet, workout plan, cardio plan, supplement recommendations, and coaching from me the entire way! I will be holding another challenge in the fall and am always accepting clients on sarahbowmar.com

Natasha
Hi Sarah here are my final pictures thank you so much for all your help and your amazing plan ! I have actually learned so much this past 8 weeks mostly about my self and about what eating clean really is. I have found a new love for a avacado and egg whites lol which now have become a staple in my diet. To be honest I fell off the wagon several times over the past 8 weeks from living off peanut butter sandwiches in Panama for a week  to starting a new full time night line at work. Although with every set back I've learned to remind myself of where I was physically and emotionally in the beginning and to just get back up and start again. I don't have one single regret from joining this challenge and I think it is honestly the best money Iv ever spent !.... But I like to think some of that money is funding your new garden ;) I really hope you do more of these challenges.  It really gave me something to work towards everyday And assuming you have high expectations of your clients to push themselves as hard as possible I found was pretty motivating. Your such an inspiration and I really do admire all your hard work! 

Sophia
I want to start by thanking you SO MUCH for giving me this amazing opportunity to find a love for fitness and being healthy. This challenge has taught me so much about myself and how I can overcome the littlest things like adding more weight to my lift sessions or putting down the extra dessert that Id normally eat because I was already full. I know it may seem like I should be mortified that I gained weight, but I know it was the muscle I gained in my legs (which I've gotten so many complements on since starting the challenge) and my not so noodle arms! This challenge taught me to have patience and determination and in the end I will achieve my goals. 


Micalena 

Hey Sarah!!!! 
I just want to say thank you for being such an inspiration for me to start this journey!!  I am so proud of myself for completing and staying with this challenge. It has changed my mindset on how I see myself. I love when people ask me if I'm still on my diet now because at the beginning I would say yes and that is was for 8 weeks but now I just say yes but this is a lifestyle change and I not going to just stop. I feel so much better about myself and more confident. I love seeing how my body can change. I started at 170 pounds and today I weighed myself and I'm at 158. This is such an accomplishment because I know I didn't just lose weight but I have gained muscle also. 



Becky
This challenge did so many wonderful things for me. Initially I signed up as a way to reorganize my lifts and really push myself after my 16th surgery, because I was struggling to get my strength and motivation back. Within the first week, I was seeing my strength returning, my mood turning around, and I was gaining so much muscle because I was finally fueling my body correctly! It was incredible to see the changes taking place. Thanks to your support, I also noticed that my confidence was increasing, and it showed at work. So much that the general manager at my gym asked if I would consider teaching core classes, and this morning I actually taught a HIIT strength class. I also was asked to lead the warm-ups for Storm the Bastille race, and though I'm nervous, I'm ready to push myself farther in all of my endeavors. It's been an exhilarating experience getting to know this side of myself. My goal every day is to beat the girl I was yesterday. Even if I don't win this challenge, I definitely know that, with your support, I accomplished so much more than I set out to. Thank you so much. 


Tara
Hi Sarah - This program has been truly life changing for me! I feel absolutely amazing & I have the tools that I need to continue on this journey/lifestyle, the past 8 weeks may be over but this is truly just the beginning. I no longer have to browse IG fitness models and wish to look like them - with hard work and dedication I know I can get there too, 8 weeks ago I was very skeptical but figured what do I have to lose & now here I am 8 weeks later and I've only made gains toward my health/fitness goals (thanks to you & your awesome program)! I have so much confidence now & that is what I was truly seeking, I am happy with myself & it makes life so much easier when you love who you are! For a long time I've avoided pictures because I was never happy with how I looked & just the other day I took a selfie & sent it to my sister & she said "wow, you look truly happy!" & I was able to say that I truly am! This program hasn't been easy, but it has been beyond worth it, I appreciate all that you do for your clients! :) thanks again!

Elizabeth
This program definitely started off really hard for me, food wise.  I was struggling staying full and debating whether or not it was for me.  A few times I fell off and cheated but I got right back up and went harder.  I have gotten ridiculous results.  I mean honestly, these before/after pics are amazing to me!   
So here are my results:
5'4"
114
Last time I did body fat was 6 weeks ago and it was 14%
I feel AMAZING!  I love your workouts and that tuna/avocado/rice combo is so so good!
Thanks girl!!!!  Thank you so much for this amazing transformation!  I feel so damn good in my bikinis now

Danielle
I don't even know where to start. I guess just THANK YOU--for being the role model that you are, for being real and genuine and letting your followers/clients see that, and of course for being an amazing coach throughout this process. I'm so happy I stumbled on your IG a few months ago. I never would have thought I would be in this state, not just physically but also mentally. I'm very happy with myself and I can honestly say that I love my body. I love that I can control how I want my body to look, that I don't need to let food or the scale or anything else dictate how I see my self. I've learned SO much during these 8 weeks. I'm never going back to where I started. This is definitely a lifestyle change and I'm so ready to make this MY lifestyle. I feel like a different person--a better, happier, and more confident me. I can't wait to see how else I can improve myself after this challenge. Thank you so much for everything. You've made an impact in me, and I couldn't have asked for a better coach. I hope I made you proud :)

Here are my measurements and pics!!! (I also included some pics I took throughout the 8 weeks)

start of challenge --> now
Weight: 157.5 lbs --> 149.5 lbs
Shoulders: 19 in --> 16 in
Chest: 37 in --> 35.4 in
Hips: 39 in --> 34.5 in
Waist: 30.5 in --> 28 in
Arm: 12.5 in --> 12 in
Quad: 23 in --> 21.5
Calf: 15 in --> 14.5 in



Lauren
Wow, I cannot believe that it has been 8 weeks since I began this challenge.   When I chose to join I was at a low point as far as my health goes.  I am a full time college student that got slightly lost this past year between school, work, and interning.  Because of how busy I was I put my health on the back burner.  I would go to the gym when I had time and would meal prep if I had the chance and the funds to do so.  Last September I lost my best friend in a car accident, this March I lost my nephew to Epilepsy and my cat of 20 years to old age.  To say the very least I was in a dark place for awhile and I began to realize I had gain a few pounds was not happy with how I felt.  I was becoming self conscious about my appearance and lacked energy to do anything.  I missed being in the gym but I couldn't find the motivation to get up and go because I had let myself go for so long.  Towards the end of the spring semester I saw you post on IG about your summer challenge and I immediately began plotting.  I had been saving up all year in order to afford my summer tuition payment but I had decided I needed to do something about my health.  So after sitting on the idea of joining for a few days, I took the jump and signed up.

At the beginning of the challenge things were a little difficult for me as far as the meal plan due to emptying my bank account for tuition (literally had .52 cents to my name), but I managed to make it work.  Once I got my first check after that I was all set to fully dedicate myself to your program.  Throughout the past 8 weeks I have felt myself improve in so many aspects.  I have always had a competitive personality but this challenge taught me that the only person I need to be better than is myself.  Each day I pushed as much as possible because I knew the results I wanted and the work that was required to achieve it.  I held myself accountable by resisting temptations and making sure to find time no matter what to fit my workouts in when needed which meant that some nights I was in the gym at 1 am because I had to work the entire day.  I mad sacrifices I never thought I would be capable of making (like cutting out some of my favorite foods).  This challenge brought me back to a place of true happiness. I have always loved fitness and nutrition but I have always had difficulty "finding time".

All in all, to answer your question of what this challenge did for me.... it helped me find myself again.  This challenge has allowed me to grow not only physically but mentally.  I now know I have the will power and determination to do what it takes to reach my goals even outside of a physical aspect.  I am constantly doubting my abilities and this challenge has instilled in me a belief in myself and that I am able to do anything if I want it bad enough.  Regardless of the outcome of this challenge I already feel like a winner because of the hurdles I have already jumped and I will continue to go until I meet my goals and when that point comes I will set new ones and keep it going.


Thank you so much for helping me find myself again and for guiding me back to a healthy lifestyle.  You set the foundation for my fitness journey and now it is time for me to continue to build on it.


Alexandra

I just want to say THANK YOU for putting together an awesome, straight forward plan that was so easy to follow. At first I was very nervous as to whether or not I'd be able to stick to this plan (I am very insecure both mentally and physically) but I was for the most part able to overcome that feeling. Before the program I used to think I was eating pretty well and doing the right kinds of workouts. This program was definitely humbling and I learned that I was not controlling my eating enough and I wasn't choosing the right foods either. I also learned I was doing too much in the gym in terms of lifting (hour and a half sessions) and not enough cardio. I was so happy when I was already seeing and feeling results after just the first few days and that really helped to keep me on track. I had one slip up when I was out of town with my family for a weekend but I learned from it and have since been able to stay on track and better control my junk-food cravings when I am surrounded by those foods and people who arent following this type of a meal plan. Not on that, but I just feel like crap when I did have my cheat meals or a treat. Your program has helped train my body to run better on whole, nutritious foods rather than the junk I would often eat before. My proudest moments were when I laid on my floor after I got home from the gym and my boyfriend said "oh my God I can see your abs!" and when I attempted to do ONE chin-up, a goal of mine for a while now, and did THREE!!! You are so inspirational on social media and your posts motivate me to keep up the hard work and continue to work toward my goals. I know that its only been 8 weeks and I'm no where close to my dream body but I also know that this is not a temporary program, its a lifestyle change that I can keep up with and reach my goals in the future.

Thank you so much for an awesome program and the inspiration to make the progress that I made. I plan to continue to better myself and keep working toward my goals.

Ashley
Measurements: START // END
Waist: 30//26.5
Hips: 40//38
Quad: 24//22.5
Calves: 15//14.5
Bicep: 12//11.5
Neck: 14//13
Chest: 35//33

Weight: START // END
145//136.8

Pictures below:
TOP (BEFORE) // BOTTOM (TODAY)
LEFT (BEFORE) // RIGHT (TODAY)

This challenge has created an opportunity to completely change my habits.  Prior to this challenge, I tried to eat well and work out often, but with no real purpose or dedication.  As soon as I began, I KNEW this was something I could definitely commit to – I have tried countless programs and personal trainers with minimal or no long term success.

With this challenge, I not only changed my body, but I also changed my mental and emotional health.  I struggle daily with Binge Eating Disorder and Compulsive Eating – your meal plan has eliminated the “want” of food and made my life easier!  By eating every 2 ½ - 3 hours and eating a high protein diet, I rarely crave food!

I was able to stick to this plan through thick and thin – I am a full time student, work part time, and balance a healthy social life. Things that once triggered bad eating or skipped gym times have turned into the drive I need to get my butt in there and get it done!

I love how I feel and I love the results I’ve gotten in just 8 short weeks - I look forward to additional progress as I work with you post-challenge! J

PS – This is the first time people have actually noticed a difference in my appearance.. so rewarding!


Sam
I wanted to send you my two month results. I've been in the military for 5 years now, living the military lifestyle with lots of physical training, but I've never been so happy with myself. It feels awesome to actually feel good! Thank you for everything!!!



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sarah Bowmar Reviews

The internet can be a funny place, can't it? A million people could like your product or service but it only takes one bad apple to try to ruin it. Luckily, I carry around a positive mindset 24/7 and wanted to compile and share the POSITIVE reviews of my coaching and services for the rest of the positive pollys out there!

Alli: Alli1986.blogspot.com

Amanda: http://ahughesrn.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-of-sarah-bowmars-program.html

Ashley: http://ashleyfitnessjourney.blogspot.com/2015/06/sarah-bowmar.html?m=1

Brittany: http://berealbeyoubehappy.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-fitness-journey-with-sarah-bowmar.html?m=1

Cara: http://carafitwife.blogspot.com/

Carissa: http://carissamcook.blogspot.com/2015/06/my-experience-training-with-sarah-bowmar.html

Corrine: http://corrinesoltis.blogspot.com/

Emily: http://emilyhwkins.blogspot.com/2015/06/sarah-bowmar-fitness.html

Hailey: http://haleydeibert.blogspot.com/2015/06/finding-balance-between-life-and.html

Jessica: http://firstbikinicompetition.blogspot.com/2015/06/finding-coach.html

Katie: http://katievalentine1990.blogspot.com/

Lisa Marie: http://lminhawaii.blogspot.com/2015/06/review-of-sarah-bowmars-program.html

Mareneta: http://mkoortzen.blogspot.com/

Morgan: http://morgangetsfit.blogspot.com/2015/06/beginning-my-fitness-journey-with-sarah.html?m=1

Natalie: http://pinkfitreviews.blogspot.com/2015/06/2-week-transformation-and-initial-review.html

Samantha: http://samanthafindlay.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 1, 2015

From Dairy and Egg Free Vegetarian to Bow Hunter

This has been a blog that has taken me over a year to write because I wanted to do it once and I wanted to do it right. I've have been taking notes for months in my phone about different ideas and different thoughts. 

I fully understand and expect some people to not understand why I made the switch and that is ok, but I needed to write this blog- for me. I also hope to provide some education about hunting and conservation as well. I want to preface that this was my personal experience. I am in no way generalizing vegetarians, vegans, meat eaters, etc. This was MY experience. Thanks for reading.

Ok, here we go...

In early 2012, I made the decision (based on a few months of research), to try out a meat, dairy, and egg free diet for 21 days. The only animal by-product that prevented me from classifying myself as a vegan was honey (darn bees and the wonderful treat they create). Those 21 days changed the way that I look at food, the way that I cooked, the way that I ordered at restaurants, and the way that I felt. The 21 days turned into roughly 2 and a half years of a dairy free/egg free vegetarian lifestyle.

During this time, I was also competing in my first year of NPC shows. That's right, I competed in six shows in 2013 as 100% vegetarian- so it IS possible. I didn't get sick (very likely when you are competing as you push your body past its limits and get very lean). I stopped breaking out. I also saw a decrease in muscle size. I was very tired (combined with a lack of animal protein and competing). I also felt deflated. I had a hard time getting all the nutrients that I was lacking, I'm not saying that it's impossible as a vegetarian to get all of the nutrients needed but for me- I was not absorbing vitamins like I needed to be any longer (notably, iron).

I went into my 2013 "off" season small. And deflated. And tired. And hardly any muscle mass (which was "the look" for bikini 3 years ago- very different today but I no longer compete and that's a different topic). I was wrestling with the idea of adding fish back into my diet because I knew that in order to continue on my fitness journey, I personally couldn't live off of beans and tofu and boca burgers. In January of 2014, I had my first bite of "ethically" raised fish. My first taste of meat in over 500 days. It. Was. Hard. It sat in my kitchen on a plate and I stared at it for over an hour. I cried. I balled. I knew what that fish had went through, I knew it's entire life was meant to feed me. It's entire life was created to be killed. I'm pretty sure I threw up that night after eating 1/3 of it. Slowly but surely, I added fish back in, day by day and bite by bite. It tore me up because of my deep conviction against eating slaughtered animals. I was selfish. Eating an animal for my own personal gains, literally.

For two months I went back and forth between pescatarian and vegetarian. Slowly adding eggs back in as well even though eggs are pretty gross too when you really look at the mass producing egg industry. When I decided to start prepping again in February, I knew I needed a small amount of fish protein on my diet. I did my best to do research on companies, buy local, and buy as organic as possible- because, let's be honest- meat at the big chain grocery stores are pumped with hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and live under extremely stressful living situations (which means you are going to eat their cortisol too).

When I met Josh at the Arnold in 2014, we were sitting at the food court in the convention center and I remember telling him that I don't eat any meat except fish. And I will never forget the look on his face (at this point I did not know he was a hunter). Conversely, I know Josh will never forget the look on my face when he told me that he was a hunter. Mind you- up to this point, I hated hunters. I hated that they took pictures with dead deer with the bloody tongue hanging out, I thought they were all hilly billy red necks who shot up the forest, I thought they left the animals for dead, I thought they were murders. I was ignorant. I was purely uneducated when it came to hunting. I was close minded and I was so turned off by the fact that Josh hunted that I was unsure if I wanted anything to do with him (mind you, he thought the same thing about me not eating meat).

So what did he do? Instead of getting frustrated with me or let his emotions get in the way, he EDUCATED me on conservation. He educated me on what hunters do with the animal after they harvest it. He told me story after story about how being in the woods isn't always about the kill itself, it's about appreciating the beauty of everything that God created.

Here's some pretty mind blowing stats that really slapped me in the face with reality:
Here are the numbers, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and other public sources:
** $746 million — Annual amount of money spent by hunters in the United States on licenses and public land access fees alone. Sportsmen’s licensing revenues account for more than half of all funding for state natural resource agencies
** $300 million — Additional monies contributed to wildlife conservation every year by the more than 10,000 private hunting-advocate organizations, like the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
** $4.2 billion — Amount of money sportsmen have contributed to conservation through a 10% federal excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and gear since the 1937 Pittman-Robertson Act established the tax. Millions of acres of public-use land has been purchased, preserved, and maintained with this money.
(source: http://dailyreckoning.com/right-to-hunt-vs-animal-rights/)
Not to mention, hunters (through the funds mentioned above) provide more than 500,000 jobs across America. The funding money results in conservation for hunted and non-hunted animals. The funding money provides parks, and trails, and public land preservation. I am not here to bash PETA or any animal rights groups but do you know what they do with their money since they are a non profit? Ads, TV time, etc. Guess how much land they preserve each year? ZERO acres. 
Hunters (not poachers) harvest animals to feed their families. In my mind, I was getting away from eating meat because 1- the animals were living to be killed and 2- they were pumped with more chemicals than a pharmacy counter. But guess what harvesting an animal provides? It gives the hunter the opportunity to fill their freezer with the most organic meat you can find from an animal that lived an amazing life provided. That animal lived its life to the fullest. The ancient native americans believe that eating an animal you harvest will be with you forever because that protein is used to repair your own muscles- making you one with the animal. For me, that was a no brainer when it came to hunting. 
The fact that pushed me over the edge: I am an animal lover. That's right- I LOVE ANIMALS. I volunteer at a humane society, I rescued my cat Tom, I am OBSESSED with animals. What does hunting allow me to do? It allows me to get within yards of many animals, 99% of which I am not hunting- simply observing. But guess what? Without hunters, many animals (such as the whitetail) would become over populated and sick. 
Let's simply use deer for this example. Herds of deer co-exist. However, what happens if a male becomes too dominant? Food is limited and if there are too many deer in that area, guess who could end up killing/hooving fawns? That's right- the mature buck. He will run younger bucks away and into a new location- hence car accidents when deer are trying to cross the road. He will run smaller fawns and does off food sources. He will also breed as many does as possible, in time, this results in in-breeding and yes, it's a problem for animals too. 
Additionally, a herd that is too large will contract diseases much quicker. Common diseases in deer populations include blue tongue and CWD (chronic wasting disease). CWD for example is like alzheimer's for deer. They forget to eat, they forget how to walk, they forget how to defend. Coyotes will literally eat deer alive from the back up and the deer are too weak to get away. Mother nature can be pretty cruel sometimes. 
Speaking of car accidents, there are over 1.5 million deer related car accidents reported annually (on average), resulting in over $1 billion in damages with 200 fatalities. Guess why deer are crossing the road- it's usually to find new food sources because mature deer are over-dominant. 
Hunters not only do their best to harvest the largest and most dominant deer in the area but they also do their part in harvesting large infertile does as well. Venison is extremely lean and fills the freezer for us (family of 2) for 6 months. Additionally, hunters donate over 12 million meals annually (one pound of venison can feed four to five people) (http://www.nssf.org/huntersfeed/). 

Which brings me to my final point- why do we bow hunt? To me, bow hunting is extremely challenging and provides the most gratitude and sense of accomplish compared to gun hunting (personal opinion, I am not anti-guns). Archery in itself is a beautiful sport and practicing is very rewarding. 

Was harvesting my first animal difficult? Yes. Was harvesting my second animal difficult? Yes. I think you get where I am going with this. To watch an animal die is not something we get off to. When I killed my first turkey last year with my bow, I balled my eyes out because I appreciated the animal so much. My first buck? Oh my gosh was I an absolute train wreck. I cried for at least an hour but if I hadn't harvested that deer, he would have died for nothing- either hit by a car or eaten by buzzards and coyotes. I now get to live forever knowing that that deer has become one with me- and he looks amazing on our wall. I get to relive the memory for the rest of my life and the feeling of taking the deer with my bow is something I will never forget. 

Josh and I now get to travel the country and the world hunting. Exploring new places and meeting the most amazing people in various hunting camps. The stories are endless, the passion can't be measured, and the incredible connections that you obtain with everyone you meet in this industry is unlike anything I have ever experienced. Guess what? In the fitness industry- everyone is out to protect themselves. In the hunting industry, getting to tell a story of your own is just as enjoyable as hearing someone else tell a story of their own and showing you pictures of the animals they have harvested. The support for one another is truly something that I have never seen before. 

This was not meant to be an apology for hunting. I will never apologize for being a hunter. What my full intention for this blog post was to simply educate and provide a background to where I started because I was so ignorant when it come to all things hunting. I truly hope that everyone reading this has a new found view on hunting. For me, making the switch to eating organic meat that I harvested with a bow, practicing conservation, experiencing hours and hours appreciating nature, donating meals, filling my own freezer, and spending time with my husband... Doesn't get much better than that.

PS-Josh and I donated over 3,000 meals in 2014 alone and we plan to beat that this year. 

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt"