Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Dark Side of Fitness and Marketing

I open myself up to be available for my followers/fans/supporters/friends/anyone and it allows me to get a really good understanding of how MESSED up the fitness industry is when it comes to marketing. I truly and honestly feel bad for people because of how much contradicting information is thrown at them each day. I'm sure you all can agree. How many times have you seen "Top 10 Exercises To Lose Fat" or "Eat This To Lose Weight" or "Drink This Protein Powder To Lose 5 Pounds"

News flash: there is no magic workout, there is no magic food, and there is no magic powder.

Here are some VERY common questions I get asked and my honest/non sugar coated answers:

1: Will this exercise help me lose fat?
In short- no. In long- yes. Ok, YOU DON'T GET TO PICK WHERE THE FAT GOES ON AND YOU DON'T GET TO PICK WHERE IT COMES OFF. If you want to lose fat in an area on your body, you can't spot reduce with diet. LET ME REPEAT THAT- YOU CANT SPOT REDUCE WITH DIET. If you want to lose weight on your arms, there's not an exercise in the world that will help you with that. Side note- having more muscle will help you burn more calories per day but that doesn't mean having larger biceps will burn fat on your arms.

2: What foods should I avoid if I want to lose weight?
There are healthy and non healthy foods. Ok, we all understand that. But it's not WHAT should you eat, it's HOW MUCH should you eat. I could write you a plan right now to lose weight on twinkies. Not the healthiest thing in the world but it's all about calories in versus calories out. Don't fall victim to thinking that eating 3 tablespoons of peanut butter at midnight will help you lose weight because you saw that on an instagram ad. If you are under your calories and you eat the peanut butter and you're still under your calories, then you will lose weight- make sense?

3: What protein powder should I drink to lose weight?
My initial reaction to this is: WTF?
My second reaction to this is: Oh my god I hate marketing and supplements and social media and print media. I HATE IT. Why? Because it's confusing and overwhelming to the average consumer- AND I HAD MY MBA IN MARKETING AND OWN A SUPPLEMENT COMPANY!!! Believe me when I say, I KNOW what these companies do to reel you in. So don't fall victim to it. Protein powder is nothing more than a way to supplement more protein in to your diet. That's it. Stick to whole foods if you can. There is not a protein powder on this earth that will help you lose weight if you are already eating too many calories as it is- see question 2.

4: When should I eat what foods and what should I eat pre/post/intra workout?
Ok... Unless you are an olympian- eating pre and post workout meals isn't complicated. If you are on a meal plan, eat 1 hour before you workout and eat 30 min after working out. Just follow your plan and eat the next thing on the list. Protein post workout (powder or whole foods) is always ideal. There is not a science behind certain % of carbs, fats, and proteins to eat pre and post workout for the average person- trust me- eat 1 hour beforehand and 30 min after and you will be fine.

5: How do you control cravings?
To be honest, if you give in to cravings- you're weak minded. And you lack discipline. And your goal isn't strong enough. I told you these answers weren't going to be pretty. If someone put donuts in front of me right now (my favorite food), I would not touch one- why? Because I HAVE GOALS THAT ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE FIFTEEN SECONDS OF DONUT. Get it? We are creatures of habit. So if you know you crave something, don't keep it in the house. Don't buy what you crave. Out of sight, out of mind. Does that mean I don't get cravings? OF COURSE I GET CRAVINGS- I just don't give in to them. Taking shots of apple cider vinegar with mother helps with curbing cravings too.

Ok, so in short...
1- if you want to lose weight, eat less than you burn
2- if you want to gain weight, eat more than you burn
3- if you want to stay the same weight, eat what you burn
4- there's no exercise or diet that will spot reduce fat
5- there's no food that will make you gain or lose weight- only QUANTITIES of that food can dictate that
6- protein powders are just a way to get more protein in your diet
7- eat 1 hour pre workout and 30 min post workout
8- don't give in to cravings. don't keep what you crave in the house.

I hope this helped- if you have more questions, comment below and I can write a follow up to this blog

Friday, September 18, 2015

Utah Trip

Utah Trip

As many of you may know, I am fortunate enough to be an athlete on the Under Armour womens hunt team! A few months ago, I was invited to go on an all girls hunting trip to Northern Utah. How could anyone say no?! Once I found out about the trip, the training began! 

Please note: I was a vegetarian up until about 2 years ago when I met my husband josh, you can read the blog here: http://sarahbowmar.blogspot.com/2015/06/from-dairy-and-egg-free-vegetarian-to.html?q=vegetarian+to+bow+hunter
I completely understand if you are not a hunter. But please, don’t be anti-hunters. We do a lot of amazing things- from conservation to proper wildlife management to donating meat to eating the most organic meat possible ourselves. Not to mention, the time spent in the woods and the outdoors with friends, family, or even by yourself- will create lifelong memories. Through all of the deer donation programs, over 33 million meals are donated to the less fortunate. Millions and millions of acres of public land has been purchased and protected through the dollars that are spent on hunting licenses and tags. Not to mention, hunted and non-hunted animals are studied, monitored, and managed through the millions of annual dollars that hunters contribute to conservation (through the purchase of licenses, tags, excise tax on hunting gear, etc). 

Please keep an open mind when reading this, as it truly was the trip of a lifetime. 

In March, Josh and I traveled to New Zealand for a red stag hunt- which included miles and miles and more miles of hiking straight up and down mountain sides with a ton of gear plus a camera man plus trying to be stealthy in order to allude the animals. I completely under estimated the terrain and the intensity and was absolutely under conditioned. For my Utah trip, I vowed to not let that happen again. About eight weeks before the trip, I really kicked my cardio into high gear- AKA 300 flights of stairs on the stair master in 50 minutes 6 times per week AFTER I lifted weights. That’s just shy of 15,000 flights of stairs that I climbed to prepare for this trip (also, if you don’t know, I periscope the entire time that I do cardio- if you want to add me there: sarahbowmar). I also wrote myself a cutting nutrition program to lean down before I left to ensure I was in the best physical shape that I possibly could be- the animal doesn’t care if you get tired (Cameron Hanes’s motto). 

On top of the cardio, I was also target practicing with my bow daily. A lot of people had warned me how difficult it was to hunt antelope with a bow but I did not want to change my mind. Before this trip, I was comfortable shooting around 30 yards. Each day that I practiced, I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone, sometimes shooting 20 - 30 arrows multiple times per day. This allowed me to become comfortable shooting at 55 yards with my bow. In addition to my target practicing, we also tested my arrows, spines, and paper tuned my bow several times at our local pro shop several times before I left to ensure that my bow was completely in tune. 

The Trip
I arrived at the Columbus airport on Sunday in the afternoon around 2pm and Taylor Drury and I had a connecting flight together from Dallas into Salt Lake City. The entire flight we could barely contain our excitement to get to camp and to see the rest of the ladies. Once we landed in Salt Lake City at around 8pm, we met up with Kristi Stevens, Katie Muth, and Jessica Pilgrim. Two of our guides picked us up and we made the several hour trip to Northern Utah. It was completely dark when we were coming into camp so we did not know what to expect in terms of terrain. 

That night, we made the game plan for the morning- breakfast was at 5:30am each morning and we would usually leave around 6:15-6:30am, depending on how far you had to drive. Lunch was around 11:30am and dinner was at 9pm. We were off to our rooms in the 20 room lodge to unpack, get ready for the morning hunt, and get some much needed sleep (mind you, it’s already almost 1am at this point).

A 5:00am wake up call comes quick when you have been traveling the day prior and went to bed around 1:30 in the morning. But for some reason, the smell of eggs, homemade bread, and meat plus the sound of everyone excited about the hunt, wakes you up pretty quickly. We were introduced to our guides (mine was Scott), and off we went. Scott and I traveled about an hour into the mountains (and it’s still dark at this point). On our trip our to our spot, we spotted a huge array of animals- from mule deer to badgers to prarie dogs to elk. The first morning hunt, we spotted numerous mature antelope that were old enough for me to harvest.

As a side note- the ranch that we were at is extremely well versed in proper animal management- it’s about harvesting the most mature animal that you can in order for proper conservation. I had a ton of opportunities to take younger antelope (that were much easier to stalk), however, that was not the purpose of the trip- conservation is extremely important in order to ensure that the animals and herds have the proper doe:buck ratio and proper carrying capacity.

Once Scott or I spotted an antelope that was mature/old enough for me, we hopped out of the truck and tried to get within bow range. If you can imagine, the fields that we were in only had sage brush as cover. I’m short but I’m not sage brush short- barely a foot off of the ground. Antelope have eyesight comparable to humans looking through binoculars and can run up to 40 miles per hour- if they stretched beforehand. I’m trying to give a proper perspective on just how difficult these animals are to 1- spot 2- stalk within half a mile 3- hide from them and 4- get within bow range without being detected. Bow range for me, as mentioned above, is 55 yards or closer .

Here’s how a typical antelope stalk goes: you need to spot a male antelope that is either by himself or with a few other younger bucks. A herd too large means you have more eye balls watching you- which creates an even larger challenge. Once you have an antelope spotted, you have to assess your game plan on how you are going to stalk it- if it’s on a mountain, do you go above it or below it. If it’s on the flat lands, do you circle behind it or stalk it from the front with a decoy. If the antelope see or smell you before you are close enough in bow range, they may run for 10 miles before stopping. They may run 150 yards over a ridge and stop if they don’t see you behind them. Just because they may run away, doesn’t mean the stalk is over. You can stalk for half a mile or greater on each stalk if necessary before hopping back in the truck to locate a different antelope. 

The first morning, in five hours, we put on 10+ stalks on different antelope. The closest we got the first morning was 100 yards , which simply wasn’t going to cut it. In for lunch we went to get some food in is and regroup for the afternoon. That morning, Katie went out with a rifle on her first hunt ever and harvested a huge doe with a 617 yard shot- that’s like playing in the super bowl for your first football game- we were all so excited and happy for her, and we got to hear all about it at lunch!

The afternoon hunt was primarily the same as the morning, we went to different parts of the ranch and put on about 10 stalks with no luck. We hopped back in the truck and headed back in. On the way, Scott and I were just talking about our weddings (he was just married five weeks ago), when all of a sudden- he slams on his breaks. There 40 yards from the truck was a huge antelope- and he had no idea we were there! We quietly got out of the truck and hid behind the decoy. He was grazing quickly and moving away from us. We stalked him about 300 yards before he finally stopped moving. We were huddled behind the decoy and he was 65 yards away from us. I unfortunately missed him at 65 yards, my arrow dropped about 5 inches before him in between his legs and he ran off- but not too far. Slightly defeated, we found my arrow and stalked him for another 500 yards. He ended up running off but it made me realize that I may have to extend my bow range and get out of my comfort zone yet again. 

Dinners at hunting camps are such an amazing experience- everyone is in from the cold, hanging out in the lodge, and sharing stories of past hunting trips and talking about the day that they just had. While all of the girls were sharing some stories, the door opened up and in walks Eva Shockey! She came in from the Yukon to surprise us all and hunt with us! I was fortunate enough to meet Eva earlier this year at the ATA show and I even shoot her signature series bow from Bowtech. What an awesome time to have her in camp and get to know her even better! 

The next day, I practiced at 70 and 80 yards in between the morning and afternoon hunt. Our morning hunt had little success as the temperature dropped to around 30 degrees and not many antelope were out moving. We did spot a few about 80 yards on one of the ridges, but I just was not comfortable taking the shot. Once we were back for lunch, I went outside the lodge with my bow and began practicing to extend my range. 

During the afternoon hunt, it began raining and hailing and we spotted a few antelope that we stalked with very little success. Hunting is the highest of highs and lowest of lows sometimes. The most important thing, in life and in hunting- is to never give up. Each stalk we had, I could have taken an antelope with a rifle. There is no shame in gun hunting but I had trained for accomplishing this with my bow and I was going to do just that- despite what anyone else wanted me to do. I had dozens of people tell me I wouldn’t be able to get one with my bow before I left for the trip and I was determined to prove them wrong. And to prove myself right. I had put the time and the work in between target practicing, cardio, my diet, and everything else. I knew I had done my homework and it was only a matter of time before it all came together.

On day 3 (Wednesday), I woke up again at 5:00am, got ready, had breakfast, and left the lodge around 6:15am. We went to a new spot that was between several ponds, and it was the most gorgeous terrain I had ever seen. I was so blown away with the beauty of where we were that I almost forget to keep looking for antelope. Luckily I had an awesome guide and despite me having missed several times, he wasn’t giving up on me. In between one of the ponds and the mountain, he spotted an antelope by himself. We quietly got out of the truck, behind the decoy, and started walking. We got within 75 yards of him, blistering winds, and I took the shot. The wind took my arrow and kicked it about 4 feet behind the animal. He took off running at a full on sprint. And talk about upsetting. I just couldn’t seem to get this right. 

We got back in the truck and Scott mentioned that we should go back to where we were the first night because there were tons of huge antelope everywhere. On our way over there, I spotted an antelope out of the corner of my eye. The cloud were rolling in with heavy rain and the sky was nearly black. I knew we didn’t have a lot of time before the rain and hail started pelting us, so it was a race against time if were going to stalk this antelope. We got behind the decoy (who we had nicknamed Andy- get it, Andy the antelope), and starting walking towards him. It was a semi hilly terrain so each time the antelope walked over a ridge and on to the other side, it was a full on sprint for us to catch up to him. Each ridge we crossed, we got closer and closer. Eventually we were within 100 yards. And then 90. And he still hadn’t smelled, seen, or heard us. He was grazing and seemed to be distracted by the rain coming in and eating to even look around. We slowly crawled up to about 70 yards. And still, nothing. He was still in the same spot. The rain was starting to fall. I had my arrow nocked on my bow and asked Scott if we could move closer. We got to 53 yards. I was on my knees behind the decoy. Scott ranged the antelope. With my heart beating out of my chest, I crawled out to the right of the decoy. The antelope had turned perfectly broadside. With the black sky above, my heart beating in my throat, I pulled my bow back quietly. At 53 yards, I settled my pin and released my arrow. 

I shoot with a lighted nock that will illuminate when fired. It’s red. And I didn’t see it hit the antelope. I was convinced it was hit under him again and I had shot the grass between his legs. I was so mad at myself that I couldn’t even take it. I knew this was my shot and I had messed it up again. I turned to Scott and he is freaking out! He had watched the whole thing through his range finder and he told me I hit the antelope perfectly! I couldn’t believe it. As soon as the animal turned to run (about .5 seconds from when I released the arrow- yes, all those thoughts and emotions went through my head that fast that I had missed), he turned and I could see my arrow had hit him. And perfectly. He went down no more than 50 yards away from where I shot him and was dead within 2 seconds. I could not believe it. The emotions that ran through me are something words can’t hardly explain. I was elated. Scott was beyond excited. After the high fives and fist bumps, we went to look at my buck!

I was an emotional wreck when we walked up to the animal. He was beautiful. And very old. And I took him with my bow. The rain started coming down heavier and Scott ran to get the truck- a few hundred yards away. Before he got back, as I always do, I knelt down to the animal, touched his face and neck, held on to his fur, and thanked the Lord for letting me harvest one of His beautiful creatures. I pray every single day but I talk to God even more when on hunting trips. The last thing I ever want to do is wound an animal and I always ask God that if I am supposed to take the animal- to let me arrow fly straight and true. I have had many tips, including one to New Zealand, where I left empty handed. I would rather than than wound one. I thanked the animal for giving his life for me. I told him that his body and meat would be used to repair mine, and for that, he would always be with me. I always shed several tears while doing this because of how much respect I have to the animal and to the land that he came from. 

I eat what I kill. And that animal will be with me forever. There is nothing more euphoric than harvesting your own meat. Especially when you can make memories like the one you just read. I can’t began to recall a trip to the grocery store that made me cry. Or that I trained 8 weeks in advance for. There are no greater memories than being outside in the woods. 

Many people ask why we take pictures with the animal that we harvest. I do it to embody the memory forever. Why do hunters smile behind the animal? Because you are on an incredible high that can’t be explained- only other hunters can understand. Animals have amazing defenses and skills- way more impressive than a human. And to be able to outsmart an animal that has better sight, hearing, smelling, speed, agility, awareness, etc than I do- is quite challenging. Hunting is not “sit in the woods in camouflage and animals will come right up to you”. Animals are meant to survive, they are bred to have better senses than any human ever will. This hunt was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I am the second person in 20 years to take an antelope with my bow off the ranch that we were at. The second person in 20 years. THE SECOND PERSON IN 20 YEARS. This stuff is hard work. And to me, taking a picture with the animal will commemorate the memory forever. 

Scott and I caped the skull and half of the coat (as I am getting a shoulder mount of the animal) and began quartering him in the hail and snow. Yes, it’s the middle of September. After about an hour, we had him quartered and in the meat bag. I called Josh once we hit a spot on the mountain with service and he couldn’t believe it. He was a proud husband for sure. Once we arrived back at camp, every single person was there and was congratulating me and wanting to hear the story- I think I told it about 15 times and I would tell it 15 million more times if I could. 

That day, Taylor got an antelope with a rifle in the morning and Jessica and Kristi both got their antelope in the afternoon with their rifles. Eva was hunting elk with her bow and hadn’t had any luck finding an old enough one to take. When everyone was out for their hunts Wednesday night, a few of us traveled up the mountains to watch the elk in the snow. We were above the canyons and their bugles were echoing for hours. 

Thursday morning, Katie and Jessica and I woke up at 5:30am to go on a 2 1/2 mile hike into elk country, we had one within 80 yards of us bugling his head off. We also went fly fishing that afternoon while everyone was still hunting to fill their tags. When we were done fishing, we went on a trip with Taylor and her guide to site see through the mountains and to spot mule deer for Kristi to help with her hunt. That night at dinner, Eva and Kristi were still out and we were hoping that no news was good news. Eva unfortunately didn’t have luck that day but Kristi came back with a huge mule deer that she took with her rifle! We were all so happy for her- she never gave up and put in the work to get her deer. As it was our last night, we all made a bonfire outside and made smores, played cards, listened to music, and enjoyed each others company for the last time on the trip. 

We left on Friday morning and on our way, we found out that Eva had shot an elk with her rifle on their morning hunt- she had a later flight than the rest of us so it worked out perfectly! 

Saying goodbye to the girls was one of the hardest things ever- in just a few short days I had really gotten close to each and every one of them and we made some unforgettable memories together. We already have some more trip ideas in the works and I can’t wait to see them all again. 

I apologize that this blog is as long as a short novel but I wanted to fully log my trip, my hunt, and the amazing time I had. 

Genesis 27:3