So, you say you want a resolution? | Kitsap Week

Celebrity fitness trainer James Bowman works with clients at his gym, Strength Lab, on Bainbridge Island.  - contributed
Celebrity fitness trainer James Bowman works with clients at his gym, Strength Lab, on Bainbridge Island.
— image credit: contributed

Making healthy New Year’s resolutions have become as much of a tradition as abandoning them. Yet people flood health clubs every January with goals of losing weight, eating right, or simply to become healthier.

In fact, 58.5 million Americans used a health club in 2012, according to data from the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, a non-profit trade association for gyms and health clubs. Approximately 12 percent of club memberships come from a January surge of members, an IHRSA official said.

But making the decision to get healthier is one step; actually doing it is another. Fitness trainer James Bowman knows a thing or two about how to take that next step.

Before Bowman opened Strength Lab on Bainbridge Island, he was a personal trainer in Manhattan working with celebrities such as Anne Hathaway, Claire Danes and John Leguizamo. His most recent celebrity client is motivational speaker Tony Robbins. Bowman has also been featured in magazines such as Shape and Vogue.

At Strength Lab, Bowman incorporates a variety of approaches to fitness, including neurosomatic therapy, nutrition, training, group classes and more.

When it comes to making goals, such as a New Year’s resolution, Bowman has a few tips to bear in mind.

Be specific

“People say, ‘I’m going to lose weight,’ ” Bowman said. “I say, ‘Can we get a little more specific with that?’ A lot of resolutions are very general.”

He added, “They would be much better off listing the steps they want to take to lose weight or improve their health. My advice is to be super-specific.”

Instead of generically setting a goal of losing weight for example, Bowman said to focus on a certain number of pounds to lose, and by when.

“Now we’re getting somewhere,” he said. “Now, how are you going to do that?”

The “how” spans a few areas.

“What people don’t realize is that if you want to lose weight and get healthier, it’s not just about exercise. It’s also about diet, lifestyle and sleep, and the proper medical attention,” Bowman said.


Bowman said that stressing your body by exercising constantly isn’t the best route to a healthier body.

“We need to have one or two high-intensity days in the week,” he said. “But you do not need to be blasting your body with high-intensity exercises all week long.”

Organize low-intensity days around the high intensity days, Bowman said. And if you’re not used to high-intensity exercises, work up to it. Don’t jump right into high intensity routines.

The diet

Bowman said there are a couple diet tips people can consider. Beyond that, he said it is best to “personalize it.”

The first tip is to eat many small meals throughout the day, instead of big meals.

“If you are trying to improve your body composition, eat six meals a day,” Bowman said. “Your meals will shrink, shrink and shrink.”

This applies to eating out, Bowman said. Many restaurant meals come in large portions.

“Your average restaurant will give you two servings,” he said, noting he will ask for a to-go box with his meal.

“Before I take bite one, I cut my meal in half,” he said.

Another way to work within this habit is to stretch out big meals, such as dinner.

“Make dinner last for three hours,” Bowman said.

This will help fend off temptations to eat late at night, or simply out of boredom.

The second diet tip is to make sure to eat all three macronutrients: fats, protein and carbohydrates. While individuals may have specific dietary needs or choices, these three nutrients are necessary.

“Complex carbohydrates,” Bowman said. “That’s a fancy way of saying fruits and vegetables.”

Bowman also said to make protein lean, such as lean meats. And unsaturated fats are the best fats.

Not all fats are created equal.

“Trans fat, of course, is just pure poison,” Bowman said. “My recommended daily value of trans fat is zero. Avoid it like the plague.”


“(Sleep) is a really important part of this that people forget,” Bowman said.

“They want to get healthy and they want to lose weight, but they don’t sleep enough. When is your body going to repair itself?”

Rest is important in tackling stress, which can also contribute to weight gain. Bowman recommends balancing life with adequate rest. Many people can work too much, he said, with long hours, working through lunches and through weekends. But rest and relaxation is needed for the body to take on the next workout.

In the end, it’s all about a balanced lifestyle, Bowman said.

“If you are not where you want to be with your health, then I got to say there is something with your lifestyle as well,” Bowman said.

More information about Bowman and Strength Lab can be found at

Bowman’s tips

-Be specific on how you will achieve your fitness goal.

-Have one or two high intensity workouts surrounded by low intensity exercises each week.

-Eat six small meals a day and include all three macronutrients: fats, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates.

-Don’t neglect rest and relaxation.

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