Samantha Bowman, of Fit at Fifty Samantha, is from Hickory, North Carolina. Most of her adult life, Samantha focused on low-calorie nutrition and high-intensity cardio. When she hit her late 40s that strategy was no longer working. She was 40 pounds over her target weight, her size 12 clothes were becoming too tight, and she could no longer shop at her favorite clothing stores. That sparked a journey from an out of shape office worker to figure competitor to a professional fitness trainer. This is her story.
How did you change your approach to fitness and nutrition?
I had always kind of chased low-calorie and high-intensity cardio, instead of weight training and balanced nutrition. When I was on a temporary work assignment I met a co-worker that really helped me turn things around. He introduced me to weight training, proper nutrition, and all the things I needed to be successful. In the morning we were doing fast cardio. After work, we lifted weights together every day for at least an hour. For my meals, I was following a whole food/ high-protein/ moderate-fat/ low-carb diet.
When did you first use InBody?
About a month into my fitness transformation, the place I was working at temporarily had a health fair with the InBody setup. I was really excited to see the information I could get from an InBody test. The nurse let me know that I could come back to the on-site medical clinic whenever I wanted to test again. I went back to the clinic every month during my assignment to go test on the InBody. In five months, I was able to cut my body fat percentage basically in half.
Wow! That’s amazing! Where did your fitness journey go from there?
After I returned home from my temporary work assignment, I was training by myself and I no longer had access to the InBody. I continued weight training, and I used Bodybuilding.com as a resource for exercise routines. My favorite was Jamie Eason’s “Life Fit Trainer”. I used to use pictures of figure competitors as inspiration. Eventually, I thought “my body fat is 17%, I’ve got some muscle definition, I think I can get there!” I went for it and signed up for my first figure competition.
How did you prepare for your first show?
I hired a coach for my first figure competition and I interviewed different people to see if I wanted to work with them. One coach had me do a test on a hand-held BMI device. The hand-held told me I was at 22% body fat. I instantly thought “there ain’t no way, I tested at 17% on an InBody just two months ago.” I had another coach who used an 11-size caliper, and he was telling me I was 11% body fat. For a female, 11% body fat would mean I was shredded, and I knew physically I wasn’t there yet.
Eventually, I found a trainer I liked. One of the first things she recommended was to “go get on an InBody machine.” Unfortunately, the closest one was 30 miles away in a doctor’s office. But I knew the benefits I could get from the InBody and I got three tests while training for my first competition. I was very proud of the way I performed during my first competition and I competed at around 12-14 percent body fat. For my second competition, I had gained enough experience to train myself but I continued to use that doctor’s office InBody device.
How did you transition to your career as a personal trainer?
After my second show, I made some big life changes. I quit my day job as an interior architecture/CAD drafter, I received my nutrition and personal trainer certifications, and I started my personal training business called “Fit at 50 Samantha.” It was a complete 180-degree career change, and I gave up a job where I was making good money, but I knew this is what I needed to do. My passion is helping people – especially women in their mid-life – by educating them on how to eat better and to strength train for the first time in their life. It took a little time to build up my client base, but once I did that I bought my own InBody.
Why is your focus on middle age women and how did InBody help your personal training business?
Women want to tone up. Maybe you didn’t have a problem with your weight before but when you get into your late 40s/early 50s stuff sags, your middle gets soft, and no matter what you do you can’t get rid of it. It’s a big struggle. On the InBody, I can show the process of losing fat and putting on muscle. You can change the way you look and feel without having to see the weight change. Seeing your body restructuring – body fat decreasing and body muscle increasing – is huge. People who have weight to lose often get discouraged if the bathroom scale doesn’t move fast enough. In reality, if you are strength training you may change your body faster than you realize but you don’t have all the information.