Bodybuilding: Dedication, food, and the gym


KENNESAW, Ga. — Donna and Steve Cowan have turned their passion for fitness into a career of training, competing, and mentorship.

“I believe fitness is what God has called me to do,” said Donna Cowan, the owner of American Bodyworks. “Over the years I have gained information from working in gyms and bodybuilding that is currently helping me as a gym owner. Yes, there may not be a lot of money in bodybuilding, but I wake up every morning doing what I am passionate about.”

Being a bodybuilder takes an enormous amount of dedication. People in the industry often refer to it as a “lifestyle choice.” Bodybuilders dedicate their entire lives to the gym, food, and shows.

Donna and Steve Cowan have been in the fitness industry since high school.

Donna Cowan started at age 17 doing the drill team. She initially signed up for drill team not knowing the fitness requirements. This forced her to start attending gym sessions, where she fell in love with the fitness atmosphere. She saw a woman in a magazine named Rachel Mclish and was inspired to achieve her physique.

“She was a pro bodybuilder that looked feminine and that is what I wanted to look like,” said Donna Cowan.

Steve Cowan started his fitness journey due to health concerns. In high school he played sports, but he was also overweight. At age 17 he became motivated to lose weight. This caused him to become addicted to the weight room.

The two have competed in a total of 13 shows. Steve Cowan has won first place in three shows, and Donna Cowan has won third place in five shows.

A common misconception about bodybuilding is the method of weightlifting; People assume bodybuilders spend numerous hours in the gym lifting weights. In fact, Steve and Donna Cowan said, lifting the weight is a small percentage of what goes into becoming a bodybuilder. The number one factor that determines your ability to transform your physique is your diet.

“You have to prepare yourself,” Steve Cowam said. “You have to set things up ahead of time. You have to prepare your meals, know what you’re eating and focus on the diet more than anything else. People have to understand 75 to 85 percent of it is that diet.”

It’s a science behind the nutrition aspect of bodybuilding. You have to determine your goals, determine your foods, and figure out the best time to consume it.

The hardest part is staying motivated with your training and diet. The body adapts quickly, so it’s up to the bodybuilder to “shock” their body. If they fail to shock their body, they will hit a plateau. A plateau is a point in time when the body won’t respond to weight training.

“You have to mix it up, never do the same workouts,” Steve Cowan said.

Steve and Donna Cowan take their training very seriously. They weight train five to six times a week. They know exactly which exercises work for them and how to do them. Cowan explained how he learned the principle of being time efficient in the gym.

“A lot of people ask me, man you must spend two hours in the gym, when in fact the most I spend in the gym is 45 minutes,” he said.

He explained that if you go the gym and work out properly, with the right intensity, it should only take 45 minutes.

Steve and Donna Cowan are getting older, which means it’s harder to put strain on their bodies. With having six kids and maintaining a gym, it gets difficult for them to stick to a bodybuilding regimen.

They now focus on training younger bodybuilders and maintaining their gym. People all over Cobb County come to their gym to get knowledge on weightlifting and dieting.

Steve and Donna Cowan have the capability of charging people for their knowledge, but they enjoy helping people for free. Their bodybuilding days are slowly coming to an end.

In June 2016 they will compete in the Roman Classic, claiming this as their last and final bodybuilding show.


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