RushFit Renaissance Man Erik Owings – Trainer, fighter, Zen master?

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The headliner, co-creator of GSP Rushfit, Georges St-Pierre, certainly deserves the attention he receives. After all, he is the current UFC welterweight champion and considered by many to be the best mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in the world. “Rush,” as his supporters called him, was born in Quebec and has been named Canadian Athlete of the Year for the past three consecutive years. So superstar St-Pierre is certainly the right one to have his name and face in the GSP RushFit home workout program, but program designer and St-Pierre’s trainer and partner in this endeavor, Erik Owings is also a combat and fitness force in its own right.

Owings was born in Kentucky in 1979 and began training karate at a very young age. At 19, Owings began studying Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with trainer Carlson Gracie Jr. After nearly two years of study, Owings went to the source and moved to Brazil to study at the famous Gracie Barra Academy where he obtained the rank of brown belt in Jiu Jitsu. Owings also spent time training in Thailand and Europe. In 2006, he earned his black belt from Renzo Gracie and John Danaher and continues to train with them to this day.

He fought in five bouts of the International Fighting League (IFL). IFL is a now defunct league, which operated from early 2006 to mid-2008. The ownership record was 3 wins and 2 losses. He won his first purchase against American fighter Justin Jones in April 2006, then lost to Canadian Chris Haradecki; defeated American Ed West and Russian Peter Kaljevic before losing in mid-2007 to Brazilian Wagnney Fabiano.

While attending IFL Owings he also worked as a personal trainer in New York City, where he often worked in tight spaces, he perfected many techniques, using bodyweight and dumbbells he used to develop the RushFit program. Some of the unique moves in the Rushfit program are entirely their own creation. Owens said he likes to find difficult moves that even St-Pierre struggles to do.

“Functional Fitness” is a term used by Owings to describe the type of workout he teaches and what RushFit is. Owings explained that this meant transferable physical form into actual activity, as opposed to just working on a particular muscle group or body part.

The GSP RushFit program began when the manager of St-Pierre approached Owings and told him that he was looking for someone to design a fitness program for St-Pierre. Owings, who had previously worked on what was to become RushFit, said he just took what he had already developed and put more intensity into it. Anyone unfamiliar with RushFit, it’s an extremely intense home workout routine that leaves even the legendary fit St-Pierre breathlessly in apparent exhaustion after many segments.

Today, Owings lives in New York City and is the founder and owner of an MMA and fitness center near Union Square. The gymnasium is called Mushin Mixed Marshall Arts. Mushin is a Zen term meaning “empty mind”. It refers to someone’s ability to hyperfocus their thoughts and energies on the task at hand. According to the Mushin Training website Owings, “the clientele includes professional and amateur fighters, CEOs and models as well as everyone in between.” The gym has become somewhat known for being the gym of choice for Victoria Secret models. It seems oddly appropriate for the gym founded by this philosophical fitness guru.

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