The headliner, co-creator of GSP Rushfit, Georges St-Pierre, is certainly worthy of the attention he gets. 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 fans called him, was born in Quebec and has been named Canadian athlete of the year for the last three years in a row. So superstar St-Pierre is certainly the right one to have his name and face on the GSP RushFit home workout program, but the program designer and St-Pierre’s trainer and partner in this venture, Erik Owings is also quite a fighting and fitness force in his own right.
Owings was born in Kentucky in 1979 and started training in karate at a very young age. At 19 Owings began to study Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with trainer Carlson Gracie Jr. After nearly two years studying, Owings went to the source and moved to Brazil to study at the renowned Gracie Barra Academy where he achieved the rank of Jiu Jitsu brown belt. Owings also spent some 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 International Fight League (IFL) bouts. IFL is a now defunct league, which operated from early 2006 through mid 2008. Owings record was 3 wins and 2 losses. He won his first bought which was against American fighter Justin Jones in April 2006 then lost to Canadian Chris Haradecki; beat American Ed West and Russian Peter Kaljevic before losing in mid 2007 to Brazilian Wagnney Fabiano.
While competing in the IFL Owings was also working as a personal trainer in New York where often working in cramped spaces, he perfected many of the techniques, utilizing bodyweight and dumbbells that he used to develop the RushFit program. Some of the unique movements in the Rushfit program are entirely his own creation. Owens has said that he enjoyed coming up with challenging moves that even St-Pierre has trouble doing.
“Functional fitness” is a term Owings uses to describe the type of training he teaches and what RushFit is all about. Owings has explained that to mean fitness that is transferable into real life activity as opposed to just working on a particular muscle group or body part.
The GSP RushFit program came about when St-Pierre’s manager approached Owings and said they were looking for someone to design a fitness program for St-Pierre. Owings who had already been working on what was to become RushFit said he simply took what he had already developed and put more intensity into it. Anyone not familiar with RushFit, it is an extremely intense home workout program that leaves even the legendarily fit St-Pierre gasping for air in apparent exhaustion after many of the segments.
Today Owings lives in New York City and is the founder and owner of a MMA and fitness facility near Union Square. The gym is called Mushin Mixed Marshall Arts. Mushin is a Zen term that means “empty mind.” It refers to ones ability to hyper focus thoughts and energies on the task at hand. According to the Mushin website Owings’s training “clientele includes professional and amateur fighters, corporate CEOs and supermodels along with everyone in-between.” The gym has become somewhat known for being the gym of choice for Victoria Secret models. Somehow that seems oddly fitting for the gym founded by this philosophical fitness guru.