Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stop Doubting, Start Dreaming!

What is your dream?  What do you feel compelled to do?

Is there something that you want to do that you keep internalized for fear of being judged, or worse -- fear of failing?  

Well, what if failing wasn't a realistic outcome?  Sure, it is.  But what if it wasn't?

Would you try?

Furthermore, what if you accepted that failing was the fastest way to learn how to succeed?  It is.

You see, I'm really excited about this new-found courage I've developed over the past couple months.  I was often afraid to chase my dreams for fear of what other people conditioned me to believe, or for the outcome of failure.

The instant I decided that I didn't care what other people thought, and the instant I decided I was not afraid of failure, things changed.  I now realize that failure is risk I am willing to take because it is simply a risk of trying to chase my dream.  It is not a definite outcome.  But not trying at all is a definite failure, in my mind.  Is it not?

You don't know unless you give it a shot, right?  And if you fail, then you've just successfully eliminated one method that will not work.  Time to get back to the drawing board and try a new method.  See, there's a success in that failure.  You've accomplished something rather than nothing.

And who really cares what other people think?  Most people are too conditioned by the beliefs of what other people have told them to be true, or what structure they believe they need to follow to live a "successful" life.  Well success is subjective, and what one person measures as being successful may be --and should be-- completely different from another person's measure.

Don't let other people tell you how to live your life, and don't allow your dreams to be squashed by the weak, inactive and small-minded people that feed your brain with their bullshit.  

Think big, or think small, or think however you want.  The point is, THINK FOR YOURSELF!  Do things the way you want to do them, because life is far to short to live for the acceptance of others.  

Do one thing differently today.  Change one thing about the way you've been routinely doing things that will get you one step closer to where you intuitively feel you should be.

Trust in yourself, be courageous, step outside of the mold, and LIVE YOUR LIFE!

Friends, please don't let life pass you by living the way you "ought to".  If you have a dream, chase it!


+Wesley Claytor

Monday, March 18, 2013

Venison & Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

My wife surprised me with these for dinner the other day, and they were AWESOME!  

She also saved the recipe so that I could share it with all of you.

"What you will need
  • 2 Bell Peppers (recipe makes a lot of filling, I made two peppers and will use the leftovers to make a small casserole or shepherds pie)
  • 1 cup Village Harvest Quinoa
  • 2 cup water
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 lb Ground Venison (or ground beef, chicken, turkey)
  • 14oz (or 1 small can) Diced Tomatoes (preferably fresh diced tomatoes - but whatever you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I used Mozz)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove stem and seeds from peppers. Grease glass dish with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Use basting brush to brush olive oil mixture onto peppers, and pop them in the oven until your stove-cooking is done, this speeds up the process a bit.

Put dry quinoa and water in a pot, bring to a boil. Once boiling, simmer for about 20 minutes or until done (I simmer with the top on). 

Saute ground venison with coconut oil (it is so lean it produces almost no juice) until done. You can season with any seasonings you prefer. Add tomatoes, or whatever else you want (corn, black beans, anything!) and add cooked quinoa. Add .5 cup shredded cheese to meat mixture.

Remove peppers from over and stuff with filling. Top with some shredded cheese if you'd like, and place them back into the oven until peppers are at your desired tenderness, and the cheese is melted and browned on top.


 I hope you ENJOY these as much as I did!

+Wesley Claytor 

Friday, March 15, 2013

Three Protein Shake Variations For You To Try

Friends, I've been drinking this whey crap for wheyyyyyyy too long, and I have to admit - it's gets a bit boring.  Just a bit.  For this reason, and also because I enjoy creating my own recipes, I have 3 different protein shake variations to share with you.

Click here to check out my NEW eBook on!!!

Protein shakes are a great way to get amino acids into the bloodstream quickly following an intense workout.  This will help to stop the breakdown of muscle, and aid in the recovery process.

Keep in mind that whey protein powder is MY preference for a protein source.  There's casein, vegan/soy, etc. out there, but I choose whey.  So supplement your favorite source of protein powder instead of whey if you choose to, just make sure the flavors are the same in reference to what I am presenting here.

Also, I add 1 scoop (5 g) of creatine monohydrate to all of my shakes.  I am not suggesting you begin using creatine as a supplement, I am just giving you an honest description as to what my shakes contain.  However, if you do use creatine powder supplements, be aware that you can add a scoop to each one of these shakes.

These are my top 3 go-to shakes right now:

  1. Orange Creamsicle Shake:
  • 1 scoop (20 g) of  VANILLA whey protein powder
  • 6 ounces of orange Gatorade
  • 2 ounces of water

    2.  Tootsie Roll Shake:
  • 1 scoop (20 g) of CHOCOLATE whey protein powder
  • 4 ounces of grape juice (go with a 100% juice here, not "grape drink")
  • 4 ounces of water

    3.  Key Lime Shake:
  • 1 scoop (20 g) of VANILLA whey protein powder
  • 6 ounces of lemon-lime Gatorade
  • 2 ounces of water

Make sure to pick up a shaker-cup. My favorite is the one with the "blender ball".  All you do is add the ingredients, and shake WELL (don't want any clumps or sediment in your drink...ugh)

Very simple recipes here, but they should add some variation to your post-workout recovery regiment.


+Wesley Claytor

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Turkey Spinach & Tomato Tostada

Time for another quick, easy and deliciously-simple meal.  Here's how I make my Turkey Spinach & Tomato Tostadas.

You will need:
  • 4 whole wheat medium tortillas 
  • 1 small can of diced tomatoes (garlic basil was my flavor of choice)
  • 1 lb of lean ground turkey
  • 3 handfuls of raw baby spinach
  • 2 cups of grated mozzarella & provolone mixed cheese (or whatever grated cheese you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and covering a sheet pan with foil.  Brush the foil with some olive oil (not too much!), and then place your tortillas on the sheet pan.  Brush them with a light coating of olive oil as well.

While you're waiting for the oven to preheat, heat up a skillet on medium-high heat.  Once it's heated, break up the lb of turkey and add to the skillet.  Once the turkey is about half-cooked, add the can of diced tomatoes to the skillet, and crushed up the garlic cloves.  Add them as well.  Let this cook for about 5 minutes while stirring often.  

The oven should be preheated by now, so place the sheet pan with the tortillas into the oven and set your timer for 5 minutes.

Add the handfuls of spinach to the skillet and stir.  Shake some salt and pepper into the skillet as well, only about a teaspoon each.  Now, add the grated Parmesan and continue to stir.  This mixture should be starting to thicken up now.  

Remove the tortillas from the oven.  They should be golden and crispy.  

Once the skillet mixture of turkey and awesomeness is thick and fully cooked you can remove it from the heat.  Scoop out about a cup of the mixture and place it into the center of each tortilla (you should have more than enough to do so).  Once each tortilla has an even amount of turkey mixture, cover them with about a 1/2 cup of the mozzarella & provolone cheese mix.  Return to the oven for another 5-7 minutes so it can do its magic.

Remove from the oven, make sure you shut your oven off (I know you'll be so excited to eat this meal - you might forget), and ENJOY!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cancel Your Gym Membership!

I'm going to catch some heat for this post, I'm sure of it, but hey - it's cool.

I have very strong opinions as to why I think people should opt out of their fancy, over-priced, under-utilized gym memberships, and rather look to invest in some of their own equipment and a knowledgeable coach/trainer.  Sure, this would better serve me in my profession as an independent personal trainer and wellness coach, but this is not my reasoning.

Ask any one of my clients, and they will tell you that my goal is to not only train them on how to get stronger, better conditioned, more flexible, etc., but to teach them as well so that they can go on to live the "fit" lifestyle without me always being there.  If they decide to stick with me well after they've developed their own foundation and knowledge, then GREAT.  If not, no stress, and I'm glad they've achieved some of their goals, and are on the right track to crush some more.

 I want all of my clients to develop self-efficacy, and go on to live happier, and more fulfilling lives with the new knowledge and confidence that I have helped them to develop.  The truth is that they all have this capability within them, and I do nothing else but help uncover their OWN POTENTIAL.  That's why my slogan is what it is; "Fitness Designed For YOUR Potential!"  

You are all great, and capable of great things. I just help people uncover their greatness when their own perceptions are cloudy.

Here's why you should cancel your gym membership...

  • They're expensive:  It's true that gym memberships have declined in price over the past few years (right around when the recession began, because people realized that the gym is a luxury - not a necessity.  There are other ways to stay strong and healthy without cranking out reps on a machine...), but these cheaper membership fees add up.  Let's concentrate on this for a second:  If the average membership is roughly $20/month, and there are 12 months in a year, your yearly membership will cost you about $240.  That's just to have access to their facilities.  Now if you want to hire a trainer at one of these facilities, that could run you anywhere between $30-$90/ session or more!  Of  course you can't just go with one session though, you'll need to invest in a package of about 5 sessions or so, which will set you back about $250 (nice rounded estimate), and now your total is up to about $500, give-or-take for the year.  Now multiply that by 2-5 years, and, well, you see where I'm going here... Why not invest in some basic equipment for your home that will be less that your yearly membership, and you get to keep that stuff for more than a year; it's yours FOREVER!  Take some of that money that your saving, hire a coach/trainer who knows his/her "stuff", and become educated yourself so that you can continue training on your own eventually, without feeling attached to that scan-card that's deteriorating on your key-chain.
  • Under-qualified/Uninterested trainers:  Yea, I know, he or she has a certification in personal training (I hope, at the very least), but do you know anything about the organization that certified them?  Don't get me wrong here, I'm not attacking all trainers that work at gyms/fitness clubs/wellness centers, a lot of them are great.  That being stated, there are a lot that are AWFUL.  Period.  Some people go online, take some test, and 2 hours later they're a trainer because they read an anatomy and exercise physiology book and passed with the bare-minimum.  They have the mindset of, "hey, I can charge people crazy-high rates to show them some exercises because I am certified!", and the sad thing is that people will.  Then you see them not paying attention when their clients are training, forcing their clients to do things that they don't want to, or are incapable of without compromising their safety, or even pushing them to injury!  You should challenge your coach/training every once in a while.  Test them by asking them and occasional question and see how they respond to you.  Does it sound like they're just regurgitating bullshit, or do they actually have the knowledge necessary to train YOU.  If not, leave them, and leave fast.  (If you're questioning whether or not your trainer is being genuine from the get go, that's probably a red flag.)

  • The whole gym "community" atmosphere:  I figure that if you've made it this far through this post, then chances are that you see things from my perspective, at least a little bit.  So I'm going to go off on a bit of a rant here.  I HATE the gym "community" atmosphere.  I call it a community, because in a community everyone has a specific role to fit into, or carry out.  In the gym community, you have the sharks (trainers trying to sell you sessions and supplements), the know-it-alls (fitness magazine meat heads who interrupt your training to try and "correct" your form, only to mess it up more), the impatient individuals ("How many sets you got left??") the lazy individuals (why are all the 20 lbs by the 80 lbs, and wait a second, where are the 50's at?!) the attention whores (men and women included here, with their fashionable workout attire and loud grunts/mating calls - probably barbell curling in the squat rack because there's a mirror in front), the liabilities (loading up the bar with crazy weight when they can't work through a full range of motion in just a wet t-shirt), the creeper (probably some old dude staring at you from afar..for and uncomfortable amount of time), the high school tough-guys ("Come at me, Bro"), the has-been (some former amateur athlete who wants to talk your ear off about how he use to lift this, and back in his day he did that), and the locker room swingers (middle-aged/senior citizens walking around, airing out the ol' twig-n-berries.  I'm pretty sure the creeper is lumped into this one as well.).  Did I forget anything? Oh yea, and the HORRIBLE MUSIC.  Sorry, I will not be training to Pat Benatar, Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift...Not happening... Oh DAMN, I forgot to charge my iPod last night!

I understand that we don't all have the same approach or views on exercise, and that I am an extremist, but these are just some things to consider.

 Regardless, any form of exercise is better than none.  Whether it's going to the gym, going for a run outside, playing in the park with your kids, a pick-up game of basketball, hiking a mountain, or working with a trainer, just do something.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Muscle-friendly Pot Roast

In my opinion, there is nothing better than coming home to a hot meal that's been cooking in the crock-pot all day.  You can make so many different meals using this awesome appliance, and most of them require only a little effort and some patience.

My favorite meal to make in the crock-pot is what my wife and I call the "Muscle-friendly Pot Roast".  I know, I know..I just started salivating as well...

Not a fan of beef? CLICK HERE to try my Muscle-friendly Chicken Cutlet recipe!!!

Here's how we make this awesomely-simple meal:

You start with a 3 lb top round roast.  This cut is cheaper, and usually leaner than the more expensive roasts.  Fortunately for me, I am both cheap and always looking for lean meals, so this cut works perfect for me.  Put the top round in the crock, and then get ready to rinse and chop some vegetables.

Next you will need 3 medium potatoes of your choice (I choose russet - cheap).  Rinse and chop the potatoes into roughly 1 x 1 inch chunks and add to the crock.

Now, take 4 large carrots and 4 celery stalks, rinse them and cut into 1 inch chunks as well (discarding the end pieces of both vegetables.  Add to the crock, and appreciate the work of art you have just created, just for a second.

Next comes the seasoning;  Some people simply use a packet of Onion Soup Mix and add it to the mixture, but we like to get creative.  We take 4 cloves of garlic (crushed), 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, 1 teaspoon of Adobe Seasoning, and 1 teaspoon of chipoltle rub.  Dust the entire crock mixture with all of these ingredients, and then add about 2.5 cups of water to the crock.

Your work is done here.  Set the crock to "Low", and allow it to do its magic for about 8-10 hours.  I would advise assembling this amazing meal first thing in the morning, and then allow it to cook all day while you are at work.  This way, when you return home, dinner is taken care of.  You will love it, and your muscles will thank you.


+Wesley Claytor

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Strengthening the Familial Bond

I put my family first, and am thankful for all that they have done for me to be where I am today, and who I am today.  Without them, my journey would have been much tougher, and this is for certain.  However, this was not always the case.

When I was younger, I found myself often getting into trouble, and hanging out with the "cool" kids because I thought they were my friends.  I lieu of familial obligations or events, I would create excuses so that I could go party or look for ways to make my mother crazy...crazier..

CLICK HERE to find out how Strength Training changed my life, and how it could change yours too!!!

It took me many years to find out that friends are temporary, and ever-changing, for better or for worse.  Only a few die-hard friends will stick with you through thick and thin, give you the respect that you give to them, and those friends become extended members of your family (or so I hope).

Family, on the other hand, no matter how distant they become through the separating ways of life, will always be there when you truly need them.  Obviously this is a generalized statement, and there is always an outlier, but in most cases, a little dysfunction (and let's be honest, we all have dysfunction in our family unit - we are human!) will not stand in the way of love and support.

Here's the thing though, you do not have to grow distant from your family.  Say it out loud, "I DO NOT HAVE TO GROW DISTANT FROM MY FAMILY!"  We only become as estranged as we allow ourselves to, and I'm just as guilty as the next person.  We tend to think that the holidays are simply enough to keep us relevant in each other's lives.  It doesn't have to be this way!  I have seen and felt the benefits of a strong family bond, and they are incredible!

I am working on becoming a better son, grandson, nephew, cousin and whatever other roles that I may have to fit into, as you should too!  We can't live forever, and you never know when your journey will come to an end.  You don't want to live a life of "what ifs" and "I should haves".

Here are 3 considerations that may help you to develop a stronger familial bond:

  1. Make a conscious effort:  First things first, it will never happen if you don't make it happen.  Developing relationships are not magical; they don't appear out of thin air.  You must work at it, as with any relationship, connection or essentially everything worth having in life.  It does not take a great deal of effort though, just a phone-call, or email, or even a simple text message.  Bottom line - REACH OUT!  Trust me on this, one day you will be happy you did.  The great thing about family is that they don't usually expect to gain anything from you, whereas fake friends do.  Your family just wants to know that you are doing well, and that you care enough to see how they are doing also.  Be the "bigger person" (the person who procrastinates the least) and make the effort.
  2. Accept them for who they are:  So your uncle has a drinking problem, or your aunt is cat-hoarder, or your grandfather gambled away his life-savings...SO WHAT!  Take a look in the mirror, and see if you see perfection looking back at you.  If so, I don't know how you stumbled upon my blog, but chances are you're lying to yourself.  Once you've acknowledged that people are not perfect, and we all have flaws (that includes you), it might make your grudges and resentments seem a little more petty.  Rather than always trying to point out the negatives in your family and distancing yourself, try accepting their flaws and offering ways that you can be part of their recovery.  Maybe they don't need recovery.  Maybe they are so set in their ways that only trying to change them will create anger and strife.  So be it!  Are they loving towards you?  Do they do all that they can to the best of their current ability to make sure that you live a happy and fulfilling life?  If your answers to those two questions were "yes", then maybe you should get over what's eating you up inside, let go of the anger, and do your best to make sure that they have a happy and fulfilling life to the best of your ability.  As my wife always says, "live and let live".  Some people don't want change, they simply want love and acceptance.  
  3. Ask them about their history:  We often don't realize that within our own family, there is a goldmine of wisdom, knowledge and entertainment.  Have you ever sat with your grandfather at dinner and asked him about his childhood, or better yet, his 20's-40's?  I'm sure some of the stories he would tell you would blow you away!  You might even learn something.  Have you ever called your mom to ask her how hard it was to raise you when you were just a baby, and the sacrifices she had to make to prepare you for a good life?  You might shed a tear, and develop a new respect for the woman that birthed you.  Have you ever talked to your cousins and asked them what the craziest party they went to, or relationship they had was, and the reasons why?  You might spend hours laughing with them.  The point is, there's a chance you really have no clue what your family is about, and you won't know until you ask them.  
Don't spend your whole life searching for superficial friends.  Take advantage of the support system that helped you to become who you are today, and take a moment to thank them.  You only get one family, don't take them for granted.

+Wesley Claytor

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Green Protein Smoothie

There are probably thousands (if not more) ways to create a "green smoothie", and if you look around, there are different recipes EVERYWHERE.

The procedure of blending/juicing vegetables and fruits is so simple, and it's an easy way to incorporate more nutrients into your diet.  The health and natural energy benefits are amazing as well, so it would be foolish for me to not provide you with my recipe for my Green Protein Smoothie.

CLICK HERE to find out how strength training changed my life...and how it could change your life as well!

If you are not a fan of vegetables and fruits, that doesn't mean you should abolish them completely - this is the foundation for malnutrition in my opinion.  Try this recipe instead, and chug it down if you're against a colorful diet (no need to be ridiculous).

You will need:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 handfuls of kale
  • 1 large banana
  • 1 handful of baby spinach
  • 1 medium apple (I use a Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries
  • 1 scoop (20g) of vanilla protein powder (I use whey)

Add the water, kale and spinach to your blender and mix.  Then add the apple (core removed, cut into roughly 1 inch pieces) and continue to mix.  When smooth, add the banana and blueberries.  Allow it to mix well, and then finally add the scoop of protein powder.  Make sure everything is mixed completely, because nobody wants to chew their smoothie...  Once you are sure it is at the proper consistency, pour and ENJOY!  Or, chug it down if you're going to be a baby about it...

You'll get about 2 servings out of it, or one gigantic, nutrient-loaded smoothie.  Had it this morning and feeling like a million bucks!

+Wesley Claytor

Friday, March 1, 2013

How Strength Training Changed My Life

I don't think I can express my appreciation for strength training in words, and I believe I owe much of my current success in life to the barbells, dumbbells and kettlebells that I have lifted, pressed, pulled and pushed over the years.  That being stated, I will try to put my gratitude into words so that you can understand my love for training, and who knows, maybe it will spark a fire for a hidden passion that you secretly have...

  • Taught me to deal with pain:  There's no hiding the reality that lifting heavy weights will leave you feeling sore for the next following 2 days or so (the dreaded DOMS that we all learn to love eventually..), especially if you haven't trained in a while.  Some people are turned off by it, and stop training heavy (or even worse, quit exercising altogether), while others appreciate the fact that they know what they're doing is transforming their body into something different; something STRONGER.  I am part of the latter group.  I see training as being a third of who I am in reference to mind, body and soul.  Training is the "body" domain of who I am, and each domain should play an equal role in an individual's life.  So, seeing as how I see each domain as being equal, learning to deal with the physical (body) pain associated with training only shows me that I am also capable of dealing with mental (mind), and spiritual (soul) pain equally as well.  What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger..Right?  
  • Taught me to be patient:  The results will not come easy, and they will not come overnight.  You must be patient if you want to be good at complex, compound lifts, and you must be patient if you want to progress.  If you can be patient in your training then you can be patient when dealing with frustrating situations, or individuals when interacting in the world.
  • Developed an appreciation for progress:  This is similar to learning how to be patient, but simply learning to be patient doesn't express any appreciation or feelings.  I honestly love the progress that I can see and feel from being consistent, and staying dedicated to whatever program I am working on at that point in time.  Sadly, you cannot keep all of the progress you develop in one aspect of fitness when you switch up your training protocols, that's why you must stick at it and continue to work hard in every aspect.  You must learn to appreciate this, or else you will become discouraged when your progress plateaus, and if you become discouraged then you are missing the BIGGER picture.  These plateaus allow you to get back to the drawing board, reassess your focus, and get back to crushing it in the gym (or wherever you prefer to train) the next day, week, month and year!

  • Changed my lifestyle:  Similar to my blog post "Why Do I Train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?", if you want to get stronger, you are going to have to refocus your priorities and change up your lifestyle.  This means not going out late as often.  This means not having that 3rd beer or cocktail.  This means saying no to the piece of cake that all your friends will try to shove in your face.  This means learning to deal with friends/people judging you for being dedicated.  This means CRUSHING it day-in-day-out, even when you don't feel like it!  BE DEDICATED...IT'S WORTH IT!!!
  • Discovered my passion:  From the first day I broke 200 lbs on my squat, I knew I was hooked.  The day I passed 300 lbs on my deadlift, I was addicted.  The day I did 100 dead-hang pull ups, I told everyone I knew - they didn't care - but I DID!  I cared so much, that I wanted to share it with EVERYONE!  I guess that's what passion is.  Sharing things that mean the world to you, even if others don't care, or think you're crazy.  It's not narcissism, people, its passion.  I'd be almost as excited for you if you shared these stories of progress with me as I was for myself...almost...  Be passionate friends.  It doesn't matter what it is that you are passionate about (as long as it's not negatively affected yourself or others), but when you find it, dive in head-first...