Friday, May 31, 2013

Tilton's Success

I want to share with you a quick story about my good friend, Matt Tilton.

Matt is from Manchester, New Jersey, and I first met him at Montclair State University.  We were both working towards our degrees in Exercise Science, and would often talk barbell experiences.  He would always be training, studying, eating or thinking about training. I soon realized that Matt had the potential to be a pretty strong powerlifter, but whenever the discussion came up about competing he seemed to have no interest.

Well he recently became interested, and just competed  in his first powerlifting meet, held at Pure Focus Sports Club in Brick, New Jersey on May 25, 2013.  He weighed in at 197.6 lbs, qualifying for the Middleweight Open Division.  His results were:

  • 1st Place - Bench Press: 295 lbs
  • 3rd Place - Deadlift: 500 lbs
  • 24 reps x 295 lb Deadlifts

500 lb Deadlift 

I am impressed by how well he did, and it inspired me to write this highlight because it reminds me of my "Stop Doubting, Start Dreaming!" post.  Matt always had the desire to compete, but for whatever reason he felt he wasn't ready.  Now that he has decided to give it a go, he is crushing it and looking forward to his next one.  

Don't put off the things that feel natural to you, or grab your attention.  We all have a calling and a purpose in this journey of life.  If something drives you, motivates you, or brings you enjoyment, GO DO IT!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Importance of Recovery

Are you overtraining?

Maybe.. probably not..

Could you use some extra time to recover?

Most likely.

People often get confused between overtraining and overuse.  Generally speaking, most people are far from overtraining.  It takes an excessive amount of physical exertion, combined with a lack of rest and proper nutrition to become overtrained.  However, many people are suffering from a conglomeration of overuse injuries.

When people implement a program that has little variety, and refrain from periodization (breaking your training up into specific phases), they begin to develop neurological and muscular recruitment patterns.  Continuous stimulation of these recruitment patterns can become detrimental because we over-develop these muscles, and under-develop the antagonist muscles that work in contrast to these recruitment patterns.

The result: An imbalanced body.

When we become imbalanced, we begin to rely on our over-developed muscles, and continuous reliance leads to overuse.  If we consistently use the same muscles each and every workout, each an every day, we do not allow the muscle to recover.  The micro-trauma that these muscles endure through a tough workout begins to accumulate, and you will eventually wind up with muscular strains, tendinitis, or even a muscular tear. 

Aside from the muscular detriments of inadequate recovery, an overworked neurological system spills over into all facets of our daily living.  Neurological stress can lead to a supressed immune system, a variety of sleep disorders and a host of other mental/physiological issues.

What can you do?

Rest!  Even if you feel like you can crush it everytime you gear up for your workout, it doesn't mean you always should.  IF you're REALLY training HARD, then you WON'T be able to hit it HARD EVERYTIME.  You're body won't allow for it.  You'll either wind up burntout, injured or in some other sad state of physiological distress.  So take some precautionary meausres by getting adequate sleep as often as possible, taking in the proper nutrients and calories to compensate for your activity and expenditure, and taking an occasional break (1 week OFF every 3-4 months or so) from training to allow your body to heal up and recharge. If you don't, you will regret it, I promise.

Check out this video for some basic tips on speeding up your recovery 
(plus, a great protein-rich smoothie recipe):

+Wesley Claytor

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Garlic Lime Grilled Chicken

Now that it's getting warmer out and we are entering grilling season, I'd like to share my simple but awesome Garlic Lime Grilled Chicken recipe.

What you will need:
  • 1 pack of chicken breasts (3 large or 4 medium breasts)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • splash of Pinot grigio 
  • half of a lime
  • salt & pepper

What you will do:
  1. cut the chicken breasts into 1.5 inch wide strips
  2. put chicken strips into a plastic gallon-sized bag
  3. mince the garlic cloves and add to bag with chicken
  4. add a splash of Pinot grigio to the bag
  5. cut a lime in half and squeeze the juice from one half into the bag
  6. let the chicken marinate in the bag for at least 30 minutes in the fridge (preferably 2-3 hours)
  7. preheat your grill at medium-high
  8. place the marinated chicken strips on the grill, leaving adequate space between the strips
  9. cook for about 6-8 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked 
  10. remove from grill and ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mind Over Matter

The human brain is an incredibly powerful organ.

Without it we would be nothing.  The brain controls our senses, movements and how we interact with the world around us.

But most importantly, the brain controls our mind.  Your consciousness, perceptions and memories.

I believe that if you take control of your consciousness, you can reconstruct your reality.  I know, it sounds really hippie-dippy, but it works in many instances.

We know this because of the placebo effect.  If you take something or do something that you are told will have some sort of a beneficial outcome, more often than not you will experience the desired outcome.

But the deciding factor is your belief.  The focus of your consciousness.  Are you truly convinced?

This is the mind-over-matter thing people always refer to, and it's how I am choosing to live my life.  I enjoy the idea of having some sort of control over what becomes my reality, not only because I am a type-A control freak, but also because it is a more positive way of living (for me).

Sometimes I get frustrated with the idea of "it is what it is", or "that's just the way things are".  There's no control, and there's no accountability in that.

Your consciousness controls your perceptions, and your reality is strictly based on the way you perceive the world.  If you can change the way you perceive things, you can change your reality.

So try to master your consciousness, and use it to oust negativity and to start living a more positive life.  A life in tune with your wants and needs.  Don't allow things to "just happen" to you, make a conscious effort to dictate what your reality will become.

Obviously, some things are out of our control, but chances are they are in direct relation to a choice made by someone we have allowed into our world.  Funny thing is, we have control of who we surround ourselves with as well.

+Wesley Claytor

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Protein Bars

Although there are many protein bars on the market, the majority of them are loaded with sugar, artificial sweeteners, dyes and preservatives.  Also, the average store-bought bar will run you somewhere around $3.00 a pop.

Here's a simple, cost-efficient recipe for some awesome oatmeal raisin protein bars, loaded with whey protein, fiber, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats.

What you will need:

(Dry Ingredients)
-3 cups of oats
-4 scoops of VANILLA protein powder - I use whey
-1/4 cup raw almonds
-1/4 cup raisins
-1/4 cup butter

(Wet Ingredients)
-1&1/4 cup of water
-1/4 cup of maple syrup
-1/4 cup of honey
-2 eggs

What you will do:
  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 
  2. melt butter and mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl
  3. in a separate bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients
  4. add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until it's fully mixed
  5. grease a medium glass casserole dish with nonstick spray or some nonstick alternative
  6. add oatmeal mixture to the casserole dish, and spread evenly
  7. put in oven for roughly 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned
  8. remove from oven and let rest for 10 minute (NO LESS!)
  9. cut into even bars, and ENJOY!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Scientific Overload

"Did you see that new study?"

"Hey, you really shouldn't eat that.  I read somewhere that...."

"On T.V. this morning they said you shouldn't follow that exercise program because..."


Our society in general is experiencing scientific overload in my opinion. 

It seems like you can't have a conversation with anyone about anything without them bringing up some statistic they read somewhere, some study that their favorite talk show host brought attention to or some article that was featured in their favorite biased magazine.  However, when you ask them about their experiences with any of these topics, more often than not they will redirect the conversation or immediately become defensive.

The sad truth is that people don't want to admit that they are misinformed, uneducated on a specific issue/topic or flat out WRONG!  I call it sad, because admitting that you don't know is the first step in knowing....  Make sense?  You can't learn something new unless you admit that you don't know it in the first place, otherwise you'll just cloud up the process with any one of your preconceived notions.

Aside from not knowing, the bigger letdown is that people don't want to experience things for themselves anymore.  They'd rather have people tell them what works and what doesn't. 

Well guess what?  EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, and what works for Joe Schmoe may or may not work for you.  The only way to find out is to try out.  If it works, great.  If not, move on.

And furthermore, what worked for you last year may or may not work for you this year.  We are constantly evolving with the world around us, and learning that the facts and procedures of yesterday are becoming obsolete.

What does work then?  That's up to you to find out.  A good place to start is with a balanced diet (based on the requirements of your lifestyle/goals), and a progressive exercise program that is continuously evolving with the adaptations that you are experiencing.  But play around with things, try a different stimulus, incorporate new foods, EXPERIENCE.  There are 1,000,000 different diet and exercise programs out there, and most of them work for most people willing to put in the time, effort and dedication.  The key is to listen to your body.

What doesn't work?  Following the latest fad, spewing your nonsense about how this is "THE WAY" to your immediate social circles, and then falling into a rut once your progress inevitably plateaus because your body has adapted as it will with any one program.  Or worse, hurting you body physically/physiologically because you followed something that worked for somebody else without paying attention to the signals your body was sending indicating that maybe this program isn't working for you.

The objective of life is to experience all that we can, and to make the most of it.  If you are not experiencing with your body first and then adjusting accordingly to your needs/capabilities, you're missing the bigger picture.  It's not a fad that lasts, it's a lifestyle, and it's YOUR LIFESTYLE that dictates whether or not you will achieve your goals. 

+Wesley Claytor

Monday, May 6, 2013

Garlic Roasted Zucchini

Zucchini is a great seasonal vegetable, and one of my favorite (and very simple) ways of preparing it is by loading it up with garlic and roasting it.

What you will need:

  • 4 medium zucchinis
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • chopped/minced garlic (about 1/3 cup)

Here's what you will do:
  • preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit 
  • cover a large sheet pan with foil, coat with e.v.o.o.
  • cut the zucchinis into quarters (length-wise, like pickle spears)
  • lay the zucchini out on the sheet pan, brush with e.v.o.o.
  • sprinkle the zucchini with salt and pepper, evenly distribute the garlic over the zucchini
  • put in oven and let them roast for roughly 15-18 minutes
  • remove from oven
  • ENJOY!!!

Not sure what to have with your zucchini?