Tuesday, June 18, 2013

"Why You Should Pack Your Own Lunch"

Whether you are looking to clean up your diet, cut your weekly expenditures or develop a stronger bond with your family, it all starts with packing your own lunch.

Sounds simple, and it is.

All it takes is a few minutes of planning for 2-3 "major meals" a week, a trip to the grocery store and an hour or 2 on a Sunday afternoon or evening preparing the meals.  No excuses, just get it done!

Health Benefits:

You know exactly what you are eating, you are able to control the portions and you already have a clearly defined meal.  When you buy from a cafeteria, fast-food restaurant or whatever place you frequent for your mid-day fuel, chances are that you were not in the kitchen when it was prepared.  You essentially have no clue what was used in the process of making that meal.  Also, when given a monstrous-sized meal you will tend to over eat simply because the food is there and your self-control will dwindle.  Lastly, when you already have a plan for lunch it will keep you from getting to the cafe and grabbing whatever your mind desires at that moment (usually a carb-heavy calorie bomb).

Economic Benefits:
How much is your weekly or monthly grocery bill?  Not cheap, I'm guessing.  Add on another $10.00-15.00 per day for lunch, and the number can get out of control real quick.  A wallet-friendly remedy would be to buy whole, fresh foods in bulk and prepare a few lunches for the week.  Not only is this MUCH better for your mind, body and soul, but it will also save you a tremendous amount of money.  Go ahead and crunch the numbers, I'll be waiting here saying, "I told you so."

Bonding Benefits:

It doesn't matter if you are dating, married and/or have children, everyone can benefit from a little time in the kitchen together.  I have found that many of my constructive discussions with others have been accomplished while either cooking with the people that I love, or while enjoying a meal that was made at home.  Of course I enjoy the restaurant dining experience from time to time, but I'll take a fresh-made meal that was prepared in the comfort of my kitchen over a restaurant any day.  Cooking should be done with love and purpose, and it is the best way to bring people together to share in the experience.  Everyone loves to eat, but creating value in the meal should not be overlooked.

So with most everything in life, the choice is yours.  Continue to eat processed, mass-produced crap while paying inflated prices to do so, or start taking control of your diet, finances and family with one simple modification.

+Wesley Claytor

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Welcoming Failure


The fear of failure is a tough obstacle to overcome.

It doesn't matter what you do in life, at one point you've faced an overwhelming fear of the possibility of failure.  If you haven't encountered this, then your free-ride on your parents' couch must be stagnantly awesome.

In order to do anything great, or anything of value, you need to test your own internal boundaries.  Stepping out of your comfort zone is how you find out what your strengths and weaknesses are.  This is the foundation of personal development and growth in my opinion.  Sure, you might think you know what you need to do in order to progress as an individual, but until reality smacks you in the face you probably have no clue.

The quickest way to self-actualize is by stepping out of what makes you feel safe and secure and heading straight into what makes you scared.  This is where mediocrity advances.  This is where learning and growth is achieved.

Failure is the one of the most powerful motivators, and you must fail in order to succeed.  If you miss this crucial state, the state of failure, then what is your success worth?  Do you value the things that you have achieved without failure as much as those that were faced with adversity time and time again?  Maybe, maybe not.  I would argue that you most certainly do not.

I know that whenever I fail in competition, I am taken to an awful place internally.  I hate that feeling more than anything, but I do not fear it.  I learn from it each and every time, and get better at handling it when it happens.  This has taught me how to be more patient, honest and confident.  It also shows me where my greatest weaknesses are, so that I can go back and work on them.

Failure teaches you to calm your ego.  It teaches you how to lose, and how to bounce back.  It teaches you what doesn't work, so that you can try a different way that may work.  It teaches you what your deficits are.

Failure uncovers your spirit.  It uncovers your will, and your perseverance.  It uncovers your courage and your purpose.  It uncovers your strengths.

Face the fear of failure, embrace it and get comfortable.  Learn to enjoy every aspect of your journey, whether it be good or bad.

You cannot experience life fully without the failures.

+Wesley Claytor

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rice & Beans

So my wife recently became a representative for Wildtree, which is a company that specializes in all natural food mixes, oils & seasoning blends (along with other awesome products) that contain no chemicals, additives, preservatives, MSG, or food dyes.  We have been working in the kitchen like mad scientists to create healthier, tastier recipes that incorporate Wildtree products so that we can offer you the best recipes possible.  We will only promote these products because we have tested them, and stand behind them.

Here's an awesomely simple recipe for the best Rice & Beans you haven't tried yet!

What you will need:

-1 can (15.5 oz.) of Black Beans
-2 tbs Wildtree Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil

-1/2 tsp Wildtree Cajun Seasoning
-1 tsp Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub
-1 cup of rice (we used white, but feel free to substitute)

What you will do:

  1. Begin to prepare rice (follow directions for the specific rice you chose)
  2. Heat a medium saucepan on Medium heat
  3. Add the Grapeseed oil to the sauce pan
  4. Add the Black Beans, Cajun seasoning and Rancher steak rub to the saucepan, and begin to mix
  5. Add 3/4 cup of water to the saucepan, let simmer for 10-15 minutes
  6. Remove from heat, serve over rice when done
  7. ENJOY!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The 5 Best Exercises for Balanced Strength

I want to begin this post by stating that these are my 5 favorite exercises, and they have helped me to create a strong, lean and balanced body.  I know some of you will disagree with my choices, and that's all well and good, but also irrelevant.  I am an experience-based individual, and have experienced nothing but success in reference to my goals of functional strength from these 5 exercises.

1.)  The Deadlift:  If you have been following my blog, Facebook page, or my YouTube channel then you are already aware of my obsession with the Deadlift.  The Deadlift is one of the fundamental lifts for building tremendous strength, not only in the posterior chain, but also grip and core strength.  

2.)  The Squat:  There is something extremely gratifying about loading up a barbell, resting it over your traps, and descending your body towards the Earth with the hopes of being able to drive through your heels and bring the weight back up against the force of gravity.  The Squat is one of the greatest exercises for building strength, stability, size and for blasting through old plateaus, yet it is one of the most over-looked exercises.  Maybe because they're terrifying when attempting new PR's, they're painful once DOMS sets in, and they're not "sexy".  But they're amazingly effective.  

3.)  The Pull Up:  The Pull Up is one of the most underutilized exercises EVER!  Almost every single client I have ever trained has given me the same reason as to why they don't/can't do pull ups, "because they're hard."  Yes, at first this is true, because when you spend a lifetime avoiding something it will only compound the difficulty.  But with practice, the pull up will develop, and your back, arms and core will thank you.  Stop making excuses, and start incorporating pull ups. 

4.)  The Push Up:  The Push Up is a misunderstood exercise.  Almost everyone implements the push up in one way or another when exercising, however the push up comes in many shapes and not all are created equal.  People tend to flare their elbows out and sag their hips, leading to screwed up shoulders and lumbar discs.  The proper push up should resemble a plank through the entire range of motion, and the elbows should track the ribs (stay tucked in rather than flaring out).  Try doing them like this and I promise you will notice the difference.  

5.)  The Dumbbell/Kettlebell Clean & Press:  Of all the overhead pressing exercises, my favorite is the Dumbbell Clean & Press.  I prefer using the dumbbell or kettlebell over the barbell for overhead movements because it requires more stability, and less reliance on a dominant muscle or muscle group.  With barbells it is easy to rely on your stronger side, which allows for underdevelopment in our weak stabilizer muscles.  This is simply not possible with single-arm overhead pressing.  I also like utilizing the clean for the development of explosive power, which will ultimately assist the Deadlift and Squat, and vice versa.  

Honestly, you could create a pretty badass program utilizing only these 5 exercises, while only tweaking the reps, sets, rests and order.  Start incorporating some of these into your current program, or ditch what you're doing now and give them all a try if you want to speed up your process of becoming awesome.

+Wesley Claytor