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Month: August 2015

Three Course Thursday – Life-saving Strength, Masculinity Studies, and Yoga

Three Course Thursday – Life-saving Strength, Masculinity Studies, and Yoga

This post is part of a weekly series called “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: “Are You Strong Enough to Save Your Own Life?” (via artofmanliness.com) – well…are you?

Mental: “A Master’s Degree in … Masculinity?” (via nytimes.com) – SUNY is launching the first master’s degree program in “masculinities studies”. The program is led by Dr. Michael Kimmel, who has written numerous books on the subject of manhood.

Spiritual: “Yoga – Benefits, Risks, & Different Types (via livescience.com) – interested in starting a yoga habit? LiveScience has a quick introduction to get you started.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Three Course Thursday – Better Deadlift, Mental Health Apps, and Self-Actualization

Three Course Thursday – Better Deadlift, Mental Health Apps, and Self-Actualization

This is the first of hopefully many posts to come in a weekly series of posts which I’ve dubbed “Three Course Thursday”. Each week, I’ll post links to articles I’ve been digging which focus on improving yourself – physically, mentally, and spiritually. Think of it as a weekly three-course meal for self-improvement.

On to this week’s Three Course Thursday!

Physical: “Deadlift Hot Fixes” (via Leangains.com) – Martin Burkhan of LeanGains fame with tips on improving the King lift for building a bigger, stronger back – the deadlift.

Mental: “Can an App Really Help Manage Your Mental Health?” (via Vice.com) – Fitness tracking tools like MyFitnessPal have been around since the inception of smart phone apps. Now, the market for apps focused on managing Mental Health is rapidly expanding. Sarah Graham explores pros and cons of using apps for managing everything from sleep to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Spiritual: “Lack of Self Actualization Linked with Addiction” (via Healthunits.com) – Researchers at Florida Atlantic University recently published a study which found that lacking an “ultimate aim in life” is linked with mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression), as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

Review – Mizzen+Main Dress Shirts

Review – Mizzen+Main Dress Shirts

I read about Mizzen+Main a few months back, but it wasn’t until Tim Ferriss gave his backing that I took the plunge and purchased The Blackman 2.0 and the McCoy.

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Spoiler alert – is the best dress shirt I’ve ever owned and it’s not even close.

Features

  • Moisture-wicking fabric
  • Tailored for athletic builds
  • Four-way stretch material
  • Made in America

Mizzen+Main is a clothing company that produces innovative menswear. They advertise their shirts as “designed by athletes, for athletes”.

Strengths

Freedom of Movement

Within seconds of trying this shirt on, I noticed something gamechanging – “I CAN MOVE MY ARMS WITHOUT MESSING UP THE TUCK!”

mizzen+main_blackman_side

ARM MOVEMENT FREEDOM YASSSSS
ARM MOVEMENT FREEDOM YASSSSS

Guys, you know how annoying this issue can be – wearing a dress shirt but hesitating to lift your arms above 90 degrees for fear of your shirt coming untucked. Mizzen+Main has solved this problem – their stretchable shirts allow you to move your arms through full range of motion with ZERO affect on the tuck of your shirt.

This is huge if your profession involves constant physical movement in professional attire – I’m talking to you, physicians/pharmacists/healthcare professionals.

Fit

The Blackman 2.0 fits like a dream. Utilizing Clothes Horse/Fits.Me technology, their website will match you with your perfect fit. All it requires is entering a few basic details, such as your height, weight, and body type.

Those with a more athletic build will really appreciate the way the shirts fit. No more boxy dress shirts built for the fatcats of yesteryear or too-slim shirts that choke you and slowly cut off your ability to breathe. Mizzen+Main shirts are designed with today’s health-conscious young professional in mind.

The tailored fit also eliminates the baggy, ridiculous looking “fluff” that often bunches in the back when tucking a normal dress shirt.

Material

The Blackmon 2.0 is made of _% Nylon, _% Polyester, and 8% Lycra. Yes, the same lycra used in yoga pants has a fantastic use in menswear.

The lightweight, moisture-wicking material means we can FINALLY stop worrying about pit stains. If you don’t sweat much, consider yourself very lucky. Those of us who perspire at the slightest hint of heat or humidity can breathe a sigh of relief – the battle appears to have been won.

I’ve dealt with confidence issues related to sweating since I was 12. EVERY shirt I have owned has, at some point, acquired staining and discoloration in the armpits due to sweating. I’ve tried dozens of deodorants, different undershirts, avoiding hot drinks – name a strategy and I’ve tried it. Nothing works, and it SUCKS walking around well-aware that you look silly because your armpits decided to unleash all those bottled-up smelly yellow feelings at the worst possible time. Mizzen+Main have truly improved the quality of my life in a way no other clothing company has ever come close to.

The unique material also means no drying is required – just wash and hang to dry. These are great shirts for travel because they require zero ironing – toss in your bag and you’re good to go. This is also great for those who hit the gym before work but cannot go back home to shower and get dressed.

Con – Let’s talk price

Yes, Mizzen+Main products are expensive. $125 for a dress shirt is rather steep.

The price tag becomes much easier to absorb when you consider a few factors:

All products are 100% made in America.

Nuff said.

Proceeds benefit Mizzen+Main’s “Shirt for a Start” program.

I’ll quote from their website:

…we believe that we have found a way to bridge the gap between service and the start-up scene. For selected servicemen and women making the transition, we will pay them while they develop entrepreneurial experience, industry connections, and a better understanding. As we grow as a company, we will offer them more than a start. We will offer an opportunity to join us in design, logistics, communications, engineering, and other key departments – on a full-time basis. We will also connect them into our networks for continued career development and networking opportunities

Helping veterans integrate back into civilian life is an AWESOME cause and I’m more than happy to pay a slightly higher price to benefit a company that does not outsource its product and helps veterans find private sector work.

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American Made.


Who would I NOT prescribe Mizzen+Main to?

If you are REALLY cost-conscious and simply not in a position to drop $100+ on a dress shirt, then obviously there are other options elsewhere. But I highly encourage you to consider saving enough funds to splurge here – the manufacturing quality is so high on these, it could be the last dress shirt purchase you ever need to make.

 

Who would I prescribe Mizzen+Main to?

  • Athletically-built guys looking for a tailored-fit shirt that is actually…ya know, tailored-fit.
  • Anyone tired of pit stains ruining their shirts and their apperance.
  • Any guy looking for quality clothing.
Man tested, dog approved.
Man tested, dog approved.

What do you think? Have you tried a Mizzen+Main product? Talk about your experience in the comments!

Morning Routines – Why Are They So Important?

Morning Routines – Why Are They So Important?

Picture the following:

The alarm goes off. Assuming you don’t hit snooze for a third time, you grumble as you shuffle out of bed and throw some clothes on. Your first instinct? “Let’s check Twitter! I wonder if anyone posted anything interesting on Facebook at 4am while I was asleep!

You walk down the hall, eyes glued to your phone, pausing so often that it takes five minutes just to make it 20 feet to the damn bathroom. “Wait, why am I in the bathroom? What did I need here?

Realizing you have zero reason to be in the bathroom, you walk to the living room – eyes still glued to your phone – and plop on the couch. You check Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitter again, Snapchat, your email, Twitter again. Maybe check Facebook again, just in case. ESPN too.

It’s been 15 minutes since you woke up and you’ve accomplished nothing.

Turns out, you DID need something in the bathroom: your contacts. They’re kind of essential for you to, ya know, see things and interact with the world in any sort of meaningful manner. Back to the bathroom you go!

Feeling hungry, you walk to the kitchen and spend approximately 90% of your time gazing deep in the refrigerator or pantry for absolutely no reason, as if, by some magical witchcraft, breakfast shall suddenly assemble in front of you, if you just stare hard enough.

You finally grab some cereal, pour a bowl, grab the milk – oops, that’s the orange juice. Narrowly avoiding a fatal error, you put the orange juice back and actually grab the milk. Bringing your bowl to the table, you whip out your phone and…check Twitter again.

It’s been 30 minutes since you woke up and you’ve accomplished nothing.

Noticing the time – “OH SHIT I’M GOING TO BE LATE” – you run upstairs, throw on some clothes, and run out the door, muttering to yourself – “I never have time to do anything!” Your cereal remains half-eaten in the bowl, growing soggy and sad.

WHY DO WE DO THIS TO OURSELVES?!

Now, let’s contrast that with the following:

You wake up and immediately head to the bathroom, put in your contacts, then head to the kitchen. You don’t even need to think – you just act. Make tea, microwave some eggs,  grab a yogurt out of the fridge, then head to the table to eat. Your phone is still in your room – no distractions.

After finishing breakfast, you find a quiet spot and meditate, clearing your head of clutter, preparing your mind for the monumental task of kicking today’s ass.

Head back to the kitchen, start your coffee, and prepare lunch. Coffee’s finished? Bring it to your desk and FINALLY, time to use your phone! But no social media.

You load up your to-do list that you completed before going to sleep last night and immediately get to work.

It’s been 20 minutes and you’ve already accomplished more than many people do in an entire day.

Morning Routines – Setting Yourself Up For Success & Productivity EVERY Day

When we wake up without a morning routine, we wake up without a purpose. This sets up for a day with zero direction or purpose.

We wander aimlessly from one activity to the next, without ever accomplishing anything.

We waste time on social media and other unproductive activities, while our obligations continue to pile up.

Establishing a consistent morning routine allows us to operate on automatic. From the moment we wake up, we don’t have to think – we just do.

This saves valuable cognitive willpower, and helps us to avoid decision fatigue. We end up feeling much more energized making important decisions, rather than feeling drained and “burned out”, because we avoid wasting finite cognitive abilities on minor decisions or aimless activities.

A good morning routine helps accomplish important tasks from the instant our feet leave the bed. We prime ourselves for a productive, successful day, free of procrastination. We lock ourselves into a proactive, productivity mindset, versus being reactive to any and all stimuli thrown our way.

This gives us more time in the evening to relax, and relish in the company of our family and friends engaged in enjoyable activities, rather than catching up on everything we put off throughout the day.

Creating a consistent morning routine is one of the best – and easiest – ways to increase your productivity.

Interested in creating your morning routine? I’ll be covering how to establish a morning routine, as well as good ideas of things to incorporate into your morning routine, in future posts. Stay tuned!