general population wellness
**Editor’s Note: Today’s Ruthless Performer Q&A Series is one of the most expansive in the Q&A series to-date. Like many health professionals, Kyle’s own history in sports and wellness lends credibility to many of his thoughts on health and maximizing the health of athletes and the general population. If you like what Kyle has to say, check out his Youtube page (links provided throughout the text). Enjoy!**
1. Hey Kyle, glad to have you on the site… We worked together in college, but you’ve since came back onto my radar with a video you recently put out that was pretty critical of the modern health care system. What was the chain of events that made you view our healthcare system so unfavorably? What was the straw that broke the camel’s back and lead to you to make that youtube video?
The chain began with myself at a young age while in middle school my body began showing warning signs of early degradation of my joints that carried on into high school as well. Don’t get me wrong I played hard. I never really had a good internal gauge of when to slow down and just play for fun. I was the guy going 1,000 miles per hour at all times. It didn’t matter if it was dodgeball or riding a goat it was all at my best effort. But the immobilization and rest prescription never made sense to me. Before the age of 14 I had 2 ankle casts, 2 full leg casts and a corset back brace applied for a stress fracture in L4 and L5. After all these immobilization techniques and very little rehab you can imagine the insuffiencines that were creeping up in my musculoskeletal and nervous system alike. I felt confused and not well understood during these conservative treatment techniques and believed more could be done. Why not add in an abundance of z packs for sinus infections with the side effect of increased chances of achilles tendon ruptures to the mix. So I continued on my merry way through high school with an unbalanced motor and a broken down immune system. My skin began showing signs of immune system malfunction with acne and a condition called vitiligo that failed conservative medical doctor directed treatments for 8 years. Between dermatologist and orthopedic appointments I had about all but given up on this whole idea of health.
Around this point I had started spending time with a local chiropractor Dr. Lee Lausch that had treated me with a non – traditional modality called the ARP electrical stimulation unit. This really blew me away as it got me back significantly faster than any other treatment I had tried in the past (rest and ice). So I began asking more questions and that’s when the flood gates opened. He began providing me with information on nutrition and really from there I began viewing the world through this lens of the body can heal itself. Just at the point where Dr. Lausch and I really began connecting my father had gotten into a traumatic accident. During football camp my senior season a truck had fallen on him and he broke 36 bones in his body. He survived, in which I am so thankful for all the modern medical system has to offer in regards to trauma care. Once they patched him back up is when the wheels started to fall off. He had his entire right femur replaced with a metal rod. His left ankle was in pieces and needed to be put back together. So they essentially did a full ankle replacement. This didn’t last long. He was out hiking one day looking for turkeys as he is an avid archery hunter. The ankle replacement had failed quickly and we later found out the bone was necrotic. The surgeon mistakenly anchored the metal into bone that had little integrity. There was no other option at this point but to amputate his leg from the mid calf down.
Yet no fault taken for this complete lack of patient care or pure ignorance to the integrity of the bone. Now this poor guy is 10 plus surgeries in and can’t seem to find his way out. His phantom pain is real now from the amputation, he can’t sleep and he feels constant jolts of electricity going down to his foot. This seems to be common after an amputation and this field needs more research focused here as it massively affects our veterans.
At this point hes taking a cocktail of medications mainly to control his pain, with the rest of the meds to manage the side effects. We’re 2 to 3 years in and his liver is struggling to keep up. The only thing this medication did was temporarily decrease pain and rip apart his body from the inside out. He was getting more unhealthy, losing more of himself and ultimately slowly dying. I came home from college one day and things began to click. One of the last doctor appointments I went to with him they recommended a battery powered device to place into his sacral plexus. This was intended to shut off the pain signals to his lower extremity. We both just stared in disbelief. Lets just say we walked out confused without answers. My dad was at his last resort and that was getting off the meds, begin exercising, fixing his nutrition and using alternative modalities and physicians to get back on track. The results were astounding. Within 6 months he had completely got off his medication, lost give or take 50 pounds and actually started to live his life again. Solely from the pure will of his heart. Not guided by a physician.
Here’s the loophole that he discovered that most people will never tell you. And quite frankly what they don’t want you to know. His medical doctor didn’t want him off medication. The only thing his nurses ever called him for were to check and ensure he was taking his meds. If he didnt fill his script in time you better believe they were calling in minutes to question why that didn’t happen. Workers compensation won’t pay for much of any alternative therapy beyond what big pharma doesn’t control. But here’s what they will cover. And this is exactly what my dad did to get his life back. A massage from a licensed massage therapist, a gym membership, physical therapy and chiropractic care. You mix in some quality supplementation and a whole foods diet and voila you have your recipe for success.
The problem was who was going to tell us this? First, the person has to be open to it and that is definitely step number one. But our medical doctor wasn’t getting a cut to tell him he gained weight and needs to lose weight. Their concern wasn’t directed on fixing. It was solely directed at managing. We had to piece this together through trial and error. You get what you get because you do what you do. If you allow the system to guide you, you can only get out of that system what they offer. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Well now I know and I’m here to express my story. This was 10 years ago the alternative health movement wasn’t as mainstream as its slowly becoming.
2. What roles have you played in the healthcare system? What do you do currently?
I have played many roles in the healthcare system. It began with personal training at the chiropractors office I mentioned previously. Here I was training highschool and Division I athletes all the way up to 70 year old mail carriers using the super slow method on MedX machines. We focused on metabolic specific training from the book Body by Science written by Doug McGuff, M.D. If you haven’t read this I highly recommend it.
From here I went to Florida International University to do my graduate work in Athletic Training. As a student I spent time in Division IA football and soccer, NFL with the Cleveland Browns, Orthopedic Urgent Care with a Upper Extremity surgeon and a Private High School. During my time here I also continued studying nutrition with a focus on holistic healing, which was the missing link that I continually found within my more than 2,000 hours of clinical experience in school. It’s the large pink elephant in the room and nobody wants to address it. Because the reality is, the majority of folks in these settings have little to no knowledge on the topic which is a system flaw not a personal issue. So really the only way you get proper nutritional training is if you take the time to do it yourself. Period. If you’re not learning you’re dying. Athletic trainers must have an overseeing physician in most states to practice. Medical Doctors volunteer for teams to get their ‘in’ for more prospects for their clinic to produce of course more money. What the orthopedic doctor says goes.
I saw the small influence the athletic trainer really had when push came to shove. Especially when speaking on the NFL and athletic trainers role in that setting. They’re puppets to the medical doctors and physical therapists. Why hire highly trained medical professionals (ATC’s) then disregard their skill set? Once this really clicked for me I decided the NFL was certainly not for me. I passed my board exam early in February before I graduated and accepted a job in march to work as an athletic trainer at a NAIA school in Maine. Everyone thought I was out of my mind for accepting this job due to the location being in northern Maine.
What most didnt know is that I as the primary caregiver for 110 college athletes with no outside influence. I was able to run the strength and conditioning programs, implement injury prevention programs for warm ups, take the athletes grocery shopping and facilitate healing through nutritional understanding and direct application. I wanted to see what I could do with a group of individuals with this approach of an all encompassing program. I was in absolute heaven. 4 of the 5 teams I worked with made it to the national tournament. Men’s basketball made it to the final four and both mens and womens soccer teams won the national championship.
Unfortunately the majority of the staff left after this year so I parted ways as well, and moved to Texas. In Texas I worked for a small group of wellness centers that was developed and run by chiropractors. Here I was the movement director and the marketing director. My roles as the movement director included community health education, orthopedic evaluations, soft tissue application and corrective exercise. Here is where my understanding of community health and what the general populations thoughts were on health really expanded. Myself and the chiropractor would go into businesses to provide the employees a green smoothie and salad for lunch. In turn we would present on health and wellness and provide a quick posture screening. My biggest take away here was that people still weren’t connecting the dots between what is at the end of their fork and their health. As well as the degenerative effects of sitting under artificial light for 8-10 hours , staring into a computer while in high stress environments.
I mean how far can we possibly get from a human’s thriving environment? The typical american spends more than half their life in captivity which is essentially the example I just gave. From a 50,000 foot view of how the typical american lives it looks as if were living in a cage. At the end of the day we’re animals. No if, ands or buts about it.
Currently I am one of the athletic trainers at an all boys private high school in Miami Florida where I care for 1,000 athletes that participate in 22 different sports with a total of 50 sports teams. Its my absolute dream job. I perform exactly as NATA states: We collaborate with physicians to provide preventative services, emergency care, clinical diagnosis, therapeutic intervention and rehabilitation of injuries and medical conditions. I am the first person to see an injury and the last person to clear them to return to play. This is key for me as I advise the direction of the athletes referral and treat mainly all in house. This is what I learned early on about athletic training, that I feel most people are unaware of. We’re holistic healers and use nutrition, modalities and exercise to treat orthopedic injuries. It’s a beautiful process. You can essentially build and run a clinic exactly how you want within the confines of your licensure in that state.
3. I know you have experience with athletic training, what are your thoughts on this profession? Where should field of athletic training be applauded for doing a good job and where are mistakes being made?
I’m a big believer that your perception is your reality. Coming into the profession I was very hesitant on staying traditional–referring to working in an academic setting or for a professional sports team. For the sole reason that’s what I was exposed to at the time and it seemed as if athletic trainers are all burned out, overworked and underpaid. As a whole is this true? I believe so yes.
The reality is in medicine if you don’t work with insurance, prescribe medication or do surgery it’s difficult to make great money. Is it possible? Absolutely, but not common. What I discovered is athletic trainers are now everywhere in healthcare and it’s expanding which is awesome. It’s so important that you find your niche. Every job is very different from the next and that is so important to consider. Like my job in Maine. All the moving pieces were there they just needed someone to glue them together. I was told not to go time and time again.
As an AT you MUST be creative, open minded and adaptive at all times. If you’re open to that it will be a blast. Its fast pace, ever changing and always exciting. It’s certainly not for everyone. But I believe I found my jam.
Athletic training has been making bounds and leaps in the last 10 years. Especially here in Miami-Dade county. All public secondary schools are required to have an athletic trainer on site. I think this has been our biggest impact. Research and the implementation of evidence-based medicine is so important. Don’t get me wrong. But big picture and where I think the focus should be is on the youth. They are vulnerable and exposed to a lot of injuries, specifically concussions. This age group is in such a critical time in human development.
To have someone there on site to assist them with acute management and recovery of injuries. I believe we will continually keep sports safe and will remain developing the youth in a really positive way that just makes society an overall better place.
The mistakes are in athletic trainers allowing past culture nuances of athletic training to continue in the growth that is now taking place. All athletic trainers are now required to have a master of science degree in athletic training to practice. When previously it was a Bachelor’s degree. Degrees aren’t everything, but the cost vs benefit has to be there. The reality is as a seasonal athletic trainer that is board certified and licensed in the NFL typically makes between $8.50 and $15.00 an hour. This is for a 7 billion dollar company. Yikes. This is supposed to be the peak of the profession, huh? Not to mention athletic trainers are still taking jobs for $30,000 a year after giving over 1,000 hours of work for free and a $100,000 master’s degree. It makes absolutely no sense. Know your worth, create your value and stand by it.
4. It’s good to see someone involved in the well-being of young athletes being active and leading by example. What are you doing to maximize your health and wellness as an individual?
This is ultimately how I found athletic training. I wanted to know how to heal from injuries and to perform at a high level at all times not just in sports. I had to learn the foundation of this process by really understanding anatomy. I learned anatomy in undergrad but it was nothing remotely close to what I learned in the athletic training degree. From there I could expand.
My daily routine focuses are: mindset, nutrition, exercise, sunlight, giving back, sleep. In that order.
I’ve really focused on developing in my career to allow these to flourish as much as possible.
This is a big reason why I love my job so much. I go outside everyday, my job requires walking, running and lifting with sitting being a choice. The key focus and most rewarding part is to give back to others and help when they are in need. What a true blessing this really is.
To develop my mindset for the day, I begin my day with gratitude and journaling. This has been the biggest game changer in my life. Setting your intention for the day, being thankful for what you have and sending out some motivational videos/quotes to loved ones that I think will help them that day. Knowing where to focus your consciousness daily can and will help you reach your goals. Instead of letting your day direct you, you direct your day.
Take my probiotic: ultimate flora fx on a empty stomach to create the optimal environment for digestion and immune function throughout my day
Chug a glass of clean water: zero water filter is what I use
Go through emails, write and listen to a collaboration of podcasts or videos for whatever I’m tackling that day.
After my probiotic breaks down for about a half hour I introduce food which typically looks like 3-6 pasture raised eggs cooked over easy in grass fed butter along side smoked salmon, grass fed cheese and organic berries – this varies.
This is on days I exercise. If I know I’m not going to lift I will fast until lunch and just supplement throughout the morning.
My daily supplements in the morning currently are:
Tangy Tangerine 2.0 and Osteo FX: multivitamin and mineral powders
- 60 minerals
- 12 amino acids
- 16 vitamins
- All plant derived from organic/non-gmo ingredients
Read more about this here.
I’m currently detoxifyng my liver so I’m also mixing in that same drink a powder called Pollen burst: superoxide dismutase (SOD)/Gliadin complex
- Created from Flower pollen
- To Increase antioxidant pathways
Read more about this here.
Also, Ultimate EFA plus.
- Fatty acids from Borage, Flax and Fish (anchovy, Sardines and Pollock)
- IFOS (international fish oil standard) certified
- This is so essential as it tests the product for oxidation, heavy metals and potency along with many other specifications
Read more about this here.
I26 hyperimmune Egg: Immunoregulatory supplement that is well documented and quite an advancement in the ability to assist in arthritis healing and digestion.
Read more about this here.
Ultimate Selenium: This prevents many types of cancer specifically two types breast and prostate
- Essential trace mineral
Read more about this here.
Zinc Fx: 48% of americans are deficient in zinc. This trace mineral isn’t talked about enough.
- It builds & supports immune system
Read more about this here.
Lift right before lunch:
What I have found for myself that works really well is quite simple. I lift weights/exercise for 30 minutes a day everyday. I believe the core foundation to a successful healthy lifestyle is rooted in quality and consistency not much of anything else. I don’t think there is a specific exercise that is going to correct anything in the body but more the collaboration of movement and consistency at which you perform that exercise. Currently because of the lifestyle I choose to live, training to become proficient in advanced lifts isnt what my focus is on. So I choose the most effective and efficient way for my body to prevent illness and thrive. Which for me and my physiology is 30 min a day of no short rest heavy lifting. I usually keep it to 3 to 4 different lifts that change frequently to attend to the SAID principle, the process of reversibility and engaging in different exercises to challenge my nervous system to generate growth in neural pathways.
What I don’t currently do enough of that I need to refocus on is just going outside and playing. The psychological aspect of creativity in exercise is so important and finding ways to move the body and challenge the nervous system with complex dynamic movements is key. Playing frisbee, golf, volleyball or climbing a tree and using the gifts we were given as humans is the best way to fulfill the human bodies requirements of advanced technological movement patterns that dampen quite fast if not used.
To categorize my diet to American fad diets you could say it’s a paleo diet mixed with keto fasting focusing on quality not quantity. I eat less and focus on high quality diversification of nutrient dense foods and supplementation. Most of my calories come from lunch. Lunch consists of a small amount of carbs such as white rice, yuca, sweet potatoes, plantains. With protein I try for two different types each meal between fish, eggs, pork, beef, and chicken. A large salad with fresh raw veggies and my dressing is ACV or balsamic vinegar. I like to include a majority of raw fruits and veggies as I’ve found this is what works best for me.
At lunch I do nutrition counseling with some athletes on what to eat for that day which keeps me accountable and learning everyday from them.
Dinner: Raw fruit and vegetable based. This has really worked for me and has been a great alteration in my diet that was a big change from how I grew up. Dinner was always the biggest meal to now dinner being my smallest meal calorie wise, because of the way my day is set up. Sleep is the last focus for the day. My greatest challenge here has been slowing down my mind enough to rest. My strategy consists of putting my phone down and turning on airplane mode, getting rid of all the white light and just leaving my salt lamp on while I reflect on my day. Once I generate my thoughts I journal and get all those thoughts on paper. This has really allowed me to fall asleep and once I’m out I’m out for the night. With a typical night being 8 hours. I don’t believe everyone needs 8 hours but it’s what works for me. Some people may need more or less.
5. Some (of many) similarities I see between us are your voracious reading habits and how up-to-date you are in the world of health. What trends do you see emerging? Are these good trends? Where should the academic sphere of health be directing its resources?
It’s been an incredible journey thus far. I think it’s our obligation to read and keep up with the steady flow of information. I don’t want to outsource my problems to someone else. I’d rather take the time to learn myself.
The trends I see coming are environmental awareness which the nutrition and holistic healing community are dovetailing off of. People are gaining interest in less medications and are looking for alternative routes to the failed health care system here in America. This has also brought about a spiritual shift as well. We’re connecting the mind, body and spirit instead of tearing them apart into separate entities. I think this is where the big yoga explosion and the legalization of cannabis are coming from and millennials aren’t interested in the old failed systems. We’re interested in progression and change for the most part. The age of information has opened the door to self healing and questioning of what’s really happening in health care. I think these are great trends and I am so excited to be a part of it.
Academia should be directing their focus on staying up to date with the latest evidence. But presenting it in a way the common man can benefit. Not manipulating information to benefit big corporations. The gap is in the presentation not the information. I don’t think we need more evidence at this point to prove that daily exercise, proper sleep, exposing yourself to sunlight and the outdoors, eating organic whole foods, drinking clean water and surrounding yourself in a loving community prevents illness and is required for the human body to thrive. These things are non negotiable. Yet its still so far from common knowledge.
My point here is: It’s simple. Let’s start with the basics and build from there to heal this planet and the human race. No magical discovery of a gene, medication, working at stressful job inside a cubicle, and separating ourselves from society is going to fix the problem. Vote with your dollar if you want change not on a ballot. Support your local farmers and small businesses.
6. If you had $1,000,000 to maximally improve the health of as many people as possible, what would you do?
My dream is to be able to create a project for an annual immersion retreat similar to what Tony Robbins does, but make it very affordable to the common person that will focus on daily routine alteration. Teaching cooking, exercise and play, education series each day, nature immersion and connecting to the earth and your food, mindset development through self love and expression. There are many retreats like this going on now. I just feel as if they are all separate and not brought together as one complete piece. I know I can’t reach everyone, because people are ready when they’re ready. One of my favorite quotes is “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”- unknown.
7. Do you have any closing thoughts? Where can people find more about you and what are your plans for the world of health and athleticism over the next year?
Ask questions and educate yourself everyday, create a filter of truth for yourself to view the world, never settle, love yourself, you’re beautiful in your own ways, be kind to others, get outside and play you’re never too old, eat real food and have fun. Being healthy is exciting not bland and boring.
I’m currently proposing to the school I work at to develop two strength training courses that will teach movement and nutrition to freshman and juniors for next school year. I also began my personal brand called the Alternative Fish which is a youtube channel, facebook and instagram page that will be for information on exactly the topics I covered here. I just started it so bare with me. Lots of posts to come!
Thanks for having me. Really looking forward to this collaboration.