Nutrition

Ruthless Performer Q&A – Elite Sports Nutrition with Jesse Rodriguez R.D.

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Today’s Q&A guest is our own sports nutritionist Jesse Rodriguez. Jesse has his own prolific history as a national-level swimmer for El Salvador and here in the United States competing in college and post-graduate for the University of Southern California. This all makes Jesse a world-class resource as not many people have competed at this level at any sport. With this background, plus his vast time spent in academia studying nutrition, interning with top sports teams, and the clinical work necessary for his Registered Dietitian status, we’re glad to have him on-board.

1. There are lots of people working with nutrition in some capacity, what sets you apart?

Firstly, I’m a licensed registered dietitian which means I went though extensive schooling and professional training. Secondly, I was an athlete for the majority of my life and I began studying/applying nutrition since I was 16. Lastly, I continue to read and study a lot! Mostly on clinical, biochemistry and sports nutrition research articles. Overall, I’ve been in this game for a long time and still aiming to be well-rounded in all elements of nutrition. (Editor’s Note: You read more about the difference between a Nutritionist and a Registered Dietitian here) 

2. Given your personal and prolific history as a swimmer, you’re uniquely qualified to critique high-level sports nutrition, particularly in swimming. What are athletes doing right with their diet? What are they doing wrong?

Nutrition in sports has gained more popularity over the years and many athletes found the benefits of fueling appropriately. I’ve noticed that more athletes know about nutrient timing, and the importance of including carbs as fuel and protein for recovery. I think that many athletes know how to fuel around training times but during other times (i.e. dinner at home or restaurant), they tend to lack in nutritional knowledge. A lot of athletes still eat junk food throughout the day, maybe because they feel they can get away with it or something, but that’s our job as sports dietitians to correct. Additionally, building the appropriate plate according to their goals (i.e. body composition, better recovery) seems to be a problem along with maintaining hydration. Here’s an article I’ve written on RuthlessPerformance.com on this is. 

3. Supplement must-do’s… What supplements (if any) are generally worth taking? What supplements are a scam?

Supplements for athletes typically aren’t necessary since athletes are eating more than the general population but it all depends on the athlete. Supplements would be necessary if an athlete is deficient in a nutrient like Iron or Vitamin D. Athletes following special diets like the vegan diet may need to supplement as well. As far as supplements for performance, the most studied and useful would be: Caffeine, Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Nitrates, and Sodium Bicarbonate (baking soda). It’s hard to say which supplements are a scam because they’re so many in the market and it can vary due to individual responses to them. With that being said, it’s important to make sure if you’re going to take supplements, that they’re 3rd party certified by organizations like the NSF.

4. You’ve gone pretty far in your journey through academia… With the emphasis of studies, objectivity, and research in academia there is still surprisingly lots of room for subjectivity and interpretations of results and outcomes. What are your thoughts on this? What can be done to fix or improve nutrition science?

Correct, I think there is always room for development in the field so it’s my job to follow along and stay up to date with the latest research. This for me is actually fun because I enjoy reading research papers and learning to new things. The science of nutrition can be very complex and as of now, I don’t have any solutions. I think that the correct messages (evidence-based results) need to be sent out to the general public so myths can be debunked. It’s more about nutrition education than anything at the moment.

5. From a more general standpoint, the headlines regarding nutrition are changing on a damn near daily basis. What elements of sports nutrition do you think are firmly established? What rules of nutrition have outlasted the scandalous and salacious headlines?

Hydration, nutrient timing, and recovery nutrition seems to be the foundation. There will always be a new thing that comes out, but those three are firmly established. Individualized nutrition is fundamental in sports nutrition and I think that will outlast any headline or diet (i.e keto diet, intermittent fasting, etc). I also think that sticking to the basics, such as nutrition from food rather than living off smoothies and supplements for example, will always have the edge. Of course, going back to supplements, this will depend on the individual’s status.

6. Where does sports nutrition go from here? What do you think we’ll be seeing in the coming years regarding nutrition? Gut health seems to be a hot topic as of late, what are your opinions on this? What should nutrition scientists place more emphasis on?

The basics of sports nutrition will remain the same and to be honest, I don’t see anything revolutionary coming soon. However, they’re new things coming along such as nutrigenomics and the importance of gut health, antioxidants, and periodizing nutrition which looks promising. Gut health has been popular lately and for good reason.  Because of the gut and brain connection, I feel it’s important to treat your gut right just like most want to treat their blood sugar levels right. I think emphasis should be placed on education and sending the correct messages to athletes and the public. Researchers are doing a great job in nutritional science but there hasn’t been anything lately that can change the whole world of nutrition and its effect on humanity. If we can do this, that will be the next revolutionary thing.

 

**Editor’s Note: Jesse will also be featured on ‘Healthy Habits with Dr. T’ on Wednesday, Oct. 17th at 7:00 PM EST, we’ll post all of the details for event pre-registration and where to view it on our Twitter and Instagram.**

 

Want to learn more about Jesse or our various nutritional programs and consultations? Fill out the form below to get started!

 

Building a plate

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HEPApr2013Making small changes will lead to bigger results. Start off with behavioral changes before jumping on to the new diet out there. This means things like eating on a smaller plate, removing the salt from the table, reducing serving sizes, etc.

myplate_blueIn general, a “healthy” or “healthier” plate should include a protein, whole grain, complex carbs (veggies/fruit), healthy fat (olive oil or avocado), and hydration (milk/water). USDA has come up with an image of what a healthy plate should look like. This is very general since protein can be a hot dog, or whole milk as dairy, which contains a lot of fat.

Harvard health dissected the USDA plate and made a detailed version. They included healthy fat, along with extra details, which is important to our health. Read our “Why do we need fats in our diet?” 

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Both plates are for the general public and used for weight maintenance. For athletes and those looking for a specific body composition goal (weight loss, weight gain, etc.) building a plate becomes more tailored to this individuals’ goals. The healthy plate provides a foundation of what should be on a plate, but macro-nutrient distribution would be manipulated according to the individual’s needs. US Olympic Committee has made three fuel plates that targeted for the athlete’s training. Still not very specific because everyone is different but effective.

If you’re looking to make nutrition changes in your life, start with small modifications then gradually transition into a detailed plan.

By Jesse Rodriguez, RD, CSCS

 

If you’re interested to find out an individualized nutrition plan just for you, contact info@ruthlessperformance for our nutrition services.

 

 

Does Caffeine Have Any Effect On Resistance Exercise?

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Many gym-goers are looking for ways to get more work in during their training sessions. Some turn to pre-workout supplements while others may turn to steroid-related drugs. Although pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, it’s also filled with unnecessary and potentially dangerous substances.

Caffeine on resistance training has been long looked at with supportive research data on its effect. Caffeine’s major effect for training is that it reduces pain perception, potentially delaying fatigue during exercise.  Additionally, caffeine may also reduce RPE (rate of perceived exertion) which may extend duration and/or intensity of workouts.

Sources could come as either coffee or caffeine powder/pills. The most important information to know is that 3-6mg/kg may be the optimal range to see effects or a dose of approximately 200mg 1 hour before exercise. 2-3 cups of coffee may be the optimal dose; however, caffeine content depends on the type of coffee and if any espresso shots are added. Experiment with doses and types and find the right amount to see individualized results.

six white ceramic mugs

Anne, M. (2018, May 16). How Many Milligrams of Caffeine Are in a Cup of Coffee? Retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/260763-how-many-milligrams-of-caffeine-are-in-a-cup-of-coffee/

Diego B. Souza, Michael Duncan, and Marcos D. Polito. Acute Caffeine Intake Improves Lower Body Resistance Exercise Performance with Blood Flow Restriction. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance 0 0:0, 1-22

Michael J. Duncan, Michelle Stanley, Natalie Parkhouse, Kathryn Cook, Mike Smith. Acute caffeine ingestion enhances strength performance and reduces perceived exertion and muscle pain perception during resistance exercise. Eur J Sport Sci. 2013; 13(4): 392–399. Published online 2011 Dec 5. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2011.635811

Wolde, Tsedeke. (2014). Effects of caffeine on health and nutrition: A Review. 30.

By Jesse Rodriguez, RD, CSCS

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 48

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View the last edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

Does Shaving Improve Swimming Performance? By Allan Phillips via Swimming Science

 

Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

The 12 Most Effective Ways to Spark the Recovery Process By John Rusin

Are Nightshade Vegetables Bad for You? An Evidence-Based Look By Kimberly Yawitz via Diet vs. Disease

How Much Fish Oil Is Too Much? Via Strength Sensei

Carrageenan: Friend or Foe? By Nicole Spear via Strength Sensei

 

Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

Breaking Down the Depth Jump By Nancy Newell

7 Exercises Lost to the ’80s By Skip Hill via EliteFTS

Everything Lateral Lunges By Erica Suter

 

Motivation, Business, and Success

A Quick and Dirty System for Goal Setting: A Done-For-You 60 Minute Workshop To Live An Intentional Life By Michael Keeler via Business for Unicorns

 

Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

Posture By Vern Gambetta via HMMR Media

 

Research

Hyperoxia Improves Swimming Performance By G John Mullen via Swimming Science

 

Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content

Ruthless Performance Guide to Mineral Supplementation By Jesse Rodriguez via Ruthless Performance

Internal Program Review: Collegiate Swimmer Off-Season Strength & Conditioning Program – Day 1 By John Matulevich via Ruthless Performance

Ruthless Performance Guide to Mineral Supplementation

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Previously, we talked about the importance and effect of vitamins in performance. We now move on to minerals. Fundamentally, minerals are broken into different categories based on their function; Major, Trace and Ultra-trace minerals. Despite the fact that minerals only contribute only about ~4% of total body weight, their functions are vital for cellular activity, energy metabolism, osmotic properties of body fluids and contribution to teeth and bones.

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This mineral supplement is a Ruthless Performance favorite and available for sale at Healthy Habits Natural Market in Orwigsburg, PA.

The major minerals include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, sodium and chloride. Major minerals are found in greater amounts in the body requiring ~100mg/day by adults. Moreover, sodium, chloride, and potassium are the minerals that regulate electrolyte balance.

Trace minerals are called trace because they needed by small amounts in the body, less than 100mg/day. In addition, if amounts required are less than 1mg/day, they are called Ultra-trace minerals. Trace minerals include Iron, Zinc, Copper, Fluoride, and Manganese while Ultra-trace minerals include Selenium, Iodine, Molybdenum and Chromium.

*Note other Trace and Ultra-trace minerals will not be discussed because not much is known about the need for them by the body.

Discussed will be the most common minerals utilized in athletic performance. Minerals in the body act as cofactors which are need during metabolism and for other bodily functions such transport of molecules. Some minerals are useful during performance while the rest are needed for overall health, but make no mistake, their role in the body is crucial for all of us. The chart below outlines common minerals used for performance, and its major function, role, etc.

Mineral Chart

 

In summary, chromium and zinc are the two most important minerals in glucose metabolism therefore making these minerals essential in our diets, especially in athletes. Magnesium is of importance because of its function in protein and fatty acid synthesis and 300 other enzymatic reactions. However, too much intake of magnesium will decrease absorption of phosphorus, an essential mineral. The electrolytes are obviously crucial in athletic performance so adequate amounts must be consumed pre, during, and post-workouts. If you’re eating a well-balanced diet, then mineral supplementation may not be necessary but a waste of money. For example, like mentioned above, if you supplement with magnesium in large doses (>600mg) then absorption of phosphorus declines about 50%. Furthermore, your body may not absorb all the mineral content so it’s just gets urinated along with your money. Another example would be too much Zinc causing a deficiency in copper or iron, both important for our health. Eat a well-balanced diet and keep training hard.

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Gropper S. Sareen, Smith L. Jack, Carr P. Timothy. Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. 7th Edition. 2016

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse’s focus and emphasis is on Sports Nutrition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with the addition of a CSCS certification from the NSCA. Jesse swam for the El Salvador National Team and competed at the international level. Jesse has worked at USC with the Strength and Conditioning program and UCLA as the lead intern for Sports Nutrition. He is currently a dietetic intern to complete requirements for the Registered Dietitian exam and obtain his professional license. During his free time, Jesse continues to strength train, Olympic lift, and stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition trends. Lastly, Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

 

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 47

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View the last edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

Use Olympic Weightlifting To Transform Strength Into Speed By Antonio Squillante via Breaking Muscle

Softball: 3 Things You Didn’t Know That Will Upgrade Your Warm-Ups By Nancy Newell

 

Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

10 Proven Benefits of Green Tea  By Kris Gunnars via H

Brian St. Pierre on the Fundamentals of High-Performance Nutrition With Brian St. Pierre via Mike Robertson

Reversing the Low-Testosterone Lifestyle with Training & Nutrition By Mike Gorski via John Rusin

 

Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

Bench Press Mobility By Zach Long

How To Weight The Foot During Deadlifts  By Harold Gibbons

 

Motivation, Business, and Success

How to Define Your Company’s Values and Make Them Stick By Michael Keeler

5 Reasons Why You Should Man Up and Start Taking Cold Showers By Ollie Coombes via Addicted 2 Success

 

Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

Swimming Recovery: Why Aren’t You Foam Rolling? By G John Mullen via Swimming Science

 

Research

Histamine Intolerance: Everything You Need To Know Explained in Plain English By Joe Leech

 

Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content

Adaptogens and Mushroom Supplementation for Wellness and Immune System Function By Jesse Rodriguez

Recipe: Mushroom Risotto By Jesse Rodriguez

Recipe: Mushroom Risotto

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**Editor’s Note: In a previous post, the various benefits of adding mushrooms to your diet was discussed. Find more here about what mushrooms can do for your immune, digestive, and cognitive function.**

 

Mushroom Risotto

Prep Time – 10 minutes. Cook Time – 25 minutes. Total Time – 35 minutes.

Vegetarian dish. Makes 6 servings.

mushroom dish

  • 1 lb Mushrooms
  • 3 tbsp choice of Parsley or Chives, chopped.
  • 2 Shallots, roughly diced
  • 6 cups Bone broth
  • 1 ½ cup Arborio rice
  • Black pepper to taste
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 4 tbsp Kerrygold Butter
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • 1 tbsp Kasandrinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Directions

  • In a saucepan, warm the broth over medium heat.
  • Heat a large cast-iron or non-stick skillet to high heat. Add mushrooms to dry skillet and stir as the mushrooms release their juices. Turn heat to medium-high and continue to stir until juice starts to be absorbed and mushrooms are browned.
  • Sprinkle with a dash of salt and continue cooking until the rest of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Remove mushrooms and set aside.
  • Reduce heat to medium and add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Stir in the shallots. Cook about 1 minute or until shallots begin to soften. Add rice, stirring to coat with oil, about 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed.
  • Return heat to medium-high and using a mug or measuring cup add between ½-3/4 cup broth to the rice (I added ¾ cup), and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding the hot broth one scoopful at a time, stirring continuously, making sure the liquid becomes absorbed before adding more broth. When you’ve got almost all the broth added, begin turning the heat down to medium if necessary. After about 20 minutes or so, the rice will be al dente.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. (At this point, if you want a vegan meal, this is done and perfectly tasty.)
  • Add the butter, parsley or chives and parmesan.

 

By Jesse Rodriguez

Jesse’s focus and emphasis is on Sports Nutrition. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science with the addition of a CSCS certification from the NSCA. Jesse swam for the El Salvador National Team and competed at the international level. Jesse has worked at USC with the Strength and Conditioning program and UCLA as the lead intern for Sports Nutrition. He is currently a dietetic intern to complete requirements for the Registered Dietitian exam and obtain his professional license. During his free time, Jesse continues to strength train, Olympic lift, and stay up-to-date on the latest nutrition trends. Lastly, Jesse is a member of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, National Strength and Conditioning Association, and Collegiate & Professional Sports Dietitians Association.

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 46

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View the last edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

138 | Dane Miller | Country Boys Can Survive Hosted by Zach Even Esh

Everything You Need To Know To Write Incredible Programs By Nancy Newell

Assess And Correct Leg Dominance  By Jennifer Pilotti via Breaking Muscle

Should Your Personal Trainer Be Licensed? By Jeremy Lau via Halevy Life

 

Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

Himalayan Salt Lamps: Benefits and Myths By Helen West via Healthline

If it Fits With Your Micros: The Overlooked Key to Sports Performance By Zach Long

Restore Your Breathing and Improve Your Conditioning – Part 2 By Jim Smith

 

Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

5 Advanced Squat Variations You Haven’t Tried By Meghan Callaway via Girls Gone Strong

Will Cardio Give Your Weight Training An Advantage?  By Dean Somerset

The Best Exercises You’re Not Doing for Shoulders – Cross Cable Flyes with “Y” Press  By Jim Smith

 

Motivation, Business, and Success

Freedom, fairness and equality By Seth Godin

The Salt Shaker Theory: 3 Principles of Effective Management By Mark Fisher via Business for Unicorns

 How to Set Boundaries with Clients By Michael Keeler via Business for Unicorns

 

Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

How to Fix Rounded Shoulders  By Annette Verpillot via Strength Sensei

The Science Behind Cryotherapy, Ice Baths, Fat-Loss and Recovery  By Kevin Masson via John Rusin

 

Research

The No Barbell Experiment On Squat And Deadlift And Hip Thrust Strength: The Results  By Bret Contreras

 

Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content

Lecture Takeaways: Ruthless Performance Methods & Practices for Peak Athletic Function By John Matulevich

 

Lecture Takeaways: Ruthless Performance Methods & Practices for Peak Athletic Function

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Its easy to imagine how a lecture scheduled for 30 minutes, on a topic as encompassing as optimizing performance, could end up being an hour and 6-minute open-ended discussion. This is precisely what happened this past week at Bloomsburg University during our guest presentation on how Ruthless Performance trains individuals to achieve high performance.

The content of this lecture ranged from specific exercises to an exploration of the Central Nervous System; similarly, questions ranged from the efficacy of BCAA’s to proper running gait—all of which led to an extremely informative and productive talk, filled with content and subsequent questions.

Below is a summary of some of the most important takeaways from this lecture. Remember, human performance is a broad topic, but the information below meets some objective criteria for significance within the theories and practices we endorse at Ruthless Performance.

 

First, a Definition of Terms

Because there is not one set definition of ‘high performance’ across sports and fitness endeavors, let’s assume the definition is as follows: high performance is the ability to perform within the top 10% of your own ability within any fitness doctrine.

For a 5K runner, this means being able to run a 5K within a margin of 10% of your best time at your current state of training. Similarly, for a weightlifter, this means being able to Clean & Jerk or Snatch within 10% of your current capacity for a 1RM. This is not to dismiss linear periodization (though Ruthless Performance typically does shy away from this style) nor is this a sleight on tapering for a significant bout or competition.

During a high-mileage segment of a marathon runner’s training regimen, she may be outside of this 10% margin from a previous race or time. The 10% margin of performance as defined here is referring to a precise training state. In the case of the marathon runner, her ability to complete a half-marathon trial within 10% of her previous season’s high-mileage training cycle is what we are referring to. The closer the training variables are, the more applicable this rule becomes.

 

The Motivational Training Montage is Just the Icing on the Cake

The significance of training to perform is predicated on fundamental health and wellness practices. A 6-hour a day training program would get world-class athletes no where were it not for a broad base of fundamental behaviors.Basics of Health & Function

These behaviors are known universally at some intuitive level, but not always acted upon. What could be viewed as boring and frivolous can make the difference between 6 more weeks of training and 6 weeks of sitting out with the flu while your competition trains because you didn’t get a flu vaccination from your primary care provider.

A similar situation could be ignoring the necessity for injury care work and corrective exercise during the early onset stages of shoulder pain or movement dysfunction as presented in a movement screen. The examples here are limitless, suffice it to say that all of the traditional variables of wellness like sleep quality, nutrition, lifestyle stress, and on, are all predecessors to your ability to train and compete within our newly defined parameters of ‘high performance’.

 

More to Come…

This just grazes the surface of the lecture but provides valuable insights into some fundamentals of high performance. First, high performance must be defined; when a term is open-ended, its implications are only speculative and unattainable. Second, high performance is the sum of the boring but necessary components of life that makes an athlete healthy enough to train and compete within their specific doctrine.

As we continue to review the Ruthless Performance Methods & Practices for Peak Athletic Function lecture, we’ll cover nutrition for high performance, ‘anti-specificity training’, universally essential exercises, and the role of the central nervous system in high performance.

Have a question on this topic or want to train with Ruthless Performance? Contact us via email at info@RuthlessPerformance.com, RuthlessPerformance.com/contact, and be sure to follow us on social media at @RuthlessPerform on Twitter and Instagram.

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 45

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View the last edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

GGS Spotlight: Kim Lloyd via Girls Gone Strong

Often Overlooked Elements to Success in Personal Training By Dean Somerset

What Assessments Work Best?  By Dean Somerset via Mike Robertson

 

Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

If Your Gym Membership Costs More Than Your Mortgage, You Don’t Care About Your Health, and Neither Do They By Lee Boyce

Top 10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Coconut Oil via Healthline

Glutamine: Benefits, Uses and Side Effects  By Grant Tinsley via Healthline

Aging Is B.S. – The Myth Of Missed Opportunities By Amanda Allen via Breaking Muscle

 

Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

WHY You MUST Be Able To Figure Things Out On Your OWN By Zach Even Esh

Mass That Works – Build Some Functional Hypertrophy By Charles Poliquin

Push Press Technique – Insights Into Athletic Ability By Zach Long

 

Motivation, Business, and Success

The four elements of entrepreneurship By Seth Godin

 

Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

Movement Variability versus Joint Centration By Charlie Weingroff

3 Things Causing Your Swimming Shoulder Pain By Erin Cameron via COR

How to Stop “Text Neck” from Killing You By Bo Babenko via Halevy Life

 

Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content

Flexion vs. Extension Intolerant Back Pain By John Matulevich