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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!

 

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 44

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

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

Performance Programming Principles: Installment 2  By Eric Cressey

The 3 Main Goals of an Assessment By Dean Somerset

Step-by-Step Glute Training By Mike Robertson

 

Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

Why You Might Not Need to Learn More About Nutrition By Mike Roussell

Carbohydrates – My Take on Carbs By Charles Poliquin

The Greatest Public Health Mistake of the 20th Century By Joseph Mercola

Honey Lemon Water: An Effective Remedy or Urban Myth? By Jillian Kubala via Health Line

7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Selenium By Jillian Kubala via Health Line

 

Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

Are You Making These Strength Training Mistakes By G John Mullen via COR

Complete Core Questions By Michael Boyle

Get Tough: A Beginner’s Guide To Impact Training By Walter Dorey via Breaking Muscle

 

Motivation, Business, and Success

The Power of Accepting Personal Responsibility By Jen Comas via Girls Gone Strong

Truth: Half of What We Call ‘Fitness’ Isn’t Fitness at All By Lee Boyce

Before you design a chart or infographic By Seth Godin

Don’t create new content. Repurpose content. By Sol Orwell

 

Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

[VIDEO] Recent Training and Evaluation Insights By Charlie Weingroff

Research

Science Is Self-Correcting – The Case Of The Hip Thrust And Its Effects On Speed By Bret Contreras

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 40

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View last week’s edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

Trouble Shooting Your Program: 5 Powerful Principles for Better Adaptation By Jeff Moyer via Just Fly Sports

Perceived Value and the Fitness Industry By Dean Somerset

You’re Supporting the Get Rich Quick Schemes of 21 Year Olds, and It’s Ruining Fitness By Lee Boyce

Online Coaching: Past, Present and Future By Mike Robertson

 

Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

The Truth About Coconut Oil and Your Heart By Sean Hyson via Onnit Academy

Having low blood pressure also carries health risks By Buddy Touchinsky

 

Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

Step Up Your Quad And Glute Strength And Hypertrophy With Step-Downs  By Meghan Callaway

 

Motivation, Business, and Success

The TV Shows You Watch Are Making You Broke  By Tim Denning via Addicted 2 Success

Forget “career hacks”… Here’s the real key to career success that almost no one is talking about.  via Precision Nutrition

3 STRONG Life Success Tips & Why Successful People Are Considered “Crazy” By Zach Even Esh

Brandscaping and the Fitness Industry By Eric Cressey

45 Lessons I’ve Learned Along The Way…  By Pat Rigsby

 

Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

2 Halfs of a Hamstring  By Dean Somerset

5 Reasons Why I Don’t Use the Sleeper Stretch and Why You Shouldn’t Either By Mike Reinold via The Manual Therapist

Must-Follow Guide for Strength Training AFTER Physical Therapy  via COR

 

Research

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

Featured Fitness Content: Volume 39

Posted on

View last week’s edition of ‘Featured Fitness Content’ here.

Personal Training, Coaching, and Strength & Conditioning

Interview with Lee Taft on Coaching Agility, Speed and Athletic Movement By Joel Smith with Lee Taft

Why I Don’t Like Scap Push-ups By Eric Cressey

 

Weight Loss, Nutrition, and General Health

How Much Cardio Do You Need To Get Ripped For Summer?  By Sean Hyson via Onnit Academy

A Really Bad Long Term Strategy for Weight Loss By Mike Roussell

Doctors should emphasize exercise, not weight loss By Buddy Touchinsky

 

Strength Training, Powerlifting, and Bodybuilding

8 Mobility Moves For Better Squatting, Pressing, and Pulling By Mark DiSalvo via Onnit Academy

7 Tips for a Bigger Bench  By Bret Contreras

3 Ways to Reduce Stress and Improve Recovery During Your Next Workout By Harold Gibbons via Mark Fisher Fitness

28 Years of Lifting: Strength Training In Your 40s & Training As You Get Older By Zach Even Esh

 

Motivation, Business, and Success

5 Powerful Life Lessons From the Book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss By Liam Seed via Addicted 2 Success

How To *Not* Be A Spineless Leader By Tim Denning via Addicted 2 Success

How to Build a Fitness Practice that Brings You Joy  By Elizabeth Stacey via Mark Fisher Fitness

Waking up to life By Kim Lloyd

 

Physical Therapy, Alignment, and Injury Prevention

6 Hip Mobility Drills Everyone Should Perform By Mike Reinold

[VIDEO] Communicating with Docs, PTs working as Strength Coaches & Essential Reading for Students With Mike Reinold

Stretching Isn’t Bullshit  By Jasper De Coninck via Dean Somerset

 

Research

Fact check: Is boxed macaroni and cheese actually toxic?  By Kamal Patel via Examine

 

Ruthless Performance Coaches’ Content

Why Do We Need Fats in Our Diet? By Jesse Rodriguez

Why Do We Need Fats in Our Diet?

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Fat is a more concentrated source of dietary energy than carbohydrate and protein.  Fats concentrated source of energy is about 9 kcal/g (carbohydrates and proteins provide only about 4 kcal/g). Fatty acids from meat and dairy products are relatively saturated. Fatty acids from plant sources are generally more unsaturated. Then there are essential fatty acids (needed from diet) such as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s) – omega-6 (linoleic acid) and omega-3 (alpha linolenic acid) fatty acids.

  • Omega – 3 (grain, fresh fruits, veggies, fish, olive oil, garlic, wine) – help reduce inflammation, highly concentrated in the brain
  • Omega – 6 (meat based, vegetable oil) – promote inflammation

 

We need fats because of its good source of metabolic energy (carbon oxidation) and its preferred choice of energy storing (2 to 3 weeks’ storage). Fats also plays many roles in body making it essential for health and wellness. Some roles include:

  • Increased absorption of Fat-Soluble Vitamins (A, D, E, K) – Vitamin E also playing a role as antioxidant.
  • Formation of steroids such as:
  • Cholesterol, the most abundant steroid in the body, is widely distributed in all cells and serves as a major membrane component
  • Bile salts aid in the digestion of fats
  • Ergosterol, a yeast steroid, is converted to vitamin D by ultraviolet radiation
  • Adrenal cortex hormones – involved in metabolism
  • Sex hormones – testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone
  • Anti-inflammatory properties – aiding in recovery
  • Efficient energy source in long duration exercises such as marathons/triathlons.

 

Fat gets a bad rap but it is crucial for our health. It is true that fat can be harmful for our bodies if excessively consumed, especially by trans fatty acids and hydrogenated oils – think chips, donuts, fried foods, etc. The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommends that between 20 percent and 35 percent of calories should come from dietary fat. Include a variety of different fats and oils into your diet for optimum health. Incorporate plant based fats for added benefits such as walnuts, peanuts, almonds, chia seeds, hemp seeds which promote anti-inflammatory properties.

 

 

References

Gropper S. Sareen and Smith L. Jack, Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism (7th edition)

http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/media/press-releases/positions-and-issues/updated-academy-position-amount-and-types-of-fat-we-eat-affect-health-and-risk-of-disease

 

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.

Top 5 Foods for Recovery

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**Editor’s Note: Enjoy learning more about nutrition or interested in a personalized meal plan from a Ruthless Performance Nutritionist? Fill out the contact form at RuthlessPerformance.com/contact for more details**

Recovery

Lean meats

Some of my favorite meats are chicken breasts, turkey, and fish. If you happen to have meats with fat, simply remove the fat to make it “lean”.

Flax and chia seeds

Flax and chia are great toppings to add on such as oatmeal, smoothies, and yogurt. Both are high omega 3 fatty acids to help fight inflammation. Our diets mostly consist of omega 6 fatty acids but we need to complement these with the aforementioned omega 3’s to avoid negative, pro-inflammatory effects.

Tart cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice has been trending for some time now in sports nutrition but for a good reason. This can be the ideal drink, when paired with a protein source to maximize recovery. Tart cherry juice contains antioxidants to fight inflammation along with melatonin to aid in sleep, on top of carbohydrates, which are needed to refuel the tank.

Avocado

We need fat in our diet, however most consume too much unhealthy fat such as trans and saturated fat. Avocado is a good source in mono and poly-unsaturated fat. This helps lower Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels and raises our good levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL).

Chocolate Milk

The most common recovery drink we see still stands because of its carb-to-protein ratio for absolute recovery. If you happen to be lactose intolerant, simply switch the milk for soy or any other lactose free milk. Just be aware that some may only contain a few grams of protein.

 

These select foods are either anti-inflammatory to aid in repair from further muscle damage or contain complete protein for more efficient muscle rebuilding. Add them in your recovery meals or shakes to make the most out of your workouts and to maximize health and wellness.

To incorporate this in your diet, a good example after a workout would be to chug a cherry juice and a chocolate milk. Then, have a balanced post-workout meal. Make sure to compliment your meat (or other protein source) with some avocado, vegetables, and whole grains. Serving sizes vary and can depend on your goals. If you decide to consume a protein snack before bed, don’t be afraid to add chia or flax seeds with it.