What to Make of Foam Rollers and Massage Guns?

Sean Gallagher was the first physical therapist listed as using a foam roller as a self-message tool back in 1987 [1]. A couple decades later, foam rollers became all the rage. Not only do you still see foam rollers in every gym, but they’ve evolved with various patterns and grids to target deeper muscles and tissues. Additionally, vibration foam rollers (VFRs) that combine the vibration technology with foam rollers have been created [2]. And recently, you see massage guns widely marketed which combine many of these aspects of self-message, deep tissue manipulation, and vibration or percussive technology. A commercial of pro golfer Colin Morikawa was released showing him using his massage gun as a warm-up, cool-down, and mid-round tool [3]. But how do these self-massage tools work? What benefits do they actually provide? If they are… Read More

The Top Exercises for Optimal Core Strength

Strong abdominal muscles help stabilize the trunk and unload lumbar spine stress [1]. This not only helps prevent lower back pain which is the number one cause of disability for people under 45 [2] but it can help improve posture and physical performance [3]. But more importantly, strong abdominal muscles provide you those 6-pack abs. Who cares about back pain, posture, or performance because what really matters is what our stomach looks like in the mirror right? Well, if that’s the case you’ll have much better luck reducing your body fat percentage down to around 10% as a male and 16% as a female because abs are built through exercise but more importantly revealed through nutrition [4]. Either way, a strong core will help with all these goals. But what muscles are in the core? What exercises does the science show best target and activate… Read More

From 150k in Debt to 300k Invested by 30

Back when I completed my undergraduate program at 21 years old, I entered the real world with 90k of student loan debt. Apparently, that didn’t intimidate me too much as I bought a new car and went back to school for my graduate degree. In total, I racked up over 150k of debt and knew I needed to not only get financially educated, but to put together a rock-solid plan to get back on track. This not only led me to minimalism where I’ve reduced my spending to only things that make me healthier or happier, but also to the world of financial literacy, independence, and investing. This plan has allowed me to not only become completely debt-free, but also to accumulate 300k in investments. And although I’ve detailed the 7-step plan I used to get here, today I’m going to detail exactly how that plan has played out including all my investments. All… Read More

Ranking The Healthiest Food Groups

When looking at the top sources of calories consumed by the average American, we get: #1 Desserts. #2 Breads. #3 Chicken. #4 Soda. and #5 Pizza [1]. Ladies and gentlemen, the Standard American Diet. After seeing this list, it made me wonder, what are the healthiest foods? If we were to gauge the healthiness of foods based on their protective effects against chronic disease, their nutrition label, and their complete nutrient profile, what foods groups would rise to the top? And what food groups should be our top sources of calories? Well, let’s get into it! First, I wanted to look at the associations between food groups and the risk of diet-related chronic disease (DRCD). And for this, I found a fascinating study, of studies, of studies. That’s a mouthful. So, a meta-analysis or systematic review is a study of many studies. It’s an effective… Read More

Should You Nap Regularly? Here’s Why I Don’t

There are some people who nap in response to sleep loss. This is called replacement napping. If you only got 4 hours of sleep last night, then you may nap to replace that loss. That might not work but more on that later. There are other people who nap to prepare for sleep loss. This is called prophylactic napping. If you know you’re only going to get 4 hours of sleep, so you nap in preparation for that loss. That might work, but again more on that later. And there are others who nap for enjoyment. This is called appetitive napping [1]. If you nap because you have absolutely nothing better going on in your life. Then you’re just lazy. Just kidding, I’m 30 so I don’t judge people anymore. Nap away! But no matter your reason, does regular napping have evidence-based benefits? What is the optimal nap duration and time of day? And why… Read More

5 Life Changing Perspectives By 30

I’m 30! Like today is my birthday! Happy birthday to me! Let’s gooooo (Tom Brady style)! So today I’m going to take a little different approach to the post and detail five of the most important perspectives I’ve acquired over three decades on this earth. That’s 30 years! Because I’m 30! And hopefully shed some light on what I’ve learned and what’s allowed me to be so happy. Besides the fact that it’s my birthday and I’m 30! Let’s get into it! One of the things that’s changed for me is my perspective on money. Throughout high school and college, I was always interested in becoming wealthy and buying a Tesla, a jet ski, and a mansion on the water. I really thought money and status symbols would lead towards happiness. But that just isn’t the case. There’s many rich people driving Lamborghinis to their third house wishing for an accident to end it… Read More

Is It Worth Buying Organic Food?

Organic food costs about 10% more than conventional food [1]. On top of this, the European Union Council Regulation doesn’t include any mention of organic foods having a higher nutritional quality or healthiness compared to conventional food. And despite this, many consumers still perceive organic food to be healthier than conventional food and are willing pay a premium. Now there is some evidence of decreased pesticide residues on organic food but even the significance of these differences is questionable because actual levels of contamination in organic and conventional foods are well below acceptable limits [2]. So, does eating organic have any benefits? Is its nutritional quality the same as conventional foods? Do the miniscule amounts of pesticides not matter at all? And are there even potential downsides of eating organic that you want… Read More

Dopamine… The Key to Mood and Motivation

Dopamine is a word that’s increased in popularity every year with many people knowing it as the pleasure or feel-good hormone [1,2]. Eat a delicious chocolate bar? Dopamine hit. Scroll past a hilarious Tik Tok? Dopamine hit. Successfully toss an eaten apple core into your compost bucket fifteen feet away? Dopamine hit. Dopamine is this hormone that produces pleasure often from addictive or unhealthy behaviors, or does it? If dopamine isn’t the pleasure hormone it’s advertised to be, what is its purpose? How is it so easily abused and is there a way we can utilize our dopamine system to drive sustained positive mood and productive motivation? Well, let’s get into it! It was once thought that surges of dopamine¬†directly caused pleasure, but scientists now think dopamine has more to do with getting us to repeat pleasurable activities rather than… Read More

How to Prevent Running Injuries and What I Did Wrong

Running is associated with high rates of injury,¬†with injury causation often complex and multifactorial [1]. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way this summer by running into shin splints, a groin strain, and a hamstring strain all within two weeks. Months of progress and running halted from my body breaking down. And more than anything, it was extremely frustrating that I couldn’t run anymore on these 90-degree beautiful days and equally frustrating that this could happen to me when I thought I’d been so methodical. Well, after reviewing my running logs, training routine, and all the scientific evidence surrounding running injury prevention, it appears that I was due for these injuries eventually. What did I do wrong? Although most people think stretching and appropriate footwear are the key to injury prevention [2], do they even… Read More

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin N?

For 99.99% of humanity, we never worried about getting this crucial vitamin because we were bathing in it [1]. But over the past couple hundred years, we’ve mostly escaped it except for weekend adventures. And if you think I’m referring to the Vitamin D provided by sunlight, you’re close! But I’m talking about Vitamin N… Nature! What benefits does exposure to nature have on stress levels, immune health, and our cognitive state? If the benefits are really derived from the environment, what mechanisms are involved? What’s the optimal dosage or time in nature needed to reap these benefits and will I show you my secret source for this elixir of life? Well, if I did, I wouldn’t want tens of my followers all flocking there at once, it getting overcrowded, the town having to close it down, and me never being able to hike there again. So maybe I won’t. Or maybe… Read More

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