Breathing Basics: Advice from Spartan Race Director of Sport, Joe DI

By Joe DI Aug 24, 2016

Just breathe. Chances are, you've heard that advice before. Chances also are, you're not doing it correctly. Whether you're involved in competitive sports and looking to maximize your performance, or just looking to feel better and more focused throughout your workday, breathing properly can help.

Joe DI, Director of Sport at Spartan Race, returns as our guest blogger for the third installment in a series of posts featuring his training expertise. This time, Joe discusses why breathing has become a focus of the performance world, why he ensures his athletes and coaches practice it, and how he integrates proper approaches to breathing into their routines in a practical way. In fact, studies have shown that diaphragmatic breathing can help workplace stress by reducing cortisol levels1

Challenge yourself to follow Joe's guidance and focus on breathing the right way to improve your life, both on the field and off...

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Stressed out? Cortisol and Creatine Kinase Play Big Roles

By Laura Ligos, RD Aug 17, 2016


Being stressed out is a 21st century trend. If you're not stressed, you must be doing something wrong, right? If you're sleep-deprived, over-trained, and constantly busy, then you are deemed “super(wo)man.” Right? Well, that's wrong. When did this become the norm, and why do we think we can keep charging full speed ahead?

While we may tell ourselves that more is better, it is important to check in and see if our bodies can tolerate the way we are living. Ever been tired, but once you hit the bed you're suddenly wired? What about having a full night’s rest and waking up exhausted? This is not normal, despite the fact that many people experience such feelings. And we shouldn't trudge through life this way. Our stress hormone, cortisol, is a key component in these patterns, and it's important to understand what we are looking for when it comes to stress.

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Are You Fit Enough For Contact Sports? Rugby's All The Rage.

By Ross Yellin Aug 11, 2016

Did you know that until their loss against Fiji yesterday, Team USA was the defending Olympic Rugby Champion? That’s right, back in 1924—the last time rugby was played in the Olympics—Team USA took home the Gold. And though they weren't able to defend their title, they played hard hitting rugby, and were just narrowly edged out by the (best in the world) competition.

As a long-time rugby player, I’ve received my fair share of questions: “people play rugby in the US? There’s more than just one team? How did you get into it in the first place?” And perhaps most commonly, some iteration of: “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to get hurt?!”

The short answer to the common question: no. I’m not afraid of getting hurt, I’m afraid that if I get hurt, I may not be able to continue playing the sport I love so much. But, no matter your sport, you can relate to rugby. From sprints to tackles, and from kicks to throws, if you play a field sport, or are interested in increasing your endurance, train like a rugby player and you'll be built to impress in no time. Here, I'll not only provide a few tips on recovery and how to be rugby-ready for your upcoming season, I'll also give you a quick glimpse into the history of the sport, and a bit of “Rugby 101" so that you can join the conversation.

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Tennis Burnout? Here's How To Fix It

By Katie Mark Aug 03, 2016

The professional tennis season is 11 months long, and physical demand forces players to push their body to the limit for an entire year. Consequently, headlines announcing players pulling out of tournaments often cite fatigue as the culprit. Some players have opted to withdraw from tournaments leading up to the Rio Olympic games on August 6th in order to give their bodies some much needed rest. However, those participating in the Olympics may then experience fatigue leading into the U.S. Open, which follows just a few weeks after.

Pro tennis players' fatigue, for the most part, results from the season’s demands of training, matches, and traveling – with minimal recovery time. But, you don't have to be a pro to feel the effects of fatigue in sport; some InsideTracker users lament feeling a "lack of energy" during their own tennis matches.

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Mobility Basics: Advice from Spartan Director of Sport, Joe DI

By Joe DI Jul 27, 2016

With the Olympics drawing near and summer athletics in full swing, we're excited to welcome back a guest blogger who keeps his finger on the pulse of peak performance, Joe DiStefano, better known as “Joe DI.” Not only is he the Director of Sport at Spartan Race, he's also a longtime friend and user of InsideTracker. Last we heard from him, he shared his personal “unplugged” approach to sleeping soundly through the night, and provided the methodology for how you can do it too. In this edition, he focuses on a problem faced by many athletes, mobility.

To kick things off, Carl Valle, InsideTracker's Director of Innovation and USATF II Coach, asked Joe why he focused so heavily on the joint mobility of the foot at the Spartan Combine, and how self-care can reduce injury and keep athletes in tune with their bodies. Finally, he asked Joe to share some low-technology solutions to help address these issues for Olympians and weekend (Spartan) warriors alike.

By following his four simple tips, whether there’s a medal on the line or not, you’ll be pushing past your personal records and going for gold. Here’s what he had to say…

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These CrossFit Athletes Are Ready For The Games

By Laura Ligos, RD Jul 21, 2016

With the 2016 CrossFit Games in full swing, we wanted to share our excitement with you, our readers. Not only are we looking forward to watching the athletes fight for the title of “The Fittest,” but we are also excited to have members of the InsideTracker team at The Games this year in Vendor Village. If you are going to be there, be sure to stop by to learn how you can improve your health and fitness!

For the 10th anniversary of the Games, Games Director, Dave Castro, promised the athletes that “this year’s competition is going to push you to limits you have never pushed yourself to before. This will be the most difficult CrossFit Games, mentally and physically, we have ever done.” For the sake of good sport and competition, we hope he keeps his promise!

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Just Keep Swimming

By Laura Ligos, RD Jul 13, 2016


It’s Olympic season, so that means it’s time for a few sports to grab a bit more of the spotlight than usual. In particular, swimming seems to be the defining example. As a sport, swimming comes to the forefront every four years, peaks in popularity, and slowly treads its way back into the deep. But if you're a swimmer like me, whether you were an age-group swimmer, club swimmer, college swimmer or even a Masters swimmer, a certain sense of pride and awe comes over you as you watch the world's best swimmers go stroke-for-stroke in the Olympics. Though, perhaps more people should ride this wave and jump in. Swimming might just be the sport you've been looking for.

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Lower Your Blood Sugar With These Supplements

By Catherine Ward Jul 06, 2016


Blood glucose, more commonly known as blood sugar, is the primary source of energy for your body. It is the first thing your body turns to during activity, and provides quick energy that you can burn through before switching to burning body fat. Clearly, it’s important to have an adequate level of glucose to perform activities, but having enough glucose is not usually the issue for people. Rather, most of us have too much glucose, which can lead to weight gain, elevated triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure. Surprisingly, only 23% of InsideTracker users have an optimized glucose level, which proves that even the most health-conscious among us can have elevated blood glucose. Regular testing of blood glucose is the best way to monitor your levels, ensuring that you stay consistently in the optimal range.

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Eat Your Red, White & Blue this Independence Day!

By Diana Licalzi Jul 02, 2016

It’s 4th of July weekend and what better way to celebrate than with food? Naturally, we’re showing our patriotism in the form of nutrition – with a list of the healthiest red, white and blue foods to chow down on as you celebrate. Plus, we’ve added our favorite recipe to each color group so that you can make a healthy (but yummy) contribution at your BBQ. To borrow from our favorite film: May the Fourth be with you!

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Harvard Medical School's Dr. Kathryn Rexrode on Hormones & Health [VIDEO]

By Erin Sharoni Jun 29, 2016

When it comes to the subject of hormones, there's plenty to discuss. For most of us, hormones are as confusing and complex a topic as they are fascinating. How do they work, exactly? What roles do they play in our bodies at different points in our lives? Why are men and women affected so differently by the same ones? Thankfully, we have an expert on hand to help us sort through it all! Dr Kathryn Rexrode is a rockstar in the world of women's health, and an expert on hormones and metabolic health.

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