Meet Our Team: Trae Duncan

What is your hometown?
Baton Rouge, LA

What is your job title and favorite part of your job at Traction?
I am a Baseball Instructor and Coach at Traction. My favorite part of my job is seeing my players have success in their games after putting in the work every week in their workouts. 

Name an interesting fact about you that a lot of people don’t know.
Probably my love of photography and videography. 

What brought you into the training/sports field?
When I was in my first season in the Tampa Rays organization, I would do camps, lessons and other training with kids in the area I was in. Because of that, I knew when my time playing was done, that I wanted to pass on what I have learned to the next generation of athletes. 

What’s your favorite quote?
"Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra power it takes to win." -- Muhammad Ali

Explain your favorite exercise/drill and what is it used for.
Load and balance on back leg hitting drill is probably my favorite. I use it with a lot of my hitters for a couple of reasons - it helps with balance, power and rhythm so the hitter can be in full control of their body pre-swing. 

Meet Our Team: Will Acker

What is your hometown?
I am originally from Bay Saint Louis, a small town on the coast of Mississippi. 

What is your job title and favorite part of your job at traction?
I’m a "Sports Performance Specialist". My favorite part about my job at Traction is pushing clients to limits they did not know their body could reach. It creates a bond with that person that can last a lifetime and that is special. 

What brought you into the training/sports field?
I've been involved with sports since I was a kid, but what brought me to training was actually an injury I sustained my senior year of high school. The support around me after suffering mentally and physically from my injury, especially from my trainer and physical therapist, pushed me to become the trainer I am today.

What's your favorite/one of your favorite quotes?
"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

Explain your favorite exercise/drill and what is it used for.
I really enjoy doing any closed chain lower body exercise. I would say my current favorite is the front squat because of the amount of unsuspected exertion that is needed in the core muscles. Pushing nearly every muscle in your body to complete one goal. Just one repetition is exciting to me. The benefit of a front squat rather than a back squat is to engage more of your quads rather than your glutes. It also challenges your lower back and torso to remain upright in a powerful position during the lift.

How to Never Quit a Fitness Program

OUR INTENTIONS ARE always sincere. We start January 1st with a renewed sense of motivation. We mean to train consistently and hard, and we vow to eat healthy.  Gym memberships soar as we, once again, make that commitment that this is the year we will start a fitness program, lose weight, or build muscle. 

Here are three common mistakes typically made that result in quitting a fitness program along with the best solutions for each.

Mistake 1 - I don’t have time this week. I’ll start over (again) on Monday. 

Take a mental check. Are you purposely sabotaging your plans and desire to feel better? What is the magic of Monday? Why not start today? 

Solution: Make the time.

One of the most common reasons given for not exercising is “I don’t have time.” 

This is typically a perceived barrier, not based on reality. We find time to watch TV and scroll through Facebook – if we really want to, we can find 30 minutes a day to exercise. If someone paid you $1,000 every day to exercise for 30 minutes, would you be too busy? Probably not.

One way to help the perceived lack of time is to physically put it on your calendar. You block out time in your calendar for meetings at work or picking up your children from school. Training should be no different. Keep this appointment with yourself as you would keep a doctor’s appointment. 

Mistake 2 - I’m not getting results as fast as I want. 

Too many times our fitness plans are either too aggressive or even unrealistic. Way too often, we start without a plan at all! Would you start a vacation without specific travel plans? Again, probably not. 

Solution: Keep goals realistic. Set precise goals. Be accountable.

Keep goals realistic:  When setting your goals, they have to be realistic. They have to be achievable. If you expect to lose weight quickly, or gain muscle fast and don’t, or even over do it, you are more likely to quit.  Fat loss, toning, and/or muscle building all take time. To truly achieve results, require a “road map".

Set precise goals:  In order to have realistic goals, it’s important to set precise goals or a “road map”. Your vacation required planning. Did you go to the beach or the mountains, drive or fly, stay in a 5-star hotel or camp? Your fitness program should have a specific plan also.

Make a “road map” by setting precise goals that you can realistically achieve, break these goals down to specific activities you will do per month as well as per week and even daily, then you will stop yourself from getting disheartened and keep yourself motivated.

Be accountable: If you’re not intrinsically motivated to train, then accountability from others can help you to start and keep going.  It’s easy to quit when we’ve only made a pact with ourselves and nobody else is counting on us. Invite friends or family members to exercise with you, join a gym class, or hire a personal trainer.  

Mistake 3 - I don’t like going to the gym. 

Do you hate running on the treadmill, or find the gym environment too loud, too quiet, too sweaty, or too expensive?  

Solution: Think outside the gym.

With a little creativity and proper planning, you can effectively design your fitness program. The treadmill can be miserably boring, so instead, find an outdoor track or play a high-cardio game such as basketball. Parks with well-designed running and walking paths have stations to perform body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, push ups, etc.

The body responds to a lot of different exercise stimuli. Running, swimming, biking, strength training, dancing, and yoga have great effects over a period of time.  But don’t stick with just one.  Mix it up. Strength train two days a week and complement that with yoga or dancing two days. 

Don’t quit!

Understand your excuses and preconceived barriers. Then start by making one positive change and stick with it. When it becomes part of your “normal”, make another positive change. Don’t quit, and you will see yourself start to transform in a few months, and over the years, to the person you have the passion to become!

Meet Our Team: Sherry Mockler

What is your hometown? 
St. Louis, Missouri

What is your job title and favorite part of your job at Traction?
Director of Adult Programming

My favorite part of my job  at Traction is working with Traction’s team of top-rated trainers. Our trainers work together to support not only each other, but each other’s clients and athletes as well. Every day we inspire clients, from our middle school athletes to our professionals to our adults, to bring and be their absolute best. Working around trainers like we have, who have accomplished so much in their life and sport, is like getting a dose of adrenaline and motivation every time I step into the gym. 

As Director of Adult Programming, and working largely with adults, I help people get stronger, lose weight, and embrace that sense of confidence that comes with feeling and functioning better. Working at Traction is actually not work, it’s a blessing. 

Name an interesting fact about you that a lot of people don’t know.
I participated in the Jungfrau Marathon World Championship in the Swiss Alps to celebrate my 50th birthday and finished in the top 15%. I participated in triathlons from 1997-2006 and was a top ranked female in my age group in the Louisiana Section of USA Triathlon. Prior to running and triathlons, I was a competitive water skier in the mid-west and water skied for the University of Texas-Austin and LSU.  Probably what most people find interesting though, is that I am the mother of 6 children.  

What brought you into the training/sports field?
Passion. Passion to compete to be my best. Passion to see how far I can go and then push harder. I became a strength trainer to help other’s find that as well on whatever level that is.  Being in the gym and strength training is not only about increasing performance and strength; it’s about not being scared to find out what you’re made of and then pushing beyond that every single day.  Therein lies true strength. 

What’s your favorite/one of your favorite quotes?
Search for your sport, your challenge, your own self-resuscitating obsession, and you will find the person you have the passion to become! 

Meet Our Team: Keri Bourgeois

Keri Bourgeois has been a key Traction team member for a long time. A lifetime athlete herself, Keri brings a competitive spirit to our Adult Training Program and helps Traction clients achieve results they may not have expected. 

Want to know more about her favorite exercise or what motivates her? Read below for some Q&A:

What is your hometown? 
Lutcher, Louisiana

What is your job title and favorite part of your job at Traction?
My job title is a performance/personal trainer. My favorite part of my job is being able to help people reach their goals. The moment when my clients accomplish a goal or task is so rewarding. I love being a part of their success.

Name an interesting fact about you that a lot of people don’t know.
One thing that I think is interesting about myself is that I get to share a really great award with my siblings. I am the oldest of three kids and we all won athlete of the year our senior year of high school. Being apart of a competitive and athletic family has definitely made me the way I am today and a reason why I am in the sports training field. 

What brought you into the training/sports field? 
I have been a competitive person my whole life. As a young girl and through high school I was a multi-sport athlete. I decided not to further my athletic career in college, but I still consider myself an athlete. I have the mindset of an athlete as well as a work ethic as one. That mindset and my competitiveness is definitely what pulled me towards the sport training field.

What’s your favorite/one of your favorite quotes?
"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway" -Earl Nightingale

Explain your favorite exercise/drill and what is it used for. 
My favorite exercise is the single leg RDL. The exercise works on balance and stability as well as strengthens the hamstring and glute. This exercise is so important for athletic performance, overall general health, as well as preventing injury. 

Add this Exercise “King” to Your Workout

Whether you are a fitness enthusiast, a weekend warrior, or training for sports such as tennis, soccer, or running, this is a must-add exercise to your training program. No equipment is necessary and it's a game changer in terms of balance, stability, mobility, and strength. It’s the reaching Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL). 

Why the Single-Leg RDL?  

  1. Great posterior chain work. When performing a Single-Leg RDL, you are working the back of your legs and hips – or your posterior chain, most notably, glutes and hamstring. These are powerful hip extensors and play a key role in all walking, running, and jumping activities. 

    The upper-body posterior chain includes the back extensors, traps, rhomboids, and deltoids which have to work hard during the Single-Leg RDL to keep your body in alignment and prevent rotation through the hips and shoulders. These important postural muscles need to be strong to prevent rounding shoulders and slumping. 
     
  2. It’s a unilateral (one-sided) movement pattern specific to life and sport. If you take a closer look at our daily activities or how athletes move in a particular sport, many times we are in a split stance position. Walking, running, and jumping all occur on one leg and then the other. If we routinely rely on one side of the body to perform the movement or task, imbalances can develop.

    While this may not be a big deal for relatively inactive individuals, those who exercise regularly or athletes may eventually suffer from poor performance or even injury.  Being a unilateral exercise, the Single-Leg RDL can be a corrective exercise for those imbalances.
     
  3. The perfect exercise trifecta: balance, stability, and mobility.

    Balance:  Strength-training machines and exercises using two legs at the same time (bilateral) do not develop balance as well as a unilateral exercise. The Single-Leg RDL challenges you more quickly and efficiently by requiring the inner and outer thigh muscles (adductors and abductors) to fire in a synchronized manner in order to maintain balance. 

    Stability:  Performing the Single-Leg RDL forces you to use lateral hip muscles (glute medius) whose primary function is to stabilize the lower body in running, jumping, and squatting. Healthy function of the ankle, knee, and hip is maximized when the hip displays great stability.

    Mobility:  Hips are designed for mobility and it’s rare to find a person who doesn’t need hip mobility work. The Single-Leg RDL serves as a hip mobility drill that can be used prior to any strength training program or athletic event. 
     
  4. Can be progressed to a strength exercise. Once mastered with body weight, the Single-Leg RDL can be progressed to a strength exercise.  This can be done by holding a Kettlebell and, while hinging the hips backward and extending the same-side leg back, lowering the KB to the ground just outside the grounded foot.  

How to Perform

Stand and place a cone about 24” in front of your toes.

Step 1:

With feet shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent, lift one leg about 1” off the floor.  Flex the knee on your standing/support leg about 15-20% to activate the glutes. Keep it flexed throughout the exercise.

Step 2:

Extend the lifted leg toward the back wall while simultaneously reaching forward and extending the same side hand. “Hinge” (push) your hips back while reaching. Be careful not to fold forward. Lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor, reach, and tap the cone. If you find the cone too low, use a taller object. Think about getting as long as possible through the back leg and the reaching arm. 

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Step 3:

Briefly pause at the bottom, then squeeze your glutes, push your hips forward, and return to the starting position.

Complete 8-10 reps. Shoot for 3 sets on each leg.

While the reaching Single-Leg RDL seems simple enough, don’t be fooled. It’s much more challenging than it appears.  

Try adding the reaching Single-Leg RDL cone drill to your training program two days per week on an on-going basis if you want to improve your balance, stability, and mobility, gain hip and knee stability, and strengthen your hips and glutes.  It has rightly earned its title “king of posterior-chain exercises!"

Meet Our Team: Brad Cresse

Brad Cresse has been an integral part of the Traction team from the beginning. His passion for training and truly impacting the players he coaches is remarkable and is felt by athletes and parents alike. We are proud to have him on our team! 

Want to know more about his favorite exercises or what motivates him? Read below for some Q&A:

What is your hometown?  
Seal Beach, California

What is your job title and favorite part of your job at Traction? 
I am the Director of Sports Operations and Player Development at Traction. My favorite part of my job is providing a fun and structured environment for young athletes to learn and train to maximize their potential.

What's an interesting fact about you that a lot of people don’t know.
My godfather is hall of fame LA Dodgers Manager, Tommy Lasorda.

What brought you into the training/sports field?
Coaching has been in my blood since I was very young. My father started a baseball school when I was five years old and that taught me all the fundamentals and skills along with discipline and structure.  I further developed my baseball education by playing under some of the best coaches in the country during my four years at Louisiana State University and seven years in professional baseball.  I am very passionate about the game and truly enjoy paying it forward to young athletes today.

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“You can’t soar with the eagles if you hoot with the owls.”  That's one of my favorite quotes because it's something my father always told me.  You cannot be at your best on or off the field if you don’t get the proper rest, both mentally and physically, and make wise decisions. 

Explain your favorite exercise/drill and what is it used for.  
The best drill has to be throwing program/long toss.  It is used to train Traction players how to throw the baseball correctly using the proper mechanics needed to give every player the best chance to be accurate and prevent injury. Long toss program helps with improving arm strength. 

Meet Our Team: Carlos Rachel

Carlos Rachel's mission at Traction is to help individuals become the absolute best they can be - mentally and physically – and to reach goals that were previously beyond their wildest dreams.

Want to know more about his favorite exercises or what motivates him? Read below for some Q&A:

Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the Westbank in Harvey, Louisiana. 

What is your job title and favorite part of your job at Traction?
I am the Sports Performance Director/Personal Training Director. My favorite part of my job is helping clients/athletes get better each and every day.

Name an interesting fact about you that a lot of people don’t know
I was an All-State baseball player and named a McDonald's A+ athlete as a senior in high school. 

What brought you into the Training/Sport field?
I graduated from LSU in Kinesiology and have been playing sports ever since I was four years old; therefore, it is something I feel very comfortable around and love doing.

What’s your favorite quote?
"The true meaning of a champion is the ability to overcome adversity."

Explain your favorite exercise/drill and what it is used for
That's a tough one because I have so many I enjoy using with everyone. If I had to narrow it down, I would say it's a tie between DB Snatch and any form of Hip Thrust.  I like those because they are posterior chain dominant exercises and so many exercises that most people want to do are anterior chain exercises. More often than not, people forget to work muscles such as glutes, hamstrings, and back. These muscles will help with posture, core strength, and joint stability to decrease knee, hip, back, and neck issues.

IS THIS FITNESS GADGET IN YOUR GYM BAG?

Foam Rollers.

Foam rollers became popular in the1980s by Broadway dancers as an affordable alternative to expensive massages.

Today, with the pressure created by your own body weight, foam rollers are used to release muscle knots and tightness in the back, hips, legs, arms, and other parts of the body prior to a workout to improve flexibility or after a workout to reduce muscle soreness and promote quicker recovery. Foam rollers can also be used to increase core stability and balance.

Why foam roll?

Foam rolling is a self myofascial release (SMF) technique used by fitness enthusiasts, athletes, and physical therapists to target tense and overworked muscles. It is similar to myofascial release, a common technique in massage, otherwise known as deep-tissue massage. Licensed Massage Therapists use their hands, elbows or other tools to press directly on a tight muscle until it releases its tension.  

According to Robbie Bolton, Physical Therapist at Traction Elite Physical Therapy in Baton Rouge, “As therapists, we treat connective tissue dysfunction with tool assisted methods, using our hands for active release, even using different forms of dry needling.  The foam roller is a great adjunct to treatment for active individuals to use pre and post activity”.

What exactly is myofascia?

Myofascia is the band of connective tissue covering, supporting, and connecting muscles and internal organs (“myo” meaning muscle and “fascia” fibrous connective tissue). Many think of fascia as one continuous body stocking that runs from the top of your head to your toes and lies just underneath the skin. It has no beginning or end. Fascia is also sometimes described as yarn in a sweater that is one continuous weave. And like in a tightly knit sweater, if you tug on one end of the sweater, you see the tug travel the long distance to other ends of the sweater.  

In a normal healthy state, fascia is relaxed and helps to maintain posture, range of motion and flexibility, which gives us tremendous strength and can help prevent injuries.  However, when fascia is damaged or traumatized it can become too tight and cause a number of problems such as headaches, muscle spasms, chronic back and neck pain, poor posture, and reduced flexibility and mobility.  

When to foam roll?

According to Strength and Conditioning Research columnist, Chris Beardsley, in his article Foam Rolling and Self-Myofascial Release, research has shown that static stretching can reduce strength prior to a workout or athletic performance. He continued stating that “foam rolling can be used immediately before exercise to increase flexibility, particularly as there seems to be no adverse effect on athletic performance.  Regular use may also improve flexibility long-term.  Foam rolling can also be used in the short-term after exercise to reduce the sensation of muscle soreness”.

Types of rollers.

The construction of the foam roller determines the cost.  Foam rollers differ in size, shape, foam type, and cost.  Most foam rollers are color coded according to firmness. White rollers are the softest, followed by blue or green rollers of medium density, and black foam rollers, which are the firmest. The firmer the foam, the more intense the pressure.

The smaller 12’ foam rollers fit easily in to gym bags as well as fitness balls and rollers sticks. All of which can easily be found at any sports store or purchased on-line.

Other ways to use your foam rollers.

Foam rollers don’t have to be used just for active release, but can also be used during stability and core exercises exercises such as planks and push ups, or balance work during lunges, and is a perfect prop for stretching. 

So if you’re looking for a new workout gadget to keep yourself moving freely, decrease bound muscles, and lower your risk of injury, foam rolling could be a great place to start to keep your “sweater” free from knots.

Author: Sherry Mockler
Adult Performance Director
Traction Sports Performance

Meet Our Team: Tevin Moton

Tevin Moton has been a part of the Traction team for five years. We're putting him in the spotlight for the month of October. He is a personal trainer and is the Director of PEP (Performance Enhancement Programs).

Want to know more about his favorite exercises or what he likes to eat on his cheat days? Read below for some Q&A:

Where did you grow up? 
I was born in Texas, but my important years (so far) have been spent in Baton Rouge.

What is your job title and favorite part of your job at Traction?
Here at Traction I am the Director of Collegiate and High School PEP Programs. My favorite part of my job is the interactions with kids from all different sports and backgrounds and the confidence you get to see them build as they become better athletes.

Name an interesting fact about you that a lot of people don’t know. 
I love pizza, fried chicken, sour candy and cookies - ALL at the same time.

What brought you into the Training/Sport field? 
Mack actually trained me while I played football at Southeastern State University. I immediately loved the training world and the concept of being able to teach, mold and shape athletes into the best they can be in their sports!

What’s your favorite/one of your favorite quotes?
"I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again." - Etienne de Grellet

Explain your favorite exercise/drill and what is it used for. 
My favorite exercise is the rear foot elevated split squat, or "Bulgarian." Most of our athletes say it's used for torture but it's really used as a lower body single leg exercise, so we can separate the strength of one leg from the other. It's so great because it hits the entire lower body from quads, hamstrings to glutes!

From a Humble Beginning to Now: Traction Enters our 10th Year in Business

By: Mack Chuilli

As we begin our tenth year of business at Traction, it is always very humbling for me to remember where I was 10 years ago. I can still recall seeing the few athletes that I had at that time rolling their eyes as I tried to convince them that the empty lot on Opportunity Avenue was going to be a brand new training facility.

Those training days were anything but convenient for my athletes as we had to travel from place to place to complete our training sessions. We did speed and agility work on the track and football field at Woodlawn High School followed by a short drive to Anytime Fitness on Coursey Boulevard to do our strength training. It was athletes like Darnell Lazare, Bennie Brazell, and others that trusted me with their careers despite these circumstances and gave me the confidence to invest my life savings into opening my own sports performance training facility. 

During that time, I remember training clients anytime and anywhere that I could. I even remember training one kid three days a week in the parking lot of his parent’s work. I knew how important it was for me to build up my clientele as I waited for the construction of my new facility to be complete. I understood that once the construction was complete and we were ready to open for business, my personal income would only come after all of the overhead of the facility was paid. I had signed a seven year lease on this project and there was no turning back.

This was also a time when I was getting married to my now wife, Jill Chuilli. I remember I had to ride to Sherwin Williams the morning of my wedding to pick out the paint colors for the facility. I also left my phone with my best friend and business partner, Eddie Parfait, while I was on my honeymoon so he could handle all of the final construction details while I was gone. My wife and I knew that when we returned from our honeymoon, my real work would begin. We knew the risk I was taking and we also knew how hard it would be. 

Our doors opened on August 1, 2007 in our brand new, 7,000 square foot training facility. I was Traction's only employee. I was the trainer, marketer, receptionist, janitor, baseball coach, etc.

It has been such a blessing to watch how much we have grown over the last nine years. We now have two locations in Baton Rouge, including our original location where we now occupy the full 9,000 square feet and own the property outright. Our Burbank location is over 20,000 square feet and includes our Traction Elite Physical Therapy Clinic, four turfed baseball fields, a seven cage covered hitting complex, a sprint track, and a training football field. I have great business partners in Ryan Theriot, Eddie Parfait, and Ryan Clark. We have the best staff in the industry and an abundance of some of the greatest and most loyal clients any company could ever ask for.

I have had so many employees, partners, clients, and mentors who helped me along the way. I can’t even begin to name all of them without boring you to death. Let's just say Traction would not be what it is today without each and every one of you.

I truly want to thank everyone who has been a part of our journey from the bottom of my heart. Our vision continues to grow as our company does, and we look forward to the next 10 years with our Traction family!

WHY SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT FOR TRAINING

It's a common misconception that exercise-driven results are created during our training sessions. The truth is that the real change comes during down time, particularly sleep. With packed and busy schedules, it's easy to cut corners and convince ourselves that we only need a few hours of sleep. Unfortunately, even though it may feel like you're balancing it all, you are actually doing yourself a disservice when you fail to take recovery time. Don't miss out o na full 7+ hours of sleep per night! 

A LETTER TO THE TRACTION FAMILY

As we approach the end of our 8th year of business here at Traction, we are really excited to update you on the future of our company. In just the last few years, Traction has grown to become one of the leading performance training facilities in the southeast region. It goes without saying that we would not be where we are today without the support that we have received from the local community, but more specifically, from our families, teams, and athletes. 

I wanted to take this moment to update you on some exciting changes as we continue to grow from a local business into a national brand. Traction is proud to announce our new partnership with Marucci Sports. Marucci has become the most used bat in Major League Baseball and was highlighted in Forbes Magazine as one of the most promising growth brands in America. They will provide each of our athletes with the finest equipment, apparel, and products needed to be successful.

With this new partnership, we are really excited (and a bit saddened) to announce that on January 1st, we will move all operations from our current facility to our new facility, Traction C.S.E. @ Marucci Sportsplex, located at 9222 Burbank Dr. (formerly known as Marucci Elite). Our new facility will encompass 20,000 sq. ft. of indoor training space, a physical therapy clinic, nutritional cafe, and multiple outdoor turf athletic fields. This move will help us provide Baton Rouge with the finest team of coaches, performance specialists, physical therapists, nutritionists, and orthopedic doctors as well as access to one of the top training and sports facilities anywhere in the country.

Having witnessed first hand how Marucci's CEO Kurt Ainsworth and the Marucci family have grown from a small local company into a national brand, we believe that this partnership will help provide Baton Rouge with the most well-rounded, multi-sport training program and facilities in the nation. This partnership will also spark the birth of our new sports academy called Capital City Sports Academy. This new Sports Academy will be kick started by the merging of the Marucci Baseball Program and The Riot Baseball Program. Our new baseball program will be called Capital City Baseball and called the Canes (short for hurricane with Capital City giving the teams a more specific location. These teams will be fully outfitted with Marucci uniforms and products. We are also very excited to announce the addition of former LSU great Brad Cresse to our team as the Director of Baseball Operations as well as Leslie Noren as our Director of Facility Operations.

We are extremely proud of the successful impact we have had on athletes in our local community, and with this new partnership, we are excited to work with Marucci to continue that trend. Again, thank you so much for your support over the last 8 years and your continued support moving forward.

Bests - Mack