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How Your Computer Monitor Is Slowly Killing Your Eyes, And What You Can Do About It.

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Do you ever get headaches after working on a computer for a long time?

Eye strain?

Mild irritation?

Brain fog?

It’s not all in your head.

See, just like most televisions, computer monitors “flicker”.  Monitors have been flickering for many years, but most people don’t realize this because the flicker is invisible. However, the flicker is still very hard on your eyes and is just one of the computer monitor issues responsible for the growing epidemic of near-sightedness and myopia – also known as “computer vision syndrome“.

Even fancy, modern PC LCD monitors are not flicker-free, even though many people think they are. These LCD monitors originally started out by using something called CCFL (cold cathode fluorescent lamps) as a backlight source for the monitor, but in recent years manufacturers have shifted to using LEDs (light emitting diodes). If you have one of those thin monitors, then you probably have a LCD monitor with LED, and if you are unsure, you can check the model number on the backside of the monitor and Google it.

The use of LED has numerous benefits, including lower power consumption, far fewer toxic substances due to the absence of the cathode and some fantastic picture quality advantages, but along with all these benefits come potential eyestrain issues that can damage and destroy your eyes over the long term.

See, when your monitor is set to maximum brightness, the LEDs are glowing at full 100% strength. If you reduce the brightness setting in the menu, the LEDs need to omit less light, and this is accomplished by inserting small breaks, or pauses (flickers!) in which the LEDs turn off for a very short, nearly invisible time. When you reduce the brightness setting of your monitor even more, the breaks become longer.

This creates a frustrating catch-22: a bright screen can strain your eyes, and the flicker created by a less bright screen can also strain your eyes. Compared to old-school CCFL monitors, the newer LED-based monitors carry the greatest risk of giving you eyestrain, tired eyes or nasty headaches. You can read more about this issue in the article “LED Monitors can cause headaches due to flicker“.

My guest on today’s podcast has figured out how to tackle this issue, and has invented a special piece of software called “Iris” that controls the brightness of the monitor with the help of your computer’s video card, allows you to have adequate brightness without the flicker, and even automatically adjusts your computer monitor’s settings based on the sun’s position wherever you happen to be in the world.

His name is Daniel Georgiev, and he is a 20 year old computer programmer from Bulgaria. Before he learned to code, Daniel was a rower in his country’s national team for more than 5 years, and participated in the 2012 World Rowing Junior Championship. During our discussion, you’ll discover:

How Daniel got kicked off his soccer team, and within two years qualified for the Bulgarian National Team in rowing…[11:20]

-Why Daniel programmed his computer monitor to freeze and stop his work every 30 minutes…[19:45]

-Why Daniel doesn’t like the computer program “Flux” for decreasing blue light on your monitor…[21:45]

-The link between color “temperature” and the amount of blue light a computer monitor creates…[29:52]

-How to convert a glossy computer monitor screen into a matte computer monitor screen…[33:50]

-Why you should use font rendering technologies to change the type of font you are looking at when you read on a computer monitor…[39:00]

-How to automatically invert colors on a screen or change the screen to grayscale when you are working to reduce eye strain and improve your ability to sleep…[46:25]

-Why you blink 66% less when you are working on a computer (and why yawning when you work on your computer is actually quite important)…[50:00 & 54:50]

-How to set up your computer monitor to force you to take automatic “Pomodoro” breaks, and get instant reminders for eye exercises, neck exercises and back exercises…[56:10]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Iris software

Anti-glare screen protectors

The Eizo Flexscan 2436 Monitor Ben uses

The BenQ Monitors that Daniel talks about

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Daniel or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

3 Healthy Alternatives To Pokemon GO.

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It’s that time of week again – the day when I give you a sneak peek at practical, quick and dirty fitness tips from this week’s Get-Fit Guy article.

See, each week, over at the Quick & Dirty Tips Network, I produce a free, easy-to-read article, accompanied by a short 5-10 minute audio version of that article. Everything there is focused on the latest fitness research, exercise news, and quick and highly practical muscle gain, fat loss and physical performance tips. It’s called “The Get-Fit Guy’s Quick & Dirty Tips To Slim Down & Shape Up”.

Here’s your sneak peek from this week’s article, “3 Healthy Alternatives To Pokemon GO

“…I was recently reading the Salon.com article The dangers of Pokémon Go: Kids’ brains are vulnerable to virtual and augmented reality, which reported on how researchers conducted three separate studies with over 1,600 video gamers and found that many showed strange post-game hallucinogenic-like effects: hearing or seeing aspects of the game hours or days after they had stopped playing, including sound effects, music and characters voices, explosions, sword swipes and screams. One gamer reported hearing someone from the game whispering “death” for several days after they had stopped playing while another reported seeing images from the game randomly pop up in front of their eyes….”

Want to take a deeper dive? Read the whole article? Grab the audio version? Click here to go check it out now or bookmark for later.

Finally, if you have your own ideas for future fitness articles you’d like to see me write, leave your ideas in the comments section below.

The Ultimate Guide To Biohacking Your Testosterone: 17 Ways To Maximize Muscle-Building, Libido & Anti-Aging.

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Allow me to introduce you to my Finnish friend Dr. Olli Sovijärvi, MD, pictured above. 

I first mentioned Olli in my article “21 Unfamiliar Nutrition Tricks I Discovered In The Biohackers’ Handbook.”, and then again in “Never Get Sick Again: 13 Underground Immune Boosting Strategies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

So why am I so seemingly obsessed with Olli and his strange nutrition, immunity, and, as you’re about to discover, testosterone-boosting tactics?

First, he is a beast of a powerlifter.

Observe him in action in this preview video for the November 18 Biohackers’ Summit in Helsinki, Finland (use 10% discount code BEN).

Second, he is a medical doctor. That’s right: he works in his clinic with patients day in and day out and is friggin’ steeped in a combination of research and practice. He’s not some kid with a neck beard sitting in his mom’s basement googling PubMed articles.

Third, he’s constantly on my mind because I wake up each morning to texts like this:

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Or this:

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Or this:

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So finally, when I got the text above, I told Olli,

“Look man…most people have no clue you can shine laser lights on your balls to increase your testosterone, or that there are ways to reverse the damage cell phones can wreak on your gonads, or that once you drop below 30% carbs your testosterone starts to severely decline if you’re an avid exerciser…

…so, can you write an article for me with all these tactics?”

So Olli did just that.

And what you are about to read is the result: 17 of Olli’s best known tactics for increasing testosterone  – some of them proven and basic strategies and others fringe techniques I’ve never heard of until now.

Enjoy, leave any questions, comments or feedback below the post, and if you enjoy this stuff, then check out his Biohacker’s Handbook, which dives deep into immunity, sleep, nutrition, exercise, the function of the mind and much more in 530+ pages of the best biohacking tips I’ve ever discovered.

Take it away Olli…

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Most Testosterone Advice Sucks

Biohacking testosterone (AKA “T”) has been a hot topic the past few years. Er, decades. Er, centuries. Perhaps technology and social media has just made what men and women have possibly pursued since the dawn of time just a bit more in our faces.

Just look at it: YouTube is full of T-optimizing videos and channels, iTunes has entire podcasts devoted to libido and testosterone, broscience forums are chock full of T advice from around the planet, there are entire T-boosting websites jam-packed with linkbait and ads and…

…don’t even get me started on supplement companies, who mostly source cheap herbs from Asia, shove them into a bottle, and produce a very, very sexy website designed to get you to empty your wallet to pop some magical T-boosting pill.

And yeah, you can find plenty of research articles on optimizing T and even a bunch of books and e-books have been released. I have read and studied all of them and beyond. Honestly: I am a consummate geek. I spend my entire day either treating patients or hanging out with my wife or baby, or sending Ben Greenfield strange texts.

And these apparently promising supplements, pills and tricks sound good, but simply don’t work. Yep…they don’t work, or they raise your T so miniscule-ingly low that you’re basically spending hundreds of your hard-earned dollars on pretty much next-to-nothing when it comes to an actual significant boost. You would be shocked at the amount of bloodwork I see that shows me men and women who are doing everything they read on the internets to boost testosterone with barely a bump in total or free levels of this hormone.

But at the same time, I’ll admit that there are some legimiate folks out there producing testosterone enhancing advice. I am very grateful for the amazing work on optimizing testosterone put out by guys behind the Anabolic Men website (especially Ali Kuoppala) from whom I have learned a lot.

Thanks also to Christopher Walker, a neuroscientist who has written a significant amount of information on testosterone, especially training wise (e.g., google “THOR”, “Testosterone I/O”, “Testshock”, etc.).

And I also want to thank a bunch of Finnish medical colleagues and friends who I’ve spent copious amounts of time with sitting naked in a Finnish sauna, followed by cold plunges into the Baltic sea, followed by intellectually stimulating conversations on all things testosterone (yeah, if you’re reading you know who you are).

Still, all these tricks you’re about to discover, especially those presented later in the article, are tactics I have had to dig deep from the depths of PubMed and literally spent hours and hours of reading every possible study that could potentially find in terms something new about one of the most important and studied hormones that exists for both men and women.

You could say that I am mildly infatuated with testosterone. My latest T (total) was 32 nmol/l (922 ng/dl). As you can see from the studies cited here, that’s high compared to the total T of 300-600 most guys these days have. And I have a newborn baby to prove it that my T is serving me well. Here she is, crawling through our backyard here in Helsinki…

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Before we jump into these many-probably-never-heard-of-biohacks on optimizing your T, I want to make sure that you have the basics covered. Yep, the boring basics. Without these, which include things like an adequate fitness training system, nutrition, sleep and stress management, these strategies won’t be near as solid as they could be. You can read more about optimizing sleep, nutrition, stress and exercise from Biohacker’s Handbook (of which head author I am).

Note from Ben: if you read the parenthetical section above, you will know that Olli, because he is Finnish, sometimes talks like Yoda. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it).

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The Testosterone Basics

Testosterone is basically just an anabolic sex steroid hormone, mainly released in the Leydig cells of the testes in men (95%) and the ovaries and adrenal glands of women. Yes, testosterone is not just a male hormone, and women also produce, but at lower magnitude. Actually, men have roughly about 10 times more testosterone than women. Testosterone is derived from cholesterol, which is also known as “the mother of all steroids” (and why low-cholesterol diets and statins suck for most hormone and steroid optimizing goals).

Testosterone is responsible for men’s sexual characteristics: it stimulates the growth of penis and scrotum, increases growth of body and facial hair (which is otherwise highly genetically regulated…so little body hair doesn’t automatically mean low T, as we can all testify to upon seeing the actor “The Rock”), impacts the ability to put on muscle mass and lose fat and even affects the tone of the voice by strengthening vocal cords. Yep, you read right. If you have a low voice and you’re bald, like Bane from Batman, you might actually be genetically equipped to produce more T, which seems quite unfair for all those high-pitched white guys with man-fros.

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Testosterone is also an anti-aging hormone, which means that a healthy level of testosterone throughout your life can make you live longer. As a matter of fact, in men aged 30 years and older, testosterone levels steadily fall at a rate of about 1% per year, and no amount of palette painting appears to be able to halt that decline.

OK, for this next brief section…if you are simply drooling from the corners of your mouth to learn how to increase your testosterone, then feel free to skip it. But if you actually want to know how your darling testes (or ovaries for you ladies) actually make T, or want some impressive words to throw around at a cocktail party, then check out how testosterone actually works.

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How Testosterone Works

How testosterone works really isn’t too complex.

There is a feedback loop from your brain to your testes (or ovaries), and it controls how much testosterone is being released. The physiological regulation of testosterone begins in your hypothalamus, a section of your brain which releases gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH).

That GnRH then stimulates the pituitary gland to release two crucial hormones for male health: follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). In the testes, FSH stimulates spermatogenesis (making new sperm cells) and LH stimulates testosterone production. In turn, testosterone exerts feedback control of the pituitary LH and FSH secretion, meaning if you’re not producing enough testosterone, and your feedback loop is working properly, you’ll churn out more LH and FSH. And if you’re making too much testosterone, you’d downregulate LH and FSH. Once you’ve made your testosterone, it can be further converted to dihydrotestosterone or estradiol.

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Anyways, this produced testosterone enters your blood stream as free testosterone, which is the biologically available form of T. The majority (about 98%) of the produced testosterone is then bound to sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) or albumin (another major protein in the blood). For testosterone to become ”active” you would need a release of it from the carrier protein, and optimal SHGB levels in the blood so that not too much of it is bound to SHBG.

For testosterone to have an anabolic effect in the body it must bind to an androgen receptor (for example, in muscle tissue). Heavy strength training actually activates these androgen receptors, and free, bioavailable testosterone is then able bind to free androgen receptor sites. After that begins a cascade in the cell which eventually enters DNA and initiates protein synthesis and anabolism. Therefore, it is crucial to have a good androgen sensitivity and androgen receptor density (you’re about to get a whole bunch of hacks for that).

Testosterone is also a hormone that plays a key role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. That is why it has a major influence on body fat composition and muscle mass, especially in males and to a lesser extent in females. This is also why research has over and over again shown that testosterone deficiency is related to various metabolic health problems such as increased visceral fat mass (also known as “central adiposity”), reduced insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, leading to metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and even cardiovascular disease (CVD). Testosterone deficiency has been reported in population studies to be associated with an increase in all-cause mortality (mainly linked to CVD). In the meantime, healthy levels of testosterone also protect from cognitive decline.

So, duh, testosterone is pretty much good. You probably wouldn’t be reading if you didn’t suspect that.

Alright, enough with the geekery. Let’s delve into the first part of my tips – basic lifestyle hacks for high testosterone…

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Basic Lifestyle Hacks For High Testosterone

  1. Sleep enough — often more is better

The majority of the daily testosterone release in men occurs during sleep. Fragmented sleep and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with reduced testosterone levels. A study released on The Journal of the American Medical Association, found out that one week of sleep restriction (5 hours of sleep per night) decreased testosterone production by 10–15%.

Studies have also found out that sleep’s effect on testosterone has an inverted U-shaped curve. Testosterone production increased with increasing sleep duration up to 10 hours after which it decreased.

For my ultimate sleep hacks, check out my Biohacker’s Handbook’s sleep chapter for free here.

  1. Get rid of extra belly fat and be lean

It is generally noted in research that the higher your body fat percentage, the lower your testosterone. The correlation works especially in the direction of getting leaner, which will instantly raise your T levels. Longitudinal analyses showing no influence of baseline hormone levels on change in anthropometric measures imply that body composition affects hormone levels and not the reverse. Yep, you read right. Being lean gives you high testosterone more than high testosterone makes you lean.

But you don’t need to be an emaciated marathoner. Instead, it has been roughly estimated that a male body fat percentage between 8–14% is optimal for testosterone production. Higher fat mass also usually increased aromatase enzyme activity, which converts more testosterone into estrogen.  In opposition, too low body fat content can be detrimental for testosterone production.

  1. Practice strength training and gain some muscle mass

While practicing strength training and gaining muscle often reduces body fat percentage (which leads into higher testosterone), it also has independent effect on elevating testosterone. Having higher muscle mass is positively correlated with higher testosteroneLifting medium-heavy weights explosively can stimulate short-term and long-term testosterone productionTraining progressively by adding more weight nearly every time you train causes your body to adapt to higher and higher testosterone levels via neuromuscular adaptations.

Follow these basic principles when strength training for optimal T production:

  • Always lift explosively (with perfect form)
  • Lift heavy enough, but not too heavy (to have an optimum force/velocity-curve)
  • Use compound lifts to activate large amounts of muscle mass
  • Focus on body parts that have high density of androgen receptor sites (chest, shoulders, trapezius)
  • Do sprint intervals to maximize force production in minimal time and to activate fast-twitch muscle fibers
  • Do as much work on as much muscle tissue as possible in as short amount of time as possible while staying under the negative stress threshold
  • If your gym is limited, the muscle up exercise is, in my opinion, the king of testosterone-boosting exercises
  1. Control your stress levels and meditate

Chronic stress leads eventually into chronically elevated stress hormone (cortisol) levels in the blood. Cortisol is necessary for life, but when excreted too much for too long, it can cause some serious health problems. One of the disadvantages is diminished testosterone secretion, as cortisol and testosterone compete of the same hormonal precursors and raw materials (mainly pregnenolone). For example in military conditions prolonged stress has been shown to significantly lower testosterone secretion.

Implement these potent strategies (some of my favorites) into your life to lower stress – you can click on the links for more research, by the way:

  1. Eat nutrient dense whole foods and get enough (but not too many) calories

Let’s start with micronutrients.

Getting enough and optimal amount of micronutrients is crucial for testosterone production. Measuring your micronutrient status is a crucial step on finding out what your exact situation is. The most important micronutrients for testosterone production are zinc, magnesium, calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, iodine, selenium, vitamin K2, vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese and boron.

Eating a diet rich in nutrients and minerals (read: whole foods) is crucial not just for overall health, but also for optimal T production. Getting a high micronutrient multivitamin supplement on the basis of your personal needs can also be a testosterone saving thing if your diet is lacking something.

Next comes calories.

Your body needs enough calories to produce adequate amounts of testosterone. With constant and prolonged calorie restriction the body begins to adapt into survival mode, which means that for example reproductive system is not of great importance anymore. The body will conserve energy for vital processes and internal organs.

For optimal testosterone production it is wise to eat at maintenance or a slight calorie surplus. But if you are overweight, a minor calorie deficit and losing weight will actually elevate testosterone production (as explained previously). So, the plan is to get lean first and then eat higher calories for optimal testosterone production and maintenance. Losing weight slowly is a good option here: about 15% calorie deficit doesn’t seem to affect testosterone negatively. But it can affect somewhat negatively your thyroid hormone production.

Finally comes macronutrients, AKA “macros”.

And when it comes to macros, nearly everybody, especially in the fitness industry, talks about protein. There are tons of different protein supplements that are supposed to make you lean and fit. Protein has gained a reputation that it is the most important macronutrient when it comes to building muscle and gaining strength. It is certainly true that protein and especially certain amino acids are essential for life and muscle tissues and that chronic protein malnutrition will cause low testosterone levels.

The caveat here is that you don’t actually need as much protein as you have been told. For most, the recommended daily allowance levels (1.0–1.4 g /kg of bodyweight) are enough for optimal testosterone production. For strength training individuals often recommended protein intake is 1.6–1.8 g / kg of bodyweight. Even athletes that practice strength training do not benefit from extra protein intake (over 2.0 g / kg of bodyweight).

For example, Ben Greenfield simply eats 0.5-0.7g protein per pound of body weight on easy exercise days and 0.7-0.8 grams per pound on hard exercise days. Easy enough, eh?

Protein source is also a major factor in testosterone production. A study published in British Journal of Nutrition found out that for example when meat was replaced with soybean protein in healthy men, the testosterone:estradiol ratio decreased significantly. Yes, steak beats edamame, hands down.

For optimal testosterone production it also seems crucial that you don’t eat too much protein and that you eat enough carbohydrates and fat. One study which compared protein and carbohydrate changes and their hormonal effects found out that when the male subjects went 10-days on a high-protein low-carb diet, their total testosterone levels were 21% lower than what they would have been on a high-carbohydrate low-protein diet. The high-protein diet also caused significantly higher cortisol levels. The diets were equal in total calories and fat.

Another study, which compared ratios of protein to carbohydrates to different fats, found out that diets higher in carbohydrates and saturated+monounsaturated fats than protein were related to higher testosterone production in strength training men. Previous studies have also found out that men who consume a diet containing 20% of fat compared with diets containing 40% fat have significantly lower concentrations of testosterone in the blood. Many other studies also show that getting enough fat from diet is crucial for testosterone production. Also, getting enough cholesterol (raw material for steroid hormone production) from your diet is critical to optimal hormonal balance.

For men who exercise and especially those who perform an intensive training micro-cycle, it is crucial to eat enough carbohydrates (CHO) to optimize testosterone production. In one study two groups (30% of CHO vs 60% of CHO) were compared in terms of testosterone-to-cortisol-ratio. The study found out that those who ate 60% of carbohydrates had significantly higher free testosterone to cortisol -ratio than the lower carbohydrate group.

The bottom line is this: for optimal testosterone production you shouldn’t go too low in calories (neither too high), shouldn’t consume too much protein (under 2g/kg) or eat too little carbs and too little saturated and mono-unsaturated fats. For me personally, the optimal ratio for T production seems to be on a 2500 kcal/day slight deficit diet with 98 kg bodyweight looks like this:

  • 1.8g protein/ bodyweight (1.8g x 98 = 176.4 grams = 720 kcal)
  • 40% of total calorie intake fat (1000 kcal = 111 grams)
  • Rest of the daily energy need from carbohydrates ( 780 kcal = 195 grams)

That means also eating quite a bunch of carbohydrates, and yet at under 200g carbs this example would still be among conventional nutrition advisors called a “low carbohydrate diet”.

Finally, for actual food sources, you can read from the Anabolic Men’s site the scientific basis for the most important foods that boost testosterone production. Based on that, here are my top 12 foods that satisfy the criteria above:

Here are a couple bonus additions that are daily staples for me: Celtic sea salt & high-altitude single-origin water-washed coffee.

I would suggest that you check out Biohacker’s Handbook’s Nutrition chapter for more information on how to optimize your personal diet.

  1. Drink enough water and hydrate yourself

Getting enough clean, mineral-rich water is not only crucial for life, but also for optimal hormonal balance. For example even mild dehydration (1–2%) can raise cortisol levels and deleteriously effect testosterone production. Especially when sweating a lot and during periods of heavy exercise, the importance of drinking water for testosterone maintenance is increased. The higher the level of the dehydration, the bigger the effects are on raising cortisol (and adrenaline) and lowering testosterone.

On the other hand, drinking too much water will also cause problems, such as diluting the blood and messing up with sodium balance in the body – even leading to hyponatremia (more precisely hypervolemic hyponatremia, or water intoxication) which, when severe, can cause numerous neurological and cardiovascular symptoms. So if you drink a lot of water, I recommend you add sea salt to prevent water retention and electrolyte disturbances.

The easiest way to estimate your hydration status is to analyze the color of your urine and the feeling of thirst. If your urine is diluted and pale in color, you have probably drank too much water. Ben has a pretty comprehensive article on this called “10 Things Your Pee Can Tell You About Your Body”. Also, if you feel a thirsty, you should know that you are already in a state of mild dehydration.

And for Pete’s sake, don’t drink plastic bottled water if you don’t want to jack up your estrogen levels. Stick to good spring water, filtered water, well water or glass bottled water.

  1. Have regular sex, but don’t ejaculate too often

There hasn’t been any extremely convincing studies on sex frequency and testosterone correlation in young men. However, one big observational study conducted with 1226 older men (aged 70+) found that regular sex helped to diminish the decline in testosterone level that occurs naturally with age. The study says:

We found a consistent association among older men followed over 2 years between the decline in sexual activity and desire, but not in erectile function, with a decrease in serum T. Although these observational findings cannot determine causality, the small magnitude of the decrease in serum T raises the hypothesis that reduced sexual function may reduce serum T rather than the reverse.

One small study also found out that men having sex in a sex club had an average increase of 72% of salivary testosterone after sex. I am not endorsing sex club visitations as a staple in your daily routine, but I’m just sayin’. In the meantime, those at the sex club who were just masturbating and watching sexual acts raised T only by 11%.

One sexual performance anecdote, mainly derived from athletes, is that sex the previous day or even many days before competition somehow hinders performance. But this topic has actually been researched and busted as a myth.

For example, one study comparing the maximal effort on cycle ergometer found out that having sex 2 hours before athletic performance slightly diminished recovery capacity, while having sex 10 hours before the event had absolutely no effect on performance or recovery. Another study found out that having sexual intercourse 12 hours prior to maximal treadmill effort didn’t have any negative (nor positive) effects on performance.

On the other hand, in traditional Chinese medicine it is common knowledge that ejaculation can more rapidly deplte Qi (Chi), your life force. This also makes sense, since sperm contains the seeds of life and plenty of minerals too. But this topic has also been researched by scientists.

One study found out that a short-term abstinence of sex (3 weeks) slightly increased testosterone. Another small study (28 healthy men) could actually verify, that an optimal ejaculation frequency for men testosterone-wise is actually 7 days. The study found that on the 7th day of abstinence, there was a significant increase in testosterone production (146%).  But too long a period of abstinence (e.g. over 3 months) can actually crash your testosterone production.

So drawing all these studies and anecdotes together, it appears that having sex once a week with a real partner is the best way of elevating your testosterone production.

  1. Avoid exposure to endocrine disruptors in plastics, food & water

Endocrine disruptors are synthetic chemicals or natural substances that can alter the endocrine system. Ben talked about plenty of these in his latest “How To Detox Your Home” article.

Many of the endocrine disruptors are either directly negatively affecting  testosterone production or acting as estrogen mimics (like xenoestrogens). These are mainly found in plastics, metal food cans, detergents, flame retardants, toys, pesticides, preservatives, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They have also been linked to many other health problems like cancer, decreased fertility, metabolic syndrome, hypothyroid and diabetes.

So first, avoid these substances, period.

  • BPA (Bisphenol A)
    • Found in plastics; can lower testosterone levels significantly and cause erectile dysfunction
  • BPS (Bisphenol S)
    • Marketed as a ”safer” alternative to BPA found in thermal receipts, plastics and household dust.
    • Has the same negative endocrine effects as BPA
  • Phtalates
    • Found in plastics and cosmetics
    • Men having high phtalates in the urine have lower testosterone levels
  • Parabens
    • Found especially in sun lotions, moisturizers, shampoos, tooth pastes and in other cosmetics as a preservative
    • Function as a xenoestrogen in the body elevating estrogen levels in men (and women)
  • Triclosan & triclocarban
  • Benzophenones (BP-1, BP-2 & BP-3)
    • Found mainly in sunscreens functioning as UV filters
    • Can possibly lower testosterone by antagonizing androgen receptors (in English, blocking the receptor sites) and blocking enzymes converting other androgens to testosterone

The number one way to reduce your exposure to these endocrine disruptors is to avoid the use of plastics as well as you can with the following strategies:

  • Switch plastic cups to glass or steel cups & bottles (glass would be optimal)
  • Store leftover food in glass jars
  • Aquire a good tap filter that filters all contaminants and endocrine disrupters (e.g. reverse osmosis & activated charcoal filters)
  • Use only organic & natural ingredient cosmetics
  • Avoid junk food and prefer organic food
  • Minimize the handling time with receipts or use gloves
  • Avoid the use of detergents and flame retardants (and other possible endocrine disrupting chemicals)
  1. Raise your basic aerobic physical activity (but don’t do too much endurance training)

Being physically inactive is quite deleterious to your testosterone production. It has been shown in various studies that sedentary men who engage in regular physical activity instantly raise their testosterone levels and do it quite significantly.

For example a 12-week period of increased physical activity in a group of obese men showed significant increase in testosterone levels independent of accompanied weight loss induced by a mild calorie deficit. This means that a basic low-level physical activity like walking is an independent testosterone boosting factor! On the flipside, too much endurance training has been shown to lower testosterone levels significantly. One interesting fact is that in endurance athletes, low T is an independent factor (possibly impairing testicular function) which is not even related to chronically elevated cortisol levels.

  1. Increase your androgen receptor density

Besides optimizing testosterone production for optimal actual hormone signaling, you also need to have a good amount of androgen receptors in your body. Below are some the most researched ways to increase your androgen receptor density.

-Intermittent fasting (IF) and longer fasts

The easiest way to prime your androgen receptors for optimal testosterone uptake is intermittent fasting. Simply skipping your breakfast and pushing the first meal of the day as far as you can is a method that works very well. A small study showed that a fast of 12 to 56 hours improved testosterone response up to 180% in lean, but not in obese men.

Another study found out that after 10 day water fast, testosterone showed a downward trend of approximately 15–20%. When re-feeding after the prolonged fast with normal meals, the participants’ testosterone levels went up significantly higher than before the fasting baseline values. One guy even went from around 600 ng/dl to 1600 ng/dl! The explanation for this phenomenon is that fasting primes your body to be more receptive to testosterone, which means higher androgen receptor sensitivity.

Warning: If you are under a chronic stress and have super high cortisol levels all day long, a prolonged 16+ hour fast might not be your thing.

-Coffee (especially when fasting)

Coffee blunts hunger, which makes fasting easier. The caffeine in coffee can raise testosterone levels before exercise especially when tired (4mg/kg dosage) and after exercise (240 mg dosage).

-Explosive resistance training

There are basic resistance training principles that you should follow to optimize your androgen receptor density. First, activate large amounts of muscle mass with big compound movements. Second, do every movement as explosively as possible while maintaining a proper form. Third, keep workouts intense and short to avoid excess cortisol release. Fourth, use progressive loading with training (e.g. microloading). Research has shown that men who do resistance training regularly have higher androgen receptor density than untrained men.

-L-carnitine

Carnitine in is a lipid transporter molecule that moves ingested dietary fat via carnitine-acyl-transferases into mitochondria to be oxidized into energy (beta-oxidation). It will also increase androgen receptor activity in cells by providing energy for the receptors.

A 3-week supplementation with 2 grams L-carnitine L-tartrate (LCLT) per day has been shown to upregulate androgen receptor content after exercise, which promotes better recovery from training.  Another 3-week supplementation study showed that LCLT reduced the amount of exercise-induced muscle tissue damage, which also meant that a greater number of receptors would be available for hormonal interactions.

-Mucuna

Based on in vitro and animal studies, mucuna pruriens, which contains L-dopa (3–6 %) has a potential of increasing androgen receptor density. I would still be careful with this, because overusing L-dopa may have some side effects such as hypotension, nausea, disorientation and sleepiness. These are more likely if you just use L-dopa medication instead of mucuna pruriens.

-Forskolin

Also based on in vitro studies, forskolin, which functions as a cAMP activator and further as a PKA stimulator, can stimulate also the density of androgen receptors. There is also a placebo-controlled human study on forskolin on its effects on recovery and testosterone production. The study has been criticized  by many because of the authors’ interest in supplement business and the authors’ providing their own forskolin product. Forskolin may also cause hepatic side effects if the dosage is too high for too long.

Here is a conclusion on forskolin drawn together by Suppversity:

”…the almost non-existent human data on the purported testosterone boosting effects, this should be reason enough not to buy more than one bottle for a test-run. After which I highly suggest to do some lab work to see if whatever good or bad you believe you are feeling is an actual boost in T (check T-levels) or hepatic side effects (check ALT, AST & ALP).”

  1. Use creatine every day

Probably everyone who has trained with weights has heard of creatine. It is literally everywhere: in the gyms, in natural stores, supplement sites and even in normal grocery stores. Creatine monohydrate is not a new supplement, but rather an old one – the earliest studies on creatine and performance come from the early 1990s.

Creatine is already naturally occurring in red meat and in almost all vertebras. It functions in skeletal muscle energy production by increasing the amount of ATP in the cells. The specific energy system it is used in is your “creatine-phosphate” or “phosphagen” system. In your cells, creatine phosphate (CP) donates a phosphate to ADP to produce ATP. Your creatine phosphate system activates in short and intense bursts of exercise (around 5-8 seconds).

The research behind creatine is incredibly massive. There are nearly 100 peer-reviewed human studies showing that it increases strength, muscle mass and power and affects positively on body composition and sports performance. Quite a few studies have also shown that supplementing with just 5 grams of creatine per day increases testosterone and DHT significantly. Especially when beginning with the supplementation the elevation on DHT is especially high. One study showed that creatine also helped to diminish potential harmful effects of short-term overtraining while maintaining higher testosterone levels compared to those who didn’t supplement with creatine.

Longer term usage of creatine has not been shown to have any negative or adverse health effects. An overall trend towards higher testosterone serum levels has been also observed (on average from baseline of 17 nmol/l to 26 nmol/l).

One caveat: there was one review done in 2011 concluded that ”…high-dose (>3-5 g/day) creatine supplementation should not be used by individuals with pre-existing renal disease or those with a potential risk for renal dysfunction (diabetes, hypertension, reduced glomerular filtration rate). A pre-supplementation investigation of kidney function might be considered for reasons of safety, but in normal healthy subjects appears unnecessary.”

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More Extreme & Lesser-Known Biohacks For High Testosterone

We have now covered the basics for optimizing testosterone that you really need to know and do first, before you begin to throw in the fancy stuff. Next, I will introduce you methods that have not been really discussed in popular literature and which fall into the category I affectionately refer to as “biohack yourself into a T monster”. These methods are also science-based, but I’ll admit that for some of the hacks, convincing human studies are still to be seen.

  1. Electrical (muscle) stimulation

A study done on rat’s gastrocnemius muscle (calf) found out that electrical stimulation induced a rapid increase in the number of androgen receptors in early parts of the stimulation. This led to an increase in muscle mass by enhancing the muscle sensitivity to androgens.

Another study conducted in humans showed that an electrical stimulation of volunteers’ meridian points (which basically means electro-acupuncture) increased subjects’ concentrations of total testosterone and DHEA-S without affecting LH or FSH (secreted from the pituitary gland).

Here is Ben’s comprehensive article on how to use electrostim (and a whole lot more).

  1. Red light or low-lever laser therapy (on your nuts)

Red light, near infrared light (NIR) or low-level laser therapy has been used to treat various conditions from pain and muscle aches to wound healing, skin conditions, osteoarthritis and even depression. These effects are usually local, but near infrared light has also systemic effects via circulation of blood. You might want to read this super comprehensive article on red light and NIR by a Finnish medical student Vladimir Heiskanen. He has been a key source of information for me regarding the healing effects of red light.

The basis for stimulating testosterone production by shooting red light and near-infra red light (yep, especially on your testicles) lies on the mechanism how red (or infrared) wavelengths work inside the cell. The key is that they stimulate ATP production in Leydig cells, thus increasing the energy available for the cells. This means more testosterone production.

There might be also other mechanisms, which are speculated in ”Red Light Man” site:

“Another potential mechanism involves a separate class of photoreceptive proteins, known as ‘opsin proteins. The human testes are especially abundant with various of these highly specific photoreceptors including OPN3, which are ‘activated, much like cytochrome, specifically by wavelengths of light. Stimulation of these testicular proteins by red light induces cellular responses that may ultimately lead to increased testosterone production, amongst other things, although research is still in the preliminary stages regarding these proteins and metabolic pathways. These type of photoreceptive proteins are also found in the eyes and also, interestingly, the brain.”

I haven’t found any human studies on the subject, but according to a few studies done on rats, the positive effects on testosterone production are enormous. For example a Korean study found out that low-level laser therapy (LLLT) with wavelength of 670nm (which is in border of visible red light and infra-red light) 30 minutes per day showed significant increase in serum testosterone by fourth day of the treatment without any harmful tissue penetration. A wavelength of 808 nm didn’t have any effect on T production. Another study done with rams didn’t show any positive effects on T production with 808 nm wavelength.

  • Overall, red or infrared light from LED source is generally thought to be a safe therapeutic method
  • Avoid heating the testicles, since the heat will destroy sperm cells and have a negative effect on the Leydig cells
  • Avoid blue light and UV light exposure on testicles (blue light inhibits ATP production in mitochondria)

Want more? Listen to Ben’s podcast on photobiomodulation here and then take a look at any of these red light LED therapy devices you can basically “shine on your balls”.  Or you can check out the one that Ben is personally using and swear by, the Joovv.  You just turn it on and – you guessed it – squat over it a bit…or stand it against a wall and shine it across thine gonads as you work at, say, a stand-up workstation.

  1. Do cold showers and swims (and keep your testicles cool)

In the 1820s, a German farmer named Vincenz Priessnitz started touting a new medical treatment called “hydrotherapy,” which used cold water to cure everything from broken bones to erectile dysfunction. He turned his family’s homestead into a sanitarium, and patients flocked to it in the hope that his cold water cure could help them.

The first hydrotherapy facility opened up in the U.S in 1843, right when the sanitarium craze hit America. By the end of the 19th century, over 200 hydrotherapy/sanitarium resorts existed in the United States the most famous being the Battle Creek Sanitarium founded by John Harvey Kellogg.

There is no straight-forward evidence that cold therapy can raise testosterone levels. But the indirect evidence exists. One study conducted in 1988 in Finland investigated serum levels of thyroid and adrenal hormones, testosterone, TSH, LH, GH and prolactin in men after a 2-h stay in a cold room (10 degrees Celsius). There were no significant changes in the serum concentration of adrenalin, T3, T4, testosterone, TSH or LH. The serum level of noradrenaline increased from 4.5 to 6.3 nmol L1 (P < 0.01) and those of Cortisol, GH and prolactin fell by 20, 87 and 48% (all P < 0.01). This means that by lowering cortisol, you would probably have more of the raw material for testosterone production and less stress response.

The indirect research evidence by in vitro (and animal) studies on optimal testicle function gives us information that the ball sack (yes, that’s my highly technical term) should be kept cool (under 35 Celsius or 95 Fahrenheit)  for optimal testosterone production. Heat exposure on testicles has been shown to reduce testosterone levels in rats. Also, an observational study done on over 6000 men showed that sperm quality and volume were greater in the winter time. This is due to stimulation by FSH and LH secreted from the pituitary gland, which also stimulate testosterone synthesis and secretion.

There are also anecdotes from old school Chinese and Russian powerlifters who iced their balls after training and also before competition. Apparently their goal was to increase performance and testosterone function.

Do these things to improve testicle function:

  • Take cold baths and showers
  • Wear loose boxers or go ”commando” to keep optimal temperature for testicles and to avoid compression
  • Sleep naked or wear just loose pajamas (no undies)
  • Sleep in a relatively cold room temperature
  • Don’t sit unless it is absolutely necessary
  1. Boron

According to a comprehensive research site Examine.com:

Boron is a dietary mineral that, although it has a daily intake, has not been accepted as an essential vitamin or mineral. It currently does not have a known minimum requirement.”

Boron is found in small amounts in the earth’s soil. It functions as a fortifier in cell walls, in the bone, in reproductive system, as well as in the brain. A boron deficiency (daily intake less than 0.23 mg per day) alters brainwave activity similar to magnesium deficiency by decreasing frontal lobe activity. A deficiency state has been associated with cognitive impairment.

Boron is well absorbed form the intestines, and the best food sources for boron are raisins, dried grapes and peaches, almonds, avocado and dried plums.

One human study showed that boron supplementation (10 mg per day) increased free testosterone (via reduction in SHBG) and DHT levels and decreased estrogen levels. Boron supplementation also seems to lower pro-inflammatory cytokines. One study done on bodybuilders found out that supplementing with 2.5 mg of boron did not have any effect on testosterone levels.

A study done on rats showed that boron accumulates in the testes and thus long-term use will probably produce the best benefits of using boron. The same study also showed, that with toxic boron doses it can actually cause testicular lesions. For humans, the safe dosage is up to 20 mg per day (the tolerable upper limit).

  1. Iodine

Iodine is an essential mineral, which means it must acquired via diet. Iodine is critical in your brain and central to the active thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Severe deficiency in iodine can result in reduced cognition or cretinism. The thyroid gland absorbs iodine from the blood to make thyroid hormones. Approximately 15–20 mg of iodine is concentrated in thyroid tissue and hormones. Still, 70% of the body’s iodine is distributed in other tissues such as mammary glands, eyes, salivary glands and testicles.

Iodine is most abundant in seaweed and seaweed based products such as nori wraps. Daily intake of iodine should be at least 75–150 micrograms per day, and for adults, an upper intake level is 3000 micrograms.

Lack of iodine in the body (especially in the thyroid gland) can cause various health problems. The most common one is hypothyroidism. Men with primary hypothyroidism have subnormal responses to luteinizing hormone (and GnRH) and their free testosterone concentrations are also reduced.

It has been noticed in rats that by increasing iodine supplementation the mean weight of the testes also increased quite a bit. However, the epididymal sperm counts went down a bit.

One possible explanation for the higher occurrence of hypothyroidism and hypogonadism in men today when compared to say like 30 years ago, is an increase of environmental toxic halogens like fluorine, chlorine and bromine. When concentrated enough in the body, they will replace iodine’s locations inside the cells (especially in thyroid cells and Leydig’s cells).

So it is critical to have enough iodine in your system to also optimize testosterone production. Some people have even taken this further by painting their testicles with Lugol’s iodine (which is highly concentrated potassium iodine). Yes, you heard me right: you can put iodine on your testicles.

The iodine protocol that doubles your testosteronel also includes adding supporting minerals such as selenium, magnesium, vitamin C, oral iodine, co-factors for ATP (B2 and B3 vitamins) and salt. The anecdote by hundreds of testimonials here is that many people did significantly elevate their testosterone production with possible straight stimulation of the Leydig cells by iodine, which would have then lead into removal of other halogens. The hypothesis for this therapy seems legit, but unfortunately there hasn’t been done any clinical nor animal studies.

A word of caution: Do not take excess iodine and do not over do this (it will cause pain in the scrotum area because of the sensitivity of the skin). This is a potentially dangerous biohack, so be careful. As a medical doctor, I wouldn’t recommend this to my patients right away.

  1. Pulsed electromagnetic fields

The electromagnetic fields emitted from various sources (e.g. mobile phones, microwave ovens, wi-fi’s etc.) have been reported to have causative effects on biological systems such as inflammation, radiation and hyperthermia. All of these can disrupt the seminiferous tubules and reduce the Leydig cell population and testosterone concentration (studies done in rats).

Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF therapy) has been used successfully to treat various health conditions ranging from bone healing and pain relief to balancing the neuroendocrine system (including hormone production and melatonin levels).

There exists a very recent study conducted on male Wister rats, which showed that PEMF therapy helped rats to bounce back from microwave radiation in terms of testosterone production and to combat oxidative stress. In fact, rats’ testosterone levels went a bit higher than before the microwave radiation exposure after they were treated with PEMF for 60 days.

What’s this mean for you? Many folks keep their mobile phones in their  pockets quite close to testicles or ovaries. It is actually a fact that mobile phones emit microwaves that are harmful to normal tissues when kept very close to the skin. A number of studies have shown relationships between mobile telephone use and reduced sperm count and sperm quality. The negative effects are highly likely to extend also on reducing testosterone levels in men.

So the takeway is this: if you know that you are being exposed to external microwaves and wi-fi’s and cell phones, the use of a small PEMF device (locally on or near your testes) or a more general device for whole body PEMF treatment, is likely to revive testosterone levels.


Summary

Ben Greenfield back here.

What do you think?

Did you enjoy Olli’s article? Do you plan on shining laser lights on your balls, using PEMF, painting your gonads with iodine or using any of Olli’s other fringe tactics described above?

Do you have questions or your own testosterone-boosting tips and tricks and experiences to add?

Simply leave them in the comments section below.

And if you want to come hang out with Olli and I at the November 18 Biohackers’ Summit in Helsinki, Finland, you can click here and use 10% discount code BEN to get in. Or if Finland is too far away for you, then just get Olli’s extremely comprehensive, well researched biohacking book here. And thanks for reading.

 

The Best Time Of Day To Exercise, Have Sex, Take Supplements, Read A Book, Take A Nap & More!

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Do you know your chronotype?

Until two weeks ago, I didn’t.

Turns out, I’m a “lion” chronotype (with a strong tendency to delve into “bear” chrono-typedness).

You might be a wolf, in which case you should try working out at 6:00pm and not 6:00am. An early morning run for you might feel like punishment, while an early evening run will provide an enjoyable pick-me-up.

Or maybe you’re a lion, in which case having a wine, beer or cocktail between 5:30pm and 7:30pm will minimize the chances of sleep disruption from alcohol.

Or perhaps you’re a dolphin, which means you should schedule any big presentations or work tasks for around 4:00pm, when you’re most awake, most alert, and even most confident.

You could also be a bear, in which case shifting dinner from 6:00pm to 7:30pm can actually accelerate fat loss and stave off late-night snacking.

Interesting, eh?

You’ll find all the science, the studies, and the facts behind this type of new chronotyping research in the new book “The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype-and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More“.

A growing body of research actually proves there is a right time to do just about everything, specifically based on your biology and hormones. As Dr. Michael Breus – the author and today’s podcast guest – presents in his groundbreaking new book The Power of When, working with your body’s inner clock for maximum health, happiness, and productivity can be easy, exciting, fun and pay off big dividends.

For example, since reading this book, I’ve even cut out caffeinated morning coffee and replaced it with decaf, started prioritizing morning and afternoon sex instead of evening sex, and shifted my fiction-based creative writing from 8:00pm to 8:00am. The Power of When presents a unique program for getting back in sync with your natural rhythm by making minor changes to your daily routine based on your unique “chronotype”.

In the book, after you’ve taken Dr. Breus’s “Bio-Time Quiz” to figure out your chronotype (e.g. are you a Bear, Lion, Dolphin or Wolf?), you then find out the best time to do over 50 different activities, from when to exercise to have sex to take supplements to ask for a raise to eat breakfast to take a nap and much more.

So you can consider this book the ultimate “lifehack”.

Dr. Breus, Ph.D., is a Clinical Psychologist, a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and a Fellow of The American Academy of Sleep Medicine. With a specialty in Sleep Disorders, Dr. Breus he is one of only 163 psychologists in the world with his credentials and distinction.

In addition to his private practice, where he treats athletes and celebrities alike, Dr. Breus also trains other sleep doctors and consults with major airlines, hotel chains, mattress manufacturers and retailers to provide the optimum sleep experience for their customers. For example, an audio relaxation CD he designed for the Crowne Plaza Hotels helps millions of people fall asleep each year, and for over 14 years Dr. Breus has served as the Sleep Expert for WebMD and frequently pens “Sleep Matters” a column in WebMD magazine. He also writes The Insomnia Blog, which appears regularly on WebMD, The Huffington Post, The Dr. Oz Blog, Psychology Today, MedPedia, Organized Wisdom, Travora Travel, and Furniture Today, and has been interviewed on CNN, Oprah, The View, Anderson, and The Doctors and The Dr. OZ Show.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

Why I’m now having sex in the morning and coffee in the afternoon…[10:35]

-The fascinating history of chronotyping and chronobiology…[11:50]

-Why it is that guys like Tim Ferriss and Tai Lopez operate extremely well in the wee hours of the night…[18:30]

-Why Thomas Edison created the most disruptive event in the history of bio-time…[32:10]

-Whether chronotyping is based on scientific research or simply cute, easy-to-remember animals…[30:25]

-When the best time of day is to drink alcohol and to drink coffee based on your chronotype…[25:40 & 27:20]

-A simple, scientific, biological way to determine chronotype based on a seven dollar piece of home health equipment…[31:35]

-When the best time to have sex is, why and how to “sync up” sex times with your partner based on their chronobiology…[35:35]

-When the best time of day is for cardiovascular exercise vs. yoga vs. weight training…[39:25 & 47:20]

-How your chronobiology can affect when you should take supplements or medications…[22:00]

-Dr. Breus’s most potent and effective jet lag tips…[51:00]

-Why Daylight Savings Time day is the #1 day that traffic accidents occur…[59:50]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Dr. Breus’s hybrid pillow

The Power of When book

The Power of When quiz

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dr. Breus or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

8 Ways to Build Fitness All Year Long.

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It’s that time of week again – the day when I give you a sneak peek at practical, quick and dirty fitness tips from this week’s Get-Fit Guy article.

See, each week, over at the Quick & Dirty Tips Network, I produce a free, easy-to-read article, accompanied by a short 5-10 minute audio version of that article. Everything there is focused on the latest fitness research, exercise news, and quick and highly practical muscle gain, fat loss and physical performance tips. It’s called “The Get-Fit Guy’s Quick & Dirty Tips To Slim Down & Shape Up”.

Here’s your sneak peek from this week’s article, “8 Ways to Build Fitness All Year Long

“…When you finish a repetition—such as jumping into the air or doing a dumbbell curl—there is a perceptible pause between each repetition. This is called the “stretch-shortening cycle” or SSC, and you can either spend a long time in the SSC or train your ability to be explosive and exhaust the muscle and nervous system slightly more quickly by reducing the period of time spent during this SSC. For example, when you run, you can run at 90 steps per minute instead of 80 steps per minute. When you do a series of jump squats or jump lunges, you can rest as little as possible between each rep, essentially “decreasing ground contact time.” When you do a series of overhead presses, you can reverse the direction of the weight and press it straight overhead as soon as it gets down to your shoulders…”

Want to take a deeper dive? Read the whole article? Grab the audio version? Click here to go check it out now or bookmark for later.

Finally, if you have your own ideas for future fitness articles you’d like to see me write, leave your ideas in the comments section below.

3 Practical Tips To Keep A Long Road Trip From Making You Fat, Sick And Unhealthy.

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It is no secret to my friends and family that I personally detest long road trips in the car.

Even when driving through the most pristine of scenery – from great state parks to winding river roads to epic mountain passes – I’d rather be bicycling, hiking, or simply getting to where I’m going as fast as possible on an airplane. Something about sitting in a car just drives me nuts.

But not so for my friend Warren Pole, an ultramarathon runner, co-founder of an endurance nutrition company, and a guy who just completed a 3-month, 11,000-mile, 21-state rollercoaster of back-to-back 16-hour days driving a van across the US.

And while I’ve discussed in Podcast #308 how I keep grip training devices and lung training devices in my own vehicle and book bag to stay fit even when I’m on a long car ride or airplane trip

…I’ve written the article “4 Ways to Burn More Calories on a Road Trip“…

…and I’ve even snapchatted the 50-50-50 workout my friend Matt and I recently did on a road trip through Montana (that’s 50 burpees and 50 kettlebell swings every 50 miles)…

…I’ve never delved into the nitty-gritty details on how to tackle an extremely long road trip like the one Warren just completed.

So, without further ado, here are Warren’s top tips for keeping a road trip from making you fat, sick and unhealthy, and stumbling out of your car with stiff muscles while burping up the nasty bag of trail mix you bought at the last convenience store you passed.


The Problem With Road Trips

Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, a long road trip can hurl a wrecking ball through your best training and nutrition intentions, leaving them lost in a tangled heap amidst a sea of shifting schedules, alternating timezones, all manner of meetings, and the random delights of eating on the move, at the mercy of every menu but your own.

No doubt about it…life on the road and fitness make for terrible bedfellows.

Or at least that’s the story we tell ourselves, probably because it is a perfect excuse for the missed workouts (“hotel didn’t have a gym”), the Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast and burgers for everything else (“it was all I could find”), as well as the compounded nights of messed up sleep (“everyone wanted to stay out late”).

But a story is just what this is and like any story, it can be changed. You’re the author of your own story and, conveniently, you are always everywhere you go. So if you change your traveling story to the one you want, e.g. “I stay fit or get fitter when I travel”, it’s suddenly your call. If you pack your virtual wellbeing suitcase with the tools and strategies to do just that, then you can deliver on that new story wherever you are.

For me, as someone who loves fitness (35-plus ultramarathons and counting), eats a primarily plant-based diet, loves healing, ancestral nutrition (the dietary changes I’ve made in the last 6 years have made me faster, stronger and have eliminated a lifelong dependency on asthma inhalers), and who spends half of every year traveling for work (I co-founded an endurance nutrition company in 2012 that is now open in 25 countries worldwide), I’ve had to learn all this the hard way.

That may be bad news for me, but it’s good news for you because all you need to do is read this, pick the tips and tricks you like, and drive into your next road trip safe in the knowledge that you’ll be bringing every ounce of fitness you want back home with you, rather than leaving it behind on the road.

What you’re about to read are the exact strategies that I used during my company’s US launch tour, which involved a 3-month, 11,000-mile, 21-state rollercoaster of back-to-back 16-hour days.

Not only did I weigh the same at the finish as I did at the start, but I was also equally fit, as confirmed by the tests on my Polar V800 watch, which showed the exact same fitness test score before and after. More importantly I arrived back in my hometown of London able to effortlessly pick up right away with my regular training partners.

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One last important point before we dive in…

…this is not about denial or unnecessary self-sacrifice, but rather about carrying the wellbeing mindset and plan you use at home away on the road and sticking to it. So if you’d be happy to have an occasional few beers and night out with friends at home and the same opportunity presents itself on the road, then go for it.

But the key is to stay in the driving seat to maintain the balance you want with both diet and exercise, regardless of where you are.

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Tip #1: Take Your Morning Routine Everywhere

A good morning routine is the stuff of champions, and few world class performers in any field are without one (here is Ben’s routine). Your routine should require no brainpower, saving that precious fuel for the day’s meatier tasks.

For myself and my wife (and fellow business co-founder/road-tripper) Erica this means hopping out of bed for 15 minutes of meditation and 20 minutes of yoga before breakfast.

The meditation is a pressure release for the stresses of modern life and building a company, plus it’s a fitness and wellbeing booster. Excess stress means excess cortisol and adrenaline, which both reduce strength and performance, as well as increasing long term risk of serious mental and physical illness.

The yoga takes the sting out of long days at the desk or riding the “planes, trains and automobiles” merry-go-round. It’s also a great daily shot of prehab and rehab for running. Add in the meditative benefits and yoga’s a straight win-win.

To keep this power-packed duo on hand at all times we recommend one app and one website, both of which can be carried on your smartphone.

-The smartphone app Headspace: Headspace meditation is a simply brilliant series of guided meditation that delivers the goods without being too woo-woo weird. It’s perfect if you want to establish a meaningful meditation practice but find the heavy hippy vibe that often accompanies many aids off-putting as we did.

Treat your Headspace meditation like morning training. Lay out clothes the night before to hop into as soon as you wake up so you can just pop your headphones in and get to it without complications. This increases your chances of success tenfold

-The website DoYogaWithMe: DoYogaWithMe is simply the bomb for online yoga courses. You can choose from loads of sessions with great instructors from 10 minutes to an hour-plus, from beginner to intermediate and across every style of yoga imaginable. Most are free, paid options exist too. Don’t know where to start? This Vinyasa Vitality is one of our favorites.

Get used to doing your yoga with no mat – it’s one less thing to carry, particularly when traveling light. 99% of all yoga moves are fine even on pavement, and for the ones that aren’t, a towel or t-shirt under the knee or elbow or hip in question covers it. All you now need for yoga is one smartphone and a pair of shorts.

After the morning routine comes breakfast, which means it’s time to dive into…

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Tip #2: Plan Your Nutrition

Planning is almost everything when it comes to maintaining a dietary sweet spot as you travel. I say “almost” because without the right mindset to fuel it, all the planning in the world is useless. This means you need to have the plan and plan to use it.

Having experimented for years with the diet that works best between us, what is ideal for Erica and I is eating almost entirely plant-based and gluten-free. This is the most challenging diet to maintain on the road in the western world because food on the move here is uniformly built around meat, cheese, mayo, butter and bread.

But whatever your diet desires are, you can rest that assured everything you’re about to read has been fully road tested and is guaranteed shockproof – meaning that if these strategies can maintain a plant-based diet under extreme duress across Europe and the USA, they can most likely maintain just about any diet you plan for your next road trip.

We actually dialed in our skills in this arena while crewing endurance beast Luke Tyburski on his “Ultimate Triathlon“, which was a 12-day, 1,250-mile solo triathlon from Morocco to Monaco. Luke fueled exclusively with our products and plant-based real food throughout, while all his crew members ate fully plant-based too. We’re not saying that you must eschew meat on your next long road trip, but just want to ensure you’re fully informed that we did indeed figure out a way to squeeze in a lot of vegetable-based meals and avoid simply chomping on beef jerky for our entire adventure.

Keeping everyone fed during that series of crazy 20-hour days during the Ultimate Triathlon, with nothing but what we could find in the rare Spanish and French markets we had time to stop at, was indeed one hell of an education.

Not only that, but since then, Erica and I built upon those lessons to stay strong, powerful and energized for our company’s USA tour. During our 3 month stint we ate like kings (and queens), didn’t touch a bite of traditional road food, maintained great energy and focus, and did it all for less than a daily junk food budget.

Here’s how…

1. Build A “Nutrition Kit” (for 2-4 people)

Here’s what you need for your kit…

-A big plastic crate, with a lid. This is going to become your kitchen, to be whipped out of the car for instant mealtimes anywhere from rest areas and roadsides to motel rooms and kitchenettes. Size is everything. If in doubt buy a bigger crate than you think you need – having everything easily accessible in one place makes all the difference. Also make sure the lid seals. We used 64 liter boxes from Staples.

-Tupperware. Hit Dollar Tree and stock up. Too much is never enough, as lids always disappear mysteriously like socks in the wash. If you really want to follow all Ben’s rules about not eating out of plastic, then use Pyrex glass containers instead.

-Kitchen essentials. Cutlery, peeler, tin opener and bottle opener (even self-catering places rarely have these) a sharp knife for chopping, one chopping board, water bottles and plastic plates. Don’t forget the washing up liquid. A large plastic bowl for mixing up salads on the move is also mighty handy and wet wipes are a lifesaver for ‘washing up’ on the move

– A small, powerful blender. We use a NutriBullet, they’re tough, good value and the assorted cups they come with are very handy.

2. Include Food Staples

-Tinned beans and lentils. Go for organic wherever possible, check labels for minimal additives/preservatives, and try to soak when possible using a chart like this. We eat plant-based, but if this were Ben’s list, he’d likely recommend tinned or canned sardines, oysters, anchovies instead of legumes.

-Tinned chopped tomatoes. Instant sauce, just add herbs, spice and simmer.

-Tons of fruit and vegetables. Carrots and zucchini rock (especially with hummus), avocados are a must for the good fat and more, while bananas and apples are perfect snacking. 

-Rice and/or quinoa, gluten-free corn tortillas. Add beans/canned meat and vegetables when you have a cooker and bingo: instant hot and hearty meal with a rocking nutritional profile. Make loads, then stash in the containers for the next day.

-Seasoning: salt, whole garlic, chilli flakes, Tabasco, extra virgin olive oil, fresh limes (for DIY guacamole, rosemary (for roasted veg), cinnamon. All guarantee super tasty meals every time.

-Apple cider vinegar. Two spoons in a glass of water daily works wonders for alkalizing the body. We use Braggs, which you can find in almost any supermarket.

-Chia seeds, macadamia nuts, almonds, deshelled hemp, oats. All super-easy superfood super-boosts for breakfasts, salads, mains and deserts.

Here are a few sample recipes we use with the food staples above…

-Breakfast: UT’s Raw Breakfast

A staple for the crew during the Ultimate Triathlon (UT), this has remained a firm favorite ever since. Serves 2.

Ingredients

  • One avocado
  • Two apples or pears
  • Handful of almonds
  • Raw coconut flakes
  • Chia seeds
  • Oats
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Raw cacao nibs (optional)

Method

  • Half and skin avocado, dice into small chunks
  • Peel and core apples/pears, dice into small chunks
  • Add almonds, 1 tbsp coconut flakes, chia, oats and cacao nibs (if using) and blend together in bowl
  • Add cinnamon to taste for sweetness
  • Divide into two bowls and serve

-Lunch: Insalatona

20In Italian this literally means “big salad” and Erica (who’s Italian) uses it to refer to any huge bowl of chunky raw salad. Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

  • One bag raw leafy greens
  • One avocado
  • Carrots, zucchini, cherry tomatoes
  • 1-2 tins garbanzos, black beans or lentils
  • Almonds (optional)
  • Chia seeds, deshelled hemp (optional)
  • One clove garlic
  • Olive oil, salt, chilli flakes

Method

Wash, peel and dice all veg, add to bowl. Drain beans and add to bowl also. Peel garlic glove, chop finely, add to bowl with olive oil, chilli flakes and salt, all to taste. If using chia, almonds and/or hemp, add to taste also. Mix thoroughly and serve

-Dinner: Chili

Hearty, filling and fast. Needs at least one hotplate and saucepan. Serves 2-4.

Ingredients

  • One bag raw spinach
  • 1-2 tins garbanzos, black beans or lentils
  • 1-2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Mushrooms
  • Two cloves garlic
  • One onion
  • Olive oil, salt, chilli flakes
  • Rice
  • Gluten-free tortillas

Method

Chop onion finely, add to saucepan with oil and heat to soften. Peel and chop garlic clove finely, add to heating oil. Add chopped tinned tomatoes, salt, chilli flakes and simmer for 5-10 minutes while rinsing rice and putting on (assuming you have two hotplates/saucepans. If not this can be done after cooking the chilli). Add drained beans to chilli, wash and dice zucchini and mushrooms and add to mix. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add spinach in last five minutes so it can steam down and soak in. Add Tabasco to taste, serve with rice and wraps.

-Sample Snack: Three-Ingredient-Guacamole

So good, so easy. Take one avocado and scoop out contents into a bowl. Add juice from one fresh lime and salt to taste, then mash together with a fork. Serve with chopped vegetables for dipping on its own, or add to salads and chilli wraps.

-Sample Snack: Rice Cakes With Nut Butter

Smoosh nut butter (sugar-free and vegetable-oil free) on a rice cake, then top with sliced banana. This is a perfect sweet treat in a hurry to keep you off the candy bars when the road trip munchies hit.

And finally, here’s a big nutrition tip: use AirBNB instead of hotels for acces to better kitchen facilities during your overnight stays. Even hotels with kitchens are rarely well stocked and many only have microwaves or mini ovens for cooking.

Want even more? Check out Ben’s podcast episode #234, in which he truly geeks out on healthy foods for camping.

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Tip #3: Be Flexibly Inflexible With Training

With your morning routine having fired you up and a great day’s nutrition ahead, it’s time for some training on the road. The keys, as ironic as it may sound, are both flexibility and inflexibility.

Lets start with inflexibility.

When something matters to you, it goes in the diary and, just as success with key sessions is rooted in scheduling them to fit the demands of your week, so the same is true on the road. Plan ahead and figure out where those important sessions fit into your trip, diary them and don’t deviate.

Just be realistic: scheduling morning sessions during a family holiday with multiple small children may be unwise, as can scheduling late night sessions when you’ve got back-to-back evening engagements. But the gaps will be there, your job is to find them and make them count.

This is a great strategy, but on its own, it’s guaranteed to fail on the road.

Need a gym for specific apparatus? No chance. Cycling and need your bike but you’re traveling hand luggage only? Busted. Swimming and no pool within 100 miles? Whoops.

The list goes on and on, so this is where strategy number two comes in: flexibility. Flexibility means paring down your kit needs to things you will always have with you and being alert to all opportunities.

So all bodyweight workouts are in and running is the best cardiovascular component to add in. Toss in a pair of run shoes, shorts and a shirt and you’re good to go anywhere, even if it is just a trusty out and back hack. A skipping rope is another ideal lightweight addition to the travel bag, as are resistance bands and a tennis ball for trigger point relaxation work, which is perfect to iron the kinks out after a long day’s drive.

Beyond this, allow your imagination to run wild. Here are a few of Erica and I’s favorites to get you started:

-Urban run tourism

This is the best way to see a new city. Grab a map from hotel reception or use your phone and work your way around assorted attractions on the run. It’s super-stimulating being somewhere new and as a runner, and you can enjoy an unparalleled feeling of living like a local while bagging your training fix. Also, explore apps like the UrbanAdventureQuest app to find running and walking adventures in the city you’re in.

-Urban gym

As skaters look at a park bench and don’t just see a sitting place, they see a rail slide opportunity, so looking at your urban surroundings with new eyes transforms them into a gym. Combine with run tourism for an awesome session in any city. How? Check out a few of my ideas below (and also consider grabbing this amazing Parkour Strength Training book, perfect for transforming any urban setting into a fantastic gym).

-Park Bench: tricep dips, invert pushups of all varieties, box jumps, step-ups, knee-ups…

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-Stairs: sprint repeats, hop repeats (hop up on one leg, run down, hop up on the other leg, repeat), up and down crab crawls and crawls…

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-Walls & Trees: inverted pushups of all varieties, wall squat, one-legged wall squats, tree-climbs…

-Scaffolding & Tree Branches: pull-ups, inverted pull-ups, bouldering, hand-walking, muscle-ups…

11

-Hotel Gym/Pool: 

Sounds like a no-brainer but these can often be cramped and poorly stocked as they’re there to add a star to the hotel’s rating rather than actually provide training opportunities.But don’t discount them immediately. Small pool? Lengths are out, but pool running is in. Tiny gym with nothing but a treadmill? Perfect: put it on max incline and run until you fall off, which is a huge bang-for-buck session.

-Tall Hotels & Buildings:

No, we’re not talking about leaping these in one mighty bound Superman style, but instead making use of gravity and the stairs. Running hill repeats up and down a 50-story building is a workout you won’t forget in a hurry and you don’t even need to leave the building. Better still, as everyone uses the elevators in tall buildings, you’ll have the stairs to yourself.

-Freeway Rest Areas:

After a day at the wheel the last thing you need is a rest at the rest area. Instead, it’s the perfect space to get the juices flowing again, so run laps, bust out a 15-minute bodyweight session, or hit some yoga stretches. Or try Ben’s famous “50-50-50 workout”: every 50 miles stop for 50 burpees and 50 kettlebell swings (or if no kettlebell is handy, rock overhead presses).

8

-Cycle Hire

Hopping a city bike in places like Chicago, New York, Paris or London is a great way to turn city travel into daily activity, but it sucks for that long ride fix. The hefty bikes are s-l-o-w and longterm hire will dent your wallet harder than buying a new ride. So for that long ride consider hiring a decent road or mountain bike if you’re in a destination for a few days, as there are no bike box hassles, and you can just carry your kit and ride free. Erica and I rode the Tour de France’s famous Mount Ventoux in France this way and have been sold on the idea ever since

-Strava, RidewithGPS, etc.

There are a huge number of platforms for producing, sharing and downloading run and ride routes that any excuse for not getting it on in a new city is now destroyed. Use these platforms to find routes for your sessions anywhere. Strava is our personal favorite, simply because the interface is so good.

And here’s a few final tips:

-Make sure your training clothes are all lightweight and wicking, because that way you can wash them in the hotel sink (shower gel or shampoo are ideal for this), wring them out and have them fresh and dry the next day.

-Get a watch (or an Oura ring) with an activity monitor, set it to the highest level of activity and make sure you hit at least 100% daily. Training should ideally be on top of this, but for monitoring your base level and keeping you honest, having a step count in mind can work wonders.

-Keep in your travel bag, satchel, purse, glove compartment or carry-on Ben’s two clandestine ways to train your grip and your lungs, even if you can’t move any other muscle in your body: a Captains Of Crush grip training device and a PowerLung.


Summary

A huge thanks to Warren for these road trip fitness and nutrition tips. Have your own tips to add? Leave them in the comments section below.

Finally, if you’re curious to learn more about Warren’s nutrition company, or to try his product, then check out his website at 33Shake.com.

33Shake is Chia Seed based energy gel (Ironman triathlete Chrissie Wellington is their “spokesperson”) that Warren invented, a gel which relies upon fats and whole foods to fuel the body, rather than sugars, maltodextrin, fructose and harmful central nervous system stimulants. To prepare one of these unique gels, you simply unscrew the spout and inflate the sachet. Then you add water to the neck, reseal and shake. The gel contents, especially the chia seeds, then absorb the water and naturally form an amazing tasting gel that will last for 24 hours.

You can use the code “Ben33” to get 10% off any 33Shake order. Enjoy!

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In Which Ben Greenfield Is Hypnotized Live On A Podcast (And 3 Embarrassing Personal Admissions From Ben).

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Warning: I get hypnotized in this podcast and it may make you sleepy when you listen, so please don’t do things like drive in your car, operate heavy machinery, ride a bicycle, etc. during this episode. If you do, you may end up in your local newspaper in a way you don’t particularly like.

A couple weeks ago, I sat across from my friend Mark Dhamma at SoHo House in West Hollywood, leaned in over my roasted chicken and Moscow Mule drink and asked him my burning question.

“So could you hypnotize me?”

He confidently nodded.

“On a podcast?”

He nodded again.

And so, what you are about to hear came to life. Mark Dhamma is a High Performance Health & Mindset Coach on primarily Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and private sessions like those you’re going to hear in this podcast, Mark shares advice on how to look, feel and perform at your best with 32,000 people in over 20 countries.

Mark has 17 years of experience in the health industry, including being a Men’s Fitness model and health coach. With his Masters Degree in Positive Psychology under the famous, “Flow” Professor, Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, he teaches science backed proven techniques to be happier, more confident, motivated and productive. Mark gained executive coaching skills from the Royally Knighted Sir John Whitmore “The Founder Of Modern Day Coaching”, as well as using NLP and Hypnosis to literally re-program his clients to be successful.’

During our discussion, in which I am hypnotized while lying shirtless on the floor of my office, you’ll discover:

What exactly happens to your body and brain when you get hypnotized…[12:50]

-Why your brain is like a “rider” and your body is like an “elephant”…[13:35]

-Three slightly embarrassing personal “issues” I have that I want to fix in my life, and how hypnosis can be used to address those issues…[18:40]

-What changes when a hypnotist is in the same physical place as you vs. working with you digitally or via Skype…[62:35]

-How you can learn hypnosis for yourself…[65:45]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode

Hypnosis Practitioner: Pam Castillo

-Book: Patterns of Hypnotic Techniques 

-Podcast on NLP: “How To Get To Sleep At Night Before A Big Race.

Click here to get your own hypnosis session and get $200 off when you use the code BEN10.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Mark or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

How To Lose 131 Pounds By Eating Meat: The Rick Rubin Podcast

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

What do the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Johnny Cash, The Black Crowes, Slayer, Jay Z, James Blake, Dixie Chicks, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Metallica, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Weezer, Linkin Park, The Cult, Neil Diamond, The Avett Brothers, Adele, Mick Jagger, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top, Lady Gaga, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Damien Rice, Eminem, and just about every other world-famous band or musician you’ve ever heard of have in common?

They were all produced by today’s podcast guest: Rick Rubin, the American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records. 

In 2007, MTV called Rick “the most important producer of the last 20 years”, and the same year he appeared on Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list.

Rapper Dr. Dre has stated that Rubin is, “hands down, the dopest producer ever that anyone would ever want to be, ever.”

But Rick has a personal passion outside of music that many people don’t know about…

…health, nutrition, fitness and biohacking.

And in this episode, in which Rick and I sit on his back porch, watching a relaxing sunset after a hard morning of Laird Hamilton’s pool workout, we have an intense discussion about veganism vs. Paleo, Rick’s weight loss journey, and much more. During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-The little-known Ayurvedic pulse taking technique Rick used to find out he need to “drink more bone broth”…[16:10]

-Why Rick thinks an ice bath is very much like eating meat…[26:25]

-How Rick lost 131 pounds by eating animal protein…[29:45]

-Why Rick took an entire week to eat one steak…[28:56]

-What legendary Ironman coach and physician Dr. Phil Maffetone told Rick to do for diet and exercise, and how Rick modified it…[37:35 & 41:05]

What a typical day is like for Rick…[54:25]

-How Rick uses “transcendental meditation”, and his insight into neurofeedback for the brain…[57:20]

-Rick’s unique dietary and supplementation routine he uses each day…[60:35]

-The one herb Rick uses each day to decrease hunger and sugar cravings…[68:00]

-Rick’s standing workstation setup…[68:55]

-Why Rick uses a projector instead of a television or computer to watch movies at night…[73:45 ]

-The audio track that Rick falls asleep to each night…[76:30]

-What is it that drives Rick to live the life he lives…[79:30]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode: 

My article on “hacking” an infrared sauna

The Ayurvedic pulse taking technique Rick refers to

-Don Wildman’s “Hardest Workout In The World” article from Esquire magazine

-Phil Maffetone’s “Big Book of Health and Fitness: A Practical Guide to Diet, Exercise, Healthy Aging, Illness Prevention, and Sexual Well-Being

My podcast on Transcendental Meditation

My neurofeedback EEG training experience

-The full recipe for Rick’s Stim-Stem Shake

NatureAminos amino acids

-The herb Rick uses to decrease hunger and sugar cravings

-The Kybounder Mat Rick uses under his standing workstation

Sleeping Monk tea

Natural Calm Magnesium powder

-The alternative to Natural Calm Magnesium powder that Ben uses

Below is the Natural Calm Magnesium reply that Ben mentioned regarding heavy metals:

In regards to the Arsenic levels that Labdoor has decided to use, it is from a proposed limit over 10 years that was NEVER approved or accepted. The current established level for Arsenic is 10mcg/day. Why Labdoor decided to use a never approved or accepted proposal in unclear. In regards to the Natural Calm supplement, here is Natural Vitality’s official statement on it:

“The simple truth is that Natural Calm both meets its potency label claim and is well within the No Significant Risk Levels for arsenic and in fact is less than 10 percent of California’s Prop 65 stringent safe threshold levels. This has been consistently scientifically validated by third party test results from top American testing labs as part of standard Good Manufacturing Practices.

While testing results commissioned by Labdoor, when correctly interpreted, align perfectly with our results, their report contains a number of distortions which provide both a highly inaccurate picture and a disservice to consumers. We believe Labdoor is attempting to use our well-deserved, award-winning reputation to inflate their importance. Apparently their business model involves casting themselves as a “trusted source” by creating sensationalized stories to drive traffic to their website with the objective of creating profit from advertising sales and, interestingly, sales of supplements.

Factual Flaws

Labdoor’s Natural Calm test size was over two and a half times our recommended serving size but they did not factor that into their analysis. When correctly interpreted our results read:
Magnesium was 346 mg, about a 1% variance from our label claim of 350 mg.
Arsenic was .7992 of a microgram. Less than 8% of the California Prop 65 No Significant Risk safe threshold.

Labdoor was approached regarding their misinterpretation of the results and asked to retract their press release, send out a corrected press release and update their website.

However, Labdoor refused to admit wrong doing of any kind and continues to assert the virtue of their inaccurate position.

At this point, both through the correct interpretation of the assay provided to us from Labdoor and our retest of the lot in question, Natural Calm has been clearly shown to be accurate both in terms of label claim and in following California’s Prop 65. The laboratory used by both Labdoor and Natural Vitality was the highly regarded Covance laboratories. Covance’s interpretation of test results (both Labdoors and ours) validates our position in terms of label claim and purity.

Additional information is available at Natural Vitality customer service if desired ([email protected]).

Having cleared the record with scientific facts, we now consider this matter closed.”

I would be happy to provide you with the Certificate of Analysis that we had performed on an actual servings size instead of the 10.66g that Labdoor used, which is 2.5x our suggested serving size.

-The ZMA supplement you can use before bed at night for minerals 

-The Jack Kornfield spiritual teaching download at DharmaSeed.com

Ben’s article on BPC-157 peptides for muscle gain and fat loss 

Ben’s article on TB-500 peptides for muscle gain and fat loss 

Ben’s article on SARMs for muscle gain and fat loss 

-The NatureColostrum Ben recommends for muscle gain 

-The NatureAminos Ben recommends for muscle gain

-The SuperEssentials Fish Oil Ben recommends for muscle gain

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Rick or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

How To Easily Measure The Human Energy Field, “Chakras”, Organ Function & More.

DR KK

This is a special Premium audio episode. Click here to activate a Premium subscription to the BenGreenfieldFitness show and access this and over 300 additional hidden audios, videos, pdf’s and more!

Four months ago, at the London Biohacker’s Summit, my friend, fellow biohacker and self-quantifying nerd Ruben Salinas got on stage and, during a fascinating presentation that revealed a host of cutting-edge methods he uses to keep his body and brain optimized, mentioned that each day he sticks his finger in a device called a “Bio-Well”, which measures parameters like his “chakras” and “energy field” and “organ health”.

I was skeptical.

So I did some research into Bio-Well, and discovered Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, who is a Professor of Physics at St. Petersburg Federal Research University of Informational Technologies, Mechanics and Optics in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Dr. Korotkov is a scientist known for his research on the human energy field and he developed something called the Gas Discharge Visualization technique, popularly known as “GDV”. He was involved with the development of this Bio-Well device, and during our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Dr. Korotkov developed gas discharge visualization (GDV) technique the point where you can keep a running tab on everything from cortisol to organ function throughout the day…[3:40]

-How a mild electrical shock to your finger can result in the ability to engage in direct, real-time viewing and analysis of changes in your human energy fields…[12:35]

-The actual research behind GDV and whether it actually works when investigated in studies…[17:35]

-How you can use simple measurements on your finger to determine things like food allergies, altitude acclimatization, brain wave states, diseases and more…[27:00]

-How you can use GDV assess response to drugs, meditation, stress reduction therapy or any other interventions…[29:43]

-How GDV can be used to monitor your personal environment for things like mold and fungi…[33:05]

-The methods Konstantin follows to modify his diet, exercise and lifestyle based on GDV testing of himself and his environment…[33:55]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

The Bio-Well website

-Book: Electrophotonic Analysis in Medicine research

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Konstantin or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

6 Practical Tips For Going From $47 In The Bank To Owning A Lamborghini, Getting Testosterone To 1011 & Reading Seven Books A Week.

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You may have heard of my friend Tai Lopez, pictured with me above in the kitchen of his Beverly Hills mansion.

He went from having $47 in the bank to owning a Lamborghini, a Ferrari and a even limited edition Rolls Royce “Ghost car” that I recently featured on my Snapchat as Tai and I were driving to dinner.

He’s boosted his total testosterone to 1011 ng/dl using completely natural methods with no medications or testosterone injections, creams or lotions (that is off-the-charts high)!

He reads the full text of 5, 6 and sometimes 7 books a week (and we’re not talking Curious George or e-books, but full on titles like the ones he talks about in all these podcasts I’ve done with him)

Two weeks ago, I was hanging out with Tai at his mansion in Beverly Hills, where he has his own personal movie theatre, a tennis court, a basketball court, an outdoor speed training facility, a kickboxing studio, a gym, an organic garden and a whole lot more (yes, yes, I know this is already sounding excessive but I’m not making up stories about this guy…this is really the way he lives)…

…and, sitting beside his pool, I started asking him questions about his routines, his lifestyle, his choices, and specifically his habits – the habits that have made him into a guy who has extreme freedom of resources, freedom of time and freedom of mind.

Below are the six biggest takeaways from that conversation – during which I furiously scribbled notes and formed them into an actual article for you. These are practical habits you can add to your daily routine today, so you can start living what Tai calls “The Good Life” tomorrow.

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1. Connect With Geniuses And Millionaires Every Day

Easier said than done, right?

Well, in fact, connecting with geniuses, millionaires, and the greatest minds in history isn’t as difficult as you think.

One of my biggest takeaways from spending time with Tai is taking into consideration how much he invests into other people’s knowledge. There is, in fact (aside from possibly my twin eight year old boys who read copious amounts of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books every night) no one else I know personally who reads as much as Tai.

For as long as I’ve known Tai, he’s been reading at least one book a day. You do the math. That’s seven books a week.

If you’re like most people reading this, reading a book a day is probably overwhelming. But don’t let the idea of a book a day deter you – you can try reading a book a week, or even a book a month instead (heck, that’s still 12 geniuses and millionaires you’re connecting with each year) or you can grab a bunch of Tai’s speed reading tips here.

Reading as often as possible and as many books as possible is all it takes to connect with people throughout history, including people who are normally out of reach, like former presidents or highly-successful business owners.

All it will set you back in most cases is a few to several bucks, or free if you use your local library (yes, those still exist) or the Kindle Lending Library. That’s not a bad tradeoff to connect with multiple experts in any given topic, right?

For example, let’s say you want advice on investing. For help with this, you could buy and read a book from Warren Buffett — a man who, according to Forbes, has a net worth of $66.8 billion dollars. Surely you will find a thing or two in the book like that about investing. Warren’s right hand man is Charlie Munger, and his book “Poor Charlie’s Almanack” is one of the best and most fun money books I’ve ever read, period.

Look — it’s impossible for you to become an first-hand expert on everything and that’s why it’s advantageous for you to soak up as much knowledge from others as possible.

If you’re wanting a few other books to start with, here’s a list of recommended books that both Tai and I have read in the past year and found to be great reads:

8 Weeks to SEALFIT by Mark Divine — If you want to toughen up, this book is for you. SEALFIT is a training style developed by my friend and retired Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine. He created this program for professionals who wish to reach their fullest potential. The great thing about this book is it isn’t just about physical strength: 8 Weeks to SEALFIT trains your mind, too.

Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker — Self-management and discipline is key to getting what you want from life, especially if you’re in a leadership position or you manage your own company. How you handle your inner self influences how effect you are, and it’s also how you kill procrastination. This a simple, easy-to-read book you can go through easily in a day.

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger — From the time he was a little boy, Arnold worked toward getting the things he wanted. And he did. From marrying a Kennedy, to becoming the highest-paid actor, becoming a millionaire before 30, and reaching the highest position in government possible for someone of his status, Arnold did what he set out to do. He wasn’t perfect, and he made mistakes, but Arnold’s drive and persistence is something you can learn from and apply to your life.

Don’t hesitate. Don’t balk at the $8.49 cost of a book. Just buy and read and then rinse, wash and repeat. The more books you have the more you will read them, just like the the more giant bags of dark chocolate almonds from Costco you have, the more you will eat them (c’mon, you know who I’m talking to).

Oh, and by the way, in case you want a goldmine of book “summaries” that allow you to tap into 90% of the goodness of any book without actually reading the entire book, check out my friend James Clear’s excellent book summaries page here and also Derek Siver’s book summaries page here.

But I digress. Here’s the next successful habit I learned from Tai…

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2. “Chunk” Your Daily Routine

Back in 2015, I released a podcast about morning routines and rituals that Tai has. During this podcast, we discussed how to “chunk” your schedule.

What is chunking?

Chunking is a way for you to take advantage of your body’s natural energy levels so that you can maximize your daily productivity and energy. See, living from minute to minute absolutely kills your productivity and focus. The reason for this is that you’re far more ineffective when you force your brain to “reboot” itself after switching from one task to another. As this research has shown, when you multitask rather than chunk, you even damage your brain.

If you’re unsure how to begin chunking your daily routine, here’s a template from Tai that I jotted down in my notes from our poolside conversation that day which you can use to get started (yes, his morning routine differs from mine, but it’s a good one to review).

-Early Mornings (6-8am) — This is a good time to eliminate anything major that’ll distract you throughout the day. If there are any major emergencies or “fires to put out”, take care of them ASAP.

-Morning (8-12pm) — This is prime productivity time for most people (although the new book “Power Of When” shows there will be some variation). You’ll want to focus on the difficult things during these morning hours. The reason why is because your willpower peaks during this time; your brain is rested and ready to go, so use your morning burst of energy to handle the tough stuff.

-Afternoon (12-2pm) — This is your break time. Use this midday downtime to step away from your work. Going for a walk outside is a way to disconnect from your screen, and open yourself up to the therapy nature offers.

-Late Afternoon (2-6pm) — This is where you can begin to transition from work to reward or less cognitively demanding activities. Since you’ve gotten the difficult things done in the morning, you can reserve your late afternoons for relaxing, fun things. If you could get involved in social, or even competitive, activities with others, then that’s even better.

-Evening (8-10pm) — This is your relaxation time. Go ahead, watch a show. It’s okay to tune out. You can’t be working 20 hours a day. It’s not healthy and you won’t be as productive as you could be when well rested.

Before I get into the next of Tai’s habits, I have a short disclaimer about the template above.

What was just described is a sample to follow – it’s not set in stone, and Tai’s template may need some tweaking to adjust to your personality and body type. Read the book Power Of When for more on how the way you set up your day is actually best based on your unique chronobiology.

For example, I personally find that I get a “second wind” of productivity in the evenings. I tend to use this time to accomplish any creative or cognitively demanding tasks I need to do. I’ve also recently discovered that I do better with sex in the morning (when my testosterone peaks) vs. sex in the evening (when I’m tired) and coffee in the early afternoon (when I have a natural cortisol decrease) vs. coffee in the morning (when my cortisol is already high).

But, that’s just me. As you know if you read my article “Five Quotes I Live By, Three Keys To Happiness, Two Questions To Ask Yourself & One Must-Do Thought Experiment.” then you know that Tai and I are not identical, but we both have systems like this and lenses through which we see the world.

So whether you use the template above from Tai, or something on your own, experiment often and see what works best for you, and check out more of my own daily routines here.

OK, on to the next habit…

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3. Avoid Flurries of Activity

An all-too-common character trait of entrepreneurs is to “screw it, just do it.”

While this trait is advantageous for you in a lot of ways — especially when comparing yourself to someone who is of idle nature, being involved in a flurry of activity may just mean you’re involved in nothing at all.

Basically, entrepreneurs, and some non-entrepreneurs too, just want to start things. We have ideas. We want to create solutions for problems, and profit from our efforts.

The downside of this mentality is it’s easy for us to start 101 projects — yet complete none of them. I learned this about myself when I was psychoanalyzed on the podcast “I Am A 98% Angry, No-Nonsense, Perfectionistic, Extremely Unconventional, Rule-Breaking, Fearless Assassin-Sniper.”.

Tai’s solution to this double-edged-like trait is as follows:

  1. Acknowledge you have a problem of starting too many projects.
  2. Learn from other entrepreneurs and adapt their methods of focus and productivity (recommended read for this: The Everything Store, by Jeff Bezos).
  3. Realize it’s impossible to be the best at everything, yet it is possible to be exceptional at 2-3 things.

Something else related to this that I jotted down in my notes which Tai mentioned to do in addition to the above is to “think small, not big”.

This means that instead of having several big ideas, you should try just having 1-2 big ideas and several small ones. When you do this, you will find that by completing small and easy tasks, you’ll get the momentum you desire, and this is momentum that fuels you to complete your 1-2 big ideas. I’ll  often “knock out” the several small ideas and put out those fires before moving on to my big ideas, so that my head is clear when I tackle my big ideas – which stands in stark contrast to the idea of doing the most important thing first in the day, but which actually seems to work quite well for effectively tackling the big idea.

Another thing Tai recommended during this discussion that I had with him about his habits is that you can “vent” your entrepreneurial energy by having a creative outlet. This could be playing an instrument or some type of artistic hobby. His is usually basketball.

For example, when I was a kid, I used to spend hours water coloring with paint. Not kidding (I also played violin for thirteen years and was president of the chess club and wrote fantasy fiction stories, so there, yes, I was a consummate geek). This water coloring would be my creative outlet: it would allow me to detract myself from everything else, and let my creative self just go.

Today, another creative outlet for me is music. I enjoy playing the guitar and travel with my ukulele nearly everywhere.

The point here is there is something you can do, at any age, that allows you to release your creative energy, and you need to have something like that present in your life.

And as a benefit of doing so, you’ll avoid the flurry of activity that happens when 100% of your focus is simply hardcore on your “business” activities. Have something that allows you to step away.

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4. Use a Stretching Machine

This seems random, and I made fun of Tai at first because I called it his “mother-preparing-for-childbirth” machine, but in addition to his jiu-jitsu training, strength training and fasted morning swims, Tai hits this thing every day: a stretch trainer. Not kidding. He calls it his “stretching machine”.

He told me that if you want to become more flexible, he highly suggests investing in a stretching machine.

I’ve always known about these strange stretching machines that usually appear covered in cobwebs in a corner of a gym, but seeing Tai’s progress with his is what convinced me they’re worth the investment. The guy can nearly do the full splits now after just a year of using it.

Stretching machines get mixed reviews in the professional sports, exercise science and mixed martial arts community. Some say they’re worthless, some say they’re the best thing in the world.

But over time, and when used correctly (e.g. holding a specific stretch for 90 seconds to 3 minutes per day), a stretching machine can help you go from a 120 degree to 180 degree (i.e.,) split. Some machines even allow you to do 190 degrees, which is called a reverse split.

I won’t get into Tai’s infatuations with sex, libido and testosterone in this article (you can read more about that here), but suffice it to say, I’d hazard a guess this machine is likely helping him in the, shall we say, Kama Sutra department.

As for me, I choose to hang from an inversion table in the morning sun several times per week…

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5. Leverage The Expertise of Other People

I don’t know of anyone else who invests more than Tai in trainers and coaches.

Seriously: when I’m staying at his house he constantly has some kind of coach or trainer or teacher or tutor or expert walking in or walking out the front door.

During our last conversation, Tai informed me that his is now investing more than $50,000 a month in connecting with the world’s best experts to learn skills like:

-Basketball…

-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu…

-Piano…

-Weight training…

-Reading…

-Memory…

-Chess…

Thing is, Tai’s not a dummy. He could probably learn each of these skills on his own with the help of YouTube and a few books. Chances are, he would get better at all of the above over time using less expensive self-learning methods.

But having a trainer shortcuts the learning curve, and when you consider the money Tai saves by spending less time learning, it’s logical, no-brainer decision for him to invest in other people’s expertise. In my opinion, perhaps even more importantly, you’re far more likely to stick to learning a skill when you have the accountability of a tutor or trainer or teacher providing you with the extrinsic motivation and potential embarrassment to keep cracking away at it each day.

Tai actually calls himself a “Mad Scientist” because he experiments as much as possible, and in as many things as possible, but he’s almost always doing it under the safe and effective time-hacking guidance of an expert he has hunted down in any specific niche.

As a matter of fact, after six months of really crappy attentiveness to my ukulele practice, I’ve finally hired –  after realizing how much importance Tai places on having tutors – an online ukulele teacher for once-per-week lessons, which is setting me back $60 per week, but has also infused new motivation, accountability and excitement into my ukulele practice.

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6. Socialize With Tough People

This next habit has been absolutely vital throughout the history of humankind.

And even though most environments today are urban, safe, and full of Starbucks, nail salons and posh health clubs, there is still a strong need for you to associate with tough people. Tai, who is actually an ex-Amish farmhand, gets into this hardcore in my podcast episode with him entitled “An Ex-Amish Farmhand Millionaire Renaissance Man Spills His Insider Secrets To Getting Tough.

So now I’m about to illustrate an over-the-top example from that podcast I recorded with Tai about of how being around tough people raises your standards.

This example is about “Spirit Runners“, a name given to a group of Apache Indians who would run up to 20 mils a day with a mouthful of water.

So why would they train this way?

First, this symbolized a transition into manhood. It was simply the standard for the male members of tribe to be able to run for long distances without stopping.

The mouthful of water also kept their mouth from becoming dry, decreased shallow chest breathing and cortisol release, and strengthened willpower.

And another big reason was so that they would have an advantage during a time of war.

When Geronimo and his 39 Apache Spirit Runners were being chased by thousands of American soldiers, they were able to endure for months without being caught.

How did they do it?

They were able to run 80 miles a day.

Another reason they trained themselves to run for long distances without stopping was for endurance (sometimes called cursorial or persistence) hunting. Endurance hunting is when you run longer than the animal you’re chasing, until the animal completely succumbs to fatigue.

For the Apaches, this level of toughness was the norm: it’s what they grew up with, so it became their standard of living.

How does this relate to you and your life?

Let’s look at Tai as an example. Back when Tai was considering college, he instead decided to go work on  Joel Salatin’s farm instead (Joel is also someone who’ve I’ve talked about in my podcast about how to eat healthy meat).

Tai did this because he want to endure the pain before the gain. He wanted to experience what it was like to live amongst tough people, so he could be better prepared for his life ahead.

Tai then went on to live with the Amish in Scottsville Kentucky, and these folks are some of the toughest and hardest-working people in the world. Bed time was at 6:45pm, and people on the farm were waking up at 3:00am to start their day of work.

And nearly the last note I jotted down from my conversation with Tai about toughness was this…

…toughness gives you persistence.

It’s one thing to be able run a marathon, and it is quite another thing to be able to run a marathon every day.

You want to surround yourself constantly with people who have the able to persist and pursue, even when things get tough. Being around these type of people will make you work harder and not give up on your goals. Geronimo and his 39 Apache warriors wouldn’t have been able to endure for so long on their own – they were in a small tribe of like-minded people who understood the power of persistence.

So yeah, maybe go hunt down a farmer and bale hay once a week. Or go join an MMA gym and spar on weekday nights. Or go play noon basketball with the guys who shove you around a bit. Or go running with the girls you know will push you. You get the idea. Do it, and do it often.

In life and in business, tough persistence is what keeps you ahead.


Summary

Did you like these habits or want more of Tai?

You can listen to Part 1 of my audio podcast series with Tai here, in which he and I talk about multi-tasking, reprogramming your genetics and checking your e-mail less.

You can listen to Part 2 here, in which Tai and I talk about how to know when you’re actually making enough money, and when you can stop focusing on income, start focusing more on life, love and happiness, and how to strike the ideal balance between being overambitious and underambitious.

Or you can check out Part 3 here, in which Tai and I discuss personal finances Tony Robbins new book “Money”, how Tai feels we should protect and grow our wealth, and exactly what Tai’s personal investment philosophy is.

Or you can feed through the Tai Lopez firehose by jumping into his 67 Steps To Health, Wealth, Happiness & Love program.

Oh yeah, one more thing.

There’s one extra habit I picked up from my conversation with Tai that I want to share.

Invest in yourself.

That’s right, investing in yourself is the key to success. Why is an investment in yourself is the best type of investment?

You can invest in materialistic things, but those generally don’t last.

You can also invest in experiences, but those come and go.

But an investment in yourself is something that lasts a lifetime. That’s why both Tai and I spend hundreds of dollars a month buying books, learning programs, conference tickets and anything else we can hunt down that will make us a more valuable, educated, resourceful and wise person able to make heavily equipped decisions on everything from money to fitness to love.

And one investment I’d highly recommend you make is Tai’s “67 Steps” program, in which you’ll find hours worth of video and audio training straight from Tai (along with some videos from me), live, ongoing content and calls with Tai that are regularly added to his program, and all the methods he’s used to where he is at today – healthy, wealthy and wise.

You can get a totally free sample of his 67 Steps program and watch a special video message from Tai here. Enjoy. It’s well worth it.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Tai or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

The Best Way To Test For Zika Virus & Beyond: One Single, Very Inexpensive Test That Can Measure EVERYTHING – An Interview With Army Microbiologist & Virus Expert Dr. Charles Wick.

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Today’s podcast guest is a guy who could save and be saving more lives than any guest I’ve ever had on the podcast.

While working for the army as a microbiologist, he developed two extremely unique methods of microbe detection. The first is a universal and physical virus counter (IVDS). The second is a computer program that, in conjunction with Mass Spectrometry, identifies the unique protein fragments (peptides) within a sample of anything and universally detects all the microbes in a sample (MSP) – from Ebola to influenza to Zika, West Nile Virus, AIDS and beyond, including known, unknown, and mutated viruses.

He was the feature of the NY Times Article: Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery, which was about work he did in the bee population in 2010 to shed light on colony collapse disorder.

But the promise of what he does goes beyond bees, and when it comes to health and fitness, in the right hands his Mass Spect Proteomics program could help scientists and physicians study the gut, infection and other elements of health. The need for a lot of lab work would be eliminated and human body clinicians would no longer be limited to parameters of particular panels, because they would now have access to one very inexpensive test that sees everything – EVERYTHING – and beats the pants off old-school methods of disease detection. The Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS) he helped to develop is a fast-acting, highly portable, user-friendly, extremely accurate and efficient system for detecting the presence of, screening, identifying, and characterizing viruses.

Let’s say, for example, you get bit by a mosquito (this analogy is inspired by the newspaper clip below that I was just reading this morning).

Over several days, you feel increasingly worse and worse.

What if, using your own saliva or other body fluid, you could immediately test in the comfort of your own home to see if you had Zika, West Nile, or some other microbe-related issue?

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That’s possible.

My guest is Dr. Charles Wick, and he is based out of a small tech firm in Montana that is working to make IVDS laptop sized units to be used use in mobile applications like airports, drugstores, homes, etc. to help quickly and accurately diagnose the flu and other bugs, along with developing technologies to help bee keepers manage their hives to save insects like bees and beetles.

Dr. Wick is a retired senior scientist from the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) where he served both as a manager and research physical scientist and has made significant contributions to forensic science. Although his 40+ year professional career has spanned both the public sector and the military, his better-known work in the area of forensic science has occurred in concert with the Department of Defense (DOD). After earning four degrees from the University of Washington, Dr. Wick worked in the private sector for twelve years, leading to a patent, numerous publications, and international recognition among his colleagues.

In 1983, Dr. Wick joined the Vulnerability/Lethality Division of the United States Army Ballistic Research Laboratory, where he quickly achieved recognition as a manager and principal investigator. It was at this point that he made one of his first major contributions to forensic science and to the field of antiterrorism; his team was the first to utilize current technology to model sub-lethal chemical, biological, and nuclear agents. This achievement was beneficial to all areas of the Department of Defense, as well as to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and gained Wick international acclaim as an authority on individual performance for operations conducted on a nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) battlefield.

During his career in the United States Army, Wick rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Chemical Corps. He served as a Unit Commander for several rotations, a staff officer for six years (he was an Division Chemical Staff Officer for two rotations), Deputy Program Director Biological Defense Systems, and retired from the position of Commander of the 485th Chemical Battalion in April of 1999. Dr. Wick continued to work for the DOD as a civilian at ECBC. Two notable achievements, and one which earned him the Department of the Army Research and Development Award for Technical Excellence and a Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Award in 2002, include his involvement in the invention of the Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS), a fast-acting, highly portable, user-friendly, extremely accurate and efficient system for detecting the presence of, screening, identifying, and characterizing viruses. The IVDS can detect and identify the full spectrum of known, unknown, and mutated viruses, from AIDS to foot and mouth disease, to West Nile Virus, and beyond.

This system is compact, portable, and does not rely upon elaborate chemistry. The second, and equally award winning, was his leadership in the invention of the method for detecting and identifying microbes using Mass Spectrometry Proteomics. Each of these projects represent determined ten year efforts and are novel in their approaches to the detection and classification of microbes from complex matrices. Both topics are the subjects of two books published by CRC Press. Throughout his career, Wick has made lasting and important contributions to forensic science and to the field of antiterrorism. Dr. Wick holds several U.S. Patents in the area of microbe detection and classification. He has written more than forty-five civilian and military publications and has received myriad awards and citations, including the Department of the Army Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, the Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award, two United States Army Achievement Medals for Civilian Service, the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, the Technical Cooperation Achievement Award and twenty-five other decorations and awards for military and community service.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-What bees disappearing has to do with the Zika virus…[15:38]

-Why colony collapse disorder in bees is happening (and whether cell phones are to blame)…[24:12 & 28:20]

-Why it’s actually a pretty big deal for your health if bees die off…[31:00, 32:40 & 38:00]

-What can be done now to keep bees from disappearing…[34:00 & 51:15]

-How the biological testing equipment Charles developed is extremely unique, and why older detection methods are flawed…[18:30, 37:50 & 46:25]

-Ways this technology can be used to quickly find out if you have things like MRSA, Lyme, influenza or some kind of underlying chronic infection…[37:10 & 44:40]

-How the smartphone of the future could be used to detect virtually any microbial condition…[53:35]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

Book: Integrated Virus Detection

Book: Identifying Microbes by Mass Spectrometry Proteomics

The research page of Charles Wick

NY Times Article: Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery

The essential oils Ben Greenfield uses

Video 1 from YouTube: Charles discusses Mass Spectrometry Proteomics (MSP) and Integrated Virus Detection System (IVDS). Both, universal microbe detectors that, including Ebola, could universally detect every microbe in a single sample.

Video 2 from YouTube: In this second half, Charles answers questions about his IP, terrorist using Ebola, how MSP and IVDS have all but made PCR detection methods obsolete, and of course the meaning of life.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dr. Charles Wick or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

The Most Effective Detox You’ve Never Heard Of (And Exactly How To Do It).

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

In 1974, the World Health Organization stated that environmental toxins create approximately 84% of all chronic diseases. Over the past 40 years this number has increased dramatically…

…and as a matter of fact, an oft-neglected but serious issue called “cellular toxicity” is one of the major epidemics of our lifetimes, and remains an underlying cause of numerous health issues, including gut problems, thyroid issues, sluggish metabolism, brain fog and much more.

In today’s episode, you’re going to learn exactly why that is, what cellular toxicity is, what you can do about, and the most effective form of detoxification that you’ve probably never heard of.

My guest on today’s episode is Dr. Daniel Pompa, D.PSc., who is widely considered to be a global leader in the health and wellness industry. He travels all over the country educating practitioners and the public on the root causes of inflammation driven diseases such as Weight Loss Resistance, Hypothyroid, Diabetes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autoimmune Disorders and other chronic conditions.

…and I happened to have had the pleasure of hanging out at Dan’s house with him in Park City Utah during my TrainToHunt National Championships competition, and finding out everything I’ve always wanted to know about how to detox the body as effectively as possible.

Dan’s authority is rooted in his own personal battle. He has overcome serious neurotoxic illness and heavy metal poisoning, and he did that using the cellular detoxification strategies we talk about in this show. His methodology is rooted in self-experimentation, and runs very much counter to mainstream detox tactics.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Dr. Pompa developed extremely”toxic” cells despite being a seemingly healthy pro mountain biker and chiropractic physician…[9:30]

-The big, big problem with detoxifications such as cilantro, chlorella, juice cleanses, colonics and other popular detox methods…[30:00]

-Why the popular cleansing mineral zeolite is too big to cross a cell membrane, and what you can do about it…[34:05 & 53:55]

-Dr Pompa’s 5 “R’s” of fixing your cells for good, and how you can personally do each of these R’s…[37:35]

-Why you must detox your cell, and not just your tissue or your blood, and exactly how to detox your cells…[40:15]

What happens if you mix popular detox methods, like fiber supplements or glutathione or n-acetyl cysteine or juicing, etc…[58:15]

The tiny white bottle that Dr. Pompa gave me that made me feel like complete crap and call him on the phone three days later…[63:20]

-What you should feel like when you are detoxing, and how long you should actually detox for (you’ll be surprised at the answer)…[64:30]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

CytoDetox supplement

Six hour urine challenge

Evidence Of Harm DVD about mercury dental fillings

The “Smoking Tooth” video on YouTube

IAOMT.org for finding a holistic dentist

Biology Of Belief book

NOW Foods liver capsules

USWellnessMeats (Ben mentions braunschweiger and head cheese in this episode)

Cancer As A Metabolic Disease book

Thorne multivitamin

-Dr. Pompa’s article about detoxification mistakes

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Dan or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

How To Increase Your IQ, Decrease Your Distractibility, Create Better Sleep, Enhance Cognitive Performance & Maximize Your Ability To Enter The Zone.

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Two months ago, I visited the Peak Brain Institute in Los Angeles, California for a special type of advanced brain scan and brain mapping system called a quantified electroencephalography, or “QEEG”…

…and I was shocked at what they discovered in my brain.

Dr. Andrew Hill, who oversaw the test and who you may remember from my podcasts “Can Weed Really Shrink Your Brain” and “The Little Known Truth About Smart Drugs And Nootropics” (and who you also may have seen on The Joe Rogan Experience, the Smart Drug Smarts show and beyond) discovered some pretty severe patterns of excess stressful beta waves, excess theta waves, and excess delta waves in my brain.

What’s that mean?

Basically, this suggests that I have had some history of concussions and traumatic brain injury (which I indeed have had, in everything from football to mountain biking to kickboxing), as well as built-up deficits of attention, increased distractibility, limited sleep potential and less-than-optimal cognitive performance from life, travel, toxins, head injuries and beyond.

So last week, I hopped on a plane to LA, and went back to the Peak Brain Institute for three days of intensive training to fix my brain.

In this guest article from Dr. Andrew Hill himself, who is one the leading neurofeedback practitioners and peak brain performance coaches in the country, a UCLA trained cognitive neuroscientist, lecturer, entrepreneur, avid biohacker, and host of the soon-to-be released podcast – Head First With Dr. Hill (stay tuned as one of the first episodes is with yours truly)…

….you’re going to discover exactly what I did with Dr. Hill, how this method of brain fixing blows any other form of electrical brain stimulation out of the water, and how I felt while going through what is essentially like “meditation on steroids”.

Enjoy.

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You Are An Athlete

The 2016 Rio Olympics games have just come to a close, and it will be a long wait until Tokyo Games in 2020. It’s going to be an intense, grueling four years as athletes try to get to the top of their game. But for most of us, our Olympic dreams probably died somewhere around the beginning of high school…the ultimate reality check…the point when you realize that you’re not going to be the next Michael Phelps or Simone Biles.

Then why is it that we care so much about what the best athletes in the world eat, sleep, and breathe?

We’re competitive by nature because we’re human. Like Ben, we want to be the best, have the best, and live life to its fullest. We’re also flawed by nature because, you guessed it, we’re human. We get anxious, impulsive, distracted, stressed out, lose our confidence – and sometimes even lose our cool.

In other words, we seem to get in our own way a little too often.

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So maybe you don’t consider yourself to be an “elite athlete” – but regardless of that, if our professions are mentally athletic or physically athletic in nature, our successes and failures are largely dependent on what happens inside the three pounds of tissue between your ears. Whether you’re a surgeon, Wall Street trader, neighborhood butcher, or super mom, life is really a game of inches, and much of that game takes place in that organ between your ears that we call the brain.

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Olympic Glory vs. Eternal Agony

Focus and emotional balance is the key to peak performance in all areas. Neurofeedback – also known as EEG biofeedback – is used by many athletes, including the recently competing USA Olympic athletes, to train their brains to function better during performance states. EEG was originally used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, attention deficit disorder and migraines, but contrary to popular belief, can benefit all brains.

Neurofeedback trains your brain to function more efficiently, improving mental functioning and emotional regulation. Much like physical training, you can use brainwave training to strengthen specific brainwave (EEG) patterns. The more you practice you have activating or entraining a specific area of the brain, the stronger and more accessible those resources become.

Neurofeedback was discovered in the late 1960s by sleep researcher Barry Sterman, PhD, who discovered that he was able to train cats to produce more of a specific EEG pattern by reinforcing it with a positive reward. This specific rhythm, in a frequency of 12Hz to 15Hz, over the sensorimotor part of the cortex is called “SMR”, or sensory motor rhythm. If you’ve ever seen a cat lying on a window sill looking out the window at birds, you have seen SMR. Body like liquid, but eyes in a laser-like calm focus.

That’s the SMR state – a feline version of “the zone,” if you will.

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Getting Your Head Into The Game

Our bodies follow the brain every step (and misstep of the way). Athletic performance is truly a function of brain-body connection. With so much at stake, it’s almost a no-brainer for an Olympic athlete to hone their mental game in addition to their rigorous physical training. Many athletes have realized that neurofeedback is one of the best ways to keep their mind controlled and focused so their body can perform at its best.

The Italian National Soccer team kicked up their performance by using neurofeedback and won the 2006 World Cup after edging France with clutch penalty kicks. Olympic Beach Volleyball champion Kerri Walsh-Jennings has incorporated neurofeedback into her training routine for years. Alexandre Bilodeau, the Canadian men’s mogul champion credited his gold medal to neurofeedback. Bilodeau used it to stay relaxed between runs.

Elite athletes across the world incorporate neurofeedback into their training – from the United States Olympic Training Center, US Special Forces and Navy Seals, NFL, NHL, the Pro golf circuit, Formula 1, and even NASA.

These athletes use neurofeedback training to: 

  1. Increase focus and attention – focus is essential for athletes – they must stay completely in the moment and pay attention to every detail
  2. Improve the depth and quality of sleep – deep, restorative sleep is often directly correlated to performance
  3. Increase neuroplasticity – which may help the central nervous system better cope with stress
  4. Eradicate one-way, negative thinking – confidence is key – streaks and slumps are the enemies of elite athletes
  5. Keep the brain young and brain fitness high – neurofeedback can help preserve that cognitive edge over time

In a nutshell, these superhumans use neurofeedback to overcome their personal kryptonite, whatever that may be.

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What’s your Kryptonite?

For some of us it’s lack of sleep, but for others it’s anxiety getting in the way, distractibility and lack of focus, impulsivity, obsessions, constant worrying, or debilitating migraines.

Maybe it’s the years long lingering effects of a concussion or traumatic brain injury causing the mind to fatigue as the brain seems to “brown out” by mid-afternoon.

For Ben, it was a little bit of everything.

Whatever it is, most of us seem to have something cognitively that holds us back from achieving our goals.

Could it be a chemical imbalance in the brain? No. In fact, there’s no such thing as a chemical imbalance in the brain. This idea might help sell billions of dollars in pharmaceuticals, but it’s a big fat myth.

So how can we better understand our weaknesses and cognitive challenges?

Enter brain waves.

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What are Brain Waves? What Do They Mean?

One thing people often aren’t aware of is we’re making all of our brain waves all of the time. You’re making waves we call “Delta”, “Theta”, “Alpha”, “Beta”, and “Gamma” all of the time, but the amount of different frequencies you make change moment to moment. They track your states and your resources to some extent. Brainwaves in proper ratios are like musical instruments coming together in an orchestra – nothing too loud, nothing too quiet, with a harmonic beat, and all players additive and cooperative.

These brain waves are also known as EEG, and are simply electricity, produced by organized assemblies of neurons firing at the same speed. Largely when we train the brain, we are measuring these brainwaves. Based on the speed of these oscillations, we call them Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, or Gamma.

For example, Delta is good when you’re sleeping, but bad when you’re awake. Excess Delta may mean sleep deprivation or past head injuries. Chronic and excessive alcohol consumption may suppress the slow brain waves including Delta, Alpha, and Theta. The Delta frequency is 0.5 Hz – 4 Hz.

Then there’s Theta, which is good for creativity, but bad for focus. Excess Theta shows up in impulsivity and lack of control over performance. When this happens, it’s like the brakes being off the car. Everything becomes reactive and there’s very little inhibitory ability and carefully directed behavior. The Theta to Beta ratio is a very well validated marker for ADHD and other executive function problems (high TBR indicates ADHD). Theta is 4 Hz – 7 Hz.

Next is Alpha, which I call an idling or rest frequency in the brain. It is good for relaxation, but bad for focus. Excess Alpha shows up in inattentive ADHD, and may show up with chronic abuse of cannabis. Alpha is 7 Hz – 12 Hz.

Beta is good for alertness, focus, and cognition (thinking), but bad if you’re stressout. Excess Beta shows up in sleep issues and anxiety. Low power Beta can also show up in head injuries. Beta is 12 Hz to 38 Hz.

Finally there’s Gamma, which is a very fast frequency that is possibly involved in consciousness. Gamma briefly binds neurons together into networks. Gamma cannot be measured at the scalp without special equipment, and must be measured at cortex (putting electrodes into the brain) or using very expensive active electrodes. Gamma is 38 Hz and higher. Long term meditators have enhanced Gamma, and schizophrenics have reduced Gamma.

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How To Map Your Brain

Before starting any neurofeedback training, it’s crucial to have a Quantitative EEG (QEEG) or ‘brain mapping’ performed. This is essentially a statistical analysis and assessment of functional patterns in your brain that gives great insight into how your brain compares to a range of typical brains. It can identify potential cognitive challenges and bottlenecks.

Below is me pointing out a brain map (and, as an interesting aside, this particular form of therapy “re-sensitizes” one to the use of cannabis, if that’s your thing).

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A QEEG starts by measuring your resting state brain waves from about two dozen locations across the scalp, both with eyes open and closed. This data is then compared to a normative database of several thousand people and results in a several hundred page report of statistical maps that utilize Z-Scores (-3 to 3 standard deviations).

If a functional area of the brain is 2 or 3 or more standard deviations from the norm, this is a sign that this is an area that we want to take a closer look at. If you recall your basic statistics 2 standard deviations includes 95% of the bell curve and 3 SD includes 99.7%.

It takes a very skilled clinician to understand and interpret the data. And, the data shouldn’t necessarily be believed unless it matches the subjective experience of the person it came from. Just because someone’s brain is unusual (there is no such thing as a “typical” brain), it doesn’t mean there is a problem. QEEG is not a diagnostic tool – you could say it’s ‘prognostic,’ because it tells us what is likely true.

If the QEEG data matches the experience of the person being test, then you should trust the data. With this knowledge, you have the basis for a training protocol.

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Fixing Your Brain With Neurofeedback

Training with neurofeedback is intense exercise for your brain.

However, there’s a few key distinctions to be made from brain training and physical training. First, you don’t have to break a sweat – just kick back in a comfortable chair. Second, you don’t even really need to try – just be present and sit relatively still (muscle tension can interfere with the electrode signals). Three, the software is adaptive and always moving the goalposts, so there’s really no such thing as winning or scoring a PR – it’s time under a training protocol, not “score.”

And lastly, the most impressive difference is that with sufficient training, neurofeedback can produce lasting effects and new resources, unlike the transitory effects of physical training.

So what exactly is neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is a non-invasive form of central nervous system biofeedback. It trains the brain to develop new resources by encouraging certain areas to raise or lower the amplitude of particular brainwaves (or it can train connectivity, ratios, etc). To a very large extent, and unlike peripheral biofeeedback such as practicing a physical exercise like a handstand, neurofeedback is an entirely non-voluntary process where you are shaping the brain by thresholding and giving the brain feedback only when it’s doing certain things. Professional clinicians report that about 90% of users notice significant positive impact from the training.

Training simply involves the placement of electrodes on the scalp to be picked up by an EEG amplifier. These signals are then fed into software that then sends back to the user some form of visual and/or auditory “feedback” or reward. This reward stimulus is given when the brain produces brainwave changes in amplitudes or frequency in the direction we want to encourage.

The single most crucial aspect of neurofeedback training is protocol selection. Neurofeedback is a powerful tool and every brain is different. Although the QEEG provides crucial information about one person’s brain, the training plan itself needs to be adaptive and iterative, based upon how someone responds to the training, which is why it’s important to have this process overseen by a neurofeedback practitioner.

Neurofeedback can produce side effects, although they are generally minor and short lasting – and also informative to a neurofeedback practitioner. If you get adverse effects, protocols can be adjusted to steer the brain in a different direction. But, if you are somebody training yourself with no supervision and no sense of what’s actually happening in the brain, you can easily produce negative side effects and – if you keep doing it – you can cause these negative effects to become permanent.

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Doping Your Brain

No, I’m not talking about Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s), but even the Russians athletes will readily admit that they rely heavily on neurofeedback as one of the many ways they strive to get an edge. The gear we’re talking about is a neurofeedback home training kit, or finding a skilled clinician in your area.

Most, if not all consumer EEG “wearable” headsets on the market are mostly ineffective, at best. I’m not going to do any name dropping, but you’ve probably seen these sexy headbands and brain training equipment that, say, syncs to your phone.

Here’s what you need to know: any device that measures EEG from the forehead should raise skepticism, as the forehead is almost never the right place to train EEG and training the forehead can produce the most dramatic side effects. There is really no one size fits all neurofeedback.

There’s no magical cap you put on your head and sit back and it just works, period.

Anyone can stick electrodes on heads, set up frequencies in a signal processing algorithm, and tie it to a computer game, using the current neurofeedback software packages in clinical use. But nowing what to do, where on the head to train, what frequencies to train up and down, how to train amplitude, or coherence, or other more complicated metrics and why to do these things (and what to do when you get adverse or suboptimal effects), that’s the difficult part of neurofeedback. This is really why you need a neurofeedback practitioner to guide training or you need to be really technically minded yourself and have some neuroscience perspective.

Otherwise, you’re going to get, at best, suboptimal effects and at worse, potentially adverse effects in the long term.

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Shift Happens

So can you achieve the equivalent of decades of meditation and zen training fancy biohacking neurofeedback equipment like Ben is using?

Let’s not get carried away. Barring something like a brain injury or pharmaceutical and recreational drug use, EEG patterns tend to be static and change very, very slowly from one year to the next, so getting significant changes in a short period of time are a big deal.

Some very positive effects are often noticeable in the first week or two of doing neurofeedback, but neurofeedback training is not “permanent” until you have done something for several weeks – at least 5 weeks – the brain just doesn’t change its patterns that quickly.

Ultimately, you can expect to do neurofeedback a few times a week for at least 3 months to achieve lasting results that meet goals of big shifts in attention and other brain resources.

When you change your brain, you change everything.

You change your entire experience, how you process information, and how you experience the world. The brain is the filter through which you experience absolutely everything. So, subtle changes over several months in your processing machinery can mean dramatic change in your experience and executive function.

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What I Found In Ben Greenfield’s Brain

As Ben mentioned in the introduction to this article, he came to Peak Brain Institute in LA two months ago and got his QEEG performed (in a live studio, pictured below, podcast coming soon). We found many patterns of excess Beta, excess Theta, and excess Delta in Ben’s brain.

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Overall, this suggested that Ben had some history of mild head injury (concussion), and shows some likely bottlenecks in resources for things attention and sleep.

So last week, Ben came back to my institute for three solid days of what I call a “self-training intensive”.

During these three days, we worked with Ben to do further assessments and brain training, and taught him the process of setting up and recording EEG training sessions for himself. We built an personal EEG training kit for Ben and gave him the skills to administer his own training.

Ben then left with a training kit to continue training his brain several times a week, updating Peak Brain Institute and me each day with results and progress. I will continue to monitor and provide support as Ben works through different training regimens to optimize his brain, fix sleep, fix distractibility, increase his IQ and attention, and much more.

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As Ben updates us on his neurofeedback progress, you may be interested in participating in a similar program, so now I’ll tell you more about how you can do this type of training yourself.

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Peak Brain Neurofeedback Self Training Kit with Supervised Training

Peak Brain Institute is peak performance center and brain gym founded by me. For those who aren’t able to regularly visit Peak Brain’s Los Angeles Headquarters (or our three other new locations you can view here), Peak Brain offers a supervised home training package. It’s not for everyone, but if you have some attention, stress, sleep, or other broad performance goals, it may be for you, and it’s exactly what Ben is doing.

Here’s how it works…

Step 1: Initial Intensive

This is an intensive to get you up to speed on self-training your brain. For three days, you will practice training your brain with neurofeedback. This is about the minimum time required to produce some effects, although quick responders will get some effects when they are here.

The first day, we will perform a Quantitative EEG on your brain and teach you about the process of QEEG and what your data means, and then we will furnish you with a copy of your raw brain data for further analysis, as well as a report on clinical impressions of the QEEG with regards to brain performance.

The goals of the Intensive are to help you practice supervised neurofeedback, protocol setup on yourself (or your child or spouse), and learn the process of training, including keeping track of your sessions and progress, learning to use the software and EEG devices, and learning to find scalp locations for training.

Step 2: Two Follow-Up Days

Every day you are here includes a one hour meeting with me, and I will directly oversee your first neurofeedback session each day. You will also practice a second time each day, and later, you can take advantage of our 1:1 mindfulness coaching and our evening mindfulness groups.

Sample 3-day Itinerary

  • Day 1: 9 am – 1 pm: QEEG recording, Attention assessment, neurofeedback session, QEEG discussion, and 2nd neurofeedback sessions.
  • Day 2: 9 am – 12 pm: Two neurofeedback sessions with 1:1 meditation instruction between them.
  • Day 3: Two neurofeedback sessions, kit setup practice, and instruction on charting and logging sessions.

After the Intensive, I send you home with a Peak Brain training kit (pictured below) including:

  • Q-Wiz 4 channel EEG and HEG amplifier
  • BioExplorer training software
  • InnerTube game license and software
  • BxShadow software
  • EEG electrodes, paste and prep materials
  • Gaming-quality 15” laptop (with dedicated video card and current i5 or i7 processor)
  • Sleep tracker
  • Optional
    • pirHEG headset (for passive infra-red hemoencephalography training)
    • HRV device (emWave Pro)
    • Game controller (Steelseries)
    • Cable set (20 foot HDMI and USB cable)

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To keep you moving forward with your brain training goals, we then provide training support for a three month period of time. This supervision includes:

  • Checking in via text or phone with questions
    • We especially want to know how the first weeks of training are going!
    • The first few weeks we will ask for weekly calls to talk about your progress.
  • Daily, simple survey on 10 aspects of brain performance
    • This data reported back to us helps guide your training protocol selection
  • Ongoing supervision of neurofeedback protocol selection
    • Peak Brain clinical staff will monitor your charts and make adjustment to your training plan weekly or as needed based on results.
  • Technical support when using training software
    • Call our technicians for support if you forget how to do something

And that’s it.

Mention Ben when you visit the Peak Brain Institute website to contact us, and we’ll give you the white glove treatment, along with a 10% discount on any of our services, including the exact brain training system that Ben is now using.

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About The Author

Dr. Andrew Hill is founder of Peak Brain Institute. You may remember him from a few episodes on my Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast, in which he discussed smart drugs vs. nootropics and how marijuana affects the brain.

He received his PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience from UCLA in 2012, studying how attention operates in the brain, and has been employed as a Lecturer at UCLA over the past few years, teaching multidisciplinary courses on Healthy Brain Aging and courses in Neuroscience and Psychology. Dr. Hill has published chapters on measuring and modulating human attention, and continues to research self regulation.

Peak Brain Institute is Dr. Hill’s peak performance center and brain gym headquartered in Los Angeles, and is opening new locations across the country. They offer quantitative EEG ‘brain mapping’ and neurofeedback training, HEG and HRV biofeedback, as well as free weekly mindfulness meditation classes and individualized brain training programs like you’ve just read about (you can use coupon code BEN or mention my name to get 10% off any of the services at Peak Brain).

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Ben Greenfield here. Curious how my brain training progresses, and how my life changes because of this huge biohacking step I’ve taken?

Me too.

So I’ll be releasing updates over my next few months of my brain training, and the absolute best way to keep yourself up-to-date is to stay tuned to my free podcast and to my free newsletter.

Do you have questions, comments or feedback about how to increase your IQ, decrease your distractibility, increase your cognitive performance, and maximize your ability to enter the zone? Leave your comments below and either Dr. Andrew Hill (pictured below on the right, along with me holding my tiny black bag of brain training magic) or me will reply!

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A “Healthy Soda” Super-Special: Is Diet Soda Good For You, Stevia DeMystified, Sugar Alcohols, Natural Flavors & More.

PODCAST- PADDY SPENCE

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

If you happened to watch the most recent Crossfit Games, you may have noticed they were brought to you by…soda.

That’s right: a soda company was sponsor of the 2016 Reebok CrossFit Games, the worldwide competition to find the Fittest On Earth. Not exactly something you’d associate with Coke or Pepsi or Mountain Dew (or my all-time favorite Dr. Pepper), is it?

The name of the soda company is “Zevia“, and my guest on today’s show is Paddy Spence, who is a 23-year veteran of the natural and organic foods industry – a guy who completely cut sugar out from his diet 14 years ago, and a guy who then purchased Zevia, a line of stevia-sweetened sodas that is now the world’s top-selling zero-calorie, natural diet soda.

He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two daughters and is an avid athlete, having completed over 40 triathlons and trained in martial arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, Shotokan Karate and boxing.

During our discussion, you’ll discover: 

-How one can make the argument that “caveman drank soda”, and the fascinating history of fermented beverages and soda-like compounds…[12:00]

-How did the name Zevia come to be…[17:30]

-What causes “keto flu” and how to avoid getting it…[21:50]

-Why stevia tastes bitter to some people…[28:05]

-Why Coke’s “TruVia” and Pepsi’s “PureVia” can actually be very bad for you (and why not all stevia is created equal)…[32:30]

-How sugar alcohols are processed by your body, and the one form of sugar alcohol that won’t make you fart…[40:15]

-The little-known fruit grown in the foothills of China that actually does not spike your blood sugar…[42:25]

-Why many natural flavors come from pretty nasty sources, including the anal gland of a beaver…[50:00]

-The big reason you need to avoid anything that lists “caramel color”…[56:45]

-My own personal vodka cocktail mix I use with Creme Soda flavored Zevia, and how my kids make Root Beer Floats with Root Beer flavored Zevia…[59:00]

-Paddy’s amazing recipe for a Zevia custard dessert…[61:10]

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

Zevia soda

Simply Gum

-Here’s the recipe for Banana Swirl, created by Paddy’s amazing wife Jerra Spence: 2 frozen bananas, a pinch of cinnamon, and a couple of splashes of Zevia Cream Soda. Combine all of these in a high-powered blender and mix until the bananas are smooth & creamy. Place in freezer for 30-60 minutes. Serve in a dish, possibly with some stevia-sweetened chocolate chips on top!

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Paddy or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

Never Get Sick Again: 13 Underground Immune Boosting Strategies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

original

This week, I read what I consider to be one of the most comprehensive, practical guides to repairing and maintaining your immune system: a relatively short, easy-to-read online manual entitled: “Biohacker’s Handbook to Invincible Immunity“. 

This book, written by the same biohacking and physician group from Finland who I highlighted in my article “21 Unfamiliar Nutrition Tricks I Discovered In The Biohackers’ Handbook“, delves deep into:

-Your immune system and how it functions…
-Viruses, bacteria and other pathogens…
-Innate immunity you are born with…
-Adaptive immunity that can be trained against pathogens…
-Individual differences and environmental factors…
-Measuring the condition of the immune system…
-Recipes for lowering inflammation and balancing the immune system…

After reading it, I reached out to one of the co-authors, my friend, beast of a powerlifter, complete biohacking nerd, and Finnish physician Olli Sovijärvi, to give me a synopsis of his top thirteen immune-boosting strategies found within the book. And you’re going to discover exactly what he had to say below.

If you really dig this stuff and want to dive in headfirst, then follow the links I have at the end of this article to grab the book for yourself…

…and if you really want to take a deep, deep dive, then I invite you to join me, along with Dr. Rhonda Patrick, Europe’s top biohacker Teemu Arina and many more – to the November 18 Biohackers’ Summit in Helsinki, Finland (use 10% discount code BEN), which is also organized by Teemu and his team, and is the best marriage of ancestral living, wild plant foraging, smoke saunas, amazing food and biohacking you’re ever going to experience. 

Alright, let’s do this…

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13 Underground Immune Boosting Strategies You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

Yes, it is actually possible not to have a seasonal flu every year or catch a cold whenever you confront a stressful life situation. For example I have not caught a cold in five years. Before that it was normal for me to go through anginas, bronchitis and colds at least once a year.

Little did I know back then what the antibiotics I was using for these issues did to my defense system. Now I know that a single unnecessary course of antibiotics can actually destroy as much as 30% of your good bacteria. And as Hippocrates put it some 2000 years ago: ”All disease begins in the gut.”

But immunity goes beyond simply avoiding antibiotics, and if you want to build yourself an invincible immune system, I’d highly recommend you read on.

The word “immunity” originates from the Latin word immunis, which means “exempt”. Generally speaking immunity consists of all of the body’s defense systems that resist infections and toxins. The immune system can be thought of as a military defense system resisting uninvited guests.

To put it dramatically, the troops patrolling the body mercilessly attack intruders, blasting bacteria, poisoning parasites, devouring viruses and forcing cancer cells to commit suicide. Although functioning as a cohesive system, immunity is made up of various parts. A rough distinction can be made between innate (nonspecific) and adaptive (specific) immunity.

You can read a comprehensive yet straightforward description of the immune system in the Biohacker’s Handbook to Invincible Immunity chapter that delves deep into making your immune system unbeatable, but below I have picked up some strategies for you that you may have never heard of.

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1. Be Social.

Be social even if it wouldn’t seem to be your cup of tea. Lack of social contacts may be deleterious to your immune system and vice versa. For example, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have discovered that the immune system directly affects mice’s social behaviour, such as their desire to interact with others. Blocking a single type of immune molecule made mouse brains go hyperactive and caused abnormal behavior – but restoring it fixed both.

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2. Laugh

Laugh often and avoid taking things too seriously. Frequent laughing has been found to lower stress hormone levels and boost the production of white blood cells and lymphocytes, which means better functioning immune system.

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3. Drink The “Immune System Reset”

Bellow is my immune system reset recipe, clipped straight from the book, especially useful for “bouncing back” if you have been sick or protecting yourself if you’ve been exposed to the sniffles:

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4. Lose The Gut

Reduce belly fat and get lean. Obesity, particularly in the form of abdominal fat, has been shown to increase leptin and decrease adiponectin levels, which seems to negatively affect the activation of immune system cells. The “Look Good Naked” article from Ben here is a perfect place to start.

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5. Hydrate Your Saliva

Drink enough water daily. This may seem obvious, but do you actually know how dehydration impairs the function of your immune system? It decreases saliva antimicrobial proteins that are important for mucosal immunity.

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6. Quit Stuffing Your Face.

Practice fasting every now and then. Fasting is an immemorial practice that throughout time has been suggested as a miracle cure for various ailments. In studies conducted on mice, regular fasting of 2–4 days per week for a period of 6 months decreased the function of the PKA enzyme (protein kinase A), making it possible for the immune system to rebuild damaged cells.

7. Drink Flu Killer Soup

This soup is great for you anytime but if you get exposed to the flu or get the flu, this recipe below, clipped from the book, is chock full of ingredients that will banish the flu fast.

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8. Have Sex, But Not Too Much.

Sex can boost your immune system. Researchers have found out that regular sex is associated with higher IgA levels in the saliva. The same researchers also noted that having sex three or more times per week did not add any benefit to once a week group, but actually diminished the positive effects on immune system.

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9. Take 5g Creatine Per Day

You can use creatine monohydrate not only for cognitive performance, power and strength gains but also to lower the inflammation in your body. Studies have shown that using creatine can inhibit the increase of CRP and TNF-alpha.

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10. Add In The “Holy Trilogy”

What do astragalus, echinacea and cacao extract have in common? I call these three my “holy trilogy” of immune system maintenance, and all can lower CRP and have an anti-TNF effect, which means lower inflammation in the body. This is especially great news for people with rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory and immune related conditions.

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11. Eat ‘Shrooms

Use various medicinal mushrooms (for example Chaga, Shiitake, Maitake and Turkey tail to name a few) to create yourself an intruder shield.Fungi have been found to contain several substances that are likely to become more and more relevant in the treatment of illnesses and the development of new medicines. Many known fungi compounds kill bacteria and viruses. They also possess immunoregulatory properties. Practically all medicinal fungi are rich in complex sugar compounds such as beta-glucans which activate NK, T and B cells and macrophages. They also increase the levels of cytokines (interleukin 1 and 2), thus boosting the function of the immune system. Ben’s top source is Four Sigmatic Foods, based straight out of Finland.

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12. Drink Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Use extra virgin olive oil liberally (the better the quality the more profound your results, as you can hear about here). It has been shown that good quality olive oil can reduce CRP and IL6, which lowers inflammation. But then again, bad quality olive oil can actually make things worse, since these are often rancid, not ”extra virgin” and sometimes cut with inflammation induction high PUFA-oils.

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13. Try The Alchemist Power Drink

Here’s another of my favorite (and probably most powerful) immune-boosting drinks, straight from the book:

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And yep, it actually doesn’t taste too bad. You can learn far more about various other immune system modulative plants, mushrooms and herbs and discover more recipes in the book. Bon appetit.

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Summary

Want more? Click here to get “Biohacker’s Handbook to Invincible Immunity” (that link automatically gives you a 25% discount).

Or (and this is what I highly recommend) if you want to get the entire Biohacker’s Handbook series, which dives deep into immunity, sleep, nutrition, exercise, the function of the mind and much more in 530+ pages of the best biohacking tips I’ve ever discovered, you can click here to get it all for $47 (that link also includes full access to all updates and any chapters ever added into the book for the rest of all time).

And I would also highly recommend you read my review of the nutrition chapter of the Biohacker’s Handbook, which you will find at “21 Unfamiliar Nutrition Tricks I Discovered In The Biohackers’ Handbook“.

In the meantime, leave your questions, comments and feedback below and I’ll reply.

Is He The Most Self-Quantified Man On The Planet? Tracking Telomeres, Heart Rate, Electrostimulation & More With Quantified Bob.

bob troia

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Meet Bob.

“Quantified Bob”.

Quantified Bob has tracks his life tirelessly, and has reams of data and insight on how the human body responds to everything from varying amounts of starch intake, to electrostimulation, to artificial light to different diets to cognitive performance training and beyond.

Bob Troia is a serial entrepreneur who has been at the forefront of digital innovation and emerging technologies for nearly two decades. A left- and right-brain thinker who is equal parts technical, creative, and analytical, Bob is as comfortable talking about business strategy, marketing, and product development as he is discussing programming, design, AI, hardware, and human physiology.

He is actively involved in the quantified self and biohacking movements, focusing his passion on the intersection of self-tracking and personal analytics, health and wellness, behavior design, technology, and life optimization, documenting his personal efforts under the moniker “Quantified Bob”.

During our discussion, you’ll discover:

-How Quantified Bob got his name…[11:35]

-How you can account for all the different potentially confounding variables when you’re testing and tracking data…[13:00]

-Why Bob hacked and tracked his glucose, and what he found…[17:10] 

-How you can self-test your water quality, and what Bob found by comparing tap water to filtered water…[31:10]

-The best way to monitor air quality in your home or office…[45:15]

-The most surprising thing you can change in your bedroom that may give you a better night’s sleep…[50:00]

-How to track your “rate of aging”…[54:10]

-The unique form of neuromuscular electrostimulation that Bob uses…[62:30]

-The craziest or most intriguing self-quantification experiment Bob has planned…[67:50]

-And much more…

Resources from this episode:

QuantifiedBob.com

23andme genetic testing

Oxaloacetate

MyBasis watch

The Dexcom G5 continuous glucose monitor

PrecisionXtra

Ketonix Breath Ketone monitor

Zerowater

Home water testing kit

Trace liquid minerals

Foobot indoor air quality monitor

Allerair central air filter

The new Molekule air purification system

Titanovo telomere testing kits

D-minder Vitamin D testing

My podcast with Jay Schroeder on ARPWave

ARPWave practitioners

Periodic fasting diet study

Do you have questions, comments or feedback for Bob or me? Leave your thoughts below and one of us will reply!

358: Muscle Cramping, Calorie & Carb Cycling, Gene Splicing, Fixing Altitude Sickness & More!

podcast 358

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

August 10, 2016 Podcast: 358: Muscle Cramping, Calorie & Carb Cycling, Gene Splicing, Fixing Altitude Sickness & More!

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar of events.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, call 1-877-209-9439, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.

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News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, Instagram.com/BenGreenfieldFitness, Facebook.com/BGFitness and Google+.

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Special Announcements:

This podcast is brought to you by:

FitLife: Use discount code BEN for 20% off anything!

FourSigmatic Foods: use coupon “bengreenfield” for 15% off any mushroom blends.

Harrys.comUse $5 discount code BEN on anything at Harrys Shaving.

Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat, and get ready for some epic stories on his morning, daily and evening routine! What did you miss this week? A clay mask, a park workout, a morning routine change-up, an epic post-race salad and more.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar.

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now at a 40% discount.

Nov 11-14, 2016: Ben is speaking at this year’s Wise Traditions on real food to enhance physical and mental performance. If you’re an athlete, this is the talk for you! Click here to sign up.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Dr Chutkan? It was a must-listen – titled “The Gut Super Special: Eating Camel Poop, Weird Constipation Causes, Pig Whipworms & More: How to Banish Bloat, Fix Your Microbiome & Reboot Your Gut”. Click here to listen now or download for later!

Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the Podcast Sidekick.

Natural Remedies For Altitude Sickness

Jenny says: She’s from Indiana. She’s a fit and active 52 year old woman that lives 500ft above sea level. Her husband and her are planning a backpacking trip to Yellowstone this fall and she’ll be hiking at 6000ft – 8000. Her concern is elevation sickness. She’s snow skied out west before and she’s experienced that horrible that headache and nausea feeling that comes with it and she’s wondering if you have any tips for how to avoid altitude sickness and get used to working out?

Everything You Need To Know About Muscle Cramping

Rachel says: She’s from Sydney and she loves the podcast and thanks for everything you do. Her question relates to muscle cramps. Her husband gets terrible cramps and they can occur at any time, like during runs over 12K and during the day, but they mostly occur at night.  He takes magnesium and camp bark formula two times per day and magnesium forte. They’ve tried so many things but nothing seems to work. He rolls, stretches, doesn’t relax etc, his mum had this issue and they both have blue feet. She may well have missed something you’ve already written about it but she can’t find it.

In my response, I recommend:
This podcast on muscle cramping

How To Cycle Your Calories & Carbs

Jeff says: Question about fat burn and calories deficit. He generally stays in fat burn and eats pretty healthy. He’s wondering if he works out everyday and he’s anywhere between 500-1000 cal deficit is that safe and OK to do, how long of a time period can he go that way? He only has 5-10 pounds to lose but he’s really working on endurance, muscle strength and so forth.

In my response, I recommend:
GetFitGuy.com

The 5 Best Books For Power & Strength

Jason says: He’s a police officer in Albury and he’s looking to start reading books on function strength for policing, he’s looking to gain power and strength. What books would you recommend for that?

In my response, I recommend:
Starting Strength
Mass Made Simple
Neuromass
Naked Warrior
MILO Strength

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