Introduction: In today’s monster episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: How to build extreme speed, why sugar causes heart disease, 5 ways to stay awake without coffee, is high potassium bad, stomach problems during long runs, what are the best blood sugar controllers, how to gain body fat in a healthy way, what is the best kind of electrotherapy, and is DNA testing worth it?
Brock: So how are you doing today you see?
Ben: Yeah, I’m doing pretty good. I’m, yeah just getting ready to podcast with my good friend…
Brock: That sounds good. Forget about it eh? Forget about it.
Ben: We decided we would annoy the listeners the whole time today by talking the New Jersey accents and…
Brock: The most annoying accents we could think of.
Ben: Well yeah, not only the most annoying but also really the least trustworthy when it comes to dishing out health and fitness information. This is probably…
Brock: Hey, what are you talking about? You should listen to me. Listen to me, okay? I know what I’m saying.
Ben: That you would not want to listen to when it comes to your health.
Brock: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Ben: Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. I read a lot. I read the magazines at the 7-eleven.
Brock: For sure?
Brock: For sure?
Ben: How are you doing?
Brock: Is that enough? Are we done?
Ben: I think that’s good.
Brock: And for all the people out there listening, that’s actually how this conversation started this morning.
Ben: Yeah, for all of our new listeners, we are actually not from New Jersey or that Brock’s whatever…
Brock: Whenever the hack the hell is.
Ben: Although I am heading to Thailand tomorrow if that counts for anything.
Brock: They don’t sounds like that at all.
Ben: No. No.
Brock: They quit the lifeful accents actually. I really like the way, when they’re speaking English.
Ben: Yeah and, this should be an interesting episode. I’m child watching my own children of course and podcasting simultaneously.
Brock: Oh geez.
Ben: Because mom is off running errands to get things ready for Thailand and so…
Brock: So wait, the whole family is going to Thailand? This is a new… the kids haven’t been, have they?
Ben: Yeah, they’ve been before.
Brock: Oh they have. I knew Jessa had been there before, I didn’t know if the kids have gone.
Ben: Anyways though, if you hear fire crackling and stuff crashing in the background, it’s ‘cause my kids are going nuts.
Brock: They’re burning the house down.
Ben: You know what, I’ll just give them a cactus cigarette and a stack of DVDs and let them do their thing while I podcast and just keep my fingers crossed and everything. Turns out okay so yeah, what do you think man, you’re ready to do this?
Brock: Yes please.
Brock: bengreenfieldfitness.com/263 is where all the show notes are and those show notes will include the links to these upcoming cool ass news flashes.
Ben: Did you say cool ass news flashes?
Brock: I don’t think I did.
Ben: It’s very descriptive adjective. Yeah, a lot of good articles. It’s been a while since we’ve done traditional podcasts, we’ve done special interviews and man, do I ever have some cool interviews coming out for our listeners while I’m gone gallivanting about Asia but I do wanna bring you 3 interesting tidbits from the health and fitness front that came across my radar this week.
Brock: Bring it on.
Ben: And the first was an article in the Huffington Post which is called Secrets of the Extremely Fit. Did you see this one?
Brock: I saw that one, yeah.
Ben: Yeah, it was written…
Brock: Yeah there was a couple of those were awesome.
Ben: Written by a certified strength and conditioning coach from men’s Health magazine and it went over 10 recommendations from kinda like extremely people from like across the globe and this one is kinda near and dear to my heart because one of my goal over the next 5 years is to become one of the fittest guys on the face of the planet. Like I wanna take all the fitness I’ve built up for Ironman triathlon and you know, I’ve signed up for a seal fit course next year, I’m doing a bunch of Spartan races, I’m launching into crossfit like I’m attempting to turn myself into an absolute beast and of course that’s all initiating with the masking protocol that you may have heard about in the Dan John podcast last week and I’m actually off to the gym later on today to do my set of 50 squats and barbell complexes and all these stuff that leaves my legs shaking like jell-o for days on end.
Brock: I’m on my day off. I do mine tomorrow.
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: My 2nd workout.
Ben: Brock is joining me.
Brock: I didn’t get too destroyed from the first workout but I know it’s sort of an introductory one so this next one’s gonna be.
Ben: This workout’s pretty introductory, by the time you get about 4 workouts in, it’s nuts so…
Brock: Yeah so next week I won’t be able to walk but so far I’m just walking funny.
Ben: And for those of you who have no clue what we’re talking about, just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and listen to the interview I did with Dan John or just go read the show notes and it’s the exact mass gain program that Brock and I are doing for the next few weeks. Although I’ll be on a bit of hiatus when I’m off to Thailand.
Brock: That would be hard to do it when you’re off to the triathlon camp but…
Ben: There’s not a lot of barbells and chalk at the resorts in Thailand so…
Brock: We’ve completely strayed from the newsflash. Back to the Secrets of the Extremely Fit.
Ben: So here are the top 10. The first one is to rethink your nutrient intake and it emphasizes specifically going after nutrient density, staying away from refined carbs, and adding in more proteins and fats which is basically like snub the white houses, brand new, unveiled, plate shaped, pie chart and do you own higher protein, higher fat deal instead so no surprise there. Load up on green energy is a good one. I tend to see this not emphasized enough in kind like the bro science body building mass gain, become extremely fit kinda industry so love the idea of eating more fiber and nutrients and…
Brock: Okay, so it has nothing to do with the green lantern ring or anything like that… Green energy?
Ben: No. Green absinthe or anything like that. No. Just like dinosaur kale and spinach and bokchoy and stuff you may not associate with piling up muscle but that is incredibly important for body alkalinity and recovery.
Ben: So I agree with that one. The next one is get more vitamin d. A little bit disappointed in that one. It said 600 international units a day of vitamin d, not only…
Brock: Try 6000.
Ben: Well not really. You know, vitamin d toxicity can be an issue and we talked about this in the podcast I believe where not only do you need to get more than 600 international units a day if you’re trying to put up muscle or increase your steroidal precursors then you generally be closer to about 2000 international units a day for most folks. But these recommendations to take vitamin d unopposed without mentioning the 2 components that you have to have in your body in order to work synergistically and naturally which should be vitamin k2 and vitamin a. If you’re not getting vitamin a and vitamin k2 along with vitamin d, you’re gonna kinda screw yourself from an arterial calcification standpoint so not only do I think that folks should be getting more vitamin d than they recommend in this article but they should be balancing it out with a and k for sure.
Brock: Isn’t there a little bit of a, you need to have some cholesterol present as well?
Ben: You know, you need cholesterol circulating in your bloodstream in adequate amounts for the sunlight to convert…
Brock: Oh so that’s not when you take a vitamin supplement.
Ben: So if you’re out sun soaking and you get adequate levels of vitamin d and on a low-fat diet, you’re not gonna make vitamin d. You gotta have adequate cholesterol. The next recommendation was to spread out your protein which I thought was a good recommendation. What that means is that research has shown that if you’re trying to become extremely fit or optimize muscle repair, if you divide your daily protein up into multiple portions throughout the day rather than having one big bowls of protein say like with breakfast or something, you’re gonna recover better. So that’s a good idea. You get a little bit of protein with every meal rather than just one big bowlus of protein. The next one was to…
Brock: I like the word bowlus.
Ben: Bolus. I’m gonna name my next child Bolus if I have another kid.
Brock: Bolus Greenfield. That sounds good actually.
Ben: Yeah, boy or a girl. Either way we’ll work it out. Anyway, find your whey and this one recommends that you use whey protein during the day and then at night you use whey protein plus casein which burns more slowly to provide kind of a steady stream of protein. I’m an okay fan of that recommendation but I think that a lot of folks were trying to either put on muscle or recover faster or get extremely fit they go with a bunch of whey protein and they screw themselves because they have an autoimmune reaction to whey. A lot of folks do much much better in terms of not feeling like they’re crapping through a straw and getting bloating and gas and all the nasty stuff that goes along with whey sometimes like doing, like a vegan protein. P rice hemp, that kind of thing. So just keep your options open. If whey doesn’t agree with you, in your stomach, it’s okay to do vegan-based protein sources. So.
Brock: All right.
Ben: The next one was to work your entire body every time you go into the gym. Great recommendation. I highly highly agree with that. It was how I put on a bunch of size back when I was a body builder, I stayed away from single-joint exercises, stayed away from the approach of doing like arms on one day, you know, legs on another day, back on another day, and the way I’ve always approach things is when you go into the gym, you walk out there having walked your entire body.
That’s a great recommendation, especially for a hormonal release for either fat loss or muscle gain or both. The next recommendation is to lift weird things like…
Brock: That’s my favourite one on this one.
Ben: Like sandbags, kettlebells, fat grip barbells, odd shaped training tools, you know, I’ve got like one of those monkey faced kettlebells from Onnit and I’ve got a battle mace and some club bells and you’re going above and beyond just like dumbbells and barbells is definitely useful, kinda exposing your body to some new things, and that can even include you maybe you know, finding a playground in your neighbourhood that you can do some weird exercises on you know like some hangs from the monkey bars or some dips on some bars that might be thicker than what you might see at the gym, you know, just basically kinda moving your body in weird ways and especially exposing it to loads in weird ways.
Brock: I like the reasoning behind that one too, just the fact that we don’t necessarily lift things the way we do in the gym in regular life, carrying groceries down the street, you’re holding them in weird ways, you’re holding a kid in one arm and a person or the other and stuff so…
Brock: It’s good reasoning.
Ben: Yeah. Probably the 2 most relevant examples of this would be one, when I go to Darryl Edwards’ primality workshops. This is the guy from thefitnessexplorer.com. He explains how he used to be able to dead lift, 400 pounds, but when one of his friends was on the ground and Darryl to see if he could pick him up, he couldn’t even pick up his friend off the ground just because he was a weird shape and his mass was distributed unevenly and true strength means that you can do something you know, grab somebody and rescue them from a fire and then the other thing that I think is relevant for this is I’ll take my kids out sometimes on walks or you know, hikes and they get tired sometimes. So I give myself a workout by picking up both my kids and just seeing how far I can carry them. If you wanna work out, try hauling children around.
Brock: And squirming fire.
Ben: And they love it too so there you go. So let’s go to the last 3 tips here. Master the pull-up, which I think is fantastic. That’s why I have a pull-up bar installed on the door of my office and I…
Brock: You suggested that you should be able to do 15 pull-ups…
Ben: Yep so I grease the groove, I never do more than 5 pull-ups at a time, but if I ever do decide I just wanna try in and jack out as many pull-ups as I can, I can get to 25 easily, strict body weight pull-ups and that’s just by throwing out 5 here and there throughout the day when I walk underneath the pull-up bar in my office. Pull-ups are one of the best indicators of your strength. So that’s really good.
Brock: And it’s pull-ups, not chin-ups.
Ben: Correct. Correct.
Brock: Overhand, not underhand.
Ben: You know, underhand is not bad either but either way. You need to be able to pull your body around. Number 9 is to move more weight and what they’re basically saying is to just basically not only put more weight on the bar but when you put that weight on the bar like the couple of recommendations that they give is that when you’re bench pressing, you think about trying to bend the ends of the bar away from you as you press that bar up.
Brock: Yeah, that’s a good way to fire in it.
Ben: More muscles in your upper back. Yup. For example, with squatting, they tell you to press outward against the floor with your feet, don’t actually move with your feet but press outward against the floor with your feet so you feel the glutes activated which boosts your power when you squat. Both of those are fantastic recommendations if you’re trying to get stronger or you know, get more tones at the gym. And then last they tell you to ditch crunches and situps and tell you to train your core the right way by doing things like planks and push-ups and elements that work your entire deep abdominal and abdominal and not just isolate the you know, bending and extending of the spine so…
Brock: I have mountain climbers for that.
Ben: A ton of details in the article. We’ll link to it in the show notes. While worth going, check them out, maybe dig in a little bit deeper so that came across the radar and then also 2 articles on coffee and the first is called The Truth About Caffeine and Coffee and this is over on a website called besynchro.com. We’ll link to it in the show notes. I am a big fan as you know, Brock, of coffee and all things coffee related and I love the taste of coffee. My father was a gourmet coffee roaster growing up. I like to just taste different coffee and just look into the science of coffee as well so I thought this article was interesting. First of all, it mentions the fact that caffeine makes it easier to get into flow states associated with organization and creativity. And what that means is that when you need to be either more athletic, more artistic, or more productive, that the psychological state induced by caffeine can enhance your ability to get into that state and that’s why, starting your morning with a cup of coffee is an okay thing to do. And if you look at you know, the Greek island of the, I forget the name of the island that has the highest number per capita of centenarians and old healthy people on the face of the planet and these people do indeed drink a cup of coffee and usually a few cups of tea throughout the day. They are, granted not pulling into 7-eleven and grabbing a coffee at 7-eleven…
Brock: No Dunkin’ Donuts.
Ben: Yeah, no Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, like good, rich coffee. So we’ve talked before on the podcast though about coffee specifically the way that it acts is that it binds these things called adenosine receptors throughout your brain and throughout your nervous system. Now adenosine is a neurotransmitter and it’s an inhibitory neurotransmitter and what that means is that it suppresses the level of the activity of the neurons that it interacts with so if we take the caffeine molecule and we block the ability of the adenosine molecule to bind to the receptor, to the adenosine receptor, we keep ourselves more alert, we keep adenosine from binding. What happens though is eventually your body creates more and more adenosine receptors, you become more sensitive to coffee, and like we’ve geeked out a few weeks ago on the podcast and in a more thorough explanation of this, you become resistant to the effects of caffeine. So you need more and more and the other thing that happens is caffeine stimulates your adrenals to dump out huge amounts of epinephrine and cortisol and both of these can, in excess, cause a pretty significant stress response in your body so there are some drawbacks to caffeine, not only the fact that you need higher and higher levels of it but it can stress out your adrenals. So…
Brock: Wait, did you say epinephrine?
Ben: Epinephrine. Yup, epinephrine.
Brock: Like the same stuff they put in like what’s called an epipen for like, allergic reactions?
Ben: Exactly. So if you get stung by a bee, you can just drink a pot of coffee. It might be…
Brock: It’s just sharks in coffee.
Ben: It might be more prudent to just get the injection though…
Brock: Yeah, weird.
Ben: So what you can do to ensure that you mitigate some of these negative effects of caffeine is number 1, cycle your caffeine. And what this article recommends is don’t use caffeine every day. Now, I’m not as much a fan of not using caffeine every day or say like doing one day on, one day off, that kind of thing, as much as what I, as much as what is my practice is I go 6 weeks on, 2 weeks off so it takes about 7-12 days to reset the adenosine receptors in your brain so what you do is you simply drink coffee, regular coffee, for about 6 weeks and then you drink decaf for about 2 weeks. So I’m actually in a decaf phase right now and you know, I just have decaf bags in the freezer and I have regular bags in the freezer and it’s out and ground, in a cool, dry place when it’s waiting to be made into coffee. I use one of those little aero-pressed coffee makers and I simply use decaf for 2 weeks out of an 8 weeks cycle which I think is really prudent to do if you’re drinking coffee.
Brock: But that stops you from having to go through the whole adjustment period too, when you do switch to the decaf you don’t get the headaches, you don’t get the grumps, and everything…
Ben: You get zero withdrawal symptoms. So this is kinda like a for life practice. The next thing that you do is you realize that the actual dose of caffeine necessary to get you into that flow state based off of what research is shown as far as the neuro-enhancing properties of coffee is fairly low. When we’re looking at performance enhancement for sports, it’s a little bit higher, like performance enhancement for sports, you gotta get close to like 3 or 4 cups of coffee before you really start to notice this huge performance effect and significant performance boost but for a neural boost and a productivity boost and to kinda get into that artistic, creative flow phase, you only need about 30-50 milligrams of caffeine and that’s only about a third to a half a cup of coffee so experiment with lower doses, you’re making yourself a huge cup of coffee in the morning and you’re just doing it not necessarily cause you like the flavour but because you like the alertness and everything, you may want to consider drinking less because you actually don’t need as much as you probably think that you do and the article says that as well.
Brock: I guess that would be, that would be the amount that would be in a double espresso or something like one of the, what they have in Europe…
Ben: It’s about exactly what would be in a shot of espresso. Espresso has less caffeine than coffee even though it’s more densely concentrated in flavour, it does have less caffeine so…
Brock: Yeah, that’s more satisfying because of the delicious, dense flavour.
Ben: And the one other, there’s a few other tips given in the article but one other tip that I wanted to share with our listeners is that they do recommend some alternatives to caffeine and one in particular that they recommend is a compound called theobromine which stimulates blood flow through your body and stimulates blood flow through your brain and it has a similar effect as caffeine without that demanding on the kidneys to churn out epinephrine or that increase in cortisol so it’s called theobromine. Now, do you know what a really good source of theobromine is, Brock?
Brock: Green tea?
Ben: Unprocessed chocolate also known as cacao.
Brock: Even better.
Ben: So I’m not talking about the dark chocolate bar that you get, you know, whatever, at the healthy section of the grocery store. What I’m talking about are these actual like cacao nibs. You can order them off Amazon. I keep a bag up in my pantry and I put it into smoothies but just like regular, unsweetened, organic, cacao nibs are a really significant source of these theobromine which gives you a similar lift as caffeine without the deleterious effect on your adrenal glands. So something to add into your pantry if you want that extra kick and you wanna kinda pull back on coffee a little bit.
Brock: Now that you’re gonna say something to add more into your pants.
Ben: That too. Of course, how could I forget? Now the last thing that I wanted to mention was a study that came out that compared caffeine to something called L theanine. Now L theanine, some people may be familiar with as the active component of green tea and what this study did was it compared caffeine with L theanine from tea and looked at what happened in terms of the concentration and the increase in neuro performance reaction time and concentration from drinking green tea versus caffeine. Now it was found that L theanine consumption actually gave better concentration and better cognitive performance compared to caffeine and coffee. That when you combine caffeine and L theanine, you get better effect and then finally, when you drink L theanine for alertness, it has a similar alertness producing effect as coffee but doesn’t keep you awake at night meaning that if you have say, you have a cup of green tea while you’re studying at night, you’re still gonna be able to sleep whereas coffee can really interfere with your sleep because a lot of people misconstrue or think that you know, the alertness producing compounds in tea or just a different form of caffeine but they’re not. It’s really that L theanine that’s the primary component especially if something like green tea. So in an ideal scenario, what you would do is you would have a little bit of coffee each day, mostly caffeinated other than those couple of weeks where you’re switching to decaf but then you would switch farther and farther as you go on through your day to closer to bedtime, tea sources preferably like a high L theanine containing source of tea like green tea and you would kinda combine both of those that you’re getting the ultimate and cognitive performance that coffee in the morning, the L theanine throughout the day, as kinda like a slow bleed as you’re drinking your green tea and then every couple of weeks, you switch to decaf coffee but you can still continue to drink that green tea because that L theanine doesn’t have the same effect on your adenosine receptors or on your adrenal glands so now you know everything you need to know about biohacking your life with coffee and tea.
Brock: Yeah, geez.
Ben: So we’re actually gonna talk about more on coffee later on this podcast but there you go. Those are this week’s news flashes.
Brock: So I wanna know why we weren’t nominated for a podcast award.
Ben: Because we’re too freakin’ strange.
Brock: I thought you were gonna say we were too good.
Ben: You know what, I don’t know. But we do wanna mention to the listeners that my other podcast, the get-fit guy podcast, which sadly doesn’t include Brock, has been nominated.
Brock: Wait a second, I’m the x-factor.
Ben: Wait a minute. So the get-fit guy podcast was nominated over at podcast awards. If you’re listening to this podcast, when it first comes out, if you vote by November 15 which is like 48 hours from now, then I will be forever indebted to you and you can do that over at podcastawards.com and you go over there, you vote for the get-fit guy, it’s in the health and fitness category and you can submit your vote multiple times, you can actually within the 24 hour period. I don’t think you can sit there all day and vote.
Brock: No I think it’s once a day.
Ben: Cool. ‘Cause then I would hire somebody to just sit around and vote all day long.
Brock: And so if you win, what do you get? Like a pair of rubber boots and a kick in the pants?
Ben: No. If you win, what you get is a letter of lawsuit from the patent troll whose patented the podcasting technology. This actually happened to everybody who won the podcast awards last year.
Ben: There’s a guy out there who claims that he owns the technology of podcasting and he’s trying to sue everybody who podcasts and he actually successfully been able to claim the right to the podcasting technology so if you’re just like an itty-bitty podcaster like us, then they don’t care that much but once you get up to like the whatever, like the Adam Carolla level where when you read a commercial on air, you’re getting paid $4000 a pop and you know, just crazy stuff like that. He’s gonna see that money and go after you all ass. So anyways though, that’s what you get when you win the podcast.
Brock: That’s what you get. That’s nice.
Ben: So go vote for us so we can get out patent lawsuit over at podcastawards.com. What else? The creative live presentation that I will be giving down in San Francisco, along with my lovely wife Jessa is happening December 11th to 14th. It’s a totally free online course called Achieve Ultimate Human Performance not only…
Brock: Achieve Ultimate Human Performance.
Ben: So you can…
Brock: I love that title. It’s just so, doesn’t hold anything back.
Ben: That’s right. And you can attend live in San Francisco if you like and if you wanna apply to be a member of our live audience, actually technically you don’t actually have to live in San Francisco. If you wanna fly in from across the globe, you could be a member of the live audience but if you wanna be a member of the live audience, we’ve got a form that you can fill out over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/263 and so yeah, go check it out.
Brock: And everybody will be happy to know, the links are now fixed and working correctly. We had a bit of a, I don’t know if anybody listening here got our rash of emails and tweets and stuff that happened over the last couple of weeks but we have some problems with some links in the last little while and we apologize for that but I think everything is solved again.
Ben: Yeah. We like to break the internet. The last thing is that I have introduced a brand new coaching package. For me, I’m pretty busy and I don’t have a ton of time to take on new clients for coaching and fitness and nutrition and health so what I’ve done is put together a new package called the Black Box Package and what it is is it’s a package that arrives to your doorstep, cholk full of everything that I recommend to reboot your body and enhance your health so it’s got a gut-fixing package, it’s got a hormonal-balancing package, it’s got everything you need for gut testing, blood testing, saliva testing, and then it also comes with a one-hour consult with me as well as some extra goodies thrown in like the crystal that I wear around my wrist for electromagnetic radiation blocking. It’s got a couple of books from me, essentially like everything that you would need to kind of like start hardcore in reinventing your entire body. And it’s called the Black Box Package. It’s spendy. Not like it’s not for everybody like ultimately, like once you’ve purchased it, it’s about $3000 for everything but it will be anything you would need if you’re one of those kinda independent people who maybe doesn’t wanna coach but just wants everything done for you all at once. It’s called the Black Box Package so we’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well.
Brock: When you think about pro-rating that over the year, it’s not so bad. Like if you’re paying like 300 bucks a month for a coach, well that’s 10 months.
Ben: And we have an option for people to spread that out over 12 months if they want. So there you go. And that being said, we’ve got one special announcement. Oh we should also mention that this podcast is brought to you by audiblepodcast..
Ben: Ben. Yes. So if you’re in the US or Canada, you can get a free audiobook, we are going to make an audiobook recommendation at the end of this podcast so stayed tuned…
Brock: Special guest appearance.
Ben: Special guest appearance and an audible podcast recommendation so here’s a special message and then we’ll jump into this week’s Q&A.
Voiceover: Did you know that Ben Greenfield personally mentors trainers, coaches, physicians, and nutritionists from around the globe? From business building tips to advance team and performance and health concepts. It’s all part of a private mastermind called the Superhuman Coach Network. When you join, you get instant access to monthly workshops with Ben, a Q&A forum, over 40 hours of cutting-edge audio and video education and much more. Check it out today and become one of the world’s leading health and fitness experts at superhumancoach.com/podcast. That’s superhuman.com/podcast.
Alex: Hi Ben and Brock. It’s Alex from Alberta. I’m calling because I’m currently in the military, hoping to become a police officer. Both these professions require you to go from a resting state to 100% effectiveness very quickly without a warm-up. Are there any exercise recommendations you’d make to improve this performance and help reduce any injuries? Thanks a lot.
Brock: I appreciate Alex’s…
Ben: Find your words. Find your words. Alright. No clue as to what you’re gonna say. Anyways, yeah, as far as increasing speed to be able to go from 0 to 100 in a split seconds…
Brock: Without hurting yourself…
Ben: Without hurting yourself. Yeah, you know, a lot of people go in and lift weights and run around the tracks and step for speed but speed is kind of a different animal. We haven’t talked about it too much on the show but technically, speed is just your ability to travel a set distance over a short period of time as possible. So whereas power would be the ability to kinda like move a certain weight over a set distance over a short amount of time. Speed is your ability to actually travel over that distance and it’s totally force independent so if you wanna do something fast, then technically you have speed. So it could be like playing a game of spoons and being able to like grab that spoon as quickly as possible off the table I mean that’s technically speed whereas power would be you know, doing that with a 60 pound whatever, wrist weight on your hand or your back…
Brock: Strapped to your back.
Ben: So anyways though, training for increasing speed. I do have a few little things that I like to include in the protocol. People who need to be able to travel a set distance over a short period of time as possible. One thing that you need to bear in mind though is that there are a few rules that are kinda crucial rules for speed training. I’ve written a fairly comprehensive article about building speed and I’m gonna link to that article for you in the show notes but I also would give you kind of the birds eye overview here. Number 1 is that when you’re trying to build speed, you need to make sure that you do it fresh so the time to do a speed workout is not after weight training workout or after an endurance-based workout. You wanna do speed when you’re very fresh and the reason for that is that your neuromuscular system, which is the system most responsible for speed development is extremely fatigue-prone so it can’t have been exhausted prior to you doing a speed workout or else it’s just gonna be junk training and a lot of coaches make this mistake, a lot of sport coaches make this mistake. They’ll save the speed training session for after football practice or basketball or soccer practice where the safe conditioning for after the tennis practice when in reality that stuff need to be done fresh. Either in the morning, before practice. Ideally, your peak reaction time is gonna be between 2 and 4 PM in the afternoon so you could also do something in the afternoon or the early evening ideally for your speed and I’ll give you some ideas for your workout in a second. The next thing that you need to understand is that when you’re doing a speed workout, you have to go into it with the mindset that speed is very very low volume and its high work capacity but very low volume and what I mean by that is that you don’t want to feel like you’re doing metabolic conditioning like you have a high heart rate or you’re sucking wind. Like everything about speed is super short, super quick. It’s nothing where you’re breathing hard or when you’re burning lots of calories or anything like that. The last thing you should know about speed is that you’re trying to challenge your nerves so if you’re brain isn’t being forced to fire really really quickly, and send messages very very quickly to your muscles, you’re not gonna develop speed. That’s why when I recommend doing something like an overspeed session on a bicycle, and I tell you to do like high tail and two repeats on a bicycle. If you were gonna develop like explosive speed out of the saddle while riding a bike, you would wanna be pedalling at a rate of 120, 130, 140 rpm which actually makes your brain tired. If you try to do that, like your brain is just thinking the whole time: go go go go go go go go go go, it’s not metabolical.
Brock: Yeah it’s not so much your muscles. Yeah your muscles aren’t feeling, it’s more like you start to spaz out.. Like you just can’t keep your feet going that fast.
Ben: Whereas on weight training or power training, you’re trying to recruit as many different motor units as possible in a muscle. With speed you’re just trying to grab those motor units as quickly as you can so some of the things that can really help with speed. One thing that I’m a huge fan of for a workout is stairs. And taking stairs one at a time as fast as you can. That really really helps with cadence and it helps with turnover and you can also take advantage of the down stairs as well as the up stairs so you can go and do stadium stairs.
Take the steps one at a time as quickly as possible and you don’t have to climb, if it’s a big stadium, you don’t wanna climb until you’re tired. You don’t wanna climb to the point where your cadence is starting to slow down. We’re talking about climbing just like 20 steps at a time, okay, so you would start up the stadium stairs. You would climb up 20 steps, step by step, as fast as you can, and as high a cadence as possible and then you can just kinda walk kinda slowly to the top of the stairs. And then you turn around and then you go down all the stairs as fast as you can. Again focusing on cadence and speed and turnover. So stairs really work for speed. Another thing that works really well for speed is aqua jogging in a deep pool where you can’t tough the bottom. And just doing 10-20 second very high cadence turnover in the pool. The nice thing about those are they’re low-impact and so you can do something like that almost everyday if you wanted to. And this is something like you swimmers or triathletes can throw in at the beginning of a workout is you can just hop in and you do a really really high cadence efforts in the pool to warm yourself up if you need to work on speed, you need to work on turnover. So high cadence deep water. I’m a huge fan of that as well. For both runners and cyclists, those high high cadence cycling repeats that I just talked about where you’re doing like very short, like 10-20 second 120, 130, 140 rpm efforts, those work really well also. The other thing that I found to work pretty well for speed especially in terms of enhancing your neuro muscular, your ability to grab those motor units very very quickly would be super high repetitive contractions using electrostimulation. I think we have a question about electrostimulation later on in this podcast.
Ben: But what you do is you use an electrostim unit like a compex electrostim unit and you put it into power mode or I think they have a speed mode on it. I don’t have my compex here on my desk or aside I’d check. Anyways though what you do is you actually attach electrodes to the muscle and the electrostimulation unit rather than your brain causes those muscles to fire. So you’re kinda working a different system but you’re still training your muscles how to fire repeatedly so you wouldn’t wanna do just that for speed training because you do want to solidify that brain-muscle connection as well but electrostim can work out pretty well for speed training. A few other things that I should make sure to mention when you’re training for speed is make sure you take care of yourself from a nutritional standpoint as well so for building speed, you definitely want adequate choline in your diet. Choline is a fat that is specifically responsible for increasing muscle contractibility and also the ability of neural circuits to learn new complex activities like moving a muscle or moving your legs to a higher and higher turnover doing something like a hundred meter sprint so choline, you can get that from things like walnuts, fish, eggs, make sure you eat the eggs with the yolk. Fatty healthy fatty sources like that are really good sources of choline so make sure you’re including those types of things in your diet. Another thing that’s really important as far as a naturally occurring amino acid that helps protect neurons from free radical oxidation and will help to enhance your neural strength is l-tyrosine. It’s called l-tyrosine. Now, l-tyrosine is something that you could just supplement with about 30 minutes or so prior to s speed-based workout. You would need about a gram or so of l-tyrosine and you can just get l-tyrosine powder like an Owl Foods l-tyrosine powder. The next thing is green tea which we already talked about. Green tea not only has that l-thianine that I talked about but it also has epigallocatechin in it or what’s known as EGCG and some different forms of what are called epicatechins and all of these have been shown to be very potent for elevating your brain and your neuronial activity so kinda like keeping green tea coming in during the days that you’re doing your speed training, that can be really helpful as well. And then the last thing is to make sure you’re getting adequate vitamin b. Most people that are eating a healthy diet are getting adequate vitamin b but vitamin b is really important for proper brain function specifically folic acid and vitamin b12 helps to maintain the myelin sheath that insulates your neuro fibers so that allows more nerve impulses to travel more quickly down the nerve. Again, most people who are… like if you’re using like a good vitamin b supplement or you’re eating a really well-rounded nutrient dense diet, you’re probably getting enough vitamin b but you know, say like your vegan or you’re vegetarian, sometimes there can be some vitamin b12 deficiencies there and if you’re trying to train for speed simultaneously, you know, it’s something to think about so those are some of my biggies and then finally the last thing is you’re gonna be better at speed on any days where your sympathetic nervous system is really really strong.
So I recommend that you test your heart rate variability in the morning and you can use the Sweet Beat phone app for that. There’s another one called the Omega Wave. There’s the Bioforce. There’s a ton of heart rate variability testing apps out there and most of them will kinda give you a green light if it’s okay to go into aerobic that day. And what that means is that your sympathetic nervous system is really strong and well-toned that day and ready for really, really good fight or flight type of workout. So I wouldn’t be doing much speed workout or power workout or strength workout on days when your sympathetic nervous system is weak, ‘cause that’s a really fast path to injury and illness. So I definitely would incorporate some heart rate variability testing as well. If you wanna know which days are gonna be the best days to do speed workouts. And then, um, okay, last thing, promise – you don’t have to do speed workouts every day. About every 72 hours or so is suffficient. And if you’re doing speed workouts a lot more frequently than that, your nervous system is not going to have recovered adequately. So two times a week is just fine and you can use heart rate variability tracking to decide which two days of the week are gonna be best for you to do that.
Brock: What about something like a cognitive test or one of those games like the – there’s a system online called Lumosity? Do you suggest something like that just to be able to get the reaction time, like hand-eye coordination but also just sort of cognitive reaction time?
Ben: Oh, sure. There’s a lot of different games out there that you could use to kinda super charge your brain. So for the purpose of speed, something like Lumosity would not necessarily be the answer per se, there’s a program called Mind Wave that trains your brain to become more focused and more relaxed and more alert. There are things like the binaural beats that come along with that superhuman bracelet that I wear that you can get that you can just put into an MP3 player. Those help you with meditation and focus and creativity. Lumosity is like brain games that help with problem-solving and attention and memory. But for the purposes of speed, I would say probably the best app for you to get would be a tap test app. There’s a test called the CNS tap test phone app. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. It’s just a very simple app that you would use. This one I think is for an iPhone. I don’t know if they make one for an android platform. But you just tap the phone as many times as you can within I believe it’s a 20-second time frame. And you keep track of how quick you’re tapping. And this is a really, really good reflection of your central nervous system strength. You’ll notice right off the bat, no doubt, that you can’t get so many taps after you’ve been drinking the night before or something like that. But there are times when you just can’t tap enough. It’s not related to you being hung over, it can just mean that your nervous system isn’t that well recovered. So the CNS tap test is a really cool little test you can use to quantitatively track the strength of your nervous system.
Archie: This is Archie calling and – Ben, I heard you mention that if you’re gonna be on a high fat diet you should definitely stay away from sugars. But I’m just kinda wondering, do I need to stay away from sugars while I’m consuming the high-fat? Is there a window where I can’t consume sugars and drink maybe like an apple, a banana or something in a smoothie? Or what’s the combination if I have maybe some butter in my oatmeal? Is that super bad for my cardiovascular heart health? So maybe you could add a little more light on that. I’m a little confused so if you can help me out, I would appreciate it. Great podcast. Thanks.
Ben: So I think I’ve said this many, many times before in the podcast that you should not eat a lot of starches and processed sugars if you’re gonna be eating like a high healthy fat intake.
Brock: I think you really hammered that home during the interview with Durian Rider.
Ben: I’ll tell you exactly why now. This is – I don’t think my response to this question is gonna be super long. It’s a little bit science-y but it’s pretty simple if you wanna get down to the brass tacks of things. So here’s the old deal …
Brock: I think there’s a dog eating your children in the background.
Ben: I hear the dog barking right now, yeah. That might mean that Jess is home, which should be a good thing. We’re actually doing an inner circle podcast here in two hours or so in which we’re going to go around and show all the healthy items that we pack when we’re travelling. Hopefully she gets home in time to hide the Skittles and everything.
Ben: Okay, so here’s the deal with blood sugar and why blood sugar is one of the biggest issues when it comes to cholesterol being atherogenic and cholesterol actually being an issue. What elevated levels of blood sugar do is they create this ideal condition for something called a glycation reaction to occur. Now you may have heard before about advanced glycation end products or fittingly called AGES, yes. And that’s the process –glycation is the process where a protein or a fat, also known as a lipid, is bound or joined together with a sugar. Now the result when you get a protein or a fat bound to a sugar is a very reactive molecule that is capable of damaging pretty much any tissue in your body that it comes into contact with. And glycation of cholesterol particles specifically of LDL cholesterol particles is a very well-documented phenomenon and what it does is it really increases the atherogenic or the heart damaging or artery damaging potential of LDL. This is because when an LDL particle or an LDL cholesterol particle has been glycated by sugar in the blood stream, it’s extremely more susceptible to what’s called oxidation. Now when an LDL particle becomes oxidized, that becomes a huge risk factor for heart disease. And you can actually test the level of oxidized LDL or the size of the actual LDL particle. So rather than just getting a full on LDL test, you can for example test VLDL. You can test something called apo-B. You can test something called LP-a. There’s a lot of different kind of blood lipid measurements out there that you can get to test this. Or you can just play it safe and follow the rules. Because what happens is glycated LDL causes oxidative stress which causes inflammation in the smooth muscle cells that line your arterial walls and that cause plaque buildup. You actually can’t really get much plaque buildup if you do not have sugar that’s actually attached to those LDL particles. Now there are few other issues with glycated LDL particles. Number one, they cause degradation of what’s called endothelial nitric oxide synthase. And many of us are familiar with nitric oxide as being the molecule that cause vasodilation and blood flow. So we get down-regulation of that, so the arteries aren’t able to stay as big and as wide. And the other issue is that a glycated LDL particle actually can’t be recognized by the LDL receptor on the cell surface. So these oxidized glycated LDL particles just float around in the blood stream and as they’re floating around in the blood stream, one of the places that they wind up is creating plaque on the arterial cell wall.
Brock: So they’re not able to be used for what they’re normally be used for like repairing cells and giving some energy and stuff.
Ben: Exactly. So this is why I’ve always said if you’re gonna be eating fats, and you’re gonna go after getting adequate cholesterol in your diet, which is a great idea, it’s good for brain function, steroids, hormones, everything, you gotta be careful with the concentration of sugars in your blood. Now let’s get down to brass tacks, and I’ll tell you exactly what you need to do and what you need to look for because I understand what Archie’s kinda wondering – if you just avoid sugar altogether, if you gotta time it. All you need is a blood glucose monitor, a 15-20 dollar blood glucose monitor from the pharmacy – Walgreens…
Brock: You can actually get one from your iPhone now, too.
Ben: You can get one from your iPhone, so, whatever. So here’s what you wanna look for. You don’t want your postprandial blood glucose to be rising above 125, okay?
Brock: Postprandial being after eating.
Ben: Uh-hm. So after you’ve eaten if your blood glucose within that hour after you’ve eaten is rising above 125, you need to be choosing foods or eating meals that have a lower glycemic index or lower amount of starches and sugars in them. Okay, so that’s number one. And that would especially hold true if that meal contains fat. So if a meal contains fat, you eat that meal that contains fat, and your blood glucose goes above 125, that’s a risk factor for glycation of the cholesterol. Now the other thing that you need to make sure of is, if you wake up in the morning and you take your fasted blood glucose levels, so not having had any coffee because coffee can cause your liver to churn out a bunch of glucose, just water maybe and that’s it, you’re looking for…
Brock: First thing you do when you wake up…
Ben: …a fasted glucose level of 70-85. A lot of people settle for a 90, 95, 100 whatever. But what you’re looking for is 70-85 if you’re really truly are concerned about glycation of cholesterol.
Brock: So if you can avoid any time getting a postprandial glucose reading of anything greater than 125, and you can keep your fasting blood glucose levels at 70-85, you’ll be in the clear. You’ll be fine. So that’s basically what you’re looking for.
Brock: Okay, so you’re testing as soon as you wake up, before you have any coffee, before you have any water, and then you have breakfast and then you wait like an hour before you test?
Ben: Yep. And you – wait, for the fasting glucose to wait an hour? Oh, you’re talking about the postprandial. The postprandial usually about 30-60 minute window after you eat. You don’t need to time it exactly but right around there. So…
Brock: Yeah, okay. So then if you do that after every meal, you’re just trying to keep it in those windows. Keep an archive or a diary or something of what you ate. Figure out, okay I need to cut out maybe I should only have half a banana for my breakfast instead of a whole one or something along those lines.
Ben: Exactly. And we’ll talk I think a little bit later on about specific supplements you could take before a meal that will help to shove blood sugar levels lower in response to a meal. So I think we do have a question about Glycasolve or something coming up later on. I’ll address that later as far as ways you could kinda hack the blood sugar response but yeah, I hope that kinda gives you what you’re looking for, Archie, as far as quantifying this.
Becca: Hi Ben and Brock! This is Becca from Milwaukee. I’ve noticed that you guys discuss sleep a great deal but mostly in terms of how to sleep better or help falling asleep. My question is different in the sense that I want some advice on how to stay awake. I’m a 22-year-old endurance athlete and personal trainer with a very active lifestyle. However, when I’m in situations where I need to sit still and pay attention to something such as listening to a professor, watching a movie, reading, sitting in church, or even driving, I struggle to stay awake. No matter how hard I try to fight it, my eyes just won’t seem to stay open. Even though throughout the day or the rest of the day when I’m up and moving, I’m not fatigued. I aim to get at least seven hours of sleep at night. But this happens no matter how much sleep I get or how early I wake up. I sleep like a rock at night. I fall asleep the moment my head hits the pillow and I very rarely wake up once throughout at night, I really don’t like the taste of coffee and the ingredients in energy drinks make me nervous. So I was wondering if there’s anything you would recommend in terms of supplements or natural things to add to my diet so I don’t have to constantly punch my leg in class to stay awake.
Brock: Well, in church. Is not the fear of going to hell enough?
Ben: Alright, so, we’ve talked about coffee a little bit already and I think we’re gonna end up talking about it a little bit more. There are a lot of different reasons that you can struggle to stay awake during the day. Sometimes it can be adrenal fatigue-related. Sometimes it can just be the fact that you are working hard and then when you sit down you stop working hard, your body just naturally kinda wants to rest a little bit. Sometimes it can be because you have some autoimmune or some allergic type of reactions to foods that you’re eating. There are a lot of different reasons that you would have issues with alertness. So, without knowing a lot about…
Brock: I have an allergy to really boring professors.
Ben: Me, too. Must be a common allergy. So without knowing Becca’s history like what her typical diet is, if she’s avoiding wheat, soy, dairy, if she’s had issues in the past with adrenal fatigue, that kind of stuff, I can definitely make a sweeping recommendation that if she doesn’t like coffee and she avoids energy drinks, that there are other things that you can use to maintain alertness. So what I wanna give Becca, and my angle on this question would be five different ways that you can stay awake or you can increase alertness without using coffee if you’re not a coffee drinker or you wanna stay away from coffee. Fair enough?
Brock: Bring it on!
Ben: Okay. Cool! So the first thing that I’m gonna recommend is to use cold showers. And I will take a cold shower as many as five times during the day if I’m having a day where I’m working really hard, maybe I haven’t slept my usual 7-8 hours the night before and I just need to stay alert and awake. I have yet to step out of a podcast to take a cold shower, but I’ve been tempted, for sure. I’m totally not kidding you. I just wanna respect Brock’s time so I don’t leave in the middle of the show to hop in the shower for five minutes.
Brock: I never get that boring.
Ben: Anywhere from 2-5 minutes, cold shower, cold water immersion, if you can’t go full on into the shower, then dipping your face or getting your face into icy cold water can also do the trick. You get a huge kind of vasodilatory response in terms of blood flow to the brain when you do that, and a really good feeling of alertness, cheaper, free and an easy way to improve alertness and it will stick with you for typically about 45-60 minutes.
Ben: A nice, cold thermal “explosion”. So that’s number one, or exposure.
Brock: Sic: explosion?
Ben: I don’t think “exposion” is a word. It’s kind of a mixture of exposure and explosion. But we don’t edit out our little mix ups.
Brock: Especially in using the stakes, we like…
Ben: So the next thing I would recommend, similar when it comes to increasing blood flow to the brain, would be curcumin. You can get curcumin capsules. You can also keep like a good organic curcumin powdered herb handy like in the form of turmeric. I’m a bigger fan of using curcumin capsules just because you can get like really concentrated volumes of it, like up to about a thousand milligrams which has a really, really nice effect. And turmeric, or curcumin, is excellent at not only boosting the mood, but also shutting down brain fog and alleviating brain inflammation. I am a huge fan of popping a few curcumin capsules like when I wake up in the morning or in the afternoon. I use the ones called Phenocane but I would consider using curcumin. Alternatively, you could just have curry everyday for lunch. But curcumin can help out quite a bit. Cayenne pepper can have a little bit of a similar effect but curcumin works even better. So that’ll be number two for coffee alternative would be curcumin. Next one would be something that we already hit on a little bit and that would be using this L-theanine. So if you don’t like the taste of coffee and you avoid energy drinks, you can still do green tea. You can also do –there’s a company that makes edible green tea which are these little crunchy tasty green tea leaves that you can just literally pop and eat like popcorn. Those are pretty good really dense source of L-theanine. They’re gonna keep you awake and alert without disrupting your sleep. And of course there are other versions of green tea that you can get, whether just drinking your regular green tea during the day. There’s this stuff called Delta-E that’s a really, really concentrated sources of L-theanine. That’s this little pink packet that you dissolve in water – kind of a few different ways that you could skin that cat. And I’ll put links to all these stuff in the show notes for you. But using L-theanine instead of caffeine for the reasons that I kind of alluded to earlier in this podcast, that’d be another way that you could stay awake without coffee. So another thing that can work really well is inverted positions to increase blood flow to the head. You don’t have to do a full on hand stand or head stand. You don’t have to rush out and buy an inversion table. But even just sitting with your legs up against the wall, elevated for about 5 minutes can have a really cool stimulation effect to your brain. And when you stand up again, you can find that increased blood flow to your brain can actually really help with alertness and focus and kinda wake you back up again. That or you fall asleep in the inverted position and find out that your boss fired you about two hours later.
Brock: And you can’t feel your…
Ben: I actually will go and hang in my inversion table and this is total kinda biohacking realm but I’ll go out and do my cold shower and then go hang from the inversion table in my garage for a few minutes and then go back to work. And that is a pretty potent one-two combo for improving your focus. You can’t necessarily do that if you’re a personal trainer at the gym, but for those of you listening in, you can still hack that together by splashing your face with cold water and getting into the inverted position. That’ll be another way to do it. And then the last thing, and this is probably gonna come as no surprise to people because I tend to kick this horse to death, that’d be the use of adaptogens. Adaptogenic herbs like the herbs that you can find in something like TianChi which is the really potent adaptogenic herb supplement that I take. It’s like forty pounds worth of Chinese medicinal adaptogens all shoved in to one tiny packet. That kind of reminds me of a line from Aladdin when I say that. You know the line from Aladdin?
Brock: Aladdin? No.
Ben: Nanocosmic power! Anyways, that’s TianChi. So that’s the last thing that you could use is those Chinese adaptogenic herbs.
Brock: You need to tell you have kids. Although that movie came out before you had kids.
Ben: My kids have never seen it because they only release it like every five years, so, I haven’t got my hands on Aladdin yet. Maybe I’ll buy a pirated copy when I move to Thailand. Anyways, yes, so do cold showers, try curcumin, try some L-theanine like from green tea or Delta-E. You can try inverted positions. You can try TianChi. Any and all or combination of above. You can try all of them at once. Warning – your head might explode. But those are five ways that you could stay awake without coffee, Becca.
Brock: I like flicking myself in the forehead right between my eyebrows.
Ben: Yes, the Canadian flicking method, that also.
David: Hey, Ben! Hey, Brock! This is David calling from Chicago.
I’ve been checking my blood works since January 2013 and I’ve noticed that my potassium levels have been increasing. My blood draw in January 2013 showed potassium levels at 4.7 so I guess that was okay. But then in May of 2013, that was 5.6. When I tested again in September of 2013, I had potassium levels of 5.8. Also I want to mention that my CO2 carbon dioxide levels in January, May, and September have been steady at 21. All the markers seem to be within optimal range so in January the only thing that I changed was my diet to more of a paleo primal diet. So I feel good, I look good, I’m lean, I perform well. So any advice on this, I would appreciate it. Thanks, man, you guys are great!
Ben: This is really interesting. I’ve similarly kinda tracked my potassium levels and my electrolyte levels with the wellness effects testing that I do every few months. And that also gives CO2 levels. CO2, if that were super duper low, that would indicate kind of a diet that’s a little bit more acidic, and the need to introduce more alkalinity, like more dark, leafy greens into the diet. But if your potassium levels are high, and your kidney function is okay, and your liver function is okay, technically the term for this is hyperkalemia. So you all see in the periodic table of the elements potassium is the K+ and so high potassium level is hyper k or hyperkalemia. There’s a lot of different things that can cause hyperkalemia but the issue with it is that although potassium is really important to maintain the action potential in nerve cells, which means it is also important for muscle contractions for not cramping and stuff like that. What can happen is if you get excessive production of potassium, and that can happen through everything from muscle tissue breakdown, to taking too much of a potassium supplement or you get ineffective elimination of potassium, and that’s actually usually due to adrenal fatigue or overtraining, what happens is that increased potassium results in what’s called the depolarization of your cells. And that depolarization opens a bunch of sodium channels and it results in some pretty big issues from a neuromuscular, a cardiac, and a gastrointestinal standpoint. Because once the sodium channels are open, it can do things like cause pre-ventricular contractions in the heart and some issues with heart’s over contractibility. It can cause episodes…
Brock: And that’s bad, right?
Ben: That’ll be a bad thing. It can cause episodes of muscle weakness, muscle spasms. It can cause issues with the way that your –what are they called, your peristaltic muscles in your gut. Like the way those actually contract subconsciously and move food through your gut, or unconsciously as part of your nervous system that you can’t control, your autonomic nervous system. What happens is potassium can, or high high potassium levels can kinda influence all those things. As far as why potassium would be elevated, or why you would continue to see potassium go up, usually in folks, it’s either due to a, there being potassium in some kind of supplement that you’re using and you’re not being aware of it. That would be, number one would just be kinda look at your supplements and make sure if you’re taking supplements that you’re not getting too much potassium. Number two would be that often when you switch diets and you start eating paleo, you start eating primal, you start eating more raw, real foods, sometimes your mineral intake can go down. And that’s because we simply do not have fruits and vegetables from the same soil that they might have been grown in thousands of years ago. We tend to get fruits and vegetables from mineral-depleted soil. We tend to get more mineral depletion in our cells and a big, big part of that is due to a high amount of electromagnetic field that is all around us now, with computers and smart phones, etc, that essentially increases the leakiness of cells. So we actually hold on to more minerals as well, either. So it can be a good idea to supplement with either trace liquid minerals or like some kind of a sea salt and go out of your way to use that, if you’ve kinda switched from a standard, westernized, like electrolyte and sodium-filled diet to more of a natural, mineral-based diet. You would think and it would be nice that you wouldn’t have to supplement with excessive or extra electrolytes when you switch to a healthier diet, but often that can be the case.
Now what happens is when you’re getting sodium imbalances or not enough sodium in your diet basically, the potassium level is gonna start to go up, it’s just a sodium-potassium imbalance. I would consider using a Himalayan salt or an Aztecan salt or something along those lines. A lot of times also when someone switches diets, they start into more exercise. I know that David says he only exercises once a week, I don’t know if he’s increased his stress levels or anything along those lines. But whether it’s stress from your lifestyle or stress from exercise, the increased cortisol production can cause what’s called an aldosterone deficiency and when that happens, potassium is not excreted the way that it’s supposed to be. And so overtraining or over stress can both cause that increase in potassium as well and it would start to go up like that. So the two things I would look at would be de-stressing, whether it’s through yoga, breathing, meditation, journaling, that type of thing. If stress is an issue, I would look into using electrolyte supplementation and then the last thing you may want to consider is that, I actually like to see CO2 levels for alkalinity and acidity balance to be closer to like the 24, 25, 26 range, rather than 21. So you may want to start taking in a little bit more veg and some raw fruits and not just a lot of meat. There’s a study that just came out this morning actually that I was reading this morning over breakfast, talking about how even like a paleo diet, or a high meat diet or a diet that’s “healthy and natural” but doesn’t include lots of vegetables and fruits can be a real, real big issue for diabetics especially and for increasing risk of type 2 diabetics because it causes a net acidic load. So I’m a fan of really kinda eating a plant-based diet that has lots of fats and then moderate amounts of meats which technically are acidic especially when unopposed with vegetables and healthy fat intake. So those are some of the things that I would think about.
Derrick: Hello, my name is Derrick and I’m from Grants Pass, Oregon. The question I have is regarding belly/digestion problems. I know that when I run for longer durations of over eight hours, my sugar sensitivity increases exponentially and my stomach would just turn. I can feel that acid build up in the beginning stages of vomiting in the back of my throat, my mouth waters slightly. And I’m unable to take in any calories and cannot run at the pace that I’m accustomed to, it’s more like a drunken waddle at this point. I’ve altered my race fuels significantly to mitigate this, eliminating sugars and found Speed Zone portables with their rice-based real food options has worked well along with chewing them up every twenty minutes. But my stomach still soured at mile 72 and I was unable to put anything down. First part of the question is- is there anything I can do to prevent this from happening? And the second part is my stomach does turn, is there anything I can take to settle my stomach during the race?
Ben: I think Derrick was at the Superhuman event, was he?
Brock: Yeah, in Spokane last March.
Ben: Become Superhuman live event which we may end up doing again, but it’s on the back burner until I get back from Thailand. At which case we’re looking at the possibility of organizing it in either Austin or Seattle. But I’ll keep you folks in the know about that as we go. It’s not gonna happen in Spokane, though. Apparently Spokane is not a big enough city for folks to flock to.
Brock: It was difficult to get there, I have to say from Toronto to Spokane was not an option to do three stops.
Ben: Yeah, I think they have about ten times as much people on the live pre-cast as we did sitting in the audience. Anyways, though, so what happens? There’s a few things that happen in terms of your ability to ingest sugar, or digest sugar or maintain energy the longer and longer you get into a long run. One would be your actual sugar transporters. So you’ve got different transporters for different types of sugars in your gut. You’ve got your sodium-dependent glucose co-transporters. You also have what are called your glut-five transporters. Those sodium-dependent glucose transporters primarily transport glucose and help out with glucose absorption in the gut. And then those glut-five transporters those primarily transport fructose in the gut. What research has shown is that you get your maximum sugar absorption when you’re able to utilize both of those transporters, which is why most bars and, not bars but gels or sports drinks out there are typically a mix of glucose and fructose, or fructose and maltodextrin or some kind of a blend that’s going to allow for using multiple transporters because you can nearly double the amount of sugars that are absorbed in the intestine when you’re using multiple transporters.
Ben: So the issue is that not only do these sodium-dependent transporters begin to shut down after long, long periods of time spent gradually depleting especially your water and your hydration but you also tend to get lower and lower activity as far as your digestive enzyme activity is concerned. So sugars are broken down a little bit more slowly as well. Now granted we’re talking about you primarily looks like eating simple sugars but if you’re trying out the Speed Zone Portables book and doing rice cakes and rice chews and the kind of stuff that’s in that book, a lot of times the enzymatic activity can also be an issue as far as this is concerned. And the final consideration is of course that sugars are really the longer and longer you go, the least efficient energy source to be relying upon. And I’m not sure that I will be doing much sugar in the first place. So the thing that I would consider first of all is you may want to actually get one of this film canisters or like a noon type of bottle and actually take digestive enzymes out there with you or use digestive enzymes for a period of time in your life that you jumpstart or up-regulate your body’s own natural production of digestive enzymes which can actually happen if you use digestive enzymes for a period of time. I’m a big fan of these digestive enzyme called Caprazymes. It’s got ginger root in it. It has yucca whole herb powder in it. It’s got aloe vera in it which is a really nice digestive tonic which can help you out quite a bit even if you’re out running. And what these enzymes do is that they function as catalysts. So they help a metabolic reaction faster than it would without the enzyme present. So you’re essentially able to digest and assimilate foodstuffs more quickly and put a little bit less enzymatic stress on your body. If you’re using something like a digestive enzyme during a long, long day where you’re eating fuels and moving at kind of a slow pace and you’re having difficulty with digestion and absorption which doesn’t happen to everybody but in the folks that it does happen to, enzymes can be helpful. That particular digestive enzyme blend I also like because it not only has those gut botanicals in it but it also has a good mix of lipases for fat, proteases for proteins, and amylases and kind of glucose-digesting enzymes in it as well. So it will breakdown anything from sugars to fats to proteins. I would consider using something like that. I would also keep using the amino acid that you’re using but you may want to take more amino acids and there’s a really good reason for that. What happens is that a lot of times when we’re bonking, we think it’s because we have low blood glucose levels, but what it actually is it’s high tryptophan levels. Now here’s why that happens- we’re all familiar with turkey sleepiness and blaming down the tryptophan and really that’s more due to the insulin release and the blood flow all going into the stomach than it is from the tryptophan from the turkey,. But what happens is that during prolonged exercise, branched-chain amino acids start to get metabolized by your skeletal muscles. And branched-chain amino acids compete with tryptophan for uptake across your blood-brain barrier. What that means is that as your blood levels of branched-chain amino acids go down, the longer and longer that you get in the exercise, there’s fewer and fewer branched-chain amino acids to compete so to speak with tryptophan getting transported into your brain. Tryptophan causes sleepiness, it cause fatigue, it causes lower mood, lower sensory perception. So we get all these tryptophan getting into the brain as amino acid levels begin to decline. And that causes the feeling of sleepiness or kind of like that bonking feeling the farther and farther you get in to an event. That’s why one of my strategies during Ironman Hawaii was to take in twice, it was actually close to three times as many amino acids as I did during Ironman Canada just to ensure that I wasn’t bonking from this huge tryptophan release from the usage of my entire amino acid pool by the time I get into the run.
So this can be kind of a good strategy as well is to take in more amino acids. And they don’t have to be all the like that Master Amino Pattern stuff is pretty good but it’s also pretty expensive. So if you’re taking like 10 grams an hour, that can add up. Whereas if you’re doing 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids an hour, you can get a lot of branched-chain amino acids to help to mitigate some of that central nervous system fatigue without necessarily going broke and having to eat rice and beans the rest of the year ‘cause I know Master Amino Pattern is something you may want to ration depending on your level of income. You can add in digestive enzymes. You can add in about 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids per hour and then just consider kind of – and this is something that I’ve talked about on another podcast and articles and stuff, and I’ll link to it in the show notes –but consider using instead of sugars like fats, like MCT oil, consider using a really slow release form of sugar like the YouCan super starch. Those two things combine really well with the Master Amino Pattern. And then you can use something like the Endurance Pack that I designed over at Pacific Elite Fitness which also throws something called X2 Performance into the mix which helps drive a lot of these amino acids and the glucose bleed that you’re getting from the Super Starch into your muscles at a faster rate. So when you combine all those together, it’s a really, really good kinda one-two-three-four combo for going all freaking day long and you can just mix all of that stuff and put it in a flask. So those are some of the things that I would do, Derrick.
Eric: Hi, Ben! This is Eric from Colorado again. We all know that bitter melon is your favorite supplement for blood sugar control. But I was wondering if you have any thoughts on GlycoSolve. It’s the burberry and banaba leaf extract that Jimmy Moore’s always talking about. Thanks for your input as always. Bye!
Brock: Now I hope your answer won’t anger our good friend Jimmy Moore.
Ben: Our good friend Jimmy Moore. I’ll try to be kind to Jimmy here. So there’s a lot of different ways that you can control the blood sugar response to a meal or how quickly or how voluminous blood sugar responds to a meal that contains either proteins or carbohydrates. And one of the ways that you can do that is with this compound called berberine, which is the active component of Glycosolve. Now Glycosolve also has this stuff called banaba leaf in it but to my understanding the levels of banaba leaf, which acts kinda similarly to insulin as far as lowering blood sugar levels without putting as much of a strain on your pancreas, the levels of banaba leaf in the Glycosolve are not quite as high as the levels of the berberine. And there are some issues with berberine. First of all, it works very well for lowering blood sugar levels or lowering the blood glucose response to a meal. But one of the things is that it can damage your liver specifically in a similar manner to something like drinking too much alcohol or taking in too many pharmaceuticals. It can really out a hit on the liver enzymes. So I would be kind of careful with it from that standpoint. The other thing is that it can inhibit something called DPP-4 and raise the levels of a hormone called GLP-1. And when you inhibit DPP-4, that can turn off part of your immune system and so it can influence immunity and it may potentially be carcinogenic from that standpoint. And raising your GLP levels over a long period of time may also lead to a large growth of abnormal cells in the pancreas which could cause some issues with pancreatic tumors down the road. The other thing is that the specific impact on the liver that I was referring to is the antioxidant part of the liver. The liver detox pathway that uses P450 cytochromes, and specially for anyone who’s exercising a lot and who doesn’t want to deplete your levels of natural antioxidants that your liver is really gonna need to fight off free radicals from exercise or from pollution or toxins in your food, things of that nature. You want to be careful with that. Berberine, I’m not incredibly impressed with as far as like a side effect standpoint. That’s where I’d be careful. I just – I would need to see some – even if it’s some n=1 study of people showing their liver enzymes, making sure that aspartate amino transferase or alanine amino transferase aren’t super elevated, I want to see what’s going on from a pancreatic standpoint to make sure that there’s not a lot of pancreatic cell damage going on. And that’s a more difficult test to do, to look at something like that.
For me, I haven’t seen enough evidence that convinces me that this stuff is entirely safe. I’ve talked before about using bitter melon extract to decrease blood sugar levels postprandial levels, that stuff I know is efficacious because I do my own blood sugar measurement after a meal. And I’m well below 135 when I use that stuff about 30 minutes prior to a meal. I test my liver enzymes and my alanine amino transferase and aspartate amino transferase is extremely low and I’m a bigger fan of that stuff in terms of safety and efficacy standpoint versus the Glycosolve. So I’m gonna stand by the stuff that I recommend just based off of the fact that I’m not totally sure about the Glycosolve and I will totally stand to be corrected if there’s information about berberine of which I’m unaware or if I’m totally barking up the wrong tree here as far as kind of blowing this out of proportion with the pancreatic issue, I’m all ears. But at this point, I am concerned about some of the stuff that I’ve seen on berberine. So I personally wouldn’t use Glycosolve. I’d use the bitter melon extract instead. That’s kind of where I’m coming from as far as this stuff goes.
Brock: I don’t know if there’s a big price difference at all between the two either. But for 20 capsules of the Glycosolve it’s $18.
Ben: It’s eighteen? Okay, so I think for a month’s supply of the bitter melon extract, it’s closer to forty. So if you’re gonna go with MPX 100 bitter melon extract, it’s probably gonna be about $10 per month more expensive but that 10 bucks saves your pancreas and your liver. There you go. And that’s how I stay super lean, too. I stay super lean at the drop of a hat when I started using MPX. It literally keeps me from gaining period. I almost can’t gain weight when I eat carbs and I’m taking that stuff at the same time. So it’s pretty powerful.
Greg: Hi there, Ben and Brock! It’s Greg Jordan here from Johannesburg, South Africa. I’m an endurance athlete and trains on average anywhere between eight and eighteen hours per week depending on events that I have coming up. My body weight is relatively low for someone that stands at over six foot at 63 kilos. But more concerningly, my body fat percentage is particularly low around five. And as a result of that my current focus is to try and increase the fat percentage in a healthy manner without putting on unnecessary weight. What I would be interested to hear from you is your particular opinion on how many calories an athlete such as myself should be taking and given my personal circumstances? And perhaps more importantly, how I should be splitting those between protein, fat and carbs. And you get very mixed opinion with all the debate that’s raging at the moment around high protein, high fat, low carb diets. I’m particularly interested in knowing that for someone trying to increase their body fat percentage without putting on weight, what can be split between calories is per day and how many calories should someone be taking in per day? Thanks again for a truly fantastic show and keep it up. Look forward to hearing from you. Cheers!
Ben: Well, man, you don’t get this question a lot. We don’t get a lot of listeners writing in wanting to be fat, or calling in wanting to be fat.
Brock: No, this is only the – this is the second time I think we’ve had somebody say anything about wanting to gain weight. And this is the first time it’s all been about fat, not about necessarily weight like muscle weight or anything, it’s interesting.
Ben: I personally look at babies or small animals when it comes to gaining weight quickly and safely, especially when you’re talking about the percentage of fat, carbs, and protein. That’s what I look to is –how to get a baby animal to get big. And also what kind of appears to be the composition of our own tissues when it comes to what the proportion of fats and proteins are in our own body tissues. So if you can….
Brock: What you’re saying here reminds me of a book I read.
Ben: Exactly. There is a book about this called the Perfect Health Diet. And the Perfect Health Diet makes a macronutrient recommendation of 20% carbs, 65% fats, and 15% protein. And that is based off of four different principles.
Number one is that observations about our ancestors in hunter- gatherer diets show that approximate ratio in most folks: the 20% carbs, 65% fat, 15% proteins granted there are some populations like the Katabans and the Pacific islanders and people like that who gets 60, 70, 80% carbohydrate but most of them are handling that diet quite well because of their genetic propensity, increased activity of a lot of the enzymes responsible for digesting and assimilating carbohydrates probably better insulin sensitivity and pancreatic production of insulin as well but in most folks we see that this type of diet from just an observational standpoint and an ancestral standpoint works well. But when you dig in, and for me I’m not a huge fan of observation of ancestors, I’d like to look at the nitty-gritty composition of either tissue or natural food sources like breast milk instead and we dig in and look at that stuff it turns out that the average like lean male has about 30 lbs of fat and about 23 lbs of protein. And if we look at that with as far as the proportion for the other body tissues it gives us about 60% fat and 20% protein and the rest would be carbohydrate so that also kinda shows us a clue when it comes to macronutrient ratio. When you look at human breast milk, it’s about 39% carb, 54% fat and 7% protein. Now, the brain of an infant needs slightly more carbohydrate fraction than the brain of an adult because the brain of an infant needs just slightly more glucose even though infants do run really well in ketones they do have slightly elevated glucose needs compare to an adult which is why we bring that composition of breast milk down just slightly from the carb standpoint and then for growing adult we would slightly up the fat and slightly up the protein. So, ultimately for healthy weight gain I would go with about 20% carbs 65% fat and 15% protein. Now as far as actual calories go and this is something that body builders, personal trainers and people in the fitness industry have known for years, you can get away if you’re trying to maintain body fat levels or you’re trying to basically get bigger without getting too fat, you’re usually looking at not wanting to exceed your baseline calorie needs by more than 500-1000 calories per day. So what that means is if you go and you find a metabolic rate calculator, there’s actually a bunch of good free ones over at getfitguy.com. I have a bunch of free metabolic calculators, activity calculators, ideal weight calculators, a bunch of stuff over there at getfitguy.com. If you go over there and use the calculator and you determine that your basic metabolic rate or your basal metabolic rate is 2500 calories a day. Then as you’re trying to gain weight, I wouldn’t be exceeding 3500 calories a day, just if you’re looking for a safe and healthy weight gain that’s not gonna cause you to balloon and get really fat or produce a bunch of visceral fat and storage fat around your organs that can be potentially be damaging from a health standpoint. I would simply up your daily calorie intake over and above your basic metabolic rate by about 500-1000 calories and then do that 20% carb, 65% fat, 15% protein and that will give you a really nice ballpark for kinda gaining body fat but doing it in a healthy way.
Brock: And Greg, I sort of apologize but not completely, for chopping your question down so much. But everybody, this is just a general note. If you’re leaving an audio question, try to keep it under a minute. Otherwise, know that I’m going to –I mean, I may take the knife.
Ben: Yeah, that’s right. Don’t talk so damn much. Tone it down.
Brock: Exactly! I don’t wanna have to cut you.
Paul: Hi, Ben! This is Paul from Boston. In a recent podcast, you mentioned a compacts electrostim unit. How does this compare to the arp wave that you talked about early in the year? I was not able to run due to a very tight lower calf muscle. But after 5 treatments with the arp wave at a local sports clinic, I was able to run for the last 6 months. I began to develop the same tight calf muscle and was wondering if the compact could treat it or do I need to stick with the arp wave? Thanks!
Ben: So dude, the arp wave, if you’ve seen the pictures of me at Dave Asprey’s biohacking conference down in San Francisco last year…
Brock: Oh, yeah! When you had all the electrodes stuck to your gut.
Ben: To my abs. They jacked up the arp wave on me at 100% intensity for 10 minutes. And I literally felt like I’d done…
Brock: Is that like doing a thousand crunches?
Ben: Yeah, it felt like I’d done a thousand crunches and then ran a mile when I turned that thing off. And it’s really crazy, and of course if I would have done something like that with the compacts, I would have had skin burns all over my abs just because it’s a different type of current.
So this arp wave or a-r-p wave is something that Jay Shroeder when I interviewed him on the podcast talked about. And Jay was actually at that biohacking conference kind of overseeing the utilization of this thing. But it’s an electro-stimulation device but it’s really different than any other electro-stimulation device that’s out there. It uses what’s called a direct current, or a DC current. But the way that that current is delivered is in this super high frequency wave form that it gives you basically a deeper penetration of the muscle while reducing your skin impedance and your fat tissue compedance, so you don’t get- or impedance. So you don’t get skin burning but you get a way more intense contraction. It’s actually a contraction that’s a little bit more of an eccentric or a lengthening contraction, rather than just a shortening or spasming or tightening of the muscle. So it’s very good for therapy as well as for strengthening the muscle compared to something like a basic electrostim device. Now of course that advantage comes at a cost…
Brock: At a price. I’m guessing…
Ben: …at a price. So you could do a search for arp weave treatment and then the name of your city and you could probably find a physical therapist or a chiropractor and it’ll cost you about 40-50 bucks a session to go in and get an Achilles tendonitis work done or get an injury work done which arp wave does a really, really good job at working on. You can also – you can buy one outright and it’s about 10K or so. If you decide you want to train with Jay Shroeder or Charles over at Evo Sport and you want to get a year of training with them and monthly webinars that teach you how to use it and everything else, that’s about what it comes out to. I think you can get the unit on its own for close to the 8K. But if you have no clue how to use it, you just basically got this really almost dangerous electrostim unit that’s not gonna give you much bang for your buck so I think it’s a pretty good deal. I’ve got no financial relationship with Jay or Charles over at Evo Sport. But if I was gonna go buy one of these things and somebody dropped a 10K check at my lap and said go get yourself an arp wave, I would definitely go straight to them because they’re the- they train the NFL football players on how to use it. They use it for rehab really successfully. It’s definitely an efficacious unit but it’s just one of those things where- it’s an expense. I use the compact sport elite because I don’t really have the budget for a $10,ooo electrostim unit and my wife would probably kill me if I went out and bought a $10,000 electrostim unit.
Brock: Your kids would never go to college.
Ben: My kids would never go to college and we’d be eating rice and beans. So you can get good effect in terms of strengthening, rehab, kind of shutting down pain a little bit with the compacts. I’m not gonna pretend you’re gonna get the same type of strengthening and the same type of rehab effect as you can with something like an arp wave, but you’ve also got that option of seeing if there’s one you can hunt down in your area where you can just go in. Typically it’s about 8-10 sessions or so with a physical therapist or chiropractor who’s actually using it on you. You could do that and just buy a compex sport elite for your own personal use. And you kinda have the best of both worlds. Because of you think about- that’s how many hours? A good 200+ hours with the arp wave before you justify the expense of buying one if you just go on for a session here and there plus you have the added advantage of the person who’s doing it knowing what they’re doing. So it’s a pretty intense tool to just kinda fiddle around with and …
Brock: Strap onto your forehead?
Ben: Yeah, unless you’re Richard Bronson or somebody who could just throw around pocket change like that.
Roberto: I got a question about DNA testing. I see an advertisement on television which I probably shouldn’t be watching in regards to DNA testing. I’m wondering if this effective by your knowledge and I’m also wondering if it’s worth looking into any further. I haven’t heard much about this before and I haven’t heard of you guys talking about it but it sounds quite interesting.
Brock: Yeah, ever since you did that 23 and me, that’s when you did this, right?
Ben: Twenty three and me, baby.
Brock: Yeah, that’s the –I’ve been wanting to get that done. I’m waiting for their –didn’t they have –they had a huge sale on Labor Day or something?
Ben: They run sales all the time but it’s 99 bucks now. I mean it’s -so here’s the deal…
Brock: Oh! I think that’s what the sale price was the last time I looked.
Ben: When I first started looking into it three years ago, I think it was 499.
Ben: It’s dropped down to as low as 99. Keep waiting, it’s probably just gonna be a $2 chip implant that you can put in your wrist that just kinda spits out data 24/7. Speaking of spitting out data, that’s what it is. It’s a saliva DNA test kit you order a kit from their store. They send you a little tube that you spit in and then they analyze your DNA within about six weeks and then send you online access to a dashboard that gives you a ton of information. You could spend hours on your dashboard digging into your ancestry and your risk factors, and your genetic determinants from everything from your muscle fiber type to your freaking ear wax type on there. Everything. It’s not a complete mapping of your personal genome. If you want a complete mapping of all the 3 billion different base pairs in your body versus the 1 million kinda DNA strips that Twenty-three and Me offers, it will cost you thousands and thousands of dollars. Ultimately, getting a basic salivary DNA test is gonna give you really the meat of the information that you want. So you’re not gonna be able to clone yourself with this data. But you’re gonna be able to identify DNA markers that are really important. Now the thing that scares away a lot of people is they’re like –oh I don’t wanna know that I’m guaranteed to get diabetes, or get cancer, prostate cancer or something like that. You gotta understand that genes determine only about 20-30% of your health outcomes. The other 70-80% is all a result of your environment and your life choices like the nutrient density and how much sleep that you get and how much stress you’re under and how much you exercise. So a DNA test is not gonna predict your future. It’s just gonna provide you with some really good information that lets you make the right choices. And that’s why I like it. I tested at a higher than normal risk for type 2 diabetes. That’s influenced my decision to do things like –I eat the equivalent of one piece of fresh raw fruit every couple of days. And I eat a lower carb diet and I take that bitter melon extract before I eat any foods that, or any meals that contain a significant amount of carbohydrates. I tested at a higher than normal risk for prostate cancer. So I eat fresh tomatoes almost every single day for the lycopene.
Brock: Hey, aren’t tomatoes fruit?
Ben: Technically you just totally destroyed my raw fruit argument but I’m talking about like papayas, mangoes, stuff, actually tomatoes and avocadoes and so, yeah, kinda painting with a broad brush when I say fruit, but…
Brock: Yeah. Sorry about that.
Ben: You get what I’m saying, So thank you Brock for totally derailing me. So I was about to go on to the importance of lifestyle choices. Anyways…
Brock: Never mind. We can just wrap it up here.
Ben: So as long as you think you can kinda handle the truth when it comes to genetic testing, that’s fine.
Brock: What do they say, your genes like your DNA is the gun but your lifestyle is the trigger.
Ben: Yeah, or the DNA’s the dynamite and your lifestyle is the match. I mean, what’s really cool about is you can see your drug responses to certain drugs. Whether or not you’re gonna respond to something like- you could find out you’re a complete non-responder to coumadin, a blood thinner drug. And you just know it’ll just be a waste of your time if someone ever put you on Coumadin. You could find – I found that I’m a fast responder to caffeine. So if I eat caffeine or drink caffeine, I’m pretty much done with it within about 2-3hours and it’s out of my system. Some people it stays with all day. But you find out a lot of interesting things like that. The other thing that’s really cool is you can literally trace your maternal and your paternal lines as they’ve moved across the globe and kinda see what your ancestry is. This is something I think I was talking about with Rich Roll when I was on his podcast, t’was like you could know if you’re just mostly Northern European and if maybe like a diet with fish, high on fat, that type of thing would agree well with you versus maybe if you come more from the Pacific islands, or Australia, or South America, or you might be able to handle more citrus fruits, and rices, and grains, and grasses. It’s really cool to be able to take a look at the ancestry and maybe throw some darts so to speak at about where you should start from a nutrition standpoint as well. So it’s really cool for the people out there who like to biohack so to speak and kind of make their nutritional or their supplement decisions or their lifestyle decisions based on quantified data. You know what, for 99 bucks, I really don’t think that you can go wrong with these tests and I think it’s just way cool. I got it. Somebody got it for me for Christmas, I think 2 years ago I think it was.
I turned it in and it was like mid-January that I got the result. We were supposed to go out skiing and I logged in to look at my results. The family ended up going skiing without me ‘cause I was just like sitting in front of my DNA test all day just like reading it ‘cause it was so cool. So I think it’s worth it. I’ll put a link to that twentythreeandme.com testing in the show notes if you want to see the tests that I did. That’s a 99 dollar one. Well worth it in my opinion.
Brock: Just for the coolness factor alone.
Ben: The coolness factor. And speaking of the coolness factor, we’re gonna send out a super cool Ben Greenfield Fitness water bottle, brand new Ben Greenfield Fitness beanie and Ben Greenfield Fitness Tech shirt. Not the nasty cotton shirts but the cool – yeah we got beanies now. Dude, they rock. I gotta get you one.
Brock: Yeah, I’ve got the baseball cap. I didn’t know they have the beanie.
Ben: We just got them in. They’re sweet. They’re gonna be available pretty soon for purchase at bengreenfieldfitness.com. But Kristen is gonna get one for free. So Kristen Mack, you left us a review on iTunes. And as we do every week, if we see your review on iTunes, your positive or negative review really, we’re probably gonna…
Brock: Some are just constructively negative, or hilariously negative.
Ben: As long as it’s constructive, or hilarious. We’re gonna send you a little care package. Kristen….
Brock: ‘Cause we care.
Ben: Send your address at [email protected] and I’ll personally get your care package out to you. I will kiss it, hug it, lovingly caress it and then send it out the door stars for life. So here’s what Kristen has to say. She says, “What the?”, and then it tailors off from there. But she says “When I first”…
Brock: Is this a good review or is this a bad review?
Ben: It’s a good one. She says, “When I first started listening, I had absolutely no idea what Ben and Brock were talking about most of the time – ketosis”…
Brock: Neither do we.
Ben: …” beet juice, fat-soluble this or that.” Yeah, Kristen, we don’t know what we’re talking about either. “But as I have now become a dedicated listener, I’ve learned so much about exercise, nutrition and general health. Most of what they discuss doesn’t affect me directly. But I’m always able to glean a little knowledgeable nugget out of the Q and A.” I’m really hoping she’s not talking about when we talk about poop. Nuggets. And then she says, “Thanks Ben and Brock for a wealth of healthful information.” No, no, no, Kristen, thank you! So, great review and we’ll send you a care package, Kristen. Remember if you want to leave a review…
Brock: And make sure to include an extra nugget in your care package.
Ben: head over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/263 and not only can you get the show notes over there, but you can also get a cool gift from Brock and I. A special video we shot over at giftfromben.com and we’re not done yet. You can also go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/love yeah, I did give up a job for qvc You can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/love and I’m making the Vanna White hands right now to share the wealth and then finally you may notice that I completely disappear off the face of the map as far as a regular podcast for the next three weeks. That’s because I‘m gallivanting around Asia but boy oh boy, do I have some cool podcast coming down the pipeline for you on everything from posture, and alignment and maybe why you shouldn’t use standing work stations to an explicit episode on how to get fit for sex, to an episode with maybe Navy Seals on down the line. So tons of cool stuff coming your way.
Brock: I’ll be holding down the fort while Ben is off in Asia. I’ll be tuning on to the stuff. You won’t even notice he’s gone, really.
Ben: You won’t even notice I’m gone. So there you go. Remember to vote over at podcastawards.com for the Get Fit Guy and we’re gonna finish today with, and –oh, remember to go, if you’re a personal trainor, remember to go to superhumancoach.com/podcast and we’ll finish the day with a special little chat between me and our special mystery guest and remember after you listen in you can go to audiblepodcast.com/ben and Grab it for free. Grab this for free!
Ben: Hey, it’s Ben Greenfield here and today I have a reason number fifty three why you need to go and get the audio book Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich but I’m not gonna tell this to you. I’ve got Vinnie right here in person to tell you why you gotta grab the audio book even if you’ve already read Fitness Confidential. Why is that, Vinnie?
Vinnie: Thanks for having me on, Ben. I come from a family of readers. As a matter of fact, my mom was a librarian for 35 years. And you can only imagine how many books she’s read, how many books I’ve read. My degree is actually in teaching.
And the one thing they taught us at Tulane is a lot of times when you’re reading, you’re also assuming and whenever audio books became a thing, or back when I started to listen to audio books, they were called books on tape, and I found that I will go back and listen to books on tape and now audio books just to hear what I missed while I was reading. And I’m a very thorough reader. As a matter of fact, I just read Fat Chance and I went back and bought the audio book just to hear it again while I’m out running or riding my bike. And lo and behold, I learned things by listening to Fat Chance that I didn’t hear when I was reading the book because I might have been preoccupied and your mind wanders a bit. So, if you’ve read the book and you think you learned everything from the book you might wanna go back and see what you might have missed.
Ben: That’s right. And the other cool thing that I like is after you read something, it’s kinda fun to just hear what the author sounds like. And folks, Vinnie reads the book, he is the actual voice in his rolling Vinnie tone that you get to hear for about 7 hours with the content. So I’ll put a link to the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com. The name of the book is Fitness Confidential, Vinnie Tortorich Hollywood celebrity spills the beans on everything –fitness, training nutrition, diet –related as well as a lot of extremely hilarious celebrity stories. So Vinnie, thanks for coming on.
Vinnie: Thanks for having me!
Visit bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting-edge fitness, nutrition and performance advice.
Nov 13, 2013 Podcast: How to build extreme speed, why sugar causes heart disease, 5 ways to stay awake without coffee, is high potassium bad, stomach problems during long runs, what are the best blood sugar controllers, how to gain body fat in a healthy way, what is the best kind of electrotherapy, and is DNA testing worth it?
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right, use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form… but be prepared to wait – we prioritize audio questions over text questions.
- Secrets of the extremely fit – great article and I agree.
- Excellent article on the TRUTH about coffee and caffeine. Worth a look.
- For the ultimate cognitive performance, combine coffee and tea.
The Podcast Awards are here! Vote for the Get-Fit Guy podcast anytime before November 15.
December 11-14, 2013: “Achieve Ultimate Human Performance” three day online class with Ben Greenfield. Want to achieve “ultimate human performance”? Check out Ben’s brand new CreativeLIVE course by clicking here. If you’re interested in being a member of our live audience, simply click here to fill out the form!
Want a done-for-you coaching package with Ben? Check out the new Black Box Coaching Package.
Ben’s new book has been released. Order it now and get entered into a raffle for over $5000 in swag! Just visit BeyondTrainingBook.com.
If you want to grab Vinnie Tortorich’s new audiobook Fitness Confidential: you can get it on Audible, grab it on iTunes, or buy it on Amazon. And by the way, AudiblePodcast.com/Ben is the place to go to get an audiobook of your choice – FREE – with a 30-day trial.
February 6 to March 6, 2014: Want to get into the Perfect Health Diet retreat in Austin, Texas? Click here for all details. Ben Greenfield will be presenting at the Feb 6-Mar 6 retreat.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
How To Build Extreme Speed
He is currently in the military and hoping to become a police officer. Both professions require being able to go from 0 to 100 in a split second without a warmup. Is there anything he can do to prepare his body, improve his performance doing this and reduce the potential for injury?
-In my response I recommend: This article on increasing power and speed, HRV testing for deciding which days to do speed workouts, and CNS Tap Test phone app.
Why Sugar Causes Heart Disease
He has heard Ben talk about avoiding sugar if you are eating a high fat diet. Do you need to avoid eating sugar all the time or just at the same time as eating fat (eg. apples + bananas in a high fat smoothie) or is there a timing aspect to it? Can you clarify how this effects heart health?
-In my response I mention a blood glucose monitor.
5 Ways To Stay Awake Without Coffee
She needs help staying awake. She is a 22-year-old personal trainer with an active lifestyle who struggles to stay awake while sitting still and paying attention (ie. in class, in church, driving). The rest of the day, when she is up and moving, she is fine. She sleeps well, falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow and sleeps through the night. She doesn’t like coffee and avoids energy drinks.
Is High Potassium Bad?
In January he started eating Paleo/Primal and increased his fat intake. He has been testing his electrolytes since then, and has noticed his potassium levels are increasing steadily. In Jan it was 4.7, in May it was 5.6, and in Sep it was 5.8. His CO2 levels are steady at 21. He only exercises once a week (body weight work). His blood panel showed that his kidney and liver function is all ok. Should he be worried about his potassium levels? Why are they on the rise?
Stomach Problems During Long Runs
He has done some serious ultra running and using your advice from the podcast his recovery and performance has been increasing exponentially… but has noticed that during long runs (over 8 hours) his ability to ingest sugar decreases dramatically to the point that he is unable to run (ends up in a drunken waddle). He has been trying outFeed Zone Portables and chewing MAP every 20 minutes, which has helped, but his stomach still sours. How can he increase his ability to ingest sugars and is there anything he can take to help settle his stomach during the race?
What Are The Best Blood Sugar Controllers?
-In my response I mention MPX100.
How To Gain Body Fat In A Healthy Way
He is looking for a way to increase his body fat (not necessarily his weight) in a healthy way. He is over 6 feet tall but only 53kg and 5% body fat. Is there a specific amount of calories he should eat and, perhaps more importantly, what should the percentage of fat, carbs and protein be? There are a lot of opinions out there around what percentage is appropriate especially for someone trying to gain fat.
-In my response I mention The Perfect Health Diet by Paul Jaminet.
What Is The Best Kind of Electrotherapy?
How does the ARPwave compare to the Compex Electrostim Unit? He has been using the ARPwave to cure a very tight calf muscle at a local sport clinic and it worked very quickly. Can he switch to a Compex?
-In my response I mention the Compex Sport Elite.
Is DNA Testing Worth It?
Roberto (alldamnday28) says:
He is wondering about the DNA testing he has been seeing commercials for on the TV (which he knows he shouldn’t be watching). Is this effective? Is it worth looking into? How could this help him in the long run?
-In my response I mention 23andme.com genetic testing.