[0:00] Introduction/Organifi Green Juice
[3:15] About Brian Rose
[6:41] Brian's Backstory
[9:14] How and Why London Real Came To Be
[11:08] Brian and Ayahuasca
[19:22] Brian's Supplementation
[21:06] Meditation Sessions for Brian
[26:58] Brian's Interviews With People In The Fitness World
[31:58] Things Brian Has Learned From A Dietary Standpoint
[37:35] Anti-Aging Strategies
[41:15] Brian's Fitness Regimen
[49:40] Topics and People Brian Would Like On The Show
[53:29] Developments in London Real
[1:00:03] End of Podcast
Ben: This episode is brought to you by coconut and ashwagandha-infused green juice in the form of a gently dried superfood powder. Why is that cool? Because if you listen to bengreenfieldfitness.com/340, episode 340, we talked a lot about ashwagandha and how it actually kicks creatine's butt when it comes to strength and power, and how it can also do things like increase testosterone, decrease cortisol, and increase endurance. Well, this new green juice powder stuff not only has ashwagandha in it, but it's got a ton of other nutrients. Too many ingredients for me to list here. Ashwagandha is just the one I wanted to tell you about 'cause that's what I'm excited about.
So this stuff is called Organifi. Organifi. It's made by a company called FitLife. You get 25% off of it. It is something you can get at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife. Bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife. I don't know why I said that like I was asking a question, because I'm not. That is the URL. Bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife. Anyways, code Ben over there will get you 25% off, but only until January 1st. It's organic, it's vegan, it's gluten-free, it's dairy-free, it's soy-free. I believe anything that will make you guilty has pretty much been removed from it. And the cool thing is you don't have to juice, you don't have to blend, you don't have to clean up because who wants to clean up more over Christmas? So anyways, check it out. It is at bengreenfieldfitness.com/fitlife. Get your ashwagandha on, and also get Brian Rose on because he's our guest on today's show. Enjoy.
In This Episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“Write an e-mail while you're squatting. Hang from the bar for four minutes. Your day should be comprised of movement, as opposed to you separating movement to say, one hour of your day.” “I went to the gym, and I looked around, and I said, ‘What are these people doing, and what am I doing?' Just maybe really questioned as humans how we move and why we move, and it actually combines what even Elliott Hulse told me ‘whereas as humans, we used to communicate with movement and express our emotions with movement.'” “I wasn't really thinking about the ramifications for not looking after your body for 10 years, and it definitely hurt me.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield here. And my guest today is a fella I've had a chance to spend time with in London and a guy who you may already be familiar with. His name is Brian Rose, and Brian is a London-based, US born ex-city trader. He hosts the wildly popular podcast and video channel called London Real. If you check out London Real, and I will put a link to that in the show notes if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/londonreal, you'll see that Brian has filmed over 200 episodes. He's got over 250,000 subscribers. It's been watched over 40 million times, and Brian has kind of established a reputation in the whole podcasting, online TV industry for producing really frank, in-depth discussions on often controversial topics; things like banking in cryptocurrencies, personal development, spiritual growth, and even a lot of the kind of things that we talked about here on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show, like anti-aging, and biohacking, and nutrition.
And he's had folks like “4-Hour Chef” author, who you probably know, Tim Ferriss, he's had six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, he's also had politicians like George Galloway, he's had Pulitzer Prize winning author Jared Diamond, whistleblower Annie Machon, Bruce Parry from the BBC documentary series, a bunch of folks. He's even had yours truly on the show, and I'll put a link to that as well if you care to watch that video. But in interviewing all these amazing folks, Brian has not only learned quite a few things, which we're about to delve into on today's show, but even before he began producing London Real, Brian has a pretty crazy story leading up to the whole thing. So first of all, Brian, welcome to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show.
Brian: Ben, thanks so much for having me. I checked, and it was almost exactly a year ago when you were here and we did our show. So, that's how I keep in track with who I've seen recently. It’s with the date they've been on the show. It was great having you, we got a little emotional. It was two hours and it was solid. So, thanks for coming on.
Ben: Yeah. No problem. And now it's revenge time because you're on the other side of the interview, and I get to pick your brain. And by the way, folks, just so that you know, Brian has this amazingly like complex, expensive, pristine audio and video production studio. But today, he's coming to you straight from his IMAX. So don't judge the quality of his audio on this particular episode with the quality of the audio on London Real, because you should definitely tune into London Real to kinda of see what he has going on over there. He kind of puts my own production to shame with what he does there. So check that out. And again, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/londonreal, or you can go to londonreal.tv to check out Brian's show and some of his past episodes. But Brian, you actually interview a lot of health nuts among other folks on your show. So I know you're kinda keenly interested in health. But was it always that way? Like before you started London Real?
Brian: You know, it really wasn't. I know a little bit about your story and how you were kind of a bit of a geek in school, and kinda got in to fitness. A totally round the way, right. It was kind of through a crush and tennis lesson, I think…
Ben: You've got a good memory.
Brian: Yeah. For me, I hadn't really consistently broken a sweat until I moved to London in 2002. I was 31 years old and I had probably the worst 2001 of anyone. I was in New York City, 9/11 happened, long term relationship failed, my best friend from MIT sacked me from my dot com startup, and I was just kind of a mess. And I got to London and I was kinda transforming myself by location, and a buddy of mine just started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and he said, “Why don't you try this?” And I just started training, and everything started unfolding. I started learning a lot, and I started lifting, I started just, I guess, getting a lot of knowledge. But up until then, I was probably one of the most unfit people you would have met.
Ben: Why'd you move to London?
Brian: You know, I had been over here from '97 to '99 for finance. And I just needed to get the heck outta New York City and I just needed to change like my environment, my peer group. I had left London to go into kind of the dot com tech boom and I needed to come back to my basics here. And to be honest, London has always been good to me as a city. I've always been successful here, whereas the Big Apple always found a way to crush me. Or more likely, I found a way to crush myself. And so I came back to London, didn't know anyone, landed here January 2002, and yeah. I'm probably never gonna leave at this point.
Ben: Did you grow up in New York City? In The Big Apple?
Brian: No. San Diego, California. So right near the beach, 18 years before I went to school in Boston.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So you grew up in San Diego, you moved to New York and worked in finance there, and then eventually you wound up in London to get into the tech boom.
Brian: Well, I came to London for banking, went back to New York for tech, and then came back to London for kind of the big financial boom, which was 2002 to 2011. And so I worked 10 years at pretty much the same company here in finance before I started London Real.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So when did London Real kinda come on to the scene and why?
Brian: It's our four year anniversary as of last month, and it started as, I think an expression, an artistic expression of myself. I think it was part therapy session, part communicating with the outside world, part communicating with other people, like having them in my studio to tell their stories, and maybe even a creative outlet. I had left my job in finance, I was unemployed for nine months, I didn't know what I wanted to do next. I just knew I didn't wanna get on the phone and yell at people all day and close deals.
And so, I literally just set up webcams in my studio here in Shoreditch which you've been to. It was very low tech, but it was video from the very beginning because I knew that was an essential component, when I thought, when it came to connecting. And I just rolled tape. It started out with me and my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor, and it just started getting a little bit better one week at a time. It started off with cool friends we knew, and then I would invite an author, a politician, and then pretty soon Neil deGrasse Tyson showing up, and Dorian Yates, and Jared Diamond, and it's getting out of control. So that's how it started.
Ben: Yeah. You've interviewed a lot of folks who are kinda in this whole like fitness, health, nutrition sector. And one of the things that I know that has come up a few times, if we wanna just like cut straight to the chase, that I know you've kinda gotten into a little bit, and that we actually haven't talked about very much on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show. We've had one podcast on this, and that is ayahuasca. I've heard you talk about ayahuasca a lot. Is that something that you've personally done much with? And if so, I'm curious kinda how you got into that and what you've found with the use of ayahuasca.
Brian: Yeah. It's a great question about episode eight or nine, and anyone who wants to can go back and look at all of our episodes on our website or on YouTube. My co-host at the time just threw out there. And it was like, “Brian, we've gotta go try ayahuasca.” And I had always been inspired by the Joe Rogan experience, and as I said in my TED talk, he basically inspired me to start broadcasting 'cause I was watching him. And the CEO of Onnit, Aubrey Marcus, talked about ayahuasca on one of his shows, and so it planted a seed in my head that took me 18 months to kind of research, get comfortable with, and because of London Real and kind of the challenge from my co-host, we decided to go ahead and book a ceremony here in London, and do a before and after show, and publish it on YouTube. And I was basically kissing any chance of a future career in banking goodbye when I did it. So I was a little bit tentative, but we had to kinda go for it because I figured the Bank of England would never have me back as a licensed financial [0:12:18] ______. So I openly public about what is still a banned substance here in the UK and I think in the US too.
Ben: So you guys actually did this whole thing as part of a broadcast?
Brian: Well, we did a before and after. So we called it “Ayahuasca: Ready To Die” and “Ayahuasca: Back from The Dead.” So we did a before and talked about our trepidations. I was really concerned about it. I had had one previous psychedelic experience, the usual I-took-a-bunch-of-mushrooms-in-Amsterdam story, which never goes very well. And I just didn't like it. I didn't like my ego being crushed. I didn't understand it at the time. And so I was really not looking forward to doing it. And yet at the same time, I think something inside me knew I had to kinda go to this uncomfortable place. And so, like I said, we did a before and after show. And it really opened a lot of people's eyes and it really kinda put us on the scene as far as a show that was willing to be open, honest, real, if you will. So that was our first time we talked about ayahuasca, and we've talked about it a few times since.
Ben: So what happened? How did the ceremony go?
Brian: Well, we found a shaman. We were very careful because it's a situation where you're not really in control of your faculties for a few hours. We found someone we had been recommended and trusted. We did it in London, which is pretty rare at the time four years ago, most people were going to Peru at the time. And we did the ceremony at night, we drank the ayahuasca, which is a brew that's, I think, been used in the Amazon for thousands of years. And our shaman, she had had it prepared. It's a full on psychedelic experience where you're gonna be going to places and confronting issues within yourself that you probably don't wanna necessarily confront. It's like putting a mirror up to your soul. You get to look inside and it's not always the best news. You usually find out how you've treating other people in your life. And you're usually not talking about your future IPO or the next car you wanna buy. Those aren’t the topics that usually comes up in these experiences. So very introspective and it was powerful. It was one of three ceremonies I've been a part of.
Ben: So since you've done three ceremonies, does it change from ceremony to ceremony? In terms of just like the discoveries that you make about yourself especially.
Brian: Yeah. After that first one, I knew I needed to go a bit deeper and just do some more on myself and maybe it’s just kinda get some peace with accepting kinda who I was with myself, and my second ceremony I kind of went in pretty big. I wrote a big blog about it afterwards. Shed a lot of tears during, and really kind of finally opened my heart up. I ended up moving in with my girlfriend and my step daughter now. So it made some real changes in my life. But for me, three ceremonies has been enough. We had another show about DMT, which is a slightly different way of having an experience, but it was kind of a time in my life where it was necessary. And again, some people go on and do 50 ceremonies. I did three. And now I do a lot of meditation, and training, and other things, and I haven't found the need to go back to ayahuasca in a couple years.
Ben: So you think you'll ever use it again?
Brian: I do! I think it's important. I talked to Elliott Hulse and he was here a few months ago, and I think we all had demons we have to kinda confront every now and then. I think it's an amazing tool that should be visited, perhaps even annually. We had the author Graham Hancock here who's a British author, and he goes every year, and he plans to do it the rest is life because I think we all kind of have to deal with certain things about ourselves. And that's a very good way to really face yourself in a situation where you know it's gonna happen within a few hours. I think it's a very important tool as humans we have, and we need to have to use it occasionally.
Ben: And do you, or did you, during the three ceremonies that you did, did you get a lot of the things that people talk about when they do ayahuasca? Like vomiting, and sickness, and very unpleasant symptoms as well?
Brian: Most definitely. We've had shows on London Real about kind of the spectrum of psychedelics, and then we've had Professor David Nutt here who does a lot of groundbreaking work on how psychedelics work in the brain, and how psilocybin can be used for post-traumatic stress disorder in soldiers. And so we've talked a lot about these issues. And so I've talked about ayahuasca, DMT, and psilocybin mushrooms, but with ayahuasca, it's not the funnest of experiences. You are throwing up, you're feeling sick. So, yeah. I purge every ceremony. It's a long night. It's not usually pleasant. It's usually very uncomfortable physically and psychologically, but you're left with a lot of answers. It's a net positive for sure.
Ben: What would you say, just so people could kinda understand this a little bit more completely, was one of the more interesting or memorable revelations that you had during an ayahuasca episode?
Brian: Yeah. My second experience, I wrote a whole blog about it and I think it's on our londonrealacademy.com piece. I went really deep. When I was seven, my parents divorced and I think as a young man, a lot of young boys and young men, when they see kind of your parental structure get changed up, you react with a lot of anger and with a lot of,7 I'm-gonna-go-with-alone type attitude. And so I've always been kind of that guy to travel across country for school, travel to London to be the Rambo, to always be self-reliant. And I think I went overboard a little bit with that. And so I think the ayahuasca ceremony really showed me that I was building up all these defenses around me to keep other people away from me and keep them from hurting me. And by doing that, I just wasn't living a very full life. And it was really showing in my relationships, or lack of relationships, and in so many elements of my life. So that second ceremony showed me that I needed to allow these two very wonderful females now in my life, and kinda open up myself a lot. And so it was a big development for me.
Ben: Interesting. Well, I will definitely link to your guys' ayahuasca episode in the show notes if anybody listening in wants to go check that out. But I know you've talked about a lot of other kinda compounds on the show before. Like for example, like smart drugs, or nootropics, things along those lines. I know that you do a lot of Bulletproof coffee, so you definitely tweak your brain a bit with the MCT oil and some of the terpenes that you get from the coffee. But do you use other supplements, specifically like things for cognitive performance or enhancement?
Brian: When I first heard the word nootropic was when we first started and Alpha BRAIN was like a sponsor that we had. And then I met Dave Asprey and Bulletproof's been one of our sponsors. So I've kind of bumped into certain things. We had Tim Ferriss on and he would talk about a bunch of the compounds he uses. So I would try all these things and I tried nootropics for a bit. I'm a big fan of Bulletproof Coffee and how that's happened. I actually stopped eating gluten to prepare for the ayahuasca ceremony 'cause there was a whole diet involved for that which cuts out sugar, and gluten, and caffeine, and alcohol.
Brian: You do that for 10 days, and it's a physical thing 'cause you're actually drinking the ayahuasca, but I also believe it's a mental preparation. As in every time you go to eat something for 10 days before your ceremony, you're thinking about the ceremony, and so you really have to alter your diet radically. And I kept a lot of those habits along the way. So, yeah. Gluten's pretty much gone from my diet, sugars, when I do consume caffeine it's kind of in an intelligent way as in I do it with fats in the morning. As far as the supplements, when I used to train a lot, I was having the protein supplements and that. I kind of phased that out and have gone with more Earth-grown nutrients and that kind of piece. Lately, I've been playing around with a bit of Pu erh tea and that kind of piece. But I've done less intensive stuff with the compounds and smart drugs. And for me, it's been more mental work with myself and just trying to get in the right space through meditation, through training, through just mindset. And I think that's what the show helps me a lot.
Ben: What does a meditation session look like for you?
Brian: So the funny thing is is that I've been curious about meditation for a long time, and I finally take in a transcendental meditation course that turned out to be four months before I quit my job in finance in the city. As I look back, I think they're related. And I think I had to pay for a transcendental course, which is in the past wasn't cheap, but it was a way that I invested in, and I took it seriously, and that was 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the evening. The usual kind of TM piece. But since I paid for the knowledge, I stuck with it, and I pretty much had that practice since.
I in morning now, I wake up, I brush my teeth, I get back into bed, put on a big set of industrial like jackhammer headphones, and I go and meditate while I'm sitting in bed. So that's kinda how I start my day for like 20 or 30 minutes. And I find that when I stop that process, bad things happen to me. And when I continue it, habits stay good, practices stay good, mentality, positive energy stays good. So that's been one of the positives there.
Ben: Yeah. I've personally taken a transcendental meditation course, or TM course. And for those of you who don't know what it involves, it's essentially a mantra that you learn, a special mantra that's given to you that you kind of recite over and over again in your head as you meditate. Now you use headphones, Brian. Are you playing something like music, or binaural beats, or something like that through the headphones?
Brian: I bought them because in TM they always say you should be able to meditate anywhere, like on a bus, or in a [0:22:46] ______, but I get distracted with sounds. So I bought literally like industrial, like builder, like noise blockers, like if you're on a jackhammer. So they just cut the noise out, to be honest. So I don't play any tunes or binaurals. I've heard good things, but I prefer the silence.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So you do that, and then you do it again in the evening as well?
Brian: I try to do in the evening. I always get my morning session in. I try to go for 10, 15 minutes in the evening. When I first started, I did it. And I think it got me, I think a little bit more invested and a little calmer. It used to be hard for me to meditate, but now I find that it actually wakes me up in the morning, in which is kind of strange. But now I find that 20 minutes in the morning does enough to where I feel it kinda keeps me there. But I'll do a supplemental evening session if I have the time, or I just need to calm down a little bit after being in media all day long.
Ben: Yeah. And I initially was told by my TM instructor that those two 20 minute sessions a day were the gold standard for TM. And frankly, I do about 10 minutes once a day. And I told my instructor this and I felt a little bit guilty about it, and he simply said that if that's what works for me as long, as I'm getting it done every day, that it's not quite as good as two 20 minute sessions, but you still get a decent effect. So when you did, or started doing TM, Brian, did you have a specific goal that you were pursuing? Like sleep, or relaxation, or something like that?
Brian: You know, for me it was, I love finding new things and then I just kind of beat them to death. So whether it's jiu-jitsu, or weight training, or lately with like gymnastics rings. And so for me, meditation, I was just like, “Let's go in 110% and see what it'll do.” ‘Cause I had always heard thing about it. So I just kinda went in not knowing what to expect. To be honest, Ben, I thought, in a very competitive alpha environment in the city, that it would actually make me lose money, and lose deals, and not stand up to people. I was a little worried about that, but I actually found it was kind of the opposite and I was actually clearer, and I was kind of calling people out on more things in a more intelligent way. But it definitely changed my mindset. And then funny enough, five months later I actually literally walked away from the job and everything because I just didn't, I wasn't feeling it anymore. And there was definitely a correlation there with the meditation.
Ben: Interesting. So kinda like ayahuasca, just basically helped you to get more in touch with your true self.
Brian: I think so. There's that “where the head is and where the heart is,” and I think they have a natural tendency to go on their own paths. When they're not connected, you have midlife crises, you have weight issues, you have tension, hypertension, arguments, and a lot of people I know that have ayahuasca [0:25:50] ______ supplement that with meditation. So I find it's a way that I just get grounded, get quiet, find a way to listen to what's important. So, yeah. I think it's all related.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now you've also had, in addition to folks talking about meditation and ayahuasca on your London Real show, a lot of fitness people. You've had like Elliott Hulse, who you mentioned. I talked about bodybuilder Dorian Yates. You've had Dave Asprey on your show, you've had Tim Ferriss on your show. So you obviously get to just like sit there and pick the brains of these guys for like two or three hours. As far as what you've adopted in your own life, like big fitness takeaways, specifically regarding, I know you do jujitsu for example, but your workouts, the way that you train, the way that you live your life from like a-get-lean-get-fit-type of standpoint, what are some of the things that you have adopted based on advice from people that you've interviewed that you think kinda fly under the radar or that aren't quite as popular in the whole fitness world that people might not know about?
Brian: Yeah. I'm super lucky, so I get to interview these amazing people. They actually come over to my place, and they tell me all their knowledge for two hours, and I get to record it, and since it's being recorded, I get to ask them the most personal questions ever. So I'm so fortunate, and I get to learn by osmosis, maybe even subconsciously a lot of times from these people. Yeah. If you look at our history, I do have a tendency to go for these kind of athletes. So whether it's Dorian Yates, you said Elliott Hulse, we had Kelly Starrett, we had the boxer Chris Eubank here, a lot of MMA fighters, Joe De Sena, Steve Maxwell, Mike Dolce. So they all bring a lot of different things to the table. Recently there's been a guy on named Ido Portal. Are you familiar with him at all?
Ben: Yeah. He's like a natural movement guy, right?
Brian: Yeah. He's a movement guy. He's from Israel. He actually just spent time with one of the UFC fighters, Conor McGregor, in Ireland working with him. And he came on my show for the second time a few months ago, and I spent a weekend with him at one of his movement experiences. It was almost like a physical ayahuasca. As in I went in, and on Monday morning, I went to the gym, and I looked around, and I said, “What are these people doing, and what am I doing?”, because it just made me really question as humans how we move, and why we move. And it actually combines with what even Elliott Hulse told me whereas as humans we, used to communicate with movement and express our emotions with movement. And in London of all places, where emotion is not high on the list. It's a stiff upper lip. I think sometimes you lose touch with expressing yourself with your movement, whether emotionally or just being creative. And I took a lot of away with Ido. So lately I've been doing a lot of lizard walks, and I've been doing a lot of gymnastics, ring work, I've been doing just like backhand walkovers, and parallel bar stuff, and just having fun again with my movement as opposed to lifting weights, or running to a certain speed, or doing a certain number of kettlebell sessions. Probably takes me more back to the kind of freedom of expression that a fighting art like jiu-jitsu gives you as well that's creative, but that's kind of lately where I'm going with some of the fitness people that have been on.
Ben: What is a lizard walk?
Brian: By the way, I think you'd love Ido, by the way. So I'll have to introduce you guys. Part of the seminar, we did some really crazy things. But part of it was kind of animal movement. So we were doing these like bipedal walks, we were walking like four-legged animals. And there's kind of a lizard walk where you kind of crouch very low to the ground with your chest towards the ground, and you kind of walk as if a lizard were where you're kind of twisting your hips and staying really low. It's just kind of a different way of moving, and it triggers different reactions in different parts of your brain. For me, I just find it a lot of fun, really energizing. Yeah. Fulfilling on a different level than my workouts were.
Ben: Yeah. The last time, or not the last time that I went to London. Last time I went to London, I mostly did a lot of running in Hyde Park and then did the interview with you. The time before that though, I went there. Part of the reason I went there was to take a natural movement course. It wasn't with Ido Portal. It was with a guy named Darryl Edwards over there. And I remember we went to a park at one point for about five hours, and we were doing like bear crawls through the park, and jumps over the fence, and leaping up and hanging from the basketball hoop, and jumping around the kids' playground. And Darryl told me this after the fact, because I noticed that a couple of policemen were there at the park kind of watching us from the corner of the park, and apparently he'll just get chased out of one park, and then set up shop in another park, and just kinda go from park to park teaching these clinics until the cops force him out of one location. But I do remember just being incredibly sore the next day. Like using all these muscles that I'd never used before just because, even without weights, just moving naturally like that presents your body with a whole new set of moves you never done before. So I like it. I like that whole idea of natural movement.
Brian: I'm loving it too ‘cause I'm 44 now and I just like, for me, my personal best lifts are not going up. And so for me, to focus about my body's still working pretty well. If I can continue keeping it mobile and exploring all these different things that require body weight strength, it's a great way to go for me as opposed to trying hit that one rep max, which isn't as interesting to me as it was 10 years ago.
Ben: Yeah. And I'll link to your episode. You interviewed Ido Portal, right?
Brian: Yeah. I've had two [0:31:51] ______.
Ben: Okay. Cool. For those of you listening in, I'll link to that episode if you wanna to look into this whole natural movement thing. Now how about diet? You've had a lot of guys on your show talking about diet as well. What's one or two of the kind of the less well-known things that you've picked up from a dietary standpoint? Either new foods that you've introduced or changes that you've made.
Brian: Yeah. It's funny 'cause I sit with these people. So sometimes they have effect on me that aren't even by choice and then if they have they make a really good point. I think sometimes it sits really deep in me and I still remember Mike Dolce yelling “no pills, no powders, no potions” and talking about Earth-grown nutrients, and this kind of piece, that kind of with the ayahuasca diets. And then talking with a lot of these people, the diet will come up whether it's Ido, whether it's Steve Maxwell, or even Dorian Yates who obviously used to be, from 1992 to 97, the greatest bodybuilder in the world. But now he's slimmed down, and find out what he eats. And I've also had a few vegans on. Timothy Shieff is a pretty famous parkour runner, but for me I just stay away from, it used to be the protein powder guy when I would lift and trained jiu-jitsu and now I really look for really good Earth-grown nutrients, really good fresh vegetables. I tend to stay away from any meat source that just doesn't look fresh and clean.
And, like I said, I just stay away from gluten. I always tell people “if you stay away from sugar and gluten, it pretty much makes you not able to eat 95% of what they sell you're on the street in London,” which is probably a good sign. But it can be done, even in London, which used to have a reputation for bad food. You can now find amazing things. That's probably what I've learned from most of these people. And then just also, just the moderation thing. These people aren't having 10 or 15 cups of coffee a day, they're sleeping really well, they're paying attention to all aspects of their game. If they're sitting in my chair, they're really not lacking when it comes to their physicality. And that's across all spectrums, really.
Ben: When you say Earth-grown nutrients, what do you mean by that?
Brian: It's a term that Dolce always coined. I guess it means something that is really non-supplemental, or not created. Did it come out of the ground a few days ago? Can you go to the farm and point at it, where it used to live? Those are the kind of things that I like to eat and see. And in the UK, we have those options. There's a lot of local farms for produce, and for meat, and all that stuff. And so there's really not an excuse for me not to seek out that food.
Ben: Gotcha. Now when you were living in New York, and also in London prior to starting London Real, you mentioned that you hadn't done a lot of exercise. But would you consider yourself to be like generally pretty unhealthy leading up to that point?
Brian: I'd say so. For me, when I moved to New York after college at 22, 23, I just had one objective and that was to be Gordon Gekko. And so I wasn't really thinking about the ramifications for not looking after your body. And Elliott said, the body is the minds. And I didn't get that, Ben, for 10 years and it definitely hurt me. And I wish I had kinda made that realization sooner. When you're in your 20's, you can probably burn at both ends to a certain extent, but I was never one to think that there might be a repercussion for the body and how it would take the mind or the spirit. So, yeah. I was that guy out in Manhattan taking clients out to the restaurants, out 12 hours of the night, early in on the trading floor, eating Mexican food on the trading floor. That was for me.
Ben: So why is it that you started asking health people to come on your show?
Brian: It's a really good question. I used to joke, Joe Rogan inspired this show and so when we first started, we used to talk about him. And about a year later, he invited me on his show, and I went out to LA, and I was on his show. And we talked for three hours, and afterwards I remember thinking, “Oh, it's called the Joe Rogan Experience because it's Joe Rogan's experience 'cause he talks about what he wants to talk about.” And so if you look at London Real, people always ask me, “How do you choose the guest?” Quite frankly, I choose people that I wanna talk to. And that's really it. I don't really have to stick to a niche or that kind of thing. I'm obviously attracted to these people that seem to really shine, or be unique in their fields. Like some of the people I've listed, whether it's Yates, or like the British boxer Chris Eubank, and I think it's something about them kind of conquering, and owning, and being able to achieve something when it comes to discipline over their own body ‘cause they all seem to do that very well in a very specific way. I don't know, maybe I respect that now as I'm older, or now that I've spent 10 years, or 15 years taking care of my body, but I'm definitely drawn to those people. It's probably 20% of our guests are kind of fitness, really.
Ben: Yeah. And speaking of 10 to 15 years taking care of your own body, I know that you're over 40. I wouldn't your age if I didn't know that you mentioned that yourself on your shows. You've had some folks on your show who delve into anti-aging strategies and longevity, guys like Aubrey de Grey. And I'm curious, based on those type of guests, if you have adopted any specific anti-aging strategies or if there's some real gems that you've come across when it comes to longevity.
Brian: I love talking with Aubrey de Grey. But he's also the only guy that ever brought his own beer with him.
Brian: I don't know how long Aubrey's gonna live, but if he lives long, it's probably because his research.
Ben: Like you mean he brought his own beer because he wanted his own special brand? Or he just showed up with beer?
Brian: Well, I offered him a glass of water and he says, “I don't drink water. I only drink beer.” And then he pulled out a beer.
Ben: You're kidding me. Wow.
Brian: And that’s maybe it's 'cause we're in Britain, but still. But Audrey obviously believes that aging is a disease. He really looks at it that way, which is a fascinating way to view a “problem” that we all accept as natural and so whether you agree with him or not, it is a fascinating perspective if you look at it that way. And from babies, we're all taught that all people get old and then they can't work very well. And so I think a lot of it is a conscious framing that you might even tell your own self that you can't do certain things as you get older, but I've learned from a few my people. I mean we had Dan Pena on, who's the $50 Billion Man, the American who lives in a castle in Scotland. He's 70 this year, and he does a lot of things that you do, Ben. He really tracks his health and tracks his blood work. He's big into his supplements, big into his sleep, training still at 70 years old, still tells people he'll knock them out. That kind of thing. So I see people like that, people like Steve Maxwell who are 63, 64 and training with the Bar Starz guys in New York, and still putting in really heavy workouts and just watching what they do.
What I really see more than anything is that they incorporate a movement into their daily life experience, and this is something that Ido Portal talks about as well. He's like, “write an email while you're squatting, hang from the bar for four minutes.” Your day should be comprised of movement as opposed to you separating movement to, say, one hour of your day. And so I'm trying to learn more of that way of just staying in motion, staying active, and then the other things like taking my sleep very seriously, making sure I do the meditative habits. But one thing I do need to step up my game, and you can help with that, and that's really probably looking at more of my blood work that kind of piece 'cause I haven't done that, and I feel like I'm getting to the age where I should.
Ben: Yeah. Self-quantification is interesting. And, as you know, you have a podcast. You should just get someone who's an expert in blood work. Like get somebody from WellnessFX, or I think the one over in London is Curo7. They do a lot of blood work over there. Just sit them down for like three hours, and hand them all your blood work results, and make it into a London Real episode, and you can find out as much as you want to for free. That's funny though that you say that about kind of exercise not being that thing that you do at the end of the day because I get a hard time from my wife. My office is cluttered with pull-up bars, and boxing bags, and I'm sitting here, or standing here talking to you on a balance mat next to a treadmill, and I've just got these little things that I do all day long because I'm surrounded by those kinda things. Do you have like gadgets, or pieces of fitness gear littering your office or your home that you kind of use on a regular basis when you're trying to hack your environment in that way?
Brian: I'm saying I'm going that way and I need to go further. When Ido first came here a year ago, he just looked at the roof, and we have like a loft building here, and he's like, “You need to put a bar up there and start hanging more.” And just as an offhanded statement. Now even further from that [0:41:32] ______ some stuff that Eliot said to me, I do this active meditation piece now where it consists of rhythmic breathing really fast, it consists of a catharsis where you're yelling at the top of your lungs, it consists of like a grounding exercise where you're kind of jumping up and down and landing into the ground, and then followed by like a tranquilization we fall on the ground like, and then ending up in like a slow dance move. And so I'm doing this “active meditation practice” now once, maybe twice per week, and it's slightly like training, but it's also kind of an emotional physical release. And so I'm trying to incorporate those things into my daily practice as opposed to kind of that one hour gym session. But I still have a ways to go, and in an urban environment like London, it's taking me longer to get there than I would like.
Ben: How do you kinda maintain a lot of these practices, the Earth-grown nutrients, and the movement principles, meditation, things along those lines when you're traveling? ‘Cause I know you do travel a little bit.
Brian: Yeah. I travel somewhat. Not as much, 'cause most people come here. We shoot everything in studio. So that's how I'm able to have kind of these deep conversations, and film it from all the angles. But as far as my practices in London, I'm really fortunate to have a wonderful cook at home. And so she prepares all the meals, and sends me packing with like food to work. Kind of like an executive from the 50's, I'm super spoiled. And then I encourage incorporate training and all the staff here at London Real are encouraged/penalized if they don't put training as part of their kind of daily practice here as it calms everyone down.
Ben: You'll penalize them? Like how?
Brian: We pay for gym memberships long as they're used. And I always tell guys like we work a lot here, but like when people aren't training, I get worried because I think it just inhibits everything, the creative process as well and just interacting with other people. So we really push that part. A lot of my Instagram videos and blogs are me hanging off rings, and doing muscle ups, and doing active meditation in the park, or doing backhand walkovers. I just posted some a couple days ago. So they really go hand in hand for us here. So I just really try to incorporate them. But, yeah. No. Travelling, haven't done much. The last part of travelling I did was when you led our warrior workouts in Napa Valley in April. That was a wonderful start to the day, seeing you shirtless, lead us through. Amazing stuff. Breathing there as well. Some power yoga moves. It was good.
Ben: That's right. And for those of you listening in, basically this was at a conference. I do this sometimes at conferences, I'll lead workoust that are generally just what I'd be doing anyways in my hotel room. I go and do them with a bunch of people. But, yeah. I start off with some breathing, we do some body weight moves, we do some yoga moves, then usually finish with like some more breathing, more powerful invigorating breathing, and some power poses. It's just kind of a cool way to start your day and I know that a lot of the folks that you've interviewed on your show, Brian, they all have these routines, like these rituals that they seem to follow you.
Brian: Very much so. I mean Steve Maxwell's big into his breathing. Like I said, Elliott Hulse has really gotten into this kinda really active meditation, which is really emotional actually. It's funny you talk about the guy you trained with in London getting thrown out of parks. I mean, I take my 11-year old daughter and we go, and I'm literally screaming for two minutes, but releasing a lot of that emotion, releasing a lot of that physical expression just puts me on such a great calm level, and I just find to be a more expressive person. More like in a Mediterranean climate. I feel like I'm in Rio de Janeiro when I'm done just 'cause I feel more open and more expressive kinda myself. So, yeah, that's some of the things I've learned from a lot of my guests. And many of my guests, including Dan Hardy the UFC fighter and the commentator, he talked to us a lot about breathing, his own ayahuasca experiences. A lot of this, it's something I hear over and over again from people kind of at the top niches of their physical game.
Ben: Yeah. When you're talking with a lot of these folks who are doing things that go above and beyond just like fitness, and health and nutrition, like I know you've had folks talking about banking, and cryptocurrencies, and like surveillance, and whistle blowing. I'm just curious, like as you're there, are you furiously scribbling notes and thinking of things that you want to implement in your own life, like get a Bitcoin accounts, or install some kind of like IP masking software on your computer? Do you just kinda sit there and absorb the knowledge? Or what is your process when you are listening to an expert talk, and you're interviewing them when it comes to your own personal life and how you implement some of these things?
Brian: It's a great question. I mean you know what the art of interviewing is. You've done quite a few of them yourself, and it's not easy because you kinda have one take. You don't know what the kind of mood the person's in, and yet you need to present to your audience almost a film. It almost needs to be like a three acts and bring them in, let them identify, take 'em on a journey. So to be honest, I've prepared up to that point where, hopefully, I can kind of orchestrate something beautiful where it shows the best in them, it challenges them, they overcome those challenges, and they show us something that's very real and something that's very much like ourselves. That's what I try to get. Like someone like Dorian Yates, people look up to him as something they'll never attain, and yet he really struggled after he tore his bicep and he couldn't be Mr. Olympia anymore. He crashed and crashed really hard. So when I can get him to relate that experience to me or the audience, that's what I'm really trying to do. Get like a full emotional journey. We did that with you too, and it's great because then people can say, “Okay, this person's like me. Now let me listen to them and what kind of [0:47:53] ______ .” I can't take notes. I'm trying to stay present, to be honest, and trying not to overthink my interview, and trying to listen. ‘Cause sometimes I need to listen and then react along the way, and not just move on to my next question.
Ben: Yeah. So when you finish up, do you tend to then go back and listen, and implement some of these things?
Brian: Yeah. Very much so. And then sometimes I just do it subconsciously. So sometimes I'll just find myself asking more questions about something that I hadn't thought of, or if it's someone like James Altucher who talks about gratitude, and everyone talks about gratitude, but James will be like, “You know, every morning, you write down three things you should be grateful for.” But he said, “Don't just do the same ones. You can't just be grateful for your family and your health. You have to get really specific. Like be grateful for the bus driver that left you behind 'cause now you have a cardio workout.” I find that there's so many nuggets I get from people, whether it's, like you said, a cryptocurrency, or a Jared Diamond, or someone that says something. I've got it all laid out there, and then we'll produce the episode and release clips so I'll see it again. And then I always had that show to kinda go back too. And a lot of times I really will then go on and read more stuff and watch more stuff. So it's usually when the learning process begins is when I actually meet someone.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Interesting. So as far as folks who you would still like to talk to, areas that you haven't explored, especially when it comes to some of these things we've been focusing on like fitness, and health, and diet, what are a few of the people, or who are few of the people that you'd like to have on, or what are few of the topics that you'd like to visit that you haven't visited yet?
Brian: That's a great question. We have a list of probably a thousand people that on our kind of “to get list” or we're in contact with. We're not in a rush, sometimes we've waited 18 months to talk to someone and our criteria is you have to be here in London, and I have to be able to look at you and see the whites of your eyes, and spend two hours really and get an entire reaction. And so I want the big personalities because I think they're fascinating. So I want the UFC champion, and I wanna talk to Dana White, and I wanna talk to Michael Fassbender, or I wanna talk to the top actor, or I wanna talk to Donald Trump. Of course I would wanna talk to them, but I wanna do it in a London Real way. As in let's talk about what you've gleaned, let's talk about the challenges, but let's also talk about your failures, how you came back from them, and then your daily practices of how you stay on your game, what it's all about, are the sacrifices worth it for the success that you've had, which gets you an invite on my show. And those are the things that we continually hit over and over again, and I think that's what people tune in for every week. And that's why I get surprised. Sometimes it's a guest with very little media profile, but will really hit a chord with some people. And sometimes I'll interview someone really famous and it's just a dud because they'll say everything in a very protected manner and it's just a PR release.
And so I'm really looking at those really curious fascinating, to be honest, Ben, somewhat troubled or conflicted people. That's what I like. I like people that are struggling to get a message out, and yet they're struggling with how to do it. They wanna get it out, but they don't wanna sell out. They don't wanna compromise their own integrity, and yet they wanna get the message out on scale. Those are the people I like to talk to. And I've always talked about wanting to get the rapper Ice-T on, and he always has a line. He says, “It's not about the come up. It's about the comeback.” And in my life, I had a big comeback. And so I do believe that when you see someone come back, that's when you get to see true grit, you get to see human character, and I think that's inspiring. With someone like Dorian Yates, when you see a guy come back who's now evolving as a man in his 50's and becoming in tune with himself spiritually, after he went from the highest of highs on the stage with Mr. Olympia to the lowest of lows, no one cared any more about him. Like that's a story I like, that's a story I think needs to be told in three dimensions, in a video, and I think it'll be one that people will watch for the next hundred years. So that's what I'm after.
Ben: Nice. Well, you've mentioned quite a few episodes during our chat, and I've been kind of taking a few notes myself. Yes, I've been focusing on what you say. I'm not getting distracted, but I've also taken some notes.
So folks, if you're listening in, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/londonreal to check out some of those notes and also to watch, well, you've got my episode, Ido Portal's episode, the ayahuasca episode, and Brian's got a TED talk called “Why I Left Millions In Banking To Inspire Millions Online”. So I think you'll really enjoy his show. You may even wanna tune in to some of the things that you thought you might not be interested in, like cryptocurrencies, or surveillance, or personal development. So I highly recommend that you check it out. And in the meantime, Brian, anything exciting coming up that you plan on changing with the show? Any new developments that you want to unveil here on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast?
Brian: Yeah. We're constantly evolving here, and I'm always constantly trying to figure out where I wanna go with this show. You mentioned the TED talk that I gave in January. It's funny how 16 minutes can like really make a powerful message and kinda move people. And I had people contact me from banking, and from technology that I hadn't spoken to in 10 years. They were like, “Oh. Wow, Brian.” I was like, “I put out hundreds of hours of video, and yet this short TED talk like got people to notice and understand my story.” So that was really big. And then in April, we finally created the London Real Academy. And I used to get stopped in [0:54:05] ______ all the time and people would be like, “Brian, I saw this episode. I saw that,” and we'd start talking about fitness, or cryptocurrencies, or ayahuasca, or whatever. And yet there was never anything after my shows. And so we finally created the Academy, which is a place where the hardcore London Realers get together and really push ourselves offline and online, and we have meet-ups here at studio every two weeks. And we'll be at a thousand paid members now by the end of the year, and we've got 35,000 people signed up in social media. So we're trying to take it to the next level 'cause I don't wanna be entertainment. I don't wanna inspire people with a great show, and then they turn off YouTube, and they go back to watching TV. So we're really trying to kind of go to another level.
Ben: Make people act on the actual content.
Brian: Yeah. And so I think everybody should go give a TED talk, I think everyone should just go ahead and implement these things our life. And we've been learning, we're up and running in seven months now, and it's just been incredible and it's been the coolest thing I've done. Because the longest time, I just broadcast out and I never got to talk to the people who are watching, and now I get to meet 'em and I see what they do with their lives. One talk I have with someone in the studio two years ago will inspire someone to change their life. So now, we really have a community for the first time ever. So super excited about that.
Ben: Yeah. The community is a huge piece. My wife and I do something similar. We have something called an Inner Circle where the people actually do wanna act on the advice, they get in there and they join up with our forum. I do my podcasts, but then my wife and I have like interactive like Q&A shows on there where people can actually attend live. It's a lot different when you're doing, I like the way you phrase it, entertainment versus a community. So that's pretty cool that you've adopted something like that. Can people check that out at londonreal.tv or is that a different URL?
Brian: So we pretty much pushed everything over to londonrealacademy.com, even the londonreal.tv goes there. And that's got all of our content and full episodes for free. And then after, that if you wanna have a meet-up, we have meet-ups in cities around the world, including the studios here every two weeks. Premium content, and the social network, and all the good stuff, that all happens over at the academy. I think that's really the future of what we're doing here. I'll continue putting out shows every week, but in the future I see this tight inner circle network of people, and I think that's really my ultimate journey.
Ben: Nice. londonrealacademy.com. Alright. Well, I'll put a link to that in the show notes as well. So you can check out all this stuff over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/londonreal. And Bryan, I look forward to seeing you again at some point soon, maybe beating up with another shirtless workout.
Brian: Yeah. That would be awesome. When you coming back to London?
Ben: I have no clue. I'm not quite sure yet. And I actually hadn't talked to you too much about this, but I've been in touch with several boots on the ground over there about kind of expanding Greenfield Fitness Systems to London, and starting to put some more of our products in a warehouse over there so that folks can get their hands on some of the things that we do. A little bit more affordably versus ordering from the US. So, probably based off the fact that I'm kinda piecing all that together sooner rather than later, but I don't have a specific date yet. No plane tickets purchased.
Brian: Awesome. Well, please come back on the show. I love your work, Ben. One thing I love about you is your work ethic, and we talked about that on the show a bit. I mean you've been publishing content for so long. If you look at your site, you don't play around. You publish regularly and lots of it. Audio content, video content, blogs. And so I think we covered that a bit on the show, and it's just great to see and I think London would love the mentality that you bring as well. And I think our market, I think in London right now, people really crave really intelligent fitness, biohacking advice, and we don't have enough of it. Like I don't know where to get my blood work, and I'm from London Real. I shouldn't [0:58:11] ______ .
Ben: E-mail me separately about that after the interview. I'll hook you up with Tamsyn Lewis. She's the champion of the Ironman UK, and she's a physician over there, and she has a blood testing clinic. So I'll send you her contact information. She's been on my show as well, and she's a pretty good wealth of knowledge on that stuff. So stay tuned and I'll send you her information. But in the meantime, for everyone listening in, check out Brian's website, londonrealacademy.com. Check out the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/londonreal. And, Brian, thanks so much for coming on the show, man.
Brian: My pleasure, man. You're very good. You're very good at what you do.
Ben: Alright, folks. Well, this is Ben Greenfield along with Brian Rose signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
Brian is a London based, US born ex-city trader and host of the wildly popular podcast and video channel “London Real“, which has filmed over 200 episodes, has 250,000 subscribers, and been watched over 40 million times (feel free to watch my episode here).
Brian has established a reputation for producing frank, in-depth discussions of often controversial topics such as banking and cryptocurrencies, personal development, spiritual growth, anti-aging, biohacking, surveillance, whistleblowing and psychedelics.
Notable guests so far on his show include The 4-Hour Chef author Tim Ferriss, 6 time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, British Respect Party politician George Galloway, RT’s presenter Max Keiser, Pulitzer Prize winning author and polymath Jared Diamond, MI5 whistleblower Annie Machon and Bruce Parry from the BBC documentary series Tribe, and even yours truly.
But Brian has his own story too, and today, we delve into it. In this episode, you’ll discover:
-Why Brian started the show London Real…
-The nitty-gritty details of Brian’s experimentation with ayahuasca…
-Brian’s experience with transcendental meditation…
-Why the “Lizard Walk” is now of Brian’s go-to fitness moves…
-Why the crux of Brian’s diet is comprised of what he calls earth-grown nutrients…
-The most powerful anti-aging strategies Brian has learned from the longevity experts he’s had on London Real…
-And much more!
Resources from this episode: