Introduction: In this podcast, fitness productivity tips from Peter Shankman, how much to eat after a big workout, how to heal the lungs after smoking, will small people cannibalize too much muscle with fasted exercise, what happens when women exercise too much, is a saltwater pool healthier than a chlorine pool, how to run faster after biking, my top indoor cycling workouts, what is a low oxalate diet, returning to exercise after taking blood pressure medications during exercise, a supplement called d-ribose, and why I don’t recommend multivitamins.
Ben: Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here. It has been a busy time here at the Greenfield house. My wife and I are getting ready to go to California and race the triathlon for the Wildflower Triathlon. And I’ve also had my head in the books recently and you know, I tell you what, if you don’t follow me at Twitter, you should, because this weekend, I’ll be talking about some of the things I’ve discovered lately, like how to simply look at your fingers and know whether you are predisposed to do well at sports, or have high levels of testosterone, how to predict how well you might do if you were to go out and say do like a Ultra Ironman or Triple Ironman event. And also, how to get away with eating about 30% less carbohydrate during exercise by simply adding one specific thing into your exercise diet. So very interesting stuff that I’ve been finding out the past few weeks. I’ve always got my head buried in the research. I’m always finding a way to bring it to you. I find that Twitter is one very good way to give to you in little snippets, so if you’re not following Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, check it out.
Alright. We have a jam-packed podcast today and I need to let you know, there are a ton of questions in the backlog. I get literally hundreds of questions a week and there’s a big backlog of questions I haven’t been asked before on the podcast. So the next couple of weeks, I will be answering more questions than I typically do and the interviews will be a little bit shorter, just for the next couple of weeks so we can catch up on the massive Q & A. So we have an interview after the Q & A. We’ll be getting in Peter Shankman, and those of you who are in kind of in the reporting marketing business might know that name, because Peter Shankman is the owner of a lot of different social media and PR websites and businesses and he’s probably one of the most helpful reporter out there to receive a weekly e-mail from reporters who are looking for you to help them out with a story. And Peter happens to be an Ironman triathlete as well. So I got him on today’s interview to talk a little bit about how he, an incredibly busy and successful person, maintain fitness. So we’ll have that in today’s podcast. But first, let’s jump right in to a few special announcements and then this week’s listener Q & A.
Special Announcements: About a thousand of you have actually received a Ben Greenfield Fitness t-shirt that says “My personal trainer told me to eat more fat” on the back of it, and then on the front of it, it says, “Ben Greenfield Fitness. I have decided that we need to make a change to that t-shirt. It’s been around for a couple of years, and frankly, it’s a real head scratcher for some people and also, I think that there could be probably a better t-shirt design floating around somewhere in the genius head of my listeners. And so what I am interested in having you do is actually submit your design, for the next BenGreenfieldFitness.com t-shirt. I’m willing to work with you on it. If you e-mail me at [email protected], I’ll give you logos, I’ll give you graphics, whatever you need to create a t-shirt design. But I’d like to have a t-shirt design contest to see who can come up with the best t-shirt for the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast. Now if your t-shirt design wins, I will be featuring you in a podcast interview and blog post here at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, for you to talk about why you designed the t-shirt the way that you did and we’ll also be unveiling your t-shirt design during that special episode. So if you want to take part in designing the next BenGreenfieldFitness.com t-shirt, you’re a designer or a creative person, as long as the design doesn’t involve anything like sequins or patches, I’m out for checking it out. So submit your design to [email protected] and also simply email [email protected] and I will provide you with any graphics or anything like that that you need.
So other quick announcements are that there is still time to get a free copy of the book, Super Health Diet, The Last Diet You’ll Ever Need. All you have to do to get a free copy of that book is post a video of you over at the BenGreenfieldFitness Facebook Page explaining why you should get a copy of that free book, how it’s going to help you. So go over there and post a video about why you are going to benefit from reading Super Health Diet, The Last Diet You’ll Ever Need. Put that video up on the Facebook Page and you will be selected along with your video for a free, signed book of KC Craichy, author of the Super Health Diet. It’s http://www.Facebook.com/BGFitness.
Alright, one last special announcement and we’ll move on to the this week’s listener Q & A.
Ben: Because of the volume of the questions I’ve been getting lately, I don’t know if I should announce this, but I’ll go ahead and do it. I f you have a question for the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast, just use the free iPhone app or Android app and click the “Ask Ben” button on either of those apps, which you can get for free on the right side of the page at BenGreenfieldFitness.com or you can call toll free to 877 209 9439 or of course, use the handy-dandy “Ask Ben” form over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
Eric asks: Yesterday, I completed my first 130 mile weekend, with 80 of those miles on Sunday. I did the best I could regarding nutrition in the saddle but I’m still super hungry today. What would be your replenishment plan after an effort like that.
Ben: Well, I have to tell you, it shocks and amazes some people when I explain to them how much they actually have to eat after a big, huge training session like that in order to adequately replenish carbohydrate storage. Now, Eric was in unique situation, he said he rode a 180 miles on a weekend, but 80 of those miles on Sunday, so I’m assuming he also rode 50 miles on Saturday. So when you’re dealing back-to-back days of heavy exercise, it becomes more important to replenish your body’s carbohydrate level because you’re likely to be exercising again within the next 24 hours. Now, usually, just by normal eating when you’re hungry, you can replace all of your body’s stored energy within about 24 hours. But if you’re exercising, say later on in the day, or early in the next day, before that 24-hour window, then you may want to replace your storage carbohydrate faster than that. Now, there’ve been a couple of studies on this. For example, researcher named Jen Jins found that the maximal rate of glycogenesis, which is the replacement of your storage carbohydrate and food, can occur when you ingest about 1.2 grams per kilogram, and I’ll explain in a second how much that is, immediately post exercise and then do that again every 30 minutes for 3-hour recovery period. Okay, so there was another review done by the same researcher and another really good researcher in sports nutrition industry, I asked her if she can drop in, they found that maximum glycogen synthesis rate, and again that’s the storage of carbohydrate occurred at a dose range of 1 to 1.8 grams per kilogram ingested every 15 to 16 minuses for up to 5 hours post exercise. And basically, if you put both these studies together and looked at about the average of what would yield kind of your maximum carbohydrate restoration comes out to about 1.2 grams per kilogram body weight for about 5 hours post exercise. So a meal like contains 1.2 grams per kilogram of carbohydrate every hour for 5 hours post exercise. So let’s take a look at what that would look like. I personally weigh in about 80 kg, give or take a few. So if I weigh about 80 grams per kilogram, and I’m taking in 1.2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight, then I’m going to be taking significantly over 80 grams of carbohydrate per hour for those 5 hours after a big exercise session. Specifically, it comes to about 400 calories of carbohydrate per hour for 5 hours post exercise. That’ about 2,000 calories of carbohydrate in those 5 hours post exercise and we’re not including protein, we’re not including fat in that, just carbohydrate. Usually, you’re consuming a real whole food that I do recommend, you’re also getting protein and fat along with that. But ultimately, the most important thing post exercise after a big exercise session and you’re exercising again the next day, is that carbohydrate intake. 400 calories of carbohydrate per hour for 5 hours post exercise. Let’s put that into context. If I have basically like a medium size sweet potato or gam, that’s going to come out to about 175 to 200 calories. So for example, I could have 2 of those per hour, not that I can do that. But that’s just an example. Quinoa which is another carbohydrate that I eat quite a bit of, a big serving of quinoa will give you about 250 to 300 calories so I can have another big serving of quinoa and throw a bunch of extra stuff in that. Piece of pizza, 250, 350 calories. A couple of slices, you definitely get closer to 400 calories as another example. But we’re not talking about doing that once. We’re talking about over and over and over again for 5 hours post exercise. So typically, a lot of times when I finish a big workout and I know I’ve got another big workout coming up soon, a lot of times it takes place in the weekend, I will have kind of a post workout quick meal like a smoothie or shake. And then I’ll eat a real meal again, an hour after that, like last night’s leftovers from dinner or lunch from the day before. And then I’ll make myself another big real make an hour and a half or two after that. And typically for me, those real meals are closer to 500, 600, sometimes even a thousand calories. But ultimately, by the time those five hours are up, you should have eaten at least 2,000 calories and sometimes even more than that. And that’s assuming that you’re also eating during the actual session. So what this comes down to is most people do not eat enough when they finish exercising during a big workout especially when they have another big workout coming up the next day. Really important for you people who are like half Ironman or Ironman triathletes. You’ve got a big bike ride on a Saturday and a run on a Sunday, after that big bike ride on a Saturday, you got to step your phase for a few hours. And the reason that eating just one big huge meal does not really work is because the gastric emptying rate is only so fast, you can only absorb so much of that huge meal, versus sweating that up into a bunch of many meals after the session. So that is part of the answer to your question. I know that we could go on for a very long time with that sample meal, but I just gonna kind of get your creative juices flowing and kind of give you a general idea of how many calories you need to be taking in after a workout. And by the way, they have found that adding in some protein can enhance the carbohydrates synthesis, compared to leaving out the protein, when you’re doing a high frequency of dosage similar to what I just described. So including protein is important usually in a 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. Hoping that you’re headed in spinning too much after that, especially if you’re trying to do all the math. But taking a little less, if you need to, it makes sense. So 1.2 grams per kilogram each hour, 5 hours after a big workout.
Emily asks: I am a runner, and I used to be a smoker. I recently quit, but I am wondering if there are any supplements or health tricks that might help my lungs heal faster and to keep me motivated from going back to the dreaded cigarettes?
Ben: Well, first of all, there’s good news about stopping smoking. Literally, 20 minutes after you smoked your very last cigarette, your blood pressure and your pulse rate drop down to normal and your body temperature goes back down to normal. Eight hours after you finished your last cigarette, your carbon monoxide levels decrease and the oxygen level in your blood increases back to normal. A day after your last cigarette, you lessen your chances of having a heart attack. Two days after, you start to get your enhanced sense of taste and smell back. Three days after, you’ll notice that your breathing gets noticeably better and your lung capacity increases. And within about two weeks to three months after you quit, you begin to improve your circulation and your lung function goes up to about 30% versus to what it was back when you were smoking. About 1 to 9 months in, the cilia in your lungs start to regenerate and those are the little hairy like cells that allow your body to clean your lungs or reduce your risk of infection. Within a year after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is half that of when you were smoking. Within 5 yeas after quitting, your risk of stroke goes back down to what it is in a non-smoker and within 15 years after quitting, your risk of heart disease is basically that of a non-smoker. So if you’re like concerned about smoking increasing your risk of heart disease, you’re 30 years old, if you quit, by the time you’re 55, it’s gonna be like you never smoked. So your body is pretty good in repairing itself, but there are some things that you can do to speed that up. Believe it or not, exercise is the top thing that you can do. Because as you exercise, and you cough and you breathe hard, you clear out your lungs, you clear out your air ways and you really jump start the regeneration and the cleaning of your alveoli in your lungs. So what happens is that when you exercise, you’re gonna loosen a lot of the big chunks of basically smoking smog that have become collected in your lungs and in solid form. And you really help to restore your lungs in the pre-smoking levels. One thing that you could take, retinoic acid or what’s also known as Vitamin A, and that actually has been known to really help your lungs rebuild. They give it to rats and mice with emphysema in one study and I don’t know how they got the rats and mice to have emphysema, guessing that they didn’t smoke cigarettes, but it’s possible that they were given little, rat/mice-sized cigarettes and they give them retinoic acid or this Vitamin A. The rats and the mice were able to restore the alveoli in their lungs and swapped carbon dioxide for oxygen to their pre-emphysema level. And the nice part about that is that you can get your daily allowance of Vitamin A by just eating a big serving of carrots, having a big sweet potato, eating a big mango, that’s all it takes in a daily basis to get your level of Vitamin A. So I would focus on exercise, I would focus on Vitamin A and I would give yourself a big tap on the back for stopping your smoking because your body immediately starts to heal itself and as long as you’re exercising and have some Vitamin A in your diet, you should be on the right track.
Melanie asks: Not to keep on the whole fasted morning exercise thing that you’ve talked about, but I’m wondering your opinion on a very small woman with no muscle to lose, at what point should I actually be concerned about cannibalizing muscle. I’m 5’2 and 105 lbs and about 17% body fat. I want to get to 13 – 14% body fat but don’t need to lose much weight or any muscle. Should I even be doing fasted exercise? Is it okay to do fasted 45 minute strength training?
Ben: Well, the idea with the fasted exercise session that I recommend which is basically just a few days a week, waking up in the morning, not eating anything, and just doing an easy exercise session. Taking a dog out for a walk or riding your bicycle really easy for 30 or 45 minutes. The idea behind that is simply to jumpstart the activity of the fat burning enzymes and exercise a little bit when your blood sugar levels are not high, and you’re not burning primarily carbohydrate. And I found that to be very successful in helping my clients and myself to reduce weight and body fat quickly. And what research has found primarily is that it’s beneficial, the study that they actually did was on people who were eating a very high fat, hig calorie diet. They found that those people were able to control blood sugar, control weight more efficiently when they exercise for about an hour before breakfast. But ultimately, what you’re doing is you’re giving yourself a little bit of a step up in terms of weight control and the ability to teach your body how to burn fat efficiently. And you’re only tapping into your body’s fat storage as long as it’s an easy exercise session. So if you’re at 17%, you wanna drop to 13%, it doesn’t matter whether you’re small or big, you can get your body to tap into that extra storage of fat. It’s when your body fat levels drop down very low, and you know, if you’re female, you’re getting down for 11 or 12, 13% body fat when you’re male, and you get around level 5 or 6 or 7, that’s when you really risk kind of running out of some of that fat to burn, tapping into a lot of muscle beginning to cannibalize lean muscle tissue. For the average person who has fat to burn, it’s not really something that you need to worry about, and if you’re doing easy exercise session. As soon as the exercise sessions are hard and begins to involve high intensity interval training, or the type of weight training that you just described in your question, that’s when you begin to burn carbohydrate as a fuel and risk, if you haven’t eaten anything, and if you truly are glycogen depleted, fasted or starved, tapping into your body’s lean muscle and protein for energy. So that’s why whether you’re small or your big, if you’re doing fasted exercise sessions, unless you actually want to cannibalize muscle, and lose muscle, some people want to, you should not be doing hard intervals or weight training in that fasted state, because when you start into that, it triggers your body’s burning of carbohydrate and triggers a rapid depletion of carbohydrate levels if you’re unfed. Once your body starts to drop low in blood glucose, low in blood sugar, low in carbohydrate levels, and you tell it to exercise hard, it’s gonna start to tap into your body’s muscle. So basically, you’re fine, as long as you’re keeping it aerobic with your fasted exercise sessions.
Susan says: Please help! How can I tell if I’m truly in menopause or experiencing exercise induced amenorrhea. I lost my cycle at age 42 while doing heavy volume triathlon training and following a low carbohydrate vegetarian diet. My doctor figured it was related to low body fat. Now almost 4 years later, my period had not returned – I continue to train heavily and put on almost 10lbs even though I made no changes to my exercise or dietary regimen. My doctor says now it’s menopause.
Ben: Okay, so basically what Susan is saying is she exercised too much, didn’t eat well, got amenorrhea, and now that she’s kind of taking care of that and come back, it seems like she has menopause having replaced the amenorrhea, she’s trying to figure out if she actually has. It’s pretty easy to identify menopause. If you go out and your hormones, you females are kind of wondering, you can go out and you can get some blood samples. You can measure the levels of what’s called the follicle stimulating hormone, which is gonna be abbreviated FSH on the test results. What happens is that your FSH levels are gonna go up when your ovaries stop producing enough estrogen. And that’s one signal that your body is entering menopause. Once they get up around 10 to 12, that indicates that your ovaries are starting to fail and you’re going into menopause and once they get to about 30 or 40 or higher, that usually indicates that your ovaries really are failing and going into menopause. A lot of times that has to be accompanied by a drop in your estrodiol levels, and that’s kind of your primary estrogen and when your ovaries begin to fail, this estrogen level begins to drop and that’s when you get that estrodiol test to basically identify whether they’re lower than they should be. And so you get the high FSH, the low estrogen levels, and typically up to the 30 or below in conjunction with the high FSH levels and that’s considered menopausal as well. There are some other ovarian hormones you can get tested like testosterone, progesterone, luteinizing hormone, that’s also known as LH and DHEA, and for women who are wondering if they’re in menopause, DHEA also starts to drop very low in that condition. I’m not a doctor, but if you have that cluster of symptoms of low testosterone, low LH, low progesterone, low DHEA, low estrogen, high FSH, you probably are in menopause. But the other part of your question that get’s more interesting, because a lot of women do believe that they stop menstruating when they begin exercising too much. And that’s simply not the case. There are a lot of very lean females out there who have low body fat percentage who exercise very heavily, and I’ve coached many of them so I know this, they have regular periods. And in my experience, the defining characteristic that makes it, makes one group of women able to exercise a whole bunch and have low body fat percentages and still have their periods and still be regular, and another group of women to exercise a bunch and lose their period and get amenorrhea. The difference is not the exercise levels. It’s not necessarily the body fat levels, it all typically comes down to nutrition related factors. So here are my tips if you are female and you have amenorrhea or you’re concerned about amenorrhea. First of all, most of the time when I’m looking at the females who I worked with, who I talked to, and that includes my wife, train a bunch and have low body fat percentage, but have regular periods, they don’t know what their weight is, or they don’t care about their weight. I don’t know the last time my wife weighed herself and most of the female clients who are training are just fine with this. They don’t even have scales. So you basically let your body weigh whatever it wants to weigh. For some females it’s gonna be more, for some it’s gonna be less, but you’re not obsessed about body fat or weight. The second thing is, you eat adequate protein. So amenorrheic athletes, and especially vegans and vegetarians, they tend to eat a lot less protein than the non-amenorrheic athletes. Even in the vegetarian athlete, it is possible to get enough proteins. A lot harder to do but you must, must, must include things like yogurt, fish, beans, fermented sources of soy, nuts and especially if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, lots of lean meats. You should eat at least 20% of your calories from fat, preferably up to 30%, sometimes more, and you’re looking for basically all the healthy fat. So a lot of salmon, olive oil, sardines, cold water fish, fish oil, olives, avocadoes, coconut milk, basically all of those things are really gonna help your hormones stabilize to a level where you regularly have your period. And again, I’m not a huge fan of vegan or vegetarian female athletes exercising a lot, so this is the last recommendation I make and that’s eating red meat every week. Preferably 2 to 3 portions of it every week. That’s gonna be huge in influencing your ability to have fewer menstrual problems than non-meat eaters. So meat has a really, really protective effect upon menses and upon keeping the period regular. So those are some of my recommendations and if you have follow up comments or questions on that, you know what to do. Just leave them on the shownotes of this podcast, Podcast #142, at BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
Todd asks: I switched gyms and have gone from a chlorine pool to a saline pool. I find my swimming times are better and swimming seems a little bit easier. Is this because of the buoyancy of saline?
Ben: Well yes, it is. A saline pool is going to have a higher levels of salt in it and you know, in a surface, to make sense to switch from a chlorine pool to a saline-based pool because of the level of chlorine. I did a show on chloramines once, and the idea of how dead skin cells and all the biological compounds mixed with chlorine in a typical swimming pool creates these chloramines which can be hugely irritating to your lungs and one of the reasons that ons of competitive swimmers have respiratory problems. Anybody who spends lots of time in water can experience tons of respiratory problems very, very prevalent among competitive swimmers. But a lot of people think that saline pools don’t have any chlorine in them and that’s not true. What a saline or saltwater pool has, it just got this saline generator and it converts normal chlorine ions into what’s called hypochlorous acid. And hypochlorous acid is what can actually do things like kill bacteria and keep pools sanitary. So all that a saline pool does is it kind of reduces the amount of maintenance necessary from adding chlorine to the pool. But there’s still high levels of this hypochlorous acid in the pool, and in a regularly chlorinated pool, you can smell it a lot more, but it’s still in the water in the saline pool, and it is in levels that are slightly low. But don’t think that there’s not any chlorine in a saline pool because there is chlorine in it and it’s not like you’re completely escaping chlorine. Now if you have a pool and you go to a gym and your eyes are always burning, you find that the chlorine smell is very strong, usually means that they’re not doing a good job in the pool maintenance. They’re typically adding too much chlorine to the water. So you can typically tell when there’s too much chlorine in the water. And that’s something where you may want to approach the gym, approach the pool boy or whoever is taking care of the pool, and ask about the actual chlorine levels because the PPM or parts per million to chlorine is probably too high. But to answer your initial question, yes, it’s gonna be easier to swim in a saline pool versus a chlorine pool.
Jerry says: Hi. Ben. My best half marathon time is 95 minutes. However, in a 70.3 race, I’ve struggled to go faster. 70.3 is Half-Ironman triathlon where you’re running half marathon after you get off the bike. My best time there is 115 min. What’s the most effective way to train to improve that half marathon time during a half-ironman?
Ben: Well, there are 3 recommendations that I would make to you, Gerry, that will help you to run similar in a half marathon of a half ironman as you run in a half marathon by itself. The first is once a week, do some type of workout where you’re running after you ride the bike. That seems intuitive but a lot of triathletes don’t do it. They, you know, if you look at your training calendar, you may not be doing a weekly breadth, or at least getting off the bike and running at least once. And this should be imported in those final 8 weeks leading up to your race. You need to be running after you get off the bike. Or doing a bike and run session in the same day. So getting used to the feeling of having leg that feel like bricks when you get off the bike is very important and you simply cannot neglect that weekly breadth. Research has shown that cyclists who attempt to maintain a higher pedaling revolution rate than what they would naturally choose if they just kind of zoned out and pedal in whatever pace they wanted to, run faster when they get off the bike. So if you, when you’re going into your zone, you’re just pedaling without thinking about it, if you’re pedaling at say 75 or 80 rpm, try to bring that up by 5 to 10 rpm, especially in those last 20 minutes of the bike ride, before you get off to run. So you should be pedaling at about somewhere like 85 to 90 rpm, in those last few miles of the half ironman bike sprint, in order to run faster off the bike. And then the last thing that I recommend is in the final week before your race, you do lots of bike-run sessions. Meaning that on, for a Sunday race, on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, you might do a bike ride in each one of those days, on every one of those bike rides, get off and run for 10 to 15 minutes. Really getting that body really muscularly trained and used to that feeling of running off the bike, that should help out tremendously. It’s still gonna be faster running a half marathon by itself than it is going to be to run a half marathon in a half ironman, but you should definitely be able to get closer than a 20 minute spread which you currently have. Your half marathon in a half ironman should be able to be within about 10 minutes of a half marathon run by itself.
Janet says: I work out 30 minutes every morning 6 days a week. My workouts are 1 minute of hard resistance cycling with a cadence of 55 or 60 with my heart rate getting up to max 180 beats followed by recovery for 1 minute when my heart rate drops down to about around 150 beats. Could you give me ideas for other spinning workouts I can do?
Ben: Absolutely. Okay. I’m gonna give you, guys, my top 3 indoor cycling workouts that I do when I hop on a bike and, you know, it’s one of deals where I get on the bike and I think, I wonder what workout I’m gonna do? This should be when I just find myself on the bike, got to make up a workout quickly, there are 3 workouts that I tend to turn to. Here they are. The first is called a ladder. The way that this works is you start off with 8 minutes of easy cycling, and then you do 2 minutes of hard cycling. And then you do 7 minutes of easy cycling, 3 minutes of hard cycling. Six minutes of easy cycling, 4 minutes of hard cycling. Five and 5, 4 and 6, 3 and 7, and then by the last rung of that ladder, you’re doing 2 minutes of easy cycling and 8 minutes of hard cycling. So that work out is gonna take you sometimes an hour or more, depending on how many rungs of the ladder you hit. That’s a great workout. Typically a 60 minute or so work out. That’s number 1, it’s the ladder. Number 2, which is also very easy to remember, I call the 1-2-3 workout. The way that this goes is that you warm up for whatever, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and then you do 1 minute with a very high cadence but a fairly low resistance. When I say high cadence, you’re pedaling about 100 rpm or more. And then you take a minute to recover. And then you do 2 minutes at a medium resistance and a medium cadence. You bring up your resistance, but you drop your cadence by about 10 rpm or so, so down to around 90 sometimes as well as 85. Then you take another 1 minute of recovery, and then finally, you do 3 minutes with a very high resistance, very low cadence. So you drop your cadence again this time by 10 to 15 rpm and you do it 3 minutes in about 65 to 70 rpm. And then you take a minute of recovery. And then you go back to the 1 minute of a high cadence and a low resistance. And you simply go to the 1, to the 2, to the 3, back and forth until your time’s up. You can do 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour… confession, I actually did that as a 2-hour workout last weekend. My bike was in the shop, I was on the indoor bike at the gym, and that was my 2-hour cycling workout ‘til we get ready for the 56 miles, I got a ride over at Wildflower. Then the last one is a music-based workout. And this one’s kind of fun. What I do is I use Pandora on my iPhone. You could use just a pre-selected list of songs that you downloaded to the MP3 player. This kind of harkins back to my spinning days. Not the smartest or the most structured workout in the planet, but you put the music on and you basically choose a station or a series of songs, a good mix of hard and easy tunes, a good mix of songs that have riveting hard driven courses and easy verses, and you simply go hard when the music is hard and you go easy when the music is easy. It sounds stupid, but especially when you’re tired and you’re not very motivated to work out, sometimes something as simple as that is what it takes. So for example, I might listen to 10 songs and I go hard during the hard songs and easy during the easy songs. Or you go hard during the hard driving courses and easy during the verses. So those are my 3 top cycling workouts that I do when I hop on a bike and I just got to get a workout and quickly. I don’t want to think about it too much. Either I do the ladder, the 1-2-3, or the music-based workout.
Mike says: I recently passed a kidney stone. My urologist had me do a 24 hr urine test, which showed high urinary calcium and oxalate. He has recommended I avoid Vitamin D and decrease coffee, cola, chocolate, nuts, spinach and green leafy vegetables. I researched other “high oxalate” foods and it’s a lot of other very healthy foods that I love! What do you suggest for eating healthy while maintaining a “high oxalate” diet.
Ben: Oxalate is a totally natural substance. You find it in plants, you find it in animals, it’s made in humans, and it is organic acid that your body makes and your cells routinely convert things into oxalates, like in the processing of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is one of the substances that your cell converts into oxalates. What happens when you’re looking at something like kidney stone is oxalates can actually crystallize to form kidney stones when they are combined with calcium. So if you have high levels of calcium circulating in your blood stream which could actually be caused by high intake of Vitamin D or a high intake of calcium supplements, and you combine that with a high amount of oxalates which can actually come from somebody’s food that Mike mentioned. You could put yourself at risk for kidney stones if you’re somebody who already has a kidney stone or has passed one recently. Really in most cases, high oxalate diet, combined with high calcium intake is not necessarily going to cause you kidney stone. But someone who’s predisposed to kidney stones, it could possibly be an issue. The only problem is that, this formation of oxalic acid from the consumption of food only accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the oxalate that’s actually found in the urine of individuals who form these kidney stones. And everything else comes from normal metabolism. So by restricting oxalate intake, there’s not a ton of evidence to show it’s gonna do you a lot of good, and there may be other issues going on. Something as simple as a magnesium deficiency can really inhibit your ability to absorb calcium and you may have some issues going on with the magnesium deficiency or a high calcium to magnesium ratio. That means that if you really did want to eat healthy and also eat a low oxalate diet, there’s still tons of low oxalate food that you can eat. Seafood is considered a low oxalate food, so there’s a good source of protein for you right there, and yogurt, if you’re okay with dairy, is also good low oxalate source of protein. Pork and poultry would also be okay. In reality, both meats are okay. So you’re pretty much covered as far as protein when it comes to healthy fats. Avocadoes would be a low oxalate food. Most oils usually are low oxalate so you can continue like Omega 3 oil intake and you can continue like macadamia nut oil, olive oil, flax oil, grapeseed oil, those types of things. As far as vegetables go, you know, those are the things that you got to be careful with like dark leafy greens are high in oxalates. But there’s tons of vegetables that aren’t high in oxalates. Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, would be some examples. As far as carbohydrates go, a lot of carbohydrates would be just fine. Most sprouted, bread, will be fine, as well as sprouted grains. A lot of fruits are fine, like bananas are okay, graprefruits are okay, grapes are pretty good, melons are okay, so fruit-based carbohydrates, a lot of those are lower in oxalates and you can look up low oxalates and you can look up low oxalate foods, if you Google in the internet search low oxalate foods, you could find some that will kind of help you out a little bit. And essentially, you know, even eggs are low oxalates. There’s a ton of things that you can take in that are low oxalate foods that rely to maintain a healthy diet, but I’m personally not convinced that a low oxalate diet is necessary to save you from kidney stones, or be a contributing factor to kidney stones.
Tony asks: I have recently finished my first half marathon, and my first biathlon. My partner and I are signing up for a trail marathon. We are both in good shape and are dedicated to being better, but I have genetic hypertension. I take two tablets each morning. They are Procardia and Hyzaar. As I train, how should I approach supplements? What type of drug interactions do I need to be aware of?
Ben: Okay. Basically, these two supplements that Tony is taking, the first is Hyzaar. That’s basically a diuretic. It’s a water pill. So it keeps your body to keep from absorbing too much salt, to keep your kidneys from absorbing too much sodium as they filter your blood. And what that means is that will prevent your body from absorbing too much water, because as your body loses salt, it will shift towards losing more water as well, to maintain the proper electrolyte concentration in your body. So the problem is that that could, during exercise, dehydrate you the same way that drinking caffeine or drinking much alcohol the night before exercise could dehydrate you so you need to pay very close attention to your hydration needs during exercise. And in most cases, thirst is a fairly good indicator of your hydration needs and you should not let yourself get thirsty during your exercise because when you’re taking something like Hyzaar, which is hydrochlorothiazide, that’s a diuretic, and that will actually cause you to lose extra water. So be careful with your hydration needs. By having lower water and lower blood volume it will help to decrease your blood pressure but it could also increase your risk of dehydration during exercise. The other one that you’re taking is Procardia. That’s a vasodilator. That means it’s gonna affect the walls of the blood vessels in your body and it keeps the blood vessels open for blood flow so your heart doesn’t have to work as hard to pump blood. And the high blood pressure that you can get is a result of the walls in your veins or the walls of your arteries constricting and limiting blood flow. That makes your heart work harder to get blood through those narrow tubes. It could cause a heart attack. And so that’s the reason that you’ve been put on something like Procardia, if you have this high blood pressure. So as a vasodilator, anything that’s vasodilates is basically going to cause your heart rate to have to work a little less hard for any given exercise intensity. So when this comes into play, if you’ve done something like an exercise test to determine what your maximum heart rate or exercise heart rate should be and you haven’t been on your medication when you’ve done that exercise test, those numbers are gonna be far different. Your actual maximum heart rate that you’re able to achieve will be lower when you’re on something like a vasodilator because your heart rate’s stroke volume will be a little bit greater when your heart is going up to pump against less resistance. So understand that something like an age predictive maximum heart rate equation probably won’t work for you if you’re on Procardia. You should actually go out and do an exercise test. Either a treadmill-based exercise test or like a lactate threshold test when you are actually on your medication. You’re doing something like using heart rate values in your training. Now as far as supplement interaction, if you’re on a pharmaceutical vasodilator, you may want to be careful with some natural vasodilator, if you’re taking those at the same time. Because then your blood pressure can drop too low. So natural vasodilator should be something like, you know, you hear a lot of talk these days about beet root juice and how cyclists are eating beet root juice as kind of like a nitric oxide precursor. Open up blood vessels before exercise. It actually does improve performance. Interesting studies on beet root juice. But if you’re on a high blood pressure medication, it might not be the best thing for you. Celery and garlic are two other supplements that you can get in pill or capsule form. They are considered vasodilators, natural cause vasodilation and may cause your blood pressure drop too low during exercise if you’re on a prescription vasodilator. Even walnuts, eating walnuts can lower your blood pressure for up to 24 hours. It’s something as simple as that may be something to avoid if you’re on a prescription based vasodilator and of course, as you may have suspected, my recommendation, and again I’m not a physician, I’m just saying that this is what I would do if I had high blood pressure, I would actually be taking foods that are rich in magnesium, which is another vasodilator. I will be drinking beet root juice. I will be taking celery pills. I’ll be taking garlic pills. I will be taking as many natural vasodilators as I could so I didn’t have to be on a prescription based vasodilator, which can cause fluid retention, and nausea and dizziness and chest pain and rapid heartbeat and lots of other side effects. So that’s just my 2-cents. But something to think about.
Melanie says: Hi, Ben. What do you know about D-ribose? Wondering if this is a good option to increase energy and what its drawbacks might be?
Ben: First of all, D-Ribose is something that if you look on the ingredient label of not most, but a lot of sports nutrition supplement these days, like carbohydrate beverages or gels, you’re gonna see that D-Ribose is actually already in those. And D-Ribose is a sugar itself. It’s a naturally occurring bio carbon sugar. It’s found in pretty much every living cell, your body contains some of it as part of its energy-giving carbohydrates and your body synthesizes it from glucose. It can also use ribose to make glucose. The reason that ribose is something that kind of important for athletes or exercising individuals is it has a really, really big role to play in the formation of ATP, which is the primary energy source for a muscle contraction. And what the A part of ATP is something called the danasin. And a danasin is simply a combination of ribose with something else called adenine. And when ATP releases energy, what happens is ATP is split into a few different molecules and so you’re losing large amounts of ATP while you’re exercising. So what happens is to regenerate that more quickly, if you have excess ribose, or extra ribose on hand to regenerate that energy molecule, you can basically, theoretically, go harder, or go for a longer period of time during exercise, because ATP is used for both intense exercise as well as long term exercise. So that’s the idea behind having it in a nutrition supplements and you’re typically gonna find it either in the supplement itself. You can also get it in white powder. You can get it in a capsule form and in most cases, you’re gonna be taking anywhere from 2 up to as high as 10 grams, depending on how big you are, how much exercise you’re doing. And there really is a pretty large body of research on ribose. There’s hundreds of studies out there. It’s totally naturally occurring, it’s water soluble, you can’t really overdose on it, not toxic. If you eat a bunch of ribose the same as in any other type of sugar. There’s gonna be some blood sugar fluctuations, but ultimately used intelligently during exercise is something that when mixed into a carbohydrate containing beverage could really help in the reformation or production of ATP, assuming that you’re working out at a level that’s actually replenishing your body’s natural ATP levels. It’s already in most sports supplements, so before you go out and start buying all the ribose on the block, turn up the label of your gel or the sports beverage that you drink during exercise and probably it already got ribose in it.
Carlos says: I am a beginning runner and I’m wondering if “regular” multivitamins and protein will be detrimental to my health. I hear you mention a lot of things about regular multivitamins and other regular supplements, but you never recommend them. Are they actually unhealthy for a beginner? By “regular” I mean, the more popular and affordable supplements used by a greater number of people such as products by Nature Made, GNC, or Optimum Nutrition. Are the supplements that you recommend specifically for athletes? My health is nowhere near an athlete. Do I still need to take these “special” supplements or am I good taking the regular ones? I heard from another source, that the difference between “special” and “regular” supplements are slim, and unless you are professionally training, the slightly higher benefit from taking special supplements is not really needed.
Ben: Well, let’s start off with this. No supplement can and should take priority over your regular healthy diet. So even though I do recommend supplements, I would highly encourage you to eat whole organic foods as much as possible, avoid packaged foods, avoid processed foods, avoid junk foods and try an limit your intake of things like artificial sweeteners and colors and flavors and preservatives. But that being said, especially if you’re starting to exercise more, of you are trying to get all the nutrients that you need from food, then you need to be aware that inadequate dietary intake of vitamins and minerals is widespread, and it’s most likely due to our current consumption of very micronutrient form of refined foods. So when we have inadequate intake of these vitamins and minerals whether you’re exercising or not, what happens is your metabolism drops, you lose a lot of mitochondrial activity in your cells, you can get DNA and genetic damage. A lot of the degenerative diseases of aging are caused through the loss of micronutrients. So no matter how good your diet is, if you don’t have enough nutrients or vitamins or minerals, then it’s simply not going to fill in the hole. You’ll have to eat literally thousands and thousands and thousands of calories of the type of nutrient depleted food that we have around us in order to actually get what you would get from simply consuming like a high quality vitamin or mineral. And yes, there’s a big difference between, you know, you say regular, I would say cheap, average, cut the corners in production, multivitamins and a high quality multivitamin or any supplement for that matter. So there are kind of examples I can give. So for example, you take Vitamin E. Vitamin E is in its natural form as the alpha tocopherol. And that’s the natural form. But there’s another form called DL alpha tocopherol, and that’s the synthetic form. It’s not nearly as effective in your body, it’s not as well absorbed, doesn’t have the same amount of anti-oxidant activity, but it’s cheaper. So the cheaper multivitamin formula has used that form of Vitamin E. you look at Vitamin D. Much of the vitamin D that’s in a gel or capsule form is very poorly absorbed. You spend the extra 10 bucks a month on spray form of Vitamin D that goes into your mouth and get’s absorbed sublingually, under your tongue, and you get weigh more to your buck out of your Vitamin D. You get a mineral supplement, if it’s got regular minerals in it, they’re not as well absorbed as what are called collated minerals which are typically bonded to some other molecule, but it’s a lot more expensive to make a collated mineral than a regular mineral supplement, so nutrition companies that are cheaper or more mass produced, they’re gonna choose that. You look at fish oil. So the vast amount of fish oil that you’re gonna find are basically, they’re the equal ester form of fish oil. And what happens is that when you produce fish oil in the manufacturing process, there’s part of it called glycerolysis and that removes the ethanol molecule in the fish oil, and puts the DHA and the EPA in the fish oil re esterifies it and into a glycerol backbone and I know that some of you didn’t understand what I just said, but the basic idea is that at that point, if you want to put the fish oil back into its most usable and well absorbed form, you have to re esterify, or convert it back into natural triglyceride form. But that adds about 30 to 40% to the in cost of the fish oil to convert it from its equal ester form that is formed during processing back to its triglyceride form. So most companies just don’t do it. And so you buy a fish oil and you get far less absorption and far less benefit from it because it’s in its equal ester form versus its triglyceride form. You look at something like protein powder. If you heat a protein powder as you’re making it, you can lose a lot of the bio availability of the proteins. And if you use a cold processing formation to make your protein powder, you retain a lot of that bio availability, but it’s more expensive to do the cold processing. And so if you get one of these cold processed protein powders that I recommend like the Mt. Capra Double Bonded Protein, it’ll cost you more than a heat processes protein. And cost you even more also because they don’t use artificial sweeteners. They use stevia sweetener and some natural coco. And so, you’re again having to pay more for that and it’s one of those things that I can go on and on about. But the idea is that you’re almost doing yourself a disservice, and in some cases even damage, when you’re using a cheap supplement with a bunch of fillers in it versus something that is produced with pride and a great deal of care and a great deal of understanding about the bio chemistry of the human body and the way that that particular supplement is going to be absorbed. It doesn’t matter if you’re a weak athlete or you know, they way that you say, a regular individual needing a regular supplement, the idea is that you choose quality. It’s kind of like grocery shopping. You walk in to a grocery store and you see an Olympic athlete in there and a regular individual. You take them over to the strawberries and you say, okay, I’ve got strawberries here, and these are organic strawberries, these are regular strawberries. The regular strawberries, they’re soaked and then allowed to absorb a bunch of herbicides and pesticides. The organic strawberries have not. What I’d like to do is the Olympic athlete here, I’d like you to grab those organic strawberries because you really, you know, you don’t need those herbicides and pesticides. They’re really gonna really affect your performance. And then you turn to the other person and say, but you, you’re gonna be fine if your strawberries have herbicides and pesticides in them, because you don’t have to go out and run for two hours a day. Sometimes it’s much more than performance. It’s about your health, too. I mean none of the good of something that you eat or consume is doing it not just doing it for performance. Hopefully I didn’t open too big a can of worms with my response. But I hope that answers your question and again, if you have comments on this type of thing, be sure to leave them in the comments section in the shownotes to this podcast, Podcast Episode #142.
And folks, that being said, we’re gonna go ahead and move on to this week’s featured topic after a quick special message.
Ben: Hey, folks, this is Ben Greenfield and as you know, I occasionally have somebody come on to the podcast to talk a little but about fitness and productivity and how busy, successful people actually stay fit and do things like triathlons or marathons. The guy who I have on the call today has done 7 Olympic distance triathlon, 13 marathons, a couple of half ironman triathlons, 1 full ironman triathlon, happens to be a skydiver with over 220 jumps as well. His name is Peter Shankman. If you’ve heard of Peter before, you may actually recognize him not as a triathlete, but as an entrepreneur and author, a speaker, a web wide connector. He’s best know, probably, for founding Help a Reporter Out, also known as HERO, and he’s founder and CEO of the Geek Factory. His PR and social media clients have included Snapple, NASA, Sprint, the US Department of Defense, Walt Disney World, Discovery Networks, Napster, Juno, the list goes on and on, so he stays very, very busy but somehow still finds the time to maintain enough fitness to do ironman triathlon and a lot more than that. Peter, thanks for coming on the call.
Peter: My pleasure. Thanks for taking the time.
Ben: So tell me, what’s the fitness routine of Peter Shankman actually look like?
Peter: Oh, my God. Lot of it depends on where I am in the world, what city I happen to be in, what state, what country. I took the train home morning and home by 11 am, and 11:30 was at the gym with my trainor. So it’s really, you know, getting a lot of cardio lately over the past two months, a lot of lifting, a lot of lifting.
Ben: Why do you do the lifting? Are you actually preparing for like a strength event, or do you do that to stay in shape for triathlon?
Peter: I’m really trying to change my body. I did an ironman triathlon when I was 220 lbs. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to do so this year I’m really, I have a new blog called The Year to 10%. I’m really working on getting the 10% body fat this year and really trying to change my body as a whole, not just to be able to do endurance sport, but really change my body so that I actually look different. That’s my goal in 2011. A lot of that is not just cardio but a lot more lifting.
Ben: With as much travel as you do in your job, how is it that you actually put together the ability to weight train and re-invent your body while you’re on the road. Do you simply work out at a hotel gym? Or do you travel with equipment?
Peter: Mostly, I travel with a pair of sneakers and a pair of shorts. Anything to be used for weight training. If I’m in a hotel room and there’s no gym the first law in every hotel is a gym. Assuming the gym is not good I take my desk chair and put my legs on it and I do push ups. I do jumping jacks. I carry a jump rope with me wherever I go. Very basic stuff that I carry with me, but, you know, it’s very doable. I think that the bigger thing rise in the equipment The bigger issue is people actually lack the time. Everyone I know have some time but they say they don’t have the time. My answer to that is simply get up a half an hour early. It’s tough but it works every single time. You can get up by half an hour and in that half an hour you’re gonna work that in. You know, life goes on.
Ben: Gotcha. So you founded The Geek Factory. I’m gonna assume that you know a little bit about technology. Do you actually incorporate technology into your fitness routine? You know, like heart rate monitors, or different pieces of softwares, stuff like that?
Peter: Yeah, I love my heart rate monitor and things like that. One of the big things that I really use are, you know I have a great coach and trainer who send me all of my stuff by email like a podcast, like a feedback of what we’re going to have to do. I use Training Peaks which incorporates directly into my Google calendar and things like that. So it’s really about using the technology the way that it works for you and for me, it’s getting the information so I won’t have to worry about everything else.
Ben: Gotcha. So in terms of productivity in some of your top tips, you know, somebody who has done Ironman, I’m sure you’ve done a lot of swimming and cycling and running. I wanna ask you about some productivity tips that you might have for each of those sports. So from a swim standpoint, is there anything special that comes to mind for you in terms of any productivity tips that you have for folks?
Peter: Yeah, the best thing in the world for me is to get to the pool early. You know, I’m at the pool by, like, when I’m in New York I’m at the pool at 5 am. You know, you have to wire for yourself for like, you know, almost an hour to swim.
Ben: And avoiding going to the hot tub first. You don’t waste 10 minutes staring at the pool, right?
Peter: No, I walk everywhere. Being in New York, you walk everywhere. So for me it’s just like my warm up is my walk.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay, so how about cycling? What’s your top cycling productivity tip?
Peter: Last year, when I’ve done the Ironman, I had to do a couple of hundred mile ride and I’m not the fastest cyclist in the world. Nothing more depressing for me than getting on to Route 9 and just watching all these people and frigging matching US postal service uniforms blowing by me hundred of fellows, whatever. So what I would do, and I guess this comes from being a born and raised New Yorker, again it’s about getting there early. I got to Central Park when I do my hundred mile ride, I get to Central Park at 3:45 in the morning. And I took a ride at 3:45 and did 20 loops at Central Park. Everyone’s the same, but someone with ADHD, that’s focus of being able to count the loops keeps you grounded and that’s how I got to my hundred miles. Again, it was all the same, you know, I got to do hundred miles like 6 hours then when I came back did my Ironman, there are no hills there.
Ben: Got it. And someone with ADHD, I’m sure that you’ve experienced a lot of that boredom that can come with the long, long training sessions, right?
Peter: Oh, yeah. To me it’s really about my iPod. I have great running music. I also have in the past trained with singers, so I’ll be the one singing at Central Park on my long run. Funny thing is that the people think, you know, for them I’m singing, I’m also out of breath and stuff, so you gotta catch like one of every five words, people think they’re watching a special Olympics training. Very funny.
Ben: Alright. Let’s move on to the runs. In terms of productivity for the run, do you have a run productivity tip?
Peter: Yeah, I have a great iPod music mix, but I also, for my morning run in the morning, I also listen to podcasts from like MPR, BBC, all the stuff that I have to listen to during the day that I don’t have time to, I actually catch up on them. And then what I find is that, you know, you can mark certain podcasts with a certain button in your iPod. It’s all about finding stuff that you could use when you can get them.
Ben: Does that keep you from doing a lot of time in magazines or books or newspapers as well, when you listen to podcasts when you’re on training?
Peter: Oh, yeah, the more I can listen to them during that first hour in the morning, better. I usually catch them when I’m on the plane, coz I’m on a plane 4 times a week.
Ben: Alright. And one quick question that I have for you, in terms of the travel, the air travel, many athletes don’t like to work out when they finish like a long airplane ride or a long day of travel. Is that something that you care to do, or you find that working out actually helps you to recover from travel?
Peter: I need to work out as soon as I hit the airport. I’m going to Europe or Asia, it’s not gonna get there without a workout. Anything more than a 4-hour flight, I will drop every 2 hours for 3 sets of 20 push ups, in the plane, like in the aisle or whatever. I tell the flight attendant I’m doing it, I’m not a terrorist, so they say, okay go ahead. And you wanna tell someone you’re doing it. Start doing push ups without telling anyone, there will be an air marshal shoving a gun up your ass, but if you do it without, you don’t tell someone you just do it, it keeps the blood flowing, it prevents the deep vein thrombosis, and that really, really wakes you up to get you ahead.
Ben: You have some pretty entertaining race report, too. What’s the website that you put those out on?
Peter: I just do it on Shankman.com and if you just search for like shankman.com and race report, you’ll find something like, yeah the, my first half Ironman was I think my favorite race report coz there’s a lot of fun I did one, I did a pre-triathon, I did a race report and compared it to, when I jumped in the water that was like when the meteor hit the earth.
Ben: Nice. What’s next for you? In addition to going through the process of reinventing the body, do you have like an Ironman or some other event on schedule?
Peter: My goal this year is three or four races.
Ben: Very cool. Ontri folks can look for you there. So folks, it’s Peter Shankman at shankman.com. Go check out some of the stuff that he’s doing. He’s got some really cool businesses that he’s running as well. He’s very busy but those are some great tips for staying productive with fitness when you’re also being productive with business. So Peter, thanks for coming on the call today.
Peter: My pleasure, I’m glad to be here.
Ben: Folks, that about wraps it up. If you enjoyed this podcast, please go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and there’s a little button there on the right side of the page where you can donate a dollar to help support the podcast. And all it does is basically allows people listening in to give a dollar a month and it simply keeps this podcast going and allows me to cover things like the hosting fees and production fees. So in addition to that, remember, if you have an idea for the BenGreenfieldFitness t-shirt, and you want to design it and get famous, just e-mail me, [email protected] with your idea or your design or simply request for some of the graphics you need for the design. And that is going to wrap it up, so thanks for listening in and have a healthy week. This is Ben Greenfield signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
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