Introduction : In this Podcast, what is Cross Fit endurance, protein intake and supplements for young athletes, blood sugar spikes from protein powder, taking supplements with coffee, birth control and weight loss, losing weight for Ironman, elbow pain from bicep curls, is casein ok for vegans and the pose running method.
Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here and for any of you who have wondered what Cross Fit is all about and whether you can actually use Cross Fit to train triathlon or a marathon, this podcast is for you because today’s featured topic is with Brian Mackenzie of Cross fit endurance. And this is the guy that probably knows more about cross fit endurance than anybody else on the face of the planet. So we’ve got an interview with him coming up after of course, our Q and A. Now, a couple of quick announcements, you may have noticed that this week the official Ben Greenfield Fitness t-shirt, the new t-shirt came out. And what I am going to offer to you right now and nobody else is getting this offer other than the people who listen to the podcast is if you send to me a photo of you wearing the t-shirt then you will get a complimentary consult with me, a phone consult with me, to go over your nutrition and your fitness program. So all you need to do is get the t-shirt and send me a photo of you wearing it wherever, at the gym, on the edge of a cliff, in the shower, at Disney land, I don’t care where it’s at. But if you send me that photo then you will get a free consult. And the other option is you can simply upload the photos to your facebook page and tag it with Ben Greenfield Fitness and I’ll see it if you do that. So, the other special announcement is that we have a new sponsor for the podcast or a new advertiser for the podcast and because there are so many of you out there who are listening to the podcast and who do triathlon, I actually have a really good line on a brand new triathlon store online called the “Trishop” at the www.thetrishop.com. I’ll put a link to it over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com but not only are they offering you on anything that you order over there, a 10% discount, but they also have a very cool website. The best website I’ve seen in terms of its ease of use, its navigation, its functionality, everything that they have is in stock. Everything that you see on the website is in stock at the moment, so they ship everything that they get ordered from you by 2:00 p.m., the same day that you ordered it and they guarantee that. They don’t do any big blow out sales throughout the year instead they just provide as low a price that they are able to offer everyday, day in and day out. So they’ve got really good deals, really great brands in terms of triathlon on that website and the discount code, I’m not going to give it to you, you got to go get it. It’s at BenGreenfieldFitness.com right side of the page, scroll down, you’ll see the TheTriShop ad. If you click on that and use your discount code, you’ll get 10% off already, pretty low prices. So if you’re getting ready for a triathlon, that’s a good website for you to go to. So that’s about it. Remember, if you like the podcast, be sure to leave a donation. We’re going to have one quick special announcement and then move forward to this week’s listener Q and A.
Listener Q and A:
Ben: So if you have a question for the podcast, you can call toll free to 877 209 9439, you can grab the free iphone or the free android app from BenGreenfieldFitness.com over on the right side of the page. And you can use the ask Ben button on either of those apps or you can go to the handy-dandy ask Ben form, that’s right there on the site. And our first question today comes from Gina.
Gina: Hi Ben, this is Gina. I have a question about my thirteen year-old daughter. She’s a swimmer and her practices are two and a half hours long four times a week and she attends about two practices a month. And some of her practices will bump up to six to seven a week and they’re two hours long. And two days out of the week, she’ll have double practices. My daughter is five foot three inches and she weighs 103 pounds. She swims year round is off 3 weeks in the fall and 3 weeks in the spring. I noticed during her fall-winter season, she is often sick, fatigued and her swim time didn’t really improve. I was evaluating our food intake and I noticed she’s only getting about twenty to thirty grams of protein a day. She’s a picky eater and prefers definitely carbohydrates over protein. I’ve been really pushing protein but I’m having difficulties getting her to eat variety of sources. She’ll eat chicken, turkey and eggs and I’ve also tried whey protein, smoothies and shakes and she doesn’t like the taste of them. She takes some multivitamins but I will be changing her to one that you recommended on your website. So my questions for you are: how much protein should she be getting and what other supplements would you recommend that would be helpful for her? Thank you so much for all your wonderful advice and information.
Ben: So let’s talk about young athletes and the way that they’re different than the rest of us because kids are not just little adults. Their bodies are different; there are ways that they process things differently. And there’s also some specific micronutrients and carbohydrate/protein/fat considerations that you should bear in mind when you’re trying to fuel your daughter who is a swimmer. Or for any of you who are out there who have children or maybe you are a child yourself listening in then these are things to think about. So first of all, there’s a few different ways that kids are different than adults and specifically kids all the way up through puberty are different. They’ve done very big nutritional surveys on specifically young athletes ranging from about twelve to eighteen years old. And what they find is that on average when they look at the type of fueling ratios that athletes are able to be successful on, female athletes actually can get away with lower carbohydrate intake than their male counterparts. Usually, in these studies on average, female athletes would be taking in about four grams per kilogram and male athletes, like young male athletes, were up at about seven grams per kilogram. So what that means is like, say like a 90 pound young female athlete would need about a 165 grams of carbohydrate daily or about 650 calories of carbohydrate. Whereas a male athlete, like a young athlete, is going to be closer up to you know, if they are the same size, up or on a thousand calories of carbohydrate. So what it comes down to is that females can get away with taking in a little bit lower carbohydrate intake than males when it comes to young athletes up to eighteen years old. Now, the other interesting thing about young athletes is they’ve done studies in them and found that they’ve got almost up to 40% higher fat oxidation rates compared to adults. So, what that means is that fat is kind of the preferred exercise fuel in young athletes. And that means that fueling young athlete with like, energy bars, sports drinks, candy, juices, things of that nature, may not be as effective as fueling them with things like avocadoes, coconuts, nuts, seeds, things of that nature. And as a matter of fact, studies have shown that when kids or young athletes are exercising for about seventy-five minutes or less, eating carbohydrates during the actual exercise session doesn’t even give them any extra performance advantage. And that’s probably because they’re much better at using fat as a fuel. Now, it’s always something that I’ve wondered whether or not, kids simply use fat as a fuel more efficiently based off of a higher amount of you know, “baby fat”. Or do they use fat more efficiently compared to adults because we as adults are eating higher amounts of sugar, higher amounts of carbohydrates, and so by the time we get through puberty and everything, we’ve essentially shut down some of our ability to oxidize fat. I’m actually not sure which is true. It might be a combination of both. But what it comes down to is that you really don’t have to shove a lot carbohydrate down the hatch of a young athlete for exercise sessions that are seventy-five minutes or less. And a lot of what’s taught to us in sports nutrition is really based of adult studies and not young athlete studies. So, I think that some of our sports nutrition recommendations actually need to change. Now, compared to exercising adults, exercising children also burn lower amounts of storage carbohydrate. But higher amounts of carbohydrate from foods sources. And so, what that means is that kids don’t tap into their body’s own carbohydrate stores very much during exercise. They, instead, tend to rely more on carbohydrate sources from food. And that’s because they have lower levels of the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down the storage muscle carbohydrate and using that as a fuel. It’s probably some type of a carbohydrate conservation mechanism that leaves more storage carbohydrate for a child to grow and to develop. So, the interesting thing is that even though kids will burn higher amounts of carbohydrate from food sources during exercise, then they will burn from their actual on board storage carbohydrates. That still doesn’t mean that you need to fuel them for exercise sessions of 75 minutes or less, assuming that they’ve been kind of fueled during the rest of the day leading into that exercise session. So once you get above 75 minutes, it’s certainly is prudent to make sure that they do have carbohydrate on board because they actually don’t really have as high of an ability compared to adults to be able to tap into storage carbohydrates. It would be interesting to actually see some formulations for kids that are more skewed towards fat based off of the fact that kids seem to be using fat as a preferred exercise fuel, specifically young athletes in the 12 to 18 year old range. It would be very interesting to actually see some higher fat blends for kids to eat during exercise. And for my kids, as they’re moving forward, you know, they’re already playing soccer and tennis and swimming. We’re focusing on supplying them with lots of oils, avocadoes, coconut milk, nuts, seeds, things of that nature, rather than giving them a lot of the sugar based exercise fuels. And I think that you’re going to find that kids do fairly well on that. Now, as far as your question about the actual protein needs, proteins are obviously going to be really essential for building and maintaining and repairing lean muscle. And for kids, you’re generally looking at a minimum protein intake of about 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. And you want to convert that into pounds, it’s about 3 grams per pound of body weight and remember that there’s about 4 calories of protein per gram. So about 3 grams per pound is what you’d be looking for in terms of the minimum for kids and you can definitely get up to more than that. I wouldn’t really try to exceed more than about 2 grams per kilogram. Just because specifically for kids, that could lead to dehydration, it could lead to a little bit of calcium loss. So I’d be careful going over or above two grams per kilogram and that would be about four and a half grams per pound. So depending on who’s listening and how heavy your child is, you can kind of get that figured out. But I wouldn’t go more than 4.5 grams per pound and around 3 grams per pound and 4. 5 grams per pound in terms of protein intake for young athletes. And then, a few other things to think about are that kids have a smaller surface area to body mass ratio so they’re really at a greater risk of experiencing dehydration and you really should pay attention to things like dark urine color, low urine production, muscle cramps, their sweat rate, they get a high heart rate, or get headache, or get nausea, all of that could be a sign of dehydration. So you’ll want to make sure that you give them the equivalent of about a full bottle of water for each pound of body weight that they lose if you’re actually weighing them before or after exercise. With our kids, I just keep a close eye on their urine color and I explain to them that they need to tell me if they are ever thirsty because thirst is a very good indicator of potential for dehydration and then I give them water. Now, remember that in addition to protein and water, you of course have those carbohydrate and fat considerations. You know, I recommend basic ratio for most young athletes who are active about fifty to sixty percent carbohydrate, twenty to thirty percent fat, twenty to thirty percent protein, right in that range. And as far as like supplements and vitamins go, you know, calcium especially for a kid is fairly important because it really is crucial for things like bone growth, bone mass, muscle contraction, things of that nature. And I would recommend, if you’re able to that you give your kids like a multivitamin with a full spectrum of minerals in it, for example our kids use the Kids Calm liquid multivitamin. And that Kids Calm liquid multivitamin actually has things like magnesium and calcium and minerals in it. So they’re getting what they need for bone growth and bone mass. Just because kids, it is important that they’ll not be losing bone density while they’re out there training. Iron is really important for kids as well. you know, a young athlete who’s iron deficient is going to display a lot of symptoms of anemia, like low power, low speed, they’ll get sick a lot, they’ll be chronically fatigued, sometimes they have fuzzy thinking that affects their grades. So I would make sure that you’re including iron rich foods. Specifically, things like red meat, vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables because vitamin C will improve the iron absorption a little bit, dark leafy greens, things of that nature. If they do okay with dairy foods, you know, including like a Greek yogurt, something of that nature would also be okay. Zinc is pretty important for kids too. Zinc deficiencies are something that can be an issue with young athletes. It’s something that I would make sure that you’re getting into your kid. More of a serious, more of a common issue in like vegan or vegetarian kids or young athletes but zinc supplementation might be something that you want to look into with the caveat that you can overdose on zinc. So make sure that you’re using that prudently. And then I would make sure that your kids got a good B vitamin. Throw on a liquid multivitamin like the Kids Calm liquid multivitamin I mentioned. They’re going to get the calcium, the minerals, and the zinc. They’re also getting the B vitamins. But B vitamins are really important for metabolism and protein utilization especially in young athlete. And you get a lot of the same symptoms as anemia when they’re deficient in that like fatigue and fuzzy thinking. You know, meat is a good vitamin B source. To a limited extent, whole grains are. I’m not a huge fan of shoving a ton of whole grains in your kid and if you do, try and choose some of the ones like quinoa, amaranth, millet, the ones that are a little bit more amino acid packed, you know, versus like a whole wheat bagel or something like that. But you can get pretty good vitamin B from whole grain, even better from meat. So those are some things that I would bear in mind. Hopefully, I didn’t knock you out with too much information. But if you have questions, be sure to leave them as a comment in this podcast, Podcast # 147 at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and we’ll go ahead and move on to the next question from Lorie.
Lorie asks: I’ve been observing a pattern in myself in the last few months about protein powders. I’m hoping you could help me make sense of this puzzle. I’ve noticed when I consume a protein shake with whey that my blood sugar takes a dive within an hour and I have to eat something else. I’ve observed this with any mix of protein powder that has whey in it. On the other hand, if I consume a protein powder with other kinds of protein like brown rice or yellow pea protein or hemp protein powder, I can go four to five hours quite comfortably. Does this mean I just don’t do well with whey? What is going on here? I am perplexed.
Ben answers: Well a lot of people don’t realize that meat whey, just about any full protein, especially animal based protein; it’s going to have a really high in what’s called an insulinotropic effect. And what that means is it can result in postprandial glycemia. And what that means is that when you consume a protein like this, you get a big release of insulin from the pancreas. That big release of insulin is designed to assist with delivery of amino acids and any sugars that are consumed with the protein into the muscles and allow for recovery or repair utilization of the proteins, etc… However, if you are very insulin sensitive or even if you’re comparing like a whey based protein to a vegetable based protein, you’re going to find that insulin spike is going to, in many cases, give you a quick burst of energy and then kind of a crash related to that drop in insulin, and this maybe an issue especially if you are very insulin sensitive, more especially if you have something like, Type II diabetes. But if that’s an issue with you when your consuming whey protein that it maybe that the insulin index of whey protein is a little bit too high and this surprises a lot of people. Remember, it’s not a blood-glucose issue, it’s not necessarily a health issue. Remember it’s the very high levels of circulating blood glucose that are more of an issue than that insulin release. But it certainly is an issue if you’re very insulin sensitive and you tend to be very responsive to that quick drop and energy following that spike in insulin. So whey protein has a very good biological value, meaning it’s very useable by your body cells. You get a lot of essential amino acids from it. It also has a really high, what’s called a protein digestibility corrected amino acid score and that’s a method by which the World Health Organization actually evaluates the value of a protein. And it’s based on the amino acid requirements of humans and specifically kids which you actually just got them talking about but basically, the PDCAA, which is that protein digestibility corrected amino acid score. It’s really high for like, egg white proteins and whey proteins and casein based protein, all of which are animal based proteins. And it tends to drop with things like pea protein or rice protein or hemp protein. And so what happens is that as that tends to drop you also tend to get kind of a drop in insulin releasing effect of the protein as well. So, ultimately what it comes down to is that everybody is different and you need to find out what works for you. It sounds like doing like a vegan protein blend, something like the Living Protein. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes for you, something like that might be better for you than going with the whey protein. Now, I personally use both whey protein as well as a pea rice hemp protein blend. I use a double bonded Mt. Capra whey protein in the morning usually with my hot cereal. I mix it up with oat meal or quinoa and then in the afternoon, I typically do a Living Protein blend. And I find that I tend to do very well on either. I don’t really notice that drop in energy but if you do, you may want stick to the protein powders like the vegetable based protein powders. They’re gonna cause a little bit less of that insulin releasing effect. So, hopefully that helps you out.
Mike says: Ben you’ve mentioned that taking vitamin supplements near the time of drinking coffee can reduce the effects of the supplements. How long before or after drinking coffee should one take supplements to get the most benefit?
Ben answers: Well, caffeine can help certain supplements and inhibit others. But specifically the ones that you’re going to have an issue with is, that caffeine in the coffee can cause calcium to be excreted in your urine and in your fecal matter as well. So you’re basically going to excrete more calcium when you’re consuming caffeine. You lose about five milligrams of calcium for every cup of coffee that you take in, assuming that your cup of coffee has about a hundred and fifty milligrams of caffeine which is pretty typical. And so obviously that’s a concern for women. And the issue with that is that it doesn’t matter too much whether you’re taking in the caffeine at the same time as the calcium or not. If you’re drinking a bunch of coffee or simply going to excrete more calcium, whether or not the coffee is consumed at the same time that you’re taking in a calcium supplement. And while I do think that the importance of calcium is blown out of proportion compared to the importance of magnesium especially for women, I really don’t recommend that women be drinking more than about three hundred milligrams of caffeine per day or more than a couple of cups of coffee per day and better yet would be like just a small, like eight ounce cup of coffee in the morning. And you’d be able to kind of cut yourself off from that if you need to because if you find yourself having caffeine withdrawal issues, it’s probably a sign that you’re drinking too much caffeine. Caffeine can inhibit the vitamin D receptors. So it can limit the amount of Vitamin D absorption, that’s another issue. I would not be taking in caffeine at the same time as your Vitamin D if you’re concerned about that. Especially if you’re a heavy morning caffeine drinker, again we’re talking about taking in more than one cup of coffee. So if you’re a multiple latte or a multiple black coffee person, you may want to consider if you’re using the Vitamin D supplement to not be taking your Vitamin D supplement at the same time as the caffeine. Iron caffeine is going to interfere with your absorption of iron. And iron is obviously going to be necessary for your red blood cell production. So if you’re drinking coffee at the same time that you’re taking in an iron supplement, that can actually reduce the absorption of the iron by up to about eighty percent. So that’s a huge issue especially if you’re concerned about anemia, if your supplementing with iron because you are low in iron, definitely wouldn’t be drinking coffee at the same time as you take in your iron supplement. Coffee, obviously it’s a diuretic caffeine, has this diuretic effect, so it increases the amount of fluids that you excrete, increases your urination. And if you’re taking in a water soluble vitamin like a B vitamin, some of that can be depleted as a result of the fluid loss. The other issue is that caffeine can kind of interfere with some of the metabolism of thiamine which is Vitamin B1. And so, if you’re taking in a bunch of caffeine with a Vitamin B supplement, it could be an issue. Lots of people get enough vitamin B as it is especially if you’re taking in one of these like energy type of multivitamins that just says thousands and thousands of your percentage Vitamin B. So that’s not as big of an issue. Kind of the flip side of that is that caffeine actually does stimulate the production of stomach acid and that assist with the absorption of Vitamin B12. So, I wouldn’t worry too much about taking in caffeine with a B vitamin. I’d be worrying more about taking it with like calcium, vitamin D, or an iron. And as far as other vitamins, other minerals, caffeine is going to reduce some of the absorption of like a zinc supplement, a copper supplement, so if you’re especially a guy, a lot of guys are taking like these zinc containing supplements to improve testosterone, that’ll be reduced. The absorption will be reduced a little bit with caffeine intake. Caffeine could interfere with the action of Vitamin A and also with the absorption of some of your electrolytes like magnesium and potassium and sodium. So ultimately, like a cup of coffee or a cup of green tea a day really isn’t going to be an issue. That’s not going to have a big negative effect on your overall health or your absorption. But if you are a multi-cup-a-day coffee drinker, you may want to consider you know for example taking all your supplements in the evening. But the problem being, a lot of times you’re really not feeling the metabolic enhancing effects of supplements and vitamins if you’re taking those in the evening. So what I personally do is I have a very small cup of coffee in the morning. If I need to have another cup of coffee, it’s usually decaf and I take my supplements typically most of them with a meal to improve absorption. So, that’s the way that I do it. The half life of caffeine in your body is going to be anywhere from three to seven hours. Females metabolize caffeine a lot more quickly, usually about twenty to thirty percent more quickly than males. So, you know, basically that means that if you are taking all your supplements around noon, a lot of that caffeine have been cleared by your body. So that’s not a thing to think about as you could just like take supplements with lunch rather than with breakfast, if you’re drinking a bunch of coffee with breakfast. So, that is the issue with that. Remember that, and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes, I have a bunch of articles on whether or not, you know, coffee is kind of good or bad and some healthy alternatives to coffee. I have a bunch of articles about that up on the site. I will put a link to kind of a centralized collection of those articles right after Mike’s question.
Rebecca asks: I recently listened to one of your podcast where you talked about the negative effects of hormonal birth control. I’ve seriously been thinking about switching to a non-hormonal IUD because I think being on the pill has been hindering my ability to lose weight. In your experience, how much easier is it to lose weight being off of hormonal birth control? And what is your opinion of non-hormonal IUD’s?
Ben answers: And for those of you who want to listen to that podcast where I talk about the negative effects of hormonal birth control and how it can cause you to gain weight, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes right there with Rebecca’s question. The show notes for Episode #147. Some people will have some issues right when they go off birth control. Now, once the birth control hormones are out of your system, which usually is just a couple of days, your body starts producing hormones to reinitiate your menstrual cycle. And some women will start to ovulate literally within a couple of weeks. Other women, it can take several months for ovulation to begin again. Generally speaking, it’s about two to three months to have your body kind of back in its normal hormonal mode, its normal menstruation mode. And that’s about the point where you would start to notice that if the pill was inhibiting weight loss that would start to be more of a non-issue once you’ve gotten into your regular period. I’ll warn you that when you get off the pill, you can get some periods of nausea, like breast tenderness, headaches. There’s sometimes some acne break outs. There are some weird things that can happen hormonally when you get off the pill, so I’ll just kind of warn you that, sometimes it takes about 2-3 months for everything to kind of even out once you do get off the pill. But more importantly, you’re kind of looking at some alternatives in terms of an intrauterine device or an IUD. And that’s basically like a plastic or metal birth control device and it gets placed in your uterus. And there’s a few different types but some are hormone free, some actually have hormones. The ones that have hormones, you’re going to have some of the same issues in terms of a big release of progestin and I’ve talked about that in a previous podcast about how there are some hormonal issues with that that could cause weight gain or resistance to weight loss. For the non-hormonal IUDs, what happens is they kind of have this spermicidal effect. Usually, it’s like a copper and that can affect the lining of uterus. It can have a spermicidal effect. It can kind of keep the fertilized egg from actually implanting in the uterus and it stimulates the production of prostaglandins, which are inflammatory chemicals that affect the hormones that are needed to support a pregnancy. The issue is that because so many prostaglandins are produced when you actually get something like a copper IUD placed, there’s a lot of potential for some more serious inflammatory issues including pelvic inflammatory disease which is basically a bacterial infection of your reproductive organs, your uterine lining, your fallopian tubes, your ovaries and that can be a big issue. It can be very unpleasant and it’s basically like a full blown infection. So if you get an IUD, what you need to understand is that what you’re doing is you’re causing inflammation in your uterus that’s keeping you from getting pregnant. That in my opinion is not healthy. I would still recommend, and again this isn’t like a sex help podcast, but I would still recommend that if you are trying to prevent pregnancy, you just go with like a spermicidal based condom. I mean that’s kind of like the healthiest way to go if you’re really trying to make as few adjustments to your body’s chemistry as possible. And I’m just putting this out there that I personally use that and have done so for eight years with zero issues in terms of surprises and yeah, it works just fine. And I do know that we are a fertile couple because when we do not use that method in the past, as a matter of fact the couple of times that we did not, we had twins. So there you go.
Bill asks: I’ve listened to a number of your podcasts and hoping you can advise me on how best to lose approximately 10 lbs. over the next 2-3 months before I enter my build up phase for my next Ironman. The area I’d like to target is stomach and thighs. Your advice or tips would be greatly appreciated.
Ben answers: Ok, so fat loss. This is like a really basic general fat loss question. And as those of you who have listened to previous episodes or maybe you’ve listened to all 146 previous episodes here at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com, you know that I’ve talked about this and I try not to kick a horse to death so to speak and talk about stuff that I’ve really covered comprehensively in the past. So if you’re listening in and you want kind of like the comprehensive fat loss lecture, if you go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com and you go the upper right corner where the little search tab is, I’ve got a very good search engine on the site. You do a search for this term, fat loss video. Do a search for fat loss video at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com. The top three results are going to be pretty much everything you’d ever need to know to spark fat loss quickly. Just access the top 3 results there. They’re all free. It’s kind of a collection of videos and lectures and talks that I’ve given, seminars that I’ve given, free to download, to listen to, to watch, that is where I would start if you’re just going after that kind of like give me the fat loss 101 talk. And it’ll go into you know how to train as well and get in shape and still burn fat and lose fat. So just go to www.bengreenfieldfitness.com, do a search for fat loss video.
Mike Burns: I get pain on the inside of my forearm, just above the elbow, when I use the preacher curl at the gym. It feels more like a stop doing what you’re doing pain rather than muscles being worked pain. The machine has stationary handles so I can adjust the way my wrists are returned. I can do concentration curls with dumbbells and curls with the cable machines with no problem. Should I just avoid the preacher curl machine from now on?
Ben answers: Well, first of all, in terms of the preacher curl machine. One of the issues that I have with machines in general is that they’re basically designed to be slightly adjustable for a range of body parts, body lengths, and joint lengths, but not fully adjustable and they don’t work for a lot of people and specifically the preacher curl machine. What it does is it locks the center of rotation, your elbow, and ideally locks it so that it is in the same line of rotation as the actual machine. However, a lot of times the actual elbow joint in terms of how it lines up with the axis of the actual machine itself, the rotational axis of the machine itself, is it can be below or above that axis. And that can create a great deal of shearing in the elbow. And specifically, it can cause over use of the tendons and the ligaments that cross over what’s called your medial epicondyle which is the bump on the inside of your elbow. And so you can come out with medial epicondylitis, or just kind of like some acute immediate medial epicondyle pain. That’s also known as golfer’s elbow, incidentally, because golfers tend to get that as well. And medial epicondylitis is something that is simply going to happen every time you use a preacher curl machine. If your elbow joint is not directly in line with the axis of the machine and even in that case because you’re pulling back against the pad of the preacher machine with your elbow as you’re performing the curl, you can get those straining and shearing forces in the elbow even if it’s lined up properly. So I don’t recommend that you use a preacher curl machine. You may, if you really, or have your heart set on doing preacher curls, may have less of an issue if you just like a preacher curl bench and use a barbell with that bench. I personally, when I was body building, did very few curls at all. I did a lot of dead lifts. I did a lot of pull ups. I did a lot of bench pressing. And all of those tend to allow you to really work your biceps using a lot heavier weight and get a lot more mass on your biceps than doing isolated curls. I used curls as I got closer to body building show so that I could kind of develop the peak in my biceps and kind of develop that last little bit of differentiation between the heads of the biceps themselves. But for the most part, if you just want big arms and that’s why you’re doing curls, you’re going to be better served by doing dead lifts, by doing pull ups, by doing bench press. And a lot of those are going to give you just as much bicep stimulation. So, I hope that helps and I would stay away from the preacher curl machine and also the tricep extension machine. Both of those really aren’t all that hot for your elbow. Tricep extension machine being kind of the same issues that you usually get lateral epicondylitis rather than medial epicondylitis.
Etana asks: I’m a vegan. Some vegetarian vegan products such as cheese have casein in them. Am I cheating on my vegan diet by consuming dairy substitute products such as dairy-free cheese and coffee creamer that have casein in them?
Ben answers: Well, casein is this milk protein. You find it in a lot of processed foods. You’ll find it in a “non-dairy” creamers, soy cheeses, stuff like that. It is derived from milk so it’s not vegan. It would be considered vegetarian, again because it’s not a meat containing product, but it’s not vegan. And a lot of vegans really don’t mind that much casein in like a soy cheese but if you’re really trying to go like a strict vegan, you would want to avoid casein. You’d want to avoid caseinates like calcium caseinate, potassium caseinate, sodium caseinate, and you’ll find those in a lot of stuff. I mean, even if you’re getting like a hamburger bun, that a lot of times has like calcium caseinate in it, and yeah. I mean if you want to avoid casein and be a true strict vegan then that would be the way that you’d have to go. Casein really is kind of more like a slow release protein compared to whey. That’s why a lot of protein powders have a whey-casein blend in them. It does have a really good high amount of amino acids in it. It uses a food additive. It uses a binder as well which is why you find it in a lot of processed foods. You also find it in like paint, in glue, in plastics, in fiber. It’s found in like a lot of medical and dental products as well. But for the most part, if you’re wanting to go casein free, then you’ll need to avoid just about any energy bar or drink or packaged good or processes food that has casein on it. And as a matter of fact, I do have some clients that I start off with on a total allergy-free diet just so we can kind of reboot their system and we do eliminate casein. And when we do that, I send a whole list of all the foods that contain casein in them and it’s pretty comprehensive. There are ton of foods that have casein if you’re trying to avoid casein. It can be an issue. And casein is an allergy that some people have too, it’s one of the more common in terms of one of the allergies that can cause some reactions, some protein reactions. So, if you’re going vegan though, give up casein if you really want to practice what you preach. Not that I endorse being vegan. I have done it myself. There are some ways that it could work, but I’d be careful going down that road.
Craig asks: What do think of Dr. Romanov’s pose method of triathlon? I’d love to hear your take on it.
Ben answers: Well, this pose method of triathlon is actually something that Brian Mackenzie brings up during our interview today because he does teach the pose running technique. I’ve read the book. I’ve seen the program. You know, I could go on for hours about what exactly goes into the pose running technique. But you’re trying to run almost with like this s-like body position so you run with slightly bent knees. So you’re keeping a lot of stress off your knees. You lean forward from your ankles. So you’re trying to let gravity do some work to move you forward. And you think about pulling or lifting your foot up underneath your hip. Rather than like kicking your heel back up to your butt. That’s what you hear a lot of times like running coaches will say you kick your heel on your butt. That’s something that I actually used to do and it should be more kind of lifting your feet underneath your hip. And then you try and land with the ball of feet under your body. So your center of mass is kind of staying directly underneath your body. And what they found is that this pose method of running can definitely reduce knee impact. And it can help you enjoy running a little bit if you do have knee pain. It can assist with economy. It can assist with efficiency. There are some issues with it. For example, there was a study that they did on a bunch of triathletes. They had them do pose running. And then they studied their stride length. They studied their vertical oscillation or the amount that they moved up and down during the stride. They looked at the oxygen cost of running or basically the running economy. And what they found was that the pose method kind of decreased the stride length which you would expect and decreased the amount that the runners kind of bounced up and down. But the runners had a significantly higher running economy. They were trying to use a lot more oxygen while running with the pose running method. And so anytime you increase running economy, that’s kind of a bad thing. It’s not something that you really want to happen when you’re running. Now, it could be that these people, even though they went through 12weeks of learning the pose method, still hadn’t really gotten it down properly so their running economy was still a little bit inefficient. I’m not going to pretend that you can totally learn a new movement pattern in 12 weeks. But that study did, you know, it is a little bit of a red flag with the pose diet. The other issue is that there have been studies and found that while the loading in the knees is reduced with the pose running method, the loading in the ankle is significantly increased. So if you have ankle issues, you may want to be aware that the pose method could actually cause some pain in your ankles or in your feet or in your Achilles tendon or in your calves compared to your knees, so just something to think about. Overall, I think it’s a very good idea to always be analyzing your running, looking into things like the pose running method or the key running method. I personally have read the books. I studied the methods a little bit and I implement them in my running pattern. But you need to realize that when you implement something, even if it is a taught method, even if somebody is making a lot of money selling books and DVDs teaching the method, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s for you. And I do think that some people are built differently and they simply can’t run with like a pose or a key running method. My wife, for example, she is a fast runner but she can only run fast. And she has a very difficult time using this relaxed-forward-lean-bending in the knees type of running method. She gets a ton pain in her legs when she does it. And that’s simply because her running style is more suited to sprint running and that’s the way she was trained. That’s the way her body moves. And I’m not saying that it would be totally impossible to teach how to run with the pose style running method. But she’s an example of somebody for whom that has created more problems than it has solved. So I hope that helps you out and we have a listener called in and I wanted to play this for you. If any of you are triathletes out there and I imagine that if you’re listening into this show with Brian Mackenzie from cross fit endurance, you probably are a triathlete. I want a play you something that somebody called in about. About the triathlon dominator program because this program actually does use a lot of the components that Brian is talking about in out interview. So here you go and then we’ll move straight into the feature topic with Brian.
Luke: Hey Ben, Luke Pal from Louisville. I’ve been doing your triathlon dominator program. Since December I’m training for the Louisville Ironman in August. I just want to let you know I did a Half Ironman, a local race here last weekend. I’m only on week 21 of the program so it’s a little early for a half. But it’s a race I did last year and I wanted to do it again. And it was a very hilly bike and run course and I did it in 5:19 this year which doesn’t sound super speedy. But considering the same course last year, 5:57 it’s quite an improvement. So I wanted to let you know that I’m very happy with the way things are going so far on the triathlon dominator program. I can’t wait to see how things progress. I got another half Ironman coming up in the beginning of July and of course the full Ironman at the end of August, so I’ll call and give you update, another update later on how things are going. I want to tell you I’m excited about the way things are going so far and can’t wait to see what happens.
Ben: Hey folks, it's Ben Greenfield here from bengreenfieldfitness.com and I’ve got Brian Mackenzie on the call. Brian is a name that you may be familiar with if you are familiar with cross fit because Brian is the creator of cross fit endurance. He’s really an expert in strength and conditioning. Specifically for endurance athletes and specifically using cross fit style protocols. He himself is an ultra runner. He’s trained clients from all over the globe using the type of strategies that we’re going to talk about today. And he himself has done Ironman. He’s done 30 ultra marathons, 50k all the way up to a hundred miles. He’s done Western State. He’s done the Angela’s Crest 100. So, the guy is practicing what he’s preaching. And Brian, I’d like to thank you for coming on the call today.
Brian: Appreciate it. Thanks for having me.
Ben: Awesome! So, I guess, to get started right off the bat, I’d like to talk a little bit about what exactly Cross Fit endurance is. You had a little bit of a feature in a magazine, Triathlete Magazine. I remember seeing you a few months ago in that magazine. And a little bit of an explanation of cross fit endurance. I came across you at Tim Farris’s book For Our Body. I believe you were in that as well. And so, you’re obviously out there and you’ve got this cross fit endurance protocol. So what is it and how is it different than like a regular say cross fit workout?
Brian: Well, cross fit is pretty much defined as… I’ll just start with cross fit. Cross fit is Greg Glaston’s baby and he created that basically more or less, it is a constantly very high intensity functional movement. And that is a loaded thing. But what we’ve done is taking that model and introduced it kind of in a way to what it is we do with endurance training. I originally was brought in the endurance community and met Dr. Romanov who is the creator of pose method and more or less got my education from him for roughly about 7 years. I learned mechanics from an early stand point and having someone with a background in strength and conditioning, I was learning mechanics all the way around. It wasn’t just with like pose running which doctor Romanov is synonymous with. He actually teaches movement for everything and that’s basically where my education came from. I was contemplating becoming a physical therapist. Although I quickly, after being a physical therapist assistant, realized it was not what I wanted to do. I was a little more aggressive in my approach with people. I don’t know if aggressive is the right word for our program. Although, that’s probably the biggest thing that people see our program as, is this aggressive approach or just high intensity approach to endurance training. I don’t want to say it’s a fallacy but it’s not entirely true. Our program starts from a technical, highly skilled format which is why we run seminars for it. We show people our seminars and we’ll have 3, probably by midsummer now, that deal with run or swim or cycling. We deal with the mechanics of these three sports because mainly these are the sports we’re dealing with endurance training. And you being a multi sport athlete, you understand that. What we do is we attack everything from a very basic stand point of mechanics and construct a program based off of somebody’s mechanical skill with something. If I take it to a general synopsis what the power program was developed, just take your run about endurance athlete and they came to me. The first thing I would do, I would watch them walk in as they came to see me then I’d watch them run, if they were a runner. I’d probably watch them ride a bike and even swim. And then I would actually watch them squat and I would actually watch them actually do things that I can consider highly functional and use the greatest capacity of what the body is capable of doing. The reason we use cross fit and the reason cross fit came into this is because it’s probably the greatest expression for understanding an athlete’s weakness. I don’t think that everybody should be going out and doing thrusters and pull ups all day long. But what I do think is they needed a serious strength and conditioning program that will allow them to develop things they couldn’t actually develop on another end. So the cross fit endurance starts as a highly technical thing and I want to get an athlete moving correctly first. And in that, that’s probably going to require a lot of technical skill, skill and drill type of stuff. It’s also going to probably require a lot of mobility in getting somebody to get up and incorporate a mobility program like Kelly Star has created, if anybody is familiar with that, with the mobility WOD which is online and posted everyday now.
Ben: For the people that are listening, when you say something like the mobility WOD are you talking about like a workout? That WOD is the workout of the day, right?
Brian: Yeah. Work out of the day and my friend Kelly is one of my closest friends. He’s created this dynamic way of getting people to deal with their issues for themselves and empowering people to deal with these things for themselves. And because most of the issues we have are something that we could probably deal with on our own and we have the tools to do that. And he gives those out. Basically puts out a video every single day and shows you how to deal with your junk. And they’re usually pretty easy fixes. If it’s not something structural or needs to be taken a look at by a doctor. With that said, you know, I have dealt with the same type of stuff for years. Kelly and I speak the same language and which is why we get along so well. So our program is highly technical. We deal with a very fundamental, the fundamental issues that athletes have. From there, yes, we get into intensity. And the reason we get to intensity is, it does greater adaptation in the central nervous system with intensity. If I were to correct the way you moved in something, and we can use running as an example, I could use squatting, we could use anything you want, I would never want you to go out and apply that on something that’s of long duration, long and slow duration. It is an ineffective tool to use. Now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to use long duration. I want to develop capacity first before I do that. And through intensity, we know we can do that. And through research, we also know we can still develop that aerobic capacity down the line, in fact, far greater than we can with the long slow efforts, so from there that’s when we start dealing with the kind of the endurance side of stuff and where we start applying that the longer duration, or longer efforts for the athlete. And you know, our website offers kind of a general program for the general public. We have plenty of athletes who can handle much higher volume than that and still handle the strength and conditioning that we’re dealing with and still handle the skill work. A lot of people think that we’re just out there cutting volumes and that is not what we’re doing in fact, our program is probably a much tougher road than just going and lacing up your shoes, putting on your cycling cleats and getting on your bike or going out running for a longer period of time and getting something done. Our program is going to require a hell of a lot skill work, a hell of a lot of mobility work. It’s going to require you to actually go out and work your ass off while maintaining the skill of these things. And it’s going to hold those things for durations that which you’re probably not used to holding. You know, 85%t of VO2 max for two hours.
Brian: And that show is kind of what we want.
Ben: That’s really helpful in describing the philosophy behind cross fit endurance. As far as nuts and bolts, can you walk me through like a sample week of workouts? If somebody were going to say, ok, I want to train using this cross fit endurance philosophy that Brian just described, what would I be doing like you know, a Sunday through a Monday or a typical week?
Brian: A typical week let’s just say we clean somebody up and got him back together. Starting off, a runner probably, we have him cross fitting anywhere from four to six times a week. A lot of that stuff would be strength. We’ll have some strength biased to it. My main focus is to have somebody strength and getting it strong as possible. Building strength does not mean we’re putting on mass in any way, shape or form. So, you know, a lot of people get scared from that so I just want to throw that out there is that we’re not developing a program and turn people into body builders or putting on lots of mass. We’re developing a program to make the athlete able to handle what it is they’re going to do and the stronger we can have endurance athletes, the better. So, I usually have people doing some form of strength training anywhere from one to three times a week.
Ben: Do you get concerned about like muscle mass at all in terms of people getting..
Brian: In terms of myself or for my athletes?
Ben: Well, in terms of like athletes that you’re training. Putting on muscle or putting on too much muscle.
Brian: I’m usually not very concerned with that because from the get go, we address nutrition. And if somebody’s not eating outside of their, you know, meaning these calories but they’re not eating outside their levels of energy that they need to support. If they’re eating clean, I’m not really worried about it. If they’re following the program, I’m not really worried about it because the program that’s been designed for putting on mass will have repetitions or several repetitions is indicative of that. Sure, I might have an athlete that’s going to put on, you know, depending on how deficient they are anywhere from 5-10, you know, maybe even 15 lbs. in extreme cases. But 5-10 lbs. is something that people will accept if they’re faster at a distance. So, just to get back to the program for the week, it would entail probably three strength training work outs. One to three strength training workouts followed by a short intense or even just basic cross fit. You’re fundamental or traditional cross fit workouts following a traditional format of cross fit. Where the constant variance of what it is we’re doing, we’re not allowing the body to kind of physically adapt to any one thing. But we are exposing weakness and if I can see that an athlete has major problems with let’s just say putting a bar over their head and stabilizing while having that bar over their head. Then that’s something I’ll focus on until they’re actually really good at it. And then I’m going to start mixing things back up again.
Ben: So, for people who are listening who haven’t maybe even done a cross fit workout, you’re talking about like rowing and squats and dead lifts and pull ups and stuff like that, right?
Brian: You got it.
Brian: There’s an array of things and there’s actually free information on the cross fit journal that people can get on how all this works. Through cross fit, I mean it’s a wealth of information.
Ben: Look over at www.crossfit.com.
Brian: You got it, yeah. Cross fit journal which is you can find it off on www.crossfit.com or you just google cross fit journal. It’s free information, I mean they’d line out the entire program on how it supposed the work out should work. There’s great information. There’s great resource there.
Ben: Ok, gotcha.
Brian: But more importantly, the idea is for people to do that stuff correctly. Because cross fit isn’t just about going out and doing thrusters and pull ups and setting yourself up in your gym or in your garage and just going after it and deciding to do high intensity work. Cross fit is about, first, it’s just like our program. We’re teaching people how to move correctly first and then increasing the intensity because that’s where we see the greatest adaptation occur. And so with that, we want people to actually go learn how to do this stuff which they’ve also got videos. The other great resource is the fact that there’s probably an affiliate that’s pretty close to them where they could go for relatively cheap to learn all this stuff and train the people.
Brian: So with that, you’ve got all these great resources. We probably have somebody, a multi sport athlete, we’re seeing more so towards the four cross fit/strength training workouts a week. Just because of the amount of stuff we’re going to have him be doing, it’s just overload. With more of a single sport athlete, we’re seeing upwards from five to six. But it could be anywhere from four to six strength and/or cross fit workouts in a week. On top of that, we’re seeing anywhere from two or three, maybe even four sports specific workouts a week. We don’t really see the fourth too much. Most of the stuff we do, what you would consider the fourth would be workouts that are actually under four minutes that are just super intense. You know, we’re talking probably a 105% of the VO2 max type effort work. It’s just really short duration stuff but we’re looking for quick cause and effect or stuff like that.
Brian: And that’s only introduced once the program has kind of evolved a whole lot more.
Ben: Ok, cool! So as far as like say for something like a swim, what would be a sample swim workout using cross fit endurance philosophies?
Brian: There is all over the board, ten one hundred on you know two minutes. But that can change into you know, hey, we find out exactly what these people can hold their one hundreds on. And let’s play with the recovery interval or let’s play with it now let’s just apply that to a time domain and give them, let’s just say they can come in on one thirty and they’ve got thirty seconds of recovery and they could hit this fairly well. You know, I may change that up into ok, you got a minute thirty to go as far as you possibly can. And you know change that up with an interval cycle then you’ve got thirty seconds recovery or fifteen seconds recovery now. And suppose the third and repeat that effort no matter where you’re at in the pool. It’s very much different. I mean, it could go fifteen one hundreds depending on their ability. Let’s just drop it like ten seconds or five seconds, and see how well they can hold these hundreds.
Brian: It could be 20 50’s. Your typical main set workouts you see in like masters type programs. They’re pretty much the same. And we’re expecting people to still apply a lot of the technical skills that swimming has. And over the years, American swimming has done a beautiful job. Granted, swimming ten thousand meters for a guy who’s going to do a two minute race, in my estimation and quite a few other people it’s a bit overboard. But you know that’s just my opinion.
Ben: Okay, cool! So how about like cycling and running, what type of workouts would somebody expect if they were getting cross fit endurance?
Brian: What we usually do is we have a short interval day and we have a longer interval day. And with the three sport methods we usually keep swimming to two intervals in the week. And what we do is we flip flop the run and the bike each week on short and long. And then we add a tempo or time trial for the bike usually, on a typical week we would add a tempo or time trial on the bike. And everything is usually above 80% effort. We don’t use heart rate very often. I’ve been there and done that and you know I’m kind of been relying on glass on this one is it’s just the correlate of what intensity is. And that correlate changes very frequently depending upon how much is going on with the athlete, how much sleep, everything else. And so we usually use effort or even power output or things like that. With that said, the athlete should develop a pretty good understanding of what effort means. You know, and using an RPE scale or rate perceived exertion scale is a pretty good thing because you’re perceived effort of 80% on a day that probably fairly over trained is going to be different from the day you’re fresh. So that’s why we do it and why heart rate can falter. But you would see typically which is layouts, we’ve got the cross fit workouts, the strength kind of layout there. Let’s just say we had a swimming workout that was twenty fifties and other swim workouts was let’s just say, four two hundreds or five two hundreds and holding that on the athletes ability. But these are pretty hard efforts. These aren’t slow efforts. None of these is ever slow. And with the assumption that the athlete is maintaining pretty good technique, ok. And then we had, for running that week, we’re going to have a six four hundreds. And and we’ve got those on two minutes recovery or even ninety seconds recovery. And then we’ve got on Saturday a longer 10k run. That’s a tempo at 85% or even 90%. And let’s just take its real simple, take 90% of your best time in that time and go with that. The bike, we may go out with longer intervals. Let’s just say we’re going four 5k repeats on the bike. So 3.1 mile repeats on the bike. And we’ve got, we’re spinning in between that maybe 1 or 2 miles focusing on technique, that’s one day. Or even hill repeats, they’re even longer effort. And then we’ve got a bike tempo or time trial. Let’s just say we did a bike time trial that week and I’m going to be, based on what we already got. We’ve got a run that’s a 10k I’d probably throw the athlete doing, probably a 15-20 mile time trial. And you know this is where people kind of misunderstood. Yeah, I think people, they take a look at this and they don’t understand that how much technical skill is actually involved in all this stuff. And where they don’t understand like, okay I’m just going to get on my bike and throw down a 20 mile time trial. Yeah, we’re asking you to do that but we’re asking you to do that while not falling to pieces. And you know, and that’s a pretty hard thing to do. And we usually can have people do 300 watt test or even 250 watt test and watch where they just break down within 90 seconds, things like that. And you know, going out of this gate and people not understanding how to hold wattage like that or where they should be for a time trial and maintaining form, it is just a fundamental understanding of what we do.
Ben: Ok, gotcha! So do you guys ever go out and do like you know, say like for an Ironman triathlete, ever go out and do like a hundred mile ride or anything like that?
Brian: No, not really. It’s nothing… I’ve found, I’ve been there, done that. We’ve done it with our athletes. We’ve done it with athletes. I’ve done it. Unfortunately, unless you are at the highest level or ability in endurance athlete’s capacity, you’re just not going to have the ability to recover, to continue with training the following week. You’re just going to not recover enough from something like that. And you know, you don’t have the ability to go out and ride for 5-6 hours and then be fresh the next day to train at 90% or more and to maintain the ability to that stuff. And fact is and what we found…
Ben: You mean like if you’re going out and riding like a hundred miles hard or what if you’re going out and riding aerobically like say like your Ironman pace? Are you saying that that’s not something that you would encourage?
Brian: Not a whole lot, no. No, it’s not something I encourage at all. I mean, the only thing that could be used for is really recovery. It’s not building other than okay, if you really have the mental side of this where you’re not grasping it and understanding that you can be on the bike for, you know, a hundred miles by all means, go out and do that hundred miles. Knock your socks off. But you know, you’re not going to be doing anything for yourself fitness wise or even to develop your ability to go harder and hold up under that Ironman.
Brian: It’s really just recovery type stuff and it has noplace really in training for what somebody wants to do. Now granted, there’s a major difference between somebody who wants to finish an Ironman to somebody who want to do, let’s just say, eleven hour or ten hour or nine hour Ironman, ok. There’s a major difference in those. And we just don’t, applying that high volume stuff where it’s just some seventy VO2 or you’re not working. There’s no real relationship to what we found. And in doing everything I’ve done and where we’ve been and the plateaus we’ve seen and just the stale training and people, not being healthy. You know getting colds all the time and being sick. It is proven to be ineffective.
Ben: The reason that I ask is I personally use quite a bit of high intensity training and high intensity intervals because of the reasons that you’ve explained. You know that neuromuscular development and the ability to build speed without wasting a lot of time with myself and with the athletes that I coach. But I do find that especially for the Ironman triathletes, throwing in a couple of long sessions leading up to the race kind of allows for that practice of things like pacing and fueling and some of the stuff that you just don’t think about until you’ve been on a bike saddle for four hours or five hours or until you’ve been like pounding on pavement for a hundred minutes or a hundred and twenty minutes. It seems like there’s a few things logistically. Maybe not from a fitness standpoint even but just logistically that happened at that point that I think really equip athletes to be a little of themselves.
Brian: Certainly! And how many Ironmen have you done?
Ben: I’ve personally done seven.
Brian: Ok. So, you pretty much have understanding of how you fuel right?
Ben: Of how I fuel?
Brian: Yeah, how you fuel and what’s going to happen. I mean, you’ve done seven of these things so you’ve got considerable experience of how you would fuel. But for the more novice athlete, absolutely which is why I usually encourage and to be braced to race and get up to that. I can’t tell you how many people like have hit me up about wanting to just go run a hundred miles because they’ve read the story and heard about what we do. And, oh my God! You mean I don’t have to slug out all these hours and it’s like wow! It’s not what this is about. And if you just want to go out and just run a hundred miles or just do an Ironman and skip the process of development and through that, you’ve missed the point of the program.
Brian: And I’m not saying that people can’t go and I’ve sent people out on these long rides, on these long runs, like man I just don’t think I can do this and I said, hey fine let’s go out and do it. I want you to go out. I want you to pace this thing correctly. I want you to feel correctly. And then I want you to get back to me and let me know if that what happens as soon as you’re done. And without fail, they come back; they’re like so weak. I have no idea I could do that! And I get it. I get and I understand the feeling. But you know, all that stuff is practiced through training and racing. And you know, in signing after these events. Let’s just take marathon times man. 80’s versus now. I mean the average time of marathons in the 80’s it’s like 3:30. It’s now like over 4:30. People are just signing up for marathons and have never run a 5k. They’ve never run a 10k. I mean, how did Gary Celovsky get to where he’s at? Real easy. He’s a world record holder in quite a few distances that were much shorter than the marathon prior to doing the marathon. And you’re never going to see it go the opposite way. Why is that? You’ll never see Scott Jurek going back and running 5k and being a world champion 5k’er. That’s not going to take anything away from him. Goddamn! He’s a phenomenal ultra runner. But it’s just, they don’t have that ability in developing the athlete for sure but man! I just, there’s a lot of stuff out there that I’ve seen and I’ve experienced. And trust me, I banged on the door. I’ve tried it all. We’ve tried the longer effort stuff. You know, running really long on the weekends or riding really long on the weekends and still trying to do this stuff the next week and still trying to maintain what you’re doing and you just lose too much. And so much is lost in that ability not to beat about 90% which is kind of that number, is the ability to be able to train at about 90% all the time. And you’re just a near shot away from being away from a hundred and that’s where that kind of tweet comes in towards the end right before you might taper it.
Ben: Yeah, it’s interesting. As far as weight training goes, there’s a lot of people that say obviously, the weight training frequency that you described earlier. You know going out and including cross fit like, you know, three or four or five times a week in your program. Some people would say that weight training doesn’t make you faster or that weight training has no benefit for something like triathlon. Why is it that you weight train? What would be your response to that?
Brian: Every single study that I’ve ever seen with weight training involved in endurance training has shown nothing but a positive. So if somebody is questioning us adding this stuff, they haven’t done their research.
Ben: Why is it that weight training would help?
Brian: The fundamental problem in endurance sports is not an aerobic issue. It is a strength and conditioning issue solely. And let me explain with you. So, in your Ironman, when you get into the run, that dull achy feeling that starts to set in, it’s not a breathing issue, is it? You don’t feel like you’re labored with your breathing much. You know that dull achy feeling you get where your tissue is starting to break down.
Brian: That can be dealt with two ways. You can go out and you can run, ride, or swim for insanely long distances and use muscular endurance to kind of try and build that up. Or you could actually take strength. And a serious strength and conditioning program and develop the tissue correctly so that it does not breakdown like that. And it actually, here’s the kicker, rebound or you recover much quicker. The biggest difference we see within our athletes and the people who aren’t following what we do is the ability to recover. And they’re back at things much quicker. They’re walking around after Ironmen like nothing happened or marathons. You know, it’s just something you see that getting much, it’s the biggest fundamental difference we see.
Ben: So for you the weight training is primarily for recovery stand point?
Brian: Yeah, that and the ability not to breakdown.
Ben: Interesting! See most of the information that I’ve seen in terms of like the research on weight training suggest that it’s more like the ability recruit like more motor neurons or a greater number of muscles.
Brian: That is what strength training is, right? I mean that what strength training is right? It’s your body’s ability to recruit more muscle.
Ben: So it sounds to me like what you’re saying could be happening is that by being able to use more muscle because you’ve been strength training, you are kind of like spreading the damage out over a greater number of muscles because fewer single muscles are being like isolated or weakened during the endurance activity?
Brian: Absolutely! When you breakdown in an endurance activity, you’re going, systematically going to start recruiting muscles to make up for what the larger one should be doing.
Brian: And if the tissue is weak then it’s not going to be working well. So you’re going to be breaking down quicker. You’re going to be kicking up these shitty imbalances and not being able to, I’m getting this weird feedback right now.
Ben: Yeah, I can hear a little bit of feed back here just a second.
Brian: Yeah. So you know, I mean if we breakdown, we start to do, we start to pick up these wicked imbalances and start recruiting smaller muscles groups to do what larger should. We’re not stabilizing ourselves the way that our body was intended to work. It’s a rapacious cycle that we get into with these longer efforts that we do. Dude, I’m an endurance junkie. I mean, I like to go out and beat the tar out of myself and see how hard I can suffer. And that literally what endurance training is. It’s your ability to suffer. And you know, but I do know that’s going to come at a cost and its going to break me down. And I wound in more trouble by going out and running long. And I became weaker in doing that versus staying strong, following a program like this and coupling it with a program that has enough sports intensity that makes sense and allows me to progress.
Ben: Okay! Cool!
Brian: What we found is we just got, we just got rid of the junk and we’ve gotten somebody stronger. And what we’re seeing even like with our elite guys is just the bottom line is that they’re able to bounce. They’re able to recover so much quicker and able to go so much faster and not have to go putting on massive amounts of miles. I’m not saying we’re not going to be putting on miles. But we could take a look at where long distance thing came from. And you just take a look back later and where it came from. And here’s this cobbler who is 27 and was going to have a heart attack. He was in fear of having a heart attack and basically launches himself into this program of experimenting with running. He got up to like 240 miles a week and that’s where it started, dude. And he started training these kids then you take a look you get towards Percy Cerutty and you know, here’s a guy, 43, lost his job, so observant. You know, it goes on and he was experimenting with running and diet. And then if you haven’t taken a look at this guy, he was basically doing gymnastics type stuff and doing short distance running at a very high intensity. He was doing weight training. They were running around bare foot. And then you get a guy like Peter Kell, who coached Sebastian Kell. And here’s his son and this kid, he is a world champion, right? And it was quoted in a runner’s world and saying that Kell was a liar and saying that his son was doing 40 miles per week and was a world champion. Because he just didn’t believe that a human being just could’ve just be doing like little mileage and doing this. So, all these things are out there and dude there are many ways.
Ben: Is there a book or website that goes in that story that you just told them a little bit more detail? I’d like to look into that.
Brian: Well, you’d have to look at Arthur Lydiard. I think Lydiard’s got three or four books out.
Ben: Its Lydiard’s? How do you spell Lydiard?
Ben: Ok! Cool! I’ll look into that.
Brian: It’s Arthur Lydiard. And then, I’d look at Percy Cerutty, which is you know, C-e-r-u-t-t-y. And then you can look at Peter Coe. And Coe is C-o-e. And just have a look at this stuff. But I mean dude, look at Banister, what did he do? The guy was in med school man! And he didn’t have time to go out and you know, do all these high volume stuff, never had time to do it. Most of his stuff was interval training. You know, and go to work out was he merely could do ten four hundreds under sixty seconds and he knew that he was ready for that four minute mile. I get it. People are muchfaster than that now and they’re doing it on high volume but at what cost?
Brian: If you’re a genetic freak, of course you can recover but what cost? I mean, last time I looked dude, Halle Gabby Solovsky looked about 55 not 35.
Brian: There’s just an energy cost that comes with these things. And us, as athletes, we need to take a look at this and there’s many other ways up the mountain. You might want to take a look at a lot of Norwegians stuff, too. There’s a guy named Ulric Wyfflioff who is right up the same alley we are and he challenges the entire Norwegian Olympic committee all the time. You know, and he’s got athletes and world champions and he’s been using this high intensity stuff and strength training with. It’s out there. It exists and there are people doing this stuff at higher levels and across all levels. It just, we got caught and I think a lot of people got caught on what a lot of misinformation was out there. And you know, we just have another route that goes up that mountain and it’s a pretty effective one. In fact, it’s the most effective one I found and I’ve been playing with all this stuff years.
Ben: Cool! Well I’m sure that people will have some questions after hearing some of your thoughts on cross fit endurance and so if you’re listening in right now and you have a question or a comment about what you’ve heard then feel free to leave it as a comment on the show notes to this episode over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. And Brian, as far as competition, ultras, or otherwise, what’s next for you?
Brian: I am working my tail off. I’m actually getting back into mountain biking. So we’ll see if materializes at all.
Ben: Cool! Well good luck man and thanks for your time!
Brian: Alright. Thanks Ben!
Ben: Alright folks, until next time, this is Brian Mackenzie or Ben Greenfield with Brian Mackenzie signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
Well folks, over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com in the show notes, what I’m going to do is for podcast #147. I’m going to put a link to some of the folks that Brian mentioned in particular the Arthur Lydiard, Percy Cerutty, and Peter Coe. And some of the additional references of information for the reason why this high intensity training can actually give you good endurance for endurance sports, good speed for endurance sports. And of course I’m also going to put a link to the ability to donate a dollar to this podcast to keep it going. Now, remember to send me a picture of you wearing the new BenGreenfieldFitness.com t-shirt which you can get right at BenGreenfieldFitness.com at the bottom of the show notes. If you send me that picture, you will get a complementary phone consultation with me. And then finally, for you triathletes out there, remember our new sponsor, the TheTrishop.com. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com, scroll down the right side of the page and there you will see the TheTrishop.com. You’ll get a big fat discount on one of the coolest new online triathlon stores that I have found. So check that out and remember, leave your comments, your questions, as controversial as they may be over at the show notes for this episode, Episode #147 at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and have a great week.
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