Introduction: In today’s podcast, was ancient man a vegetarian? Also, how to deal with shoulder pain, caring for tech clothes, does yoga affect muscle growth, can you eat carbs and stay in ketosis, what is guarana, fuel for a five-day hill walk, why you shouldn’t eat squash and strawberries and what to do about running pigeon-toed or knock-kneed.
Brock: Hello everybody and welcome back to the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast, this is Brock coming to you live on this Wednesday almost noon and I’ve got Ben on the line as always. Ben, what’s happening?
Ben: Not much. I’m grateful I’m having my hearing back, I totally lost it last week.
Brock: Too many loud rock concerts?
Ben: Yeah, you know me.
Brock: You’re standing right next to the sub when you’re, I don’t know who’s on tour right now, Motley Crue?
Ben: Yeah I just can’t resist it whenever they roll into town, I always show up for Motley Crue. Now I shoved a wax earplug in my ear at some point, I think it was a couple of weeks ago and I remember thinking the next day that my hearing wasn’t quite as good in that ear but then over the past couple of weeks like my hearing has gotten really bad and then when I went up to Ironman Canada, the second day that I was up there, my ear just started bleeding and something’s wrong.
Brock: That’s not good.
Ben: And it was buzzing and I was like riding my bike around and I couldn’t balance very well in my bicycle because the pressure on your ear affects the vestibulocochlear nerve.
Ben: And it starts to cuddle around like a drunken guy and so I called up my doc here in Spokane and told him as soon as I got back fromCanada, I wanted to come see him. So I went in there and I saw him and he looks inside my ear, he was like “Your eardrum looks a little funny”. He’s like maybe we can just clean up the eardrums so he brought me into the cleaning room, puts his microscope in there and he’s like, Oh that’s not your eardrum, that’s like a huge layer of wax over your entire ear.
Ben: And I swear he pulled out this big like bloody, oily piece of like clumped-up wax like the size of a walnut out of my ear.
Brock: Okay, but that wasn’t like ear cheese. That was actually like part of the ear plug that you would put in?
Ben: Something’s part of the ear plug. I didn’t realize that it had actually kind of like stayed in there and clumped things up. I thought I had an ear infection. I was all prepared for him to put me on some kind of an antibiotic drip into my ear or something.
Brock: Well if you left it in there long enough, it would’ve gotten infected for sure.
Ben: Probably but anyways, I can hear now so I’m happy.
Brock: If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and scroll down the side, you’ll see there are links to Twitter and Google+ and Facebook and all that kind of stuff and Ben always keeps the Twitter feed flying with all the latest and greatest studies and new information that’s being released. If you want to get them hot off the presses, just follow Twitter or you can just listen here every week where Ben highlights the best stuff from the week.
Ben: I just actually make all that stuff up.
Brock: That’s quite impressive actually.
Ben: Even the NIH studies, I’ve got a fake NIH website and some people do.
Brock: And Pubmed and all that well.
Ben: Keeps me entertained. A few cool things, there was a study that came out that looked at minerals and hypertension and hypertension is one of the big factors with cardiovascular disease and they ran this study there they induced hypertension, and this was in rats since it’s not ethical to induce hypertension in humans.
Brock: It’s been all a bunch of 50-year olds and gives them high blood pressure.
Ben: Here you go fellas, here’s a salt lick for you. They loaded up these rats with salt, with like a salt solution that simulated, for example, a high salt diet that a human might eat. Remember, salt isn’t bad but when you get up there to the five, six, eight grams that a lot of Americans get on a daily basis, that’s where you’re really pushing the limits with sodium. So they kind of simulated this with rats and sure enough, the sodium induced the hypertension but then what they did was they took one of the groups that had the hypertension and they gave that group minerals, basically like a mineral supplement and what happened was that lowered the rats’ blood pressure and the primary component of the mineral supplement was copper, manganese and zinc which you find in a lot of, you can go out and buy mineral supplements and they’ll include those three as a primary component and what they found was this lowered the blood pressure and the reason is because the minerals are able to scavenge a lot of the free radicals that build up as you increase the pressure in a vessel. Specifically, what they did was they were able to decrease the amount of degradation of nitric oxide and nitric oxide is the main thing that kind of keeps your vessels open and would allow you to have lower blood pressure and the minerals basically made it so that nitric oxide didn’t get used up quite as quickly due to all the oxidation that was occurring from all this salt in the pressure. So there’s multiple studies out there that have shown that most folks, and especially people on a western diet, walk around with really low levels of minerals, not only copper and manganese and zinc but a lot of these trace minerals and I think that this is yet another good reason and this is what I tweeted, you have another god reason to take some kind of a trace mineral supplement. I personally, what I do is a couple capfuls of liquid trace minerals. I use the Peter Gillham’s liquid trace minerals and just put those in some water. Every morning when I drink the water down, usually I’d double that up if I’m going to go out and do like a hot triathlon or something like that but pretty interesting the effect that this has especially mitigating a high salt diet.
Brock: Yeah. Well in just really, once again, points out that our diet is so far skewed in one direction that it really, it’s like it’s really the balance that’s what it sounds like, and we’re just so out of whack.
Ben: Yeah, in terms of sodium-taking presidents, absolutely.
Ben: And a big part of this too is the issue, and maybe we’ll talk about this later in the show because I think somebody asked a question about minerals or something along those lines, somebody asked a question about vegetables and one of the important things is to realize that a lot of times, the vegetables and fruits that we’re eating now are much lower to docile depletion in mineral content, then we may have gotten then 200 years ago or even a thousand ago and so there’s some pretty good reasons to be taking like a mineral supplement. Stevia, I tweeted an interesting post to, not a full-on research study per say but just a case study of stevia and how they found that basically a woman who is given or presented with headaches and interestingly enough, also high blood pressure which we just got done talking about. She was consuming stevia during the 9 months over which she began to develop all of these headaches and when they did laboratory tests on her, what they were showing was an increase in the plasma cortisol to cortisone ratio and what they found was there’s actually a chemical mechanism in some people by which stevia may reduce the ability to turn over cortisol into its kind of less-damaging or less-active form of cortisone by inhibiting a sort of enzyme that catalyzes that process and this isn’t necessarily a case in everyone but if you’re somebody who gets headaches, you may want to look into, if you’re using stevia as like a daily sweetener, it’s like a staple in your diet, you might want to consider eliminating it and see what happens. This was a study in the open journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases and of course, I’ll also link to this in the show notes if anybody wants to geek out and dig in, study about stevia and hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. I thought it was interesting and if you have headaches and you use stevia a lot, cut stevia out and see what happens.
Brock: For those of you who don’t know, stevia is, they take the leaf of a plant and dry it up and crunch it up as generally used as an artificial sweetener or a non-sugar sweetener.
Ben: Although in many cases, with something like Truvia for example, it’s also mixed up with maltodextrin and I believe either xylitol or erythritol, I don’t remember which but a lot of times it’s not just stevia. They’re related to that though and another interesting anecdote on headaches is that there was another study and this one was entitled The Effects Of Magnesium In Migraine Prophylaxis and in this particular study, in short they found it significantly between magnesium supplementation and mitigation of migraine headaches, with the use of about 500 milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis and so, while I just mentioned that perhaps stevia elimination may help some people get rid of headaches, when it comes to migraines, magnesium would certainly be something to try and it’s primarily because of the vessel relaxation effects of magnesium and its ability to kind of stop some of the spasmic action that can contribute to those migraine headaches. So I’ll link to that in the show notes as well but two different ways that if you get headaches, you may be able to mitigate them.
Brock: That’s really interesting. I’ve been taking magnesium on a really regular basis for the last time, probably the last month or so just to help with my sleeping. I take like 500 milligrams just about an hour before bed but I went on vacation, I was away for, on and off for like two weeks and I started getting headaches. I didn’t take the magnesium with me because I just didn’t want to travel with all a bunch of stuff and I did get headaches over that whole time and I assumed it was all the beer I was drinking but maybe it was lack of magnesium.
Ben: I was going to say it wasn’t the fact that you were like hammering through alcohol everyday which, by the way, can strip your body of minerals more quickly, just the diuretic effect of alcohol, so high alcohol, high caffeine diets can certainly benefit from magnesium and mineral use, that’s for sure. So if you’re lush like Brock, all the more reason.
Brock: I’ll just sip my coffee right now.
Ben: That’s right.
Ben: Beer comes later, halfway through the podcast. One last thing I wanted to mention before I turn to a kind of controversial article that came out was that there was a study that looked at urban gardens and particularly, they looked at urban gardens in high traffic areas. This one attracted my attention because just a few blocks from my house at a fairly busy intersection, there is an urban community garden and there are certainly benefits to these urban community gardens in terms of providing the folks who live around these gardens with fresh sources of fruits and vegetables and even the educational process of learning to grow your own food but they did find significant levels of trace metals and higher levels of pollutants in these urban gardens that were located in high traffic areas and this is significantly more than what would be found in a supermarket product. So, if you are involved in an urban garden project, if you yourself are frequenting a community garden to get your food or grow some fruits and vegetables, pay attention to where it’s located because a high traffic burden can really increase especially the trace metal content in the vegetation. So something to be aware of and of course, I thought it was a really good take away in terms of setting where we’re going to put these things because I’m a huge fan of this whole urban horticulture idea but placement is important and it’s a real head scratcher for me why they decided, for example in my city, to put this nice urban garden right in the intersection that gets a ton of traffic.
Brock: I guess convenience is the first thing on their mind.
Ben: Yeah so this should be tucked away, away from the road. And then finally, someone sent me a linked to an article that appeared at Salon Magazine’s website and the title of the article is Was Ancient Man a Vegetarian? and the subtitle was A New Research Paper Suggests Our Understanding of Neanderthals’ Diet is Wrong. Now this is a fairly long article and it would take me quite a while to dig into everything that’s discussed in the article but in particular, the entire basis of the article is written based on a study that appeared in a German article or a German research, Natural Research Journal called Neanderthal Medics: Evidence for Food, Cooking and Medicinal Plants Entrapped in Dental Calculus and what they did was they studied the teeth of these Neanderthals and they found that based off of the chemical traces of wood smoke in these tiny intact starch granules in the teeth that Neanderthals certainly did eat some amount of nuts and grasses and green veggies and the vegan vegetarian crowd kind of gathered around this study to say that Neanderthal man may have not eaten much meat and eaten a diet comprised primarily of vegetables. This is a case basically, kind of an incomplete misunderstanding of the actual study. All the study found primarily was that ancient man relied heavily on plants for the medicinal qualities, meaning that many of these plants that were found in the teeth were things that we still use today in herbal medicine to assist with healing, things like, I’m trying to remember some of the names of some of the herbs that they found in these folks’ teeth. I’m totally blanking on the names of some plants and herbs that are medicinal plants and herbs.
Ben: I don’t remember if it was oregano. I was reading the article a couple of days ago and now I’m blanking but I’ll link to the article in the show notes but what it comes down to is that this was more of a study of the type of medicinal plants that were used by a Neanderthal man or an ancient man and not a study that showed that ancient man didn’t eat meat and ate only cooked plant foods. It just showed that there were definitely some grains and greens in grasses that ancient man ate. They didn’t just gnaw on charred-up squirrels but it’s important to realize that it’s very easy to take a study like that and twist it and you always need to be careful when you’re reading an article like that one that appeared in Salon Magazine, and there’s actually a really interesting book. I read it last month, it’s called the Wild Food Survival Book and it’s just a bunch of photos of all the different herbs and plants out there that you can use to make anything from flour to tea to poultices to a bunch of different, kind of herbal medicine compounds and it is certainly true that most pharmaceutical drugs have their origin being based in some type of plant or herbal extract or essential oil that they’ve been able to refine in a laboratory setting or a patent but ultimately, nothing wrong with using herbs and plants and grasses for medicine because we’ve been using it for a very long time.
Brock: Yeah. I’ve always been under the understanding that Neanderthal and homo habilis and homo erectus were all omnivores that really, it wasn’t one way or the other, they just eat what was available and that was that.
Ben: Yeah, marijuana. That was what I was thinking of. I’m just kidding.
Brock: So you’re off to Vegas really soon.
Ben: Yeah, just like a frequent rock concert, I love to go to Vegas to gamble and smoke and drink and eat buffet food.
Brock: All day and all night.
Ben: No, actually the half Ironman World Championships are down there next week.
Ben: So I’ll head down there Friday, Saturday, race on Sunday, play around on the strip on Monday and fly back. So if anybody’s racing down at the 70.3 World Championships in Vegas, whenever I go anywhere, I did this up in Canada too, I used Twitter quite a bit to tell folks where I’m at and what I’m up to if people want to meet up and say hi so stay tuned to Twitter.com/BenGreenfield and I’ll let you know which random casinos I’m losing money at.
Brock: Yeah, did you have a good time in Penticton?
Ben: Yeah. Last year, they’re going to have that Ironman Canada race up there.
Brock: Yeah, changed the name of it to, what is it?
Ben: Challenge Penticton.
Ben: So yeah, it was a good time. Did a lot of the training and rode my bike around quite a bit, drank a lot of the fantastic Penticton wine and ate a lot of great Greek food and yeah, good time. I actually wrote an article on the drive up there because I was talking with one of my athletes who I rode up with and we were just discussing a lot of things I’ve been using lately that have maybe been flying under the radar or things I haven’t been talking about too much and I wrote an article entitled The Zen of Self Experimentation: Ten New Strategies to Enhance Performance and that’s over there at BenGreenfieldFitness.com right now. So that article came out this week, it’d be a good one to read if you just want to kind of check out some of the crazy, nerdy stuff I’ve been up to and then I also published an article the week prior entitled What In The Bleep Do We Actually Know About Water and that is one of those kind of fringe articles that I do every once in a while that goes into the memory of water and whether or not all water is the same and it kind of expounds on the fact that water can form different crystalline structures and the potential that could have for increasing our ability to hydrate our muscles and our cells based off the type of water that we drink and in that article, as well as in the article that I wrote before that about, the other fringe article about Piezoelectricity, I mentioned that I have been using a Piezoelectric wristband and also drinking structured water, and I know some people think I’m crazy for doing this because science is a little bit woo-woo but I have noticed that it’s had an effect and it also, important to me, has a potential to mitigate some of the effects of electromagnetic radiation as well because I’m sitting in front of the computer, writing a lot, and I find it important to make sure and protect my body from a lot of the effects, potential effects of electro creation. I’ve been using both of these for both performance as well as health and if any listeners want to do exactly that I’m doing and grab a bracelet and some of this water, I’ll put a link in the show notes because as of this week, you can get one of these bracelets that I’ve been wearing along with the drops that you just put a couple of drops in a glass of water in the morning and this basically a structured water, and of course, I completely understand that some of the science out there and this stuff is out there and I linked to a bunch of the science on the page where you get the bracelet if you want to kind of watch some videos and learn about Piezoelectricity and structured water but it is available if folks want to get it.
Brock: The one thing I was curious about with those, with the wristband. You said that it vibrates at like, some sort of frequency that works with your body, do you actually feel the vibration or is it so minute that it’s just sort of happening?
Ben: It’s really minute but there’s actually, I’m putting up a video later on today because I had this guy down in California do some muscle testing with it, this physician named Dr. Best who’s kind of the expert on muscle testing and kinesio testing and he was doing some testing on muscle strength in the presence of having like an iPad or an iPhone on your body versus without and he was actually, he found that when he tapped the face of this wristband, the face of the encoder, when you tap it, you can induce that frequency, that vibration, the same as when you can induce the frequency when you’re foot like strikes around when you’re running for example, or when your hand strikes the water when you’re swimming. And he found that when he tapped it or when he moved it around, it increased the effectiveness of the bracelet. This was specifically in terms of its ability to mitigate some of the effects of electromagnetic radiation but yeah. So for all of you propeller heads out there, grab yourself a Super Human Performance Bracelet.
Jerry: Hello Ben, this is Jerry from Iowa,Ontario. I just did the memo timeline the past weekend. On the second rate, okay and 41 minutes personal best so I’m going to Kona. Thanks Ben for the nutrition advice that you gave me 3 weeks ago, it went perfectly, I felt very energized and strong, no GI issues, I had a very solid bike ride and almost a blunt split and some of the key advices you gave me the weeks and days before was the cup of calories and proteins and fats, maintain my carbohydrate loads, a good big breakfast everyday, go lose glycemic foods and I roughly did it. I actually brought in my own carbs and I’d rather did it other than pasta. A day before I carb loaded on yam sweet potatoes, some protein and some vegetables. I ate all day, I’m very full, went to bed, and had a good night sleep. I raced in the morning, did more sweet potatoes to top up my carbs first, I had gels. I had a gel just before a swim, I had a gel. I went through the bike every 20 minutes as you suggested, I avoided the performance which you also suggested, it was not good. I’ve put up half for every hour and I put at the end of the run. I had a very strong run. Thanks again for your help, looking forward to seeing you in Kona. Take care.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: So it’d appear that everybody is loving the new feature on the website where you can leave an audio question because we got a lot of them this week, it’s crazy.
Ben: I’m actually, frankly surprised that we haven’t gotten more like prank calls just because it’s so easy to do, you literally just push a button and you can record any message you want but we’ve gotten all legit questions. We’ve gotten no prank calls, no dirty calls.
Brock: We did get one blank call, it was half silent.
Ben: Yeah I noticed that, I feel bad for her but somebody left an extremely important 90-second question and didn’t realize that the microphone on her computer was off so apologies to that person. If you’re listening in, you may want to go re-record.
Brock: Yeah but anyway, thanks for using the new feature. It makes my job a lot easier because all I have to do say is here’s a question from Catherine.
Catherine: Hi Ben, my name is Catherine and I have a question about my shoulder. For several years, I have been having problems with my shoulder and I’ve got pain that radiates into my neck even into the back of my head and sometimes in front of my sinuses and what I have found is I believe it gets aggravated when I’m doing things such as plank pose and push-ups, I do a lot of yoga and the more yoga I do, the more push-ups I do, the worse it gets. So I’m wondering am I doing something wrong, am I doing something with or during my push-ups that is aggravating this that I could do better. This is an old injury I believe from a snowboarding accident. I fell on my head and got a concussion and since then, I’ve had this pain. So I would like to continue to do yoga and more yoga and other exercises of course but I don’t want to keep aggravating this. So just wanted to know if you have any advice on things I could do differently or better or if I need to just avoid any kind of push-ups or overhead presses, that kind of thing all together. Thanks very much and I love your show.
Brock: Alright, so this is the first of two shoulder pain questions. What do you think Ben?
Ben: Well in Catherine’s case, because of her injury and the pain that radiates, anytime pain is radiating, that’s indicating that there’s typically some kind of a pressure being placed on the nerve and it’s usually a more serious issue than just like muscle tightness or localized muscle pain. Anytime you got pain that’s radiating, whether it’s down into your neck or it’s up into your neck, there’s some type of nerve compression occurring. Radiating pain is always a sign that there’s something neural going on. In the case of neck pain or shoulder pain that radiates around that specific area, usually you’re looking at three things that can cause something like that. The first would be that the nerve is compressed at its root, which is where the nerve kind of starts down by the spinal cord by a slipped disc, what you would call like a herniated disc or a prolapsed disc or whatever you’d want to call it and that’s something that could easily happen with something like this snowboard injury that Catherine talks about, so first thing to look into would be whether or not there’s some type of a slipped disc going on. What happens is a disc can bulge or a disc can rupture as well so it’s important to look into something like that and typically a herniated disc is caused by some type of uneven pressure going on in the spine and it presses against that nerve and you get that result in the pain. One of the things that can help with things like this is called decompression or spinal decompression. The way that this works is negative pressure is used to pull the vertebra towards the head instead of towards the feet and one of the most common ways to do this is using something like an inversion table. Many chiropractic physicians have an inversion table. I’ve got an inversion table out of my garage and you literally just hang from this inversion table and it relieves a lot of the pressure that this pressure that causes that nerve compression. Once you relieve that pressure, you still have to address the underlying cause of the imbalance and that would be looking at muscle imbalances in the spine that could lead to uneven spinal pressure. And there are chiropractic practitioners that are trained to basically like scan your spine and look at the nerve roots that are kind of coming off the spine and see where the imbalances lie. I’ve had this test on, it’s pretty cool. You get like a print-out of your spinal chart and it shows which muscles are being innervated and which aren’t and that’s something that you could have done and the combination of using something like an inversion table to temporarily relieve some of the discomfort and pain and then getting some type of an assessment down in your spine would be one thing that you could look into if this is compression caused by like a slipped disc. Another issue that could cause this, and this is something a lot of times that will happen when you get injured, it’s what are called Osteophytes so these are little bony gross that can develop on your vertebra which also can compress the nerve, and usually you see this in people who have had some type of like a nerve injury. Same things as getting like a bone spur on your ankle, it’s a bone spur on your spine.
Ben: Yeah and it’s not a comfortable issue. Usually you’re looking at, a traditional medical approach would be like use of anti-inflammatory drugs, surgeries. It’s a tough area for surgery but basically, you can get bone spurs on the neck removed. It’s a minimally invasive surgery. You can recuperate rather quickly but there’s a fairly long period of physical therapy after bone spur removal and you could go into a sports medicine doc and see if this actually is a bone spur issue. In terms of bone spurs though, you can’t just like dissolve bone spurs, there’s not some magic supplement you can take or anything like that. You’d rather off to get an X-ray to show any growth or protrusion of a bone spur and probably minimally invasive surgery get to remove if it’s putting compression on the nerve. By the way with this answer, we may want to actually insert our super speedy I’m not a doctor.
Brock: Oh yeah, I’ll throw that in.
Ben: Yeah so throw that in there just in case. And then finally muscular tightness in your neck or your upper shoulder area can cause compression on the nerves and usually the muscles that are culprits in terms of causing that would be your trapezius, your scalenes or what’s called your levator scapula and most of this stuff could be worked on simply by doing some type of a trigger point therapy with like a massage therapist or an active release practitioner or someone who’s able to basically work on some of those tight muscles. Honestly, you could be looking at all three. You might have a slipped disc, bone growths and tight muscles, tight trapezius.
Brock: About the fact that she said that when she does a lot of yoga and does push-ups and stuff, it gets worse. My money’s on the muscle tightness.
Ben: Yeah. It’s just that with the injury, a lot of times when we have an injury, it can result in the disc issue or the osteophytes issue an because if you let them just go and treated can just become worse and worse. I’d get an X-ray on the spine and that upper cervical area and make sure there’s not any osteophytes going on and I’d definitely look into some spinal decompression too. And then the other thing, in terms of muscle imbalances, I interviewed a guy last year who actually has this program for muscle imbalances and was designed to be sold to like physical therapists and personal trainers but if you’re smart and savvy though, it’s a pretty easy program. I’ve checked it out and it’s just like a series of books and audios and videos that you go through and it teaches you how to fix muscle imbalances and everything from your neck to your shoulder to your legs, it’s a cool program and it’s really complete and there’s this, the guy gave me, when we did the podcast, he gave me like this free 40-page e-book that you can download to learn more about how to fix muscle imbalances because I mentioned that part of the deal with, specially the spinal compression, can be muscle imbalances. I’ll put a link to that book quick read but it’ll kind of fill you in. The other thing is when we’re talking about getting muscle worked on and relieving tight muscles, totally random here but if anybody lives in the Sacramento, California area or is willing to travel over there, I was talking to one of my athletes who just did Ironman Louisville and had some, what I think, are some pretty serious biomechanical issues going on during that race. There was this guy who I’ve also had on a podcast named Dr. Akers, Dr. Herb Akers, totally flies under the radar but I think he’s the best guy in the country when it comes to fast switch therapy and adjustment of, specifically, muscle imbalances physical adjustment. The guy is a freaking genius and anytime I’m down there around Sacramento where they all a lot goes there yet, I’d go in and see him and it’s amazing what he can do in terms of analyzing your body same way the imbalances occur and putting it back together. He’s got a website, it’s called RulesOfTheMatrix.com, and anyway, he’s just a genius. I’ll link to that in the show notes too. If you’re around California, he’d be the guy to see.
Brock: Alright Catherine, I’d go. Nobody’s a fan of getting more X-rays than is necessary but it sounds like you might want to go and do that just to rule out the bad stuff. Alright, let’s move on to the second of our shoulder pain questions and this one comes from Ryan.
Ryan says: Hi Ben and Brock, this is Ryan from Charlotte,North Carolina. I love the show guys, keep it up and it’s always a pleasure to listen to. I’ve recently been experiencing some shoulder pain in the rear of my shoulder as I’m swimming. I’m just wondering if you guys have any exercises or stretch that you would recommend that would eliminate this pain or help me get through it. Thanks a lot guys. Again, I love the show and keep it up.
Ben: So in your case, we’re talking about probably a totally different issue. When you’re looking at pain that’s not radiating, it’s just localized and I’ve gotten shoulder pain with swimming before, usually you’re going to get shoulder pain in two different areas when you’re swimming, it’s either in the front of your shoulder or it’s right there where you seem to be experiencing, at kind of in the rear, on the back of the shoulder blade. So it seems like a simple, stupid solution but I discovered that essentially tight internal rotators refer pain to the front of the shoulder almost 99% of the time in swimmers and so what I figured out was that I could get rid, because I would get like shoulder pain every couple of months because I not only swim but I also play tennis quite a bit, I found that if I could get rid of adhesions in tight areas, in the back of the shoulder, specifically in what are called the internal rotator muscles, then I just didn’t get this pain at the front of my shoulder and it’s very simple to do. You get a golf ball or you get a tennis ball or you get like one of these foam rollers like the Rumble roller that has the ridges sticking out of it and you work all of the areas right underneath and kind of inside of your armpit. You could have a massage therapist do this too, you go to a massage therapist and say “Work my internal rotators” and specifically, your internal rotators are your lats, what’s called your subscapularis which is kind of like the underside of your shoulder blade and then your teres major which is kind of like right around underneath your armpit. You get all of those muscles in the back of the armpit area worked on and if there’s no tenderness or tightness in there, then you’re probably not going to get any pain in the front of your shoulder. So for any swimmers out there who get pain in the front of your shoulder that works really well. For the back of the shoulder, it’s usually something different. Usually pain in the back of the shoulder in swimmers is from a few different sources. One would be chest inflexibility. So you’ll see this a lot of times in people who are swimming but also doing like lots of bench pressing and push-ups and kind of stereotypical get a jacked chest type of work in the gym, so in that case, you want to work on flexibility of your pecks, meaning you’d want to do like doorframe stretches for your shoulders but you’d also, I for a while was doing too much pressing, too much bench pressing, too much chest pressing and I literally had a massage therapist like working on my peck muscles because they were so tight. So peck inflexibility can be an issue with pain in the rear of the shoulder. Tight traps and tight levator scapula, same things I was talking to Christine about the type of things that can cause those muscle imbalances or cause some related nerve pain, that can also be a trigger in swimmers who have pain in the rear of their shoulder. So you get some deep tissue worked on or some massage therapy worked done on your traps and on your levator scapula specifically and those are the two prime elevators of the shoulder. So a lot of times when you’re swimming in that horizontal position, arms raised above the head, those get super tight. So you can get like trigger therapy work done on those, you can get what’s called like active release therapy which is like a pin, a tendon and then move it through a range of motion type of therapy, that works really well but specifically, the peck inflexibility and then tight traps or tight levator scapula would be the two main areas that can cause pain in the rear of the shoulder in swimmers but I mean like knock on wood here, like I said, I used to get shoulder pain a lot because two of my primary modes of activity are using my shoulders a ton and I mentioned that I make sure that I do the tennis ball or the golf ball or the foam roller on the back of the shoulders especially like in your armpit area. The other thing that’s completely helped me a ton is getting that pull-up bar installed in the door of my office and just making myself do anywhere from 3-5 pull-ups every time I go underneath it. It keeps my shoulders very well aligned, addresses a lot of those muscular imbalances, it keeps my scapula pulled back, keeps me from getting my shoulders rolled forward and yeah, just allows me to hang like a monkey every now and again when I’m walking in and out of my office.
Brock: I was going to say, not to sound kind of lame or lazy, but just dangling from those feels so good sometimes, it’s exactly what you need.
Ben: Yeah. It’s also like a mini version of that spinal decompression I was talking about but yeah. I mean the combination of keeping the internal rotators nice and flexible and getting rid of any trigger points in those combined with doing regular pull-ups, kind of like a greasing-the-grooves style, a few pull-ups here and there throughout the day, I swear that’s been the best thing I could do for my shoulders for swimming.
Brock: Yeah, I’m a huge fan of the active release therapy, the ART stuff. I’ve had that for my sacroiliac and also for my shoulders like leading up to Ironman Syracuse, my right shoulder was getting quite sore from all the swimming I was doing and like the massage therapist or the guy actually does, he was a chiropractor, almost had me in tears while he was doing the ART but it was so much better like immediately after, like minutes after, I was like Wow, that’s healed. It’s perfect.
Ben: Yeah but I mean, get on top of that because when you just swim through that tightness, those muscles become inflamed, they become tender and well, that’s tendonitis if you continue to swim through that, then you get the adhesions and the scar tissue that starts to form and that’s, basically it’s tendinosis versus tendonitis where it becomes that chronic inflammation and then eventually that will turn into impingement syndrome where you can’t lift your arm over your head and then worst case scenario, you get a rotator cuff tear after that so, nip this in the bud.
Brock: And then you lose your arm.
Ben: And then they just take your arm off.
Brock: Alright, next question comes from Joe.
Joe says: Hey Ben, Brock, this is Joe again. As far as all these techies and new running hats and shirts and jerseys and your big shorts and your running shorts and baggy shorts, your sock, they all have different instructions on how to wash and I know that there are different washers out there that you can get. I know that there are different cycles, different temperatures also see on line drop out of the dryer, all this stuff. Now I can’t do that individually for each piece of apparel. What’s a good guideline or general thumb for cleaning all of your tech stuff for all of your sporting events? Thank you, I enjoy and love the podcast. Have a great day.
Brock: So yeah, I know what he’s getting at, I know what he’s talking about here. He got some new clothing, you wear it a couple of times and the stink gets incredible no matter how much you wash it, no matter how much you rinse it and hang it in the sun. What do you do about it?
Ben: This tech clothing is of course a more fragile fabric and they do come with each of their own kind of annoying little instructions for washing and I’m really bad at this in terms of like washing my technical fabrics the right way but it is true that regular detergents can really get the stench and the funk out of this running gear but they also kind of strip away the performance aspects of some of the tech fabrics or even just like weigh them down with scents and softeners and stuff like that. So there are some companies that make sports washes specifically designed to work for tech gear and to get a lot of the sweat and the gaminess out of that gear. One is called Nikwax, another one is called Penguin, there’s one called Win. I’m not a huge fan of them because they do have a lot of chemicals and things that aren’t all that great for you or for the environment in them. There is one company that uses a different approach, it uses like silver particles and don’t worry, there’s not a risk for having heavy metal toxicity in stuff like that but there’s like these micro-silver particles that help to kill a lot of the little bacteria that can cause that stink and it’s just meant to be using cold water. That one’s called Shutout detergent and that would be a good one but it’s something you could use, just save your tech gear up for three or four days and then just use the Shutout detergent just with that and not with your other clothes. I’ll put a link to that stuff in the show notes but it’s the ingredient list on that is not bad, that’s one that I would definitely endorse or if you’re ok about using, so it’s called Shutout. You can also make your own like we make our won detergent. We just use like baking soda, it’s like one part baking soda, one part borax and then you grate some soap, you grate basically about a half bar of soap up with the baking soda and the borax and you heat all that in some water and then you just stir the water until the borax and the baking soda is dissolved and you remove that from the heat and then you basically you use that as your detergent, or even throw in some tea tree oil which has some pretty good antibacterial effects and that seems to work really well also but it’s probably not quite as good for my tech fabrics. It compared to using something like that Shutout detergent with just basic cold water, so that’s one thing is you can make your own detergent with the borax and the baking soda and my wife’s got a big long video in the Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle about this where she walks you through everything from window cleaner to disinfectant to making your laundry detergent to pretty much everything that we use but that’s one solution, is to just use the Shutout detergent with cold water if you weren’t going to make your own detergent. The nice thing when you’re making your own detergent a lot of times it does have fewer of the scents and softeners and the things that can weight that tech clothing down.
Brock: Nothing gets smellier than hockey equipment, like I swear, I don’t know what it is about a hockey equipment but nothing smells as bad as it does and like twice a season, which is probably not as often as I should do, I’ll throw it in a hot bathtub with some vinegar, let it soak for a really long time and then put it out in the sun like even if it’s in the middle of winter, just getting it out into the sunshine really makes a huge difference. There are antibacterial properties in sunshine that I don’t even understand but it does a really good job and I think as far as like the longevity goes, just keeping it out of the dryer is always a good rule to follow to.
Ben: Yeah. I bet that’s some nasty soup in your bathtub after that hockey equipment deal.
Brock: Oh I just jump right in there after and just like clean myself in and it’s beautiful.
Ben: Yeah, just lap it up. Good stuff, full of minerals and whatever else leeches off your hockey equipment. I know a guy who used to lick his arm during workouts to try and like get his minerals back into them, it’s just nasty and just the final caveat to this before we, we probably lost all our listeners already, but you’re also talking to the guy. I travel typically with just one to two pieces of workout gear and I shower with them and then I put them inside the bath towel that the hotel gives me and I jump up and down on that towel to dry them out and then I wear them the next day, so that’s about as advanced as my tech fabric washing gets.
Brock: Then kick it around at the bottom of the shower.
Ben: Yeah, but try that Shutout stuff if you want to spend some money on some real stuff.
Brock: Alright, let’s move on to the next question from Kyle.
Kyle says: Hey Ben, my name’s Kyle Regal. Wondering if it’s possible to build high quality lean muscle and size while on a low carbohydrate diet obviously eating the right amount of protein, lots of vegetables and fats as well as doing practicing Bikram hot yoga four to seven times per week, so we’re talking training heavy and hard 8-12, sometimes if you want to go for a super set 15-20 reps on weight training and as well incorporating Bikram yoga into the whole training plan just because I love both of them. So I’ve been working out for the past year and I’ve noticed decent games but not the type of games that you would expect from just the typical body builder type. Now I would like to gain more size but I heard both that well, yoga’s really good but you’ll never be able to build the amount of size that you want to build by practicing and doing so much Bikram Hot Yoga, so that’s my question. If you could answer it, that’d be great. Talk to you soon, bye.
Brock: Alright, does yoga cancel out some heavy lifting?
Ben: Yeah potentially, and there’s a few issues but probably the biggest one is the whole muscle elasticity and relation to force and power and strength and the whole idea is that stiff muscles and stiff tendons, yeah that can reduce your range of motion a little bit but it’s the tension in those muscles that allows you to produce a lot of that external force and the more pliability, pliable?
Ben: The more pliability in this, the muscle has the less force that it’s going to have and the less tension that it’s going to be able to create and there have been studies that have looked into this. For example how static stretching can bring about this increase in range of motion, static stretching, stretch and holds like you do in yoga but there’s a direct association between that in the 30%-40% decrease in the passive tension or the tone of a muscle. So we’re not only talking about the reduction of force production capability but also kind of the reduction in almost how toned that muscle looks, say like if you’re walking around with your shirt off and you’re a regular yoga practitioner, you’re probably not going to appear to have quite as much tone as someone who’s got slightly tiger muscles, it’s the sprinter look versus the yogi look. So that’s one issue, is the muscle tendon issue and remember that there really is no proven link between lower injury potential and the range of motion that a muscle can move through. As long as you can move through the range of motion required for the activities that you’re doing, whether it’s bench pressing or doing power cleans or swinging a golf club or whatever, that’s as much range of motion as you need. You don’t have to go above and beyond that which, I’ve taken lots of Bikram Yoga myself before. You don’t have to be able to go through those ranges of motion to do something like decrease injury. So the other things that research has shown when it comes to static stretching like you do in yoga and strength potential is that static stretching decreases your strength for about an hour after you stretch. In some cases, it’s been shown to last for as long as 90 minutes. So if you’re going to be weight lifting, you would not want to be doing the yoga prior to the weight lifting. It’s been shown that static stretching can definitely decrease the specific coordination of explosive movements and like your vertical jumping capability and your throwing capability and so if you’re including plyometrics or explosive like Olympic weight lifting for example in your routine, again, at least 60-90 minutes prior to that and preferably not even the same day like early in the day, you wouldn’t want to do this static stretching like a Bikram Yoga type of program. So timing is going to be an issue here, meaning that if you’re going to weight lift and you want to produce as much force as possible, get as much power and as much strength as you can in the weight room which is going to translate to muscle gains, you wouldn’t want to be doing your yoga like in the morning and you’re strength training in the afternoon or the evening or your yoga and then going out to the gym and doing strength training. So I would be doing the yoga on a different day and I would understand that it’s still going to bring about basically a decrease in tone and an increase in range of motion and flexibility in the muscle. That may hold you back a little bit, I mean there are definitely going to be sacrifices that need to be made if you’re doing something like hot yoga, that’s a big difference between four to seven hot yoga sessions per week and just a light stretch every morning in terms of its effects on your force and your power and your strength, so that’s one thing to think about. The other thing I would definitely consider is the mineral depletion that happens when you are sweating during hot yoga. Again, I’ve taken my share of hot yoga, I know how much you sweat in these classes and there’s definitely a correlation between your zinc levels, your magnesium levels and specifically your insulin-like growth factor and serum testosterone. So if you’re zinc-deficient or magnesium-deficient because of rapid mineral loss from heavy and frequent sweating, you’re going to risk decreasing your ability to produce some of these important androgens like testosterone. Specifically what zinc does or zinc deficiency does is it reduces your circulating a luteinizing hormone which is the main hormone that acts on your testis to cause them to produce testosterone. So zinc deficiency is an issue, magnesium is responsible for part of the enzymatic production of testosterone as well, so a deficiency of both of those has been associated with decrease in testosterone deficiency and magnesium has been associated with strength and so mineral depletion is going to be an issue and if you’re doing this hot yoga, I mentioned minerals earlier in the show, I would definitely be paying attention to your mineral levels and specifically your zinc and your magnesium, both of which are lost in sweat in significant amounts. So that’s another thing that I’d think about, and then the last thing I’d think about would be, you mentioned weight training, we’re talking about intense weight training and you’re throwing around numbers like 8-12, 15-20 reps etc. well, certainly when you’re going high rep in the weight room or whatever, low weight-low rest, high rep lots of burn, body-building style protocol, there is some evidence to show that that type of metabolic stress may result in better muscle gains than like resting for a long period of time between sets for example, but you’re already getting quite a bit of metabolic stress through this hot yoga that you’re doing and I would instead use the strategy of that being any type of metabolic stress or cardiovascular work and then using much heavier, anywhere from three to eight rep style of weight training sessions when you’re in the weight room, resting for a long period of time between those sets and basically focusing on strength and heavy lifting for that muscle mass and for that increase muscle that you’re going after rather than doing like high rep weight training and yoga, which is ultimately just going to, pardon the expression, make you a skinny bastard. So you want to focus on heavy weights and then time that yoga so it’s not before the weight and make sure that you’re addressing that mineral depletion as well, that’s what I would do.
Brock: I think I’m going to follow the Kyle protocol when triathlon, marathons he’s in his over, I like the sound of that.
Ben: Yeah. I mean the one thing I have you, I mentioned I’ve done that hot yoga, what I’ve used it for is leading up to Ironman Hawaii a couple of years, that’s all I did for my heat acclamation because I’m lazy. I just go sit in the sauna and read magazines but I used to do hot yoga quite a bit for that.
Brock: Alright. For this next question, I’m going to call the fellow low carb guy because he didn’t say his name.
Low Carb Guy: Hi Ben! I’m trying to get my head around how low carb diet can work for someone such as myself running ultra marathons. In a recent interview with Dr. Peter Attia, he said being on ketosis is binary in nature, either you’re in ketosis or you’re out. If that is indeed the case, why would an elite low carb athlete like Timmy Olson, who just won Western States, fuel with gels during the race at all? Is it possible to be in ketosis but temporarily exit for quick burst fuel through carbs? I guess my main confusion is whether or not there is a same metal ground for someone such as myself. For instance, if I follow a 40-30-30- diet and I go out for my 5+ hour training runs, am I ever oxidizing fat as the fuel source or will I bonk if I’ve had some carbs prior to and during my long runs? Ben, thanks for the help and for your awesome podcast. Have a great day.
Brock: Okay, I am still having trouble wrapping my head around exactly what the question is. I hope you figured it out Ben.
Ben: Yes! Basically he’s wondering if when you’re in ketosis, which means that you’re utilizing primarily blood ketones or fatty acids as a fuel, if you can be using carbs or if carbs are going to completely take you out of ketosis and the fact is, the short answer is no. When you’re taking in carbs during an exercise session, it’s still possible for you to be burning enough ketones as a fuel source towards as you’re still in what would be called ketosis. So ketosis would indicate or would be indicated by you having a blood ketone concentration that is preferably above what’s called one millimolar and you could test this using literally like a fink tip prick blood evaluation of your ketone concentration anywhere up to about seven millimolars. Once you’re above seven millimolars, that’s a lot of ketones and there actually can be some kidney stress and some metabolic stress that results from that but you got to be going for a really long period of time with almost no fuel to get up to seven millimolars in terms of ketones. Basically that would be your blood ketone concentration. If you’re doing a urinary strip type of evaluation of your ketones, you’re usually looking for something above about 70 milligrams per desolator for urinary ketones. You can witness either of those when you are taking in carbohydrates during like a long endurance training session, even when you are taking in those carbohydrates. I just had an athlete who I’m training right now for the Lead Man down in Bend and I’ve got him on about a hundred to a hundred fifty calories of that UCAN Super Starch per hour and he went out and did a long swim and a long bike ride, it was about a four to five hour bike ride and preparation for that event, he was doing that 100-150 calories of the Super Starchy chewer which is a carbohydrate source but he’s urinary ketones was well above or right around that 70 range when he finished the training session, indicating that he was burning a really good amount of fatty acids as a fuel during that session and staying in ketosis. So when you’re looking at somebody like Tim Olson, this elite athlete that won the Western States 100-mile trail run, well he was using gels during that trail run. It’s likely that he actually was not in ketosis and if you look at his website or if you look at the ratio for that, he doesn’t claim to be an athlete that’s stays in ketosis during an exercise session. He just focuses generally on a low carbohydrate diet, closer to what I do really, generally low carb and then races slightly higher carb. So the idea behind staying in ketosis, if you want to do it, if you need to take your carbohydrate intake at about 30-50 grams a day, okay. Generally, you don’t want to do all those carbohydrates at once because that will spike your blood sugar to the point that it pulls you out of using primarily fatty acids as a fuel. You want to spread those 30-50 grams throughout the day and preferably take them in during your exercise session when they’re going to be the least likely to spike your blood sugar levels and then most likely to be basically just contributing to a little bit of extra fuel, just enough fuel to where your brain’s getting trace amounts of glucose, your kidney’s getting a little bit of glucose. It’s kind of like the bear minimum of glucose that your body needs to sustain life and then everything else is from fatty acids. So about 30-50 grams of carbohydrate per day, either spread throughout the day or taken in primarily during the exercise session and yeah, in that situation, you could be using carbohydrates during exercise and also be in a state of ketosis. So you don’t exit out of ketosis as soon as you like eat one gel. If you are already fairly low carbohydrate and you haven’t been eating a lot of other fuels in your meal is to stay in that state of ketosis, and for those of you who are just like scratching your head completely right now or totally lost, go listen to like the podcast that I did with Peter Attia. Incidentally, I’ve got another podcast with Peter Attia coming up this weekend and in that podcast, we go over Peter’s experience with fasting for extended periods of time followed by long workouts and kind of how he pulls that off, what he does, what he tests and why he does it so that’s going to be a super interesting interview that I’ll release this Saturday.
Brock: Cool. That sounds awesome although I don’t like the idea of fasting for a really long time and then working out really hard for a long time, that just. I think I’d faint.
Ben: Peter’s very fat-adapted and he did ok with it, he maintained I think 19, 20 miles an hour during a five to six hour bike ride following a 24-hour fasted session. He’ll talk about it more in our podcast, he’ll also talk about the reasons that you’d even want to do something like that because yeah, for some people, that sounds like a torture fest.
Brock: Yeah. Alright well, I’ll tune in but first, let’s move on to the next question and it comes from Marco.
Marco says: Wondering what your thoughts are on guarana?
Ben: Yeah guarana, it’s like a caffeine source. Same caffeine that you would find in Yerba Mate, it’s just a basic stimulant. It’s got the theobromine and the theophylline and all those same alkaloids that you’re going to find in something like a coffee bean. It’s actually got a little bit more caffeine than a coffee bean. They’ve done studies on it. They found that basically when you give for example, rats that are on a supplementation, that it does have a fat-burning effect. The fact is though that there’s nothing special in guarana that contributes to that fat-burning effect aside from caffeine because when they took those sane rats and gave them like a decaffeinated guarana, there’s absolutely no effect on lipid metabolism, no effect on fatty acid utilization and so basically what I’m getting at here is that guarana’s kind of spendy and you get the same time of fatty acid utilizing effect from just like the caffeine in coffee, it’s the same really. They’ve done other studies that have found that guarana improves memory and mood and alertness and found that there definitely is kind of a dose response effect, the more guarana you use, the more it can improve memory or mood or alertness. However, they also compared it to caffeine from coffee again and found no big difference. So ultimately, it’s one of those things where it’s pretty similar to coffee in terms of its effect but it’s more expensive and so I’m a bigger fan of just drinking coffee although I will occasionally, when I’m at a coffee shop or something, I’ll order Yerba Mate. And I noticed I feel a little bit different type of mental alertness when I’m drinking Yerba Mate versus when I’m drinking coffee, and then of course the other thing is that it’s just a flavor change up, so you’ve got that effect as well but the risks of it or whatever would be the same as that of like using too much caffeine. Sure if you use too much, you’re going to get increases in your heart rate and your blood pressure and maybe some heart rate abnormalities and some overtaxing of your adrenal glands but in moderation, they’re pretty much equivalent to caffeine really from coffee.
Brock: Yeah, I’ve noticed the same sort of thing for years now anytime I have green tea, I get really jittery. Like I drink, not a lot of coffee but I’ve 2 cups a day, probably on average and don’t really have any problem with it unless I go beyond that but 1 cup of green tea and I’m just like freaking out.
Brock: It’s interesting how the different kinds of caffeine affect you differently. Okay, Andrew asks.
Andrew says: I’m going on a five-day hill walking trip on the west highland way in Scotland, carrying approximately 14 kilograms in my pack for 20 miles per day. What would you suggest as the best strategy for the three main areas I’m concerned about which are energy, recovery and injury prevention if possible. Also, added to this, I want to keep it lightweight as much as possible but most camping foods that are available are freeze dried and probably not the best in terms of quality.
Ben: I’m disappointed. I was hoping he was going to ask me about the best kilt selection.
Brock: Or where to get freeze dried haggis.
Ben: That’s right, haggis. So yeah, I mean weight can definitely be an issue with this and we’ve talked about this. We have a guy who did like the multi-day hike.
Brock: In Mongolia.
Ben: That was episode number 190 where he did the multi-day hike. No, theMongoliaguy was doing runs. That was like ultra run right, like on the fringes of Mongolia?
Brock: Oh yes, right.
Ben: Yeah. I’ll put a link to both of those for Andrew because we kind of hashed through this and what I’ll do is I’ll just go over the clip, notes of what I told both of those guys and then you can go back and go read the transcripts. I’ll put a link to both the transcripts for those because that was episode number 190 and episode number 199. We kind of talked about this stuff for awhile but my basic list of recommendations for the guy who was doing the day hiking was to get like, one thing was this Justin’s Nut Butter which comes in these tiny little gel-like packs. There’s another one in addition to Justin’s Nut Butter called a pocket fuel and both of those are nut butters that are in like a gel-packet form and those are super good especially for lower intensity exercise. If I’m red lining on a bike or during a run, I’ll burp that oil back up but for like a hike, that stuff works really well and it’s obviously much more dense and compact than say like Trail Mix. Another thing that you could use, and this is something I also recommended that guy who was hiking, was coconut manna which you can get from Nutiva, that stuff is super calorie dense and it’s mixed of coconut flesh and coconut fat and that also squeezes a lot of calories into a really small space, you could put that into a Ziploc bag. It comes in this like plastic container but you’d want to take it out of the container, put it in Ziploc bag and you can just eat that stuff straight out, it’s good so I would definitely do that. You can definitely use a jerky like a beef jerky type of thing or even a salmon jerky or a tuna jerky. If you didn’t want to do a beef jerky that would also work, highly portable along the same lines and I actually just did a podcast and article about this, would be Pemmican over at GetFitGuy.QuickandDirtyTips.com. I just released an episode about what kind of protein bars are healthy and I talked about beef jerky, I talked about pemmican, I talked about some other protein bars, I talked about what to look for in a protein bar, what to avoid in a protein bar. By the way, for any of you podcast listeners that don’t get my newsletter over at GetFitGuy.QuickandDirtyTips.com or don’t listen to that podcast, usually it’s stuff I don’t talk about too much on this podcast and especially the newsletter, I try and throw in some really relevant stuff that’s really super short, easy to look at and won’t take you much time but you should check that out if you’re tuned in to that yet. Anyways though, that’s in the side. So yeah beef jerky, salmon jerky, tuna jerky, pemmican, coconut manna, the little omen butter packs and then the things I didn’t mention yet that I think I threw in to the guy who was over in Mongolia doing that ultra run in Mongolia would be some dark chocolate which is usually calorie-dense, 600, 800 calories in a decent-sized bar of dark chocolate and then you could also get like a really dense whole food powder like living fuel super greens, that’s a good one, it’s the one I travel with, it’s really alkalinic, it’s got digestive enzymes, probiotics, complete meal and it’s going to kick the butt of any of those freeze dried type of supplements, so that’d be another one to take along with you. Those would be some of the main things. I guess the only other thing is to mix them with your water, you can bring some chia seeds and dump those into the water, shake them up, they’ll form a little gel and you can sip on that as you go so those are some of the main things that aren’t going to be super spendy and still give you some really good calories.
Brock: Let’s move on to the next question from Craig.
Craig says: There were a few items toward the avoid side of the Super Human Food Pyramid that I found a little surprising, grapes squash and strawberries. I believe the grapes may be on that end for the sugar content. The squash and strawberries are more of a mystery, please enlighten me.
Ben: I think I’ve gotten this question in the past, not in the podcast but some people have asked me about that Super Human Food Pyramid and why there were a few vegetables and fruits that were kind of head scratchers in terms of why they appeared more towards the avoid side and less on the moderate or the eat side. For those of you who don’t have the Super Human Food Pyramid, it’s over on the right side of the page at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, free download. The reasons that squash, strawberries and grapes all appear slightly towards that avoid side is because of their potential for being higher in pesticide residues. Specifically if you look at the dirty dozen which is what the environmental working groups puts out on an annual basis, based off of the type of phosphates and all the other potential toxic compounds on stuff, grapes and strawberries are pretty frequently on that list and then the other thing that has appeared on that list several times in the past is winter squash. Now if you’re growing squash and grapes and things like this in your backyard, not really an issue but we’re talking about like supermarket variety of grapes, strawberries and winter squash specifically. Any of the items that appear on that dirty dozen list you just to be really careful with. Sure you can get a whole from the grocery store, you can soap it in a bleach solution and rinse it, you can also rinse it in a vinegar and water solution and rinse it, those would be the two ways to mitigate some of the damage from pesticides and herbicides and insecticides but in terms of choosing staples in your diet, I try and choose fruits when I can’t part from that dirty dozen list if I’m buying that from the supermarket.
Brock: Alright, that’s an easy answer.
Ben: Yeah, just trying to keep you from growing an extra eyeball at the top of your head Craig.
Brock: Although, who doesn’t want an extra eyeball on the top of their head?
Ben: That’s true, and a couple of extra hands and maybe like f extra hours in the day.
Brock: I really just want a prehensile tail, I’d be so happy if I had a prehensile tail.
Ben: A prehensile, is that the kind of tail that grows back after it gets chopped off?
Brock: Oh, that’d be good too, just the kind that you can actually pick things up with.
Ben: Oh, a tail that you could pick things up with.
Ben: Yeah, that would come in handy as well. Still be able to use my squatty potty though if I had a tail.
Brock: Last question from Joe.
Joe says: My 13-year old son has begun running. I’ve always known something was wrong with his running and I thought it was his ankles. As he passed me on a run the other day, he did 2.4 miles in 20 minutes! I noticed his knees were closed together and his feet were kicking out in a diagonal manner. I did some research and I believe he is knock kneed. It isn’t that obvious when he walks or stands. He walks with a minor pigeon toe. He is definitely not overweight and what can we do to correct this short of surgery?
Ben: Well maybe he was just like dancing. It’s possible when I’m dancing, running, my feet kick out.
Brock: Did he have head phones on?
Ben: Yeah they have head phones on and I don’t know, maybe a kilt?
Brock: Was he air drumming?
Ben: Yeah, possibly. Was he in a parade? No seriously Joe, sorry. The fact that you’re not noticing that his knees are knocking together when he’s just standing around is good. It’s likely that he doesn’t have the genetic, what’s called a, I always get these mixed up if it’s valgus or if it’s varus when you’re knock kneed. I believe it’s valgus, I believe knock-kneed is valgus because when your knees come apart, it would be varus I’m fairly sure but knock-kneed is genuine valgus is would be the medical term for that but basically it’s bow legs and some infants, because of the way that they’re folded up in the uterus, they can start out bow-legged and then they became knock-kneed and literally knock-kneed means, from a medical perspective, when you’re knees are standing, your knees are touching. That’s really true and you could, I guess you can Google an image knock-kneed and you’d see what this really looks like. Like if you know if you’re someone who’s knock-kneed, sometimes it can be caused by rickets, sometimes it can be caused by bone infections, severe overweight or obesity can cause the issue but it’s likely that this isn’t one of those medical issues where he’s going to need a knight brace or they even do surgery in some cases for severe cases of genu valgum or knock-kneed. It’s likely that what we’re looking at here is more of a biomechanical issues with bow legs and so one of the issues here, and they have studied this, is that when your hips aren’t stabilizing, you properly during the stance phase of running, when one of your feet is in contact with the ground, the muscles on the outside of the hip that are supposed to become active to prevent your body from tipping towards that unsupported side, those muscles don’t do their job properly and so the leg that you’re in that stance phase on goes into what’s called this genu valgum or this knock-kneed or bow-legged type of gate to compensate and it’s simply a hip stability issue in most cases. The problem is that that can eventually, especially if your son’s already running 2.4 miles at 13 years old, that can cause some knee injuries, it can cause some hip injuries long term. They did research at the University of Calgary for example, and looked at this issue with genu valgum during running. They put folks through, just as short as a three-week program and it mitigated this issue significantly and all they did during the three-week program was strengthening the exercises for the hip abductors and for the hip external rotators and one of the best hip abductors strengthening exercises that you can do, your son could do it literally while he’s watching TV, I’ve done this before while watching movies going back and forth across the living room, is just to resistance band lateral walk. You get one of these mini bands that you attach from one ankle to the other, it’s like an elastic tubing or an elastic band and you loop it around the lower legs and you stand with your knees slightly bent and your feet far enough apart where there’s some tension in that band and you just step to the right with your right foot and you can either shuffle across the room where you can go just from side to side right there standing in place and that’s a great way to get your hips strong quickly. I mean there are other things you can do lateral lunges, hip hikes and all sorts of stuff like that but really like this lateral band hip walk, works pretty well and that’s where I’d start. The other issue is that in some cases, weak arches, overpronation specifically can also be an issue with the knock-kneed. You’re going to get a lot of podiatrists and stuffs recommending metatarsal lifts and arch support. I am a bigger fan of getting your feet strong. I actually wrote an article about how to start running bare foot and in that article. I talked about some of the ways that I like to get the feet strong like standing in one leg when you’re brushing your teeth or standing on one leg on a balanced disc or a balanced pillow at the gym. If you are doing gym exercises like overhead presses, standing on one leg. If you got a mini trampoline, you can do like one-leg bounces on a mini trampoline or even like a regular trampoline and you can also do basically like standing on one leg, cable kicks to the front or to the side or to the back and that also really gets those tiny foot muscles very strong and helps to support the arch. It’s a good strategy for trying to get yourself to run bare foot. It’s also a good strategy to get your feet stronger to where they’re able to support some of the load of the body in that single-leg stance phase. So I wouldn’t be sending your son off to surgery anytime soon to correct bow legs with screws and plates and all that jazz. Basically just get the hip strong and check out the feet make sure those are strong and that’s where I would start.
Brock: And even go back, I can picture it still in my mind too during the Olympics that we’re just past if you’re listening to this when it comes out, we’re only a couple of weeks from the Olympics. So one of the women who’s in, I think she was in the top 10 at least in the marathon, ran like what you’re describing and well she was in the top ten of the Olympic marathon so I think sometimes people just run a little bit different that we might like them to or they might like to as long as they just not causing any problems. Sometimes that’s just the way it is, that’s just the style.
Ben: Yeah, you see all sorts of different running styles out there and I can tell you right now, mine is pretty dang ugly if you’ve ever seen photos or seen me run.
Brock: Yeah, you kind of look like you robbed a liquor store.
Ben: Yeah especially like I got waxed in one ear. It’s worse. Yeah I guess that about wraps it up.
Brock: Yeah it does, that wraps it up for today.
Ben: Cool. Well of course, we’ll put links to everything in the show notes from the brand new Super Human Performance Encoder Wristband to all those studies that I mentioned and some of the links to previous podcasts that I referenced and the Shutout detergent for Joe and anybody else who’s got stank in their clothes and that muscle imbalances 40-page report, we’ll link to all of that stuff in the show notes for this episode, was it episode number 206 Brock?
Brock: Sure is.
Ben: Over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. So until next week, this is Ben and Brock signing out from Ben Greenfield Fitness. Have a great week.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net
Aug 29, 2012 free podcast: Was Ancient Man A Vegetarian? Also: how to deal with shoulder pain, caring for tech clothes, does yoga affect muscle growth, can you eat carbs and stay in ketosis, what is guarana, fuel for a 5 day hill walk, why you shouldn't eat squash and strawberries, and what to do about running pigeon-toed or knock-kneed.
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of the screen, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype to “pacificfit” or scroll down on this post to access the free “Ask Ben” form.
NEW Enhanced Podcast – For those of you with devices that support the M4A file type (Apple, some recent Android, Sonos, Creative Zen, Zune, some Sony, Nintendo DS, Wii, PSP, some Nokia and some Blackberry… and a few more) we have a new “enhanced” version of the podcast… with chapters! Download it here and let us know what you think.
If you have trouble listening, downloading, or transferring to your mp3 player just e-mail [email protected]. Also, please don't forget to leave the podcast a ranking in iTunes – it only takes a minute of your time and it helps grow our healthy community!
- More good reasons to take liquid trace minerals.
- Stevia: maybe not the best choice for everybody – especially if you get headaches when you use it.
- Limit to benefits of urban garden. My community has an urban garden next to road & (based on this) I wouldn't go near those veggies.
- You get headaches? This study shows that magnesium deficiency may be a big issue.
- Was ancient man a vegetarian?
Next week, Ben will be at Vegas 70.3 – Follow him on Twitter to meet-up before and after the race.
Ben's Superhuman Performance Encoder wristband and Entrainer Drops – are now available.
As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
Audio Question from Catherine:
For several years she has had trouble with her shoulder. She has pain radiating through her neck, head and even sinuses. She does a lot of yoga, and the more yoga and pushups she does, the worse it gets. She had a snowboard crash that may have caused the problem in the first place.
Audio Question from Ryan:
He's recently been experiencing some shoulder pain while swimming and is looking for exercises or stretches to help with shoulder pain.
Audio Question from Joe:
He has tons of “tech” clothing for running, biking, etc., but they all have drastically different Washing instructions. What is a good general rule to follow?
~ In my response I mention Shutout Detergent.
Audio Question from Kyle:
He wants to know if it possible to build high quality lean muscle while on a low carb diet and and high fats – as well as doing Bikram hot yoga 4 to 7 times per week? He lifts heavy weights (hard) but also loves the yoga. He's heard that yoga is good for him but that he will never build the size he wants while doing yoga.
Audio Question from Low Carb Guy:
Trying to get his head around running low carb while doing trail ultra marathons. If ketosis is binary why would an elite athlete fuel with gels at all? Is it possible to be in ketosis but do a quick exit to fuel with carbs? Does eating even a small amount of carbs mean that he won't be oxidizing fats?
~ In my response I mention this podcast Is It Possible To Be Extremely Active and Eat A Low Carbohydrate Diet?
Wondering what your thoughts are on Guarana?
I'm going on a 5 day hillwalking trip on the West Highland Way in Scotland carrying approx 14kg in my pack for 20 miles/day. What would you suggest is the best strategy for the three main areas I'm concerned about which are: energy, recovery and injury prevention (if possible)? Also, added to this I want to keep it lightweight as much as possible but most camping foods that are available are freeze dried and probably not the best in terms of quality.
There were a few items toward the avoid side of the Superhuman Food Pyramid that I found a little surprising; grapes, squash and strawberries. I believe the grapes may be on that end for their sugar content? The squash and strawberries are more of a mystery. Please enlighten me.
My 13 year old son has begun running. I've always known something was wrong with his running, and I thought it was his ankles. As he passed me on a run the other day (he did 2.4 miles in 20 minutes!) I noticed his knees were close together and his feet kicking out in a diagonal manner. I did some research and I believe he is knock kneed. It isn't that obvious when he walks or stands. He walks with a minor pigeon toe. He is definitely not overweight. What can we do to correct this short of surgery?