Episode #198: When To Take Sleep Pills, Pain Meds and Fat Loss Boosters

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June 27, 2012 – free audio podcast: When To Take Sleep Pills, Pain Meds and Fat Loss Boosters Also: fueling a long ride on a high fat diet, how to recover from and prepare for a race simultaneously, does eating low-carb raise your cholesterol, the skin-diet-hormone-exercise connection, menstruating on race day, taking a sleep aid the night before a race, Yohimbe for fat loss, how to incorporate burpees, the best way to decrease muscle, the different types of fatigue, and the hormonal effects of prescription pain medications.

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Listener Q&A:A donate button that reads - keep the podcasts coming

As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Audio Question from Chuck:
When you follow a high fat diet and go for a really long bike ride (3 to 6 hours) what do you use to fuel during these rides?

Audio Question from Chris:
Recently complete an Olympic Triathlon and is signed up for another one 4 weeks later (now 3 weeks away). He had a good rest week and feels like he will be ready but would like some suggestions for training and tapering.

~ In my response, I mention the article “How To Bounce Back From Ironman With Lightning Speed“.

Osa asks:
Is the Low-Carb diet actually bad for you in the longterm? I am just concerned because there is a new study spreading around the web that says that low-carb diets significantly raise the risk of heart disease. What do you think about the article Atkins diet ‘raises risk of heart disease' because of a surge in cholesterol levels?

~ In my response to Osa, I mention the Superhuman Food Pyramid.

Frances says:
I have been suffering from adult acne since I got pregnant with my 1 year old. I take a good probiotic, fish oil and eat what I consider to be a very healthy –whole food– diet. I have celiac disease and adhere to a gluten free diet. I have also eliminated dairy, but to no avail. I am currently training for a 1/2 marathon and about to be in training for the NYC full marathon and wonder what kind of hormonal changes occur as a result of endurance training. As someone who prides myself on a healthy lifestyle it pains me to have acne as it seems like it must be something I am doing wrong! Have you seen any studies on the skin-diet-hormone connection?

~ In my response to Frances, I mention another podcast we did on Acne.

Rebecca says:
I've been a distance swimmer for years, and a distance runner for almost a year, and from these experiences, I know that when I have PMS / the first few days of my period, I'm just wiped out and achy. Sadly the race falls on what should be the first day of my period. I can't alter this using birth control, so I just have to race through it. Any advice to make it more comfortable?

~ In my response to Rebecca, I mention making sure to control estrogen levels, and this podcast we did on estrogen dominance.

John asks:
Ambien/Zolpidem: what's your take on the benefits of 7-8 hours of solid sleep before a 100 miler (or any other early morning 5+ hour event) if it means popping a pill? My alternative is 3ish hours of sleep and a very painful morning. I've tried it both ways: last year I ran a 100 mile PR after a great night of “aided” sleep, while the year before – sans drugs – I struggled to stay awake through the hours leading up to the second sunrise. Do you have any other tricks or tips for ensuring a good night's sleep and conquering pre-race jitters? I've read that the amount of sleep the night before race morning is less important than the preceding days'. Is Ambien either banned or dangerous?

~ In my response to John, I reference my sleep recommendations.  I also recommend www.darksideofsleepingpills.com

Keerthi asks:
I've heard contradicting things about Yohimbe HCL for fat loss all over the internet and that it doesn't work if there is any insulin response. So, it would be great if you could give your thoughts on this supplement and the right time, and at what dosage, to take it.

Steve says:
I recently discovered the exercise called “burpees” – wow! I did two sets of 15 reps with about a minute rest in between and was gassed! I like to run and typically run 20-25 miles a week and enter a handful of 5K, 10K and half marathons a year. Ideally I lift weights about 2x – sometimes 3x a week. My question is how and when to incorporate burpees into my training without messing up my running training ?

Erin asks:
I am a 25 year old female, 5'3”, ~120lbs with a naturally very low body fat percentage. Ever since I was young, my body has always carried a lot of muscle, especially in my upper body (shoulders, biceps, triceps). While I do love working out and have participated in a variety of different workout styles and intensities (yoga/pilates, crossfit, endurance training, etc), I always have the same bulkiness to my upper body and I do not like it! Can you offer me any advice to get rid of the muscle but still maintain a good fitness level? As of lately, I have been trying to solely do cardiovascular training (swim, bike, run) and eat a pretty low protein diet. Do you think I should try a hypocaloric diet?

~ In my response to Erin, I mention GetFitGuy.com.

Don says:
My question is about fatigue. Is fatigue from lack of sleep different from fatigue after a workout. As a truck driver, my sleep patterns are erratic so that lack of sleep is a chronic problem. Is the efficacy of a workout affected by this type of fatigue. Further to this, and I know you're not a fan of energy drinks, but I find that a Red Bull can make an otherwise difficult workout more do-able. Will this affect the efficacy of the workout.

Andrea asks:
I'm a personal trainer and recently worked with a client who has been on prescription pain meds long term due to a back surgery. He recently got tested by his doctor and was told that he has low testosterone due to the long term vicodin use. The doc is supplementing his testosterone, and the client is now losing weight and feeling less fatigued and depressed. I was shocked to learn that prescription pain meds could affect his hormone levels to such a degree. Have you ever heard of this? And if so, what kind of nutrient deficiencies or hormone problems could long term pain medication use create in female athletes?

~ In my response to Andrea, I mention cold thermogenesis and Phenocane.

Prior to asking your question, do a search in upper right hand corner of this website for the keywords associated with your question. Many of the questions we receive have already been answered here at Ben Greenfield Fitness!

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18 thoughts on “Episode #198: When To Take Sleep Pills, Pain Meds and Fat Loss Boosters

  1. Kim says:

    Ben, I’m a 54 yr old fit & strong female who wants a little more of everything!! Will Yohimbe help? Btw, I listen & devour your podcasts whilst doing 10 X hill repeaters !!!! Love your brain!!!! Rachel’s as well, thanks guys

    1. LOL. when you say "everything", what do you mean? Yohimbe for what?

  2. Kathy says:

    Hi, Ben. I came across this article in the NYT and thought it interesting, regarding the menstrual cycle and performance. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/20/athletic…
    Seems like the net conclusion is that performance (power output, LT, etc.) shouldn't be affected by estrogen levels. But my personal experience, like Rebecca, is that it really does affect me, so I didn't really know what to make of the article. Maybe their group wasn't a wide cross-section of the general population…?

  3. Gerard says:

    Fat loss burners work best in conjunction with exercise or a procedure like liposuction new york to help speed up the process.

  4. Scott Milford says:

    Ben, I've heard you mention more than a couple times that the Atkins diet is high protein. However, you're referring to the old style Atkins. The modern version is high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate. Just wanted to bring your perspective of the Atkins diet into the modern era. ;-)

    By the way, I decided to quit eating sugar last October. I started a blog [http://quittingsugar.com] to write about my results. But before I quit eating sugar, I got comprehensive blood work done, including having my LDL particle size measured.

    In my initial results, my cholesterol level went up. As I understand it, the excessive fat on my body that I started burning off caused trapped cholesterol to be released, which caused my cholesterol levels to rise. However, my triglycerides dropped sharply, and my LDL particle size started shrinking.

    The last time I got the comprehensive blood work done, my doctor DIDN'T suggest I restart taking cholesterol medicine. The evidence was clear. The low-carbohydrate diet I was following was having a definite positive effect on my cholesterol numbers.

    If you care to, you can see a page from my comprehensive blood work report here: http://quittingsugar.com/2012/02/05/my-new-choles…

    1. Nice, Scott. I will check this out for sure, and thanks for bringing me up to speed on Atkins!

      1. No problem. Happy to do it, Ben.

  5. Kengel says:

    I know this doesn’t have anything to do with this post but….
    Any tips on geting fit(flat stomach, lean, etc). Quickly without weights? I have now way to get any or go to a gym(in other words I have no reasources). Or would it take too long or is it impossible to do without reasources?

    PS. I need an overall workout, I need to “tone” and “uncover” pretty much all areas. Oh and I’m a guy.

    1. insanity says:

      You can try one of those TV infomercial programs like 'insanity' by 'beachbody' for body weight exercises but be careful you might get injured if it is overdone or done the wrong way. I saw one of my coworkers get amazing results with 60days of doing Insanity. His six packs finally showed up!!

    2. Yes, check out my program at http://www.shape21.com for that. No gym required!

  6. APC says:

    How exactly does one access the "free" Future of Health Now videos? I'm at the point where I'm presented with an interview with Dr. John Berardi and given the option to purchase the rest. In addition, their flash player crashes firefox for me. What did you use to download them for offline listening?

    1. As long as you give them your email address, they'll all be available for free streaming access starting Monday…I used the Chrome "Get Flash" extension to download them…

    2. APC says:

      Ah, I see they state at the end of the interview they will share how to obtain the other interviews. And I got a firefox flash downloader plugin. Shall see what comes of this!

  7. dr ck says:

    just to let you know that MSG is massive in japanese food too. It was first used there and is a common ingredient in japanese food in both north america and japan.

  8. abdi says:

    A year ago i did a blood allergy test and scored 4 for cow dairy and 2 for goat dairy on a scale of 1-5+. I have since been off all dairy and eggs. in your last response you advised me to take probotics. is it safe for me to take milk based probotics and products like capra greens that contain mineral whey? i am interested in trying Mt Capra products. many thanks

    1. Yes, those are not going to have the same type of protein allergens in them as you're going to find in the casein/milk..

  9. Keerthi Kumar says:

    I've always found your choice of cover pics for each post pretty interesting and funny :) Again a great podcast today. I listened to it while doing my low intensity aerobic workout and of course without Yohimbe.

    1. Brock Jason Armstrong Skywalker says:

      Picking the cover picture is one of my favourite parts of posting these episodes! Glad you enjoy them.

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