Introduction: In today’s episode, how vitamins and supplements are made. Also, is frozen yogurt healthier than ice cream, the best way to soak grains, how to use CoQ10 properly, how to maintain flexibility, synthetic vs. natural supplements, how much should you exercise, what is earthing, bad workout days, how to run hills, should you ever have an energy drink, and vegetarian omega three fats.
Brock: Welcome everybody. I feel like I should say something really exciting or wave my arms. I imagine I am waving my arms. It is episode 200.
Ben: Are you wearing anything funky right now?
Brock: I sure am.
Ben: Are you wearing anything right now?
Brock: Well, nothing from the waist down of course because it’s a podcast day.
Ben: You know we’re recording our pants. That’s a given.
Brock: But from the waist up, I’m wearing my BenGreenfieldFitness My Fitness-Trainer-Told-Me-To-Eat-Fatter t-shirt in celebration of today’s show.
Ben: Nice. I love it. The old school t-shirt that you can’t even get anymore. Yes, cool. I’m not doing anything too special for episode number 200 aside from having two cups of coffee and Chinese adaptogenic herbs this morning. I’ve got smoke coming out of my ears.
Brock: You’re going to be bouncing off the walls.
Ben: Kind of. I’m having a little bit of trouble with movement this morning because I took my kids to the water park yesterday. And I went down the fast slide and I forgot to cross my legs. For guys out there who have forgot to cross your legs in a fast slide. I’m a little bit limited in terms of movement from the crotch down.
Brock: The water slide enema.
Ben: Exactly. Other than that, I’m good.
Brock: Okay. We’ve got some news flashes from good old Twitter.com/BenGreenfield. There is some cools stuff that came out this week. What do you want to highlight for us?
Ben: Well, the first thing I should highlight of course before we even jump in to the news flashes is that if you enjoyed the intro music to this episode.
Brock: Oh yes.
Ben: That is Brock’s band. So, you guys put out CD’s and stuff like that don’t you? Or if people wanted to go onto the internet and listen to you and all your glory, they could do so right?
Brock: They definitely can. They can go to iTunes or just look for the website.
Ben: I’ll put a link in the show notes for folks.
Brock: That’s a great idea. I will do so.
Ben: Yes. For those of you listening in, Brock in addition to being the loyal sidekick of the BenGreenfieldFitness show also prepares much of the show notes. So, go ahead and put a link to your tunes in the show notes Brock.
Brock: I will do.
Ben: That way, folks can check them out. As far as Twitter, there are a few things. I noticed that there’s this book FitToFatToFit that’s big on the New York Times best seller list right now. It’s about a personal trainer that decided he was going to figure out what it was like to be fat. He gained 70 or 75 pounds.
Ben: And then he lost it. And he wrote a book about it. And he has been on all these morning shows and stuff at least here in the states. And I thought, what exactly does that do to the body because it goes above and beyond gaining the weight and losing it. And then you put it back on when you look at it from a fat cell perspective.
Ben: So, just in case anybody’s thinking about trying out this experiment themselves or taking this as a sign that you could. For example, gain a bunch of weight over the holidays and then lose it again and experience no deleterious effects and possible end up on some morning TV shows. The fact is that they’ve done studies. They had an interesting study at the Mayo Clinic or in theUK. They took a bunch of volunteers who were at normal body weight with no chronic disease. And they gave them a diet that was basically ice cream shakes, king sized Snickers bars. They reported this in the study that that was the actual bar that they used. And an energy drink called Boost+ which is 300 or 400 calories a pop. And they got all these people to gain at least five percent body weight over an eight week period of time. And they took all the people that came this way, and then they had them increase their level of physical activity. And they worked with a dietician to lose that weight over another eight weeks. So, it was eight weeks rapid fat on and eight weeks off. And just about everybody was able to get back to their original body weight over the eight weeks after they put on all that weight. But there were some interesting little things that happened that I think gave this yoyo weight gain-weight loss deal a little bit of a red flag. When they returned to their original body weight, their body fat was distributed differently. They actually deposited more body fat on their lower body like the hips, butt, and thighs. Now, the interesting thing about that when you look at it from a physiological perspective is that lower body fat is more added. And it’s not by increasing the size of the fat cells meaning taking the existing fat cells that you have and then just shoving the extra fat into them. But lower body fat is more correlated to growth in a number of fat cells. It means that when you gain weight rapidly like that, your body is so over loaded with calories that it has to not only increase the size of the fat cells but also the number of the fat cells. And any time you have a greater number of fat cells, you’ve got a greater propensity to get fat faster in the future.
Brock: Yes, because those don’t go away. Like once you’ve got them can’t shrink them.
Ben: Right. You never lose your fat cells. So, when you gain weight rapidly, no matter whether or not you plan on getting it off. It’s always going to be harder for you to lose weight in the future. Or it’s going to be easier for you to gain fat in the future more specifically. So, there’s an increase in the number of fat cells. And then the other thing that happens is when your fat cell number increases compared to when your fat cell size increases, the amount of leptin that’s released per fat cell goes down. It’s because you’ve got more fat cells. So, that’s your appetite control hormone.
Ben: So, you’re also looking at not just the biological ability of your body to put on more fat faster. But it’s also the neurological component of you actually having more appetite craving or lesser in ability to control your appetite. So, that is why I think that despite the popularity of this book and I’m sure the guy’s doing well in terms of spreading his message about him being a personal trainer. And he knows what it’s like to be fat. I think that yoyo weight gain-weight loss is a pretty bad idea over all.
Brock: And do you think it would’ve been any different if those people haven’t been eating things like the Snickers bar and the really bad food. If they’d gain the weight and I don’t want to say a healthy way but in a little smarter way like eating more healthy fats and just increasing the amount that they were eating. Rather than changing it to a bunch of junk.
Ben: Right. Not more nutrient dense foods.
Brock: Yes, like truck loads of spinach and avocadoes rather than snickers bars.
Ben: It’s less rich, less sugary. I’m blanking on the word. There’s a blogger called Steven Rene who has a blog where he talks about the food reward hypothesis. And the fact that the richer and better taste in food, the more likely it maybe to make us obese. I forgot the name of his blog. But anyways, that’s a good point. For a body builder, or football player, or a high school athlete or a college athlete who’s trying to become more competitive and gain muscle mass. I would suspect that by arranging thing in a different way and eating more nutrient dense foods. You could probably get away with when you gain body weight, putting on more muscle mass and less fat mass. But frankly, the goal of this study for these folks was just to put on fat not eating rich food and not exercising.
Ben: So, that was interesting. Of course everything that I find during the week in terms of these studies in addition to the ones that I talk about in the podcast, I tweet about from Twitter.com/BenGreenfield. There was an interesting article from the New York Times that came out this month a couple of days ago. And it was called Got Milk? You don’t need it. And I’ll link to it in the show notes. It’s an interesting read. It’s a nice short article. But it’s written by Mark Bittman. He’s a pretty popular dietary author. He wrote the book How to Cook Everything. And what he talks about basically what the government tells us about dairy and dairy consumption. And the need for dairy consumption in preventing osteoporosis and the realities of dairy consumption when it comes to contributing to things like chronic burn and a lot of other conditions. It’s the conditions that he and some of the folks that he works with have found to be completely eliminated by eliminating consumption of specifically milk. My thoughts on this are that when you look at milk in the way that I perceive dairy because I know we’ve got a large contingent of paleo listeners who aren’t really doing much dairy. It’s that dairy just like I consider sugar to be a drug and caffeine to be sometimes a drug. I look at dairy the same way. It’s chalk-full of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor. These are two components that are very good at making a small animal turn into a big animal and sometimes a big fat animal. But those are also two components that really accelerate muscle growth. And it really accelerates your body being in a metabolic state. And so in my opinion, dairy is fantastic for the athlete who needs a post workout kick to be able to put on some muscle. And it’s for the growing child. And it’s even for an elderly individual trying to stave off sarcopenia or loss of muscle mass. In my opinion, dairy certainly has its time and its place. I think most of the health issues that go along with consumption of something like cow’s milk. Or it’s either because the people drinking it are sedentary and not in the state where they need big hit of growth hormones or insulin-like growth factor. They’re getting a lot of the other deleterious compounds that come with the milk like the hormones and synthetic derivatives. And some of this stuff you’re going to encounter when you’re consuming milk that is from a commercially raised dairy source. But over all, it was an interesting article. And I’ll link to it. So, there’s that. And the last thing was a study that was published back in 2007 but I came across it recently. I thought it was really interesting. It’s about VO2 max which is your maximum oxygen consumption. And this study was in the Journal of Applied Physiology. And it found that markers of inflammation specifically markers that you can get tested pretty easily by going to your labs or going to DirectLabs.com or WellnessFx or any of these other companies that measure markers of inflammation. Like cytokines and specifically one called inteleukin six, C – reactive protein and fibrinogen. These are three markers of inflammation that you can get tested. Those are negatively correlated with your VO2 max. It means that the higher circulating levels you have of inflammatory markers, the lower your VO2 max is. And so, I think this makes a really good argument for including things like omega three fatty acid sources, fish oil. And we’ll talk about omega three fatty acid sources for vegans and vegetarians later on in this podcast. I thought it was really interesting that goes above and beyond just improving your heart health or decreasing your level of inflammation related to chronic disease factors. But it also has a direct effect on VO2 max. So, less lean you are going into something like a triathlon or for example the weekend that we’re recording this is the Cross Fit games.
Ben: And you attend to your inflammatory levels. And specifically focusing really heavily on anti-inflammatory diet and maybe even stepping up your omega three fatty acid sources going into an event where you need that high oxygen consumption. So, that’s a good idea. It’s an interesting study. I’ll link to it as well.
Brock: Very cool. That’s really cool stuff.
Ben: Yes. So, that’s it.
Brock: Alright. I guess this is a good time to let all the folks know that this episode is actually sponsored by Audible once again which is a great provider of audio books. And we were talking about this before the show. I’ve actually been a fan of Audible since way back in the day when they put them on tape. Are you old enough to remember that Ben?
Ben: I think so. I do remember. I’ve seen some tapes up on the shelf when my mom was changing my diaper.
Brock: I’m not talking about E-track. I’m not talking about real deal, these little cassette tapes. So, this podcast is sponsored by Audible. If you go to AudiblePodcast.com/Ben, you can get yourself a free audio book just by signing up today. And then after that, I think it turns into some sort of a subscription model. But I would recommend and Ben asked me if I could think of any books to recommend. And I know that this doesn’t necessarily go along with the fitness or nutritional aspect of the show. But I think it goes with making the soul happy. There’s a book called Born Standing up by Steve Martin. That’s the comedian and movie star Steve Martin and also author.
Ben: And banjo player.
Brock: And an amazing banjo player. Yes. So, that’s my recommendation. Go and get that. It’s read by Steve Martin himself. So, it just gives that extra authenticity.
Ben: Only when the author reads their book. That’s always better than some random dude. And Steve Martin is a cool guy. I like his stuff.
Brock: There you go.
Ben: That’s AudiblePodcast.com/Ben. And we had a few people confusing it. If you’re an existing audible member, you can’t get the free book when you go to AudiblePodcast.com/Ben. You need to be a new Audible member or else I don’t know. Just use a different credit card and a different e-mail address and whatever or maybe your uncle’s mailing address. And maybe you can create a false identity and steal a free book. I’m just saying.
Brock: It’s possible.
Ben: So, there are other special announcements. You’ve heard me harping about this future of health no deal. I even sent out an e-mail about it recently. I actually got some angry responses back from people who were saying that this stuff isn’t free. This is July 11th today. So, starting yesterday, the videos were actually made free up until this point, the videos have not been available at all. And the whole deal is you can get access to these 20 videos which are really good videos. Listen to last week’s podcast that I released with Erai Beckman on the anti-aging post to that idea just to get some more information on the videos. They’re great videos. You don’t have to buy anything. They’re going to ask for your e-mail address. You give them you’re e-mail address. You can watch the videos. But I really liked what these folks are doing in terms of trying to put together this global health project that is going to give people access to a lot of practitioners. And normally only the rich and the famous and the influential would have access to in terms of physicians and people who are giving out really good health advice. And it can connect you with learning’s from these folks. The way that they’re monetizing is you can watch the videos online. But if you want to download them or have them on your computer, you got to pay for them. But either way, you can watch the videos and it’s well worth it. So, check those out. We’ll have a link in the show notes. And then a couple of other things, two videos that I shot this week that I think you’d enjoy. One is How to Make Gluten-Free Waffles specifically how to soak and mill your grains. And then you use a blender to make a gluten-free waffle mix. We made the waffle mix on Saturday night. And we had some fantastic waffles on Sunday morning. And then there’s another video on How to Make a Mexican Mochamix using your blender. So, we just had a brand new blender called an Omni blender. We’ve been experimenting with it. It is about 200 to 250 dollars. And it works better than our 700 dollar Vitamix that we sold because this Omni blender is way better. And it’s less expensive. So, we’ll put a link to those videos in the show notes for you. And then, the last thing to mention before we get to this week’s Q and A is folks, if you are on the cusp of wanting to have the adventure of your life this year. Maybe you’re bored with life and you just want to spice things up a little bit. Come with Brock and I toThailand. Brock is going. He’s girlfriend is going. I’m going. We’ve got about eight other folks right now. Graeme from Australia, who’s been on this podcast before, he’s going. We’re going to go toThailand for two weeks. There are two different triathlons we’re going to do. We’ve got about four days in between the races where we’re literally hoping on a boat going to this place you can’t get to by car. It’s because there are no cars at all over in a place called Railay bay. We’re going to lounge on the beach. We’ve got all the hotels put together. We’ve got pretty much the whole thing planned out. You just show up. And you only live once. So, this is the adventure of a lifetime. I’ve been toThailand four times. I love it every time. And you’re going to have a great opportunity to just hang out with us and have fun. So, we’ll put a link in the show notes. And if you have no clue how to actually get ready for the race, for anybody who comes with us, I’ve got a training plan that I put together. I’ll just give you for free and you can use it to train for the race. So,Thailand, check it out.
Brock: It’s going to be awesome.
Listener Q and A:
Brock: Alright. Being that this is episode 200 and we wanted to do something exciting and special. We decided to make this a completely audio question episode. So, every single question today is going to be somebody who called in or e-mailed in an audio question for us. And if you hear your question read or if you hear yourself actually reading your own question in the next hour or so however long it takes us to get through these. Make sure you contact Ben at BenGreenfieldFitness.com send an e-mail there so you can claim your free book.
Ben: Yes. We’ve got two books. Just let me know what you want. I’ll either hook you up with my new book Get Fit Guy’s Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body Type. And that’s one choice. Just let me know if you want that one. I’ve also got and we’ll link to the interview that I did with this guy in the show notes because it’s really great. But I’ve got a KC Craichy’s book. The Super Health Diet and that was really good too.
Brock: I’ve actually got that book right in front of me. I’m staring right at it.
Ben: Yes. It’s got a ton of cool stuff in it. And I’m a huge fan of his diet. He’s also the personality and inventor behind all the Living Fuel stuff. So, I love his stuff. But just let me know which book you want if you hear your voice on today’s podcast. And we’ll get out to you.
Brock: Alright. So, let’s get thing rolling with Danny.
Danny says: Hey guys, great show. This is Danny in Red Bank. I have a question about when you were taking it easy and taking the kids out for ice cream or frozen yogurt. I’m not sure if it’s better to just go with the traditional ice cream or frozen yogurt. And I have some ingredient from some place that I go to but often with the family. I’ve got maltodextrin, whey, polydextrose. The biggest ingredient is kosher skimmed milk to serve it all in a milk protein ice tea. And then guar gum. I’m sure you know. I just want to know your thoughts on taking it easy with the family. Thanks a lot.
Brock: Now this is a great question. Okay, froyo or ice cream.
Ben: How about both. This is the perfect time to ask this in the middle of the summer. And frozen yogurt does have the advantage of having the friendly bacteria in it that keep your digestive system healthy. So, you’ve got in many brands of frozen yogurt live active cultures.
Brock: And those don’t get damaged by the freezing process.
Ben: They do not get damaged by the freezing process. However, most frozen yogurt that you’re going to get at the grocery store has been heat processed. And unless it has the words on the label that it contains live active cultures, it’s not going to have live active cultures in it. Now, there some brands out there that you can wander into in terms of the stores like pink berry. Golden spoon is another one. TCBY is good. Red Mango is another good one. Those are some of the frozen yogurt franchises you’re going to find here in the States for example. All of those that I just mentioned, they actually do qualify for having live and active cultures in their yogurt. And so, you got that advantage over ice cream in terms of you having a lot of the good bacteria. The flip side in frozen yogurt is despite the fact that it says that it’s low fat or fat free. Of course, it’s very high in sugar. And so, assuming that you’re walking around like most folks with fairly full storage carbohydrate, you’re body is going to take any other sugar in there. And it’s very efficiently converted into triglycerides in the liver. Then it’s sent out into the blood stream. And it’ll get stored as fat. The other issue is that they try with a lot of these frozen yogurts to mimic the texture of a higher fat product like ice cream. So, they add a lot of different emulsifiers and binders and thickeners to it. And usually these are derived from soy bean and corn. So, that’s another issue with the frozen yogurt if you’re trying to avoid those types of compounds that maybe genetically modified compounds and etc. So, that’s the pros and the cons of frozen yogurt. Now, we certainly do occasionally shop at the frozen yogurt shop with our kids. I personally don’t really do much of the yogurt. I actually took very small amounts of the yogurt. And then I go nuts on the toppings. Like I’ll go grab some dark chocolate and some nuts and throw that stuff in there. And you can generally find a couple of toppings that are not too bad at the frozen yogurt store. Doing a fresh fruit by the way is also really good. And a lot of times if you just put a bunch of fruit in a cup, a little bit of yogurt, a few nuts. It’s a pretty good little desert. And it’s still a good dose of fructose and sugar. But it’s better than just doing a big old frozen yogurt. So, that’s the deal with the yogurt. As far as the ice cream goes, because we generally in our house for the most part, we avoid dairy from cows for some of the reasons that I stated earlier in this podcast. We do ice cream. But whenever we do ice cream, we do coconut ice cream. And I’ll link to it in the show notes. But I did a post a while back on what we did during the entire day on our kid’s birthday party because we just spoiled them. And they got lots of treats and lots of food. But we did everything healthy. It was a total dairy-free gluten-free super healthy day. But one of the things that we did was coconut ice cream. And we usually do coconut ice cream once every few weeks in the summer. We’ll make up a batch. And in that post that I’ll link to is the recipe. But it’s basically eggs, coconut milk. And then you’ve got all of your flavorings and some salt. And you’re essentially using your ice cream maker to make a coconut ice cream. And it’s really good. And you can also at the same time, you can do coconut popsicles. And we recently in the BenGreenfieldFitness Inner Circle actually did this whole video on how to make a really good coconut popsicle. It involves a couple of other things like setting up little double boilers set up in your kitchen. It’s not too hard to do. But coconut popsicles, coconut milk ice cream. I’m a big fan of that vs. dairy ice cream and soy ice cream. You can get coconut milk ice cream at the grocery store as well by the way. So, that’s the deal, either is okay. I would say that if I was going to rank them in order of healthiness, I’d start with coconut ice cream because you’ve got high levels of fat. It’s very satiating. And you’re not dealing with butt-loads of sugar or soy bean or corn or any of that stuff. Next on the list would be frozen yogurt. Primarily because it does have if you get it from one of these places live active cultures in it. And you can always throw in some extra things at the frozen yogurt store like nuts and stuff like that. So, you don’t have to do as much of the yogurt. And then last on the list would be ice cream even though ice cream is higher fat than frozen yogurt which is great from a hormonal perspective. There are a lot of other issues with dairy and ice cream compared to coconut ice cream. That’d be last on the list for sure.
Brock: Yes. I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth. I admit. And Ben has access to what I eat every single day. So, he already knows this but I do really like a little bit of sweet stuff here and there. And I actually have started doing for the last couple of years. I take a bowl, chop up a banana really finely into it, and then throw that into the freezer for a couple of hours. So, it gets good and frozen. Then I pull it out and put a regular plain yogurt on top of there and just mash it around a little bit. And the texture of the frozen banana mixed and the sugars really come out when it’s frozen as well. Once you mix it around in the yogurt, it becomes a really nice sweet creamy ice cream. And then you can throw some extra berries and stuff on top of that and maybe a few dark chocolate chips. I find that a great substitute for just going straight to the store box stuff.
Ben: Yes, exactly. And you could always get a regular full fat Greek yogurt at the grocery store. Or you can throw some and it’s something that I’ve been doing recently as a post-workout meal. You can throw some nuts in there. I’ve been using Manuka honey recently which is really great for the digestive tract. I put some Manuka honey in there. If you ever really insist, it’s pretty similar to ice cream. So, there are many different ways to skin the cat when it comes to getting the sweet tooth with a nice frozen summer dessert.
Brock: Delicious question Danny. Thank you very much. Alright, let’s move on to the next question from Scott.
Scott says: Hi Ben, this is Scott from Cleveland,Ohio. You have a great podcast. And I love the website. I feel like it’s really helping me a lot in my endurance training and my overall fitness. I really feel like I have a credible place to go to if I want to learn about and stay on the latest updates on fitness and nutrition. My question is regarding nutrition. I personally enjoy baking bread. And I pretty much learned it in my family’s bread intake that only what I make at home especially after listening to the podcast and interview about the book Wheat Belly. When I make my bread, I use organic cream such as organic grains such as spelt, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, and other stuff. And I grind them myself. And I baked bread only using these whole grains. I don’t purchase any processed flower. And I was wonder about how you soak your grains and do you grind them after you dry them. I use the method called pre-fermentation while you soak ground grains for 12 to 24 hours. And I was just wondering, is this the same thing as soaking actual grains and does it serve the same purpose. I appreciate the help. Take care and goodbye.
Ben: As many podcast listeners probably know, we don’t actually eat a bunch of bread here at the Greenfieldhouse. Honestly, we probably go through a loaf of bread every six months now. We used to do more. My wife will occasionally make bread. But this soaking process called pre-fermentation where you soak the ground grains, it’s really not a bad way to go if you are going to do bread. And prior to industrialization, just about every culture and most people in America. When they make bread would use a fermented or a soaked grain before making breads, cakes, cookies, beagles, you name it. The main reason for that is that in a non-soaked grain, you basically got these anti-nutrients specifically a phytic acid which can combine with magnesium or calcium or iron or zinc. Or any of these other minerals in your intestinal tract and block their absorption. So, you’ve got less nutritional intake when you’re eating that food. And you also tend to have some digestive issues, some bloating, some gas, and a little bit of inflammation that goes on. That’s when you’re consuming a grain that hasn’t been properly prepared and soaked and pre-fermented like that. And the main reason for that is that a plant wants to survive. So, when we eat an untreated anti-nutrient containing seed, what happens is that that tends to pass through the digestive tract hole. And we would end, up in many situations, depositing that seed elsewhere after it’s passed through our digestive tract. If we allow the seed to germinate and all it needs is a little moisture, a little warmth, and a little bit of acidity to do that. It will sprout. And a lot of these enzyme inhibitors are basically neutralized through this sprouting and germinating process. The nutritional quality of the seed for example the grain is vastly improved. The ability of it to inhibit digestion is vastly decreased. And there’s basically this natural pre-digestive process that occurs. There’s a really good cookbook that goes into this in detail that we own and that use actually. Even though we don’t make bread, we do a lot of crackers. We do the gluten-free waffles and the stuff that I mentioned. It’s called Nourishing Traditions. I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. But it’s probably the cookbook that we use most here at our house. Now, when you’re pre-fermenting, usually you’ve got some acidic medium that you’re putting the grain into after it’s been ground or milled. And you’re essentially soaking it over night. One thing that’s really good to soak grains in prior to making bread would be just basic Apple Cider Vinegar. It’s a really nice acid medium that can really help with a lot of this beneficial process that occurs when you’re naturally pre-digesting the grain by soaking it. So, you soak it in an acidic medium. And then you go on and you make your bread. The really important thing here is that you’re not using flower that you’ve purchased from the grocery store because it has a very short shelf life. Like you take a flower from a fresh ground wheat and it goes bad really quickly. And one of the reasons for that are the oils in the wheat germ. Those can go rancid as it sits long in the shelf. But you lose a ton of the nutrition in any grain the longer that it sits around. That’s why if you’re going to make your own bread, you want to be milling and grounding and not going with flower that’s a store bought flower. In the podcast that we did with Dr. William Davis, the author of the book Wheat Belly, he talks about the wheat that you get your hands on these days. Even if it is just a whole wheat flower because of the way that we have genetically modified wheat by trying to make it generate a higher yield during harvest. It has resulted in very high amounts of wheat germ agglutinin or WGA in it. And that essentially has the texture of human hair almost. And it is completely not digestible. So, it causes a lot of issues with inflammation and autoimmune reactions when you consume it. And so, if you’re going to get your hands on some type of wheat that you’re going to mill yourself and you’re going to grind yourself. You’ve got to pre-soak it in this acidic medium and then make bread with it. You either don’t use regular wheat. And instead you get your hands on a more ancient grain like einkorn is one example. Kamut is another example. And you go that way or else you use some different type of grain like buckwheat or quinoa or amaranth or millet or something of that nature. And all of those you can make pretty decent breads with too. Incidentally, you just wanted to completely avoid that, you can still do some baking with coconut flower and almond flower. Frankly, it just doesn’t have the same nice taste as nice bread, a good fresh baked soured or wheat bread made from these ancient grains. But you could get away with using a coconut flower or almond flower as well. Ultimately though, to answer Scott’s question, that soaking process called pre-fermentation where you soak the ground grains, that’s fantastic. And I highly recommend it. I would just make sure that you are still not using a modern form of wheat to make your bread.
Brock: I want to go over to Scott’s house while he’s baking bread and just inhale.
Brock: You know a smell like that.
Ben: Even when I’m at a restaurant, I’ll generally avoid bread unless it’s sourdough. And sourdough is the one bread that because it has gone through that fermentation process, it generally has a lot of lower levels of these enzyme inhibitors in it. So, typically if a restaurant that I’m at is one of those restaurants where they do bring bread to the table, what we’ll do is if sourdough is an option, we’ll just ask for sourdough only. And that’s a good way to go.
Brock: I’d just knock it out of the waiter’s hands as he brings it over. Don’t even give me that.
Ben: It’s because those fried triangles of that are so bad for you that they make at Mexican restaurants. I’d literally just bring just have them bring me salsa and guacamole. And I’d just eat that by the spoonful.
Brock: That’s delicious. Alright, let’s move on to the next question from Dwayne.
Dwayne says: Hey Ben, my name is Dwayne and I’m an ultra marathon runner in Gainesville, Florida. And I have a question. I’ve been taking Coenzyme Q10 100 milligrams a day. And I just want to know if there’s any benefit to taking more than that and it if works too if I’m just cycling it off. I’m a more off season type runner. And then I add them back in two to three months out from the next 100 mile race. So, that’s it and thanks. I love all the stuff that you put out. I appreciate it. Thank you and goodbye.
Brock: Okay. I guess we should probably start with who would take CoQ10 and why?
Ben: Well, CoQ10 is this molecule that’s part of the electron transport chain. It’s how your cells produce energy and life. It’s just this structure that sits inside your cell. And basically, the way that it works is when you need to produce ATP energy. Inside your cell you’ve got this electron transport chain. And electrons are shuttled along this chain. And that’s how energy is generated. CoQ10 is a primer of that cellular energy production. And so, the whole idea here is that by supplementing with CoQ10, if you’re trying to create more energy or manage those electrons more efficiently. You’re going to enhance your ability to do so. And it turns out that CoQ10 is a really potent antioxidant because of its ability to handle these electrons. And it’s certainly one of those anti-aging types of compounds that has really good anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s because of its ability for you to have less damage from these free radicals that circulate in your body from living. Now, when we look at the effects on exercise and physical performance, you got to get high on your dosage. About 200 to 300 milligrams per day is how much Coenzyme Q10 you’d need to take to actually have an effect on fatigue related to exercise.
Ben: It’s where you’re at your maximum physical performance. And you’re looking at a lot of supplements out there being around in the 30 to 50 milligram range. So, you’re generally going to have to take a lot of stuff to see a really beneficial effect. Now, when it comes to heart health, some of the antioxidant properties of Coenzyme Q10, you’re going to have some benefit if you’re taking 30, 50, or 100 milligrams per day. But generally, you’ve got to get closer up to those 200 to 300 milligrams per day range to actually see an effect on physical performance. And there’s really been no acute side effect like G.I distress or anything like that or any clinically relevant adverse side effects to actually go on as high as 1000 milligrams a day of Coenzyme Q10. I’m not convinced that that’s necessary especially when you see benefits and clinical studies with 200 to 300 milligrams a day. But the toxicity and side effect level in this stuff is very high. And it’s a good compound. I personally will either use for awhile there I was using the Hammer Race caps which is one source of Coenzyme Q10 made by Hammer Nutrition. Now, I mostly use one called NutraREV because it is in liquid form. And it’s got a couple of things in there that I really like. Like alpha lipoic acid for example which is a really potent anti-aging compound. I do a couple of servings of NutraREV on a daily basis now. And it’s a little bit more absorbable too because it is in its liquid form. Ultimately though, I do think that if you’ve got the other basic styled in like fish oil and magnesium and vitamin D. And you’ve got some extra money to spend on an anti-aging compound or a good antioxidant for exercise, Coenzyme Q10 is a really good choice with good research behind it.
Brock: Awesome. So, this NutraREV just to get back to that, you said that you take it a couple of times a day?
Ben: Well, I take two servings once a day usually in the mid-morning or the mid-afternoon. I just throw a couple of servings of this nutraREV liquid into a glass of water and drink it.
Brock: Okay. So, how many milligrams is it approximately? You were saying that it was 250 to 300 it is where it gets magical. Is that about what you’re taking?
Ben: About 250 a day is what I’m taking. So, it’s good stuff. It is over at PacificFit.net. There’s NutraREV. It’s just this liquid bottle you can get to keep in your fridge. It’s good stuff. The only problem of course is you can’t travel with a big liquid bottle. So, that’s where having a Coenzyme Q10 capsule on hand for when you travel if you want to take it when you travel would be beneficial.
Brock: Awesome. Alright, our next question comes from Trisha.
Trisha says: Hi Ben. This is Trisha. And my husband and I both listen to your podcast. He got me hooked. And we getting all our friends hooked and really enjoy it. But we have a question for you. We are both runners but we’re also going for a black in taekwondo which for the most part we feel like concentrating on is what’s great. We’re building muscle. Our legs are getting stronger. But the one thing that we’re both struggling with is it seems like when we ramp up our racing schedule especially when we’re training for racing and stuff. It almost seems like we’re losing flexibility in taekwondo. So, I run longer during the week. And in class, it’s hard for me to go down to the splits or to get higher kicks. It’s so sore. I was wondering that maybe it’s just in our head. But if not, if you have some thoughts as to why this is happening or if there are ways to counteract that. That’s all. I wanted to thank you again for all your information. It’s been a blessing.
Ben: Yes. So, taekwondo athletes making that conversion to running and back and trying to combine the two, I could certainly see flexibility being an issue when you’re trying to do a roundhouse kick.
Brock: I don’t know any of the move names.
Ben: The taekwondo moves. Essentially, when you’re running, you’ve got these short little choppy movements that you’re creating. It’s short little choppy compared to something like taekwondo or sprinting or whatever. And any time you’re taking these short steps over and over again chronically with the combination of pounding the pavement. You’re getting this hip flexor shortening effect. And that’s really where a limitation in flexibility in a runner and specifically a distance runner takes place. It’s because when you’re taking these short little choppy steps and your hip flexors are becoming tight with each of those steps. You affect the rotation of your pelvic bone. Typically, you tend to rotate your pelvic bone anteriorly. And that ruin the flexibility in the back area of your pelvis, your sacroiliac joint that can travel up the spine, ruin the flexibility of the spine. And your entire body can begin to lock up from tight hip flexors. And anybody who’s sat at a desk for eight hours without standing up or sat at an airplane all day long in an overnight flight or something like. That person knows that it’s not just your legs that feel tight when you stand up. Your whole body does. And running can create that same effect certainly. Brock, you certainly had to deal with hip flexibility issues more than I have. One of the things that I have done with you as your coach is give you hip opener exercises. Can you explain some of the things that you’ve been doing in terms of hip opening?
Brock: Yes. The biggest things that made a really big difference for me are doing a lot of lunges. I spend a lot of time doing lunge stretches or getting way down deep into it, getting a little bit of a twist during the lunge. I’m getting my shoulder down really low. Sometimes I’ll actually feel a little bit of a pop right in my sacroiliac which is something that I went to a chiropractor for a while and had ART down on it. It got so bad. My sacroiliac got so locked up. I actually needed professional help to get it mobilized again.
Ben: And that’s one of the reasons that yoga and doing hip opener exercises. Yoga is a really good way to maintain some of the flexibility. Of course, the issues with yoga are that you lose some force production any time that you elongate a muscle or become excessively flexible. And if that’s a concern for you with an explosive sport like taekwondo, you may want to focus on hip opening exercises that are more dynamic. Like front to back and side to side leg swings. In addition, doing some hip strengthening exercises that are going to remove some of the load off of those hip flexors while you’re running would be really smart too. There’s a great pdf that came out that was put out by the running injury clinic. And I’m going to link for you in the show notes. I tweeted about it a few weeks ago. But it was originally designed to just prevent or eliminate IT band issues in runners. But it works really well for general hip strengthening. And it’s a series of exercises that involve extra rotation of the hips and swinging of the hips. And that’d be something really good to add in along with some good hip opener exercises to maintain the flexibility that you need for taekwondo without reducing your force production capability. And that’s certainly where I’d start. So, of course this episode is episode number 200. So, I’ll put a link to that in the show notes.
Brock: I think a lot of those exercises that you got me doing would really work very well hand-in-hand with the taekwondo. I’m doing a lot of clam shells and fire hydrants and hip flexor extensions and a lot of those movements that are actually associated with at least with my limited knowledge of taekwondo.
Ben: Yes, exactly. So, I’m no taekwondo expert.
Brock: Alright. Our next audio question comes fromSandy.
Sandysays: Hi Ben and Brock. This isSandyfromPhoenix. You’ve spoken against birth control pills because they’re synthetic hormones. Yet, you recommended vitamin D supplementation. Why is this synthetic hormone vitamin D okay but not synthetic estrogen and progesterone? Thanks.
Brock: Okay. I was really excited about this question because I think I know the answer. Is it because that vitamin D is a hormone precursor and the birth control pill is an actual synthetic hormone?
Ben: I thought you were just excited so that you could get off your birth control pill.
Brock: I’ve been off that for years.
Ben: Yes. Both are synthetic. When you look at vitamin D3 whether you’re doing like what I recommended in the past, the sublingual vitamin D spray, the vitamin D capsules or pills. The vitamin D liquid oil drops from Carlson’s. Any time you’re looking at vitamin D, generally in most cases, vitamin D is made from sheep’s wool or a land one. And so, what manufacturers do is they take this land one form wool bearing animal like a sheep. And you purify it. And you crystallize it. And eventually you get the substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol. And that’s your precursor. And then what they’ll do is expose that form of cholesterol to UV rays in the same way that your skin will get exposed to UV rays to make vitamin D. And then they get vitamin D3.
Ben: And then you can manufacture that and purify it and crystallize it and liquidize it or whatever. And then you add it to a product.
Brock: That’s really cool.
Ben: Yes, it is. Unless you’re a vegetarian taking vitamin D because I probably just ruined that whole idea for you know that you that that’s an animal-based product. There’s another way to get it. There’s another way you can make cholecalciferol is using yeast. Basically, they’ve got this one genetically engineered form of yeast that you can also expose to UV rays. And that yeast when it is exposed to light, it basically makes a 25-hydroxyvitamin D cholecalciferol. It’s the vitamin D form that you would normally supplement with. So, there are a few different ways that you could make vitamin D. And in any of those cases, it would still be considered in my opinion synthetic when you compare it to a natural form of vitamin D. For example, I do a couple of tablespoons of cod liver oil on a daily basis. Now, I do also take a vitamin D3 supplement because the amount of cod liver oil I’d have to take to get as much vitamin D3 as I want to get starts to add up calorically. So, I do a couple of tablespoons of cod liver oil on a daily basis. And that’s a natural form of vitamin D3. So are eggs and so is beef liver or even for example milk. So, you’ve got natural animal-based forms of vitamin D3. I suppose the most natural form would be if you catch a tuna or a salmon or whatever and eat that. But all of that is a natural vitamin D3 source. And then you’ve got these synthetic sources. Either way that you look at vitamin D, you can’t find the same type of studies associated with deleterious effects from either synthetic or natural forms of vitamin D. Not as you can when you look at studies that look at birth control pills. Now, there’s no natural form of a birth control pill. But when you look at the birth control pills that are out there, the way that they’re formed is you take synthetic progestin and synthetic estrogen. And those are typically mixed together. They’re diluted. And they’re put into a big mixture and stirred in with some biding agents and that makes a powder. And then you can eventually form that into a capsule or a tablet more specifically. And those are definitely synthetic. But when you look at birth control pills, there are a lot of studies out there that give me a pause when it comes to me being able to recommend a birth control pill in good conscious. You do get and this has been shown in dozens of studies, anywhere from a ten to a 30 percent increase risk for breast cancer. And one of the main reasons for that is the reason that I’ve talked about before with women and weight gain. And that’s estrogen dominance. You’re introducing a bunch of synthetic estrogens into the body. And generally, you get this pro-growth pro-hormone effect that increases your risk for cancer. The same can be said for cervical cancer and birth control pills being a major risk factor especially if you’re been on them for more than five years for cervical cancer. They can definitely aggravate any existing G.I conditions that you have like gastro esophageal reflux disease or chrones. They can raise blood pressure in some women which can also raise your risk of stroke and increase the risk of blood clots as well. These are the things that birth control pills have been associated with. We talked about inflammation markers in the blood stream. Women on birth control pills for some reason have higher levels of c-reactor protein which is an inflammatory marker and lower levels of antioxidant activity. Coenzyme Q10 is a perfect example of something that you see a lower blood of in women who are on birth control pills. Estrogen influences the availability of thyroid hormone because it increases a specific thyroid binding protein in the body. So, you get impaired thyroid function. You can get lower testosterone levels which in women can decrease your sexual drive and your drive. And also if you’re exercising, it makes it harder for you to build lean muscle. And it’s got a lot of issues with it that you don’t see with vitamin D. So, it’s until you show me studies that show that synthetic vitamin D has the same type of side effects associated with it as synthetic estrogen or synthetic progestin. I’d have trouble saying that you just shouldn’t take it because it’s synthetic. There’s a really good book that you should check out and I’ll link to it in the show notes. It’s called Sex, Lies and Menopause. It really goes into why synthetic hormones can have this type of effect on the body. So, it’s called Sex, Lies and Menopause. And I’ll link to it in the show notes. I get this question sometimes when I talk about why I’m not a huge fan of birth control pills. People ask me what my wife and I do. And we just use condoms. You could use a Fertility Monitor if you wanted to. We don’t use one. But basically, what a Fertility Monitor does is it takes your temperature in the morning. And it gives you a red light, a green light, or yellow light. So, red means that you’re fertile. And if it flashes red, it means that you’re ovulating.
Brock: Don’t do it. Stop.
Ben: It’s just like stop. Green is pretty much no chance of getting pregnant. And then yellow is a possible chance. And I’ll link to this in the show notes. You can check it out. It’s called a Fertility Monitor. That’s a hormone-free birth control method. And it’s a little bit easier than trying to mark things out in the calendar because it just takes your temperature and figures it out for you. Those are a couple of different options. Birth control pills, since they have come around, they have been titrating the amount of hormones that are in them. The pill is definitely lower in synthetic hormone than it was when it first came around. The newer formulations may possibly less risky. But you’re still playing with fire in my opinion. So, if you really insist on being on a birth control pill, at least you use some anti-inflammatory supplementation. Put some good fish oil and some turmeric in your diet. Try and control some of these issues that are going to create when it comes to risk of blood clots and cardiovascular risk and increase in inflammatory markers. But ultimately, it’s much different than vitamin D.
Brock: And even thoughSandy’s question and most of your response circulated around the birth control pill itself, the same can be said for an IUD. Or one of those subcutaneous injections that people get because it all has the same estrogen and progestin in it as well.
Ben: Yes, exactly. So, if you have follow-up questions, of course you can always ask them in the comment section or in the show notes question over in the podcast episode.
Brock: Cool. Let’s move along to a question fromBrandon.
Brandon: Hi Ben, this is Brandon. And I have a question about exercise frequency during the week particularly for fitness individuals. And I’m thinking about performance but more general overall fitness, the whole looking good while you’re naked type thing and health over a lifetime. So, I’m not really thinking in terms of becoming a marathoner or anything like that but just being fit throughout life. The reason I asked is because I was wondering whether doing really highly stressful workouts for shorter periods of time like circuits and things like that. Will it be more beneficial for a fit individual if they were only done four times a week or maybe five times a week? And using exercise to stress yourself enough to where your body may not be able to handle. So, is it more exercise or whether you should tone down how hard you go during exercise so you can workout five or six times a week. And the reason I asked this question is because Erai Beckman I think was talking about the benefits of exercising everyday. And I was just wondering what was Ben’s opinion on what that was. Thanks. Goodbye.
Brock: I like this question because it’s so moderate. We don’t often get question of how do I just be healthy and fit. It’s usually how do I excel at this 12 days smashing race through the mountains?
Ben: Exactly. So, it’s the basic level. And the slightly coped out response on my part is that it does depend quite a bit. So, it depends on your goals and what you’re trying to accomplish. But if we’re just talking about looking good and being fit, one of the things that this really comes down to is time under tension of the muscle. And there have been some decent studies that have been done on time under tension and also the actual load that’s necessary to lead to a gain in muscle. And when we’re talking about a gain in muscle, usually assuming that you’re controlling your diet and losing some fat at the same time. That’s usually what’s going to make you look aesthetically pleasing or look better. It’s this gain in muscle. Usually, if you’ve got anything less than about 75 to 80 percent of the maximum amount of weight that you can lift one time. You’re not going to see significant gains in muscle mass unless you’re getting lots and lots of reps. You can take a light weight. You can do a ton of reps and totally exhaust the muscle. But you’re not going to get as efficient an effect as if you lift with 75 to 80 percent. And for an advanced athlete, it’s probably higher than that. You’re probably going to have 80 to 85 percent in terms of the amount of heavy things that you need to lift. So, when we’re talking about hypertrophy or muscle growth, time under tension is a significant component. Generally, we talk about weight training and building muscle in terms of sets. Like you do x number of sets and x number of repetitions. But all we’re looking at when we’re looking at the number of sets that you do and the number of reps that you do is the total amount of time that muscle is actually under tension. So, during a typical training session, you’d want the muscle to be under tension ideally for anywhere from 40 to 80 seconds. That’s a really good place to start if we’re going to talk about the actual amount of time that a muscle is under tension. And the amount of strength training that you’re going to do is going to vary based on whether you’re taking one second to lift the weight and lower the weight. It maybe is three seconds or ten seconds if you’re doing more of a super slow type of training. But you should be going like anytime you go in and you work on a body part or you’re doing a full body weight training session. Every body part that you’re planning on working should be exposed to some type of tension for about 40 to 80 seconds or around in there. Ideally, you should be doing the up phase as fast as possible and the down phase or the eccentric phase relatively slow and controlled. And depending on your level of fitness, this is where the “it depends” part comes in, that may leave you sore for five days. It may leave you sore for two days. It may leave you sore for a week. But when that soreness has subsided and the muscle has bounced back, you go back and you do it again. So, when it comes to strength, you do that. You throw in some basic activity in terms of staying on your feet, walking, taking the stairs, staying generally physically active. And in the same way that a hunter or gatherer might, you throw in a few sprints here and there and that’s all you need to maintain generally decent fitness. That will just scratch the surface. But it’s the basic idea.
Brock: Yes. I think that’s a great place to start. Alright, well let’s move on to the next question from Andy.
Andy says: Hi guys, I love the show. I was listening to a podcast where you’re interviewing a doctor about the benefits of cold therapy. And I actually you mentioned something called earthing. And in my imagination, I pictured someone lying in dirt to help speed up recovery. For a few minutes of searching the internet, I wasn’t exactly proven wrong. It was all very confusing. And no one can explain things quite like you guys. So, I was wondering what it is. When I got hurt as a kid, was my dad onto something when he told me to go rub some dirt on it? Thanks.
Brock: I remember the episode that he was talking about. It was about cold thermogenesis. And I can’t remember the guy who you were talking to about that.
Ben: Jack Kruse.
Brock: Yes. He referred to earthing a couple of times. And I kept waiting for him to actually go into what this earthing was. But he didn’t actually get there at any point. So, this is a great question.
Ben: Well, I first heard about earthing when I talked to Dr. Jeffrey Spencer on this podcast. He was the guy who worked with team radio shack and Lance Armstrong’s team for seven to eight years. He was one of the more popular and efficacious personal trainers massage therapist, and chiropractic physicians for a lot of these cyclists. And he’s big into having the athletes sleep grounded. And this is based off of a research study that I’ll to in the show notes. But the idea is that when you look at what happens to everything from your serum electrolytes, your free T4, your thyroid stimulating hormone, your inflammatory markers. All of those are favorably influenced when you sleep either in direct contact to the ground. Or if that’s not available to you, you sleep on Grounding mat or a grounding pad. That simulates you being in contact with the ground. So if you step back and you look at this from a scientific standpoint, the idea is that when your body is in contact with the ground. If you’re going to be walking around on the surface of the earth bare foot, not inside a tall building but literally on some dirt or some grass, that type of thing. You get some free electrons that are transferred into your body via the soul of your feet. And free electrons have an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. So, the lack of touching the ground are the effects of living in homes and in tall buildings using rubber or plastic sold shoes that keep those free electrons from getting transported into the body. It may have a little bit of an effect on the fact that many of the chronic diseases that we face in our society are based off of inflammation and free radicals. So, when you look at a lot of the studies that have been done on getting in contact with the earth or using a Grounding mat or an earthing mat. And if you don’t know what that is, I’ll link to it in the show notes. That simulates being in contact with the earth. You show an improved immune system activity. You show basically this really cool resynchronization of your 24-hour circadian rhythm. So, it’s better sleep, less emotional stress. You can see the effect in a variety of ailments and injury via what are called thermography images which show areas in the body that are at a higher temperature. Or it may have some amount of inflammation in them. And I’ll definitely show some of the more powerful studies and show some of the more powerful links. I’ll put a link to those in the show notes for you. But what it comes down to is that if you’re able to spend some time outside bear-footed on grass, on dirt, on sand at the beach for example. You may experience some really positive effects specifically when it comes to sleep quality and injury healing and anti-inflammatory effect. The concept is called earthing. It’s also called grounding. And you would need to do it preferably with your skin in contact with the ground because your skin is a very good conductor. Whereas wearing a minimalist foot wear like vibrum five-fingers. It’s still going to have rubber between you and the earth. So, you’d want to be bare foot. And you essentially just try and get your skin in contact with the ground everyday. And if that’s completely impossible for you because of the metropolitan area that you live in or something like that, you can buy a Grounding mat. Or you can sleep on a grounding pad or what’s called an earthing mattress. And this sounds like woo-woo science. But some of the studies are actually pretty decent that go into grounding. And I personally walk out of my house every morning. I go stand in the yard. I look at the sun and do about ten minutes of yoga or so. Even when it’s very cold out, I’m out there. Yes. I think that there’s something to be said for it from injury prevention, from an anti-inflammatory, and from a general physical health standpoint.
Brock: So, Andy’s dad wasn’t quite right when he wanted to rub some dirt on his injuries. But he was close.
Ben: He was barking up the right tree for sure. But I would say that there are better things to rub on injuries than dirt.
Brock: Alright. Let’s move on to the next question. And I’m going to say that it’s from Bad workout guy just because he didn’t say his name.
Anonymous: Have you ever had just a bad training day? For instance, you go on say Monday or Tuesday, you do your normal routine. You pound out a really good session. You get really tired. For me, I’m a beginning triathlete. So, saying I got 45 minutes in the pool, swimming non-stop lap around. And then I come back again on Friday and do my second swim workout of the week. And after about 15 minutes, you do the same thing but you’re just out of breath, tired, stops and get some air. Alright, thank you and goodbye.
Ben: Okay. Bad work out days, I had them. What about you Brock?
Brock: I had one yesterday.
Ben: So, the reasons are multi-factored. I’m prepping the presentation right now. I mentor a small group of coaches and personal trainers via website called SuperHumanCoach.com. And the next class that I’m teaching is on the multiple reasons why people get over trained. And advanced methods in recovery and keeping the body bouncing back day after day and being able to take on hard workouts. One of the things that I’ll be going into in that class is why we get over trained. And it’s multi-factorial. Some of the reasons are inflammation which has come up a few times on this podcast. But it’s like an inflammatory diet or eating high amounts of sugar or higher amounts of processed food. You go back. You look at what you ate a couple of days before you had a bad day at working out. You may find that to be the case if you’re writing down what you eat or you know what you’ve eaten. Gut dysbiosis can be an issue. It means that you have a lack of proper intestinal flora and good bacteria in your digestive track. Maybe you haven’t been taking probiotics or eating fermented foods. And that can certainly affect your training status. As can a low intake of just basic antioxidants and anti-inflammatory like fish oil, cod liver oil, and some of the other stuff that we talked about. Low quality sleep can certainly do it. Even if it’s a low quality sleep two or three days before. It can affect a session three days down the road. And then just lifestyle and emotional stress, that’s a huge factor.
Brock: That’s a big one for me. I know for me if I’ve gotten really emotional, I’m really anxious and stressed out. That drastically affects my workouts.
Ben: Yes. It’s more draining than you think. And that’s why for example I have one of these EMWave2 units from the HeartMath institute that tests your heart rate variability. And I can instantly know if I am emotionally stressed instantly. Some people can just tell on their gut. But there have been times that I have been stressed out that I didn’t even realize. And I can test my heart variability and know it. And then I can use some of the methods that this software and it comes along with that program that teaches you to get my heart rate variability back to where it needs to be. And typically, it’s some deep breathing methods combined with some emotional relaxation and thinking about things that you’re very grateful for. You create feelings of love and gratitude and things that are going to decrease emotional stress. But that can be a huge factor as well. It’s just the emotional stress standpoint. But sometimes that’s not the issue. And sometimes it’s simply that you’ve cooked yourself or you’re getting close to that state of cooking yourself. And that’s why I recommend you track as many parameters as possible. And you go back from listening to the podcast that we did with the guys from RestWise where they’re tracking body weight, urine color, and mood status. And a bunch of different factors that when put together into this algorithm just spits out a recovery score everyday. That’s one way that you can track it. Heart rate variability is another method. If you go with the RestWise method, their software comes with pulse oximeter. And you just test your blood oxygen saturation every morning. And you want that in between about 95 and 99 percent every morning when you wake up. And when you see that it drops below that, that’s generally also a sign that there is too much inflammation. And your body isn’t recovered properly. So, I know that I just went over a ton of stuff. But what it comes down to, there’s more than one way to skin a cap. If you really want to know and be able to put your finger on when you’re going to have a bad day or avoid having a bad day. You either test your heart rate variability on a daily basis. Or you get this RestWise system. And you track the parameters that you’re going to feed into your RestWise online software. And you combine that with the pulse oximeter that the RestWise comes with. Those would be the two ways that I would go about it. Either way will work pretty well. I personally go with the heart rate variability because I don’t have a lot of time to track all the other variables that RestWise has on it. Ideal and best case scenario would be if RestWise came with a heart rate variability. I know that they’re working on that. But you basically track it. And you can pretty much identify this stuff and nip it in the bud before the bad day actually happens. And if you do find that you’re having a bad day, sometimes and honestly I find that on a bad day when I’ve got emotional stress, lifestyle stress and I’m having a hard time working out. For me, I can always swim. I’ve just identified that as something that I can do. You may find that you can run on a bad day but you can’t bike and you can’t lift weights. And lifting weights feels great when you’re having a rough day. But swimming, biking, and running are out. I tweeted this last week. But one thing that I’ve noticed too is on a bad day. You can generally can do chronic aerobic exercise and get through it. But you have a hard time doing things like pull-ups, bench press, squats, over head press, and a lot of these heavier lifts. And that’s generally a sign that you’re close to being overcooked too. That’s why you’ve got to be super careful with aerobic exercise because it’s really easy to train through and over train yourself. Those are my random thoughts on having a bad day.
Brock: I like it. The only thing that I’d add in there but you know I’m terrible at this. I give this advice but I actually can’t follow it myself because I’m way too much of an A-type personality. But I know people out there who actually give themselves if they’re having a bad day and they’re feeling crappy at the beginning of a workout. They’ll push through to a certain point. So, maybe they’ll go quarter of the ways to the workout. Or they’ll go ten minutes into their run or something like that. And if they haven’t turned around and they aren’t feeling better, they’ll just drop it and they say to screw it for the day or for that workout. And they’ll just call it quits on that one. The reason that it doesn’t work for me is because if I’m there and I’m working out, I have to finish it or I mentally just can’t deal with myself. So, if you’re one of those people that can actually say that this isn’t working out and they stop and have a shower at home. That’s good too.
Ben: I like the poster that I saw. I think that it was on the HTFU.com site. And it said I don’t stop when I’m tired, I stop when I’m done.
Ben: And maybe it’s a flaw and potentially is going to subtract years off my life. But I tend to go more towards that side than I do towards when I’m having a bad day. So, I’m just going to rest.
Brock: I’m actually just regurgitating some advice that I heard from Lucho. He’s a big believer. I think he does the podcast over at Endurance Planet, ask an ultra runner. He often says that if you’re just having a bad workout and if it’s not working out for you just can it for the day.
Brock: I wish I could do that but I can’t.
Ben: I really do that. And honestly because most of my runs are beside the river, if I’m having a bad run day, I’ll just go jump in the river and start swimming in the river. I will finish a workout no matter what.
Brock: Alright. Well, let’s move along to another question from Stephan.
Stephan: Hi Ben, this is Stephan calling from Atlanta, Georgia. I just have a quick question about endurance training and running. I’ve been running for a couple of years. My endurance is picking up. My pace is getting a little faster. I’m training for a marathon in the fall. And I just ran a 10k on July 4th PC road race in downtownAtlanta which is where a marathons going to be. And hills always seem to wipe me out. It seems like no matter how I much I build up my endurance to run distance whenever I get on the hills, I struggle every time I get over the top. It seems like I’ve lost all my energy. And I struggle to get back. So, I wondered if you have any tips on how to attack the hills, how to have the best stride and the best way to run. And I wonder if you have any tips for strength training and that sort of thing. I would appreciate it and congratulations on number 200. Thanks and goodbye.
Ben: Yes. Hills are a big struggle for a lot of people. I’m just going to give Stephan the three main ways that I found it to get really going in the hills. So, my three keys for becoming a better hill climbing when I’m running, number one would be to include plyometrics. So, those are going to increase your neuro-recruitment of muscles and make you a little bit explosive for hills. Plyometrics means that you’re doing things like single leg jumps up onto a race surface like a stair, a step, or a box. You’re doing counter movement jumps where you’re dipping down and then jumping as high as you can. You’re going depth jumps where you’re stepping off a race platform, landing, and then explosively jumping again. Anything plyometric is really going to help with force production. So, that’s one thing I’d do. I would, and this is probably no surprise for you, definitely include strength training. And I would specifically be including single leg squats, lunges, reverse lunges, dead lifts, and squats. And I would be going with heavy once or twice a week on those because that’s going to really help you to improve your training economy, your efficiency, and your neuro-recruitment as well. I’ve got an entire book out on strength training for triathletes. And those are some of the main exercises in that book for running. And then the last thing I would do is literally do drills on the hills. There’s one form of training that’s really cool. They’re called Lydiard hill repeats because they originated from Arthur Lydiard who’s a really good running and running coach. It teaches you how to be a more efficient runner on the hills. And the other cool thing is that you’re doing your drills on a hill. So, you’re eliminating all the impact of sprinting and bouncing on the flat ground. But Lydiard hill repeats, what this means is that you’d find a moderately steep hill that you can run up. And you would alternate between sprinting up the hill, skipping up the hill, bounding up the hill. And that means you do overly exaggerated strides where you’re bounding and then going between those three methods of climbing the hill. So, you could do nine repeats of the hill where in the first repeat you sprint it. The second repeat you do skipping. The third repeat you do bounding. And then you go through it and then you do it again. And then one more time so you would do nine repeats with the full recovery like a walk back down the hill between each repeat. So, as far as checking out some images, some examples, some written stuff, I wrote an article for the WildFlower Triathlon because that’s a really hilly run course. And I’ll link to that article for you because I did put a link to some of the things that I just mentioned when I wrote that article. So, that’d be a good one for you to check out.
Brock: One thing that I always tell all my runners when you’re actually running the hill and especially during the race and not necessarily when you’re training for it. It’s because you do want to push yourself hard when you’re training on the hills. But when you’re actually in the race situation, you’re trying to moderate your energy expenditure and keep your heart rate down. Think about pumping your arms. Don’t think about your legs. Think about your arms. So, the more you swing your arms, just neuro muscularly your legs are going to turn over. They will. The harder you pump your arms your legs will also go harder. But you’re taking the focus off of how tired your legs are or how much you’re working. Also, shorten the stride and think about running on hot coals. So, you’re getting your feet off the ground quickly so you’re not burning your toes on the hot coals. So, you shorten the stride and then the turn over is going to get a little quicker and just pump the arms. And it’s amazing how if you just concentrate on those three things, it makes a really big difference. And all of a sudden you’ll notice that your breathing is easier, your half way up the hill and you didn’t notice it. And then you crust the hill and you get back to your regular stride and away you go.
Ben: Yes. It also helps if you can visualize a hot babe or a nice juicy steak or something like that waiting for you at the top of the hill.
Brock: I just tie a stick at the top of my head with a snickers bar.
Ben: That’s a good way to do it.
Brock: Alright. Let’s move along to the next question that comes from Sara.
Sara says: Hi Ben, my name is Sara. And I’m calling and I have a question for your podcast. I was wondering how and why do those sports energy drinks work like Rockstar and Redbull. And is it really that bad for you or is it ok to drink one in order to get energy to go out and workout. Anyway Ben thanks a lot. I love the podcast. And I look forward to hearing more. Bye.
Ben: Energy drinks, I used to drink a lot of these by the way. Have you seen the Rockstar energy drinks Brock?
Brock: I have, yes those great big Ed Hardy t-shirt looking cans.
Ben: I used to go three or four of those a day easily.
Ben: It was when I was personal training. I’d strip out the gym atfive a.m. And by the time I left around seven oreight pm. That’s how many I’ve gone through because you’ve got to stay peppy and motivated. I was bouncing between training folks and teaching spin classes. And you got to keep your body going somehow right?
Ben: So, the main idea behind energy drinks is that they’re actually really popular inAsiabefore they got to the U.S back in the 60’s. They actually had Japanese pharmaceutical companies churning out energy drinks that contained as their primary ingredient. The same thing that a lot of energy drinks contain these days is taurine. And taurine is it’s this amino acid. And it’s not an essential amino acid. But it is an amino acid. And the idea behind taurine is not only is it an antioxidant which ironically means that it can help protect you. It protects you against a lot of the sugar and the acidic compound and processed derivatives that you’re going to find in energy drinks. But there have been studies that have been shown that taurine can help to give you a more positive mental performance, more positive mood. It may have an effect in terms of improving your attention. And it may actually improve your athletic performance in terms of increasing your time to exhaustion or your VO2 max. And that’s one of the reasons that it’s a key ingredient in a lot of these energy drinks. It’s because it’s one of those amino acids that you can really feel. And it is something that has some decent research behind it. Now, most energy drinks are not just including taurine in there but they’re also putting some central motor system stimulants in there like ephedrine or caffeine. And there’s typically some type of energy booster like ginseng or high dose vitamin B supplements. Usually, you may find something like ginkgo biloba in many. I know setaro is one that you’re seeing in a lot too which is similar to vitamin B in that it can help with neurotransmitters and metabolism. And a lot of these energy drinks are basically just cocktails of all of these compounds. I really wouldn’t have that much of an issue with energy drinks if they did throw some taurine, some ginseng, some B vitamins, and trace amounts of caffeine at you. But most of the traditional energy drinks that you’d like to drink. The problem is that they also contain high amounts of caffeine and high amounts of preservatives and sugars or artificial sweeteners. I’ve talked about sugar and artificial sweeteners. And I don’t think we’re going to spend time harping on those. But the main issue with the caffeine is that when you ingest it and it goes into your stomach, it’s going to travel to your brain pretty quickly. And once it’s in your brain, it binds to nerve receptors called adenosine nerve receptors. So, what that does it that when caffeine is linked up with all of those adenosine receptors and it’s blocking adenosine. You generally begin to get a constriction of the blood vessels that feed your brain. And this increases the neuron firing rate in your brain. And it sends a message to your adrenal glands to produce adrenaline or epinephrine which your “fight or flight” hormone. So, the longer amount of time that you’ve got your blood vessels being constricted to your brain. These adenosine cell receptors being blocked, the more adrenaline you’re going to produce. And eventually, the more and more caffeine you’re going to need to get that same effect. Now, churning out adrenaline over and over again consistently throughout the day would be a really good way to eventually deplete your adrenal hormones. And you go into adrenal insufficiency or adrenal exhaustion and over production of cortisol and eventually depletion of cortisol or over production of cortisol. And that’s your primary stress hormone. And one cup of coffee can increase your blood cortisol levels by 30 percent. And while that’s great when you need a little kick in the morning, getting ten times that a day from an energy drink is a pretty big issue. So, my main issue with energy drinks is the adrenal exhaustion. Secondary to that is the sugar and the artificial sweeteners and some of the preservatives. And there are healthy ways to get that energy kick. Most of them are the type of energy drinks that come in powder form because you’re not dealing with a lot of these sugar and the artificial sweeteners. You’re also not dealing with acidity from the acids that go into actual canned supplements. Ultimately, that’s the idea behind energy drinks. And as far as Sara’s question, is it okay to have it once in a while? Energy powders, yes like the stuff you get in a packet or something of that nature. Energy drinks generally, I’d just stay away from.
Brock: Alright. Now that I know that you were drinking that much Rockstar, for a while I’m not going to feel as bad when I have my extra cappuccino in the afternoons.
Ben: And don’t get too scared. Most of the studies were done with college students dying or whatever and all these urban legends you hear on the internet. Usually, you’re talking about mixing this stuff with alcohol which is you’re mixing an upper with a downer. And that’s where you’re getting the risk of dehydration, kidney, and liver toxicity and some really inflammatory markers going up in the blood stream. But for the most part, your worries about energy drinks are going to be the same as your worries about either drinking soda or drinking too much coffee. So, think about it that way.
Brock: It’s like a combination of soda and coffee.
Brock: Which is actually it sounds like it would taste about what I imagine a Rockstar taste like.
Ben: Probably like a shot in the dark or the drop of shot in an espresso in a can of coke.
Brock: A shot into a can of orange soda or cream soda.
Ben: The U.S packing mark office and get that right away.
Brock: Okay. Our last question comes from Sam.
Sam says: Hi Ben and Brock. This is Sam. And I wanted to call with a question for the show. So, thank you very much. The question is getting omega three as a vegetarian. And as a vegetarian, I don’t take fish oil. And so, I’m limited to other sources of omega three. And I know that most of them aren’t as well absorbed but I try to get as much as possible. So, I’m wondering what’s the highest dose you can get at a time in order to get the most out of your absorption. So, for example, I have flak’s breakfast cereal or flak’s crackers or some chia seeds or possibly a whole avocado on my salad. Does all of that work or am I overdoing it and should I just space out during the day. Hopefully, I can get this question answered in order to make the most of the vegetable sources I have with omega three. And I’ll hopefully catch up with all the people out there. Bye.
Brock: Alright. I think we’ve talked about this a few times before. Like the whole problem with the vegetarian diet is a lack of fat or at least a little more effort has to be put in to get those fats.
Ben: Yes. And for a while I used to say that as a vegetarian you’re just accepting that fact that you can’t get enough omega threes. I actually have an interview coming out this Saturday with Rich Roll. He’s one of the few vegan folks that I’ve spoken with who actually does stuff right. And he does get decent amounts of fats and omega threes in his diet in my opinion from what I’ve gathered from reading his book and speaking with him. And we’re talking about a host of different super foods that fly under the radar in my interview with him. It’s a fun interview. You’re going to learn about your foods you didn’t know about and some similar ways you can try. But vegan and vegetarian diets were being notoriously low in fats and especially omega three fatty acids which are your most anti-inflammatory fatty acids that you can get. You do have sources available. You can start off by making sure that you’re working with walnuts, flak seeds, chia seeds, stuff like that into your diet. But really, when we’re talking about the mega doses of omega threes that will be available with the vegans or vegetarians, you’re looking at algae as being a really good source. And most of the time nowadays, you can find really good micro algae supplements which are these gelatin capsules that are going to contain algae compounds. Those tablets that you can chew that are algae-based that are going to have really good levels of omega three fatty acids in them. And if I were vegetarian, I would be doing algae on a daily basis. It’s chalk-full of a lot of other compounds that can help you. Algae are really high in chlorella. It’s really high in spirulina which are very high in a variety of amino acids and vitamins and minerals. But specifically, you’re getting your essential fatty acids from algae-based sources. So, that’s what I would do. I would go with the algae root. Incidentally, it’s interesting. When I do high dose spirulina or chlorella, I personally have this weird reaction where my mouth gets itchy. And I haven’t talked to many other people who experience this. It’s rare. But I almost have this slight allergic reaction to really good chlorella or spirulina source. So, I got to be a little bit careful.
Brock: I wonder if you’re slowly turning into a whale.
Brock: You’re getting those tendrils but never mind.
Ben: I’m producing a lot more sonic frequencies. Maybe it’s just gas. I don’t know. There’s one really cool source of algae that I found recently. It’s called algae bits energy bits. You can check them out at EnergyBits.com. But they come in these cool little tin cans. And you can keep them in your purse or your car or whatever. And you can pop them like popcorn and they’re like these algae tabs. And they’ve got this cool popcorn-type of taste to them. And they’re chalk-full of a lot of this stuff. Actually, I talked to the company and they gave me a discount code that folks can use. It’s Ben. So, you go to EnergyBits.com and use this discount code. And they’ll send you some of these algae tablets that you can chew. And they’re pretty good. You can check those out. I’ll put a link to that in the show notes too.
Brock: Sam asked about if he should get his entire omega three at one time or try to spread it out over the day.
Ben: It’s just the same with vitamin D or any other fat soluble or fat source. It doesn’t matter. You can take for vitamin D for example. You could take 2500 units of it on a Sunday and then not take vitamin D again for the week. Fish oils, fatty acids, you could literally if you could tolerate it stomach wise, you could drink a bottle of cod liver oil or take 100 of these algae tablets at the beginning of the week. And you can have the fatty acids stored away. But ultimately, there’s typically some gastric emptying, some G.I distress issues that can be associated anytime you mega dose with something. So, I’m a bigger fan of just spreading stuff out throughout the week. Not necessarily throughout the day though. For example, if you were to get these energy bits, you could take 20 or 30 of them in the morning and call it a day. Or if you wanted to you could do ten with breakfast, ten with lunch, and ten with dinner. There’s no research behind the actual dosing irregularity or something like that.
Brock: And that is it. That wraps up episode 200.
Brock: So, what do you think Ben? Are you going to be around for another 200 episodes?
Ben: Another 200? We’ll see. We’ve got a lot of folks supporting the show. It’s your donations that keep this thing going obviously. So, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and you click that little donate button on the right side of a page. You could leave us a ranking or a rating on iTunes. I could see us rolling along for quite a period of time. I need to eventually replace Brock with a hot sexy female DJ.
Brock: I’m going through hormone therapy at the moment to become the hot sexy female DJ.
Ben: Or birth control pills by the way.
Brock: Yes of course.
Ben: But yes. I can totally see another 200.
Brock: I’d love the fact that when these episodes go out, the system that we use actually put them onto iTunes and get them onto the internet. It tracks how many people are actually downloading it. And it’s in the 10,000. For me, that just fills me with so much pride and excitement that that keeps me going absolutely every week.
Ben: Actually, between this podcast and the GetFitGuy podcast, I think we’ve got almost one quarter of a million listeners every week.
Ben: So, keep on listening in folks. We’re making a difference in the world. And everything that we talked about today, you can find over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com in the show notes to podcast episode number 200. And stay tuned this weekend for a cool interview with Rich Roll. And 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
July 11, 2012 – the 200th free audio podcast: How Vitamins And Supplements Are Made. Also: is frozen yogurt healthier than ice cream, the best way to soak grains, how to use CoQ10, how to maintain flexibility, synthetic vs. natural supplements, how much should you exercise, what is “earthing”, bad workout days, how to run hills, should you ever have an energy drink, vegetarian omega 3 fats.
Have a podcast question for Ben? 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.
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As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
If you see your question below, be sure to send an email to [email protected] to claim your FREE BOOK. You can choose between “Get Fit Guy's Guide to Achieving You Ideal Body” or KC Craichy's “Super Health” diet book. Which we talk about in Episode 139 and 140.
Audio Question from Danny:
Which is better for a relaxed day with the kids, Frozen Yoghurt or regular Ice Cream?
~ In my response, I mention our coconut ice cream recipe.
Audio Question from Scott:
He really enjoys baking bread, all from scratch and no processed flower. He uses a soaking process called “Pre-fermentation”, where you soak the ground grains. Is this the same as soaking them prior to grinding?
Audio Question from Dwayne:
He currently takes CoQ10, 10mg a day. Is there a benefit to taking more than that or to cycle it?
Audio Question from Trisha:
She and her husband are runners who do Tia-Kwan-do. When they ramp up for a race, they feel like they are losing flexibility. Why and how is that happening and how can they counteract that?
~ In my response to Trisha, I mention these exercises.
Audio Question from Sandy:
Ben has spoken against birth control pills but recommend Vitamin D supplements. Why is the synthetic hormone Vit D ok when the other is not?
Audio Question from Brandon:
Exercise frequency – how much is appropriate just for looking good and being fit? Should you exercise every day? If so, how do you adjust the intensity/duration to not overdo it?
Audio Question from Andy:
What is earthing? Was his dad right when he told him as a child to “go rub some dirt on it” when he got hurt?
Audio Question from Bad Workout Guy:
Do you ever have a bad workout day? Out of breath, tired, have to stop to get some air, even though it is the same workout you have done before with no issue.
Audio Question from Stephan:
Hill Training. Running for a couple years. Endurance is getting good and pace is picking up. Training for a marathon in the fall. Hills always wipe him out. Struggles with them every time. Do you have any tips on how to attach hills? Stride, technique, strength training?
~ The Wildflower Hill Running tips.
Audio Question from Sara:
How and why do sports energy drinks (Red Bull, Rockstar) work? How bad are they for you? Is it ok to have them every once in a while?
Audio Question from Sam:
He has a question about getting Omega-3 as a vegetarian. What's the highest dose he should get at one time to get the most benefit? Should he spread it out over the whole day or get it all at once?
~ In my response I mention www.EnergyBits.com (use 10% discount code BEN)