Introduction: In this podcast episode: a source for fitness music, exercising when you’re sore, plantar fasciitis, something called gym dick, do you burn calories in hot or cold weather, running socks, fruit and vegetable supplements, whey vs. soy protein and buying local vs. buying organic.
Ben: Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here. I am pretty excited because this week I am going to be releasing that second podcast that I promised you last week. We’re going to be calling this one the Ben Greenfield Fitness Inner Circle and that’s going to be downloaded free to the same iTunes feed and the same podcast subscription that you’re currently listening to. That should come out Friday or Saturday assuming that nothing goes wrong as my wife and I finish recording that for you this week. In addition for those of you who are going to be up in Penticton, Canada this week at the Ironman Triathlon Canada, I’ll be up there. Be sure to drop me a line. I’ll be Twittering and Facebooking and sending you out posts straight from the race so be sure that you follow me on Twitter over at www.twitter.com/bengreenfield. Be sure to check out the Ben Greenfield Fitness page by going to Facebook.com and doing a search for Ben Greenfield and maybe I’ll see you up there in Penticton, Canada if you’re a triathlete. We’re going to have some special announcements this week. We’re going to have a Q and A, and we also have an interview with Skip Orem who is host of a podcast called the Get Fit Pod podcast, not to be confused with my Get Fit Guy podcast. The Get Fit Pod podcast is a fitness music podcast that also delivers some cool knowledge to you while you’re working out as well so you get a combination of tunes with a little bit of talk. As usual I will be giving comprehensive Shownotes for this episode and also as I’ve been doing the past few weeks delivering the Shownotes to you in the iTunes feed as well. So they come straight to you. Alright folks let’s go ahead and move forward into this week’s special announcements.
Ben: Folks, remember if you have a question you can email me [email protected]. You can Skype which is especially useful if you’re international to pacificfit or you can toll free and leave an audio question to 8772099439. And our first question actually came through via Twitter. By the way that’s another way to ask a question, just go to Twitter.com. Follow Ben Greenfield and ask your question to @bengreenfield.
davidography asks: Is it harmful to exercise over the top of soreness from a previous workout?
Ben answers: This is a really good question, because as most of you already know when you workout, muscle damage occurs and specifically when you do workout that involves impact or slowing down a force or a weight such as what’s called a negative in the weight room where you would lower a bar to your chest slowly or lower a dumbbell slowly. There’s quite a bit of muscle damage that occurs and of course along with that muscle damage, you get muscle soreness called delayed onset muscle soreness. You can get muscle proteins basically increase in the blood, something called creatine kinase which is a marker of muscle damage, it’s an inflammatory marker. You can get loss of strength. You can get reduced range of motion so there are all sorts of things that happen that go hand in hand with that soreness. But your muscles themselves actually have this protective adaptation and it’s actually described in research as the repeated bout effect. The repeated bout effect. And what the repeated bout effect refers to is the fact that muscles are able to repeat a bout of exercise within 24 or 48 hours and they actually have protective adaptations that keep them from getting damaged in the same fiber areas. Essentially what happens is the motor units that actually recruit the muscles in the muscle fibers recruit muscle fibers that actually travel in different directions or were not recruited during the initial activity that caused the muscle soreness. So technically you can go do a workout that works similar muscles, still get a response in terms of a training response to that because of that protective adaptation. Now that being said, it would be best if you were going to work out when you were sore, to actually do a workout that works out your body in a different mode than the day before. So what I mean by that is if you’re going to work your legs and your legs are sore and you’re going to work your legs two days in a row, one day you might do weight room squats, lunges and leg extensions but the next day you might do a bicycle ride. So basically you’re able to load those fibers in different directions. Stress them differently with a different mode of exercise with different weights and still be able to get a training effect and not further damage what’s called the myofibril unit without producing a lot of excess creatine kinase, excess inflammatory proteins in the blood stream. Now there’s a caveat to that and that is if you’re doing an exercise that involves maximum motor unit recruitment, meaning that if you’re going to the weight room and you’re doing an all out maximum squat and the bench press and then you’re going in the next day and doing the same thing or you’re going in the next day and using the same muscles and those muscles have literally been fatigued and torn to the extent where there is no ability to have that protective adaptation or to have that repeated bout effect, that’s where working out when you’re sore would actually not be a good idea. It could do further damage and definitely would not have a training effect. Now for those of you research heads who like to get out there and find the research, one really good study that I’m going to refer you to that was the latest study done on this matter is in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research and the title of the study is called The Effects of Exhaustive Dumbbell Exercise After Eccentric Damage, Recovery of Static and Dynamic Muscle Performance. That has a good review of the literature to date and also talks a little bit more about working out sore. Or if you just want the Cliff’s Notes, basically what I just told you is all you need to know. So as long as you’re not injured or excessively fatigued you can get away with it.
Mike asks: I’ve had plantar fasciitis for a while in a foot. I had it about a year ago and went to a podiatrist who gave me 2 cortisone shots along some icing and strengthening exercises and the plantar fasciitis went away completely. About two weeks ago, I changed my running style from a heel plant to a midfoot plant and the plantar fasciitis came back in the same foot. I’ve been to physical therapy and have tried icing, stretching, nightsplint, massaging, orthotics, everything. It doesn’t hurt when I run. Do you know of anything else I could try to heal this?
Ben answers: Well plantar fasciitis injury is very interesting because a lot of times it won’t hurt when you run but it will hurt when you get out of the bed in the morning, when you’re walking around, when you’re stressing the plantar fasciitis in any mode other than running and the whole idea behind plantar fasciitis is that it arises from an inflammatory process of the plantar fascia which is a ligament that runs along… or basically fascia that runs along the bottom of your foot and it supports your foot in weight bearing. And when you have plantar fasciitis, what happens is that plantar fascia becomes inflamed. A lot of times it’s inflexible and you’re moving it through ranges of motions that it’s not able to move through and you essentially get pain in the bottom of your heel and also the bottom of your foot. Now of course I don’t want to insult your intelligence because you’ve done a lot of things that I would initially recommend to you for plantar fasciitis such as the icing and strengthening exercises, the nightsplint especially, massaging, orthotics – so if your plantar fasciitis is still hurting you, of course you kind of answered your own question and that is that you may not really be ready for a midfoot plant or you may have tried to change up your running style too quickly over too much volume. So a lot of times, if you’ve been running for 10 or 15 or 20 years, maybe you played high school football or basketball or baseball and you ran with a heel plant then and your body is completely used to running with a heel plant, you cannot expect your body to adapt within a week. There’s no way that it’s going to happen. And when you’re trying a new running style, you may need to spend just 10 minutes the first week with that running style and then get that up to a half hour the next week and then an hour the next week and eventually do a full conversion, but gradually ease yourself into it. In the meantime, to make the plantar fasciitis go away, since you’re doing a lot of the things I would have recommended to you – it may take complete non-weight bearing rest to allow that inflammatory process to die down. Of course you could try an oral inflammatory. You could try something like the Fenacaine, that I recommend as an alternative to ibuprofen. You could try a topical magnesium and those might help a little bit but we’re talking about an extra 5 to 10% when inactivity and rest may actually be what you require. If you get really tired of that and not putting any weight on your foot, try aqua jogging to maintain your VO2 max and maintain fitness and that keep you very fit without putting any stress on that plantar fasciitis. So aqua jogging just requires a flotation belt, maybe an mp3 player because it gets pretty boring and essentially you just pump your arms and your legs in a deep pool where you can’t touch bottom. Good question.
We’ve got a question from Sean and the question from Sean is related to a post this week on www.bengreenfieldfitness.com where I talked about the top five criteria that my underwear must have. Yes, that’s right. I did a post on men’s underwear. I’m really not an expert in women’s underwear fortunately. But I am an expert in men’s underwear in that I am very picky about the underwear that I use and I did a post about that. I’ll put a link to that in the Shownotes, about the five things I demand of my underwear and Sean asks…
Sean asks: While we are on the topic of male underwear, I have a male fitness related question. (If there are any children listening, I am going to use some words that you may want to be ready to explain to them.) I’m not sure how to word this to make it appropriate for the podcast, but here it goes. While working out hard, I notice that my penis shrinks considerably, often referred to as ‘gym dick’. It happens when I am training with weights and cardio. It feels rather uncomfortable and I am wondering if there’s anything to be worried about. I’ve heard a couple reasons for this happening, first, that it is the body’s primal instinct to protect itself during strenuous activity, and second, the body is focusing on sending blood to other areas of the body that need more blood. Does that seem accurate and does it have anything to do with the type of underwear that I use?
Ben answers: Good question Sean. First of all let me say that it’s a complete myth that your penis is going to shrink during exercise because of the body’s primal instinct to protect itself during strenuous activity. And the reason for that is that sex itself is a strenuous activity and it would be quite inconvenient if your body was shunting blood away from that area during sex. So it’s not a primal instinct to protect itself but rather it’s a shunting of blood away to areas that are working very hard especially during an activity where that area of your body is not working very hard. At least in most weight room exercises that I’ve seen, that area of your body is not working very hard. If you have some exercises that you’re doing that do work that part of your body, I’d be very interested to hear about that particular workout plan. However, the actual mechanism is that your body is shunting away from that area but you should not be wearing overly restrictive garments while you’re working out, specifically a lot of the boxer briefs can be restrictive. A lot of the bikini style underwear, if you’re working out in your Speedo and you’re a triathlete in the weight room after a swim – none of that is very healthy. That amount of constriction –unless the constriction is absolutely necessary. So for example if you’re swimming and you need to be streamlined and you’re wearing a Speedo, that type of constriction is something that you just need to deal with. But there’s no reason you should be doing that all the time. It’s actually very damaging to your reproductive organs and the tissues to be constantly compressing that area of the body. I talk in more detail about that in the recent post that I did on the five things I demand of my underwear, but ultimately the idea is that all that happens during exercise is that your body is shunting blood away. It’s not anything you need to worry about unless you’re wearing overly restrictive garments that are going to reduce the ability of that blood to return to that area after exercise. So good question.
Christian asks: Do you burn more calories exercising in the cold – trying to keep core temperature up- or in the heat – trying to keep core temp down?
Ben answers: This is a good question because a lot of people think – and this is something that I talked about recently with a couple of people – I believe it was over on our Facebook page or via Twitter when someone was wondering if they shouldn’t take a cold shower after a workout because they were afraid of their metabolism dipping back down after the workout and they wanted to burn more calories when they were hot. When you’re hot, your heart rate beats more quickly because you’re having to shunt blood out to the extremities. That’s one of the ways that your body cools itself. But your heart is not beating more quickly because there are higher oxygen demands or higher metabolic demands. It is beating more quickly just because it has to get more blood to more places. As a result, you don’t burn more calories in the heat. Being hot doesn’t increase your metabolism. Granted there is a little bit of thermo regulation that occurs when you’re going from a cold to a hot environment or a hot to a cold environment, that’s going to affect your metabolic rate slightly. But the amount of calories or extra calories that you’re going to burn in the heat or in hot conditions is fairly negligible compared to the amount of calories that you’re going to burn when you’re trying to stay warm in the cold. Okay? The muscles tend to move a lot more. The shivering mechanism, the increase in metabolism that’s ready to raise the body’s core temperature is going to be significant in the cold. So you’re going to burn more calories exercising in the cold trying to keep your core temperature up. I’m not saying you should try and figure out a way to maybe duck in the freezer at your local grocery store or into the beer cooler and sit there and read a magazine so you burn extra calories. I’m not saying you should turn the air conditioner on high in your house as a weight loss strategy. But I am saying that if you exercise in the cold you’re going to burn more calories. Ultimately, those calories from thermo regulation are going to be pretty insignificant compared to what you’re going to burn with exercise, so it may be a moot point here but just to tackle that myth – or that believe – that exercising in the heat burns more calories. It doesn’t. So for example if you’re doing a hot yoga class and your heart rate is through the roof, you’re not burning more calories, your heart is just working harder to keep you cool. Now Christian has a follow up question. He says…
Christian asks: When I do long distance runs, 20 to 25 miles each week, I sweat a lot. My socks are soaked by mile 18, then I start to get hot spots and blisters. Any suggestions about running socks?
Ben answers: This is an area that I think a lot of runners neglect and they think that it’s normal for their feet to be miserable like Christian’s are. But basically cotton in socks retains a lot of moisture. So when you get moisture you get a lot of heat that’s stuck in the sock. You get a lot more friction and the combination of the moisture, the heat and the friction can give you blisters, it can give you calluses, it can give you hot spots and it just gets worse and worse the more wet a sock becomes. So what you want to do is look for socks that aren’t made of cotton. Look for socks with ingredients like nylon or polyester. There’s a fabric on the market in a lot of running socks called cool max. Cool max is really good for avoiding a lot of these moisture issues. A lot of these fibers are synthetic fibers and a lot of synthetic fibers are what’s called hydrophobic meaning that they don’t draw water and they actually pull moisture away from your foot. So, it kind of maximizes cooling and evaporation on your feet. Wool is also a natural fiber. Non-synthetic but a natural fiber that works pretty well in a sock. There’s even socks right now that are made out of bamboo. That are made out of coconut, any of those are fine as well. The other thing you want to think about is the stitching in your sock. So if the stitching is seamless kind of like the underwear that I talked about earlier this week, the seamless nature of a sock or underwear is going to eliminate a lot of the friction, a lot of the rubbing, a lot of the irritation that you’re going to get on the top and the bottom of your toes. So if you can get rid of seams in the socks, that’s quite helpful as well and there are a lot of socks out there that do that. Cool max is just one example. There’s a good website called www.sockgeek.com. They’ve got some good socks on there as well. But ultimately if you switch up your socks, you could definitely be a lot more comfortable on those runs.
Tom asks: I’m a 53 year old ultra distance runner/cyclist who is putting in 3-4 hours of training on most days. What is your opinion of fruit and vegetable supplements? I am considering Juice Festiv from Sam’s Club. What benefits might I expect to receive from taking this product?
Ben answers: Well Tom, like most of the high antioxidant juice based or high vegetable based compounds that are out there on the market today, the first thing you want to look for is to make sure that they haven’t added a bunch of artificial sweeteners to it like acesulfame potassium or sucralose. You don’t want a lot of artificial colors in it. If it’s green, that’s fine. If they’ve added FDC red to it to make it a more palatable color then you want to avoid that. You want to avoid as many synthetic compounds as possible in those juice and vegetable compounds. They are good in terms of giving you more antioxidants if you’re a heavy exerciser and you’re putting in 3 to 4 hours of training on most days, you’re a heavy exerciser so you may need to protect your body against free radical damage more than the average exerciser and the amount of calories and fiber that you may need to get from regular fruits and vegetables in order to get that amount of antioxidants might upset your stomach. So there’s definitely an argument to be made for fruit and vegetable supplements for heavy exercises. As many of you know who use one of the products that I frequently recommend called EnerPrime – EnerPrime is a high vegetable based compound, it’s got about 32 different types of super foods in it. Another reason I recommend these types of supplements is because many times it’s simply difficult to eat as many vegetables as you really should be eating on a daily basis. So you add the vegetable based powders or the vegetable based supplements in to essentially cover what you’re not getting to bump up the immune system a little bit and essentially help yourself to be more healthy without having to go out of your way to eat huge salads every day. Now of course I know that the holistic ingredients of eating a whole piece of fruit or an entire vegetable and the synergistic interaction of those ingredients is going to be hands down – any juice extract or vegetable powder that you could get – but again I’m not saying that fruits or vegetables are inferior. I’m just saying that sometimes you’d have to eat a lot of them to get what you need. I took a lot at the Juice Festive from Sam’s Club that you ask about, Tom. And it looks okay. I haven’t tried it but it doesn’t have a lot of those artificial products in it. Now I’m not going to vouch for it because I haven’t used it, but I will vouch for the EnerPrime product that I just talked about and you can get that at www.pacificfit.net. It’s called EnerPrime at www.pacificfit.net. I’d take that over a juice and vegetable supplement any day of the week. Now Tom has a second part to his question. He says…
Tom asks: I sometimes feel overtrained and lethargic. My diet is borderline vegan. Would switching from soy to whey protein in my smoothies give me additional energy?
Ben answers: Well whey protein and soy protein are pretty different. So let’s talk about some of the differences between them. First of all, before I get into the differences, understand a few quick definitions here. When I say amino acids, amino acids are building blocks of protein. So basically amino acids are essentially if you were to dismantle a protein you’d be left with a bunch of amino acids. So when I’m talking about amino acids, they’re essentially just made up of carbon and hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen and all those components together are going to make up protein. So the first thing you want to look at is the biological value of a protein. What the biological value is it measures the amount of nitrogen that you get from those amino acids and it measures the amount of nitrogen that you get when you consume that protein versus the amount of nitrogen that you would actually have in a fasted state. So it indicates how digestible the protein is and how available the protein is for use by your body. Now a whole egg, just like a regular egg has a biological value of 100, and everything else is compared to the biological value of an egg. Some things are higher. Some things are lower in terms of the amount of nitrogen that’s available to your system. Soy protein has a biological value of 74. Okay? Whey protein has a biological value of 104. So in terms of nitrogen utilization and biological value, whey protein is going to be a little bit higher. Now the other thing you want to look at with a protein is what’s called the net protein utilization and the net protein utilization is actually the amount of amino acids that are actually converted into a protein in your body versus the amount of amino acids that are actually in the protein that you eat. So if the protein utilization is 100, that means your body used 100% of the amino acids that you consumed. Zero would mean it didn’t use any of the amino acids. So when you look at the net protein utilization, soy protein scores a 61 and whey protein scores a 92. Now the next thing you can look at is what’s called an efficiency ratio and the efficiency ratio is basically the gain in lean muscle that you’re going to get from a protein divided by the weight of the actual protein consumed. Granted that’s something that they measure in rats with protein in terms of how quickly it can help you to grow or help the human body to build muscle and a ratio of anything bigger than about 2.7 is considered to be pretty good for a protein. Soy protein ranks at 2.2. Whey protein ranks a 3.2. Now the next thing you can measure with a protein is what’s called the amino acid score. And the amino acid score just looks at the amount of essential amino acids that are in a protein. It doesn’t measure how digestible that protein is but it does measure the actual essential amino acid content. So essential amino acid content for soy protein is at 0.99 and essential amino acid content for whey protein is at 1.14. Anything greater than 1 means that the protein actually contain the essential amino acids that you require. So both are pretty close to 1, but whey is significantly over 1. Now, the next thing – it kind of gets a little bit technical here but the next thing is the protein digestibility corrected amino acid score. I know that’s a mouthful but basically what it measures is the essential amino acids in a protein compared to the essential amino acids in a reference protein. So, the reason that that’s measured is it basically gives you an idea of the actual protein quality. So you’re looking at the density of the amino acids in the protein. The protein digestibility corrected amino acid score is the same for both soy protein and whey protein. So it’s 1 for both. So they’re both a high quality protein but so far the whey protein is more digestible in the amount of amino acids it delivers to your body and the actual rate at which your body and extent to which your body can use those amino acids. Now the next thing you want to look at is the protein digestibility percentage and that measures the percentage of the protein eaten that gets absorbed by your body. 95% of a soy protein concentrate is absorbed, 99% of a whey protein is absorbed. Glutamine content is another thing to look to. Glutamine is actually one of the most beneficial amino acids you’re going to get in a protein. It’s a non-essential amino acid but it’s something that your body actually uses to transport the nitrogen in those amino acids into your tissue. So as far as the amount of glutamine in a protein, soy protein actually has 10.5 grams of glutamine for every 100 grams of soy protein. Whereas whey protein only has 4.9 grams of glutamine in it. So one of the things you may want to consider is if you’re taking a whey protein, take a whey protein that has added glutamine. You’ve got glutamine covered or at least you’ve got a much greater amount of glutamine in soy protein. Now as far as essential amino acids, we talked about how much of the essential amino acids are actually used by your body but as far as which has the most essential amino acids – essential amino acids are something that’s not produced by your body, it’s something a protein has to give to your body –whey protein has about 480 mgs of your essential amino acids whereas soy protein has about 378 mgs. So whey protein has significantly greater amounts of amino acids in it. Next thing you want to look at is something called arginine. And arginine like glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. Your body makes it but it’s really important to help with muscle growth because it promotes the release of growth hormone and insulin in your body and it’s a precursor to something called nitric oxide which helps to increase blood flow. Soy protein has 7.6 grams of arginine whereas whey protein has 2.9 grams of arginine. So a lot less arginine in the soy protein as well. So when it comes down to it, based on all this information, I know I just knocked you out with a bunch of information – here’s the way that I would look at this. Whey protein – you could take by itself but you should definitely get arginine and glutamine on board if you’re going to use whey protein. Soy protein – if you’re going to use soy protein, I would highly recommend that you supplement along with the soy protein some type of essential amino acid source. For example, the Bioletics amino acids. I actually use those. I take whey protein and I still use the Bioletics amino acids just because I know that if I keep my amino acids levels elevated as much as possible I’m really going to stave off the degradation of my lean muscle tissue. Even if I’m at a negative calorie balance. Even if I’m not eating enough calories, I will stave off cannibalization of lean muscle mass if I can get those amino acids high in the blood stream. So I take amino acids no matter what. If you’re using soy protein as your main source rather than whey protein you should absolutely take those amino acids along with your soy protein. So, whey protein would definitely be superior to soy in terms of the amount of training that you’re putting in especially.
Tommy asks: I’m conflicted on purchasing overseas organic vs U.S. non-organic foods. After reading Thrive, by Brandon Brazier, I learned that half of the green house gas emission in North America is from the transportation of food. For example, I’m stuck at the grocery store wondering if it’s more beneficial to buy organic apples from Chile, or non-organic apples from Washington. Should I save Earth or save myself?
Ben answers: It’s a great question and in that book, Brendan is correct in that the emission to get, say, a banana – organic bananas from Chile up to you in the US wherever you are such as Washington is going to be pretty significant and you actually end up not doing the planet a favor by purchasing something like that. Now when we get to something like organic apples where you actually have the choice to buy local or to buy something that’s been shipped in, but the local source is non-organic then I would encourage you to think about this, one of the reasons you’re going to be purchasing organic foods is because there hasn’t been a lot of herbicide or pesticide use on that food and it is doable on a lot of foods to remove much of that herbicide and pesticide residue if you’re washing it. So for example, you can soak those non-organic apples in like a vinegar-based solution in your kitchen sink, leave them there for about 10 minutes, rinse them off and you’re going to get rid of a lot of worries. The other thing you can do that Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman talked about on her show a few months back is actually a Clorox wash. She washes her meat, her fruits and her vegetables in Clorox. I haven’t actually taken on that practice. I think it’s just a little bit suspect. I can’t get over the fact that I’m putting bleach on my vegetables and fruits. But if you were stuck with the decision to buy organic or non-organic and you didn’t want to buy the organic stuff that had been shipped in just based on the amount of carbon that’s required to bring those in, you could go with a non-organic and you could just make sure that you wash it carefully and that’s one way that you’ll at least be able to avoid some of the herbicides and pesticides. Now the final thing I want to leave you with is that herbicides and pesticides are not the only reason to buy organic. A lot of times because of the farming practices used by especially like an organic local farmer or a lot of organic farms – the organic vegetables and fruits tend to be higher in nutrients, minerals, vitamins and so if you’re buying non-organic even though you may not be getting some of the herbicides and pesticides, you’re still probably getting a subpar piece of produce. So it’s something to talk about. Best case scenario – you can buy local organic and then in most places, that’s doable. And one of the things that is… it’s kind of like gasoline. It always drives me nuts when I see people who will drive an extra four miles to save 2 cents on gasoline. I’ve been guilty of doing that myself but when you really think about it, it’s like you know, I’m paying 99 cents for a non-organic local version or a $1.29 for a local organic version. Unless you’re buying a lot of fruits and vegetables that’s not going to add up to be that much extra that you’re spending. So don’t let the pennies and the nickels fool you too much in shying away from putting good things into your body. Factor in other things like your happiness, the way you feel, your health care bills and not just the extra few cents that you may at the grocery. So, before we move on to the interview with Get Fit Pod host Skip Orem, I’d like to play just a couple of calls that came in this week that I think you’d like to hear.
Todd says: Hi Ben, this is Todd from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I’m about a week and a half away from Ironman Canada which is my first Ironman. I’m about to have my 10 minute personal pep talk phone call with you that each Ironman Dominator gets but before I did that I wanted to provide you with a pre-race testimonial of the Ironman Dominator program. I have had a lot of fun with this program. I’ve seen more results this year than any year since I started training seriously in 2005. I live, eat and breathe this program and discovered that this will not only be the basis for how I train for life but how I fuel my body as well. I won’t lie Ben, there have been days I was cursing your name as I went through horrible carbohydrate cravings only to praise you the next week when the cravings were gone and my energy levels were through the roof. You hooked me up with Bioletics. We figured out what was going on internally and once I was able to boost my deficient levels I felt even better. I stuck to the prescribed hours you gave me, averaged about 12 hours a week and still reached my goal weight and body fat percentage for Ironman. I’m in better shape than I’ve been in in 10 years and I’m ready to take on my first Ironman with a passion. And oh Ben, here’s the best part my wife is so supportive of my training with this Dominator plan that she’s the one encouraging me to sign up for Ironman again next year. I can’t imagine a better endorsement for that. I just wish I discovered a program like this 10 years ago. So for those of you who are thinking you don’t have enough time to train for an Ironman because you don’t have 20 hours a week to train, I’m living proof you can do it in far less with the Ironman Dominator program. Thanks again Ben for getting me prepared for what I’m sure will be one of the most memorable days of my life. Have a great day, bye.
Ben: Well best of luck in Ironman Canada Todd. I’ll be up there this week cheering for you and if you want to learn more about that program Todd is talking about you can find out at www.triathlondominator.com. That’s www.triathlondominator.com. We also got a call in from Listener Kara who used one of the programs from www.pacificfit.net.
Kara says: Hey Ben, this is Kara, a very loyal listener to your podcast. I was going to leave you a testimonial back in June when I did my sprint race and came in 3rd in my age group but I was not sure that it was a fluke that I came in 3rd after following the Training Peaks program for such a short amount of time. But I just finished my Irongirl sprint triathlon today and have been doing this race for the past four years. This is my fifth year and after doing your Training Peaks advanced sprint program, I took 7 minutes off my fastest time and came in 4th which was a podium finish for this race in my age group. So I am floored and amazed and just wanted to tell you that I’m very thankful that I came across your podcast and it made a huge difference so thank you.
Ben: Alright folks, that wraps up the questions and the comments for this week so let’s go ahead and move into the interview in the featured topic for this week.
So folks as promised I have Skip Orem on the line, the brains behind the Get Fit Pod and he’s going to tell you about the Get Fit Pod and exactly what it is, along with some very cool ways that he has found for you to motivate yourself and for you to get better results with exercise. So Skip, thanks for coming on the call.
Skip Orem: Oh it’s great to be here, Ben. Thank you so much for having me on.
Ben: So can you explain to people what the Get Fit Pod actually is? Because it’s a little bit different than a lot of other podcasts you’re going to find floating around on iTunes in the fitness category.
Skip Orem: It is a little different, and I’ll go back to why I started it in the first place. I’ve been – for most of my life, at least since junior high, a runner. I can’t actually say except for injuries I’ve run almost every day of my life since junior high school and a couple of years ago I would – there was a point that I ran marathons and I kind of cut that back simply because I didn’t have the time to train for marathons. But I continued running and I found that even though I could go out and run for an hour or so and do my 8 minute miles which is about what I train at that I didn’t like the way I looked. I hadn’t watched my diet. I had a gut. I had more weight – a fat weight – than I wanted to have. And I really felt I think I’m in shape because I run everyday but I’m totally out of shape. So I decided what I was going to do was take a year and just devote all of my time to getting in shape. I’m fortunate in the job I have, I can kind of run my own schedule and it’s a 24/7 kind of thing where I can decide when I’m going to work so I decided the bulk of my focus was going to be on getting myself back in shape for the next year. I called it 24/7/365 focus on fitness. Because my main real job is that I’m a voiceover person, I thought what better way to motivate – to keep me motivated than to tell people about it via podcast? And I already had a sound studio, so I was good to go so I started the Get Fit Pod back in May of 2007 and really what it began as was targeted for folks over 50 who wanted to get back in shape. Keep that in mind as I continue to explain this because some interesting things happened to the dynamics of it, of the listeners anyway. Anyways, I started this podcast based on my plan to get myself in shape which I called the Get Fit Pod fitness strategy, has five components – exercise… and exercise has subcomponents of cardio and strength, then diet, music, knowledge and journaling. Equal time focused on those five areas to kind of keep you motivating and going with your fitness. We kind of preach that beginning with day one of the podcast. And some interesting things happened. Probably the first – it was a weekly podcast and probably the first six or seven weeks, I think I was really proud one week that I had 70 listeners but somewhere in the Australian, New Zealand area we got mentioned on a radio show that hit nationally and there was some print stuff after that. Actually next week from that, I was getting 10 to 15,000 hits on iTunes of people at least downloading the podcast. I don’t know that they’re listening but they were at least downloading it. And I also started getting these emails from Australia and New Zealand asking me questions and things they wanted to hear on the podcast so I started really as a person that is not a fitness guru at all but somebody who just wants to get himself in shape. I started doing research and focusing on the different areas, talking to people like yourself and then also getting information from my listeners and they kind of directed the way the podcast became after that. Then we got featured on iTunes. So we really have a ton of listeners and we get a lot of them because every 3rd or 4th episode I usually do a structured workout and it’s been interval training. Some of them are high intensity, others are just regular interval training where with some music I coach our folks through a 30 to 45 minute workout and when those things come out, our listenership, it’ll double from what it typically is just based on the workout episode. So they like the free workouts more than they want to hear me pontificate about fitness. But I do have a lot of listeners that listen regularly to us on the Get Fit Pod. So we’ve just grown over time and the strength of that is I get my information from my listeners. Or at least they direct me where they want more information and I can go out and get it for them. And then the other thing we do is we play – these are actually warm up mini workouts, on a regular episode, usually will be two to three times to break up the episode where I’ll play music and most people during that time if they’re listening at their computer, it’s a chance for them to get up and get moving around. A lot of ladies say they’ll get up and dance with their kids. Most people just dance and move around. A lot of people that listen to the podcast while they’re working out, they treat that as a high intensity interval and some will go a little faster, work a little harder as they do that. And the neat thing is, Ben, because the podcast is free, I don’t really make any money on it that there’s no way that I can pay to have commercial music on the podcast, to pay the rights fees so what I’ve done is begin playing unsigned artists, musical artists. And there is just some great ones out there. I probably paid over 300 different artists on the 150 episodes that we’ve done so far. And it’s neat because a lot of them are on iTunes. They’re just in business for themselves. They’re recording their work, they’re putting it on iTunes and they’re trying to sell their songs for 99 cents. And a lot of them will say, you know you played my song – and we release usually on a Sunday – they’ll say you played my song and the next day my sales went up on iTunes so it’s kind of fun to watch them grow. Some of them have really grown and gotten a following. Not so much based on the podcast but on what they’re doing to market themselves. It’s really a change in the music industry from what was at one time very corporate driven, studio driven, label driven kind of stuff where these people could actually start on their own and get their career going and some of them get signed. Some of them are offered to get signed and won’t do it because they want to keep the money for themselves as they go on about their career. So it’s kind of a neat thing. And it really is one of the hallmarks of the regular episodes, is that you get to hear 3 songs that you probably wouldn’t otherwise hear during the podcast and then the workout episodes, I play the music also to motivate folks through the workout episodes. Some of the songs, I do myself. 15 or 30 second highly intense interval. Nobody’s really listening to music at that point in time. So I’ll put together drum beats and put some guitar on it, stuff like that just to kind of keep people moving, doing short intervals. But the longer intervals, we’re playing these unsigned artists and I just get emails all the time from listeners. Who did you say that was? And how can I find them? And those kinds of things so that’s been kind of neat. So it’s a combination – what the Get Fit Pod has become – is a combination of those five things. Information on diet, exercise, music, journaling and then your overall fitness and we’ve just grown. They love the workouts and that’s essentially where we are right now. Just last week releasing our 150th episode.
Ben: Does somebody have to go back and start with episode 1 or let’s say someone is listening to this interview with you right now and they want to go download an episode and do a workout – can they just basically go over to your website, which I’ll put a link to in the Shownotes or over to the Get Fit Pod on iTunes and just download any episode and do a workout?
Skip Orem: First of all, nobody gets to ever hear again episode 1. I challenge you to find anybody’s episode 1 of their podcast because they tend to disappear after a while. But I do keep probably the last… I think on iTunes, the last 30 episodes and then on my podcast site, when you go to my blog, all the episodes are there. There’s probably 50 of the past episodes there. Most of the workouts I do keep there and I wouldn’t say no, you don’t have to go back and listen from day one. It’s not a build thing, because I do repeat the core values of the fitness strategy and what we’re trying to do, things like that in almost every podcast. And you can see the workout episodes. They are currently identified. So I would suggest if you’re just interested in some workouts and hearing some new music while you’re doing that, download a couple of workout episodes and see what you think and then as you get to know me coaching you through the workout, if you want to hear more… and especially if you’re at the stage right now where you… and I suspect this doesn’t involve a lot of your listeners but if you’re at the stage right now where you want to start getting yourself back in shape, you know, start listening to some of the regular episodes too because there’s good information. There’s good people on there that we talk to. We’ve interviewed you on one of our podcasts. So it’s a really good opportunity for people to get fitness information. Especially if you’re a newbie. Especially if you’re a newbie. But I talk, Ben, about our listeners – our target audience starting this thing out. Guys like me, over 50. Out of shape who want to get back in shape. My listener or my average listener right now is a female in her 30s either wanting to get back in shape or in the process of exercising and looking for some ways to help them with their exercising. So it’s kind of interesting, the path that the podcast took as it continued to grow and especially geographically. Because we started out… like I said, my 70 listeners, we just grew tremendously in Australia and New Zealand and now I’m just thrilled to get these emails from people all over – Hong Kong, the UK, Germany. Some I have to have translated and it’s just fun to know that the podcast reaches out to that many people and they’re very good at telling me what I did wrong on the podcast, what they’d like to see on the podcast and of course praising us when we do some good things.
Ben: Now one of the things that you talked about Skip was journaling and that’s not something that you really run into a lot when people talk about the basic components of fitness. Sure, you mentioned that you guys cover on the podcast the diet, the exercise, the music and the knowledge of fitness. And all that makes sense. But tell me about journaling in terms of where that fits in as a fitness tool.
Skip Orem: Sure. You elite athletes are motivated by the competition, the training and the competition. Average folks out there trying to get fit need motivation and for some of us, it’s a personal coach. For others it’s music and what I’ve always used from when I got out of high school and there was a while in college I didn’t run. I started running again, my motivation has always been journaling because I would write down… I know this is a little anal for some people. I don’t advocate that you need to do this but I would write down the distance of my run, how I felt, the weather, just some information about the day in a journal every day. I had a daytime when I didn’t have iPhones and things like that where you could actually schedule your calendar in, so I always wrote that stuff in my calendar and sometimes that was the motivation to do the workout. If I don’t do a workout today, I’m going to have a blank spot there. So I need to do it. And then it’s cool even to this day to look at things I wrote 20 years ago about a particular day and a particular run that I did. So it motivated me. So I’ve encouraged our listeners to really write about your fitness because it’s good to have that log. It’s excellent in terms of seeing the progress of what you’re doing. It’s really a motivator in terms of you’re out there… you’re accountable to yourself. You’re in this fitness program. You need to write about your progress so that you know where you are. A lot of our listeners have taken that even a step further and just to go back, that’s the whole reason why I started the podcast. As going to be my form of journaling about what I’m doing fitness wise. To kind of hold my feet to the fire, getting fit. So I’ve got listeners now that do the journaling. There’s a lot of sites where you can log your run in, log your times that you’re doing and heart rates and all that kind of stuff that I have listeners that have also taken it seriously and have their own blogs where they’re talking about – some people blog about their runs daily. Others will – even though they’re tracking their daily workouts, they’ll blog occasionally about the workouts they’re doing. They’ll meet friends from blogging that and so there are a lot of people out there on the Internet. Some connected with the Get Fit Pod, some just doing blogging, journaling for fitness who are using that as a motivating tool for their fitness. And that’s why I have those extra elements in there. Because fitness… sure it’s all about exercise and it’s all about what you’re putting into your body. But my folks, me anyway, need to be motivated. And so that the – I think knowledge is important because you need to know everything that’s going on and you need to know about fitness and diet and your body and things like that. But journaling and the music part that we use on the Get Fit Pod, that’s a good motivator and that’s what I was looking for when I added journaling into that whole Get Fit Pod fitness strategy.
Ben: Yeah I think that’s such an important component and I think there’s even a little bit of social proof there, especially now with the Internet where if you know people are reading your blog or looking at your Facebook updates on your training routine or whatever, it makes you a little bit more likely to stick with it when you know other people are pulling for you.
Skip Orem: Right. And you’re accountable to them and you too. Exactly.
Ben: Absolutely. Well there’s a few different ways, Skip, to access the Get Fit Pod and I’ll put a link to all this in the Shownotes. But you’ve got the website www.getfitpod.com where you have some of your upcoming episodes and you’re doing an upcoming episode on barefoot running, any other topics that you’re going to be covering that would be of interest to folks?
Skip Orem: Well the big thing that’s coming up – what we did this last year – and again trying to keep people motivated was that we put a goal in place and we usually do that… start in September and put some goal for the following September because that kind of dovetails with schools starting and change of seasons and those kinds of things. So our goal we set last year was to destroy Camelback Mountain, and by destroy, I mean in a way like if you seize the day, you destroy the day, you make it your own. You own it. That’s what our plan was with Camelback Mountain. We were going to destroy that thing by making it our own. We were going to own it and depending on our level of fitness we were either going to run up that mountain or we were going to walk up the mountain or crawl up the mountain, but the goal was to get in good enough shape that you could get up Camelback Mountain this coming September. We started the project last September. So a lot of us are going out there next month to do our climb. I’m actually going to be one of the people that’s going to run up it. I’ve done it before. It’s interesting. I did it when I was younger. I ran up the mountain. Then there was a time I couldn’t get up the mountain, then there were a couple times I walked up. So it’s going to be fun again because I know I’m going to be able to do this… is to run up that mountain. Now you can’t run up all the way because there are some points where you got to be on all fours navigating boulders, rocks and things like that but for the bulk of it, you’re looking at about an average 6% grade. So we got people… we’re not going to do it as a pack because we didn’t want to destroy other people’s fun on the mountain by having a pack of walkers or runners all hung together. So we’re all doing it on individual times. Some of us will be on at the same time. Some of us will be on different days and so forth but that’s kind of the culmination of a year’s long fitness goal that we set for ourselves. So that’s the big exciting that’s happening in September, we’re going to report back on that in a future podcast. But as we mentioned, the next two are barefoot running so if you have any interest in that, check us out. And as you mentioned Ben you can go to www.getfitpod.com, search on iTunes. It’s interesting. You search on Get Fit Pod or you search on Get Fit Guy, you’re going to get Get Fit Pod or Get Fit Guy down in the corner there as an additional because they’re both very popular podcasts. So, give us a listen and I would recommend as you said Ben, one of our workout episodes to start with. We do a couple of different types of workouts. We do just regular interval training. Some are designed specifically for walkers, some are designed for the treadmill and some are designed to be done outside and it’s just typical interval training but the ones that have really gotten popular is the high intensity interval training where you’re doing those short all out intervals and with a little bit of tiny little rest in between them and going like crazy again and we’ve done those primarily for runners. I’ve done them on the treadmill. It’s a little bit of a different challenge because a treadmill is a little slow on the uptake as far as changing speeds quickly. But we have done it in such a way that we allow for the treadmill to catch up and stuff like that. So I would definitely try one of those running workouts because they’re a good way to motivate you and above all, great music involved in those workouts that you haven’t heard before. I guarantee you’re going to hear some groups that you haven’t heard before.
Ben: Yeah absolutely. Folks I’ve listened to a few of Skip’s podcasts and they really are good. Good music, good choice of tunes, good workouts. So definitely check them out. if you’re looking for a podcast to listen to, I would give Skip’s Get Fit podcast a listen. So Skip, thank you for coming on the call.
Skip Orem: Thanks Ben. It was a pleasure and really nice to talk to you.
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