Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: How To Get Beautiful Skin, The 5 Worst Exercises, Does Cycling Make You A Faster Runner, What Food Allergy Testing Is Best, and much more!
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that for natural movement, get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest effort to see…” All the information you need in one place right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: Rachel, I am – I’m in pain right now.
Rachel: You are? How come?
Ben: I’m in pain. Well, not only am I jacked up on coffee because I just got back from the Spartan World Championships last night. So I’m practicing everything that we talked about in last week’s episode.
Rachel: Right. About the sleep, mmm-hmm.
Ben: Yeah, exactly, the sleep deprivation. So I’ve got like – I’ve got the coffee, I did like the bright light in my ears, I did the aniracetam and the creatine – I pretty much did everything that we talked about in episode 332 this morning because we got in super duper late last night from the race, and the battery – it was dead on the car, so I stood around freezing my ass off waiting for ______ [0:01:57.5] to show up.
Rachel: Oh no!
Rachel: And how are you feeling after doing all those – all of the recommendations from last week?
Ben: I feel surprisingly good except for the fact that the inside of both of my thighs, I think because of all of the barbwire crawling and the upside down rope climbing. Well, the inside of both of my thighs – the adductors are the skin is worn away – they’re like one big long bloody scrape.
Ben: So, I actually – thank you, Rachel – thank you for being Australian…
Rachel: A-huh, yup!
Ben: …because I used one of your – your down under animals to help me out with that.
Rachel: Oh, you did?!
Ben: I put emu oil on the scrapes. Emu oil is actually – we’re gonna talk about beautiful skin today but emu oil is actually very, very – I’m gonna throw a nerdy term out there – biocompatible with the human skin, it actually helps to heal wounds and heal scars – emu oil so.
Rachel: But where is the oil come from in the emu?
Rachel: Yeah (laughs). It’s a random question, I know.
Ben: I don’t know. I always thought they just sacrifice small, cute baby emus and harvest the…
Rachel: (laughs out loud)
Ben: the oil from… (laughs).
Rachel: Ah, probably.
Ben: No. I don’t know.
Rachel: But either way, it works right?
Ben: I don’t know if I wanna know. Yeah, it does work and also I think I aggravated it as well by going horseback riding the day after the race.
Rachel: Yes, that’s definitely not doing yourself any favors.
Ben: Yeah, so my little inner thighs are screaming but regardless, we shall move forward and we shall deliver today’s podcast.
Rachel: As usual, Twitter.com/BenGreenfield is where you gonna find all of the most up to date information, all of his crazy cool things that are happening and all of his news flashes, so make sure you’re follow him there.
Ben: Mate (chuckles). I’m just gonna keep on saying ‘mate’ until it gets really, really old, just to – you know…
Rachel: No, it’s okay. I’ll stop saying it soon.
Ben: No, with Brock I had to say ‘eh’, ‘hockey’, ‘poutine’.
Ben: So, I don’t know. Are there other Australian phrases that I could use or overuse or rub in your face other than ‘mate’?
Rachel: No, I think mate’s good, but I think you gonna be like: “G’day mate!” like that.
Rachel: Maaaate, yeah.
Ben: Mate. Well let’s start here, muscle building.
Ben: Muscle building on a ketogenic diet. Have you ever experimented with one of these like high fat ketogenic diets, Rachel?
Rachel: I haven’t but we did cover it a little bit last week but I haven’t, no.
Ben: Okay, alright. So the idea here is of course that ketosis is the concept of consuming 80 to 90% fat-based – the portion of your macronutrient intake from fat. Whether that be MCT oil or you know, ungodly amounts of cheese or seeds and nuts or however you go about skinning that cat. But the other idea behind ketosis and ketogenesis is that of course you are restricting carbohydrates and there is quite a bit of head-scratching out there about whether or not it’s possible to build muscle while eating a ketogenic high fat diet, like if you deprive a muscle of carbohydrate, does that completely shut down the anabolic response?
So this week, I tweeted on Twitter as you do, a study that came out in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition recently, and in this study what they did was they fed rats a ketogenic diet. Now in a moment you’ll learn about why they didn’t used humans, but what they did was they fed these rats a ketogenic diet for six weeks high fat. They used 20% protein, 10% carbs, 70% fat. So high enough for the rats to likely be in ketosis. And then they had another group of lucky rats that they fed a Western diet which was 15% protein, 40% carbs and about 40% fat.
Ben: And then what they had them do after 7 weeks was they did not have the rats exercise instead they used electrical muscle stimulation to exercise those rats for them. So, little rats they don’t have to run on treadmill, they just got to sit around and watch TV and get the hell shocked out of their plantar flexor muscles.
Rachel: I don’t – can I say that’s my kind of exercise? (laughs)
Ben: That’s right. So, then they sacrificed the rats. This is the nice term that they used in literature meaning that they killed them and took a part of their muscles and looked at their muscles and this comes down to where they you know, the reason why they didn’t use humans…
Rachel: They can’t sacrifice humans.
Ben: Yeah, for some weird reasons human sacrifice is still frowned upon in research…
Ben: I don’t know why, some weird ethical thing. Anyways though, what they found was that when they looked at the anabolic markers, so we’re talking about – there’s a specific enzyme called AMPK that’s responsible for the anabolic muscle building response to strength training or in this case, electrical muscle stimulation. They found that there was absolutely no inhibition in terms of the biochemical markers of being able to build muscle on these rats fed a ketogenic diet.
Ben: Now, I noticed a few headlines saying that you can still build muscle on a ketogenic diet or ketogenic diet doesn’t restrict muscle gain, that’s technically not true. All this study found out was that it doesn’t shut down the anabolic response but there has it to be like a study in human showing that you can get swole eating an 80 to 90% fat-based diet. Now that being said, I do have some athletes that I’ve worked with and have also implemented this with myself, this whole idea of eating a high fat diet until the very, very end of the day and then eating carbs, doing like this carb re-feed…
Ben: …so you give your muscles a bunch of glycogen at the end of the day and then you jump back in the ketosis. And that’s seems work quite well for muscle building as you know by the size of my biceps.
Rachel: Right. Uh-huh.
Ben: And there’s mass, they get in the way.
Rachel: Huge. Oh my god.
Ben: Having trouble typing. Anyways though, so that’s the deal. I’ll link to that study in the show notes as well as everything else we talked about over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/333, but rats sacrifice appear to still be able to build muscle after eating high fat diet so.
Rachel: There you go.
Ben: There you have it.
Ben: So speaking of fat, there was an interesting article that came out in the Los Angeles Times that talked about why Americans are fat? And I don’t know if it’s this way in Australia, Rachel but what they did was they looked at the consumption patterns, that eating patterns of a whole bunch of people in San Diego…in a study that they did in San Diego which I would say is a – you know, relatively accurate sub side of the American population. And they found that the participants of the study, despite their claim in a pre-study questionnaire to be a.) eat three square meals a day like a breakfast, lunch, dinner pattern.
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Ben: What they found instead when they watched these people is that they pretty much ate and drink pretty much all day long.
Ben: So they actually averaged and this was quite shocking to me, but I personally used to be right up around this. They found that they averaged at right on 15 nauseas per day…
Ben: So they were actually stuffing their face whether be, like eating a peach or drinking a Kombucha, or having breakfast or eating lunch, or maybe after lunch a little while later, having a handful of nuts…
Ben: …and grabbing a piece of candy as you go by the dusk, basically, they’re eating the entire day.
Ben: And even people who thought that they were fasting.
Ben: I recently got someone tweeting me on Twitter when I tweeted – I came to use that word a lot.
Rachel: Oh yeah, you are.
Ben: Anyways though, I tweeted about the study that found that doing a 12-hour intermittent fast per day was quite helpful for fat-loss and someone wrote back to me and they said, “Well doesn’t everybody do that? Everybody who sleeps at night has a 12-hour fast?” Well, just try sometime.
Ben: And check and see like finish eating dinner, set your stopwatch and see if you actually don’t eat for 12 hours, you would be surprised.
Ben: Most people maybe don’t eat for 7 or 8 hours…
Ben: …in many cases so interestingly, despite people’s feelings that they were just eating 3 square meals a day, they’re actually snacking quite a bit more than that. And, what they also found in another smaller pilot study was they did have people fast. They had them fast for 12 to 14 hours over a course of 16 weeks and that means that they were doing more of this like restricted feeding window. They found that on the average, the study participants of that study lost an average of just over 7lbs. of fat over those 16 weeks.
Ben: And their sleep satisfaction went up, their daily energy levels increased, and their level of night time hunger actually decreased. So ultimately, what this comes down to is that if you are someone who’s having trouble losing weight or losing fat, you may want to just step back and start to like log your diet, photograph your food or do something to see if you are indeed eating or snacking more often than you think or perhaps not fasting as long as you think.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s very interesting, I’m surprised that some think as fundamental as eating can happen so subconsciously, you know, like so that we notice. We disgraced all day.
Ben: I don’t know if this is true, but I heard that like French children for example are not allowed to go into the kitchen during the middle of the day and just like randomly grab food, grab snacks.
Rachel: Hmm, yup.
Ben: I don’t know if…
Rachel: I’ve never heard of that.
Ben: Perhaps if we have a French listener, perhaps you could pipe in and say “we” or “nay”….
Ben: …on which it is. The last thing that I wanted to mention was how to biohack – you might find this interesting, Rachel, because this study was about vegetable-based proteins like rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein. I know that you do a lot of like vegetarian-based proteins and I do too, actually. Whey protein isolate in like whey casing blends do not agree with me you know, despite being considered to be like the optimal protein source to support muscle protein synthesis and rapid digestibility and bioavailability of amino acids and all that jazz. To be frank, I feel like I’m (curse word) out of straw after I…
Ben: ..much whey protein.
Rachel: It’s not a Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast without talking about poop.
Ben: That’s right. So it’s – I’m a big fan, I used the Onnit hemp protein, I used this protein that we sell at Greenfield Fitness Systems called a Living Protein which is a blend of pea and rice. Even the bars that I consume are generally like protein bars flavored with pea or hemp or rice protein, and it is true that you have a little less bioavailability and a little less amino acid absorption from a non-animal based protein when you eat this. But what they found in a recent study was that when you take digestive enzymes prior to consuming a plant–based protein, the digestive enzymes eliminate any differences in the quality of the protein. So what that means is that if you were to say pop a couple of digestive enzymes prior to consuming like a pea or a hemp or a rice based protein powder or protein bar, it enhances the absorption and the speed of utilization up to the same amount as you would get from eating a whey protein.
Rachel: Wow. That is…
Rachel: That’s a good hack for me for sure.
Ben: I know, it’s cool, so you combine digestive enzymes with a plant-based protein and it eliminates any significant differences between like whey, pea, rice, hemp, etc. so there you have it, and now you know how to – how to biohack a vegan or vegetarian protein in a multiple ways to get swole.
Rachel: So we’ve got some exciting news, Ben?
Ben: Oh, we always have exciting news, are we?
Rachel: But this one’s extra exciting.
Ben: Extra. Okay, go ahead.
Rachel: “Beyond Training” is now available via Audible.
Ben: I know.
Ben: I recorded it. I’m aware.
Rachel: (laughs) Yeah, you did. But the extra exciting news is that we’re actually going to be doing a giveaway starting tomorrow across all of your social media platforms. I’ve got 25 free books to give away, so make sure you’re following Ben on social media tomorrow and comment on all the posts and you’ll be in a draw to win a free copy.
Ben: That’s awesome. Although I apologize to all of our listeners spouses or loved ones who are now going off to sit in their cars and listen to like 19 hours of me recording or reading “Beyond Training”.
Rachel: I don’t think you need to apologize for that, I think that’s awesome.
Ben: Yeah, I’m sick of my voice already. Actually it is pretty cool. We are actually the top ranked audio book in the health and fitness category on Audible right now and yes, it’s 19 hours worth of content – I kinda updated it as I went, I adlibbed, I added new stuff, it is the entire “Beyond Training” book, 450 plus pages of biohacking, anti-aging, longevity, sleep, hormones, digestion – you know name it, so pretty friggin’ sweet. We’ll see you at bengreenfieldfitness.com/…
Rachel: slash, btaudible – that’s b-t-a-u-d-i-b-l-e.
Ben: b-l-e – btaudible, cool! So check that out and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes as well. Another thing that I wanted to mention is that we had a podcast episode that once again turned out to be relatively controversial with former FTA special agent Gary Collins about “Why So Many Fitness Experts are Fat, Sick or Unhealthy?” and we had some interesting comments that came through on that one. If you don’t listen to the weekend interview, you should because they’re getting in my opinion, getting better and better. Maybe it’s just because I’m asking more difficult questions to the guest but its worth to listen into. Did you take to listen to that one, Rachel?
Rachel: They’re definitely getting very juicy and controversy is always interesting.
Ben: Juicy, I like that.
Rachel: Juicy, yeah.
Ben: Great adjective. So yeah, check that one out with Gary Collins and there’s always available on iTunes, etc. And then this podcast today is – well, is brought to you by something very special. Rachel, what if I told you that you could get not only a precision angled blade that is basically ground from steel into what’s called a gothic arch angle…
Rachel: That’s fancy.
Ben: That means it gives you a very comfortable and crisp shave along with an ergonomic handle with a slight bend in it to produce the optimal cutting angle, a rounded end that allows the handle to kinda roll easily in your palm, a core kinda, like this one is like a golf club – it’s got evenly distributed weight that allows it to have a perfect balance – and then, I wasn’t aware that razor blades have this feature but it’s called the saddle…
Ben: …which is like a ridge at the end of it for better control and basically the ability for you not to gash the hell out of your face…
Rachel: Mmm. Or legs? Mmm-hmm.
Ben: What I’ve just described you is the Harry’s razor.
Rachel: Wow. How can I get one?
Ben: The Harry’s ergonomic design. So you got – I’m glad you ask.
Ben: You go to harrys.com and use $5 discount code “ben”, $5 discount code “ben”. I actually used the Harry’s razor this morning and I opened up a large gash on my face…
Ben: …but I’m not gonna blame Harry’s in addition to the scrapes that I have on both of my thighs, the underside of my neck – I think it may have been barbwire as well – is cut open and I have to glide over that with my razor. So despite how good these razors are, you still cannot shave Spartan’s scrapes off of your face kinda like that – anyways, harrys.com use code “ben”. Couple of other things, I am going to Carlsbad, California to speak at the Unbeatable Mind Retreat, this is the SEALFit retreat and as we mentioned recently on Facebook, I will also be interning/coaching whatever you wanna call it, at the Kokoro which is like the Navy SEAL equivalent of hell week for civilians. That’s going to be October 23rd through 25th, so “hooyah!” to anybody who will be doing or attempting to complete Kokoro 40, I’ll be there. But if you just mild-taste of what are these involves, head down the Unbeatable Mind Retreat, that’s December 4th through the 6th in Carlsbad at bengreenfieldfitness.com/unbeatable15. So do you have any desire or whatsoever, Rachel to go on and do the Navy SEAL hell week?
Rachel: I do, believe it or not.
Rachel: I need to get my head right first but I definitely think that that’s something that I will do on – that’s on the list, for sure.
Ben: You would like the yoga that we did. We did…
Ben: We did Bikram yoga after they had had us do a 26 mile on night hike and then MURPH which is a mile run, a 100 pull-ups, 200…
Rachel: Oh my god.
Ben: push-ups, 300 squats…
Ben: …followed by a mile run, followed by forced feeding of giant pancakes, and then backwards burpees, and hill sprints for 2 hours.
Rachel: (laughs out loud)
Ben: During this time most of us puked or crapped our pants literally and then they put us all in a room and we did an hour of Bikram yoga.
Rachel: Gosh, that’s really next level.
Ben: That was so relaxing.
Rachel: (chuckles) Sounds like it, can’t wait!
Ben: Anyways, so if that sounds right up your alley and you’re listening in, head over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/unbeatable15 and get in on that action. So we’ll put a – we’ll put links to all of these special announcements and actually much, much more if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/333 just in case backwards burpees and crapping your pants makes you excited.
Listener Q & A:
Sonia: Hi Ben, Sonia here from Australia. I recently started eating a lot more eggs and the eczema on my skin flared up – now I got back on the eggs and it is dying back, the eczema. However, a Naturopath advised me to start supplementing with Evening Primrose Oil, and I was inclined to avoid Evening Primrose Oil because of the Omega 6 content and she advises me that there is excellent research to show that it helps people with eczema and skin conditions in general. If you haven’t covered this, would you mind giving me your thoughts? Love the show, thanks!
Ben: So Rachel, do you know Sonia? She sounds like she comes from your neck of the woods.
Rachel: She does sound like she comes from my neck of the woods and I don’t know her but I strategically chose her question (laughs).
Rachel: Gotta get some more Aussie on the podcast.
Ben: That’s why if you’re Australian and you leave a question and you’ll get priority…
Rachel: You’re in, yeah.
Ben: …‘cause Rachel is hand-picking the questions. Anyways though, yes, this is very interesting about Evening Primrose Oil because there’s this claim that Evening Primrose Oil can soothe eczema and what Evening Primrose Oil is its bright, yellow plant. You find it in Native America or Native America (laughs)…
Ben: North America – and it’s something that’s actually quite common. I actually have at my yard a lot of bright yellow flowering plants, I haven’t yet found the Evening Primrose but I have found quite a bit of St. John’s Wort.
Ben: Do you finally got one?
Rachel: I remember you telling me. That’s incredible; you got a whole yard full of it.
Ben: Yeah, an anti-depressant. My kids call the happy plant.
Ben: So anyways, Evening Primrose has these little seeds and seeds have fatty acids in them, and these fatty acids can be used to make an oil and you’ll find it in many supplements, you’ll find it recommended in like folk remedy books and you’ll also find it recommended for eczema. And the reason for this is that Primrose Oil has something called GLA in it, a gamma linoleic acid and that’s supposed to help reduce skin inflammation. Now, they recently did a meta-analysis, a review of all of the different studies that have been done using Evening Primrose Oil or something very, very similar – another oil that you’ll find that’s very rich in gamma linoleic acid, borage oil, borage oil.
Ben: So they looked at all these different studies that we’re using either Evening Primrose Oil or borage oil specifically for the treatment of eczema. And what they found was that not only was they’re no significant effect in terms of the efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil for skin conditions but they found that the anticoagulant effects like the blood thing effects of a lot of use of Evening Primrose Oil especially orally could cause some health issues in folks especially with people who are taking like blood thinning drugs like Warfarin. So ultimately…
Ben: It turns out that that it may not be the ideal solution for something like eczema so.
Rachel: Interesting. So the Naturopath was wrong!
Ben: Hmm. The Naturopath may not have been 100% correct. There are other things that I would recommend…
Ben: …for healthy skin…
Ben: …in more than I’d recommend Evening Primrose Oil. So I’ll tell you some of the things: one is Vitamin A or retinol, and Vitamin A actually changes the physiology of the skin. It promotes what’s called epidermal differentiation basically cell turnover in the skin. So when you have cell turnover in the skin, what happens is, your skin appears more beautiful that you actually want cells to turnover more rapidly that can help with things like acne or eczema.
So retinol or Vitamin A is something that you’re commonly going to find in a lot of things that you consider to be like fatty or fat soluble vitamins rich foods: liver, cod liver oil, cream or butter – preferably from like a pastured you know, organically fed cow – egg yolks are quite good, probably if you’re gonna use a supplement, I would say cod liver oil would be one of the top. You could use a Vitamin A containing multi-vitamin but ultimately, nothing really beats like a cod liver oil or the fish oil that I use just has a bunch of extra retinol added to it that one’s called Super Essentials Fish Oil but any Vitamin A rich food is very, very good for the skin.
Rachel: So she mentioned that she was eating a lot of eggs and it flared up.
Rachel: Is there a reason why that would happen?
Ben: Yeah. If she had some kind of an egg allergy, and we’re we gonna talk about food allergy testing later on in the show, but yes, it wouldn’t be because of a specific compound on the eggs as much as it would be if she had a natural immunoglobulin, it’s called an IGA or an IGE reaction to the eggs.
Ben: So it’s more common actually for that type of reaction to occur in response to grains than it is to eggs but for her she would want to choose a Vitamin A rich source that was not eggs, preferably, so.
Ben: Zinc is another really, really good one for the skin. So zinc actually helps with protein-synthesis and wound healing – I probably need to take some at this point…
Ben: before the barbwire wins – but zinc in terms of dietary sources of zinc, you can get it from plant foods: pumpkin seeds are very high in zinc, so those are pretty good. And then if you’re looking for like a meat source, liver, once again is very good; red meat has a lot of zinc and then a lot of your – like your shellfish or your oysters, scallops – things like that, those are very, very good animal sources of zinc…
Ben: …with the caveat that you need to pay attention to the source, you know. And for the same reason that anytime I eat sushi, I usually pop some activated charcoal to absorb any toxins from the sushi, same thing with shellfish…
Ben: If you’re gonna rely upon shellfish for zinc, make sure you’re aware of the source. Another one is Vitamin C, Vitamin C is the one that I’ve recommended multiple times on the show for anyone going in the surgery because of its ability to allow connective tissue to heal more quickly, and Vitamin C can also help to treat a sunburn damage – so it’s a very, very good anti-oxidant for the skin. You don’t have to use a Vitamin C supplement; it can be kinda tough in your gut. If you’re – you know, if you listened to last week’s episode about eating the rainbow…
Ben: …and kinda getting a wide variety of colorful foods, I know this like, kinda like nutritional 101 for a lot of you listening in, that’s something that you should definitely do if you want healthy skin. So Vitamin A, Vitamin C and zinc is where we at so far. Now another one is Omega 3 fatty acids – now the interesting thing about Evening Primrose Oil and borage oil is they’re very high and potentially a slightly more inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids, Omega 3 fatty acids can help to inhibit inflammation in the skin as caused by UV radiation, they’ve been shown to help reduce the risk of skin cancer and they can reduce the type of inflammatory responses that cause things like dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema.
Ben: So higher dose fish oil is something I recommend, but when I recommend fish oil and I recommend higher dose fish oil, I’m talking about 2 to 4 grams per day. And I’m really not wanting to recommend a lot more than that and that’s because the high Omega 3 intakes that you often see recommended a lot of times like in the Paleo community, they’ll recommend like 1 gram per 10lbs of body weight per day. I’ve seen that recommendation, I believe and you know, I like Robb Wolf, I like a lot of the stuff that he has to say but he has this fish oil calculator on his website that’s recommending, and in many cases for the average guy in excess of 5 grams of fish oil per day, and more is not necessarily better with Omega 3 fatty acids and that’s why I’m hesitant to recommend much more than 4 grams a day.
Ben: For example in mice, high amounts of Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation has been shown to induce fatty liver disease. It’s also been shown to increase the rate of what’s called pathological angiogenesis…
Ben: …which is basically like a blood vessel issue and whereas normal like same amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids are usually anti-angiogenic. Higher amounts can actually stimulates some issues with blood vessel inflammation. So you actually have to be careful with excess Omega 3s and even the DHA.
DHA is like a – it’s the cause hexanoic acid – it’s considered to be very, very good for your nervous system; very, very good for your brain but there’s some evidence that once you exceed a certain amount of DHA, you can actually have a high risk of cancer and you could say the same thing for growth hormone, for testosterone, etc. So when we talk about fish oil, I am not a fan of mega-dosing with fish oil or taking too much fish oil.
Ben: At the same time those smaller amounts of fish oil have been shown to be beneficial for the skin. And interestingly, there was one study in Sweden where they looked at children, they looked at infant eczema which is a common issue, like its head to have a little bit of eczema when they were babies.
Ben: And what they did was they study these kids and they looked at what oils would do in terms of assisting with eczema and what they found was that if fish was introduced into the child’s diet by the 9 month mark, the chance of developing eczema will slash by 25%.
Ben: And that of course would be due to the Omega 3 fatty acids and the effects that can have on skin health.
Ben: So we used to when our kids little, would rub a fish oil and we also use flax oil and extra virgin olive oil and we’d use that on their skin and also their feet to absorb it topically so.
Rachel: Mmm. That sounds nice.
Rachel: I like the idea of oil on my skin.
Ben: A fish oil massage.
Rachel: That’s super gross actually (laughs).
Ben: Yeah, a little snap on deodorant.
Rachel: Extra virgin’s not so bad though.
Ben: Yeah. Okay so fish oil, thumbs up but not too much of it. Another one is silica. Silica can help in wound healing, it can help in collagen formation and it can help with skin elasticity, so it’s got a lot of cool things. Interestingly, you can find silica in pretty high amounts in like good mineral rich water like Fiji for example. Fiji has four times the levels of silica than you would find in any other bottled water brand.
Rachel: I love Fiji, it’s like most expensive water in Australia though. So sorry, Sonia (laughs).
Ben: It is, it is pretty spendy. You can also get Trace Liquid Minerals supplements. Trace Liquid Minerals supplements have silica in them as well so, and you can literally just put like a shot like a half ounce of Trace Liquid Minerals into a morning glass of water…
Ben: And that’s fantastic for skin health and you know, has a lot of other good benefits too. Niacin – niacin is another, and while high dose niacin can cause some annoying skin flush and kinda like itchy skin, the same amounts of niacin that you get from just good whole food sources like meats, poultry, like the darker fishes, tuna and salmon – those are very rich in niacin, green leafy vegetables and then also most seeds have a lot of niacin in them as well. So niacin is als0 very, very good for the skin, so that’ll be another one. And then Vitamin K2, Vitamin A is very important for the skin incidentally, Vitamin D is too most of us know Vitamin D is a sunshine vitamin and that one’s fantastic for the skin. But Vitamin K2 has been shown to be helpful for the treatment of acne, keratosis and any other skin symptom that’s related to Vitamin A deficiency because of Vitamin K assist with Vitamin A absorption.
Ben: So Vitamin K2 that would be eating plenty of fermented foods that the bacteria in your stomach can make their own Vitamin K. So that would be like sauerkraut and kimchi and you know, kefir and kombucha and stuff like that.
Ben: But then also, egg yolks which obviously Sonia should probably avoid but a lot of other folks who are working for skin health might be able to use. A natto, the fermented soybean, that’s very high in K2 and then again, a lot of multi-vitamins will also have like a good blend of Vitamin D, Vitamin A and Vitamin K2 so. Couple other things: probiotics are fermented rich food for foods rich in fermented compounds – that’s very, very good for the skin – and there’s a lot of studies recently that have shown that when you combine prebiotics and probiotics, it reduces the rate of or the presence of inflammatory acne and other skin conditions so…
Rachel: So what are prebiotics? Where can I get prebiotics?
Ben: Prebiotics are simply the fiber that feed probiotics – so a lot of times you’ll find things like inulin for example, added to a probiotic compound and that it is because it allows the probiotics to feed on that fiber into flourish.
Ben: You can also just find it in a lot of plants…
Ben: …like a plant-rich diet and then just take a probiotic supplement that doesn’t have a prebiotic in it.
Ben: And that can be helpful for a lot of people who get gas from these prebiotics that are added to probiotics. If you would get a prebiotic – I’m sorry – if you get a probiotic and has a lot of fiber added to it, then you can – and it’s giving you gas – you can switch to probiotic that doesn’t have a lot fiber added and just eat plant-rich foods.
Lot of times that would be the case if you have something like a small intestine bacterial overgrowth or candida or yeast or fungus or something like that, you’d be better off getting your fiber from vegetables rather than like a prebiotic founded in a probiotic compound – that makes sense.
Rachel: Yeah, that does. Awesome!
Ben: So those are some of the biggies that I would go after for skin health: Vitamin A, zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, some type of fish oil or Omega 3 fatty acid source, a silica, a good probiotic, there are a couple of others that kinda fly into the radar: one is biotin. Biotin is a – it’s a water soluble vitamin and you don’t find it deficiency to be a very common among folks, but you can get biotin from things like Swiss chard, romaine lettuce, almonds and walnuts have plenty of biotin in them. And a lack of biotin can cause dry skin and dry skin can often times result in things like eczema so if dry skin is an issue for you, biotin can be quite helpful. And then the other one is sulfur – sulfur is a very abundant mineral in the human body and it’s necessary for collagen synthesis and lack of sulfur can actually lead to premature wrinkles. Now foods that are very high in sulfur are as you would guess foods that smell kinda farty.
Rachel: Mmm. That doesn’t sound very fun.
Ben: Well garlic, onions, brussel sprouts…
Rachel: Oh I like all of those.
Ben: …asparagus, kale – all those slightly stinky foods.
Ben: Those are sulfur-rich foods that can actually be quite good for the skin because they help you produce glutathione which can reduce a lot of these inflammatory skin conditions like acne or eczema. You could also take supplemental glutathione, whey protein also helps you to produce glutathione so if you tolerate whey protein unlike me, you could use a whey protein to form glutathione or you could use like a sublingual glutathione but the sulfur and biotin would be another two to add in. Now I know that sounds like a lot of things to help out with beautiful skin but those are – those are some of the biggies and I will put a lot of these resources in the show notes for Sonia. The last thing I would mention and we’ll talk about this perhaps a little more when talk about the allergy issue, the egg issue. There is one diet out there, my wife used to have really bad acne and really bad eczema and we used to just kinda eat what we thought was a typical healthy diet right? Like we had a lot of – we had a lot of whole wheat bread, we had just like you know, Dannon yogurt with fruit at the bottom and you know, we did like diet sodas – that was like for couple of years when we first got married – that was kind of our diet like the shop healthy at the grocery store type of diet…
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Ben: Which is you know, kind of like the you’re not eating the typical Western-American diet of McDonald’s but you’re still kinda sort of eating unhealthy.
Rachel: Right. Yup.
Ben: And she had bad acne, bad eczema and my first foray into like looking into – I guess what you would call like an ancestral diet like a Paleo diet was my wife found this book on the internet called – it was written by this guy named Loren Cordain who’s considered to be like the father of the Paleo movement. And it was a book about healing your skin, it was like the acne cure, the dietary cure for acne or something like that and all it was – was limiting insulin production by eliminating grains and dairy from the diet. So she did this and within like half a year, her skin literally was – it was like a new person.
Ben: Means like she was paying like half of the time in the bathroom each morning like putting on the make-up and covering up everything and it was pretty crazy and I’m not necessarily saying that grains and dairy are the devil when it comes to acne and eczema, but limiting them or consuming them in their ancestral fermented you know, healthy form…
Ben: …is actually quite prudent and that was kinda like our foray into eating you know, really, really healthy was my wife try to manage her skin condition. And so now there’s – there’s this book that I think is the ultimate book when it comes to reducing any issues of food allergies causing health problems and that’s called the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol and all that does is eliminate a ton of common allergy irritants like soy, eggs, grains, etc. – it’s got a 4-week version, it’s got an 8-week version, it’s kinda like my go-to for pushing the reboot button on food allergy issues.
Rachel: I was gonna say that. I see you – I see you talking about “to-go” here all the time.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, that’s what called the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol – I didn’t write it, but it’s a fantastic resource – it’s just kinda like a ‘done for you’ way to get rid of any potential food allergy producing food in your diet. So hopefully now, we will see Sonia on the cover of Women’s Health…
Ben: …with perfect skin and maybe she’ll be a – like a, not a hand mole, what do you call a skin model?
Rachel: I don’t know if there’s a name for them.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I don’t know, maybe someday it can be a cheek model – there you go, Sonia. You can send us your royalties once you make it in a cheek modeling industry.
Tyler: Hey Ben, this Tyler out of Phoenix, Arizona. I’m pretty new to the podcast but I’m a huge fan, as pretty much the only thing I listen to on my commute anymore. I recently watched the video from Jeff Cavalier on the Athlean-X Youtube channel where he listed off the quote “5 Worst Exercises”. According to him, they are: chest flies, behind the neck shoulder presses, upright rows, good mornings and leg extensions. He’s mostly speaking from a perspective of physiology and bio-mechanics, and I’m just wondering if you’re out on the same page or not. And if not, what Ben Greenfield’s 5 Worst Exercises are? Thanks!
Ben: You know this one is kinda tough, Rachel because it depends on what your definition of worst is.
Ben: I think some people would argue the 5 Worst Exercises and be like burpees, pull-ups, running up a hill…
Ben: Carrying a sandbag…
Rachel: They sound like my 5 worst exercises.
Ben: Yeah – you know, bio-mechanical worst or bio-chemical worst.
Rachel: Yeah, I think. Right.
Ben: It’s – that’s the question. So let’s see, this video who says that the 5 worst exercises are chest flies, behind the neck shoulder presses, upright rows, good mornings and leg extensions. Oh no, those are all kinda like “go-to” exercises for getting swole at the gym.
Rachel: Mmm-hmm. They are.
Ben: Yeah, those are the exercises that you see the guys doing…
Ben: …like the high-schoolers who cut off the sleeves of their t-shirts and go to the gym with like the tribal tattoos, sit down…
Ben: Do the behind the neck shoulder presses…
Rachel: You pretty much just describing yourself you know that way.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Ben: I used to be a complete gym man. These are some of my “go-to” exercises. So chest flies – chest flies – you know what Jeff says is that what happens when you do a chest fly is that you put the shoulders under a great deal of strain or stress and you also – you increase your potential for tearing your chest muscles when you do something like a chest fly. This one, I would say it depends – like there’s this one version of the chest fly that you do where you sit on a bench and you bring your hands together and in like a flying motion and it’s not functional at all, but when I was a body builder, if you wanted to get a nice chest, that was kinda like the “go-to” exercise. And I would even give that when I was a personal trainer to like women who wanted a better bust like that was one of our go-to exercises because it stimulates like your lower chest fibers, upper chest fibers, the inner chest fibers and it’s an adjunct – it’s a way to hit the chest fibers from a different angle than like push-ups or bench press or dumbbell, chest press or incline press or decline press would do. So I can’t necessarily say that I’d completely throw chest flies under the bus.
Rachel: Is it…
Ben: Go ahead.
Rachel: Is it bad physiologically?
Ben: The version of chest flies that can be tough on your shoulders and tough on your chest and even increase your risk of tearing your pack which is no fun is the one where you lie down on your back on a bench and your bring dumbbells farther and farther apart and then close together – that one can be tough on your shoulders but actually the one where you’re sitting and doing it with the machine or even the one where you’re using the cables – it’s not functional, it’s not gonna make you a better athlete. It’s you know, a waste of time from like a functional standpoint but if you just wanna get a pop in chest, it’s actually a pretty good exercise. So I’m gonna have to say I would not necessarily include chest flies unless they’re the kind of lying on your back with the dumbbells which can put a lot of stress in the shoulders so.
Ben: So next one that he says is behind the neck shoulder presses. Anytime you have something behind your neck like when you bring your arms back apart in external rotation and then you put stress on the shoulder that can lead to impingement, it can lead to pinching of soft tissue in some of that shoulder musculature and the bones around the shoulder, it can lead to increased risk of dislocating your shoulder. And this is what you see it happens in basketball players a lot – they’ll be in that defensive position with the arms up out next to a rotationally arm will get hit and they’ll get dislocated, and so that’s actually common issue.
But behind the neck shoulder presses taking away and pressing it overhead while trying to keep a barbell like back behind your neck, it also put a lot of strain on your neck itself ‘cause you’re having a kind of crane your head forward as you do it. So I would agree with this one but I would also throw right in there along with it behind the neck pull-downs which is another common exercise that you see people do at the gym like doing the – you know what I’m talking about?
Rachel: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: Like a lot pull down behind the neck?
Ben: Anytime you have some like behind the neck with your head crane forward, it’s not a good move, especially when you consider you’ve got your head crane forward a lot of times when you’re like working…
Rachel: Most of the day.
Ben: …on the computer, driving…
Ben: Not a good move. So I’m going to agree with that one. Ding-ding-ding-ding-ding!
Ben: Upright rows – upright rows are the third one and he says that’s a bad shoulder exercise because when you pull on that rowing motion, you put your shoulders into a position where once again you could impinge soft tissue like under your clavicles or in some of the bony musculature of the shoulder. And again, this one kinda sort of depends on how high your elbows go when you do an upright row…
Ben: Because look at this functionally: a lot of times when you’re doing yard chores and you’re pulling things around or you’re building or you’re doing you know, a lot of functional activities – you are kind of rowing and you are rowing in an upright position. If you ever try say like build-ups cinder block wall which I’ve been in the backyard before you’re picking a cinder block up off the ground, you’re rowing it up the ground and a lot of times, you’re kinda putting it above your head, and so an upright row can be a pretty functional move. I would say that some people will bring their elbows up very, very high when they do it, right? There’s no need that your elbows need to go much higher than about your chin level if you’re gonna do an upright row. So with the upright row, let’s say, it depends – it depends but it’s – it can actually be a pretty functional exercise and as a great exercise for building your shoulders like above in the width of your shoulders if that’s something that’s important to you so.
Rachel: So it’s not one you wanna roll up?
Ben: That’s right, that’s right. Okay, good mornings – good mornings are another one – so good mornings are when you put a weight, you hold the weight to your chest, or you put a barbell on your back and you bend over while pushing your butt out behind you and you kind of like bend down and then you stand up. And the way that the person who first taught me good mornings described to me as the reason that it’s named good mornings is because you bend down and then you stand up and you say “good morning!”
Ben: And it never made sense to me because I can’t think of any situation where I’ve ever just like bent down at the waist and then stood up and said, “good morning” to someone.
Rachel: Yeah, me either, me either.
Ben: Maybe in Japan or something – it’s something that they do like where you kinda like do like the bow – but I can’t say that that good mornings, the name of good mornings makes sense to me…
Ben: …at all. So anyways though, yeah when – if you slip up during a good morning and you don’t have the necessary what’s called thoracic mobility – the mobility in your mid spine to be able to pull-off this move, you can potentially herniated disc, compressed a disc or cause low back issues. At the same time, it’s a really, really good exercise for spinal extension and for strengthening your erector spinae and for also strengthening your glutes, and again this one comes on the form. My favorite way to do good morning is called the folded dollar bill exercise, where you clasp both hands across your chest, no weight at all or very light weight right? Like 20lbs. sandbag for example, and you bend forward at the waist while looking forward and keeping the back straight until you get a little tighten of the hamstrings and then you stand back up. And you can do that with no weight, I’ll throw it into a yoga routine sometimes, I’ll do sets of those like in the sauna when I’m sweating just as the way to strengthen my back and sweat at the same time – it’s actually very, very good way to lengthen your back. There’s a really good book written by a guy who worked with a bunch of professional athletes like Lance Armstrong or sort of bunch of Olympic athletes, cyclists especially who are bent over a lot of times during the day to help them to restore extension to their spine, Dr. Eric Goodman and he’s written this book called “Core” and it’s foundation exercises for your low back, and he has a version of the good morning in there and I’d first started doing it a lot more when I read it in his book and it is a fantastic way to maintain a low back health. You just don’t wanna toss a – you know, 135lbs. barbell on top of your neck and do it.
Rachel: Mmm-hmm. Right. So don’t overdo it.
Ben: Yeah, don’t overdo it and for crying out loud, do not ever approach someone while they’re eating breakfast at a hotel and bend forward at the waist and stand up…
Ben: …and say “good morning”.
Rachel: Good morning! (laughs)
Ben: You will get funny looks. So good mornings again, it depends and the last one is leg extensions – this is the one where you sit down on the ground or not on the ground, on a machine, right? And you kick the legs forward into a full extension position in the back. It’s used in research a lot of times because it’s such an easy exercise to control for in research…
Ben: …because you can quantify power, you can quantify load, you can set things up in a very controlled environment, you can look into something like you know, how much lactic acid builds up in a vastus medialis muscle of the quadriceps when you’re doing repeated leg extensions for x number of sets and laps.
Rachel: Very specific.
Ben: Yes it’s – and it is very, very good for that – it’s very good for like controlled environment research-based setting. For something like strengthening your legs though, it does have a big sheering stress on the knees like a big transverse stress through the knee. It does put what’s called your ACL under a lot of tension, ligament in the knee that if placed under a lot of tension then you go out sprint or something like, that it can cause it to tear. There’s not a lot of co-contraction of your hamstring when you do it meaning that your hamstring is completely turned off ‘cause you’re sitting down and then you’re extending the leg…
Ben: so you’re not teaching yourself how to contract the leg functionally.
Ben: At the same time though, let’s say that you have a quadriceps to hamstring strength imbalance and you need the strength to your quadriceps – could come in handy for that. Let’s say you are injured, you have an ankle injury for example, and you can’t squat and lunge – it could come in handy for that. Let’s say, you have a weakness in that internal quadriceps muscle that VMO muscle – doing leg extensions with your toes turned slightly outwards, it can help with that. So again, it – you could probably guess what I’m gonna say…
Ben: It depends.
Rachel: It depends.
Ben: It depends. So I would say that again, you’re not gonna find me in the gym anytime soon throwing down some you know, sets in the leg extension to gets my quads all big but at the same time, it’s not necessary in exercise – it would completely, what’s the word? Astue or astute?
Rachel: Hmm. I don’t – actually I don’t know that word.
Rachel: I’ve seen it but I don’t know.
Ben: Yes, I believe it’s eschew. Yes.
Rachel: So what are your top exercises to avoid?
Ben: My top exercises to avoid would fall somewhere in that same category – I have an entire article about the exercises that I would avoid, and while I’m not going into great detail on them, I’ll link to this article in the show notes but the top 7 exercises that I’ve written an entire article about: Exercises you should avoid and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/333, number one is machine side raises because of the impingement on the shoulders, number two is – and on number two and three are the thigh abductor and the thigh adductor machines – the ones that you see the women at the gym doing while they check e-mails on their cellphone; behind-the-neck lat pull downs which I already mentioned…
Ben: …the seated rotation machine which is the one where you sit down and you twist the torso from side to side – that was really bad.
Rachel: That doesn’t sound good.
Ben: Crunches as a matter of fact are the one that I listed just basically because high rep crunches really don’t strengthen your abs much at all, and can in fact put a lot of undo stress in your low back. And then finally, the smith machine which is the barbell contraption in which the barbell is trapped inside a moving track and it doesn’t – you know travels in a very, very linear patterns. If you squat or dead lifts or something like that on a smith machine, you’re forced into movement pattern that’s so unnatural.
Ben: So those are my top 7 exercises to avoid and I will – I’ll put a link to that article in the show notes, but in the meantime, if you as a Ben Greenfield Fitness listener see anyone at the gym using smith machine, leg extension, adductors, abductors, behind-the-neck lat pull downs, seated rotation machines, etc. – just either slap that person in the face or put a heavy weight on your back, go and bow at them, stand up and say, “good morning.”
Rachel: Good morning (laughs).
Michelle: Hi Ben and welcome Rachel to the show. This is Michelle, I’ve been a longtime listener and I’m sure my friends are tired of hearing “I heard on a Ben Greenfield podcast” but really, I don’t see any of them tagging along at any of my long rides or run like you guys do. I’ve heard that on past episodes that you want more training questions, so here is one for you: I’ve heard that bike training does translates into a run training and Ironman training, but I wanted to hear the Ben and Eric Wood’s explanation how this actually works. This past Ironman training season, I really felt prepared for my run at Vineman. I’m not sure if this is truly related to the increase of the long bike rides or just over-all training, good Ironman training. Thanks for taking my question.
Ben: Well this one is interesting because actually I mentioned Lance Armstrong a few minutes ago but he – I remember when he first won the Tour de France it was like he’s 7th win or something like that. I’ll be like down there they weren’t real, necessarily real wins. He ran a marathon – it was the New York marathon or the Boston marathon and here comes this guy, one of the most elite endurance athletes on the face of the planet with VO2 max – that’s you know, greater than probably most of the other people who was racing against and he shows up in his basketball shorts and everything to run the marathon and he was fast, but he wasn’t as fast as you would’ve expected a cyclists to be, right?
Ben: And he ran like 3:20 or something like that which is again, he’s a fast marathon but he’s not as fast as you would expect. And ultimately, it raised some questions you know, “Can or how much does cycling really help you with running?” or you know, on a flipside, “How much is running help you with cycling?”
Ben: And it turns out that they’re actually have been some studies that were done on this, both studies with groups, as well as studies with individuals. So for example, there was a teen from the University of Texas that looked at the effects of the cross-training – the cross-training effect on VO2 max between cycling and running and swimming – so maximum oxygen utilization. And what they found in this study was that the cross-training effects never exceeded the effects induced by the sports specific training mode, in other words, the best way to increase VO2 max for running is to run for swimming is to swim…cycling for cyclists – that’s kind of what you would expect so you can’t increase your VO2 max in running for example, by cycling really, really hard with lots of cycling intervals, and you can’t necessarily increase your VO2 max in running by swimming so.
Rachel: Did they help at all?
Ben: They do, they do. So another study found that – and this is not cycling I know but they found it in swimmers – in swimmers who do restricted breath training meaning: go out, swim but breathe only every 6 strokes or every 8 strokes – that actually improve efficiency and economy in running in those same individuals. So, breath-restricted swimming has good crossover to running. There was another study in which they took a group of track athletes and they reduced the running volume by about 50% and instead had them do cycling. So they had a run only training group and then they had a run and cycle training group. And they found that in the run only training group, they actually had a decrease on their performance by only about 1 1/2 % on a 3,000 meter-race. Meaning that running at half of the volume in substituting cycling instead of running actually resulted in almost no decrease in their ability to be able to run fast for a 3,000 meter race.
Ben: So let’s say they found that’s cycling actually could. It didn’t increase speed, right? But substituting cycling for running potentially because there’s lower impact could decrease your risk of injury and can at least help you to maintain or be close to maintaining speed. Now, there’s also some other like conceptual theories that haven’t actually been flushed out in research but that anecdotally I’ve heard very good things about. So for example, I interviewed a guy whose son runs track and field – this was the guy I interviewed about electrical muscle stimulation, Jay Schroeder, he trains a lot of NFL athletes. And his son did a lot of single speed training on a bicycle – very, very high rep like when you’re riding downhill on a flat on a single speed bike, you’re cycling in excess of like a 120 reps per minute or RPM.
Ben: And when you are doing over-speed training like that on a bike, you get a level of neuromuscular fatigue and neuromuscular training that’s called over-speed training, and this can help you with your turnover while running because the most elite runners in the world run at beat per minute or a stride per minute of about 90. And so by including cycling over speed sets that can help you to develop leg speed and speed and responsiveness of fast twitch muscle fibers in your legs while you’re running.
Rachel: Wow! That is very cool.
Ben: Yeah, so over speed cycling can increase turnover. There is another study in terms of like an N=1 type of look at an elite cyclists. So there’s an elite cyclists that they covered at in a recent competitor magazine article, and this cyclist wanted to actually reduce his time on the bike and replace a portion of that lost cycling time with high intensity running, and so, in this they were looking into the effect of running on cycling. And so, he got rid of some of his cycling, he dropped his cycling volume by about 20% and substituted some of that with high intensity sets while running. Okay, so just like high intensity interval training while running and what he found was at his VO2 max actually increased by – and this is huge, 10.3% and his time trial performance on a bike went up by 14.9%, and so these results were actually published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. And basically what they show is that running can be an effective form of cross-training for cyclists especially if their running is not done in addition to extra cycling but it’s – is simply replacing some of the cycling and is done in a very, very high intensity. So, his intervals in this case were done at 90 to 95% of his maximum heart rate for his running intervals. So pretty high intensity but pretty big effect on his cycling performance, and then of course there is the fact that you can use cycling for recovery, you can build strength in a lot of complementary muscles that you aren’t necessarily training when you’re running, etc., etc.
Ben: So ultimately, what mostly research is showing is that it is more likely that’s cycling will make you a better runner than running will make you a better cyclist…
Ben: But both have a complimentary effect on each other and swimming with restricted breath training actually has a compliment effect on cycling. So all of our triathlete listeners are probably doing fist pumps right now…
Ben: …in all of the crossover here, but bike training, yes, it translate into run training and this is why for example, for Ironman training you’ll see a lot of very fast or you know, relatively fast Ironman athletes running marathons, doing well in marathons but only running 2 or 3 days a week and that’s because of the amount of cycling that they’re doing…
Rachel: Yeah, yeah. Wow.
Ben: The other thing and this is just a quick note I wanted to throw in there is that the elliptical trainer has actually been shown to have a ton of crossover to running and I have a whole article about this and it’s quite shocking. The amount of VO2 max, leg turnover speed, efficiency, economy, etc. that you can maintain for the run while training on an elliptical trainer which a lot of people think is just a silly gym apparatus but it actually has quite a bit of crossover for running – so crossover all over the place.
Rachel: Right. Elliptical trainer.
Ben: Just stay away from the behind-the-neck lat pull downs.
Allie: Hi Ben! I have a question about a food sensitivity. I was using your NatureBeat app and the food sensitivity program, and found out that I have a reaction to tomatoes and that tomatoes raise pulse byte about 7 beats, sometimes more. And I’m trying to figure out if I should just not eat tomatoes or if I should not eat tomatoes for a while and then re-test. I’ve been playing around with the app because I’ve been having headaches but the headache seemed to be unrelated to the tomatoes. But brought up the issue of what to do if you find that you do have a food sensitivity or a certain food raises your pulse. Thanks for the information, bye.
Ben: Now we get to the moment of truth and we promised everyone the reality.
Rachel: This is the super juicy part.
Ben: A super juicy part.
Rachel: So juicy.
Ben: Do you have any food allergies, Rachel that you are aware of?
Rachel: I’m (stutters) yeah, I’m allergic to milk, mmm-hmm.
Ben: Oh it’s milk. Interesting.
Rachel: Yeah. Not any other dairy, just milk.
Ben: So not like goat’s milk for example?
Rachel: Hmm. I have never tried goat’s milk but…
Ben: A lot of people who are allergic to cow’s milk can handle goat’s milk just fine…
Ben: Because when we’ve talked about this on another podcast – because the proteins are smaller and more bio-compatible with the human body, so it’s interesting.
Rachel: We actually did go and buy some goat’s milk from the market and we left it in the car overnight and it got really stinky (laughs).
Rachel: And now we’re both traumatized about actually trying goat’s milk.
Ben: That’s just the creative way to make goat yogurt. To accelerate the…
Rachel: Right, yup, fermenting. Mmm-hmm.
Ben: – the fermentation process.
I’m actually – I’m not necessarily allergic to much – I’ve got a little bit of a lactose intolerance, a little bit of a gluten intolerance but mostly I’m just allergic to crappy food and the olive garden and PF drinks – those would be my primary food allergies.
Ben: Fake Asian food and fake Italian food are not only two of my pet peeves, but also I do believe I am allergic to the olive garden.
Rachel: I don’t know why you’d buy a fake when the real stuff is so good.
Ben: Unlimited bread sticks and salad just like they do in Rome.
Rachel: Mmm (laughs).
Ben: Anyways though, the food allergies… so Allie says she’s using NatureBeat. So those of you who aren’t familiar with NatureBeat, that is the heart rate variability app that are designed that will basically measure your nervous system’s response to not just food but to sleep, computers, relationships – you name it. It’s just the measurement of your heart rate variability – it’s a very simple, 5-minute measurement that I personally do every morning but that you could technically do all day long to see what your stress response is in response to everything from like coffee to barbell squats. So the idea here is that if your pulse or your heart rate goes up in response to a meal and you also see a drop in what would be called your high frequency score which is a measurement of your parasympathetic nervous system. You rest and digest nervous system and they rise in your low frequency score which is a measurement of your fighter flight, your sympathetic nervous system. It is a clue that that food is more or less stressing you out. So that’s what Allie is doing with that app – it’s a very qualitative way I guess, you know, it is kinda quantitative but it’s not – it’s not like you’re taking a drop of blood or salivary or something like that in measuring some kind of allergenic response from a biochemical standpoint, right?
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Ben: Like it’s all kinda technology-based, but ultimately it can give you clues. Now you would still probably want to take those clues and go out and do like a food intolerance or a food allergy test. Now there are some problems though with a lot of the food allergy tests that are out there and it can be kind of confusing. So there is one test that is called an ALCAT test and this is one that is pretty popular, it stands for antigen leukocyte cellular antibody test – the ALCAT test.
Rachel: Wow. Mmm-hmm.
Ben: And it’s considered to be a form of testing called cytotoxic testing, and so what this involves is you would go in and you’d give blood, and what they’ll do after you give blood, one of these ALCAT food allergy test is they’ll put that blood on a plate that’s coated with a liquid or a dried food extract, and then after about 10 minutes they’ll take same plate, they’ll look at under a microscope and they’ll do that at 30-minute intervals for up to about 2 hours and they’ll look for changes in the structure or the shape of your white blood cell. So if your white blood cell change, if they become very active, if they disintegrate completely, etc. that would indicate a positive result to that particular food extract that would indicate that you have some kind of an immune response to that food and that’s what they’re doing when you do a blood test like an ALCAT test for food allergies, and that’s what a lot of cytotoxic testing will do. The problem is it actually has never been shown in research that measuring the changes in the size of white blood cells and measuring the response of white blood cells to food chemicals is actually relevant – related to your actual intolerance level for any given food. So…if a food chemical of a food protein changes the size of a white blood cell, there has yet to be any research that shows that that’s related to a food intolerance and so, that’s one of the issues and the problem is that in many cases you get false positives when you use this type of cytotoxic testing. A lot of times that can be caused by like non-food ingredients in the food extracts that are being used, it can be highly dependent on the technician who’s reading the white blood cell to the laboratory equipment being used to the sensitivity of the microscopes, etc. And so they’ve actually done some studies where they’ve taken a blood and drawn different samples from the same patient on the same day, sent it to three different labs that do this kind of like ALCAT testing and that’s called the IGG or IGA food intolerance testing, and found that the ranges as far as what that person was said to be allergic to were enormous…
…and each different lab came up with a different list of food proteins that that person would be allergic to.
Rachel: That’s super sucky.
Ben: Yeah. So there’s a lot of discrepancies when it comes to these tests. Another issue here is antigen purity – so what that means is that there are foods like cabbage for example or ginger and both of these foods have enzymes that can react with the reagents that are used in this IGG or IGA testing. And many labs will not purify a protein from cabbage or protein from ginger or any of these other foods that contain natural enzymes and then prior to testing. And if they don’t purify the protein, you’ll also get false positive results. And so, this is why many people will go and they’ll give an ALCAT test or an Elisa test and they will get this huge list of foods that they are…
Ben: …supposedly allergic to but that they are in fact not allergic to.
Rachel: Not. Yeah, that’s sucks. That happened to my sister actually.
Ben: Yeah, the other problem is it depends on whether food is cooked or whether the food is raw. So what I mean by that is that when you cook food, it changes the structure of the protein. So something that you would be allergic to in its raw form, right? Like pork or chicken that they will be tested for the raw form of pork or chicken at a lab like an Elisa lab but how many of us are actually eating our pork or our chicken raw?
Rachel: Right. Totally, yeah.
Ben: And once you cook them, the protein structure changes and the antigen response to that food can change dramatically as a result. So the one food allergy test that I personally recommend and I know that I’ve had guest on the podcast who have recommended the Elisa test, they recommended the Cyrex test and I have to respectfully disagree with those forms of testing because of some of the issues that I have – that I’ve just talked about. There is a laboratory that does purify the antigens, and it tests both raw and cooked antigens and it runs what are called side by side duplicates to get rid of any issues with like the laboratory equipment or technician or anything like that. And that one is Cyrex labs – Cyrex labs that’s c-y-r-e-x – they have three different what are called arrays that I frequently recommend. They have one called the Cyrex array 3 and that’s just a straight up gluten elite sensitivity test that is the most accurate test for gluten sensitivity or wheat sensitivity that exist. They also have what’s called an array 4 and that test for things that might be likely to cross-react with gluten or that you might also be intolerant to. That would be things like coffee, grains, yeast, dairy, etc. – that’s the array 4. And then they also have the array 10 which looks at kinda similar like the – this Elisa or this ALCAT test. A bunch of different food intolerances but it’s very, very unlikely to come up with this huge list of false positives because of their testing procedure.
Ben: It is, it is not covered by insurance – a doctor can order for you but many cases you’ll pay for that out of pocket and…
Ben: …you know, it’s just one of those things like doing a poop test or doing like a longevity or anti-aging test for a bunch of different hormones and stuff like that. A lot of times insurance shouldn’t get it cover unless you have a proven disease that you’re attempting to manage like a diagnosed celiac disease or something like that but ultimately, if you really wanna know beyond the shadow of a doubt, you go out, you put down the money and you get a Cyrex 3, a Cyrex 4 and a Cyrex 10. And if you run those three, that will tell you just about everything that you’d ever need to know in terms of food intolerances or food allergies.
Rachel: And how reliable do you think using NatureBeat is?
Ben: It gives you clues, right? So…
Ben: if I test for dairy, maybe I don’t like the taste of dairy or maybe there’s something in the dairy like some kind of a protein or an enzyme that is not related to dairy but perhaps something that it is mixed with.
Ben: Or perhaps you’ve eaten like a complex salad you know, kale salad that has like some nuts on it, and you don’t know whether it’s like the nuts or the kale, right? So NatureBeat will be something that gives you a clue but ultimately nothing’s going to beat putting a drop of blood under a microscope and seeing what’s actually happening to the blood sample.
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Ben: So ultimately and I’ll put a link – I’m in no way financially affiliated with Cyrex labs or anything like that – that’s just you know, that’s one I recommend if you really, truly wanna identify a food allergy.
So, there you have it, or you can just go with the gild elimination route which is always a tough one, where you get rid of the food and you see if you feel better or if you crap better or if you sleep better or whatever and that’s – that can be a another big clearance like if you get rid of garlic and onions and if you feel like a million bucks then maybe you have an issue with garlic and onions.
Rachel: (chuckles) Right, yup.
Rachel: That’s a long process though.
Ben: Yeah, it is. It takes a long time especially if you do in two weeks of elimination and reintroduction for a bunch of different food – it’s just like, who has the time these days?
Rachel: Right. Let’s just go and get tested straight out.
Ben: Just pull out your wallet and test.
Ben: Anyways, that – that wraps up all of our questions. We also have a review though. We have a review that someone left on iTunes and the fact is, if you leave a review for the show on iTunes and we read your review on the show and you hear your review read, then you email [email protected], when you email [email protected], what do we do, Rachel?
Rachel: You get a free gift pack.
Ben: Yeah, free.
Rachel: Yeah, super excited!
Ben: Well not really free ‘cause you had to pay by sitting down writing the review on iTunes but close to fee.
Rachel: They don’t have to pay to do that.
Ben: Well I mean it’s time…
Rachel: Financially free.
Ben: Yeah, it’s financially free so.
Rachel: And what’s in the gift pack, Ben?
Ben: Water bottle without any nasty plastics in it, a toque as our dear Canadian friend Brock used to call it – a beanie as we call it here in the US. What do you guys call it in Australia?
Rachel: Yeah, it’s definitely called the beanie – I don’t know what the toque is.
Ben: Yeah, a beanie and then a – what with – oh, a tech t-shirt, a cool tech t-shirt that you can exercise in or that you can wear when you’re doing leg extensions and Smith machine squats or whatever else? So there you go.
Rachel: Alright, you ready?
Ben: I’m ready. Let’s hear this week’s review.
Rachel: Review is: ‘If you’re a trainer, you need to actively listen to this podcast’ by Fitnepreneur.
Rachel: Not sure if that’s how you pronounced that but let’s go with that.
Rachel: “By far the greatest podcast out there to keep you informed on all the kind topics and discussions in the fitness industry. Ben gives not only the average fitness enthusiasts to many things to consider on research for themselves but also gives trainers and coaches a great amount of answers to question that clients have on a daily basis. Both for health and fitness industry being so corrupted with many different marketing schemes, Ben helps you read out what you should be looking into using for yourself and what you should stay away from. This podcast has helped me in my training career immensely and I’ll continue to be an avid listener as long as the podcast exist.”
Ben: Look at that, we’re not just for regular people.
Rachel: 5 stars.
Ben: We’re also for trainers.
Rachel: That’s right.
Ben: Okay, we have a lot of physicians, chiropractic docs, nutritionists, personal trainers that are listening in, so we are helping the world one by one to become a more ripped place.
Rachel: And healthy.
Ben: It’s healthy, that’s right.
Rachel: And well.
Ben: And we love these positive reviews. We have – we’ve actually had – I know you, you know there’s more than I do Rachel, because I know it struck closer to home for you, but we’ve had some haters coming out on Facebook, people who are frankly were you know, upset that Brock went on to become the prime minister of Canada or whatever…
Ben: …crazy, high paid job that he’s moving on to and that Rachel stepped in graciously to take his place…
Rachel: That’s right.
Ben: We’ve had people who complain about everything from you not being a Paleo muscle-bound, weight lifting, knee-head and instead a peaceful vegan yogi…
Ben: To people who don’t like the fact that instead of a dude, we have a chick and all that so Rachel, I’m giving you a platform right now – I’m shoving a soap box under your feet right now – what do you have to say to all the haters on Facebook and the internet?
Rachel: (chuckles) Well first of all, I love you, I don’t hate you. I would say that I miss Brock as well, we all miss Brock and Brock had a really incredible 3 years here and he had a huge belt of knowledge by the time he’d finish and even when he started he didn’t really have anything you know? And so I would say…
Ben: This is true. May I interrupt you and say that…
Rachel: Go! Yeah.
Ben: Our first few episodes of Brock were relatively awkward until Brock and I really established that a repertoire.
Ben: It wasn’t – we’ve done a few episodes I would say, probably by the time we got about 8 to 10 episodes in, we really got into like the funny back and forth banter and stuff like that.
Rachel: Mmm-hmm. Right.
Ben: And you the listener are getting to experience in real time the repertoire building…between Rachel and I – and yeah, I totally admit, like we’ve had awkward moments already.
Ben: We’ve had like an audio take out stuff and we’ve had these long silences…
Ben: That’s – that my friends is life. It’s not like a prefect TV show.
Rachel: And it’s the reality of – this is the third podcast Rachel has ever done and probably we tempt human conversations she’s ever had with Ben…
Rachel: So you know, I think we can all probably just go a little bit easy on ourselves and on each other. And then the other thing just to remember is that my role on the podcast is not actually to be someone credible, it’s to help clarify what Ben is trying to say ‘cause he’s super intelligent, he’s got a lot of brain power going up there and sometimes he gets really complex, and I don’t know what’s he’s talking about and you probably don’t either – so that’s my role.
Ben: And I know that you’re listeners and I’m not saying this to make you feel bad or anything but I’ve had two physicians wrote personal emails to me and ask me why I did not have a physician on to become the new Ben Greenfield Fitness sidekick.
Ben: And the reason for that is I think we’ve got enough geekery going on to where it’s nice and it’s fun and it’s cool and it’s laid back to just have a real person on the call to keep us all grounded and also frankly, I think it’s pretty cool to have a non-American, non-meat eating, non-squatting, non-cross fitting person…
Ben: on the show…
Ben: to keep me balanced.
Ben: So yeah. We’ve got a freakin’ Australian vegan, yogi as a sidekick.
Rachel: And we are…
Ben: Get used to it people ‘cause it’s only gonna get better.
Rachel: And we have the yin and the yang.
Rachel: Enough balance.
Ben: And I think that’s a perfect way to roll out today’s show. So check out bengreenfieldfitness.com/333. If you have any responses to what we just said or anything else from today’s show, leave a comment – we love conversations going on underneath the podcast in the show notes. So bengreenfieldfitness.com/333 where you can get links to everything from the brand new “Beyond Training” audio book, all of the things I recommend for getting beautiful skin, the Cyrex labs that I just talked about, all the research that we discussed and oh so much more. Did I get it all Rachel?
Ben: You did. Excellent job.
Ben: Alright, cool. Thanks for listening, folks. Have a healthy week. Stay tuned for a killer podcast this weekend. Later.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Oct 7, 2015 Podcast: How To Get Beautiful Skin, The 5 Worst Exercises, Does Cycling Make You A Faster Runner & More!
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.
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- In my opinion, this is one of *the* top reasons Americans are fat.
- How to “biohack” a vegetable based protein like rice, pea or hemp to make it more efficacious.
Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with former FDA Special Agent Gary Collins? It was a must-listen – titled “Why Are So Many Fitness Industry Experts Fat, Sick and Unhealthy?”. Click here to listen now or download for later!
This podcast is also brought to you by Harrys shaving. Visit Harrys and use $5 discount code “ben” on a Winston set, a Truman set, or any other mighty fine shaving equipment, at a fraction of the cost of drugstore razors.
Onnit is having a huge, blowout sale on all their fitness gear, including clubs, battle balls and kettlebells. Click here to get 40% off all Onnit fitness gear.
Now Available – Ben Greenfield’s “REV Yourself Conference” – 25 Packaged Interviews With The World’s Leading Experts In Physical & Mental Performance Enhancement Strategies. In this package, you’ll get to watch and listen as Ben Greenfield sits down with the world’s leading experts in biohacking, physical performance, mental performance, cognitive enhancement, personal productivity, muscle gain, fat loss and more. In a frank, easy-to-understand, fireside chat format, these experts reveal all their most cutting-edge secrets, and your access to the videos and audios also includes helpful notes, summaries and more. From Dr. Mercola to Mark Sisson to Nora Gedgaudas, you can check out the lineup and get access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, forever (no expiration!) once you click here to get lifetime access for $47.
Dec 4-6, 2015: Ben is speaking at the Unbeatable Mind Retreat in Carlsbad, California. This is where SEALFit and Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine will be assembling the best of the best in everything from performance to cutting-edge mental training to advanced sleep tactics and more. Includes amazing ancestral meals, morning WOD’s at SEALFit HQ (the site of the world famous Kokoro camp), Warrior Yoga instruction and workouts, and speakers such as Robb Wolf, Dr. Kirk Parsley, Dominic D’Agostino, and more.
Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now.
Ben Greenfield’s New York Times Bestselling book Beyond Training is now available on Audible! After spending over 43 hours in front of a microphone, Ben has finished recording a 100% (fully updated) audio recording of this quintessential guide to performance, recovery, fat loss, digestion, brain, sleep, hormones and more. If you’re new to Audible, you can get it now for free by clicking here.
Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.
How To Get Beautiful Skin
Sonia says: She recently started eating a lot more eggs and her eczema flared up. Her Naturopath advised her to start supplementing with Evening Primrose Oil, as she said there was excellent research to suggest efficacy of Evening Primrose Oil and eczema or skin conditions in general. Sonia was apprehensive because of the Omega 6 content. What are your thoughts?
The 5 Worst Exercises
Tyler says: He recently watched a video from Jeff Cavilliar where he outlined the 5 Worst Exercises. He said these were chest flys, behind the neck shoulder presses, upright rows, good mornings and leg extensions. What are your thoughts on this? If you don’t agree, what do you think the five worst exercises are?
In my response, I recommend:
-My GetFitGuy article on the top 7 exercises to avoid
Does Cycling Make You A Faster Runner?
Michelle says: She’s heard that bike training translates into run training when it comes to Ironman training. She wants to know your thoughts on if this is true and how it works?
In my response, I recommend:
-My BenGreenfieldFitness article on the elliptical trainer
What Food Allergy Testing Is Best?
Allie says: She used NatureBeat to discover she had a food sensitivity to tomatoes because after she ate one it raised her pulse. She wants to know the steps a person should take when they find out they have a food allergy?