[2:32] Ben’s Hunting Trip
[7:01] Rachel’s Interesting Weekend
[7:23] The Art of Fearless Intimacy Course
[10:37] News Flashes/ Steph Curry’s Secret to Success
[15:46] The Concept of Biological Lighting
[19:44] About Bone Broth
[24:02] Natural Compounds that Enhance the Effects of THC/CBD
[25:34] Copaiba Oil
[27:24] Neurobiology of Grace Under Pressure
[33:28] Special Announcements
[47:45] Listener Q&A/ What is Simulated Altitude Training
[1:03:36] How to Fuel a Marathon Naturally
[1:17:49] How to Know When You’re Recovered from Adrenal Fatigue
[1:28:55] How Fasting is Different for Female
[1:41:55] End of Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show: Float Tanks, Strobe Goggles, Hacking The Vagus Nerve, Natural Fueling For Marathon, How To Know When You're Recovered From Adrenal Fatigue & Much More!
(can opening) No, that was Rachel.
Rachel: It sounded like the sound of a can opening.
Ben: Bud Light.
Ben: It’s actually a Zevia. Zevia Cream Soda.
Ben: I got ‘em from my hunting trip in Hawaii to discover that my wife for some reason she’s on like a Zevia cake, so like our refrigerator is just full of Zevia. Now, I don’t know about you but when the refrigerator is full of something, and I think this is why Costco makes people fat. I just have to basically make whatever is in the refrigerator that there’s lots of disappearing right away.
Rachel: Totally. Yeah, Jake my partner is the same. What’s your favorite Zevia flavor?
Ben: Hmm, whichever one I happen to be drinking at early in the morning.
Rachel: Oh, wow!
Ben: No, I actually like, I don’t know if you’ve ever done this. Take the ginger root bear flavor of Zevia, which by the way for those of you listening in you’ve never heard of this (crosstalk) it’s like stevia. We should get them as sponsor for the podcast. It’s Stevia flavored soda. Yeah. It’s pop. But I’ll take the ginger root beer stuff and mix it with vanilla flavored coconut ice cream.
Rachel: Oh my gosh!
Ben: Like a healthy-hippie root beer float.
Rachel: That sounds delicious.
Ben: It’s amazing. It’s amazing. For people who are vegan, what I mean when I crushed at your ears and go – la, la, la, la, la, right now.
Rachel: (chuckles) How did you go with your hunting trip?
Ben: As I’m gonna say, not that because Zevia is full of me but because I just went on a meat-ah palooza down in Kona, Hawaii which by the way in the past Rachel, whenever I got to Kona, it’s been to race the Ironman Triathlon.
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Ben: I had no clue like a hunting and…
Ben: Spearfishing freaking Mecca especially for bow hunting. Over the past I was looking at the data from my ring. I wear this ring that just like collects every little thing that I do when I poop, what my body temperature does at 2AM and of course, how steps many that I take, and I covered almost 60 miles, like 57 miles and hard miles. Bear crawling, and sprinting, and lunging, and crawling over logs and rocks, way up in the kinda higher country of Kona below the base of a volcano which is pretty cool by the way. Hunting at the base of a volcano going after sheep, goat, pig, turkey, pigeon, and dove. And then we also put it a couple of days of spearfishing. Actually it wasn’t a couple of days, it was one full day of spearfishing where we caught like parrot fish and all this other fish that I can’t even pronounce the name of. Sturgeon and parrot fish are the name. parrot fish taste like lobster by the way.
Rachel: Oh! Yummy!
Ben: The whole trip was amazing. I have this huge cooler full of my meat-ah palooza coming back to my house from the big island.
Rachel: What did you catch in meat?
Ben: So, for meat and again say – la, la, la, la and shut your ears, if you’re vegan. I got a nice sheep. I was gone to a very very big sheep called a Polly which taste really good. It’s like a mix of like a, it’s almost like a genetically mutated ram that caught the bad side of the lottery in life, and has like kinda F-up horns and they’re like really ugly but their meat is amazing. So the closest I got within the side of one was 68 yards which I’m not comfortable shooting an animal with a bow at 68 yards. So, I wound up shooting a sheep and I got a lot of sheep backstrap, and my guide gave me a weird look because when we filled dressing it, I went in to the gut, I went after the liver, and the kidneys, and the heart, and he’d rarely seen that before that someone actually want to harvest all these useless piece of the sheep but I wanted it all. So, grab all that. I shot 2 turkeys, bow hunting turkeys kinda like towards the evening, so got some turkey meat coming back, some wild turkey meat which tends to be kinda tough, be kinda like soak in raw milk or lemon and then like slow crockpot. It taste pretty good. And yeah, whole bunch of fish, and some pigeon, and dove…
Rachel: I didn’t actually know that people eat pigeon and dove.
Ben: They do now. (laughs)
Ben: Now that they’ve been given a stamp of approval on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show. Yeah, they’re perfectly fun to eat. Absolutely. A lot of animals that we consider not to be good to eat, I recently read a book about this. I’m getting a guy on a podcast. He even does as much as to go out and eat road kill. It is still potable. Potable? Potable is what you say for water. What do you say for animals?
Rachel: Animals. I’m not sure.
Rachel: Edible, yeah.
Ben: Edible. So anyways, yeah it was very good. I was down there with Aubrey Marcus, the guy who runs the company Onnit and his girlfriend Whitney who’s kinda like Jiu-jitsu, like a professional, I don’t know if she’s like a UFC announcer like a martial arts announcer but yeah…
Rachel: Very cool.
Ben: We’re working on a book together. So it’s kinda fun.
Ben: To hang out, it was kinda cool. You hunt by day and you eat pokey and drink cava by night. So, if anybody listening in and you are interested in hunting on the big island of Hawaii, or Molokai, or Maui, or any of these islands, then I leave a comment on the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/366 and I’ll hook you up with my guide. I’ll give you the insider scoop hooking up with a guy who’ll get you turkeys, and pigeons, and dove, and sheep, and goat, and para fish on your table.
Rachel: Sounds fun.
Ben: How about you Rachel, did you do anything interesting over the weekend? Over the week?
Rachel: (laughs) I actually had one of the most interesting weekends I think of my life last weekend. My partner and I…
Ben: Did you go to the fair?
Rachel: No, we did not go to the fair. We went to a kind of fair, I guess. But my partner and I, Jake, we have been doubling and deepening our intimacy. We’ve been together for 4 years and…
Rachel: Yeah! We kind of just acknowledged that we would like a deep and intimate connection. And so we found these courses called The Art of Fearless.
Ben: Did you go to a nude, nude-dey bar?
Rachel: No, no. It wasn’t anything that crazy. I’m pretty…
Ben: Those are nasty by the way.
Ben: I’ve been to those. They have them in Eve Bar in Q. Ask my wife, and I stumbled in there and it was basically hairy hippies, naked, brushing up against you. It’s horrible.
Rachel: Oh my goodness! That doesn’t sound…
Ben: I need to burn it out of my memory. But I interrupted you…
Rachel: No, that’s fine. So we went to this course and I had no idea what to expect, and we went through the weekend and it was on sexual polarity and intimacy. And these were two areas I’ve never explored before and…
Ben: Sexual polarity?
Rachel: Yes. So it works with the masculine and the feminine. So there’s a really popular book called The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida, and actually Kim Anami who’ve you had on the podcast. Most of her work is this kind of stuff as well and…
Ben: Yeah. She’s like the vaginal weightlifting coach.
Rachel: Yeah. And she does it for men and she does it for couples, and so I really wanted to go and do it in person though. And so, I went to this course and had no idea what to expect, and I honestly spent the whole weekend triggered, in a good way and challenged, and I just had this huge tension. And it was the love going on and it was just me and my partner, and it was really deep. And there was lots of crying and it was really intense. And what I wanted to say was really at the end of it, we talked about how I did San Pedro a couple of months ago and it was just like this deep, really deep opening expanse of experience, and what I got out of this was actually 10 times what I got out of San Pedro. And I have this tendency to want to be more working with organic things rather than the things that I take. You know, I didn’t imagine that I could experience the things that I experienced on San Pedro naturally, and this work is just absolutely blooming (censored) open. Like I just in every way you could possibly imagine, It was just the most expansive and the most surrendered, and the most just full experience of my whole life. So…
Ben: So not to overstep my boundaries, but do you at the course like this, are you actually like having sex?
Rachel: No, no, no.
Ben: Okay. It was just like sexual exploration.
Rachel: I mean, I had the most sex this weekend that I think that I’ve had, again.
Ben: After, after the course.
Rachel: But after the course. Yeah, but just because the chemistry is such… with my partner only. Only with my partner, you guys, come on. (laughs) No, I mean that stuff is the stuff that you explore as well but it’s just like this, it’s the energy of it is just huge, and I think it was just so awesome to know that this kind of stuff can be generated organically, you know.
Ben: Where was this?
Rachel: It was in San Francisco.
Ben: What was it called?
Rachel: The course is called The Art of Fearless Intimacy, but if you wanted to get started just in the work, I would suggest reading David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man. Truthfully his writing did not land awesomely for me but also Kim Anami, these always you can do without actually having to travel to San Francisco, but I would strongly recommend you don’t have to be in a partnership. There are tons of single people there if you wanted to really explore deepening intimacy then go and do a course like this because it’s powerful.
Ben: Interesting. So while I was there harvesting muttons where…
Rachel: Yup. Having lots of sex basically. (laughs)
Ben: You’re learning how to bang better.
Rachel: Yeah. I think I had a better weekend than you, mate.
Ben: Nice. It does sound like more fun possibly.
Ben: News Flashes! News Flashes!
Rachel: (laughs) I’m excited. What have you got this week?
Ben: I haven’t feel like I should talk like guy smiley from Sesame Street when I do the News Flashes. Well, as of course our good friends who are listening to this podcast now, I tweet a ton of research articles. I spend every morning just like looking through research when I’m not doing coffee enemas. And I tweet them at twitter.com/bengreenfield, and here’s some of the best ones from this week: Steph Curry. You know who Steph Curry is?
Rachel: Love Steph Curry.
Ben: So the Golden State Warriors are really good basketball team. They have this guy named Steph Curry who plays for them and I’ve talked before about how the Golden State Warriors use something called TDCS. You may have seen all the magazines, you know, the fitness magazines these things, there’s this new thing you wear on your head called the Halo.
Ben: And I interviewed them on the show. I think bengreenfieldfitness.com/halo is where you can listen to that, and it’s a device and you wear it on your head and it stimulated your motor cortex and it allows for you to for example, like decrease the rating of perceived exertion, like decrease how hard the workout is, or increase your ability for skill acquisition in anything from sports like tennis or basketball to music, to video gaming, and beyond. It’s kinda like cheating your way to improving performance by amplifying the activity in your motor cortex. So I knew already that the Golden State Warriors were kinda nerded out on this stuff but this article that I’ll link to in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/366, it goes in to how Curry is kinda like taking the step to the next level. Like he wears this goggles. They’re strobe goggles called Senaptec, S-E-N-A-P-T-E-C, and what they actually do is they light up over and over again and in your eyes have like a hundred and thirty million different receptors in them, sensory receptors with millions of different nerve fibers that feed into your eye which means that basically your eyes get the equivalent of about a hundred and nine gigabytes of data…
Ben: Which is a lot data.
Ben: When you’re way around computers every second. And what these goggles do is they train your body how to be able to process that visual information even faster. And so what he does is he wears the goggles and then he combines this goggles that cause this lighting strobe to get released in front of your eyes over and over again so you can process stuff faster. He combines those with doing like shooting drills. So he’s actually wearing the goggles, ‘cause you can see stuff when you’re wearing the goggles. And he was doing shooting drills as he’s wearing them. So, I looked into these goggles and I was thinking about buying some. I haven’t yet. If anybody is listening in and you found like a consumer version of these goggles, let me know ‘cause I find it super interesting. I like to get the developers on a podcast. But then he’ll also do complete sentry depravation, right? So that’s like sensory enhancement, then he’s big time into this float tanks like the big tubs with the skin temperature water and a thousand tons of Epsom salt. Yeah, and he floats not only to decompress his spine and to ease out muscle tension, and soothes muscles with the magnesium in the Epsom salts but he uses it almost for meditation, right, to reach like his peak meditative state to do like his visualization like shooting the basketball under the hoop, that type of thing. Total, total biohacker though.
Rachel: Yeah, it’s interesting…
Ben: It’s really an interesting article.
Rachel: That he’s overloading his senses and then he’s completely depriving them. Is that something that you do?
Ben: Uh, I totally believe in that. It makes sense, right? You have to step away. You have to be with yourself, right? You have to shut off everything and just go inside your own head because otherwise if you’re constantly distracting yourself with music and binaural beats, and whatever, TDCS and lights and everything else. You know, in addition to just social life and work in general, you can get to the point where you never learn how to listen to your body’s signals or perhaps more importantly listen to your spirit signals, right? Like have a deeper connection with yourself or with a Higher Power, and so yeah, I certainly you know, just this morning I did my nasal walk. Where I just turn off everything, no mp3 player, anything, and I go for a walk. I’ve this little farm road near my house. I go 15 minutes down, and 15 minutes back, and the whole time I do like box breathing, like nasal breathing where you’re doing 4 count in, 4 count hold, 4 count out, 4 count hold, and I just do that for half hour walk. And it’s like a form of moving meditation. So it’s definitely something I endorse heavily.
Rachel: Yeah. Wow.
Ben: So, cool article! So check that one out. And then speaking of wearing strobe goggles, there’s another really interesting article on light and the fact that pop culture’s kinda finally catching on this concept of biological lighting if New York Times is getting into pop culture I supposed.
Rachel: Right, yeah.
Ben: So the New York Times published this article and I thought it was cool because I started reading the article and they’re talking about all these lights that I’ve actually have in my house. They are made by this company called Lighting Science. They’re called Biological LED Bulbs and the article goes into how families are now putting these in their home like for baby’s room, you can get the Sleepy Time Bulb or for like right now in my office above my head while we’re talking, I’ve got 3 of these Awake and Alert Bulbs which generates copious amounts of blue light, right. Whereas, like the good night bulb depletes the blue spectrum lights to help you sleep better. So you can kinda like pick your poison when it comes to the type of lighting that you wanna put in to your home. And it goes into all these different new lighting technologies like one that people probably heard of before is the Phillips Q which connects with a wireless network which is why I don’t have that system in my house ‘cause I don’t have any WiFi in my house.
Ben: But it allows you to go from like whatever reddish glow, to a blue glow depending on the mood that you want. You know, you can control your light from far away if you want to freak out your family while you’re on a trip. You can change the lighting in the room.
Rachel: And while we know that it impacts on the circadian rhythm, are you able to feel different when in the room at the time?
Ben: Yeah. The light not only interacts with your eyes but also the photoreceptors on your skin. And so, it’s really interesting and I’m very into lighting, I even have in my bag now, I don’t know if you’ve read that article that I wrote. I reviewed Dave Asprey’s new book, Head Strong on the website. So if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com, you can read all the articles that I’ve written, and one of the things that I talked about in that book that I discovered in that book, Head Strong are these little LED blocking lights which I purchased just off of Amazon. They came in incredibly handy except in traveling for the past 2 weeks, so I’ve been in and out of hotel rooms and you walk in to a hotel room and if you put off the lights in a hotel room, it’s like all these little things are blinking and glowing your wear, right? Your alarm clock, and the TV, and the router, and you take these little stickers. They’re like LED blocking stickers and you can put them over any of these lights in the room which might sound like orthorexic and excessive. But there’s some really interesting studies that show that even if you let say, like wearing an eye mask or whatever, and you close the curtains in a room, all these tiny little lights can actually interfere with melatonin production.
Rachel: Yeah. And would you recommend doing that for people who already don’t have trouble sleeping? Like I don’t really have trouble with that. Sound like it is overkill?
Ben: Well, yeah. It’s kinda like going from good to gray. Right. So, this is why I tell my wife, right, ‘cause she just [18:40] ______ and goes to sleep, and she doesn’t wear a sleep mask, and yeah, sometimes she’ll be like looking at her phone before she sleeps without wearing her blue light blocking glasses. God forbid.
Ben: And my kids, I’ll go in to my kids room and they’ll set up this elaborate like Christmas lighting displays over their beds just ‘cause it looks cool, and I’ll explain to them even if you still sleep you might not get the optimal sleep that you want. You may have a night of sleep but not reach your deep sleep stages quite as effectively where a lot of memory consolidation occurs or where dreaming occurs which is super important for getting rid of a lot of negative energies and negative emotions that build up during the day. I just finished a really good book called The 24-Hour Mind that talks about this like how important dreaming is to put you in a better mood the next day. So you can lose that and a lot of stuff even if you sleep, it might not be the best sleep. So it’s an interesting article, one worth reading if you want to familiarize yourself in layman’s term with light bulbs that help you sleep. So, check that one out.
Another one that I recently tweeted was one of the best articles on bone broth that I’ve ever read. Because bone broth even though it’s very sexy these days and a lot of people are aware of it, the research goes back and forth, so I guess the controversy goes back and forth or are we just being like fooled by all of these bone broth companies? Does it real do what the claims are? Well, it actually does. And it turns out, Chris Kresser wrote this article where he goes into bone broth and highlight some great research on the components in bone broth.
Rachel: It is a very comprehensive article.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Like he gets into the hyaluronic acid in it which we already know is pretty good for the joints, but he goes into how that protects against the UV induced skin damage. So it’s almost like internal sunscreen that you consume. And I’ve talked in the past before about this thing called astaxanthin. It’s like what salmon eat for example that makes the salmon flesh all red and how that’s like internal sunscreen. So I use to load with astaxanthin. Speaking of Hawaii before I’d race the Ironman in Hawaii. Like I’d take a bunch of astaxanthin to help myself fight off all that UVA and UVV-based skin damage that can happen when you’re exposed to copious amounts of sunlight, but it turns out that the hyaluronic acid and some of the other components in bone broth particularly the collagenous components can help out quite significantly with your ability to be able to bounce back from the sun if you don’t wanna look like the grandma from “Something About Mary”.
Ben: So it has that going for it. He goes into something else I hadn’t thought about before the fact that the glycine in bone broth increases your level of creatine, stimulates the secretion of human growth hormone, so it can enhance muscle repair and basically can activate this pathway called the mTOR pathway which allows you to get enhanced muscle protein synthesis. So there’s a big benefit there going on from muscular standpoint in recent research that just came out last month. It shows that when you combine bone broth with vitamin C like lemon juice or some other form of vitamin C, you actually increased that collagen literally even more. So, those are another interesting thing that I found in that one.
And then finally, even though the list goes on and on, I mean it’s a very long article but all the different things that bone broth can do. Another interesting one that I found was that there’s been a lot of concern about the lead toxicity in bone broth, and how bone broth might be high in lead. But it turns out that the glycine in bone broth stimulate a copious amount. That is the third time I realized I’ve used the term copious on today’s podcast.
Rachel: It’s a great way.
Ben: I’m trying to find the substitute soon. Anyways, it cause a whole bunch of glutathione production which is your body’s master in antioxidant and it can also improve survival after liver transplants, protect liver cells against hypoxia, protect you against alcohol-induced fatty liver disease, so it turns out the like even if bone broth has metals in it, it also has all the stuff in it that helps you protect against metals. Kinda like how fish can have a lot of metals in it but the selenium in fish can help to protect you from a lot of those metals.
Rachel: How would you rate bone broth on your priority list of things you should have every day?
Ben: I drink it every day.
Rachel: Yeah? It’s up there?
Rachel: One of the things you need to do?
Ben: I mean, I don’t like… I know a lot of people like, “Oh Ben, you don’t do everything everyday that you talk about on podcast”. But it’s quite simple. I have a smoothie everyday. I really do. When I’m home, I have a smoothie everyday and what I’ve been doing is I go half and half for the liquid to make the smoothie blend. So I use about half bone broth then I use half of that bark tea that I’ve talked about on the podcast before that I don’t have time to get into right now, but basically because I have my smoothie everyday, I have it pretty much everyday. And a lot of times I’ll throw in like a cup in the afternoon and in the evening. Have a cup of bone broth sitting by the fire wearing my Christmas sweater.
Rachel: Sounds delicious actually. (laughs)
Ben: Speaking of delicious, let’s talk terpenes. Another article that I tweeted out was about terpenes or what’s called the entourage effect. You know what the entourage effect is?
Rachel: No. I’m about to learn though.
Ben: Alright. Ear muffs kids, we’re going to talk about drugs. So, the idea here is that, let’s take CBD for example. You can synthesize like single molecule cannabidiol which is the active component of weed or hemp but that doesn’t touch the active ingredients that you would find in a hundred milligrams of like the whole plant extract. And that’s because of these things called terpenes which are these molecules that you’ll find in the plants that when you isolate all the other components of the plants, you missed. So you take like, you’ve heard of how black pepper makes things more bioavailable?
Ben: Like mix black pepper or turmeric in with things, it’s because you have a lot of what’s called beta caryophyllene in black pepper, and oregano is another one and a lot of dark leafy green vegetables have this same component in them, and it allows for anything that you blend them with to get absorbed a lot better because the terpenes have these entourage effect. They basically magnify the effect of, in this case, let’s say cannabis, right, or CBD if you’re to blend them with CBD. It’s why in any good blend you have as many terpenes as you can possibly get. So I’m gonna link to an article on this entourage effect but the reason I bring this up is because I’ve been messing around with this essential oil called Copaiba Oil. C-O-P-A-I-B-A. Have you heard of this before?
Ben: Okay. It has massive levels. I bought it and I bought black pepper oil from this company called Young Living. These two essential oils, when I talked about that beta caryophyllene, will call it BCP from here and now, it’s like the most potent terpene known to man. Meaning, anything you mix it with, becomes more bio-absorbable to very high extent. So you can take these essential oils and put a few drops of them in anything like in a tea, in a smoothie, if you’re like making an edible with cannabis or let’s say you’re somebody who vapes, or let’s say you use CBD capsules or something like that. Anything that you combine this stuff with, you put a few drops on your tongue or you put a few drops like a smoothis blender jar, or you could for example, even just like you know, smear some over, let’s say if you’re gonna like eating edible or something like that, massive increase in absorbability. It’s like a way to hack anything that you consume. And it doesn’t have to be CBD or THC, it could be any plant-based molecule. So, this is called Copaiba Oil.
Rachel: Do you know? What is Copaiba? I’ve never heard of it before.
Ben: I don’t know what it’s extracted from exactly. You put me on the spot. It’s some kind of a plant-based extract.
Rachel: Okay. Yup.
Ben: And it’s just a whole bunch of terpenes and the black pepper extract of course comes from black pepper, peppercorns. But the idea is that not only does it enhance the effect of things like CBD but it actually acts very very similar to a synthetic cannabinoid, meaning it gives you all the anti-inflammatory effects that a cannabinoid can, so if you’re on a pinch and you live somewhere that CBD isn’t legal or you’re having a hard time getting your hands in it, it turns out that this copaiba oils offers you a very very similar benefits. So something to check. I think it’s kinda cool. I love when I discover like new little oils that makes life better. How many essential oil are junky?
Rachel: Essentially from plants you’ve never heard of.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Copaiba. If anybody knows where copaiba oil comes from, then comment in the show notes.
Okay. The last one, I know this is dragging on but I’ve got one more news flash, it’s called the Neurobiology of Grace Under Pressure. We talked a lot about the vagus nerve on the show and about the importance of taking care of your vagus nerve because it snakes throughout your entire body and it’s really the most important connection between your gut and your brain. You know, vagus means wandering, and it’s the wandering nerve ‘cause it diverges from like the stems in your brain stem, your cerebellum in your brain stem and goes all the way down to the lowest lowest part of your abdomen. So it’s constantly sending messages from your brain to your gut, and vice-versa. And we’ve talked before about how things like heart rate variability training, and cold water immersion, and singing, and gurgling, and chanting, and all sorts of things can help to improve the tone of your vagus nerve which can assist you with everything from adrenal fatigue, to enhancing your reaction time, to increasing your resilience to stress, so many benefits. And this article goes into things we haven’t talked about before on the show when it comes to ways to enhance the health of your vagus nerve. And some of it is a little woo-woo like for example, simply visualizing your vagus nerve appears to enhance the coordination of your sympathetic and your parasympathetic nervous system. Meaning if you’re…
Rachel: Okay, I…
Ben: Go ahead.
Rachel: Well I thought that was kinda woo-woo too but then I saw this picture that they have ‘cause I have actually never seen a full picture of the vagus nerve and it is crazy. I did not know, it was that dramatic, you know, and so I…
Ben: It’s huge. Dissecting the entire body, it’s like this massive tree.
Rachel: Yeah it is! Exactly, massive tree. So then I actually started visualizing it and I thought I can see how that works, so.
Ben: You can visualize it and like imagine and sneak it through but you need to look at it. You need to go to the show notes and click through and read this article like see what the vagus nerve looks like. But the simple active visualizing it like sneaking throughout your body can actually increase the health of the nerve. So that was one interesting tip within the article.
Another was generating positive emotions and optimism. And this is something that I’ve been focusing quite a bit on lately. I realized that for those of you who just like to whatever, put butter on your coffee and lift barbells, and this sounds woo-woo but there actually is a big big link between healthy vagal tone and what’s called the neuroplasticity of the vagus nerve, and positive emotions. So, you know what my 3 favorite positive emotions are, Rachel, that I just say to myself sometimes through the day that I have on screen saver that pops up on my computer?
Rachel: Nice, what?
Ben: They are… there’s actually a book written by David Hawkins called “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender I think is the name of the book. And he talks about how there’s an actual vibrational frequency associated with these 3 emotions, and they are, in order of importance and vibrational frequency: Number 1 – peace, number 2 – love, and number 3 – joy.
Ben: So if you’re constantly saying or thinking peace, love, and joy, that actually increases the tone of your vagus nerve. Those are like my 3 favorite words. It’s like Sesame Street. It’s like word of the day.
Rachel: You can almost tell by whether they elicit a calm feeling. Is that kind of how you know if it’s affecting your vagus nerve?
Ben: Uhmm. You know that and then you also can watch people around you and when I am saying those words a lot in a very intense state especially of peace, like people come to me in an airport and randomly just talk to me, right, ‘cause I’m approachable. Because I’m not projecting negative emotions. I’ve found that and this is something new, I’ve only been doing this for like the past 3 or 4 months. Really, really focusing on just saying words and engaging in poses that cause more positive emotions rather than slouching, rather than thinking anxious thoughts. It makes a profound difference in one’s life.
Another one and the last time I mention here even though there’s a lot more in the article is that you need to… speaking of the ability of one person’s mood to affect another, you need to actually avoid anxious people as much as you can. Anxious or nervous people have actually been shown to affect the vagus nerve specifically by decreasing your HRV because we can pick up the electrical signal of the heart and the brain of people standing around us, and you can also even experience the different vibrational energy from them. If you look in the quantum physics, there’s an actual difference in the vibration of protons when you’re around those people, and you can feel it. You can often feel even you can’t see ‘em.
Rachel: Yeah. Exactly, yup. That has been my [32:42] ______ experience. Definitely.
Ben: Yeah. So just like staying away from loser, basically.
Rachel: (laughs) I know, loser.
Ben: That’s a good idea if you want an answer to your vagal nerve tone or release anxious and nervous people or people who have an anxious and nervous state. Now of course, I should throw this in there, I think it’s better rather staying away from them, to overpower them with your own thoughts and emotions.
Rachel: I think so because then the goodness like extends to them and you actually calm down. I believe if you have a strong enough energy and presence, and peace that it calms them down.
Ben: Don’t say that “you suck”, and walk away.
Ben: Give them a hug.
Rachel: “Stop being nervous, you’re annoying”, don’t say that.
Ben: That’s right. Hugs not drugs. So check it out, bengreenfieldfitness.com/366, I’ll link to all of these studies and everything that we just talked about.
Ben: So here’s a bonus news flash for you, Rachel.
Rachel: A bonus news flash? It’s my lucky week!
Ben: A bonus news flash for you. Shocking your (censored) makes you smarter.
Ben: Nah, I’m serious. So, I’ve talked in the past about this thing called extracorporeal shock wave therapy, and I went down to Florida a couple of months ago and I actually had this done on my genitalia and it is designed to do things like increased the growth of new vessels down there and in other regions, and enhanced the quality of and the intensity of your orgasm and your feel in both men and women, increase drive, get rid of erectile dysfunction, all sorts of cool things. But a study recently showed that not only does it do all of that but it increases the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor. The same factor that can make you smarter that you get from exercise, it appears that BNF is actually released by what are called the schwann cells down around one’s testes or one’s gonads when they get this extracorporeal shock wave therapy. And the reason this is so great is that you actually get a discount on this if you’re listening into this podcast because the folks who do this therapy in the US who had a patent on it, they sponsor of today’s show. And all you have to do to get a fat discount, it’s called Gainswave, to get a 150 bucks off of Gainswave treatment, and the way that you do it is you text the word ‘Greenfield’ G-R-E-E-N-F-I-E-L-D to 313131 and not only can you go get your crotch shocked into action but you can make yourself smarter in the process.
Rachel: It’s really hard to imagine how it’s not painful, but it’s not painful.
Ben: It’s not. You even get a numbing cream. They gave me even extra numbing cream to bring back. I haven’t done anything with it yet, but I do have syringe full of numbing cream. I have to figure out what I’m gonna do with it.
Rachel: I don’t think that’s an area where I wanna numb. I think that’s an area where I wanna intensify feeling.
Ben: Some guys will numb it and some condoms come with numbing cream on it just to like make you to be able to last longer.
Rachel: I see. I see.
Ben: But I’ll just like to think of ugly people. That helps me last longer. (laughs) You think of grandma. No, I’m just kidding. I don’t do that. If my wife is listening in, I’m not thinking about my grandma while we’re doing it. And I’m not doing it in cream either. I’m just stud. I can go and go. And I go even longer having this Gainswave. So check it out. Text the word ‘Greenfield’ to 313131 or you can go to healthgains.com and just tell them I sent you and especially if you go to their clinic in Florida which is where I had it done. They’ll give you the white club treatment. Don’t make your mind. Go there.
Rachel: (chuckles) I did. It went there.
Ben: Okay. Also, here’s a fun fact for you, Rachel. Wheatgrass. You do a bunch of wheatgrass?
Rachel: Uh, no. I used to but I try and get it in powder form now like green smoothie form,
Ben: Yeah. So, wheatgrass despite the name ‘wheat’ is actually gluten-free. There is no gluten in wheatgrass and it actually is one of the most nutrient-dense grass extracts on the face of the planet. It has more than a hundred different vitamins and minerals and micronutrients in a single shot of wheatgrass, and of course it’s high in chlorophyll which means that it aids your body with producing ATP especially if you consume anything high in chlorophyll and then also you get exposed to sunlight, they’ve actually shown that you get a significant increase in your endogenous ATP production. So it’s like the one-two combo of greens and being outdoors in the sun is one of the best things that you can do for your body.
Rachel: That’s so fascinating because chlorophyll is what makes plants photosynthesized, right?
Ben: Uhmm, yeah.
Rachel: So it’s that like your body’s internal photosynthesis, does that mean that the sun have ‘em with chlorophyll? Fun stuff maybe.
Rachel: That was not science. Don’t quote me. (laughs)
Ben: That is science. Anyways though, so the reason I’m telling you all these is because another sponsor of today’s show is one of the best tasting greens superfoods on the face of the planet.
Rachel: It’s so good.
Ben: Organifi [37:57] ______, coconut water extract and moringa, and lemon and spirulina, and among all those other things, it also got wheatgrass in it which by the way, wheatgrass also has 17 different amino acids in it. So, it’s really good as a building block for protein as well. So, you get a discount. I should probably give people the discount. You go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi, and when you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi, use the discount code there, and you save 20% off.
So, another thing, Rachel. I don’t know if you happen to take a look at the menu from our friends over at Hello Fresh this week. Did you?
Rachel: No. Why? What’s on the menu?
Ben: Okay. It’s pretty good. So here we go. Sweet and spicy apricot chicken with lemon-ey couscous.
Ben: Sliced steak tagliata. Am I pronouncing that correctly? Tagliata? With sweet potato wedges. Sweet potato wedges are like one of my favorite foods on the place of the planet. If I we’re on an island, I would take sweet potato wedges and my crotch shocking machine. I just be good to go.
Rachel: You would be. Yeah.
Ben: And then Thai spiced pork with rice noodles. Rice noodles are gluten-free by the way. You could probably get some gluten powder if you wanted to dress them up a little bit, but they come without gluten. So, what Hello Fresh does is they ship all these ingredients to your door. So you can gather around as a family or as a lonely bachelor/bachelorette if that’s you, and you can create these delicious recipes in under 30 minutes. Super=duper fast. It is incredibly fun for me, and River, and Terran to get this big box and just go make stuff. And the cool thing is that it’s all healthy ingredients, they all come with this recipe cards, and any of you listening in get 35 bucks off a full week of deliveries from Hello Fresh. Just go to Hello Fresh, just like it sounds, hellofresh.com. Here’s your code. Write it down to memorize it. You smart cookies. It’s fitness35, fitness35 if you too want to eat sweet potato wedges on the beach with me. You can.
Rachel: Or, I found Hello Fresh to be awesome for learning how to cook. If you are not a super confident cooker, cook, chef, then doing something like this is a brilliant way to get really confident in the kitchen, to understand what flavors taste good together because it’s all pre-planned for you.
Ben: Speaking of the kitchen, my can of cream soda is almost exhausted. I may have to step away soon and go get another can… ‘cause there’s a lot of map there. We’re leaving for the Bahamas next week. I’m taking the family to the Bahamas.
Rachel: What? That’s so fancy, Ben.
Ben: I know!
Rachel: That’s the fanciest holiday ever.
Ben: We’re gonna do more fishing. Actually it’s business for me too because some of my friends have like a business mastermind and we’ve decided we’re just going to do business in the Bahamas instead of in some snowy, frigid, freakin’ Washington.
Rachel: That is the best idea I’ve heard in a long time. Yeah.
Ben: So, I gonna keep my Kona tan on. And then finally, this podcast is brought to you by… (Ben talks like an English man) and here is where I begin talking like a sophisticated English man. The (Wedstud?), the (Wedstud?), Rachel. Let me tell you about the (Wedstud?). It is a razor but it is quite frankly, Rachel, one of the best sophisticated razors that is not bad. Five-German blades. They are not English blades, they are German but we will use them. Flex-hinge, a lubricating strip. It even has a precision trimmer in it which allows me to get hard to reach places like my sideburns and the interior of my nose, my nasal cavities. You could shave in style with this razor and it goes perfectly with anyone even with folks who have made up with gout like myself. However, in order to take advantage of this particular razor which really you must use if you are wanting to be a sophisticated man or woman. You go to harrys.com, H-A-R-R-Y-S.com/ben. (Ben talks in his natural voice) I can’t say Ben, like it sounds like Ben.
Rachel: Oh my gosh.
Ben: So, go to harrys.com/ben. It actually is a pretty dang sweet razor. I just shaved it this morning. It even has an ergonomic handles so you don’t get freaking carpel tunnel when you’re shaving. You get their trial set for free. So it’s a razor handle, of your choice, five-blade cartridge and their shaving gel, all for free. Harrys.com/ben, you don’t have to talk like a fat sophisticated English man when you’re using it. The harrys.com/ben and they’ll give you a free little razor set. You can shave in style!
Rachel: I’m just so impressed with your accents. I really am. They’re very impressive. You should be very proud.
Ben: Practice them in front of the mirror. Okay, couple other things. For those of you who want hang out some cool events. So, first event is Spartan. I actually signed a contract. I’m racing professionally for Spartan.
Ben: I am on the Spartan pro-team, that probably means I’m gonna need to upgrade my morning walk in the sunshine to like sprinting, and burpees instead soon because the first race is coming up in Seattle, April 22nd, then I will be in Monterey, June 3rd, I’ll be in Palmerton, Pennsylvania racing on July 8th, I’ll be in Ashville on July 29th, and I’ll be in West Virginia on August 26th. I’ll be racing in Tahoe, the first week in October, and so here’s the deal you guys, if you’re listening in and you happen to have an obstacle race, great racing, obstacle course racing, hop in! Get in on one. You don’t have to be faster like on the point edge of fitness, you just to love playing on playground desk obstacles and running through mud and dirt, and the forest. So, will put a link to each one of the races that I’m gonna be at. It’s called the US Championship Series in the show notes but honestly, any of these races not only will I try to arrange meet ups with me and special Ben Greenfield fitness events ‘cause I mean if Reebok’s gonna freakin’ pay for me to fly around and go race all these events, we might as well have parties at ‘em, right folks?
Rachel: Hell ‘ya!
Ben: So well do some Ben Greenfield meet ups but check out the races. We’ll put ‘em in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/366. Come join me, come race even if you’ve never done a Spartan before. I think you’ll dig ‘em and yeah! I will also be sure to announce each of these races as the dates approach and lets you know what I’m up to as far as to any meet ups and stuff that I’m organizing, but for now, these races do fill up fast. So if you wanna get in on ‘em and you wanna travel the one and come hang out with me, sometimes I’ll finish the race and go do it again for folks who want me to do it them like maybe a slightly slower pace than I did the first time, but I’ll go up there and do the race with you too. So anyways, leave a comment in the show notes if you happen to going to a race, let me know and I will and look you up when I’m there ‘cause I love to meet you guys at races for sure even though I’m like bloody and covered in mud and look all crappy, and anxious and nervous, and unapproachable. Come talk to me at races. I love to see folks who are at these events.
Also, for those of you who don’t wanna race but instead wanna just jump on your tie and your suit, and go learn how to be in ketosis and detox your body, and live life healthy but also enhance your career, any of you out there who are a or want to be nutritionist, dietician, physician, physical therapists, chiropractic doc, any of you out there in the fitness, the health, or the nutrition professions, I am speaking along with Dr. Mercola, my friend Dr. Joseph Mercola and my friend, Dr. Dan Pompa. The three of us are highlighting a big event put together for health care practitioners in Atlanta. That’s gonna be on May 5th through the 7th. The tickets are over a thousand dollars. They’re $1,097 but at the time this podcast comes out, we’re doing a special. Three ninety seven to get in to this event and you go, “ I know”, “Woah”, “Thanks”. You really help celebrate there, Rachel. Thank you. I should take you everywhere.
Rachel: There is a huge discount, folks. (laughs)
Ben: There’s a big discount. It’s like the early bird discount. I think it last for a couple more weeks after this podcast comes up. But it’s gonna be fun. Will have some really good parties down there too in Atlanta. Benatlanta.com is where you go, benatlanta, BENatlanta.com. And when you go there, you can get in on this event. It’s primarily for all the care practitioners but if that’s the career you wanna shift into, or that’s the career you’re in, it’s like the combination of both business building advice and you’ll learn how to run your office, how to run your studio, how to enhance your career, but then also we’re doing a bunch of presentations like I’m doing one on advance brain biohacking and also how to manage things in your environment, how to hack your environment, air, light, water , electricity, stuff like that. So it’s gonna be a cool event. So it’s called Live It To Lead It. Designed for health care leaders to learn how to live it and lead it.
Rachel: Sounds fun.
Ben: I did not come up with that name but it’s pretty good. Live It and Lead It. So check that out. We’ll link to all the stuff in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/366.
Aussie: Hi Ben, My name is Aussie from Perth in Western Australia. I love the show, I love the content. My question is regarding simulated altitude training, and benefits, and drawbacks to simulated altitude training. Love to know your thoughts regarding training high, living low, rest periods from block of altitude training to let’s say race or triathlon, benefits for weight loss, and benefits for type 2 diabetes. Yeah, I love the show. Thanks!
Ben: That was name Aussie, Andies from Australia.
Rachel: I think I am the one with the Australian accent that does it best here. His name is Aussie and he’s from Australia.
Ben: Yo opposed.
Rachel: (laughs) That is kinda ironic that his name is Aussie and he’s from Australia.
Ben: Do you think his real name is Aussie?
Rachel: I think we love a good nickname in Australia and maybe it’s his nickname. I don’t think that’s his real name.
Ben: It’s like me naming my kid ‘Yank’.
Rachel: Yes, exactly. It’s super weird. (laughs) But thanks for calling in, Aussie.
Ben: Uh-hmm. Thank you for calling in. It’s really interesting. You know, first of all let me start here, I’m not aware of any benefits for type 2 diabetes from simulated altitude training but there are a crapole of benefits to it. Probably my funnest exposure to simulated altitude training was when I was in London. I’m coming back to London in May. I’m speaking in London in May with this called The Infinite Man Event. Maybe we should have said that in the special announcements. I think it’s like May 26th through the 28th. It’s for guys to learn how to be better guys, whatever that means?
Ben: It’s called The Infinite Man Event. Now, I probably will go back to this place and remember those. It’s the Altitude Center in London and what they do is there’s a whole bunch of bikes, and rowing machines, and treadmills, and this big chamber, and the suckle the air out of it and then give you a big workout up on a big screen TV and you do the workout at whatever the altitude. Let’s say, 3,000 meters or 6,000 ft. or whatever they decide to put the room at. So you do the whole workout but rather than you wearing an annoying mask and being hooked up to hypoxic air generator, which would be one way to do simulated altitude training, you’re instead just like a giant room with all the air sucked out of it.
Rachel: And do you know the altitude centers exist around the world or it’s the only one that you ever found in London?
Ben: No, I’ve seen other ones. I know there are some gyms in the US have them. This one is called The Altitude Center. It’s just that sometimes I only go t cool places when I’m traveling. And then when I’m at home I just hung out walking in the trees.
Anyways though, so altitude… we’ll get into simulated altitude training, but altitude training in general is actually pretty dang beneficial for the body. So the idea is that most of the world’s population lives at low altitude. Meaning, below 500 meters, and that has a really good atmosphere pressure and good oxygen concentration for human body functioning. That’s why most of the world’s population has naturally settled in to low areas rather than living in the mountains. But as you go up, as you ascend in altitude, the air volume expands. So atmosphere pressure goes down, and the air volume expands, that reduces the amount of oxygen that’s available to the muscles. That drop in oxygen concentration and the drop of oxygen in your arterial blood basically decreases the ability to extract oxygen for your working muscles. It reduces your oxygen uptake, and when that happens some pretty cool physiological effects occur.
So, for example, when you get a decrease in kidney oxygenation, that stimulates the synthesis and the release of erythropoietin or what’s known as EPO. Which is this hormone that’s produced in your kidneys and that stimulates what’s called erythropoiesis in your red bone marrow. And when you stimulate erythropoiesis in your red bone marrow, then you increase the concentration of your red blood cells and your hemoglobin production and over a period of time those changes improve your aerobic performance, your ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles, your ability of the muscles to be able to use oxygen so there’s a mitochondrial effect as well. But whether you stay at altitude or whether you go back down out of altitude, that can actually help you significantly both health and performance standpoints. So that in my opinion is one of the biggest effects that takes place but there other things too. At a genetic level, it’s really interesting, so there’s this transcription factor that’s in every cell in your body and it’s called Hypoxia Inducible factor which also known as HIF. And that’s normally pretty low when you’re just at sea level or not at altitude but when you go under hypoxic conditions that HIF actually increases and when it increases your cells transcribe specific genes. So specifically what happens in your cells is they will transcribe genes responsible for even more EPO production. Genes responsible for producing transferrin… go ahead.
Rachel: What does transcribe mean? How does that work?
Ben: It means that basically you’re upregulating the activity of genes that are going to cause certain proteins to be produced or certain physiological effects to take place. And HIF does a whole bunch of things. So it assimilates angiogenesis, which is like the production of new capillaries and new blood vessels, stimulates what are called cell glucose transporters which again, even though no studies that I’m aware of have been done on the effect of altitude on diabetes, anytime you increase the number of glucose transporters that you have, that much less insulin that your pancreas has to release because your body is better able to use glucose transporters to transport circulating carbohydrates in the muscle, or in the liver, or other organs. And so theoretically, you could actually through altitude training upregulate glucose transporter activity and potentially decrease some issues with like insulin insensitivity or disregulated blood glucose. That’s kinda of a far leap because I haven’t seen any actual research on altitude training and diabetes but it’s something that it could be helpful for,
You get an increase of the genes responsible for metabolizing lactic acid which is really important for everything from defying the burn that occurs during exercise to decreasing some of the issues that could potentially cause cancer because cancer is simply the rampant production of lactic acid in the switch of a cell to go into complete glycolosis. You increase a whole bunch of your vasodilating type of genes specifically the one that cause an increase in the production of nitric oxide. So it’s kinda like cold thermogenesis has all these different effects on health. Altitude does something similar. As a matter of fact, when I was attending the Ancestral Health Symposium in Colorado this year, one of the main talks given there was how when you compare populations that live at higher altitude to populations that live at lower altitude, even though it can be tough on the body to constantly being in the state of low oxygen availability, there is a significant difference in longevity. Meaning that people who are at higher altitudes like you know, the city of Boulder, Colorado has significantly higher amount of longevity than a lower altitude but similar like… let’s compare two cities that have like similar keen interest in health, right, like Austin, Texas and Boulder, Colorado. Boulder has a higher level of long living people. Higher concentration of long living people.
And so, there is this independent of other factors and increase in longevity associated with altitude training as well. But like I mentioned, it can be tough to live all the time at altitude because your body doesn’t recover fast, a lot of people who live in Boulder and exercise frequently, they get like overtrained or get a little bit of adrenal fatigue because when you’re sleeping at altitude and training at altitude, and living at altitude, which is called Live High, Train high, it can be hard on the body vs. this other concept and this is something Aussie alluded to simulated altitude training which Live Low, Train High.
Rachel: Yeah. So what is the impact then if you live low and train high, and how frequently do you need to train high if you’re living low?
Ben: You get the best of both worlds. So, if you train high supposed to be every 2-3 days to maintain the effects of altitude training, and the cool is that when are living low, let’s say, you’re training high by using an altitude training tent or one of these like gyms in London that I talked about, or an altitude training mask hooked up to one of these hypoxic air generator. You know, which should be something like the company Hypoxico which makes one of those. There’s another company called A higher Peak that makes one. But whenever you’re doing that you’re able to train at high altitude, gets all those benefits from EPO production to glucose transporter activity, to nitric oxide production, but as soon as you take yourself out of that simulated altitude experience you’re able to cover more quickly because you have that greater oxygen availability at the low altitude that you might be say… sleeping in.
So, a lot of different ways that you can do simulated altitude training, right? There’s altitude training tents, there’s altitude training chambers, what I have in my garage is this unit made by a company called Hypoxico that this little air generator that I have next to a treadmill. I could also drag my bike out there and I can do what’s called intermittent hypoxic training or IHT where you can for example, you put a little mask on and you go hard for 5 minutes, then you take it off and you recover for 5 minutes. Then you go hard again for 5 minutes, take it off for 5 minutes, you get like 3 times through for a 30 minute IHT workout. That’s an example of a way I can cause my kidneys to upregulate EPO production, I can cause the release of some of these HIF factor that I talked about, the hypoxia inducible factor and I get all those benefits without necessarily getting like the sleep decrements and a lack of recovery and some of that stuff that would happen if I just decided to move to the Himalayas. So yeah, live low, train high, works really well.
Some people are also the opposite of the live high and train low, right? So in that situation while you’re living high, you’re getting a whole bunch of the benefits of altitude exposure but then when you get to train low, you’re able to push yourself harder. And some people like that approach too but that’s obviously a little tougher logistically to pull off. If you’ll like live on a mountain and then go off the mountain to go train and come back or just like I guess you could turn your whole house into an altitude chamber to be a cool experiment. Anyways though, so that’s the skinny on simulated altitude training and the idea in terms what you’re supposed to do is you can get these fingertip pulse oximeters off of a website like Amazon. I’ll put a link in the show notes to just like the basic pretty decent pulse oximeter that you can get off of Amazon and you can use that to collect oxygen information while you sleep or while you train. And you’re looking for in order to ensure that you simulated altitude training is actually working, you’re looking for a pretty significant drop in pulse oxygenation.
So when I’m doing that hypoxico session and I first hop on a treadmill my oxygenation, my pulse oxygenation is good. It’s like 95 up to a hundred which is a good level to be at but during the training session it’ll drop by 20-30%, right? So I’ll drop down into the 60s to 70s which is generally what you wanna gonna look for. It’s like a 20-30 not percent but 20-30 point drop in your oxygenation. And when that happens that is an indicator that you’re actually getting a lot of the physiological effects necessary to get the benefit s out of simulated altitude training. And you’re gonna find that it’s very difficult to get that if you’re just doing like breathing through your nose or holding your breath or something like that but the pulse oximeter simply used and tells you what’s called your SPO2, the percentage of oxygen in your bloodstream. And as soon as that drops low, that’s the signal to your body to create EPO. You wanna use one if you gonna do simulated altitude training.
Rachel: Do you recommend simulated altitude training for people who are not athletes who are doing it just for longevity and weight loss, and all that kind of stuff?
Ben: Not for weight loss ‘cause technically you’re not able to exercise as hard when you’re doing it so you’re not gonna burn as many calories, but for general health, going through a period of restricted oxygen availability. There’s a really good book about this called the Oxygen Advantage by Patrick McKeown. He goes in to the concept of just how focusing on nasal breathing, focusing on not processing as much oxygen in the same way that there are longevity benefits associated with restriction of calories, there are longevity benefits associated with restriction of oxygen like not constantly deep breathing. That’s one of those conundrums of people who say about people who exercise are like, “Well, if you’re constantly breathing hard during exercise and your heart rate is high, aren’t you just exhausting your body’s batteries that you die earlier?” But the idea is that for that one hour that you’re say, exercising during the day for the other 23 hours, your heart rate is lower and your oxygen consumption is lower so it adds up to being beneficial. No long runs. Does that make sense?
Rachel: That make sense, yeah. Really, really interesting stuff.
Ben: Yeah. And then the last resource that I’m gonna put in the show notes for you is a really interesting podcast that I did with this guy named Craig Dinkel who produces this supplement called BioTropic and it works really well hand in hand with simulated altitude training. And it’s a combination of beet root which is very good for vasodilation and then liver and hydrate which can help out with the EPO production, cordyceps which can actually help out with long activation during the simulated altitude training, blue-green algae which allows for delivery of more oxygen to the bloodstream, and then also Echinacea which kinda flies under the radar which something that increases EPO but Echinacea can increase EPO by over 30%. So if you like to combine supplementation with those type of nutrients along with simulated altitude training, you get even more benefit out of it. I will link to you a couple of podcasts that I do with the guy that formulates that particular supplement ‘cause I like that one to tuck away for you’re taking a trip to the mountains or you’re stepping in to your altitude training tent. I also link to some cool altitude training devices and altitude tents, and things like that on Amazon with a final word of warning. If you buy one of this altitude sleeping chambers then your significant other is highly unlikely to want to do you ever in that chamber. So I have one of those…
Rachel: It’s an unsexy chamber.
Ben: Just refuses to ever hop in one of those with me so I simply don’t use it because my love life is just as important to me as my altitude life.
Leanne: Hi Ben. Hi Rachel. Really fan of the show, It’s Leanne Spencer, calling from London in the UK. Thanks for the great content you put up. I’ve got a question for you about the marathon or marathon training. So we’re training for the London Marathon over hear, I’d like to know what you would recommend for nutrition both for preparation and recovery both before long training runs. So we’re hitting this for the 12 miles upwards the state in training, but also for off the training. One of the best for food, strength, what would you recommend for recovery protocols, and also during the marathon itself or during the really long training runs. What would you recommend we take as snacks to keep our energy source going? I really wanna avoid glucose or sugary stuff and be as natural as possible. Really welcome your source. Thanks, Ben! Bahbye.
Ben: This is a timely question. I’d just got back from speaking down in your nick of the woods actually, Rachel.
Ben: In Portland. I spoke at the Nutritional Therapy Association Conference which is a really good conference, and I spoke on how to fuel things like triathlons, and Spartan races, and marathons, and 10Ks etc. naturally. Like how to not to swallow the Gatorade Sport Science Institute and Power Bar agenda, hardcore. So, some of the things that I got into during that talk for like whole food or real food –ish options that one to use during something like a marathon. And sure, if you were to go do like a Google search for whole food options for a marathon, you’re gonna come up with a bunch of stuff either written by a dyed-in-the-wool nutritionist trained to prescribe people 60-70% carb-based diets because that all you can burn during exercise, right? Glucose. God forbid, you’d be able to burn your own fats during exercise. And then the other thing that you’ll find are a lot of like impractical foods like the recommend, “Oh eat mashed sweet potatoes during your marathon”. Have you ever tried to put mashed sweet potato in a zipper like sandwich bag and try and suck that down while you’re on a run?
Rachel: No, I haven’t but it sounds challenging.
Ben: It’s like the babies that you see sitting at the table with their faces covered in mashed potato and Gerber baby food running down and dribbling down onto their chest and neck, and exploding in your bicycling jersey pocket, like that kind of stuff doesn’t work. Or you’ll hear people say, “Oh, eat some low-fat bagel chips and bring a bunch of pretzels out there with you or stuffed your pocket full of banana.” By the way, any nutritionists which has to go on a two-hour training marathon with a couple of bananas has not experience the brown mushiness that occurs after about 30 minutes of pounding the pavement. So, just sayin’.
Rachel: Yeah. In practical.
Ben: Understand, some of this advice that you read on websites like, I won’t call anybody out by name but one rhymes with Tanner’s World…
Ben: They’re not necessarily practical advice written by people who’ve ever tried taking real food out with them on a training run. So, some of the things that I’ve found that can work for avoiding a lot of the gut rut in the fermentation that occur with some of these more carbohydrate concentrated sports nutrition compounds, right, like most of them are blends of say, fructose and maltodextrin. Too extremely fermentable are what are called FODMAPS. They can cause a lot of gut rut and gut irritation gastric distress in athletes and as a matter of fact, this is a story I was telling when I was speaking down in Portland. A lot of these gel packs in addition to just being fructose and maltodextrin gut bombs, they also contain copious amounts (that’s the 4th time I said copious, by the way) of caffeine. And so when I was following traditional sports fueling recommendations and consuming 3-4 of those an hour over the course of a 9-10 hour Ironman, that means I’ve got 30-40 energy gels in my system, caffeine and sugar, flowing through my bloodstream at the end of one of these races, you would think, Rachel, that you would just like collapse and sleep for a day after crossing the finish line of an Ironman.
Rachel: Yeah! Uh-hmm.
Ben: But I would instead find myself laying (crosstalk), staring at the ceiling, my toes switching from all that caffeine, my eye bugging out my head, and frankly, I was gonna use the word copious, but I’m going to instead use the word massive amounts of gas coming out my butt hole from all of the fermentable sugars. And I actually got to the point where I would pop 2-3 valium after I’d finished the race once I got into bed at night, so that I could actually fall asleep.
Rachel: That is just insane.
Rachel: It’s insanity.
Ben: Yeah. Threw some valium in there on top of the sugar and the caffeine.
Rachel: Is that common in marathon racing?
Ben: It’s very common. People are poppin’ ibuprofen, and Advil, and valium, and ambien, like it’s going out of style. Yeah. So it’s like you shut down the pain during the day and then you shut down the pain even more during the night. So it’s just a constant sledge hammer to the body. So if you want to avoid that, a few of my recommendations; for example, I have an article called “How To Get Into Ketosis”, and even if you don’t want to do like the whole ketosis thing, some of my recommendations there in that article include recommendations for compounds out there that allow you to just naturally burn your own fat as a fuel while you’re out there racing. So one recommendation that I make is you take a little bit of a carbohydrate but not a lot of it. Like a quarter of what would normally be recommended, like there are some what are called clustered potato starch-based fuels out there that are extremely digestible and that allow you to kinda get a slow bleed of carbohydrates into your bloodstream. And you can take about a hundred calories or so of that and you can put in to a blender and so you kinda blend this and pour into a flasks for your marathon that you can wear in one of those running belts. So instead of having a flasks that’s chock full of let’s say, concentrated glucose, it’s instead full of something that is a little less concentrated in terms of carbohydrate. And you blend that along for example, a teaspoon of some MCT oil which are gonna by-passed digestion and get shuttled straight to the liver where it’s converted quite readily into ketones which are liver, and your heart, and your diaphragm, and your brain, and a lot of these organs that you use during an endurance event. They can readily rely upon these ketones as a fuel.
And then in addition to that you can put some electrolytes in there like an electrolyte powder which can actually enhance your ability to be able to burn your own fat as a fuel and you get into ketosis even more. And then you can put some amino acids in there because amino acids will stave off some of what’s called tryptophan from crossing your blood brained barrier and making you sleeping during exercise, and then you can finally if you want to put in addition to the electrolyte, the amino acids, the MCT oil, and a little bit of carbohydrates, you can put like just a touch of something that will flavor it up in there like some lemon juice and some Stevia for example. And that would be something you could easily use in a bike water bottle during an Ironman, or you could use in a flask during something like a marathon. Sure! It’s sounds like a bunch of engineered super fuels but all you’re doing is you’re putting just enough into your body to be able to shift your body to be able to rely upon its own energy source that hundreds of thousands of calories of fat that has available to it rather than to rely upon frequent fluctuations in blood sugar.
Now, if you wanted to go on a natural route, there are companies out there and I’ve written an article about this and I’ll also link to in the show notes like fat-based energy gels. And I have a whole article reviewing these little Justin’s Nut Butter Packets which are just nut butter and I will warn you, that unless you are in sight of an aid station that has water or you have access to water bottle, this stuff will stick to the roof of your mouth like crazy and you’re doing this thing (sounds). You want water along with it, along with any of these gels but there are other companies that instead of doing like a nut fuel based gel, will use for example a chia seed. There’s this company called Huma that makes a chia seed-based gel which is just what it sounds like. Chock full of amino acids and fatty acids from chia seeds rather than sugar. Huma and chia serge, those are 2 examples of chia seed-based gels. The company Hammer, they make a gel that rather than using a lot of maltodextrin and fructose, uses dextrose which is a little bit more digestible, less fermentable carbohydrate and they blend that with a lot of fats and amino acids like their peanut butter flavor. There’s a company called Chocolate Agave that just uses like cacao and this dense-buttery based form that that’s almost like chewing on chocolate while you are out running which is actually a really good almost like superfood to know on while you run. There’s another company called Yum Butter that will mix nut butters with superfoods like goji berries, and hemp seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds, and things like that. So there’s a lot of options out there and I’ll link to this article that I wrote in the show notes. What were you saying, Rachel?
Rachel: And do you use a variety of different ones or do you kinda use this same one for pairs of the same one?
Ben: You could use a variety. For example, during an Ironman triathlon, I’ll do the trick I talked about earlier where there be ketones, and a little bit of MCT oil, some amino acids, and some electrolytes and just a touch of potato starch-based carbohydrate in a water bottle and I’ll drink that all during the bike ride or something like an Ironman triathlon with something nut, like at the end I’ll get myself a carrot at the end of a stick. Like a natural energy bar like a Hammer bar, lactose or gluten-free energy bar at the end of each hour. And then when I swift to the run, that’s when I start consuming like a chia seed based gel or a nut butter based gel, or a gel that’s not going to give me a bunch of sugar. So by the end of the race, I consumed barely any sugar and it’s all just like these natural fats for example.
Rachel: Do you go specifically through exactly what you would take at each part of the marathon?
Ben: Before hand?
Rachel: I mean, do you have that written down anyway like in a training plan?
Ben: Yeah. The way that I do during races is I go to the website and I print off the map of the race course and then I mark which part of the race course where I’d wanna make sure that I eat what. So I have a basic idea. Now, during something like a Spartan event where there’s a whole bunch of unknowns and you don’t know what’s gonna where and a lot of times they don’t even publish the map until the race day, I’ll just go out to a race like that with pocket full of natural gel because research has shown that liquids or gels digest far better than solids like bars when you’re running, when you’re biking, or when you’re rowing, or anything none impact that’s not the case, but when you’re running, you’re jarring your body, it is the case. So I’ll just have a pocket full of energy gels or little belt like I use this thing called Spi Belt, S-P-I belt that has a hole and zipper in it, that’ll hold 6 gels or so, so I can go out there for 4 hours and use like a nut butter based gel or use one of this chia seed based gels, and they digest really well.
The other thing that I’ll do if I just want a pre-mic thing that I can put into a flask is there’s this company called My Natural Force and they make a powder that instead of it being a sugar-based powder, is a chia seed based powder that you mix into a gel, or you can mix it into more of a liquid to put in a water bottle. It’s basically chia seeds, royal jelly, sweetened with Stevia rather than with sugar, alcohols. It’s kind of expensive, I think 40 bucks for a little canister of it which is gonna give you probably 10 servings out of that. So I guess it’s not that bad. But you can use something like that as kind of like a quasi-whole food option, yeah, it’s package powder but like I mentioned sweet potatoes and bananas, and stuff like that, those just don’t freaking work when it comes to practically being able to carry things while you’re out there doing something like a marathon.
The last thing I’d recommend to you is there is a book, it’s like a cookbook for on-the-go food for athletes and it is kinda cool and that it teaches you how to make savory rice cakes out of sushi rice and put bacon and eggs on top of those, spread them in a baking pan, cut them into square and have like this little rice cakes that you can take out with you that actually do work pretty well for run or bike ride, or something like that. They’re written by a guy who is actually worked for professional cycling teams, Allan Lim and the name of that book, I’ll link to it in the show notes too, it’s called Feed Zone Portables, and it’s just a bunch of portable foods that you can take out with you on-the-go and some of the recipes are just like wheat and gluten bombs, but some of the ones that are more rice-based actually aren’t bad. So that’d be another option for you. So, between my little water bottle concoction and some of those fat-based energy gels, that book, and then that Iskiate Endurance which is made by the company Natural Force, those are some options that you could go with as far as fueling somewhat more naturally or at least avoiding the fructose maltodextrin, sugary, caffeinated gut bombs that one would normally consumed during a marathon. So, there you go Leanne! I just saved you from a bunch of gas and having to take valium.
Ray: Hey Ben and Rachel, Huge fan of the show. I really appreciate all the work you guys do. My name is Ray and I had a question on adrenal fatigue. I know you guys have covered most of this in the past but I was wondering what about 80% of the time you’re feeling good and the other 20% the symptoms are still present, what would be your take on how to get rid of this last few hurdles? I’ve seen that whenever I work out super hard, the next day I have a longer period of time where I’m not feeling great. Is this because my body is still should not be pushing it this hard or is it because I’m doing other things wrong such as supplementation and other areas that I could be focusing on? Thanks so much.
Ben: Well, I know this podcast has been going on a little while.
Rachel: Lots of very valuable information.
Ben: Yeah! Good. Oh okay, good. I will keep going. So a few things that I would mention to Ray, how to know that your body is recovered. Like there are certain things that you can pay attention to know if you should go hard, to know if you’ve recovered. Not that there isn’t some benefit to what’s called super compensation. What that means is you get yourself really close to being in a complete training hole. I‘ll do this sometimes like since I know I’m taking my family to the Bahamas next week where most of my exercise will be like spearfishing, and walking on the beach with my kids, and maybe a couple of runs here and there, but ‘ll train really hard this week. Or I’ll get my heart rate variability low, or workouts where I’ll get dehydrated, I’ll do back to back weight training workouts, I’ll get myself in what’s called an over reached state and then I’ll super compensate. I’ll bounce back even stronger while I’m off vacationing. So the trick is not to be in a perfectly recovered state all the time. The trick is to dig yourself into a little bit of a hole and then recover, and then dig yourself into that hole again, and then recover, and that’s actually how you build fitness in leaps and bounce all year long rather than just kinda keep yourself at the baseline level of fitness all year.
Rachel: Question. Question already. If do you still recommend, not even if you know that you had adrenal fatigue and you’re trying to recover from it.
Ben: No. If you’re trying to recover from adrenal fatigue, you have to be more careful digging yourself into a hole. So, yeah. That’s where you need to be careful but some people just live their whole lives thinking they’re in state of adrenal fatigue when in fact all they need to do is work in those times of the year when they just get full recovery so that they’re not just in that state where they kinda sort of beat up all the time. So if you feel like you have adrenal fatigue when in fact all they need to do is five day hard, 2 day easy or typically for me it’s like 10 day hard, 7 day easy type of scenario ‘cause those 7 days I’m traveling, or I’m on an airplanes, or I’m in a hotel rooms, then I come back home and I train really hard then I go travel again, like that is specifically how it works for me.
So anyways though, a few other things that I highly recommend that you pay attention to to see if your body is truly recovered. One would be the resting heart rate and specifically the heart rate during the night. So like I mentioned I wear this ring, the Oura Ring and what it will do is it will keep track of the lowest heart rate that I achieved during night and the point at which that lowest heart rate occurs. And if my lowest heart rate is occurring let’s say, 4AM instead of 2AM or my heart rate is 42 all night long instead of say, 38. That is a definite sign and I’ve found this from correlating at what some of the other variables I’ll mention in a moment, that’s a definite sign that you’re potentially pushing it too hard or you’re on the brink of being too under recovered or too overtrained. It can also mean that you just ate a big ass meal before you went to bed, and your digestion is working really hard. So you need to take into account some other variables sometimes or I mean, the room you’re sleeping is hotter than usual. So your heart rate is a little bit higher than usual to cool the body. But assuming your keeping all variables constant, a slightly higher than normal heart rate that’s occurring all night while you sleep or your peak lowest heart rate occurring late in the night like 4AM instead of 2AM. That’s a really good sign that you might be under recovered or that you might be needing to pay a little bit more attention to recovery.
Another one would be your actual sleep cycles. So sleep latency is how long it takes you to fall asleep as well as the amount of time that you particularly spend in your rapid eye movement sleep like your dreaming phases. Overtraining and under recovery has been shown to decrease the amount of time that particularly you spend in your REM sleep cycles. So if you got one of this sleep tracking devices like Emotion S or Beddit or a ring, or anything else that’s tracking your sleep. If you’re noticing that your REM sleep is starting to get lower and lower in terms of the percentage of time that you’re in REM sleep that can be a sign that you are under recovered and that you’re pushing it. A lot of times these things happen before you feel it in like a scratchy throat or extreme soreness of the muscles. A lot of times these proceed those more obvious signs by 2-3 days. So if you can nip it in the bud, a lot of times you’ll avoid injury or illness.
Heart rate variability which I talked about quite a bit on the show before but a steep drop in your heart rate variability which is not your heart rate but instead the amount of time in between each heartbeat, that’s a definite sign that you can be under recovered or overtrained. That’s something I personally measured each morning. That’s kinda like my go-to variable. I pay more attention to that than I do to like heart rate, sleep, and anything else is what my heart rate variability looks like in the morning. So that’s another really important one to pay attention to. Those are three. There are over 20 others that I have discussed in an article that I wrote about how to test your blood for recovery, how to test like your heart variability and your heart rate where I go into like mood, where I go into how to get like P-strips to test your urine, your excess protein, I mean, if you really wanted to hack the heck out of checking your recovery, you could with this article that I wrote. So, I’ll link to that in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/366, but if I were to highlight anything else, probably the gold standard test that I would get if you wanted actually to get a test that would be a lot more accurate than the traditional test which is like a salivary test for measuring your cortisol, your testosterone, something else called your DHEA, these when they’re low can all be signs that you’re in a state of excessive fatigue, but the salivary test will not tell you the metabolites. What I mean by that is for example, you can test and you can have really low cortisol but it’s not because your adrenal glands are exhausted and you’re not making enough cortisol, it’s because that cortisol is getting broken down very quickly in which case it’s not much of an issue. You would know that though from a salivary test. You can only tell that type of thing from a urine test. So there’s a really good test called The DUTCH Test, D-U-T-C-H and that’s the dried urine test, that’s the one that I would get if you kinda want the gold standard test to see if there are any hormonal issues that would be causing you to be under recovered or over fatigue.
The other thing that I should note is that the number one thing in people who maybe aren’t overtrained, who are doing everything right but they’re still not having enough energy and perhaps this will kinda bleed into our next question because I know we have a question about fasting, is simply in the evening ignoring all that trickle down advice from sedentary people who are telling you about ketosis but who are maybe exercising 20 minutes a day, they’re telling you the 20-40 grams of carbohydrates a day, the limit blood glucose, etc. Mostly athletes who I worked with were easily consuming 150-200 grams of carbohydrates at the end of each day. Sweet potatoes, yams, white rice, dark chocolate, red wine, all these things and you wake up and perform like a Rockstar the next day. You’d have all the benefits of being the fat burning machine all day long. You reload the body with carbs at the end of the day and 90% of the time that completely gets rid of all the fatigue, all the lack of ability to push, all the drop in energy levels, cramping, all sorts of issues that anybody listening in whose one of this low carb, keto athletes who often experience.
So sometimes you just have to freakin’ like carbs stuff your face in the evenings. Case in point, two nights ago I slept like crap. Like I just have a horrible night of sleep, and so I started to think about, I’m not one of those guys who like writes down my diet every day, I find that sucks the enjoyment right out of eating when I got to jot it down in a notepad or log it in my phone. But I did realize I didn’t have any carbohydrate at all for evening. Like I’d salad, and a bunch of pork, and very very small amount of red wine, right, and that was it. And when I do that, I don’t sleep well the next day. I don’t perform well if I have thrown in like a giant sweet potato with that meal or a couple of slices of Jessa’s homemade sourdough bread. Guarantee I will sleep better and had a better workout the next day, but it’s one of those so a stupid thing you don’t think about and it’s one of the biggest things I’ve noted among athletes who don’t feel recovered the next day is that they just eat more carbs at night.
Rachel: And is there any downside to it? Like why isn’t everybody doing carb refeeding?
Ben: ‘Cause they think they’re supposed to like being ketosis or it’s gonna make ‘em fat or give them cancer or diabetes when in fact any active athlete who are crossfitters, triathletes, Spartan racers, I know a lot of people listening to the show do a lot of these type of sports, I mean like, Terry Wahls, bless her heart has a great book on ketosis, the Wahls Protocol. I know a lot of people follow that but it’s like, you know, if you’re eating I think more than 40 grams of carbs per day then you’re a sinner, then like again, lovely woman and extremely smart but she’s not like a guarantee doing a crossfit WOD everyday which puts you in a whole different scenario. So, you can take trickle down advice from people who are… basically there’s a difference between nutritional ketosis and therapeutic ketosis, right? And nutritional ketosis, you can eat relatively low carbohydrate most of the day, do a carb reefed at the end of the day with 100-200 grams of carbohydrates, and you can do a lot better when it comes to sport performance and avoiding a lot of these fatigue issues. But I have many many more researches for you, Ray or anybody else listening in particularly that article I wrote about How to Know if Your Body is Recovered. So be sure to check that one out.
Janelle: Ben, I want to thank you for years of great podcast. I so appreciate your filtering of health and wellness research. As I want to lose some weight, I’m interested in doing intermitted fasting but I’m a bit hesitant due to some research of how it messes with female hormones. I’m post-menopausal, so my hormones are already low but my morning cortisol is 24 which is high. What are your recommendations for pre and post-menopausal females in regards to intermittent fasting? And would you suggest it for me with an elevated AM cortisol?
Ben: Janelle, first of all elevated morning cortisol, I know that you mentioned that you’re concern about that. So your cortisol levels are generally high in the morning and when you wake from a prolonged period of sleep, you get an increase of up to 50% just 20-30 minutes after you wake up. There’s a name for it. It’s called the cortisol awakening response. It’s the way that your body naturally mobilizes a little bit of sugar, called glycogenolysis. You release cortisol and then your liver releases some sugar just to wake you up and get you going during the day. So that’s normal. That’s why the best cortisol measurement system is you’re testing multiple times like that Dutch Test that I mentioned just a moment ago, that’s a better way to kinda see if they’re really are cortisol issues. So know that it’s pretty natural for cortisol to be high in the morning anyways, but that’s not to say that they’re aren’t some issues when it comes to intermittent fasting particularly for females. Because some women who try intermittent fasting get missed periods, they’ll get metabolic disturbances. We’ve even seen early onset menopause in female population who does intermittent fasting. And there’s a reason for that, and I’ll tell you the physiology behind this.
Because hormones that regulate key functions like ovulation in females are really sensitive to energy intake. So in both men and women, you have this called the hypothalamic pituitary gonadal axis, the HPG axis. So it’s kinda like an air traffic controller for your three endocrine glands like your hypothalamus, your pituitary, and your gonads. Those are 3 glands that will release a lot of your endocrine hormones. So your hypothalamus releases this thing called gonadotropin releasing hormone and tells your pituitary to release things called luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone or LH and FSH which you may have heard before in high school Biology when you learned about why you get your period, and then LH and FSH acting your gonads, other guys testes or wombs/ovaries, and that triggers for example, women to produce estrogen and progesterone which helps with normal, healthy fertility, all sorts of other important metabolic functions in women. Now, the pulses of that gonadotropin releasing hormone, that GNRH is gonna cause your pituitary to release LH and FSH which is then again cause your gonads to release things like estrogen and progesterone even short term fasting or intermittent fasting can significantly alter that hormonal pulse specifically in women. And there’s a reason for that. So it’s called kisspeptin. So kisspeptin is this protein-like molecule that your neurons use to communicate with each other. And kisspepetin stimulates GNRH production in both males and females, and it’s extremely sensitive to the appetite regulating hormones particularly leptin, and insulin, and ghrelin. Those are 3 primary hormones that regulate and react to things like hunger, and fasting, or whether or not a meal produce satiety, that type of thing.
Now, females have way more kisspepetin than males do. And what that means because they have more kisspeptin neurons, they have greater sensitivity to any changes in energy balance. And that’s a reason why fasting particularly in women cause their GNRH production to decrease and decrease much more significantly than it can in males. And they’ve actually studied this and found that in women who fast kisspeptin levels can tend to plummet and GHRH can tend to plummet, and the problem with that is when estrogen and progesterone are decreased metabolism also decreases because you have estrogen receptors to your whole body like your brain, your GI tract, your bones. So if you change your estrogen balance, you change your metabolic function all over. Like your cognition, your mood, your digestion, you recovery, your protein turnover, your bone formation, so we’re not just talking about like missing your period from excessive intermittent fasting, we’re talking about a full body physiological effect when that happens. And so it doesn’t seem fair but it’s just a fact that females have more of this kisspeptin or probably because they’re equip to produce babies and that’s just a reason that intermittent fasting seems affect women far more significantly than men.
So low energy diet in general but even intermittent fasting or periods of time without consuming calories can reduce fertility in women and can cause imbalances in this estrogen/progesterone ratios, dropped in progesterones, dropped in gonadotropin releasing hormone, and generally that can cause a whole bunch of issues like your menstrual cycle stops or becomes irregular, or you have problems falling asleep, or your hair gets a little dry or sorts to fall out, you don’t recover from your workouts as quickly, you notice your heart kinda start to feel funny, starts to peter patter here and there in a weird way, sometimes drive decreases, digestion decreases, you feel a little bit colder than usual, and a lot of times that can be fixed not just by eating more calories but specifically by not subjecting your body to like this long 12-16 hour periods of time without eating. And, go ahead. I can tell you wanna say something ‘cause I hear you breathing.
Rachel: Oh, so many things. So if you are experiencing any of these symptoms is it safe to say that it’s not intermittent fasting if you’re a female is not impacting you?
Ben: Yeah, I mean if you feel great then go for it. I mean, yeah, if you feel good then you’re probably okay. (chuckles) But I should touch on a study that just came out this week and it’s kinda interesting. It looks at the reduction in energy expenditure and what happens when you have this reduction of energy expenditure. And specifically it shows that it has a pretty significant effect on what are called melanocortin 4 receptors. This actually responds to cortisol and you see a decrease in melanocortin 4 receptor activity in a state where calories are not present. When that happens the body down regulates its metabolism and you burn fewer calories at both rest and during exercise, and females again see this response more significantly when they’re intermittent fasting or restricting calories.
Now this particular study goes into the fact that two components that you can put into your diet can actually restore some of that melanocortin activity and increase metabolism even in the face of restricted calories. And they are caffeine and nicotine. So if anything you can intermittent fast, have a cup of coffee, smoke a cigarette, and reverse at least some of these effects. But I think it would be more prudent to maybe just like, you know, if you go to bed, let’s say you put anything at dinner, and you go to bed at 10 and maybe had dinner at 8, it’s okay to wake up in the morning and have some freakin’ breakfast especially if you’re a female because it turns out that your body does better with those signals from food and those frequent signals from food at least in moderation compared to especially men. Again, it doesn’t seem fair but in my opinion it’s actually more fair that a woman can wake up and have a big slice of kish and justify that by saying that you don’t want to affect your kisspeptin. So, if anybody’s trying to just make you drink coffee every morning and go copious amounts of time [1:37:35] ______ inside of your cheek until lunch, just tell them you take good care of your kisspeptin, baby.
Rachel: All right!
Ben: So that all being said, I think we should give some crap away, Rachel. What do you think?
Rachel: Yes! My favorite part.
Ben: Giving crap away. So, here how this works. If you want to spread the good karma, you want to help the show out, increase our ranking in iTunes, blah blah blah. Go give us a rating in iTunes and if we read your review on the show, and then you email [email protected], that’s [email protected], we’ll send you some cool crap like cool t-shirt, water bottle, beanie. You name it. And today, we have a 5 star review with a crapola, not to overused that word along with copious, a copious crapola of exclamation mark. It says, “Over The Top Amazing” exclamation mark, exclamation mark times 5, five stars by Clickchick888, and Rachel, you want to take this one away? And you can skip the exclamation mark ‘cause they’re like half of your review.
Rachel: (chuckles) “Ben Greenfield is the absolute best podcast ever! He is funny, extremely intelligent, curious, creative, slightly crazy, inquisitive, and he’s such an excellent interviewer.”
Ben: Oh, my head just got big.
Rachel: (laughs) “If anyone is slightly curious about their health, Ben is a MUST LISTEN TO PODCAST!” That was in caps. “I never miss a single one. I’m a definite Greenfield Groupie! I highly, highly, highly, recommend you give him a listen, and I guarantee you will be hooked. The only downside is that now all the other podcasts are unlistenable!” Ohh.
Ben: That’s not true!
Rachel: “Keep up the amazing work, Ben. I am a huge, huge fan!” Wow! Unlistenable!
Ben: No, I have a favorite podcast. You know my favorite podcast is right now?
Ben: The Ted Radio Hour. It’s just a bunch of Ted. It’s 4 Ted Talks and then they break them down and they interview like the talkers, the presenters, and kinda like the background story behind the talks like Ted Talks Radio Hour, you can definitely listen to that one click jick, so.
Rachel: And also, On Being. On Being is my favorite. Have you listened to that one?
Ben: What’s that?
Rachel: On Being. The On Being Podcast, oh god, it’s brilliant. It’s like very deep, it’s philosophical, and spiritual, and interesting, and it’s all about having a very full life. It’s also a good one. But the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast is much better. (laughs)
Ben: Let’s check it out. Alright, cool! If you wanna spread the good karma again, go leave a review. We always appreciate it. We always keep come back if you do but in the meantime, for all the goodness on simulated altitude training, natural marathon, fueling, the adrenal fatigue tips, fasting, all those articles that I talked about, all parts of the globe I’m gonna be racing Spartan’s at, that conference at benatlanta.com, and oh so much more. You just go to the show notes, bengreenfieldfitness.com/366. Check it out. Thanks for listening. And in the meantime, Rachel?
Ben: Have a nice week!
March 8, 2017 Podcast: 366: Float Tanks, Strobe Goggles, Hacking The Vagus Nerve, Natural Marathon Fueling, How To Know When You're Recovered From Adrenal Fatigue & 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, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.
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- Here’s the info on all the different natural compounds out there than enhance effects of THC/CBD: my favorite secret weapon? Copaiba oil.
- The neurobiology of grace under pressure. Great article on the vagus nerve, psychology and beyond.
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Check out the intimacy course Rachel spoke about, and remember, it's not for the faint of heart: Fearless Intimacy with John Wineland and Kendra Cunov.
Ben will be racing on the Spartan Pro Team for 2017! You can catch him at these races, click here to register:
Emerald City Open, Seattle, April 22
Golden State Classic, Monterey, June 3
Blue Mountain Challenge, July 8
Southeast Showdown, Asheville, July 29
The Ascent, West Virginia, Aug 26
Join Dr. Mercola, Dr. Pompa and I, along with many more health experts at this years HCF Seminar in Atlanta. Get your heavily discounted, early bird ticket now! Click here to register.
Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Steve Kotler and Jamie Wheal? It was a must-listen – “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work.” Click here to listen now or download for later!
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 Podcast Sidekick.
What Is Simulated Altitude Training?
Aussie says: He's from Perth, WA – he loves the show. His question is regarding simulated altitude training and it's benefits and drawbacks. He'd love to know your thoughts on training high and living low, rest periods, benefits for weight loss and benefits for type 2 diabetes.
In my response, I recommend:
–Fingertip pulse oxygenation measurement device (pulse oximeter)
–Altitude tents and altitude training devices on Amazon
–How To Legally Dope Your Blood podcast
–The Altitude Centre in London
How To Fuel A Marathon Naturally
Leanne says: She's a big fan. She's calling from London in the UK. She's training for the London marathon and she'd love to know what you recommend for nutrition both for prep and recovery, before long training runs (12 miles up) and also for after training? What are the best foods and drinks for during the marathon, and what do you recommend to take as snacks to keep their energy going? She wants to avoid glucose and sugary stuff and be as natural as possible.
In my response, I recommend:
–Fat based energy gels
–How to get into ketosis
–Iskiate Endurance by MyNaturalForce (use code BEN10)
–Feed Zone Portables Cookbook
How To Know When You're Recovered From Adrenal Fatigue
Ray says: He's a huge fan. He has a question on adrenal fatigue, he knows we have covered it in a bunch in the past but he was wondering when about 80% of the time he's feeling good, and the other 20% the symptoms are still present, what would be your take on how to get rid of these last few hurdles? He sees that he when he works out super hard the next day he has a longer period of time when he's not feeling greatest his because his body shouldn't be pushed this hard or because he's doing other things wrong, like not using adequate supplementation etc?
How Fasting Is Different For Females
Janelle says: She wants to thank you for years of great podcasts. As she wants to lose some weight, she's interested in intermittent fasting, but she's hesitant due to some research on how it messes with females hormones. She's post-menopausal, so her hormones are already low, but her morning cortisol is 24 which is high. What are your recommendations to pre and post-menopausal females with regards to intermittent fasting and would you suggest it for someone with elevated AM cortisol?
In my response, I recommend: