[06:13] News Flashes/Running Fast vs. Running A Marathon
[09:33] Heart Rate Variability And HIIT
[12:04] Increasing Free Testosterone And Muscle Power
[13:40] HIIT Training And Metabolic Rate Improvements
[16:06] Special Announcements
[22:09] Ben's Schedule
[23:51] Listener Q&A/How To Get Muscular Legs
[34:35] Testing For Gut Inflammation
[44:12] Natural Ways To Increase Stem Cell Production
[51:20] Ice Baths And Anti-Oxidants
[56:24] Giftpack Giveaway
[1:00:04] End of Podcast
Introduction: In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show: How To Get Muscular Legs, How To Test For Gut Inflammation, Natural Ways To Increase Stem Cell Production, Should You Use Ice Baths And Anti-Oxidants After A Workout, and much more.
Ben: Oh, Brock. It's been a rough, rough day, dude. On me. At least.
Brock: I'm taking a guess here by the way, you sound that you're not in West Virginia.
Ben: No. We're supposed to record this podcast from West Virginia where I'm supposed to be racing in one of the USA Championship Race Series for obstacle course racing, Spartan specifically.
Brock: What happened?
Ben: I raced last week in LA…
Brock: Yeah. That was a stadium race, wasn't it?
Ben: Number one, I race last weekend when I sprained my toe. I thought I broke it at first, but was just a really bad sprain. I took off my shoe after the race, and like I could barely even walk. And I just have been taping it up, and finally got to last night, and I called up the airline, had to cancel my ticket. So…
Ben: It was a bummer. Plus I had two very, very crazy things happen to me because I was in Venice Beach doing three days, I got nearly nine hours of tissue work done, along with aromatherapy, and nervous system tweaking, and all this crazy stuff done with these folks at a place called the Human Garage and…
Brock: I saw your Facebook Lives from there. That looked nutty. It looked painful actually. You were grimacing something fierce.
Ben: Well if you're listening in right now, you can go to facebook.com/bgfitness to see the live feed of a two hour-long podcast I recorded with them after this adventure. But anyways, that was interesting for me because fascia, as I learned, which we talked about in the podcast, stores a lot of emotions, neurotransmitters, hormones. So my body just felt like a different guy afterwards. It was really weird. And then I went in to see this guy who works with US senators, and pro athletes, and presidents, and Arabian royalty who does what's called energy work. Like really old, like 5,000 year old Chinese practice of moving chi, your life force, your chakra around the body. I went in, saw him to do a podcast, which is also right now on Facebook Live, we'll release it later on here if you want the professional version.
Brock: The better sounding one.
Ben: The better sounding one, yeah. So when he worked on me, I slept for like 16 hours, I had the craziest out of body experience I've ever had sans drugs. Like he was doing cupping, and like moving me in different directions, and giving me these exercises to do, just like, not to sound weird, but just like touching me, and passing energy on to me. It was really, really strange. And I know this sounds totally woo, but anyways I came back from that experience just drained. Like apparently, this is normal. You're drained for a few days, and eventually your energy just like goes through the roof. But even today, I'm a little bit [0:04:13] ______, I got to admit. So that's been my week, that's why I am at home. How are you doing?
Brock: I have nothing exciting to say except that I'm, well we are recording this in the evening again. So instead of having coffee like I normally would, I'm actually drinking a black currant blonde ale while we record.
Ben: Whoa. I had a boatload of ale last night, but not to drink. I had some people over. Do you know Katie, The Wellness Mama…
Brock: Yeah! Of course. Yeah.
Ben: Yeah. She and her family were hanging out with us the past few days up here in Spokane. And I went hunting a few months ago in Kona, bear crawled, and belly crawled, and crawled, and ran, and sprinted, and walked, and…
Brock: All the variations of crawling.
Ben: Going after sheep at the base of the volcano there, and I shot a really nice sheep. Bowshot a really nice sheep, and said a good little prayer over him, he didn't see me so it was really like cortisol-free meat, and blessed by me as it left its body, and went to a happier place.
Brock: So he's basically like, “Oooh! What a lovely day! I'm having a lovely day! Oh! I'm dead.”
Ben: Exactly. And I harvested all the backstrap, and the mutton, the shoulder, and even the heart, and the liver, and the kidneys, I brought it all back. And we kind of ate on that thing the past couple of days. Like we made an amazing, last night, an amazing mutton. This is, speaking of beer, that we marinated in beer, and it was like melt-in-your-mouth. Like all I had last night, my wife made salad, and potatoes, and of course this meat, and watermelon salad. I didn't eat anything except meat. I just like went straight, I'm like, “This sheep is mine. I worked my [censored] off for this thing. I'm going to eat it up.”
Brock: That sounds awesome.
Ben: I had beer too. Kind of like osmotically through sheep.
Brock: It was pre-digested by the sheep. That's how it works, right?
Brock: Alright. Go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/373 and you'll see all of this stuff if you happen to miss it somehow because you're not on the interwebs at twitter.com/bengreenfield. If you aren't there, what the hell, man? C'mon!
Ben: You done?
Brock: I'm done.
Ben: Alright. I want to talk about exercise. And I've been digging into a lot of research on high intensity interval training 'cause there's been a lot coming out lately. And one of the first studies that I noted on it was just, let's start here, like big picture. This was on Outside Magazine's website, and it talks about, this is something I've always thought but it's hard for me to say 'cause I'm an endurance athlete, and it's about how running a fast mile is a lot more impressive than running a slow marathon.
Brock: Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes!
Ben: I've always thought guys who could run like, whatever, a 30 minute 5K, or who can run a 2:05 marathon are way more impressive than, and Dean Karnazes, I love you, somebody who runs like 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, or who runs across the United States barefoot just because I think there's something to be said for the athletic skill. There's some mental tenaciousness involved with the long stuff, but there's this physical skill, and athleticism, and ability to go into a different part of the pain cave that I really respect when it comes to running a fast mile. And this article goes into why a lot of these mile runners, just from a fitness and a mental standpoint, actually really are more impressive than some people who just do long endurance stuff like marathoning. ‘Cause like a half mile race, that's like a two lap sprint where, as they say in the article, almost all-out effort from the gun. It's an interesting read, and it's just one of those things that I think people should stop and think about. It's like, “Am I just out like trudging on the road, burning calories? Or am I training like an athlete?” So not really a study, but an interesting article nonetheless.
Brock: Now I've always thought that as you, you always hear sayings like, “Oh, you're only doing a half marathon,” or “I just signed up for the 10K,” and they always sound like they're kind of wussing out or something and they say that, and it's so wrong. If you run a 10K, properly it hurts. It's bad [censored]. So love this article. I totally agree.
Ben: And it's more impressive in my opinion. Another study on high intensity interval training and heart rate variability. So it's pretty common understanding, and especially if you listen to this show for a while, that heart rate variability is like the gold standard to measure whether you're truly recovered. Because musculoskeletal fatigue can go away after one or two days, but if you test your nervous system using a measurement like heart rate variability, you'll see sometimes it'll stay after a hard workout suppressed for three or four days. And if you push through consistent low heart rate variability training, you can pretty much predict with nearly 100% accuracy an onset of illness, or injury, or something disastrous.
Brock: Something bad.
Ben: So what this study looked at was what happens when you do high intensity interval training, in this case eight 20 second bouts. However, the bouts were at a 170% p-max, if you don't know what that is, that's basically the equivalent of smoke coming out your ears, turning blue in the face hard, with only ten seconds of rest. So this is a classic Tabata set. So they did Tabata set, and then they had another group just do a whole body calisthenic exercises instead of the Tabata set. And they measured, and there's a warm up and cool down. It's a pretty tough workout. I mean a lot of people are like, “Meh, eight 20 second bouts.” But you try to do eight 20 second through, speaking of going fast being more impressive than going slow, through bouts. You'd be shocked. Anyways though, what they found was that it only took about 24 hours for the nervous system to actually kind of repair and recover from a really tough high intensity interval training workout. And based on a couple of other studies I'll get into here in a second on the benefits of so-called HIIT training, that's pretty cool, that you could do it basically everyday if you wanted to and you would recover.
Brock: Well, one thing I wanted to bring up about this study is it was done on 23 year olds. I want to see them do it on…
Ben: Yeah, but they were like 23 year old college students. So they were drinking, smoking marijuana, partying.
Brock: Potentially. But they're still not doing it on guys like your age or, heaven forbid, my age. I'd like to see that just repeated on some older athletes. ‘Cause I can see their nervous system and recover from anything a lot faster than, say, mine would.
Ben: Alright. Well I'll let you write to the study author and tell them that.
Ben: But thank you for being devil's advocate on that one. It is a good point. I think that compared to hard weight training though, HIIT training gives you a lot of bang for your buck and it's pretty cool that it looks like we could get away with doing a little bit more frequently.
Brock: Yeah. Even if it's not 24 hours, it's still.
Ben: I mean just try it. Like get a heart rate variability monitor, download Nature Beat. I made this Nature Beat variability monitor, get it, it's at bengreenfieldfitness.com/naturebeat, and just test for a week. Just do a Tabata set every day and see what happens.
Brock: Alright. I'll do my own damn study.
Ben: Don't blame me if you croak on the bike. This next study looked at the increase in muscle power and free testosterone in, you're going to love this, Brock, 17 male master athletes.
Ben: Many of them over 60 years old, 60 plus or minus five years old. They did this for six weeks. And what they did in this study was six 30 second sprints with three minutes of recovery. That's like a classic workout you do to increase what's called mitochondrial density. That other workout that I told you with the short efforts with short recovery periods, that would be something you would do more to increase your lactic acid tolerance. This workout would be something that you'd do more to increase your mitochondrial. Those are two different kind of energy systems for your cardiovascular performance. And so these are six 30 second sprints with three minutes of active recovery. And what they looked at was the testosterone response to this and the increase in power. And what they found was that even though total testosterone didn't go up much, free testosterone actually increased significantly. And so it turns out that there's kind of another benefit to HIIT training in addition to, in this case, mitochondrial density, a little bit of an increase in free testosterone. Which either means a decreased estrogen, or it allowed for, which would allow less testosterone to be bound up and not free, or decreased a cortisol which could increase sex hormone binding globulin or something like that. And in addition, by the way, the study also found that it increased power significantly, which is not surprising. So there you have it. If you want to increase your free testosterone, there's yet another trick up your sleeve. Kind of short, hard efforts with long recovery periods.
Brock: I love it. I'm going to do that starting tomorrow.
Ben: Yeah. And then finally, there was one other study that, speaking of HIIT and hormones, high intensity interval training versus kind of long, slow training, or what they called mild intensity endurance training on a cortisol response, and specifically an ability to decrease cortisol and increase metabolism at the same time. Now you'd think that the hard training would increase cortisol, although what I just alluded to in that study where it increased free testosterone, it could decrease it. Well this study assures that it does indeed decrease corticosteroid responses to training and lead to greater improvements in metabolic rate when, in this case, not Masters athletes, not 23 year olds, but…
Brock: Rats! Tiny, furry humans.
Ben: They had little high intensity interval training on their little wheels. But they found a decrease in cortisol. And they found basically a lot of good things. Serum glucose, and triglycerides, and lipid content in the liver, but ultimately increased metabolism and decrease cortisol. And I don't remember the protocol they were doing on…
Brock: I couldn't find it in there.
Ben: Here's how it works in a lab. They had a specialized treadmill that has all these different runways on it with two outer covers that keep the rats from falling off. Basically like bumper guards at a bowling alley.
Brock: That's so cute.
Ben: Apparently rats fall off treadmills.
Ben: I know. ‘Cause they’re bouncing off these treadmills. Surprisingly, their cortisol was still lowered. So they got acclimated to the treadmill for a week, they got to practice on the treadmill for 15 minutes a day, and then they finally did the exercise group, five days a week for 10 weeks. So it was a pretty long study. And what they did was they did 30 seconds of heavy intensity with 10 seconds of recovery. So a little bit more like a Tabata set for the high intensity training.
Brock: I heard they just picked them up for the breaks, just grab 'em and lift 'em up.
Ben: Yeah. Lift 'em by the scruff of their neck, their legs are still moving. Alright. So now that we've talked about torturing rats on treadmills and killing sheep, and we've lost all of our listeners who love animals, except those that love tasty animals, let's move on to our special announcements.
Ben: Hey. You know where I'm going Monday? Actually, you know where I'm going tomorrow?
Brock: I do!
Ben: Okay. So tomorrow I'm hopping on a plane 'cause my buddy Nick Delgado, he's a really good anti-aging, he's not a physician. He's got a PhD, and he speaks at all these anti-aging conferences, and does some cool things. I'm going to do a Facebook Live with him down in Vegas, and then we're going to go see the fight, the Mayweather-Connor McGregor boxing fight.
Brock: So when the people are hearing this podcast, they will already know who won that fight. But we do not know who won that fight. So no spoilers.
Ben: I'll do some Snapchatting and live Tweeting from there. And then I'm going to go to Miami the next day. I'm flying to Miami, I'm stopping off to get stem cell injections with the US Stem Cell Clinic, which I'm doing a story on, and then I'm working on a story for Men's Health Magazine which involves me going to this place called Health Gains. And I'm going to get platelet rich plasma injections into my nether regions, along with acoustic soundwave therapy to increase sperm count, and testosterone, and erectile quality, and to break open old blood vessels, and build new blood vessels, and do everything that this health gains company does. And they're also a sponsor of today's show. And anybody who wants to go to Florida and do the same thing I'm doing, you get automatically 250 bucks off. And you just text the word “GAIN” to 313131. You could sit beside me on the stretcher and get your crotch blasted with acoustic soundwave therapy too. Text the word “GAIN” to 313131.
Brock: Are you conscious for this entire thing?
Ben: Yeah. But you have numbing cream. Lovely numbing cream. The Human Charger is also a sponsor of today's episode. I travel everywhere with it. It's in my bag. Like so if I go back east, which I'll do on Sunday, when it is 7 AM back east, it's freaking 4 AM for me back home. So if I'm up and around, I'm going to be groggy, I'm going to be tired, I can vastly accelerate my ability to get used to any area of the world that I'm in by simply taking this Human Charger, putting one bud in one ear, one bud in the other ear, and you just shine it for like 12 minutes. And not only does it get rid of like jetlag and circadian issues, but it increases your mood and your mental alertness 'cause it causes a release of serotonin, and dopamine, and noradrenaline. So it's a cool thing. And everybody gets 20% off. You go to humancharger.com/ben. If you can't remember all this stuff, just go to the show notes, which are at bengreenfieldfitness.com/373. If you remember nothing from this whole episode, just know that I write everything down and take copious notes, myself and Brock. So you go to humancharger.com/ben and use code BFitness to get 20% of a discount.
Ben: How's that?
Brock: I used my Human Charger every single day last winter 'cause it was so crappy, and grey, and dismal up here in Vancouver. Every morning I wake up, I'd stick 'em in my ears, make my coffee. It was like part of my ritual. It really helped.
Ben: I love it. Smart man. You're a smart man. Qualia. This podcast, speaking of being a smart man, is brought to you by…
Ben: I apologize, you guys, for Brock shouting. He's drinking too much beer.
Brock: I've got my black currant blonde ale.
Ben: Alright. Shut up. I need to tell people about the “god pill”. Qualia makes nootropic compounds that basically have a host of ingredients, like 42 different ingredients from phosphatidylserine, to centrophenoxine, to citicholine, to taurine, to l-theanine, neurovitamins, adaptogens, neurominerals. They blend all this stuff together and they make the craziest, craziest nootropic compound you're ever going to put into any orifice of your entire body. It's called Qualia. And you can get it with your discount, you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/qualia. That's bengreenfieldfitness.com/qualia. So that one is a good one to add to your arsenal for a day on which you might be a little bit sleepy. And yes, I will probably be taking some before the fight in Vegas because I probably, I suspect I'm not going to be going to bed before the fight.
Brock: Probably not. Do they really have 42 ingredients? Is that really the number?
Ben: Yeah. It's 42 ingredients. Yeah. I interviewed them. I counted 'em all.
Brock: You know why that's significant, right?
Ben: Why is that significant?
Brock: ‘Cause that's the answer to the live, universe, and everything. 42.
Ben: Okay. Good. Glad I know that.
Brock: All the nerds out there know what I'm talking about.
Ben: Okay. That's good to know. ‘Cause that went way over my head. But I think that you and I will both agree on this fact, Brock. Because from our conversation prior to this podcast, you happen to be wearing a special something around your crotch. Tell me about that.
Brock: I sure do, and it is so soft, and so comfortable, and made of 100% modal fiber.
Ben: And made of what fiber?
Brock: Modal, I believe it's called. It's like 300 million times softer than cotton. It's my underwear.
Ben: What is it?
Brock: It's actually Me Undies.
Ben: Me Undies.
Brock: Me Undies.
Ben: Yeah. They're amazing.
Brock: They're so soft.
Ben: They have a diamond seamed pouch that cradles your jewels. Ain't that cool?
Brock: I'm looking at it right now.
Ben: You can get 20% off, and free shipping, and a 100% satisfaction guarantee on the most comfortable, coolest underwear on the face of the planet with a huge range of styles. You just go to meundies.com/greenfield. That's meundies.com/greenfield. 100% satisfaction guarantee, free shipping, 20% off, a jewel shaped pouch for your crotch. So there you have it.
Brock: And they make 'em for ladies too. So ladies, you're there too.
Ben: Lovely. A few other quick things. Of course, while I'm not in West Virginia, both Brock and I will be in Lake Tahoe at the Spartan World Championships doing some podcasting and racing. That's September 30th through October 1st. September 8th through the 11th, I will be speaking at the Who Wants To Live Forever Conference in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Brock: Reykjavik. October 13th through 15th, the Biohacker Summit in Helsinki, Finland.
Ben: Helsinki. Get your tickets right over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/373. November 10th through the 13th, I'm putting my whole family on a plane and we're going out to the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference. Amazing conference. Yes, they have tracks for children, they have tracks for adults. My wife's doing a cooking class. Thank goodness for all the people there, not doing cooking classes, but I am giving a lecture. And then December 7th through the 9th, you can join me in Kauai, Hawaii along with Laird Hamilton, and Gabby Reese, and a host of other celebrity superstar athletes for pool training, and underwater workouts, and a crazy good time. And then finally join me in Panama December 11th through the 23rd for the amazing Runga Retreat. I got to get you down there sometime, Brock. It's a good time.
Brock: I think Joe told you it was just called Runga. Just straight-up, boring old Runga. I was really disappointed in that.
Ben: Okay. Well, Runga. Well anyways, you get tickets over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/373. I've got all your discount code, you guys' hook ups over there. So all these places, dude, they're amazing adventures. You only live once.
Ben: Come join in these places. I'm fun to hang out with sometimes. I promise. So come on out.
Brock: Most of the time.
Ben: Most of the time. Alright. Let's answer some questions.
Listener Q & A:
Luke: Hi, Ben. My name is Luke. I have been following your podcast for a long time. I'm listening a lot to your episodes about SARMs and reading the articles. I've had a sticking point throughout my training career, which has been my legs. I'm quite tall and it's pretty hard for me to put mass on my legs. Not for a matter of trying. So I've been thinking of maybe doing a cycle of SARMs, and I was wondering what approach you would take to the training just to focus on building mass in my quads whilst on the SARMs. Thanks for your help and keep up the good work!
Brock: Now when Luke says he's quite tall, well how tall do you think he is?
Ben: I don't know. But I was quite tall, and I was a bodybuilder, and I had me some nice legs.
Brock: You were quite tall.
Ben: Yeah. I'm 6'3″, and I got long, long limbs, and I had to work hard on my quads, and my hammies, and my booty, and my calves. I got skinny little calves and skinny little legs. It's just the way the Greenfield men are built. Unlike my wife. She's got sprinters legs. Like if she does squats for a week, her thighs just like, oh they look so great.
Brock: They're poppin'?
Ben: Poppin'. Anyways though. So getting big legs. First of all, Luke, you ask about SARMs. And SARMs are selective androgen receptor modulators. They're pretty interesting. I've written some articles that I'll put links to in the show notes for you, but the long story short is that they can have some pretty significant effects on muscle and strength, good effects on muscle and strength similar to what pro-hormones would give you, or anabolic androgenic steroids would give you. Like pinch-me-I'm-not-even-training-and-I'm-seeing-losses-in-fat-and-increases-in-muscle. But at the same time, these things are either a.) relatively new to the market because they're just basically, the very first one was researchers modified the chemical structure of the testosterone molecule and they just made a kind of a different type of molecule that acts similarly to testosterone without creating a lot of the issues with like shutting down the body's endogenous production of testosterone too significantly and without replacing a lot of the testosterone receptors by binding to those receptor sites and also without necessarily having quite as big a ball shrinkage effect. Now the problem is that many…
Brock: Wait a second. Quite as big?
Ben: Yeah. Many of them can enlarge the prostate. Many of them, it appears, can be slightly carcinogenic, especially in rodent models. Granted at high doses, but still. And of course many of them are banned by NCAA, by WADA, and the International Olympic Committee. So you want to be careful with these if you're an athlete. And then finally there might be some liver toxicity concern, less than hormones, less than anabolics, and possibly a little bit of aromatization into estrogen. But again, less than hormones, less than in testosterone, things along those lines, or any other anabolic steroid. However, if you use a good dosing protocol and a good cycle, then it doesn't become as big of an issue. And they've got great names. They sound like characters like robots out of Star Wars. Like GTX-007, and GW-5919, and MK-2866. And if you look at a lot of them, you see that the idea is you would, for example, you would take it for eight weeks or 12 weeks, and then get back off of it and do what's called post-cycle therapy using like herbal testosterone supports, aromatase inhibitors, et cetera to ensure that you don't build up too much estrogen. Or get kind of too much of a cut in testosterone.
But again, like a lot of them, do your research before you take any of them. If I could speak to any that seemed to be really popping as something that seemed to be highly selective for androgen receptors, and don't significantly affect sex hormone binding goblin, or aromatase, or prostate. Probably the two best recommend for strength, there's one called BMS-564, and the pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb is currently using it as like an anti-aging to treat age-related functional decline. That's where it was originally developed. But you can get it on other SARMs websites, and go read the article that I wrote kind of catch up on what websites are out there.
Brock: Do you mean they're using it to stop sarcopenia?
Ben: No. Age-related functional decline like sarcopenia, yeah. I think cognitive decline as well though that they have this one for. But it doesn't seem to affect sex hormone binding globulin, aromatase, or prostate, and seems to be more potent than testosterone in stimulating muscle growth. So that one's called BMS-564. That's an interesting one. Another one that I really like in terms of not having a lot of side effects but being really efficacious specifically for fat loss and metabolism, it's like all the exercise-in-a-pill-SARMs, it's called cardarine, or GW-5015. That's another one that is more like a huge increase in endurance or anything related to high intensity interval training. Really nice little SARMs. But of course you have to train. With any of this stuff, you still would be advised to train.
So some of the best training tips that I can give you for getting more muscular legs, one would be Dan John's approach of really high rep squats. We're talking like 20 to 60 rep, ass-to-grass squats, like barbell on the back. So that's one good protocol. And you can check out Dan John's “Mass Made Simple” for that one. Another one that you really want to focus on, and this was something that I did a lot to get big legs, and it's not great for functional athleticism, but it's great for mass, and that's what's called strip set leg presses where you would start with a weight and when you get to the point where, so let's use a plate on each side for example. So you would do a set of, let's say, 10 leg presses with a plate on each side. Then you'd rest and you'd like a 25 pound plate to each side, you do a set of 10. And then you take off those 25s, put a pair 45s on, and you do another set of 10. You continue doing that until you've fail to hit 10 reps. So that's an example of basically like a strip set leg press that would be basically like building up in terms of your strip. And then what you can do is you can work your way back down, stripping the weight off. You just keep removing weights and kind of repping out.
Brock: Which is also great one to do for your biceps too. That's really helpful for that.
Ben: Yeah. You get to the weight where you can't hit 10 reps, and then basically you take the 45 pounds off and you do as many as you can. Then you take the 25s off and you do as many as you can. So you get to the point where you just look like a little kitten on there moving barely any weight at all.
Brock: Your legs are shaking and you're barely moving anything.
Ben: Another one would be basically choosing the right type of workout for your body type. So in people with long limbs, and what we're talking about it are like long limbs, long femurs, in many cases it works pretty well to target the quads by not just having the weight on the back, but incorporating weight on the front. Like two kettlebells racked up on the front of your body and doing your squats that way, or a front rack barbell squat, or a front barbell squat, type of thing. So think about putting the weight more towards the anterior the body than the posterior, especially if you're taller. And that's just basic biomechanics. I don't want to get into it, too deep into the biomechanics. But the idea is that that puts your lever at an advantage to target the quad a little bit more. And the longer your limbs, the better of an effect that's going to be.
Brock: That is really interesting. So it's basically just changing your center of gravity?
Ben: Mhmm. Yup. Exactly.
Brock: Cool. That is so smart.
Ben: And then the last thing is you want to, for your quads especially, and I know a lot of times this is not a functional exercise and it's frowned upon quite a bit, but it doesn't really help with getting monster quads especially, and that's the leg extension machine and really working that in the end, and even like super-setting squats or deadlifts with the leg extension machine to work the quads to failure afterwards. And when you do that, you want to turn your toes out. Turn your toes out, outwards rotation, and that tends to stimulate the quads a little bit better. So that's another thing that you can try.
Brock: Now you're turning your toes out, but you're turning out from your hips, not from your ankles? Just so people know, so you're targeting those inside, like the inner thigh muscles by rotating out from the hips.
Ben: Yup. Your Jane Fonda's, baby.
Brock: Nice. I don’t want to see a whole bunch of people sitting there and trying to figure out how to make their toes point out to the sides.
Ben: Yeah. Everybody who's listening to the podcast sitting on their leg extension machine, scratching their head. And then finally I'll put a link for you in the show notes, Luke, to an article that I wrote on how to nationally increase growth hormone using things like colostrum, and dairy, and milk, and amino acids. It would be helpful for you to read that too because, again, SAMRs kind of like a fringe supplement. Colostrum, dairy, different forms of milk, different growth hormone precursors, amino acids, things like that, those are a little bit more straightforward, a little bit closer to real food so to speak. So check out that article too. I'll put a link to that hormone article if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/373.
Brock: I just want to ask one quick thing before we finish this is one of the problems I've seen with SAMRs, and I'm not saying that I've tried them, but I may have tried them, is that as soon as you stop taking them…
Ben: You're asking for a friend, you mean?
Brock: Yeah, I'm asking for a friend. As soon as you stop taking them, you basically start seeing, or you start noticing the losses. Like you really have to keep taking them in order to maintain those gains…
Ben: You need better post-cycle therapy then. That shouldn't be happening. So with good post-cycle therapy, that should be a non-issue. So, yeah. That's one of those things where, for example, I'll put people on a one-two combo of something like Aggressive Strength, which is an herbal testosterone support that we have over a Greenfield Fitness Systems. And then we'll combine that with something called Estrogen Control, which is like the estrogen version, or the one that blocks the aromatase inhibitors. So there you go.
Brock: Alright. I'll tell my friend.
Chris: How does one know they have gut inflammation? I'm reading this article about coconut oil. I've recently been on a ketosis diet and had great success. But as of late I've been having gut fat and gut inflammation, and it's really counter-intuitive to the progress I've been making. I'm wondering if coconut oil was part of the issue.
Brock: The dark side.
Ben: The dark side of coconut oil. No, I mean there's like over 1500 peer-reviewed scientific studies that show that coconut oil is healthy, but there are a whole bunch of other studies showing that coconut oil is, it's not necessarily the panacea that we've painted it to be.
Brock: And it's not just because of the saturated fat either. It's a whole bunch of other things.
Ben: No. It's really not much to the saturated fat at all, unless you have familial hypercholesterolemia or something like that. It appears to have an impact on T Cells within the body, and these drive numerous autoimmune diseases, and can cause aggravation of intestinal bowel disorder, or gut inflammation, or multiple sclerosis. And it seems that excessive intake of coconut oil seems to increase specifically the number of T Cells that differentiate into these what are called TH-17 cells that can do that. And so, that's one thing that you'd want to be careful with. And the mice in this study were fed about a 30% fat-based diet and about 13 and a half percent of that was a type of acid, lauric acid, derived from coconut oil. And so that would be the equivalent of about two heaping tablespoons of coconut oil a day. So it's not like that is far in excess of what some people are doing who are using coconut oil in a lot of their feeding. Now, that study shows that those high amounts of coconut oil can create rampant inflammation in the gut, but what they found was that they fed the mice what's called short chain fatty acid propionic acid, that mitigates all the damage. And do you know where you get this short chain fatty acid that combats the inflammatory effects of coconut oil, Brock?
Ben: Wrong. Vegetables. Vegetables. A high fat diet, if it's just a high fat diet, just kind of a thumbs down on it, and I'll put a link to an article I wrote called “The Dark Side of Coconut Oil” that really delves into the science of this if people want the science. And a high fat diet mixed with a high intake of nutrient rich short chain fatty acid inducing plants is a little bit more of a thumbs up. So I'm not saying coconut oil is unhealthy, but you want to accompany it by eating your freaking vegetables. So that's something…
Brock: That's always good advice.
Ben: That's something to bear in mind. Now when it comes to your question about inflammation, yes, there are a variety of tests that you can get to look specifically at gut inflammation or the presence of inflammatory bowel disease. There are some very interesting studies on this, like there's one called “The role and utility of fecal markers in inflammatory bowel disease”, and I'll put a link to that study, but it goes into, a relatively recent study that goes into a lot of the different biomarkers that are going to give you the biggest insight into whether or not you've got information. One big one is called calprotectin. Calprotectin. And that's measured by what's called an ELICA test, E-L-I-C-A, and ELICA test. It's a blood test. And that's a good measurement for gut inflammation. So that would be one. Another one is the lactoferrin, and lactoferrin, that's like an iron binding protein, and that one seems to also be significantly increased in the case of irritable bowel disorder or gut inflammation. There's one called neopterin. Neopterin, like N-E-O-P-T-E-R-I-N. That's another one that appears to be released as a marker of a cell-mediated immune response that could occur in the inflammatory process. And this would be specifically going to be elevated if your inflammation was related to your coconut oil consumption.
Hemoglobin is another, what's called fecal hemoglobin. That's pretty similar to calprotectin in terms of comparable diagnostic accuracy for looking at inflammation. There are some peroxidases that you can measure. They're called myeloperoxidases. Those are proteins, they're called liposomal proteins, and those get released during gut inflammation as well. And then a couple other that you could look at, I know there's a lot of different markers, and I'll tell you a test that would work out pretty well for you. But a couple other ones that you would want to look at would just be a basic measurement of interleukins, it's called an IL23R test and it measures kind of like your gene susceptibility to increased production of interleukins. HSCRP, or C-reactive protein, and that's considered one of the most important proteins in acute inflammation. The problem is a lot of athletes have high levels of C-reactive protein, and it's not 'cause they have gut inflammation, it's just 'cause they worked out the day before.
Brock: That's just overall inflammation everywhere.
Ben: Yup. Exactly. And probably another one that I would look into would be one, this one kind of sounds like a SARMs, called S100-A12. S100-A12. It's got a high sensitivity, it's easy to take, it's easy to detect, a lot of doctors can run it for you, it's cheap, and that's part of the calcium binding family, and that one also participates in a lot of pro-inflammatory processes. So that would be another to look at. Now there are a host of other things, from lipopolysaccharide binding proteins, to nitric oxide, to what's called Substance P, to thrombin fibrinolysis inhibitors, a whole bunch of other ones you can get. And what I'll do is I’ll link to a couple of good studies for you in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/373. But then I would also, if you want to test, there are a few things I would look into. One would be a Three Day Gut Panel, and that's just three days of collecting your poo, and that'll give you a look at inflammatory markers, bacterial balance, yeast, fungus, parasites. A very good test. I've got three sitting on my shelf right here across from me in my office 'cause I do that to myself every four months to see what's going on in my gut. So I just have a whole collection of them here.
There's another really good panel that will delve deep into a lot of those more fringe inflammatory markers that I just talked about, and that one's called a Metametrix ION panel. Metametrix ION Panel. And then there is one that does a full microbiome sequence, I just wrote an article on this one, and that's called Viome, V-I-O-M-E. And if you haven't had a chance yet to go over to my YouTube channel and see the video walkthrough I did, it's a 20 minute video walkthrough of what Viome results actually look like, that'd be a good one to check out. Actually the guy that developed that company, billionaire Naveen Jain, he's like a moon rock collector.
Brock: Yeah. That guy's into everything. He is one of the most brilliant guys I ever hung out with. Next week I'm actually hopping on a plane to fly over to Seattle to spend time at his house and look more at their scientific process, and talk to some of his chief scientists, and probably record a podcast. Really interesting guy. But I like what he's doing with full gut microbiome sequencing. So that would be another one to look into would be this Viome panel. And then finally, I've been shocked at how accurate energetic frequency measurements can be at showing which areas of the body tend to be inflamed. And I've been beat up and injured in certain joints, and done an energy scan with something called a NES System, NES, and I'll link to a podcast that I did on that in the show notes. And it would show, like if I did the scan right now, it would show that my big toe is super inflamed. And it just does that by sending a frequency through your body, and as soon as it finds areas where there is a lack of flow, or like a blocked meridian, or blocked energy pathway, it feeds back into the machine, and it highlights all those areas, and then you take the little scanner that it comes with, and you just basically hold it over that area to accelerate healing and to target over and over again to fix the healing. My problem is I wasn't traveling with mine, and so considering I just got back last night, I was able to do like zero treatments on my big toe. But that's a good one as well, it's called N-E-S, and I'll link to that in the show notes. So I think that'll give a give Chris plenty of direction to start. What do you think, Brock?
Brock: I think that it's great for Chris, but I think everybody else listening might be curious as to why Chris would be worried about gut inflammation. What is the problem if your gut is inflamed?
Ben: Your poop is like liquid Coca-Cola, you cough up blood. No, you don't cough up blood. You don't digest food efficiently, you don't absorb or breakdown proteins efficiently, you don't absorb fats efficiently, you can get increase in blood glucose, an increase in cortisol chronically, which can cause other issues down the line, you get bloating, you can get gas, nobody wants to be the person on the airplane farting. So, yeah. There's a lot of issues. But ultimately because of your gut-brain connection, there's a pretty significant cognitive effect as well. So yeah, a lot of issues that would or should give you pause when it comes to asking yourself whether or not you have gut information and considering doing some of the fringe tests we just talked about.
Warren: Hey, Ben. I'm trying to increase my body's stem cell production. Does algae help in this area?
Ben: I love this question because I am a big fan of stem cells, those little buggers. I can turn it into any other cell, and repair joints, and repair heart tissue, and grow new limbs, and make your crotch bigger, and do all sorts of very cool things. I'm actually getting stem cells injected into my, can I say this on the show, my dick next week, along with those platelet-rich plasma injections.
Brock: So where are they getting those stem cells? Are they pulling them out of your fat, out of your bone, out of where?
Ben: A really buff rat.
Brock: So you're going to get liposuction. Sweet.
Ben: Liposuction. Yeah, if they can find any fat on me. Anyways though, so you don't have to go do some fringe stem cell injection, even though that would definitely be one way to increase stem cells. A few things that can increase it, well let's address the first one Warren asked about, marine phytoplankton. Now that's a micro algae, single-cell organism, and I've written some articles on it, on marine phytoplankton. And the idea is not only is it very high in what's called superoxide dismutase, which appears to be more potent than vitamin C when it comes to having, like thousands of times more potent than vitamin C when it comes to helping to slow the process of cellular degradation, to help cells to repair in a similar way as stem cells would, but also marine phytoplankton appears to have a pretty significant effect on stem cell production themselves, meaning that it can actually increase your endogenous stem cell count. And it's one of the few things on the face of the planet that can do it.
Now I don't have time today to take a deep dive into marine phytoplankton, but you just want to make sure it's grown in a non-contaminated environment. Just like algae. It's a bioremediant, so it gathers up heavy metals, and plastic chemicals, and radiation from nuclear fallout. So you want to make sure that you get your phytoplankton from the proper source. But ultimately phytoplankton is a biggie. I'm a big fan of phytoplankton as one way to naturally increase stem cells. So take your little stem cell label, put it on your pantry shelf, and put a bottle of marine phytoplankton up there as the first thing that you'd have in your stack.
Ben: And the next one would be aloe vera gel. You can get 100% pure organic aloe vera gel and have like a shot of that a day. I talked with Shawn Stevenson. Go listen to my episode with Shawn Stevenson, it's called “Lightning Speed Healing Hack Or Overpriced Fad? What You Need To Know About Stem Cells“, and we talk a lot about aloe vera gel. And he uses that to like regenerate his spine. And that's another one that can cause a pretty potent increase in stem cell production. You just get off freaking Amazon.
Brock: And you're talking taking it internally, not rubbing it on your sun burn?
Ben: You could rub it on your sunburn too. You could do that. A lot of things you can do with aloe vera gel. Colostrum would be another, which is the first part of mother's milk that comes out of the tiny teat. Don't worry, when it's harvested, there's still plenty left over for the baby goat or the baby cow where it came from. But colostrum would be another way to do this, like taking some colostrum each day. Chlorella, speaking of like marine phytoplankton, chlorella, not quite as potent but kind of another one you could throw into the mix because chlorella is of course chock full of chlorophyll, which has some other really cool effects on the body. So that'll be another one to toss into the mix. I just interviewed a guy named Darin Steen. I haven't released it yet, but we talk a ton about stem cells in that particular podcast, and there were three things that he really highlighted. One was what's called brewable coffee fruit. And you can get that on Amazon again. It's called coffee fruit extract, and that increases what's called totipotent stem cells, which are some of the better stem cells that you can get as far as being able to work on just about any tissue in the body. And then the other two that he talked about when we had a discussion, again that podcast isn't out yet, but I'm just kind of pulling back the kimono for you. Moringa, moringa plant extract, and also resveratrol. Resveratrol and moringa. So there you have it. That's what you would have. You have phytoplankton, aloe vera juice, or aloe vera gel, like organic, 100% aloe vera gel, colostrum, chlorella, and then your moringa, coffee fruit, and your resveratrol. So those would be the biggies.
And again, if you read an article I just tweeted about, how these Silicon Valley execs are just studying the heck out of anti-aging, it's a hot, hot topic nowadays, a lot of these cats are taking like 80 pills a day, which sounds exhausting. I mean you can do that in 5 minutes, with a little bit of water, spread out. And they're doing that because there are so many things that we've been able to concentrate in our modern era that can improve stem cell production or decrease the effects of aging that it's kind of nice to have that little shelf in your pantry you can go to where you just have that collection of stuff that you use if you do want to, say, stick around on this planet longer, or at least feel little bit better during the years that you are on this planet. And there's some other things that support, that I'm going to put in a show notes for you, that support stem cell production. They don't cause a significant increase in it per se, but they have some similar effects. Magnesium would be one, curcumin is another. A special type of plant protein called sacha inchi protein, a special type of tea called pau d'arco bark tea. I've got articles, some references, some resources, all sorts of information for you on those too. So if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/373, I'll put all that there. Oh, yeah. There's one other thing that is pretty easy. And you know what it is? It's blue, it's round, it's circular.
Brock: It's blue, it's round.
Ben: Getting closer?
Brock: Round and circular.
Ben: You've had too much beer. Blueberry.
Brock: I was thinking like Viagra, but that's…
Ben: Like high dose, like concentrated blueberry powder stimulates stem cell production, and they've actually done a study where they've shown that. And that was a study in rats, but we're talking about like a blueberry extract. You could take blueberries. You could dry 'em, you could powder 'em in a blender. That's not hard to do. Any of these fruits, you can do it, and it makes like a nice dense blueberry power if you dehydrate it, just like in a food dehydrator. And you can actually make like a concentrated blueberry extract, and that'd probably be like right up there with marine phytoplankton and for pennies on the dollar. So there's one for you as well. Just make sure you get organic blueberries. So there you have it.
Brock: Is that because blueberries have resveratrol in them?
Ben: No. They have some other polyphenols, and flavonols, or what are called sirtuin precursors that can help with that.
Brock: And they're delicious.
Beni: Hey. Alright. So in one of your previous podcasts, you mentioned that it's not very smart to do an ice bath in take a bunch of anti-oxidants right after a hard workout. Ice bath because it shuts down your body's natural inflammatory response that happens as part of your body's muscle breakdown-rebuild process. And then with anti-oxidants, you said not to do that because it decreases your body's response to free radicals too much when your muscles are repairing. So when after a workout should I do an ice bath and the anti-oxidant intake. Like let's say I'm doing a heavy lifting session, and the next two days I'm going to be sore. Do I wait until the day after the workout to take an ice bath and maybe have a big anti-oxidant rich smoothie? Let me know. Shed some light on my situation.
Ben: So this comes down to this idea of a.) ice baths possibly blunting the hormetic effect of exercise and b.) the ice baths just sucking in my opinion.
Brock: I like 'em.
Ben: Kind of depends when you do 'em. Middle of the summer, after like a good hard run, oh my gosh, ice bath is amazing. Trudging out through the snow in the winter out to my cold pool outside is a little bit more of them mental chore in stress resilience. Anyways, yeah, I have said that it's smart not to take an ice bath and a bunch of antioxidants like right after a workout, right after a hard workout because it can reduce, it can blunt your ability to produce anti-oxidants, to produce heat shock proteins…
Brock: To produce oxidants.
Ben: Protein synthesis, not to produce anti-oxidants, endogenous anti-oxidants like glutathione, et cetera. When you do an ice bath or you take a bunch of anti-oxidants after workout, you kind of blunt your body's ability to be able to repair and recover itself and you also blunt some of the response to exercise, some of the positive response to exercise. However, of course there's some evidence showing that cold exposure, ice baths, especially when combined with pressure, like compression garments or something like being underwater, which produces some hydrostatic pressure versus a cryotherapy chamber, which is cool, but it doesn't do the same thing as water. But cold combined with pressure seems to really help with recovery. And then antioxidant supplementation with a good full spectrum anti-oxidant, not just synthetic vitamin C or synthetic vitamin E in high doses, but like really good, like full spectrum plant extracts and antioxidants from a variety of antioxidant sources like turmeric, and ginger, and the blueberries we just got done talking about, and cayenne, and cinnamon, and all these things that are natural anti-oxidant, it appears that even high intake of those can potentially blunt that hormetic response to exercise. Even something like curcumin, probably one of the most potent, one of my favorite antioxidants, it can do that.
So based on that, in the literature that I've seen, in most cases we're talking about acute exposure to the ice bath or to the antioxidant smoothie. Like you put down the barbell, you wander in the locker room, you take a cold shower, and you mix up your shaker smoothie with the little springs inside of it that mix everything up, or you finish hard bike ride and you just go jump in the cold river and go straight to your handfuls of berries, and fruits, and nuts, and seeds. It appears that that's not so great. But if you wait for a little while, just like if you wait for about two to four hours after a workout to eat, you get an increase in growth hormone and increase in testosterone from post-workout fast.
If you wait for two to four hours plus after workout, after your body has already cooled down, after you kind of feel, I mean you can go by feel, it's like my metabolism has slowed down, and my body is no longer feeling as though it's fighting a line, and I'm out of workout mode, that's when it would be an okay window, to and there's no hard and fast studies on this, but it appears that it's the acute exposure that blunts the response. But after it's been a little while, after your body's kind of had a chance to fight for itself to recover, then you could go to a cold shower later on in the day. Or earlier in the day if you're doing an afternoon or evening workout. Or you take your antioxidants at that point, two to four plus hours later. So really simple. It's not like you have to wait days and days. It's just a few hours. It's basically when you get to the point, the way that I gauge is it's like when I'm finally kind of hungry again, and I'm not breathing hard, and I'm not sweating, and I'm just kind of like out of work out mode, and feel like I did before I started the workout, that's when I will be ready to do some more intense recovery protocols. So pretty easy, really.
Brock: Yeah. That makes sense. It's kind of the time when the pump is starting to dissipate from your muscles.
Brock: When you don't want somebody taking a picture of you anymore. You come out of the gym and you're, “Somebody should do a selfie!”
Ben: Yeah. I do a lot of selfies.
Brock: After a couple hours, you're like, “Nah. Maybe not a selfie.”
Ben: Hey. You want to give some stuff away?
Brock: I always want to give stuff away. Especially when it's your stuff.
Ben: Alright. Cool. Because somebody just won an amazing review, or they did an amazing review, and they won a gift pack. So you leave a review on iTunes, and you rank the show, and you hear your review read on the show, you get a gift pack sent straight to you. All you got to do is e-mail your t-shirt size to [email protected] That's [email protected] Brock, this one's really long. You think you can handle it?
Ben: You want to take this one away, man?
Brock: Wait. I need a sip of beer first to psych up.
Ben: Okay. Take a sip of beer and then read this review for us.
Brock: Alright. It is by Lynnbaum, and the title is “Vaperizing Tea” with five stars. Here we go. “Are we talking, you put it into a bong?”
Ben: That's the whole review?
Brock: That's the whole review.
Ben: I like that review for two reasons. Number one, they figured out how to ask a follow-up question without actually going to the podcast show notes.
Brock: Totally. Yeah. Smart.
Ben: And b.) It didn't take Brock long to read, which is great.
Brock: So I can have more beer tonight.
Ben: He stumbles with big words. I think she's referring to podcast 372 where I describe this fantastic practice we you can get a vaporizer, and some organic, like a good Northern Shag tobacco, a few drops of essential oil, and your favorite loose leaf tea. And rather than vaporizing marijuana, you could put some marijuana in there if you wanted to, but you can just vaporize all this stuff, and you vaporize it, and you could use a bong, or a magic flight box, or there's a really good one out there called Volcano, that's like the mack daddy of these vaporizers, and yeah, you do that, and it's nice. You're not breathing in a lot of smoke, just the vape. Yeah. So that's what you do. There you have it. I've educated you on it.
Brock: So you could put it in a bong, but it's better if you actually use one of the vaporizers.
Ben: Yeah. So there's your free bong tip for the day. We should just end every episode with a bong tip. Alright. Well, everything is over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/373, the calendar of events, all the links to all the studies that we talked about, all the resources for everything from how to get muscular legs, to how to test a gut information, for how to increase stem cell production, and much more. So Brock, go enjoy your Me Undies and your beer. It sounds like an amazing night.
Brock: It's Friday night, baby.
Ben: I'm going to go eat whatever sheep mutton is left over, and check out the replay of the fight weigh-ins, and then I'm going to try to survive Las Vegas for the weekend.
Brock: Careful. That place is dangerous.
Ben: Alright. Later, man.
Sep 7, 2017 Podcast: 373 – How To Get Muscular Legs, How To Test For Gut Inflammation, Natural Ways To Increase Stem Cell Production, and Should You Use Ice Baths & Antioxidants After A Workout?
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- Basically, this study says that if you “eat crappy” high-intensity intervals beat aerobic exercise when it comes to mitigating the damage.
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As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick.
How To Get Muscular Legs
Luke says: I have always had a sticking point throughout my training career which is my legs. I am quite tall and it is very hard for me to put mass on my legs – not for a matter of trying! So I have been thinking of doing a cycle of SARMs and was wondering what approach to the training would you take to focus on building mass in my quads?
In my response, I recommend:
–Safer Than Steroids? Your All-inclusive Guide To Gaining Muscle, Losing Fat & Much More With “SARMs”
–A New & Potent SARMs Stack For Muscle-Building, Fat-Loss & Anti-Aging: How To Use MK-677 and RAD-140
–Why Steroids Will Slowly Kill You & 3 Safe Alternatives for Muscle Building, Speedy Recovery, Enhanced Drive and Beyond
How To Test For Gut Inflammation
Chris says: How does one know if they have gut inflammation? I am reading an article about coconut oil and I have been an a ketosis diet with great success. But lately I have been having gut fat and gut inflammation and it is really counterintuitive to the progress I am making. I am wondering if coconut oil is part of the issue.
In my response, I recommend:
–The Dark Side Of Coconut Oil: A Cautionary Tale For Coconut Oil Extremists
–NES Energy Medicine
–Metametrix Ion Panel from GFS
–Three Day Gut Panel from GFS
–What is Viome?
Natural Ways To Increase Stem Cell Production
Warren says: I am trying to increase my body’s stem cell production. Does algae help in this area?
In my response, I recommend:
–My podcast with Shawn Stevenson “Lightning Speed Healing Hack or Overpriced Fad? What You Need To Know About Stem Cells” in which we include the following stem cell precursors:–Platelet Rich Plasma injections
Should You Use Ice Baths & Antioxidants After A Workout?
Beni says: In a previous podcast you mentioned that it is not smart to take an ice bath and a bunch of antioxidants right after a hard workout because it can reduce the gains. So when should I do an ice bath and antioxidant supplement? Let’s say I am doing a heavy lifting sessions and then the next two days I will be sore. Do I wait until the next day to take an ice bath and a big antioxidant smoothie?
In my response, I recommend: