[0:01:13] I Am Exhausted…I’ve Been Working on the Turkey
[0:03:41] Longeveron Reducing Frailty
[0:08:37] Sit Down and Stand Up Test
[0:11:06] Most Satiating Food
[0:14:28] Avoid Raising a Materialistic Child
[0:16:00] Gratitude During Thanksgiving
[0:17:56] Special Announcements
[0:26:00] Listener Q&A: What to Do When You Can’t Exercise
[00:28:30] Filling in The Gap of Exercise
[0:34:35] Pregnant Women’s Exercises
[0:36:35] Exercise for Low Back Injury
[0:37:30] EMS Devices for Exercise
[00:38:30] How to Fuel with Ketones for Long Runs
[0:49:49] How Endurance Athletes Can Gain Muscle
[0:56:57] Is Heavy Lifting Bad for The Heart
[1:02:26] Function of Your Cardiovascular System
[1:07:02] Swag on The Show
[01:09:38] Closing the Podcast
Ben: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show, the truth about stem cells, what to do when you can’t exercise, how endurance athletes can gain muscle, how to fuel with ketones, is heavy lifting bad for your heart and much more.
Ben: Brock, I’m exhausted.
Brock: Yeah. You know, I feel like there’s been 30% of these episodes that you’ve started by saying something along those lines, but why are you exhausted this time?
Ben: Really? It’s because I have very full mornings. I wake up and I crush the day by the time we start recording this podcast, which we usually do, like around 10:00 a.m.
Brock: Yeah. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that as a diss. It definitely is just a thing. It’s a thing.
Ben: Yeah. You make it sound like I have adrenal fatigue. I’m just highly productive.
Brock: Yes. No. That’s not what I meant. I’m sorry if it came across that way.
Ben: The myth that is adrenal fatigue. No, I’ve been working on the turkey. It’s Thanksgiving tomorrow.
Brock: American Thanksgiving.
Ben: I’m in charge of the turkey. Yeah, American Thanksgiving. So, this morning, I brined my turkey. Have you ever brined the turkey?
Brock: Every year, yes. That is the only way. I give two thumbs up to that.
Ben: Oh, my gosh.
Ben: Yeah. So, I did sage and rosemary and salt water. We’re out of room in the refrigerator, so it’s out on the deck in the YETI cooler right now. And then, tomorrow morning–
Brock: But you don’t really have to worry about cooling it, keeping it cool if it’s completely submerged. It’s kind of like pickles. It can’t have anything sticking out.
Ben: I don’t want to get food poisoning based on the advice of some Canadian–
Brock: That’s probably a good call.
Ben: Yeah. So, anyways, and then tomorrow, what I’m going to do is cut open all the skin on the outside and stuff it all with this grass-fed butter. And then, I’m going to smoke it for about three hours on the Traeger grill with like a cedar pellet.
Brock: That is something I have not done.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. That’s going to be good.
Brock: Wait, so where are you putting the butter? Like inside where you put the rest of the stuffing or are you putting it under the skin somehow?
Ben: I’m going to put it under the skin, the openings in the skin. I’ll put a little bit inside too.
Brock: Damn, son.
Ben: It’s pretty good. Yeah. And if it backfires, we can always have sweet potatoes and broccoli and whatever crap everybody else brings.
Brock: Of course, with the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes. Isn’t that an American staple?
Ben: Exactly. And even though it’s probably a little bit late for this, actually after we record, I am going to put on my camouflage and go hunting for turkey, just because that’s a Thanksgiving tradition for me. So, if we have two turkeys, one lines up in the freezer, one gets eaten but either way, Greenfields are going to gobble.
Brock: Happy turkey day.
Ben: So, this is the part of the show where we review all the newsflashes. Welcome to the news. This actually is where I get a chance to tell you guys about some of the things I’m super excited about that I’ve been tweeting. If you go to twitter.com/, it’s my twitter handle, Ben Greenfield.
Ben: Yeah. You can read the studies that I’m looking at every single day because my habit is, I get up in the morning and I read a lot of this research. I came across this interesting story about –there’s this doctor. It’s a privately held company in Miami called Longeveron, kind of like longevity.
Brock: I love that name.
Brock: It’s a good stuff.
Ben: Yeah. I like anyone who makes up words. Anyways, what they do is they use stem cells. They use mesenchymal stem cells, these so-called MSCs. Up until this point, there’s been a lot of back and forth about whether these things actually work. So, technically, MSCs are supposed to be involved with regulating and reducing inflammation and repairing particularly blood vessels. But, they’ve also got some good research on them for knee injuries to all sort of colitis. So, they’re like little miniature drug delivery factories in a way. That’s why a lot of people get these stem cell injections to repair and regenerate their tissue.
But, there’s this whole idea of anti-aging, like people saying, “Oh, I want to get like an IV infusion of stem cells as an anti-aging protocol.” And whereas, a lot of those things I just mentioned do have some evidence behind them for working. There has not yet then up ’til this point any clinical trials to see if stem cells can actually help to reverse aging, so to speak.
So, Longeveron actually conducted a trial, and I’ll link to it in the show notes if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/392. You can read about this but they just published their first study on frailty, and they did an IV infusion of mesenchymal stem cells to a large number of senior citizens and showed remarkable improvements in physical performance measures and inflammatory biomarkers. The average age of these patients was about 76 years old.
So, when you see something like a reduction in frailty, a reduction in frailty is actually one of the reasons that people wind up getting injured or dying or being unable to take care of themselves as they age. So, it turns out that this idea of perhaps once a year or–some people even say once every five years, injecting yourself with the younger you or with some type of stem cell extract, it seems to work not just for joints and for inflammation and for ulcerative colitis and for some of these other reasons that folks have used it more kind of like in a targeted manner to specific areas of tissue but it also appears to actually truly have an anti-aging effect. So, now we can say that it actually works.
Brock: Did they define exactly how–well, I guess how they defined frailty in the study? Because that’s sort of a weird thing to quantify.
Ben: If you read the abstract, for example, and I’ll link to that as well in case people don’t have time to read the full article, frailty is defined as decreased physical and immunological functioning. Basically, getting sick more and being unable to move around as much as you used to.
Ben: So, that’s kind of the idea.
Brock: That’s measurable, so.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, that was cool for those of you who have banked your stem cells. Yeah. Get them injected. And for those who haven’t, there are other things you can do like exosomes and V-cells. I’m working one of the sections of my book which is still about six months out from getting released kind of dives into all the different forms of stem cells and how one could go about getting them and what to do if you can’t afford or you don’t have access to your own stem cells.
Brock: I’ve just been making sure they eat a lot of baby carrots in particular, the baby ones.
Brock: It’s kind of like getting blood from a teenager?
Ben: Yeah. It’s like the blood of young mice getting injected into old mice and reversing aging. I think if you eat baby carrots, that it wouldn’t also cause you to become more baby look, I suppose.
Brock: Yeah. Absolutely.
Ben: Yeah. I like your logic. I like it.
Brock: I’m a genius.
Ben: Speaking of frailty, there was another study that was pointed out to me. It’s not a new study. It’s an older one but as part of my book research, I’ve also been looking into ways that we can track our anti-aging efforts or our efforts to simply stay more healthy overall, you know, things like grip strength. That’s one that’s got some studies behind it. How hard can you grip one of these dynamometers or like a Captains of Crush hand grip strengthening device? And another is walking speed, your actual walking speed, say if you can maintain like a 4.0 walking speed on a treadmill for 15 minutes at a slight incline. It’s tough but that’s a good measurement of your lack of frailty.
But this new one I really like because this is something I do every day. I do 30 of this every day and sometimes when I’m weight training, if I want to jack my heart rate up and kind of do a little bit of concurrent strength and endurance training, I will do this in between sets. And it’s simply sitting down and standing up, sitting down and standing up. And what this means is you sit down on the floor.
Brock: But on the floor?
Ben: Yeah. You sit down on the floor and you simply get up off the floor. And, the thing is there are, of course, a variety of ways you could do this. You could try to sit down and stand up technically without using your hands, is the way that it was described in this study.
Brock: Or as few limbs as possible.
Ben: As few limbs as possible. You get one point subtracted from five for each support that you use. If you use your knees to get up, that subtracts points. If you use your hands to get up, that subtracts points. And you can in fact get up. If you want to have the very best score, you get up with basically like a pistol or like your hands don’t touch the floor. You sit down on the floor, your hands don’t touch the floor, you kind of pull one leg underneath you and you stand up in almost like a single leg squat. That’s like the creme de la crème. I think that’s simply the ability to, with both legs, be able to sit down and stand up without using your hands and it turns out this actually is a significant predictor of mortality. Sounds silly but it actually is a significant predictor of mortality in 50 to 80-year-old subjects. Isn’t that crazy?
Brock: It is crazy. You really do have to sort of make some–like open your mind and look outside the box. It’s not that just doing that is going to cause you to live longer. It’s just that people who are able to do that have the lifestyle that supports somebody who lives longer. And I think some people get a little bit hung up on that and they’re like, “Okay. I’m going to get up and down the floor.” And that’s it. And they’re still going to smoke and drink and eat McDonalds. Yeah.
Ben: It’s a corollary of your functional fitness. And ultimately, I try to do 30 a day. Sit down and stand up 30 times. It’s kind of like that. Occasionally, I’ll do 30 burpees instead, which is kind of like the opposite face down. But, that’s kind of my goal is to be able to do 30 burpees or 30 times sit down and stand up in a row for my life. And when I travel with my boys, for example, the very first thing they do when they get up is, they got to do 30 burpees or 30 sit down/stand up. So, it actually is a cool thing to instill with the younger generation.
Ben: Another one–I’ve got two more I wanted to mention. One was about the satiety index. This is another older study. It was pointed out to me this week and I thought it would be interesting. Do you know what the most satiating food is, Brock, based on actual laboratory studies of dozens and dozens of different food groups? Like we know that the most nutrient-dense is–well, you know what that is, right?
Brock: I’m going to say oysters.
Ben: Actually, oysters are high. Shellfish are very high in the nutrient density scale. Liver is at the top of the nutrient density scale. Beats out kale and blueberries by far.
Ben: However, on the satiety scale, in terms of what actually keeps you full for the longest period of time, what do you think that was found to be?
Brock: Not steel-cut oats. I’m going to guess those things well through me.
Ben: Well, steel-cut oats are very high in fiber, which is one of the reasons that this particular food was found to be very high in its ability to be able to satiate. Since it’s 80% water, it’s got about 4 grams of fiber. Don’t answer yet if you know what it is because I want the audience to keep guessing. And so, a lot of the starch, a lot of the fiber starch does not get converted into glucose and just kind of fills up your stomach and results in this slow drip of energy into your body. And also, this same food has a very large, surprisingly large vitamin and mineral content like vitamin A and C and E and a relatively high amount of antioxidants as well, in particular, one antioxidant that helps you protect you from ultraviolet radiation from the sun. So, what’s the food, Brock?
Brock: No, I just got whisked back to 2011 when you had your Superhuman live event and a fellow named Ray Cronise spoke at it, and he was trumpeting the glory of potatoes for exactly those reasons.
Ben: The potato, the potato, yes. We’re not talking like a fancy sweet potato. We’re talking like just the basic plain old white potato has an incredible ability to be able to satiate the appetite. And as a matter of fact, as has been shown by several people who have experimented with the so-called potato diet, you can actually survive on potatoes for a pretty long period of time.
Brock: There was a guy who famously did it for I think a full year. He ate potatoes and his blood work was amazing and he lost a ton of weights and put on–
Ben: He lost 21 pounds. Yeah. He was eating like 20 potatoes a day and he lost 21 pounds. I remember that. That was back in 2011, I think, when they did that one. I think that was when Ray Cronise was actually talking about. So, yeah, I’m not saying you should just eat potatoes all the time but don’t necessarily demonize the potato. And, if you want to fill yourself up pretty quickly, especially if you’re one of those people like me who likes to save all their carbohydrates for the end of the day–and I do sweet potatoes and tubers and beets, parsnips, carrots, fermented sourdough bread, quinoa, amaranth, millet, you name it. I’m not highly selective as long as it’s like a recognizable food our ancestors would have eaten. Potatoes would be another one to throw in there. It’s something that can leave you far more satiated after dinner and perhaps less likely to go out and buy some Halo Top ice cream. So, there you have it.
Brock: There you have it.
Ben: And then the last thing I wanted to mention since we are so close to the Thanksgiving holidays is a new study that was published in the Journal of Positive Psychology that goes into the best tactic to avoid raising a materialistic child, pointing out that materialism has been linked to a bunch of different health problems including anxiety and depression and a relative lack of empathy. So, what they did was they surveyed almost 900 adolescents. These are kids, not really kids, some of them were teenagers. They were 11 to 17 years old. And they particularly surveyed them on the value that they place on money and material goods but then they did a survey of gratitude, assessing how thankful these kids were for the people and for the possessions in their lives. And there was a direct negative association between materialism and gratitude, between materialism and gratitude. And so, I think that if anything, this should influence the parents out there, and really anybody. Yeah. In this sense, children really are just little adults, to adopt a gratitude practice. I’m jaded because obviously–I know someone’s going to point this out. I actually write and produce a gratitude journal. I’m not just saying this so I can sell more copies of my gratitude journal. But there are a lot of things you can do like you simply ask at the end of the day around the dinner table what people are grateful for. You keep a gratitude jar. This was one of the recommendations from the researchers where you can write something down that you’re grateful for each week and you just fill the jar throughout the week.
There’re so many different ways to be grateful. I am of course a huge fan of writing in a gratitude journal each morning, one thing that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t have to be 15 or 20 things. One of my friends has a rule where before he turns out his phone, he has to write 20 things that he’s grateful for in the morning. I think 20 sounds exhausting, personally. But one thing–
Brock: That’s too much gratitude.
Ben: It’s just too much. I can’t be thankful for that many things. But I thought this was great. It’s perfect timing for this holiday season of Thanksgiving. And I think that it should be to a certain extent systematized, just like anything in life. The more you systematize it, the more you do something like have a gratitude journal at your bedside or set up a gratitude–big glass mason jar with some Post-It notes and a pen next to it somewhere in a central location of the house or have a habit before every family meal, you go around and each person says one thing that they’re grateful for. A lot of ways to skin that cat but I think it’s important.
Brock: You know what I do or what I’ve started to do just recently. I shouldn’t make it sound like I’ve been doing this for very long but just recently, I adopted this idea that–and I borrowed this from Jordan Harbinger, our friend Jordan, Jordan Harbinger Show, that you know how when in your messages like your text message app, you get like that sort of history of all the messages that you’ve sent?
Brock: Scroll to the very, very bottom. So, the oldest message that you either sent or received like that’s been sitting there dormant for who knows how long. Think of something that you’re grateful for from that person and then tell them that. So, not only does it reignite sort of a friendship or a relationship that you had with somebody that may have gone dormant but it also fulfills that gratefulness. It’s a nice sort of double whammy I’ve been really enjoying for the last couple of weeks.
Ben: That’s great. That’s so much better than texting photos of your genitals to people.
Brock: Well, you could do both, I suppose.
Ben: I know.
Brock: As long as it’s consensual.
Ben: Well, with Thanksgiving so close and I know we’re kicking this Thanksgiving horse to death but we might as well because with Thanksgiving comes Black Friday and our sponsors have really stepped up to the plate. We have a lot of really cool deals going on. I’m going to spell out a few of them for you guys.
First of all, of course, my company, Kion, has a bunch of bundles that we put together for Black Friday. And this includes the fact that anytime you order over $100, we give you a $25 gift card, over $150, you get a $50 gift card, you order over $250, get a $100 gift card. I put together a bunch of bundles like the Life Bundle where you get amino acids and coffee and our clean food bar and Kion Lean.
We’ve got the Recovery Bundle, which is a fish oil with Kion Flex kind of a shotgun for fighting inflammation, more amino acids. We’ve got one that’s like a coffee and a bar bundle. It’s all over at getKion.com and lasts until November 27. So, if anything, I would say like grab the coffee and the bars. Those go amazing together like having a nice piping hot cup of coffee with one of our clean food bars. It’s nirvana. So that’s all over–
Brock: And you don’t need any code for that either. You just–
Ben: No. It’s automatic. Automatic when you go over there. Yeah.
Our friends over at Clearlight Saunas, our friends over at Clearlight Saunas have put together a really good deal as well. This is the sauna I was just in about an hour ago. I go in every single morning when I’m home. And, of course, talking of longevity, there is of course that well-known finished study that found if you can get your ass in a sauna about four times a week, and they just find more is better, yeah, they found more is better and they found that also the amount of time that you spend in it is better. There’s probably a law of diminishing returns somewhere in there but they found that 20 to 30 minutes was very good and huge decreasing cardiovascular disease, all-cause mortality, and I think Alzheimer’s. It’s like something shocking like a 40% or more decrease in risk of Alzheimer’s from this sauna practice that the Finns have.
What Clearlight has done is they’ve created a sauna but unlike most infrared saunas that microwave you with radiation while you’re in them, they’ve reduced the EMF exposure to almost zero and they also have three different infrared frequencies, near infrared, mid-infrared, far infrared, and lifetime warranty on the sauna. So, I go in there and foam roll and do yoga and meditate and swing the kettlebells. I have this one thing that I do which is like a holotropic breathwork audio where I will microdose with a small amount of psilocybin mushroom and lay in my back in the sauna after I’ve preheated it. And I do an hour of holotropic breathwork and it just redefines your entire week. I do that sometimes on Sunday mornings and go into the rest of the week just feeling like a new man. It’s crazy. It’s almost like a detox for your consciousness. I just made up that phrase. It’s kind of woo-woo.
Brock: That’s a new–
Ben: Anyways, the Sanctuary is the one that I have. And if you use code BEN, you get $500 off the sauna and they give you a free gift as well. And you can see what it looks like if you go to our Instagram, which is @clearlightsaunas. And if you go to healwithheat.com, their website, healwithheat.com and you use code BEN, you’ll get $500 off the sauna and a gift with your purchase.
Brock: But the gift will not be psilocybin.
Brock: I’ve been told.
Ben: Yes. But almost as good as psilocybin. It’s a good organic wine. This is what we’ll be drinking tomorrow at Thanksgiving dinner, wine from my friends over at FitVine, over at FitVine. They have these really rich, bold and powerful red wines. In their case, they actually ferment it for a longer period of time to actually increase the alcohol. So, it’s not like one of those hangover free wines per se that we’ve talked about before. This is one of those wines that’s very low in sugar. I wouldn’t necessarily endorse drinking a full bottle. But more importantly, it’s organic. They’ve filtered out all the 70 plus different toxins that you’d normally get in wine and they’ve expanded to eight different types of wine that you can get. And they also have a limited edition, Holiday Red Blend, in addition to the Cabernet and their Pinot Noir, the Prosecco, the Rosé. They have a Sauvignon Blanc.
Brock: They have a Prosecco. I didn’t know that. Sweet.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, they do. They do. There’s like about six bottles upstairs right now. I’ll be chilling and releasing the hounds tomorrow when the family arrives. So, FitVine Wines. What they’re doing is they’re giving everyone who used the code BEN over at fitvinewine.com. A pretty massive discount on their wines. You just go to fitvinewine.com and you use code BEN. I think the discount varies from wine to wine but either way, just go to fitvinewine.com, use code BEN and you can try this ultra-smooth, ultra refined, very tannin-rich wine. They grow their grapes at a high altitude to concentrate the antioxidants and it’s good. And then they’ve brought the sugar down to 0.09 grams of sugar per glass of wine. That’s 90% less sugar than you get in the average wine. So, it’s basically got almost zero sugar in it. So, it’s good stuff.
Ben: And then the last one is ODNOVA. I’ve recently become a little bit obsessed with bees, with studying a lot of these superfoods that we get from bees, like wild raw honey and fresh bee pollen and bee propolis and royal jelly. All of these have an amazing effect in the immune system and they contain probiotics and enzymes. They’re one of the reasons that honey, if you leave it on your counter, it never goes bad because it takes care of itself. And that royal jelly is what the queen bee eats. That’s the one that all the little baby bees don’t get after a certain period of time. But whichever one is chosen to be the queen keeps on getting the royal jelly. And then the propolis is used as a really potent antiviral and antibacterial to keep the bee colony from dying.
But what these folks at ODNOVA have done is they’ve taken the wild raw honey in the fresh bee pollen and the propolis and the royal jelly, and then they’ve blended that with like marine phytoplankton and Schisandra berries and organic cinnamon and organic moringa, ginger and turmeric and even shilajit, which is a really, really amazing antioxidant, mineral-rich compound. And they’ve blended all this together in this superfood. It’s almost like a superfood that’s a texture of raw honey. It’s really, really good. I haven’t really seen anything like this on the market before. But what they’re doing is they’re going to give a 10% discount on the ODNOVA. So, it’s made by a company called Gosha’s Organics. You go to goshasorganics.com. It’s G-O-S-H-A-S Organics, goshasorganics.com. And you use code, BEN10%, Ben 1-0 percentage sign and that knocks 10% off and that comes to your house in this little black Miron jar. Super, super powerful stuff. So, check that out.
And then, finally, just a few little announcements, I will be down in Las Vegas at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. So, any of you interested in the whole anti-aging and longevity piece, I’ll be speaking on male sexual performance there. That’s December 14th through the 16th in Vegas. Feel like going to gamble before Christmas. Don’t worry, you’ll get lots of gift cards for Christmas and you can replenish your lost funds. But go to Vegas, December 14th through the 16th.
I’ll also be speaking down to New Orleans, Louisiana at the Serious Business Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. That’s January 20th through the 21st. And there are a few other adventures that you can join me on. I’ll put a link to all of them if you just go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/392. That’s BenGreenfieldFitness.com/392 if you want to get in all the goodness.
Graeme: Hey, Ben and Brock. It’s Graeme from Melbourne in Australia here. Just got a quick question. I’m about to go into hospital for an operation on an inguinal and an umbilical hernia. And I wonder what your thoughts are on training post-op. I’m thinking complex and perhaps some indoor cycling. But really interested in your thoughts on exercises basically that don’t engage the core. Thanks, guys. Appreciate your help.
Brock: It’s good to hear from Graeme again. He’s been on the podcast a couple of times, hasn’t he?
Ben: He has. He’s our friend. We used to go down to Thailand and racing the triathlon down in Thailand and a few other races like World Championships. A triathlon back when Brock and I were just doing the triathlon circuit all over the world and Graeme was one of our homies. He’d come and hang with us and usually brings some of his Australian compatriots and we’d have a good time and learn all sorts of dirty Australian phrases from Graeme. I think one of the ones I like the most was we got this lovely noodle dish in Thailand with the fried prawns and the little crispy rice noodles and he called that one “prawns and pubes.” Yeah. Remember prawns and pubes at the Black Cat Restaurant?
Brock: I sure remember it.
Ben: Laguna, Phuket, Thailand.
Brock: It was delicious. But it was pretty good.
Ben: Some [00:27:19] ______ referred as prawns and pubes. I want to tackle the elephant in the room here first.
Ben: And it’s not a problem.
Brock: Where is the elephant?
Ben: Exercise is his antidepressant. Exercise is his antidepressant. No. I am reading a book right now. Admittedly, I am kind of going through this myself because last week, coming back from New York City, I kind of tripped and stumbled going down the stairs carrying all of my kids’ bags out of the Delta lounge. And, I really mashed up my knee really bad. It hurts pretty bad like I did some significant damage. It’s probably going to be a while before I’m doing much running or squatting, and of course for me, I’m supposed to still be doing another Spartan Race in San Francisco and I want to do this masking program that you and I talked about in the previous episode, Brock, and I just basically don’t have a left knee right now and walking hurts. So, I’ve had to kind of tackle this mentally of course. We know anyone who’s athletic or who is fit and who experiences an injury, it’s almost as though you’ve had a little bit of enjoyment sucked out of life.
Now, I’ve said this before in a podcast but one concerning factor is that if exercise or sports or fitness are your single outlet for pleasurable chemicals such as dopamine, then, your life is not as well-rounded as it should be. And what I tell people is go back and think about what it is that you liked to do when you were a little boy or a little girl. Like for me, I loved to watercolor paint. I liked to play the violin. I loved chess. I absolutely loved writing and reading, particularly fiction. And I love to be outdoors running and pulling and climbing and hoisting and carrying.
And so, when one portion of what I really like to do ever since I was a little boy that brings me pleasure disappears from my life, I’ve found that I can find a lot of fulfilment by filling that gap, filling that void with the other things that used to give me pleasure. I have all my watercolor paintings up in the drawer by the table now and I’ve been taking them out and doing little pencil sketches and filling in with watercolor. I’ve been playing music, not the violin but the guitar and the ukulele. I’m spending like an extra half hour per day just drinking around my music during the time that I’d normally be working out. I have been writing more. I’m now almost done with book one of Harry Potter. After committing to my kids, I would read all seven by next year. And so, I’m delving back into fiction, both reading and writing. I found that I’m just as fulfilled doing those types of things. Yeah, I’m a little restless, a little jumpy, a little–don’t feel quite as exhausted at the end of the day because I haven’t buffeted my body quite as much as I’ve grown accustomed to. But, that’s one thing is that I think that you need to have other outlets in life.
And then, the other thing, and I promise, Graeme, I will give some practical advice here as well, is that there’s a book I’m reading called, “When The Game Is Over, It All Goes Back In The Box.” And this is written by John Ortberg, one of my favorite authors of all time. I read every single book that he puts out. He talks about how we get inundated with messages that try to get us to obsess over the outer you, over our physical appearance. Experts tell us that if we exercise regularly, we’re going to add two years to our life. But the bad news is we’ll spend those two years exercising. Winston Churchill lived into his 90s and he said the only exercise he ever got was serving as a pallbearer for his friends who died while they were exercising. He kind of gets into this idea of being grateful for the outer you and coming to peace with your body and rejoicing in its strength and accepting in its limitations and being grateful for it but remembering it is wasting away. Like we are all going to be 90, 100 years old, wrinkled and probably a little bit frail no matter how many stem cells that we do.
He couches it in terms of not just exercise but just overworking. He says the executive who works from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day will be both very successful and fondly remembered by his wife’s next husband. This idea that if you work and work and work to make money and you exercise and exercise and exercise to look good, you get to the end of the day and you’ve really only spent a lot of time on things that are temporary because the day is coming when your 401(k) and your bank statements will be irrelevant and the titles on your resume, they’re not going to impress anyone anymore. No one will know what clothes hung in your closets or what car sat in your garage or how low your body fat percentage was or what you could bench press. Pretty much all that’s left at the end of the day, John Ortberg says in his book, is love. And, every single human being that you see is someone that you can go out of your way to love. And if you can’t do anything else, you can’t work out, you can’t even do the kind of things you like to do when you’re a little boy, if you simply love people, you really are focusing on what is eternal not transparent, and that’s people’s souls, people’s spirits. And so, I think it’s good to always remember that even when you can’t exercise, even when you can’t be fit, that’s temporary. The outside is temporary. What’s inside is what’s eternal and more meaningful.
That really helps me when I start to obsess over, “I can’t exercise,” and, “My arms are going to shrink,” and, “I’m not going to be able to squat what I used to be able to squat,” and, “I can’t run eight miles anymore.” But a lot of that doesn’t matter. That’s just me. That’s just me in my ego and what other people expect of me or how I want to impress the world. But it’s not in the whole scheme of things very important. And of course, this might sound like it flies in the face of what I do when it comes to my obsession or my seeming obsession with longevity and anti-aging. But even that, I couch with this idea that the reason that you would engage in all these efforts to live a long time and to be fit and to defy aging is so that you can simply be around for a longer period of time to achieve your purpose in life. Not so that you can beat everybody, not so you can have the most sex, not so that you can buy the most cars or make the most money or have the biggest bank account. It’s simply so that you can be best equipped with the body that you’ve been given and the unique skill set you’ve been given to help people out. So, I don’t think that we take this idea of the inner you being the only thing that’s important as an excuse to neglect the outer you. You must care for the outer you so that the inner you can change as many people as possible. But part of caring for the outer you may not necessarily mean maintaining your six-pack abs as much as just making sure that you keep yourself able to be functional. So, let me get off my soapbox.
Brock: Well said, Ben.
Ben: Oh, thank you.
Brock: No, that was great. Very well said.
Ben: No. I’ll get off my soapbox now and get to the meat of Graeme’s question. Graeme, you need to look at what pregnant people do, pregnant women, specifically, because when you look at diastasis recti and a lot of the recommendations for core strengthening or just general strengthening overall, for pregnant women, they’re isolating non-abdominal muscles and they’re avoiding the strain on the abdominal area by doing a lot of seated exercises with resistance bands, using a lot of free weights, doing a lot of exercises in a seated position because your core is able to relax.
As a matter of fact, when I do like free weight, or not free weight but machine circuits at the gym, I purposefully keep my butt slightly elevated above the seat like the seated chest press or lower the lap hold down. I’ll get into a lunging position or on a shoulder press. I’ll kind of like press myself up out of the seats. I press overhead so that I will engage my core because any of these seated free weight or seated machines, they do a very good job at disengaging your core. But that could also be used to your advantage. If you have an injured core, you can simply keep your butt planted and move the weights.
And in addition to that, doing unilateral exercises versus bilateral exercises also allows you to prevent from engaging your abdominals quite as much. So, if you’re accustomed to doing a double arm overhead dumbbell press, you would do it with a single arm. Same thing with a lot of these machines, if they have independent cams or independent arms on them, you can work your legs or your arms in a unilateral sense rather than then working both at the same time. These are all the same type of things you would hear as recommendations given to pregnant women along with the style of cardiovascular exercise that’s done. It’s all cycling, it’s all elliptical, it’s all swimming. A lot of this stuff. I realized it’s pretty straightforward. I know Graeme is a smart guy. He’s an exercise coach himself. I think, he gets this. But really, it just comes down to looking at what a lot of the recommendations are for pregnancy.
I also have an article that I wrote called, “How to Exercise with a Low Back Injury.” Many of those exercises are the same type of exercises that you would use for a hurts or abdominals. It’s very simple. It’s like four to six rounds of machine chest press lap, pulldown machine shoulder press, seated rows, stability ball squats, where you doing a squat but you have your back against the wall and you’re doing your squats moving the ball up and down against the wall. Then, machine leg extensions and machine leg curls. You could do that Monday, Wednesday, Friday. You can do non-weight-bearing cardio on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Do a lot of sauna. Do a lot of cold. Do a lot of things that will allow the blood to continue to flow and still build many similar elements as fitness builds all without necessarily straining the body. That can at least keep you sane as you’re waiting for this thing to heal. That’s exactly what I do is I’d just be doing a machine-based circuit every other day, full body, doing non-impact cardio on the other days, just thrown in a lot of sauna, thrown in some cold thermogenesis, cold showers, ice soaks, or a cryotherapy chamber. You can stay pretty fit with that type of approach.
Brock: Graeme brought up the compacts like the EMS. Would you throw some of that in too?
Ben: Yes, Electrical Muscle Stimulation is very good. Now, I like this unit called a Neu.fit. Just blows the compacts out of the water as far as the intensity of the contraction, similar like a 600-pound squat and not create a need to use your abdominals during that time. Any of these electrical muscle stimulation devices can work and do work. They’ve been shown to be able to maintain things like strength and power in the same way that sauna has been shown to be able to maintain muscle mass even when you’re not exercising. That’s certainly another strategy, although that Neu.fit–I’ll link to that one in the shownotes as well if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/392. That’s a really good one. As a matter of fact, mine is out in my living room right now. I dug it out of the garage last night when I realized this knee is just not really cooperating. That’ll be my work out later on. I’ll be hooking it up to my legs and just go into town and blasting my legs with this really high-intensity stim but I won’t have to move that knee joint at all while I’m doing it.
Jessica: Ben, I’ve recently gone Keto for the purposes of that adaptation. I’m an endurance runner and I have noticed a lot of benefits. My question is I should be running a seven-day race in February, 300 kilometers, how should I be feeling to stay optimal for this? I’m supposed to be carrying 2,200 calories with me a day. I’m just curious how I’m going to get that all in there. Thanks for your help.
Brock: Did you happen to see the Italian woman who just broke the record for the hour cycling in the velodrome?
Brock: Did you happen to see the story about that. She was fueled by ketone.
Ben: Fueled on pizza and olive oil?
Ben: I was going to say pizza and olive oil.
Brock: Yes, you think. I think that’s her previous fuel.
Ben: Did she use the exogenous ketones?
Brock: I can’t remember which was she used. She did one attempt a few months ago with the same drink, came really close to breaking the record and she did it again about a month later and broke the record. It was infuriating that everybody just focused on the ketone drink, forgot that there was actually a badass woman riding the bike. There was a ketone riding the bike.
Ben: Kind of like Lance. Everybody focuses on the drugs and neglects to point out the fact that everybody was doing the drugs and he was just a beast.
The idea of using exogenous ketones is certainly something that could be a strategy here. They are expensive. I think that these ketone esters that this cyclist you’re referring to, Brock, used are, they’re far more efficacious, I have some upstairs, particularly when you combine them with essential amino acids, you can just go for days with very high amount of energy, granted for running a seven-day race will want to make sure that the carbohydrate stores are not becoming exhausted as well. I’ll get into that as well, and also the mineral component.
But ultimately, ketone esters are incredibly efficacious, ketones salts which would be more like a beta hydroxy-butyrate salt still elevates ketones, not as rapidly. When I drink ketone esters, for those you who are familiar with ketosis and how to measure it, I will within about 40 minutes go from below 1 millimolar up to above 7 millimolar of ketones. That’s not even being fast or anything like that. It just jacks up ketones to the level that could be it if you had fasted for several days, granted you’re not getting a lot of the longevity benefits of fasting and the cellular autophagy benefits of fasting, but you’re getting that boost in energy and almost that alternative substrates to glucose and fatty acids to be used as a fuel. That is definitely a strategy and that’s one of the strategies that I outline in this article that I wrote entitled, “How to Get Into Ketosis.” I will link to that in the shownotes.
In that article, which I wrote particularly for endurance athletes, because I spell out what you do if you’re going to an Ironman or marathon or long-cycling event. Those strategies would actually work very well in this type of scenario, meaning that, if Jessica can carry 2,200 calories with her per day, the way that I would do it would be as follows. I would use ketone esters. If you cannot afford those or can’t get them, then use an MCT oil or a C8 caprylic acid. You don’t need to use both. That’s a little bit redundant. But if budgeting is an issue, the MCT or the caprylic acid will get you to generate many of the type of ketones you’re going to get from using a ketone ester or a ketone salt with a little less expense over those seven days. It can also result in a little bit greater risk of digestive distress, so you need to be careful not to get poopy pants doing your MCT. But I used to do at least a tablespoon every hour when I’d race Ironman and then I would combine that with, the next thing that I’d recommend to you, and that would be amino acids, particularly essential amino acids. The person who first turned me on to using amino acids when I was racing the 2013. You were up there with me, Brock, the Ironman Canada 2015, I think it was.
Brock: Yes, that was fun.
Ben: My friend, Dr. Peter Attia had recommended to me that I use the BioSteel branched chain amino acids. I used those but the data on essential amino acids just blows branched chain amino acids out of the water when you look at the ability of the muscles to be able to recover, because you’re getting a full spectrum of amino acids. If you’re doing two a day, or in this case seven days in a row of working out, then I think that essential amino acids would trump BCAA’s. In fact, after doing that Canada race, I switched from the BioSteel BCAAs to an essential amino acid complex, very similar to what we have now at Kion, in terms of the ratios and noted a remarkable difference in energy levels. I think, probably, I had more competing for tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier with those amino acids. So, less risk of central nervous system fatigue and bonking, so to speak, in a nervous system manner, not on a loss of carbohydrate manner, but a nervous system manner. You’ve got ketones or MCT‘s, then you add amino acids into that. Then, the other two components that you’ll want, because that means that you’ve nailed your easy to digest “fats” and your easy to digest proteins in the form of amino acids, then you would want some type of carbohydrate. Now, I had in the past, for a very long period of time, recommended UCAN SuperStarch as a very slow bleed carbohydrate. But I found that caused fermentation and gastric distress in a lot of people, including myself.
Brock: I’m pointing at myself as well.
Ben: I could just no longer recommend it. For a one-day event, you can get away with it. Do a one-day event and you’re going to fart for a while afterwards but if you got to work at the next day and the next day and the next thing just bloated and gassy, I don’t think it’s worth it. I’m a bigger fan of a dextran source. Dextran potato-based dextrans tends to be burnt very easily.
Brock: Potatoes again, eh?
Ben: Yes. There are companies that do these highly branched cluster dextrans that are usually isolated from a potato starch source, sometimes a cornstarch source, but usually potato. They’re far more digestible than this maltodextrin that you tend to see. There are different forms called highly branched cluster dextran. They tend to just be burnt super clean. They have a very low what is called osmolality. That results in a faster gastric clearance and less blood getting diverted into the gut. The brand that I like right now for that–and you would only need to use about 100 calories of this per hour, as opposed to the typical recommendations for carbohydrate which is 250 to 300 calories per hour, because, again, you have your amino acids, you have your ketone, so you need to eat less carbs and this returns to your question about how to stay in ketosis. A company, Gaspari Nutrition, they have one called Glycofuse. Glycofuse is a decent source for this dextran. You just get a big canister of it. It’s pretty clean. Just get the unflavored version made by Gaspari Nutrition. It’s G-A-S-P-A-R-I. I’ll put a link in the shownotes. That’s what I would do for your carbohydrate source, for a blend. So, you can drink this out of a water bottle or one of those fuel belt pack what you call the flasks, the fuel belt type of belts. So, you’ve got your Glycofuse, you’ve got a ketone or an MCT source, you’ve got an amino source. then, the last thing you need is minerals. Mineral need really does go up when you’re in ketosis, because as you dump carbohydrates, you dump a lot of minerals, there’s an increased need for potassium as you’re consuming a lot of ketones. For that, you can just simply get a good powdered electrolyte blend just to blend in with all the rest of this stuff. For that, I like Thorne. They’ve got a really good blend called Catalyte. That would be one that you could use. Again, you just blend that up with the Glycofuse, with your ketone or your MCT, and with your aminos, and you’ve got a blend you could put into a water bottle for an Ironman Triathlon. You could put into a flask for a run. It burns clean. I’ve used that many times at very long workouts and you get a really good clean burning fuel. You can just mix it all up beforehand and then just drink it as you go. You can mix that up each morning, for example.
The amount that you’d want, approximately, would be about for each hour of racing, about 5 grams of amino acids, 10 if you’re a very large athlete, a serving of MCT or ketones, that’s per hour, Glycofuse, about 100 calories of that, and then, Catalyte, a couple scoops of that. That would be per hour. You could literally just premix everything and have a flask for the first hour, for the second hour, third our, et cetera. If you’re an Ironman, in your water bottle for the first hour, the second hour, third hour.
Now, the only thing I’ve noticed with this type of approach is that you do tend to get a craving for something to chew on, something that is solid. That can also help to settle the stomach, to be able to chew on something. The two things I like best for that, one would be I have an article on a fat-based energy gels. Energy gels that are things like Justin’s Nut Butter, Vitalight Chia Seed Cells or gels. Gu has one called Peanut Butter Gel. Hammer has a peanut butter-based one. Artisana has a raw almond butter one. There’s a company called Yumbutter that does like superfoods, blended in with the nut butter solid food like hemp seeds and a little bit of coconut sugar and monk fruit and sunflower seeds. Any of these types of fuels. There’s even a unique gel, if you want to call it, made by the company, Vespa. That’s just like bee propolis and royal jelly and honey, speaking of bees. That’s a really good one too. Any of those would kind of fit the bill for being a gel that you could chew on at the end of each hour. The other one that I like would be the Kion Bar. That’s one of the reasons I created the Kion Bar, was for people who are snowboarding, skiing, cycling, trekking, hiking, just moving for long periods of time. I created it to give you the closest approximation to the superfoods that I sprinkle on my smoothie each morning but allow you to get that in a packaged format that is gut-friendly during exercise. You could do a Kion Clean Energy Bar, half of one of those the end of each hour, or half of a gel pack at the end of each hour. That just gives you something to chew as you’re going through the race. That would be my recommendation. The only other thing I’d throw in there is if you choose to do a nut butter, just make sure that you’ve got access to water when you do that because you can really stick to the roof of your mouth. I’d learned that the wrong way when I think I swallowed a whole pack of nut butter halfway through a Spartan and couldn’t open my mouth for the next mile.
Ken: Hey, Ben. My name is Ken. I’m a 17-year-old. Next week I begin my final high school swim season, but while I’m in offseason I tried to put on mass in muscle. I’m currently had 170 pounds, but my question is if you think there’s any way I can continue to put on this muscle and mass while performing these long-endurance practices in swimming. If so, how should I go about doing it and what are some critical supplements you would suggest that I take to boost my performance and testosterone for building muscle.
Lastly, I was also concerned about maybe picking up the ketogenic diet to boost my performance while I swim and to help combat with my constant drowsiness that I always feel. I was wondering what your thoughts on this are, as a teenager and being an athlete of what you think the ketogenic diet, if it is okay for me. And if it is okay, what books and info would you recommend I read before I hop into the diet? I know that was a lot, but thank you for everything.
Brock: Do you want to start with the, I guess, the biggest question in the room at the moment which is, is a keto diet okay for a 17-year old?
Ben: Well, I mean babies are in ketosis. I’m not too worried about a teenager being in ketosis, as long as ketosis is achieved without a huge amount of calorie restriction. What we’re talking about is, maybe, having said active teenager, eat less sugar and starches, and for swimmer with as much as a high school swimmer does, they’re automatically going to be in ketosis if they’re just not doing a lot of sugars and eating a lot of healthy whole foods and fats. So, I think from the mass and the muscle standpoint, you just need to be careful, first of all, because if you’re built like the average human being, as muscle mass increases, unless there’s a commensurate increase in body fat, you’re going to sink because muscle sinks, that fat floats. That’s why I tell all the muscular triathletes who I coach to get with the really thick wetsuits because you just need more buoyancy. Be careful. Know that you might get the buoyancy of a brick if you tend to lift too much or put on too much mass.
You’ll also develop a certain level of shoulder stiffness. That can be contradictory to good swimming form, particularly, for the freestyle stroke. You want some mobility and looseness in the shoulder. So just be careful. Know that your desire to build mass could fly against what you want to achieve from a swimming standpoint.
But, if you wanted to do it, I think that one of the better methods out there, in terms of strength training for endurance athletes, particularly mass and power, would be the The Juggernaut Training Systems and the book, “The Hybrid Athlete” by Alex Viada. Alex Viada is this guy who’s well-known in the endurance sport sector as the guy who can–he goes out into as an Ironman Triathlon but he also deadlifts a copious amount of weight. He can squat 700 pounds. He runs a hundred miles. And he calls that this mix of CrossFit and ultra-marathon and powerlifting the hybrid athlete approach. It’s a pretty good approach if you want to be a pretty good endurance athlete but also have a lot of power and strength. His book’s on Amazon. There’s another guy called Chad Wesley Smith who has written a bunch of books called, “The Juggernaut Method.” Those use a similar type of method as Alex Viada recommends in his book. It allows you to build a lactic capacity and aerobic capacity and lactic capacity, power, strength, speed all at the same time.
The book, “The Hybrid Athlete” actually has a concurrent powerlifting or mass gain program for a triathlete, for a marathon or for a swimmer, for a cyclist. He’s done a pretty good job putting together a decent resource. I like it too because it’s relatively athletic in terms of the type of lifts that you do. For example, his hypertrophy training program to be combined for an aerobic athlete. On one day of strength training, you might be doing two sets of bench-press at 90%. Then, another six sets at 75%. Then, overhead press, about six sets of that at 75%, barbell row, five sets of that at 85 %, dumbbell row, 10 sets of that 70%. In the next day, you might be doing more glute/ham raises and deadlifts and back squats. So, it’s like an upper body lower body split that one with a four days per week training. But pick up that book, “The Hybrid Athlete” because it’s got some good training protocols in it.
Then, from a supplementation standpoint, very similar to the last episode that we do on how a skinny guy can gain muscle, go back and listen to that one. That was 391, I believe. Wasn’t it, Brock, 391?
Ben: Go listen to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/391. The quick summary is for mass gain, my favorite approach is A, a whole foods-based diet based on the Weston A. Price Dietary Guidelines. Why don’t take up fermented foods, raw milk organ meats, very nutrient-dense, almost Mediterranean style fats, nothing overly restrictive and ample in natural and ancestral forms of carbohydrate, for some of that carbohydrate refueling. A good digestive enzyme like the Thorne Biogest, you’re actually breaking down a lot of the proteins and making them more bioavailable along with the bitters. I like the Quicksilver Scientific Bitters #9 as something you would use as a bitters prior to your meals, because you’ll be eating a lot more food if you’re trying to build mass and you’ll want to be sure that you’re able to digest that food. That’s one of the issues a lot of people who get on a masking diet don’t get.
Then, for a stack, I like colostrum as a growth hormone and IGF-1 precursor. I like amino acids, which I already explained like essential amino acids. Then, the last two that work really well would be HMB/ATP blend. There’s a certain source I like for that called Millennium Sports. I’ll put a link to that in the shownotes. But at HMB/ATP blend. Then, also Creatine. In creatine, just at 5 grams per day is perfect. That’s the type of approach that I’ve used from a supplementation and training standpoint.
The keto diet, the deal with that is any athlete who asked me if they should be on a keto diet, what I tell to them is yes, but with the exception that for about the final two to three hours of the day, you’re not in ketosis because you’re doing a carbohydrate refeed, carbohydrate refeed. So that’s the time of the day when you refuel everything. You eat anywhere from 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates from a lot of those safe sources I was talking about earlier like potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, tubers, taro, beets, parsnips, carrots, quinoa, amaranth, millet, et cetera. Then, you, after that, don’t eat carbohydrates again until the next evening. But this allows you to maintain fatty acid to burning during the entire day, refill the carbohydrate stores at the end of the day. Then, rinse, wash, and repeat.
Garrett: I was wondering if heavy weight lifting could, over time, be bad for the heart. We know that lifting heavy weights can’t spike blood pressure but can that be a bad thing over time? I love lifting weights. My favorite exercises, not necessarily exercises, but my favorite thing to do is lift heavy weights and build a physique. I’m just worried about the long-term effects. Love the show and thank you.
Ben: Well, you’re talking to a guy who after a decade of racing Ironman went in for ultrasound, echocardiogram, and a cardiac stress test, and found that I had paraventricular contractions when I was exercising at a high intensity, meaning electrical abnormalities probably induced by just pushing my body for a very long period of time. I had a slight amount of what’s called athlete’s heart, also known as cardiomegaly, exercise-induced cardiomegaly.
Brock: That’s the left ventricle. That’s too much muscle, basically.
Ben: Right, exactly. What happens is when you train, particularly with aerobic training, this is found to be more of an issue compared to static training such as weight lifting, your body signals your heart to pump more blood through the body to counteract the oxygen deficit that you’re building up in the skeletal muscles with long periods of aerobic exercise. The heart enlarges as a natural physical adaptation for the body to be able to deal with high pressures and large amounts of blood that affect the heart during those periods of time. Over time, what happens is the chamber size of the left ventricle increases as does the muscle mass, the cardiac muscle mass, and the overall wall thickness of the heart. So, with the larger left ventricle, your heart can decrease in terms of your heart rate and still maintain a very high level of cardiac output.
This is why a lot of athletes with athlete’s heart have very low resting heart rates. My heart rate at the time was 34 to 36 at rest but I also had an enlarged left ventricle. Still do, because it doesn’t really go away. Usually, you get that done via echocardiography. Sometimes a cardiac stress test can detect some amount of what’s called a sinus bradycardia which is a low resting heart rate, but ultimately the echocardiogram is the best way to figure out if that’s an issue.
At very high intensities, sometimes it can be an issue. If you’re exercising in very high intensities and you have a pair of ventricular contraction, this is one of the things that can cause sudden cardiac death during endurance exercise. I think that it’s less of an issue than a lot of people make it out to be, that it really is almost like this natural physical adaptation to exercise. But, it can be an issue, especially in people who have a genetic disorder called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which would be an issue that really would cause sudden cardiac death, especially in the presence of a high amount of aerobic training. This is something you would need to see a physician about to screen yourself for, like a cardiac physician or cardiologist. That’s for aerobic training though.
With weight training, the first thing is that, for a lot of time people with high blood pressure or hypertension, they were warned for very long time to avoid strenuous lifting because it might cause this dangerous long-term rise in blood pressure. But all the studies that have been conducted since that point have found that, ultimately, weight lifting reduces resting blood pressure because as your muscles grow stronger, there’s less demand on the heart. I’ll explain how that is in just a second. The journal hypertension examined a whole bunch of adults who weight lifted and found that weight training lowered the resting systolic blood pressure. The American Heart Association found that lifting two or three times a week could lower blood pressure. That was just like a pretty insignificant amount of lifting, like some curls and some presses. So, ultimately, there’s a lot of other studies like this that show that weight training can lower blood pressure.
But I want to give you a better idea of how this works because it really is fascinating. The function of your cardiovascular system, as most folks know, is to pump oxygen and nutrient-rich blood all throughout the tissues of your body. That’s where the cardio and cardiovascular comes from. It refers to your heart and your hearts contribution. It’s pumping action that moves the blood through your body, and the vascular refers to your blood vessels that includes what’s called the arterial system that carries blood from your heart to your organs and the venous system that carries it back from the organs to the heart. Your blood vessels can change their diameter and this affects the resistance that your heart has to pump against or the actual blood pressure. When you look at your heart, if you increase the amount of blood that returns to the heart from the venous side of the circulation, you can increase the amount of blood pumped out of the heart. There’s actually a law in physiology. I remember this from back in my exercise physiology classes, it’s called Starling’s law of the heart. So, we increased the pressure, we increased the cardiac output.
Now, you have a basic understanding of this cardiovascular physiology, you could figure out different ways that you could enhance cardiovascular function by increasing cardiac output. You could strengthen the hearts that it pumps more with each beat and now it pretty much be what cardiomegaly is. You could increase your heart rate so that you’re just pumping more times per minute. Or, you could have more blood vessels or more pliable blood vessels so your heart has to pump against less resistance. Or finally, you could enhance your venous return to the heart.
Now, in terms of venous return to the heart, this is where resistance training fits in. This is something that Doug McGuff talked about when I interviewed him. Your muscles pump up, they become engorge when you lift. That’s partially due to increased blood flow from increased cardiac output. Then, this adrenaline causes the arteries and the gut to constrict and the arteries and the muscles that dilates that diverts blood flow to your working muscles. It’s why you shouldn’t swim right after you eat, because you have all this blood going to your working muscles. Well, when these arteries dilate, that causes a decrease in peripheral vascular resistance. The vascular resistance around the muscles, because when the artery gets bigger, the heart has less pressure to pump against. So, your cardiac output goes up.
Now, veins unlike arteries, don’t really have much tone. They’re like these passive conduits. The way that the veins allow blood to move back towards the heart is by the milking action of the working muscle. So, the more forcefully a muscle contracts or the heavier you lift or the more tension is in the muscle, the greater the milking action. When that happens, as we know from that Starling’s law of the heart that I mentioned earlier, you create a need for increased cardiac output. So, what this means is that as you lift and you create greater and greater amounts of peripheral resistance, that automatically allows for greater cardiac output and an actual lower, what’s called central resistance because your cardiac output has gone up. That’s probably why the blood pressure post-training decreases. It’s also why the increase in blood pressure, particularly the peripheral blood pressure, that increases during the muscular contraction to stimulate the increased venous return actually allows for better blood flow through the heart and bigger cardiac output and lower overall blood pressure. It turns out in study after study where they’ve looked into this and even investigated it with catheters, they’ve found that the diastolic artery pressure and the diastolic pressure actually decreases as the peripheral resistance increases. So, resistance training produces this really positive cardiovascular changes, normalizes blood pressure, reduces high blood pressure. I’ll link to Doug McGuff’s book where he goes into this in detail. But ultimately, the other thing you should note, of course, is that long-term resistance training in cardiomegaly do not have any association. So not only is resistance training and weight training good for blood pressure, but unlike aerobic training it doesn’t even cause cardiomegaly or increase left ventricle size or muscle mass or thickness in the heart. I think it has a lot going for it.
I really like Doug McGuff’s idea in his book, “Body By Science,” that in fact, because of all this blood flow and cardiovascular change that’s occurring during weight training, it can count as cardio to a certain extent, especially if you use his system which is you lift very slow 10 seconds up 10 seconds down so you’re maintaining a lot of peripheral resistance and you’re maintaining a lot of blood flow into the muscle, trapping muscle or trapping blood and engorge muscle and then allowing it to return back to the heart. I read book, but ultimately, no heavy weight lifting can temporarily spike your peripheral blood pressure, not your central blood pressure but even that long-term is good for your cardiovascular system.
I’m not a doctor. Please, don’t misconstrue this as medical advice. You might have some underlying cardiac issue I don’t know about. I don’t want you to go lift and drop dead of a heart attack or have some a cardiovascular incidence and blame me. I think, everybody should get some screening. I think that’s just prudent to get a calcium scan or an echocardiogram and an exercise stress test at least, especially if you’re an older athlete. By defying older, it’s really anything above age 30. As long as you’re doing proper screening, I think the weight training benefits outweigh any cons.
Brock: You may not be a doctor but Doug McGuff is.
Ben: Yes, that’s true. Go read his book. Screw what I have to say. But don’t screw this, we always give away some really great swag on the show. This is the time of the show when we give away said swag. As a matter of fact, one of the best things you can do for our show is to subscribe in iTunes and to leave a review. That really helps the show out tremendously. Subscribe anywhere. I mean, Pandora, which we’re going to be on pretty soon. You can subscribe on Stitcher. You can subscribe and Overcast. Whatever, wherever you listen to podcast, but don’t just listen. Subscribe, because that helps the show a lot. So, that being said, if you do leave review in iTunes and we read your review on the show, we’re going to send you a wonderful gift pack straight to your front door, from my heart to yours. You just email [email protected] That’s [email protected] with your t-shirt size and we’ll ship that off to you. Brock, you want to take this one away?
Brock: I do. This one comes from Dmoney232. I love the title. “I wish Ben Greenfield was my dad.” Alright, “Ben Greenfield is the best place to go to be on the cutting-edge of science. If you want great advice years ahead of its time and then go to Ben Greenfield. He is the most knowledgeable host you can ask for, always baffling M.D.’s and Ph.D.’s with the sheer amount of technical information he prepares for his smart-cookie audience. Ben has seriously changed my life for the better physically, mentally and spiritually. He truly cares about people and goes the extra mile for his fans. I want to be Ben Greenfield when I grow up. He has been doing this for a long time and his older episodes are incredible as well. Also, best shownotes!!!!” Now, this is the best part. “Can’t forget to mention how awesome Brock is. Perfect yin to Ben’s yang. The Canadian sensation has the perfect witty banter and knowledgeable tips to make him the perfect co-host. Make more episodes with Brock because I freaking love that guy.” I freaking love you, Dmoney.
Ben: I just like that I’m the yang and you’re the yin. You’re the effeminate, loving, caring personality, and I’m the hardcore fitness guy. That’s great.
Brock: Yes, he nailed it.
Ben: Dmoney, that’s a great review. You do wish I was your dad because while we are podcasting right now, my kids are actually getting a massage. I bought them a massage today because I just wanted to see how they’d feel after they get a massage. I like to experiment [01:09:38] ______.
Brock: Just going to be like little noodles running around the house.
Ben: Yes, their only request was that they be allowed to keep their underwear on. I said yes, of course. I wanted them to feel.
Brock: I always keep my underwear on.
Ben: Yes, they’re literally out on the BioMat outside my office right now with Tracy, my massage therapist, working on their teeny tiny little muscles. But I did have them also get up this morning and do the Swiss military routine of Superman’s push-ups, squats and jumping jacks for about a half hour. So, they worked for their massage. They work for them.
Brock: And, of course, a micro-dosing with psilocybin.
Ben: Not that. But go listen to last week’s episode on “How to Raise Tiny Superhumans,” if you want to learn more about my child-rearing strategies. In the meantime, everything that we talked about today you can find over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/392. I have a turkey, I need to go hunt down and shoot. So, I’m going to go gobble-gobble out in the woods.
Brock: [gobbling like a turkey]
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: I can’t do a turkey imitation.
Ben: It’s close. That’s pretty good, sounds like a flailing elephant.
Brock: Yes, that’s closer.
Ben: Maybe a bunch of male elephants show up at your front door ready to make sweet hot elephant love to you. So, have fun with that, Brock. I’ll catch you all later on the flipside. Bye, bye.
Nov 22, 2018, Q&A Episode 392: What To Do When You Can’t Exercise, How To Fuel With Ketones For Long Runs, How Endurance Athletes Can Gain Muscle, and Is Heavy Lifting Bad For The Heart?
News Flashes [00:03:35]
- A new study in humans shows stem cell injections really do work to fight the process of aging.
- Here’s an interesting predictor of all-cause mortality…how well are you able to sit down on the floor and get up without using your hands?
- It’s actually quite surprising which food is the most satiating…potatoes!
- How to raise a less materialistic child (and a very good reason to visit ChristianGratitude.com if you haven’t yet).
You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, Instagram.com/BenGreenfieldFitness, Facebook.com/BGFitness, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Snapchat, and Google+.
Special Announcements [00:17:50]
This podcast is brought to you by:
– Kion Black Friday – No code required, just go to GetKion.com – Kion Intro Gift Bundle (Beyond Training, Kion Coffee) – $35.97, Recovery Bundle (Kion Aminos, Kion Flex, LivingFuel SuperEssentials Fish Oil) – $109.97, Daily Kion Life Bundle (Kion Aminos, Kion Coffee, Kion Bar, Kion Lean) – $139.97
– Clearlight Sauna – You can see all the Clearlight Jacuzzi saunas at HealwithHeat.com. Use code: BEN – and you’ll get $500 OFF the regular price of each sauna and a gift with purchase.
– FitVine Wine – FitVineWine.com they crush grapes, you crush life! (use discount code: BEN)
– GoshasOrganics.com – You get 10% off the entire purchase with the coupon code : BEN10% plus an additional 20% of each order will be given to the Whoolsey Fire victims in Malibu for the Los Angeles Fire Fighters Department and The Malibu Animal Shelter that saved many of our horses and other domestic animals.
–Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat, and get ready for some epic stories about his morning, day and evening routine!
– December 1, 2018: Spartan AT&T Park Stadium Sprint, San Francisco, California. Can you feel the energy, San Fran? Run around the concourse. Rope climb in the outfield. Do burpees in the dugout. Challenge yourself to three miles that will include 20+ signature obstacles. See you there!
– December 2 – 8, 2018: RUNGA Retreat, Dominican Republic. You’re invited to join me at RUNGA in December 2018. Join me in the Dominican Republic, one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean, for this retreat. In all RUNGA activities, RUNGA invites you to come home to yourself. To see everything you’ll be getting into, just click here. Use code BEN when you register so you get your gift when you arrive! I’ll be there, too. Join the waitlist here.
– December 14 – 16, 2018: World Congress 2018 Hosted by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, Las Vegas, Nevada. If you attend any conference this year, make it the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine’s 26th Annual World Congress. The fact is, in an era of andropause, low drive and deteriorating men’s health, it’s shocking that both practitioners and the public aren’t aware of ancestral wisdom and modern scientific and medical tactics that can be used to optimize male physiology. It’s time that changed, and I’ll be teaching exactly how to make men, men again. Join me!
– Jan 20 – 21, 2019: Serious Business Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana. This conference is going invoke thought and insight and expose you to new ideas and thinking on self-development and business in the beauty industry. Register here.
– April 6 – 7, 2019: FitCon Summit, Salt Lake City, Utah. FitCon® encourages everyone to Find Their Fit. It does not matter whether it is powerlifting, Crossfit, bodybuilding, roller derby, or even axe throwing. Be sure to visit the Kion booth in the expo!
Giveaways & Goodies [01:05:50]
-Grab your 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!
Listener Q&A [00:25:56]
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick.
What To Do When You Can’t Exercise [00:26:04]
Graeme says: I am having an op this week to repair an inguinal hernia. It is keyhole surgery where basically they place mesh over the affected areas. Exercise is my anti-depressant. I know I can’t do anything that stresses the core too much. Thought about indoor cycling and Compex. Any other thoughts on exercises I can do? Have been trying to think of strength exercises that DON’T engage the core but can’t think of many.
In my response, I recommend:
-John Ortberg “When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back Into The Box”
–How To Exercise With A Low Back Injury article
How To Fuel With Ketones For Long Runs [00:38:30]
Jessica says: I am a keto endurance runner and really enjoying the benefits. I am running a 7-day race in Feb (300km) and am wondering how I should be fueling to stay optimal for this? I am supposed to carry 2,200 calories with me per day. I am curious, how I can best get that all in there?
In my response, I recommend:
-My “How To Get Into Ketosis” article
–Kion Clean Energy Bar
–MCT or Brain Octane
–HVMN and Ketone Aid
-My “Fat-Based Energy Gels” article
How Endurance Athletes Can Gain Muscle [00:49:48]
Kennan says: I am a 17-year-old and next week I begin my final High School swim season. In the off-season, I have put mass and muscle (currently at 170 pounds). Is there any way I can continue to put on this muscle and mass while doing long endurance swims. How would I go about doing this? Any supplements I should take? Would a Keto Diet be a good idea to boost my performance and combat fatigue? Is the keto diet even ok for a teenager?
In my response, I recommend:
–Alex Viada & The Juggernaut Method of Training
–Hybrid Training book
–Weston A Price Dietary Guidelines
–Quicksilver Scientific Bitters #9
–Superessentials Fish Oil
Is Heavy Lifting Bad For The Heart [00:56:49]
Garrett says: I was wondering if heavy weight lifting could, over time, be bad for the heart? We know that it can spike blood pressure – can that cause problems over time? I like heavy lifting and I like what it does for my physique but I am worried about what it might do, long-term.
In my response, I recommend:
-Doug McGuff’s book “Body By Science”