Podcast from: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2017/07/craig-dinkelrecovery-for-aging-athletes-cross-patterning-a-new-kind-of-high-intensity-interval-training-an-oxygen-boosting-supplement-called-oxcia-more/
[04:44] About Craig Dinkel
[08:17] Cross-Body Pattering
[36:59] Quick Commercial Break/Orchestra One
[44:51] Combining L-Citrulline And Malate
[48:30] More On Craig's Supplement
[51:16] Stacking The Oxcia Supplement
[55:07] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, folks. It’s Ben Greenfield. And on today's show, we're going to talk about nutrients, we're going to talk about superfoods, we're going to talk about some hidden benefits of some different types of things that you can consume that you may not have heard of before. And of course any time I talk about stuff like this, I get some blowback from people who say, “Oh, why can't we just stick to simplicity? Why can't I just have my kale, and my hamburger, and a multi-vitamin?” And frankly, I derive a great deal of joy, and adventure, and pleasure from seeking out some of the coolest superfoods on the face of the planet and telling you guys about them in different ways that you can deliver them into your body, and I just think that's one of the coolest things about living on the planet Earth is just like folks who are into Hollywood will watch a whole bunch of different kinds of movies and not just one, and just like people who love extreme sports might delve into everything from spearfishing, to surfing, to cliff diving. I'm a fan of trying everything from grass-fed liver anhydrate, to cordyeps sinesis, to beet roots, to algae, and beyond. So I figured there's got to be a few other people out there who like to do this stuff like I do.
But in the meantime. speaking of trying out health conscious activities, this podcast is brought to you by a company called HealthIQ. It's pretty cool. Here's what they do: they use science and data to get you a lower rate on life insurance if you're someone who exercises regularly. They have actually cracked the code on how to figure out the best way to negotiate for you and drop your life insurance rate dramatically, and they're going to give everybody who listens in a free life insurance quote. Very simple, go to healthiq.com/ben, that's healthiq.com/ben.
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In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“Getting back to quality of the work, this is the day where you're doing pure, super high intensity, high quality work, and the only way to get that high quality work is to get the high rest that goes with it.” “You have vasodilation going on at this level and you're getting more blood to hard working muscles, you're getting more blood volume, and in my case, more blood volume and oxygen to hard working muscles. You're absolutely going to be performing better 'cause you're going to be having more of that octane going to your muscles that need it when you're working out.” “The primary thing it does for me, and I think that most people use it for, is to take advantage of the oxygen delivery capabilities of it.”
Ben: Hey, folks. It's Ben Greenfield, and in the podcast episode entitled, brace yourself, “Shattering World Swim Records On 25-Piece Fried Chicken Buckets, Climbing Mountains While Eating Defatted, Vegan, Grass-Fed, Argentinian Liver Anhydrate & Much More”, I interviewed this guy who's not only an athlete, but he's a mountain climber, he's a former collegiate and Olympic trials qualifying competitive swimmer, he's a supplement designer, and he knows a lot about everything from conditioning, to anti-aging, to keeping your blood oxygenated, which is what we talked about a lot during that podcast. His name is Craig Dinkel. And during that episode, we talked about this stuff called “Biotropic“, which is a special tablet Craig developed that has grass-fed liver anhydrate, cordyceps sinesis, beet root, chlorella from Lake Klamath in Oregon, and a whole bunch of different things that basically allow you to get all the benefits of blood doping without actually blood doping. I got a bunch of questions from that episode, and so Craig actually came back in the episode called “How To Legally Dope Your Blood (Without Actually Taking Illegal Drugs)”. And in that podcast, we took a deeper dive into some of the unique blood building formulations that Craig has designed.
And Craig is now back today. He has some things that he's been working on, a few different things. He's got a new form of high intensity interval training that he's been telling me about that I thought it would be cool to have him on the show to talk about, he's been getting into this form of conditioning called cross-body patterning, which is really interesting, and then he's also got another kind of product that he's been working on, specifically for producing more power, and for buffering lactic acid, and for allowing for enhanced recovery. And because this cat has such unique formulations that he creates, and his stuff in my opinion flies under the radar as far as not being the type of thing you'd read about in like Men's Health Magazine, or Women's Fitness, or whatever, I love to interview him about some of the stuff he finds, and to pick his brain about some of his biohacks, some of his protocols, and he's always got some interesting things that I don't hear from anybody else. So Craig, welcome back for the third time to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show.
Craig: It's just always great to talk to you. It's always a joy. You inspire me, and I love chatting with you. It's great to be here. Thank you.
Ben: Yeah, man. For sure. And you know what? I just want to jump right in. One of the first things that you told me was that you're getting into this form of training called cross-body patterning. And I'm curious about this because I want to know if it's kind of like this form of training I've been doing for my shoulders every week, I use these things called the Crossover Symmetry, and it's like these elastic bands, and I had a bunch of shoulder issues over the summer. I started using these Crossover Symmetry, and I shot a video for them, I'll put them in the show notes and I'll give you guys listening in the link to the show notes here in a little bit. But I keep these elastic bands in my office and I fixed my shoulders with this Crossover Symmetry training, which are like these elastic bands that you do external rotation, internal rotation, but the bands are kind of like in an X pattern as you work them so you feel as though they're pulling on your serratus, on your rhomboids, on some your inspiratory and expiratory muscles, and then on your obliques as you train with them. Is that a form of cross-body patterning? Or what are you talking about when you talk about cross-body patterning?
Craig: That sounds great, what you're doing there. But just first, real quick, just a minor correction on the intro there. The product that comes out of Klamath Lake is the AFA Product, not the chlorella. The chlorella, as you know, is a great detox tool, it's the AFA that comes out of Klamath. The cross-body pattern, I have a friend, a colleague in this business who introduced me to this. And we've been doing it, you and I, and lots of people have been doing it, I didn't really think of it as cross-body patterning. But the idea behind it is, the way it's explained to me and to the extent that I use it, it's a really great technique for, first of all, just switching it up and changing up your routine. It's a nice way to get around doing what you normally do, and it's important to have diversity in your training to shake up your muscles and shake you up a bit. What you described is an example of that. Another example of that would be skaters. So you know what those are, where you're standing on one side and you jump, let's say, with your right leg over to the right side, and you bring your left leg in, back of you. That'd be sort of a, you might call that an inverse cross-body pattern. You're still throwing that left leg across the center line of your body, and that's basically what defines it is when you're breaking the mid-line of your body, the center line of your body and exercising cross-body in that manner. So skaters would be a really, really good example of that.
Another one that would be a great example is something I've been doing for a long time, probably you as well, a lot of people listening, is a particular type of serratus and ab work where you're standing parallel to the cable machine, you lower the cable handle down to the floor level, not all the way down, but as low as you need to lower it for your height, get the weight where it needs to be, and you grab it low, grab a single handle with two hands, and you move across your body, well you step up out a bit from it to get some resistance on the cable, and then you move it from a low to high position. So you're moving from the lower right of your body to the upper left of your body, and a phenomenal movement for both serratus, it's also good for your arms and shoulders, but it's a great core workout as well. So that would be an example too for cross-body…
Ben: Yeah. It would be like a wood chopping exercise, for example, in reverse. And you can also go high to low with the cables across the body, right?
Craig: Yes, yes! Absolutely! Great. Simple and I hadn't thought of that. That's a really good idea. Yes, I'm going to start doing that.
Ben: Anything where you are unilaterally loaded actually has that cross-body patterning effect, now that I understand what it is that you're talking about. Sometimes I don't quite know the catch phrase for the type of motion that I'm doing, but one of my favorite exercises, do you do much with kettlebells, Craig?
Craig: Yeah. I hate kettlebells 'cause they're so good. They destroy me, and I do like them because I like things that make me hurt. That's just how I see this stuff. If you're smiling when you're working out, you're really probably not working out hard enough. So kettlebells to put me into that I-hate-this mode, and when I hate something, I'm really getting, you know what I mean?
Ben: Kind of. But I completely disagree with you. My belief now is I don't really like to do any type of workouts that I don't actually enjoy or feel good doing, and so I'm actually, I have the complete opposite thought. I think life's too short to be suffering while you're working out. I used to have that thought when I was an Ironman triathlete and used to pound the pavement all day long. But now I want my workouts to be running around in my forest, like an obstacle course training session, or swimming in the open water, but with my mask on while I'm looking at fish, or spear fishing, or bow hunting, or doing obstacle course races, and I always have a big smile on my face, or at least feel inside like have a big smile on my face while I'm doing that stuff.
So, no. I disagree. I don't like to suffer. But at the same time, I ask you about the kettlebells because one of my favorite exercises of late is you hold a kettlebell in what's called a bottoms-up position, which is actually really hard, you feel just about every muscle in your body working as you try to maintain the kettlebell with the handle held and the actual main mass of the bell up above the handle as you hold it overhead, and I'll do walking lunges or overhead squats with the kettlebell in just one hand. So you're loading the body unilaterally in kind of like an asymmetrical pattern, and that is, in a way it's a form of this cross-body patterning that you're talking about. But I'm a big fan of that. The other thing that I have are these, have you seen these Battlebags before?
Craig: Yes. I have. In fact, that's a primary tool that my colleague who introduced me to this stuff uses.
Ben: Yeah. So you can like take a Battlebag, and folks like our good friends at Onnit, they have these battle bags, for example, that's where I got mine, and you swing it from like your right hip up above your left shoulder, or from the left hip up above right shoulder, or for example, this is something I'll have my kids do, they'll grab a little sandbag, and I'll grab the battle bag, and you put on just one shoulder, and we'll run down the driveway and then come back up the driveway doing either, lunges, or walking, or trudging, or jogging with the Battlebag on just one shoulder, but I think what you're getting at with cross-body patterning basically is you're loading the body diagonally, or loading it unilaterally to create more complex spiral or diagonal patterns. And when you do that, you actually get a great deal, higher amounts, that was an interesting phrase, “great deal higher amount”.
Craig: It works. I know what you're saying.
Ben: You know what I'm saying. Of nervous system stimulation and coordinated motion through timing. Plus it's a little bit more complex, it kind of spins the dials in your brain a little bit more. But for anybody who's not familiar with cross-body patterning, I'll put a link in the show notes to this Crossover Symmetry video that I shot, which shows you exactly how I use these really simple elastic bands in my office to do cross-body patterning primarily for the core and for the shoulders, and for me it works really well. The other thing that you told me about, Craig, was this stuff called, it's a different form of high intensity interval training. I believe you called it, it's hard to pronounce, HIIQT? High intensity interval quality training, HIIQT?
Craig: Yeah. Look, I come from the world of sprinting and one of the reasons the formulations that I've used and had success with are all-around blood oxygen and things like that was because I was a sprinter and is always looking to get more air, better blood flow, more oxygen, any way to improve that performance. And along those lines, so there's high intensity interval training which we're all familiar with, we'll talk about that in a second, but the quality training is something that as a swimmer on a high level, it's a particular type of training that we do to increase speed, it's very, very serious and difficult kind of training, speaking of pain, this is probably why I relate to hard workouts because when I go back to the years when I was competing, everything had to be that way. And even though I'm an older guy now, I still sort of measure I how I get around in everyday life by how hard I train. And so that's why my training has to be generally harder than hell for me to feel like I'm getting something out of it. But high quality training would look something like this, I'll give you a couple of examples for swimming, which I'm most familiar with. It'd be part of a mid-season routine 'cause it's very hard. So an average sprinter might go say somewhere between 5 and 7,000 yards a meter per workout depending on the time of season and where they're at. So that's a lot of yardage, it's a lot of work, and it's going to have a combination of…
Ben: It's a lot of freaking sensory deprivation too.
Craig: Yeah. It really is. Very well said, it is exactly that. Swimmers play in their heads all the time because of the sensory deprivation. So they spend a lot of times working in their minds when they're in the water 'cause it's a very lonely sport as you said. But the upside to high quality training, or quality training, is that that yardage drops to, again depending on the coach, depending on the time of season, depending on who you are, maybe 3,000 yards, which for a sprinter is nothing. That's nothing because a thousand of those yards are going to be taken up by warm up, so all that's left is about two grand. 2,000 is not a workout in most people's mind, but now let's take those 2,000 yards and let's do it like this: let's say that we're going to go a slow set, or low set, low number of 10/100 sprints, and you're going to do those all out, 10 of these all out. And perhaps you'll do 75 yards with everything you have, all out, you'll hit the wall at the 75 point, you'll take five seconds rest just to catch some air, and then go back all out to the other end there. That's one version of it.
Another version of it is simply 100 yards all out and you get five minutes of rest. So that's where the quality idea comes in. It's a little different than traditional high intensity interval training where, for example on a treadmill, the way I do it on a treadmill is I spend about three or four, five minutes, maybe six minutes warming up, just walking, just getting my body ready for it, and I amp up to a particular level and I run at a low level for one minute, and then I rest for 20 seconds, and I go up a full point and do it for a minute, and then rest for 20 seconds. And I do this all the way up to the highest level that I can take, which is usually around 12 or 13 on a treadmill, I'm running pretty hard and I'm dying, and it's a pyramid routine. And so that's a high intensity training routine, it's just another way to shake up your training.
Ben: So the difference is you're going extremely short and focusing very, very much on form, so you're going like 10 to 30 seconds of length for the interval length?
Craig: On this high intensity interval training comparison, but getting back to the quality work, what you're doing here is you're trying to take advantage of everything that your body has to give and you're slowly taking all the life and energy out of you by going all out, and you take maybe five minutes, for example. I used to do these on a five minute rest period. Now typically, just to give you a comparison, when you do a sprint workout with, let's say again 10 100s, you might do those on one minute and you'd come in at maybe 55 seconds, depending again on the athlete, but you might come in on 55 seconds, get five seconds rest, which isn't that bad when you're very a highly tuned athlete, and then continue that routine. And even though there's very little rest on that, a really well tuned athlete can manage those five seconds very well through. It's high intensity, it's tough, and you've got to make the send off, which is only one minute, but five seconds isn't all that bad over a series of 10.
But getting back to the quality of work, this is a day where you're doing pure super high intensity, high quality work, and the only way to get that high quality work is to get the high rest that goes with it, not the 30 seconds on the HIIT example I gave a second ago, a minute off, 30 seconds rest, or 20 seconds rest, or rather a minute on 30 seconds, rest, to 20, rest, a minute on, 20, a minute on 20, so on. Here you're taking five full minutes to get as close to full recovery as you can, but not total recovery so that when you do that second sprint, you've got your rest back, you're feeling better, and then you do that again. And by the third hundred, by only 300 yards, remember we've only warmed up a thousand at this point, it's only a 3,000 yard work out, but at this point, maybe 1300 yards into the workout, and you're shaking, you're vibrating at the end of that third 100, and you got to get these seven more of those, and the whole purpose of that particular type of training is to really press your body into discomfort, some of that mimics what it's like at the end of the race, so you're always putting yourself into some kind of oxygen debt or heavy lactic acid build-up from probably number four of these on because you're just tired at this point no matter what kind of condition you're in, you're all out. But they also really, really do a hell of a job at massively increasing your speed for sprinters. So that's what that looks like.
Ben: It sounds very similar, I have this article, and I'll link to it in the show notes, about mitochondria and activating mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle, and in one particular study, what they did was something very much like this, they did four, just four 30 seconds all out cycling sprints, but each one was separated by four minutes of rest, and all they were doing that was three times a week. So four, and they went up to six over the course of the study, 30 second bouts with four minutes of rest, which sounds easy, but you were going at 120% of VO2Max, so as hard as possible on each of those 30 second sets, and they found a significant increase in mitochondrial biogenesis from that. They did another study that was very similar, and for that one they did three sets of five four second treadmill sprints, just four seconds, and they had 20 seconds rest between those, but we're talking about like a 1:5, up to a 1:10 work to rest ratio. And it sounds to me like that that's how you're defining this HIIQT, or high intensity interval quality training is you're going very, very, very hard on the efforts, but they're short, they're like using your creatine phosphogenic system, so extremely short, but then a long recovery periods in between each, so you're devoting a ton of quality to each interval.
Craig: Yeah. Look, the most fun I ever had with this routine was training for a Ragnar Relay. We've talked a little bit about that. I do those once in a while, and I took my brothers. I've got a family like yours, and I took my brothers out to a track and I said, “Look, this is how we're going to do,” sorry I'm laughing, it's still a funny story to me. I took 'em out on a track and said, “Look boys, this is how we're going to do this, and we're only going to be six of these,” just like you described, the bicycle is doing four to six. So I said, “We're only going to do six of these, we're going to run 100 yards, we're going do a little different, we'll start at 80%, but we'll get up to 90 and 100. So by the third one, we'll be at a hundred, we'll have maybe three more of these to go at 100% and we're going to,” and this was a big track, this was a quarter mile track. This was not a small track.
So we did that, and by the time we got to, and the rest was walk the track, as slow as you possibly can walk that quarter mile. We're talking a lot of rest. A lot of rest. So I said, “Listen, that's what we're going to do.” My oldest brother looked at me with a smirk and he said, “This is way too much rest, Craig. We need to be working harder.” I looked and I said, “Listen, just trust me. You don't know what you're talking about. Just follow my lead here. And if it doesn't work you can do your own thing, but give it a shot.” I think it was the second, literally the next one, the next hundred yards we did at 90%, it just so happened to be a restroom at the end of the sprint that we were doing, and he did the sprint, and he ran into the restroom, and we didn't see him for two more sprints while he emptied his guts and gained significant respect for this particular type of training.
Ben: The other thing that I've been doing that actually is kind of a form of interval training, and I think this will be right up your alley, Craig, because you and I have talked a lot about oxygenation and improving erythropoietin production on the podcast in our previous episodes, I've been using this hypoxia, hyperoxia training device in my office. And what it is it's a giant bag, and it's kind of annoying 'cause you got to flip it on like an hour before your workout, kind of like a sauna. Once you get used to it and just plan your work out ahead of time, you could flip it on. But it collects all the air from my office or from my home and then super concentrates the oxygen inside this giant bag, that's why you got to turn on for like an hour. And then I've got my exercise bike set up next to this thing, and there's a mask attached to the bag. And what I do is when I flip the, it's got a little handheld device that brings air in and out of the bag, and when I put this handheld device on “+”, it gives me 100% pure oxygen to breathe, and then when I put it on “-“, it sucks just about all the oxygen out of the air, so it'll simulate like 16 to 18,000 feet.
And the idea behind it is that you go back and forth between extreme amounts of low oxygen and extreme amounts of the high oxygen, it's called exercise with oxygen therapy. And what that does is it vasoconstricts and then vasodilates your capillaries and your blood vessels as you train. So you get this massive surge of nitric oxide, you get all the benefits of like hypoxic training, and then you get these huge doses of oxygen to the brain. So a typical protocol would be like you'd do 15 seconds of hypoxia while sprinting, and then 15 seconds of hyperoxia while sprinting, and then you go back to 30 seconds, and you recover while you're in this hypoxic state. It's like a 15-minute workout, but the effects stick with you for like two or three days in terms of feeling this huge amount of oxygenation to tissue. It's called a LiveO2, and it's not cheap. It's like five, six thousand dollar standalone unit that you would place next to an exercise device, but dude, this thing like flips interval training on its head in terms of the value that you get out of it. You would dig this thing.
Craig: Oh, yeah. I'm familiar with it. It's terrific, and I related to do it immediately when it was described to me, because again I'm very familiar with hypoxic training, did more of it than I like to remember, on top of the water and under the water, it's a big part of swimming, and it's great training. It's one of the other things you can do to increase red blood cell production in the body is going on hypoxic, either getting up to altitude, which is effectively what you're doing when you do that, or going to altitude, or swimming and doing hypoxic work in the water. So, yeah, I think that's great stuff.
Ben: Yeah. A lot of different ways you can induce hypoxia or hyperoxia, from restricted breathing in the water, like for example I'll go for open water swim sometimes where I'll swim steady, but I'll breathe every two strokes, then every four strokes, then every six strokes. You can use like those training masks which you don't simulate elevation, but at least restrict some oxygen that you're breathing in. You can use like a PowerLung, which provides resistance to your inspiratory and expiratory muscles. So a lot of ways that you can play with oxygen.
But one of the things that you've got, Craig, is this thing I wanted to talk to you about that, I know you're a mad scientist and you're always looking into these different formulas that one can use to build blood, or deliver high volume blood oxygenation, or even, like I was just talking about vasodiation, one of the things that you were talking to me about was this new formulation that you're working on, and it actually has one of the things in it. I don't know if told you this but when I was bodybuilding, like one of the things that we knew would give us an enormous pump, and I would eat like a half of a whole one of these before I'd head into the gym, was watermelon, just like a great big old watermelon. And it was because of a component in the watermelon called l-citrulline, l-citrulline. Tell me a little bit about l-citrulline and what you've found in terms of what it can do, either for athletes or people who want that, kind of like that “Viagra for the whole-body effect”.
Craig: Yeah, that's another, I wasn't going to necessarily go there, but you did, and it does have that, you could even say primary effect. I don't have it in my product here for that reason, but again not so secondarily it does have that Viagra effect. And the other thing is as far as getting l-citrulline, you picked the right fruit of all the fruits. Watermelon has highest amount of any of it out there that I know of, and I've done a lot of research on it, and is the best source you can possibly get for l-citrulline. And l-citrulline is the cleanest material you can get in terms of building out the nitric oxide production in your body. Arginine used to be the material of choice, but it goes through a harder road of digestion than citrulline does.
Ben: So arginine would normally be, that'd be like the supplement that people would buy to get like the pump right? Usually you'd buy like l-arginine, or another one would be l-ornithine, right?
Craig: Yes, that's correct. But the catch with that is that, believe it or not, even though citrulline is converted to arginine in the body, it's done quicker and more cleanly than the body does by itself naturally. So arginine is not the way to go anymore, citrulline is the way to go and it sounds like you knew that anecdotally. And that's, by the way, why I listen to athletes tell me, “Hey, Ben. What should I use? What are you using that's working?” We talked about this in our earlier podcast because athletes always know, they always know what's working for them, and they know what to pass on, and it's important to do the research and know what's out there that is scientifically backed or clinically backed, and a lot of stuff that has great research akin to that is just what you just said, what your own personal experience, and that's why athletes listen to athletes. But l-citrulline is a much cleaner material that goes through the body differently than arginine does. It bypasses the liver altogether and converts much more [0:29:24] ______ one study I found showed that citrulline actually uptakes at a much higher rate, like 80% of it relative to arginine, which has a much, much lower rate. So again, you picked the right fruit to get the right product to go more cleanly, and more quickly, and convert more quickly into nitric oxide in your body than anything else that I know of that's available.
Ben: So it's obviously a crap ton of sugar and fructose to eat an entire watermelon, or even half of a watermelon, along with of course the bloating and the water retention that you can get from that. That's why I, eventually when I was bodybuilding, I converted into just like l-citrulline supplementation, and of course as we alluded to, it's actually used a pro-erectile agent used for men with erectile dysfunction too. But when it comes to citrulline and how you would actually get it if you weren't going to do something like melon, tell me about dosage and also I'm curious if it's important to choose like an l-citrulline source versus just regular citrulline.
Craig: L-citrulline is the way to go. That's a naturally occurring form of it, so you want the l-citrulline. Oh, another thing that's really important to know too that it also has properties that improve or remove the ammonia in your blood. So, you can get the ammonia out of your bloodstream, you're going to recover better too. So it's very well-documented to do that as well. It also has a, well you've really covered it, a very good and healthy effect on high blood pressure as well. You've asked a really, really good question that's been close to my heart for a long, long time, this goes back to the very very beginning of supplementation for me, dosage. And I've done so much research on proper dosage and I see what people say out there, but again this comes back to the athlete side of things. You're talking to a guy who is a megadosing guy in my day. I don't megadose anymore, I do what I call smart dosing. I try to find the lowest possible dose that will give me the maximal effect, and that takes some personal testing to do, and I build all of my stuff on the clinical trial for my materials, and when I put them out there, they've worked on me to the point, with the ratios that are in there are such, that they have the effect that people are looking for.
And so that's how I build this stuff. I do take into account some of the information out there about dosing, and it's anywhere from one to, again this is all open to debate, and that's why I say it's highly personal and I really think that you should get to the point where you're finding out for yourself what works for you, but one to five milligrams a day of this stuff is what they say. So that's a pretty wide spread. And so I say ignore it. That's just what I did. Everyone's got to figure it out for themselves, but just getting back to my point here, I was megadosing like crazy and I never got a good effect from megadosing.
Ben: On citrulline, you mean?
Craig: On every product I that ever used to get the biggest hit, whatever it was I was using. The point I'm making about megadosing is that personally and speaking for myself, and a lot of the athletes that I've worked with, we just find that megadosing just gets excreted from the body, and you're blowing a lot of money, and you really gotta find, you've got to do the opposite. You can't start at megadosing, you've got to start at the lowest possible dose that you think will have an effect on you and build up from there until you know what works. So as far as dosing goes, I've built mine around a one milligram tablet that has appropriate ratios in there for citrulline, l-citrulline to malic acid, which we're going to get to in a second, and cordyceps, which is in there also.
Ben: Okay. So l-citrulline, basically that the main thing that it does is it's a vasodilator, very similar to like if you're eating watermelon without the actual calories, because it's a precursor for arginine, which is involved in the vasodilation of blood vessels. But you said was it helps you to remove waste products like lactic acid and ammonia. What about trials in terms of like bodies in the streets? Like that's great that it might vasodilate, but have they actually investigated athletes to look into improved performance, or improved power output, or improved endurance? That's always my question with supplements, right? Like yeah they might increase blood vessel vasodilation, but do they actually cause, or are there studies that show an increase in actual performance?
Craig: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. L-citrulline has very strong, very, very strong documentation in the academic study that absolutely show its help in athletic performance, aside from being something you could take for blood pressure or, as you mentioned earlier, the vasodilation for ED. But yes, absolutely, very strong evidence out there that it works that way. You are taking it, so there is great anecdotal evidence. I think you were saying it worked for you, so we know both anecdotally and based on research data that it does have a very strong effect. And that can be researched yourself, just check it out yourself and figure that out, but you can also click on my studies page. Because every time I create a formula I take the time to have the appropriate scientist, “scientist” on my team do the academic research to make sure it's all good and above board, and I put it out there so people can read it there on the page and link out to those, not only what they say about improving athletic performance, but the mechanisms also, the actual mechanism behind what makes it work.
Ben: Alright. So fill me in. What are the studies?
Craig: I know what these things do. I generally never remember the details of the studies other than at a high level, which very clearly states that when you have vasodilation going on at this level and you're getting more blood to hard working muscles, you're getting more blood volume, and in my case more, blood volume and oxygen to hard working muscles. You're absolutely going to be performing better 'cause you going to be having more of that octane going to your muscles that need it when you're working out.
Ben: Yeah. I mean what I've seen is you get about a 20 to 25% force output, increase in force output. And in that study, they were dosing at about three grams per kilogram of citrulline, which is a lot of citrulline when we're talking about megadosing, but I saw a pretty significant increase in force and power output in one study. There was another study that they did with treadmill subjects. And in that, there was an extremely significant reduction in time to exhaustion. So again that was I think close to about three grams of cirtulline, if you guys are listening in for dosage, three grams of l-citrulline, which is a lot more, I believe, than you get from eating like a half or a whole watermelon. But that one was that one was pretty interesting. And then at lower dosages I think like one to one and a half milligrams, that's where you see the decrease in blood pressure and some of the increase in vasodilation.
One of the other things incidentally that this can be used for that I didn't tell you about, Craig, that I'm familiar with l-citrulline and also with any of these other like nitrate precursors that open up the blood vessels is anybody who does like sauna protocols for detoxification, or for increasing cardiovascular blood flow, or increasing the production of heat shock proteins, anything you take that vasodilates prior to that can increase the efficacy of something like a sauna session. So if you wake up in the morning and you have like some caffeine with some supplement that has citrulline in it and you hit the sauna, you can actually see a really significant increase in detoxification and fat cell lysing from the use of any of these vasodilators.
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Ben: Anything interesting in terms of the formula as far as like where you get the l-citrulline? Are you getting it literally from watermelon?
Craig: Yeah. I'll go this far, I did mention this to you offline that I'm concerned that my competitors figure it out, but I'll say this: yes, it comes from the actual source. I can't, I want to explain to the audience why this particular product is above and beyond what's available in the market, but if I do that, then my competitors are going to figure out what I'm doing right away and probably copy it. Yes though. I'll go that far to say, yeah, this is from watermelon, and we'll get in here to the malic, or malate, in a second here, and it is from apples, which is the highest form.
Ben: So you literally like get l-citrulline that's been harvested from watermelon, and then you combine that, and I want to ask you about malic acid a second, but you combine that with malic acid, which you're harvesting from apples?
Ben: That's really interesting.
Craig: Yeah. That's the only way to do it. But there's one more step in the process that makes it very special, which I sort of jokingly called the trade secret. It's really not. Anyone can figure it out if they're willing to do the hard research, and dig in real deep, and find out, but for now let's just say that it is a special formula, and people should try it, and…
Ben: Okay. So tell me about why there's malic acid in. What's malic acid do?
Craig: Well, the reason I have malic acid in there also is because it's pretty well-known to give a really good one-two punch when used with l-citrulline. And malic acid is, I know you know, is something that helps the body produce more energy in the form of ATP. So it's a significant part of the Krebs cycle. So the reaction of the vasodilation along with the production of ATP is what I call a one-two punch. I mean I think of it as a trident, actually, 'cause we'll get to the final ingredient and why I'm using that in a second here, but that's why malic acid is in there, so I can have not only the vasodilation going on, so more of that good stuff go into your muscles, but take advantage of the ATP production of the malic acid.
Ben: I thought malic acid was more like an antioxidant?
Craig: It is that too. It is as well. But it also produces ATP. Check it out.
Ben: Okay. Interesting. I'll look into it. Does it act as like a precursor for ATP production? I mean it is getting broken down into ATP precursors, or is just like increasing activity in the Krebs cycle?
Craig: In the Krebs cycle, what I understand it to do is it releases stored energy through oxidation of acetyl-COA. Do you know aceytl-COA? Are familiar with that?
Ben: Yeah. Acetyl-COA? Yeah.
Craig: And it converts that energy into the form of ATP.
Ben: Okay. Gotcha. So it would drop ammonia levels and increase ATP simultaneously?
Ben: Okay. Interesting.
Craig: I can always count on you to make it more sense than I can.
Ben: Yeah. So when you're referring to malic acid, that's the same as l-malate, right? ‘Cause a lot of times, you'll see it advertised or in supplements as l-malate, but you're calling it malic acid?
Craig: Correct. That's right.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So that's harvested from apples, literally. From like the flesh of apples?
Craig: Yes. By the way, it is an ingredient in watermelon also.
Ben: What studies have been done on malic acid as far as like any of the other benefits from it?
Craig: I think of malic acid primarily as an ATP producer. So I have no doubt, maybe I should do a little more research on it and figure out what are some of the other great things that it does for the body, but the primary reason I have it in there is strictly for the ATP production.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Well I mean as an antioxidant, obviously it has some benefits in terms of limiting the production of reactive oxygen species, but I know when you look at most of the studies that have been done on malic acid, what I see primarily has a similar effect is creatine, meaning a higher number of repetitions and in exercises like the squat, the bench press that you do see a decrease in muscle soreness in a few different studies. And then a few studies in athletes, like tennis players, where they saw an increase in power and in grip strength, which again is a lot of the similar things that you'll see with something like creatine. The difference between malic acid, or malate, and creatine being that malic acid as you alluded to, causes a little bit more of like a vasodilatory effect, similarly to citrulline. What about when you combine citrulline with malate? Like when you combine l-citrulline with malate? Have any studies been done that have looked into combining the two or putting the two together like you have?
Craig: Yes, absolutely. Pretty well what you're hearing is what I'm telling you here is that you gain this one-two punch. I do want to add in what you said there, it is true and I didn't know, I didn't think to add it in there. When you ask me questions about science, I tend to the science part is out of my realm. But you're absolutely right, it reduces muscle tenderness and it does assist with soft tissue recovery as well. But getting to your question, absolutely. There are a lot of citrulline-malic acid compounds out there for the very reason that we're talking about here, because it does provide that one-two punch and it does people get a good blood flow lift. And often it's used as a pre-workout, as a pre-workout supplement.
Ben: Yeah. It's good pre-workout, it's good pre-sex, it's good pre-sauna, like anything that has like intense vasodilatory effect like that. So if any of you are listening and you haven't tried stacking l-citrulline with malate, it's actually a pretty cool stack in terms of blood flow. You talked, Craig, about something else that you threw in there to increase the efficacy of this combination of citrulline and malate. Tell me a little about that.
Craig: Alright. I love cordyceps sinesis because cordyceps does a lot of great things too. But the primary thing it does for me, and I think that most people use it for, is to take advantage of the oxygen delivery capabilities of it. And as we talked about in the previous discussion, there are these polysaccharides and long sugar chains that it has, and when they get into the body, they're released on a cellular level, so it helps the body utilize and create more oxygen. So once again, if you have that working with a vasodilator and the ATP production, then what I'm trying to do is get more power, more oxygen, and more blood to muscles when you're working. So I've added cordyceps to this, really again primarily for the oxygen delivery capabilities. It also has an ATP producer in it also, but it's primarily the oxygen delivery capabilities that I like with the cordyceps.
Ben: Where are you getting the cordyceps? Like how is that harvested?
Craig: Well it's Tibetan cordyceps. It's organic codyceps sinesis. It's the real deal.
Ben: Tibetan like from Tibet?
Ben: Okay. Interesting. So when you're adding the cordyceps, essentially what you're doing is your enhancing the ability to be able to utilize oxygen, so you're increasing vasodilation and then activating, cordyceps is almost like an adaptogen in a way. I know it activates not only ATP production, but the adrenal activation of lung tissue. And so you see, that's why I see a lot of Sherpas and folks like that using cordyceps. I know the Chinese women's track and field team swears by this stuff, and a lot of the athletes in China use it and they seem to do pretty well at the Olympics. But yeah, so the increase in ATP though is something a lot of people don't talk about with cordyceps, but you actually do see, I know there's one study that they did where it went up by almost 30%, the increase in adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, with the use of cordyceps. So essentially what you're looking at, it sounds to me like big picture is when you combine these three increased ATP, along with increased vasodilation, increased buffering of lactic acid, increase buffering of ammonia, and this Viagra-like effect for the whole body, along with the increase in actual energy production and the production, or the availability of Krebs cycle intermediates.
Craig: That's correct. Ben, I couldn't have said it better.
Ben: Okay. So tell me how you combine all these three. Is this like one supplement in like a tablet form that all of these come in? Like fill me in on how you actually implement all these and take them.
Craig: Yeah, I didn't go with a powder form, powder is typical, and I didn't go with the powder form I wanted the tablet form and experimented with that for a while to try to get something closer to a long release. So instead of taking it an hour before workout as a powder form in a drink and getting a big hit, going and getting the pump that a lot of people get, I wanted to try to create a situation where in a tablet form, even if they have to crush it up, it's a little different if they crush it up, but get a sustained release of this stuff. So that's why I chose to put it in tablet form in the hopes that people would get a better hit over a longer period of training cycle using it. So that's why it's in that form.
Ben: And how soon before exercise, or before a sauna, or before sex would you take something like this?
Craig: Well, I'd still stay with the basic protocol for that. I think that you should have it in your body but an hour before you do any of this stuff, good healthy hour before you get to a work out.
Ben: Okay. Got it. And you've got all these studies online on your website, and I'll link to it, but you call this stuff Oxcia?
Craig: Yeah. I call it Oxcia. The reason I use that word is that, the correct spelling is O-X-I-A, and Oxcia is a word that means…
Craig: That's the name of my product, O-X-C-I-A, Oxcia. But the correct spelling of it is O-X-I-A, and it's just a word that means oxygen producing, so I just added a “C” in there.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Just randomly added the “C” in?
Ben: Okay. Got it.
Craig: It looked it read better to me. It looks like it read better.
Ben: Alright. Oxcia. TM. Okay, cool. So this Oxcia, it's the combination of l-citrulline, l-malate, and cordyceps sinesis? And I know that you're offering the folks who are listening in, is it a 20% discount to try out this stuff?
Craig: Yeah. 20%.
Ben: And free shipping?
Ben: Okay. The code is Ben, we'll put the link in the show notes, but I think you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/oxcia, O-X-C-I-A. I’ll put a link to the Oxcia formula and the Oxcia supplement along with some of the other stuff we talked about, like Crossover Symmetry, and this hypoxia-hyperoxia device that I use, and some of the other things that Craig and I touched on, but I did have another question for you, Craig. You have like your other blood doping, blood building supplement, this Biotropic stuff. Was this designed, this Oxcia, to be stacked with that, or is there too much crossover? ‘Cause I know the other stuff has like cordyceps in it and some of these other vasodilatory compounds. Have you stacked them? Have you tried stacking them? Or should this be taken standalone?
Craig: That's a good question. The reason I developed this is that the other two products do have a blood oxygen theme, they have two different prime movers in it, we've talked about that, AFA versus chlorella, and each of those do different things. But those two products are beefed up with a lot of other health. They have immune properties in them they have the B suite, the healthy B suite vitamin going on there, vitamin complex going on there. There's a whole lot of other neat things that go on in the other products. I designed this to be a very simple, initially I called it, I don't know it's too strong here, but “Brute Force Oxygen Delivery System” and changed it to something more pleasant so it's less scary, a pure force. So this is just a simple, clean product that's designed to do really one thing, and that's vasodilate, and deliver energy and oxygen to your muscles when they're working out. There's none of that other stuff in there that supports immunity that athletes often need, and as I say, the B suite, which is a really, really great complex. So this is just a brilliantly simple delivery system for just oxygen and vasodilation, nothing else. That's all it's designed to do.
Ben: Okay. Got it. And one bottle of this will last like a month? It looks like it's around, a little under 50 bucks?
Craig: Yes. That's correct.
Ben: And then if people use the code, they can save 20% off that, so basically like 40 bucks-ish.
Craig: Yeah. And with the shipping, it's reduced significantly too from there. It's like another, an additional five. With the free shipping, it adds up to something close to 25% off.
Ben: Cool. Well I want to try it, man. I mean full disclosure, I haven't tried it yet, but I'm very, very interested. I want to throw some down before a sauna, I want to throw some down before sex, I want to throw some down before a workout, and I want to get a pump and see what happens, see how it compares to all that watermelon I used to eat when I was bodybuilding.
Craig: I know you're going to love it. You're a triathlete, you know your body really well, and I have a feeling it's going to work as well in you as it does on me. I think you'll like it. I'll get it to you as soon as I can.
Ben: Alright, man. I'll give it a go. And in the meantime, if you guys are listening in, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/OXCIA, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/OXCIA, and I'll put a link in the show notes to this new formula, along with the discount code, which is simple, it's Ben, along with some of the other things that we talked about, like the LiveO2 system I have here in my office, my article on high intensity interval training, some of the stuff Craig talked about and I talked about as far as cross-body patterning and high intensity interval quality training. Craig, it's always interesting to get you on the show and hear the things you've been up to in your mad scientist lab there.
Craig: Well, you're a blast. I always enjoy this, I always look forward to it, and thanks for taking the time. I appreciate it.
Ben: Alright, folks. Until next time, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Craig Dinkel signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
In the podcast episode “Shattering World Swim Records On 25-Piece Fried Chicken Buckets, Climbing Mountains While Eating Defatted, Vegan, Grass-Fed, Argentinian Liver Anhydrate & Much More” I interviewed athlete, mountain climber, former collegiate and Olympic trials qualifying competitive swimmer and supplement designer Craig Dinkel about a special blood oxygenating formula called “Biotropic”.
After that interview, I received an onslaught of questions about everything from grass fed liver anhydrate to cordyceps senesis to hidden benefits of beetroots, the detoxification properties of algae, whether it's really true you can get all the benefits of blood doping without actually blood doping and more.
So Craig came back in the podcast “How To Legally Dope Your Blood (Without Actually Taking Illegal Drugs).“, and in that podcast, we took a deep dive into the unique blood building formulation Craig has designed.
Now Craig returns for a third time to take a deep dive into a new formulation called “Oxcia” (use code “ben” to get a 20% discount and free shipping), and to also talk about recovery for aging athletes, cross-body patterning, a form of high intensity interval training called “HIIQT” and much more!
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-A form of training called cross-body patterning, and exactly how Craig implements it…[8:10]
-The difference between HIIT and High Intensity Interval Quality Training (HIIQT)…[14:10]
-The machine Ben has in his office to hyperoxygenate his body and also to stimulate altitude…[23:20]
-The one fruit that simulates Viagra and gives you a full body “pump”…[27:10]
-How citrulline can be used to significantly enhance power and force output during exercise…[33:15]
-The single component found in apples that can increase ATP production and vasodilation…[41:30]
-The mushroom extract that also increases ATP and activation of lung tissue that can be combined with other vasodilators…[46:00]
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
–The LiveO2 system Ben uses in his office (use code BEN ti save $300!)
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-Orchestra One – BenGreenfieldFitness.com/orchestra and Use code BEN for 6 months of Orchestra One FREE (valued at $120)
-HealthGains – Text the word “GREENFIELD” to 313131 to receive a $150 voucher toward your first GAINSWave treatment at any of the 60 participating physicians nationwide. Or go to GAINSWAVE.com and click ‘Find A Doctor' to locate a GAINSWave provider near you.