[00:00:00] Too Much of a Good Thing
[0:05:45] CBDs As One of My Favorite Molecules
[0:11:16] Tolerance for Caffeine
[0:13:42] Dangers of Grapefruit Juice Extract
[0:14:14] Our Lack of BDNF
[0:19:47] The Supplement Company That is Kion
[00:35:07] Capitalization for Kion
[00:39:07] Smart Business Moves
[0:46:13] Writing a Life-changing Book
[0:52:32] Magic of Love and Legacy
[0:56:51] Science and the Bible
[1:06:28] What are They Hiring Ben Greenfield for?
[1:14:28] Mitigating Jet Lag
[1:22:55] Anti-aging and Longevity
[1:34:06] All About Fasting
[1:48:53] What will Ben Eliminate?
[1:51:17] More about Colostrum
[1:53:57] Messing Around with Cholesterol
[1:57:18] Sodium Manipulation
[2:09:16] Being the Pseudo-Science Guy
[2:21:03] End of Podcast
Adam: They got a bunch of [censored] going on right now because of the pollution that’s happening from all these nicotine vapor pens and stuff. It’s getting out of control and the amount of kids that are…
Sal: Oh, because of the air.
Ben: Yeah, I mean and those things are just chockfull of propylene glycol, most of them. I’ve got reservations about that.
Adam: Crazy, right?
Ben: [0:00:23]_______ hyper concentrated amounts of THC in some of those vape pens.
Ben: I mean, way more.
Adam: I have a cousin who actually produces for the pens and vape produces clear and clear is 99% pure. So, the THC levels are just [censored] insane. Some 100% THC.
Ben: I’m all about better living through science but once you get to the point where you’re isolating an unnaturally high level of an extra. It’s just like essential oils. I mean, a lot of them is bad for you.
Ben: If you’re consuming the equivalent of like 20 turmeric roots from a few drops of turmeric essential oil which is essentially what that is, that’s a lot of turmeric.
Adam: That’s what we do, right. We find a little bit of science that supports something. Well, positive benefits and then we abuse the [censored] out of it.
Sal: It’s hard to overdose on an individual compound when you take it in its natural form. Very easy to do when you extract it. Try to eat too much enough food, you have too much vitamin A in your system.
Sal: [0:01:31]_____ bark.
Ben: Yeah. Even in the world of nootropics like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, right? And, St John’s Wort is a perfect example, very good natural anti-depressant. River and Teran and I actually harvested a bunch of St John’s Wort.
Sal: Dude, really?
Ben: We concentrated it.
Sal: You find it naturally growing?
Ben: It’s a beautiful little yellow flower with a little bit of oil in the bud and you can harvest it. It’s very easy to pick, very easy to identify. You just put it in vodka for four weeks and then you strain it. We did like a mortar and pestle beforehand with the flour in the bud and then the leaf, you put it into the vodka and then you strain that and that goes into a little dropper bottle that works as an SSRI.
Adam: Shut up.
Ben: But, you would have to eat enough St John’s Wort fiber and all the natural plant defense mechanisms and all the little things in there. It would actually give you a tummy ache if you were to eat a whole bunch of that.
Sal: You get sick from eating too much plant material before you over dose on it.
Ben: Right. So, there’s like a natural built-in stop mechanism.
Adam: I find that fascinating when you think of it. Even things like sugar. I mean, could you imagine someone trying to do [0:02:46] ______ shoot on sugar cane.
Adam: I mean, one soda is like 8 feet of sugar cane. It’s like, “My jaws are tired.”
Ben: And you get through a tiny little chunk of sugar cane which is the equivalent of like half a teaspoon of sugar.
Sal: Or you find a honey which is pretty concentrated form but you have to get through bees to get it.
Ben: It’s messy, it’s sticky.
Sal: It’s a little bit different.
Ben: [0:03:11]______ those corn syrup.
Adam: Don’t you guys find that crazy fascinating how it’s all been put on the earth as it is and now as we’ve manipulated and changed them now we have all these diseases and stuff.
Sal: The two beliefs are you have the creationism. Yeah, you have the creationist belief which is that God put them on Earth that way. Then, you have the evolutionary belief which is we co-evolved with all these compounds and plants and stuff and so it just works better that way because that’s how we co-evolved or both.
Ben: It’s an art and science though because a lot of these things that we’re talking about like say isolating processed sugar from sugar cane or some other sweetener, and then, concentrating that, we know that that produces insulin insensitivity and oxidation with the high blood glucose in the bloodstream and all these side effects. But, there are other compounds that you concentrate and we get a great deal of benefit like St John’s Wort thing. I’d love to have a really good SSRI, dopamine and serotonin precursor I could have around but I’m not going to keep a bunch of bushels of St John’s Wort in my pantry. Some is good and some isn’t.
Sal: There’s the ways that we used to concentrate things were different though like if you would make a [0:04:26]______ or–it’s just not the same as when you go in a laboratory, extract it, it’s just on a whole another level.
Sal: I mean, it can reach concentrations in laboratories that would really be virtually impossible with old methods.
Ben: Absolutely. Maybe you guys ever done like synthetic 5-MeO-DMT?
Ben: I mean, you have you got to go to the Sonoran Desert and hunt down a toad and catch it and isolate everything or lick the toad or however you’re going to get that extract or I mean you can order for pennies on the dollar from a website like Lysergi. 5-MeO-DMT, that’s synthetically created, that’s incredibly concentrated and that’s essentially the same molecule.
Sal: That’s the powerful psychedelic, right?
Ben: It is.
Sal: Wow. Now, in that form, when it’s synthetic and that concentrated. There are toxicity issues, right? People can die from…
Ben: And it lasts a really long time.
Ben: There’s a lot of DMT derivatives and if you were to inhale DMT, typically, the responsible way to do it. I’m not a shaman, believe it or not. But, from what I understand, what I’ve experienced, whether you take iowaska and then leading into the DMT, have already kind of prime the [0:05:45]______ in terms of the MAO-A inhibitors that iowaska has given you and then when you take an inhalation of DMT, we you take a hit of DMT, it hits you really quickly in your happy place for 10 to 15 minutes and then trips over and you’re still kind of kind of journeying for a little while afterwards but something like 5-MeO-DMT, that hits you and stays with you for God knows how long depending on how much you took and how pure it was.
Sal: It’s funny I was just on–I was online the other day and there was a video of this kid who was smoking synthetic THC, the synthetic cannabinoids. It actually sells these days, they call them “spice” or something like that. This kid was–he took two hits, he did a gravity bong which I haven’t seen in years. Have you seen those? He took two big hits off of that thing and he lost his mind. It was a scary thing to watch, poor guy. Really, really freaking out and probably didn’t end up very well. There’s been deaths associated with these synthetic cannabinoids. You try doing that with cannabis in its natural form, you can’t. You can’t kill yourself. You could try, I know people have.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, I take CBD now. CBD is just one of my favorite molecules and I’m not that into THC. I use THC maybe two or three times a week. But, CBD, I’ll sometimes take a good 50 to 60 milligrams before bed and sleep. That’s actually my sleep combo.
Adam: We got to introduce you to Ned then. We just actually hooked up as first sponsorship with them. Really, really like that company.
Sal: Yeah, they do full spectrum hemp extracts. You’re seeing that a lot now on the market right now. CBDs become the norm.
Ben: Thorne has a new hemp extract. I actually have to be careful because I talk about CBD and you guys know how it works in the podcasting industry. Talk about something and everybody comes out of the woodwork but, you know, full disclosure, I do some advising with Thorne and help them with their supplement development and so I have basically financial ties to Thorne as one of their affiliates and their advisors. Same thing with this other company called BioCBD out of California. I help them with their formulas, I’m an investor in their company.
Sal: Here’s the thing with the market now with CBD. I just read a report with these independent researchers who went and tested a lot of these hemp extracts and what they found was many of them had very little cannabinoids at all and what they’ll say on the bottle is like, “pure hemp extract.” Some of the companies will have some and that’s why we like Ned because they actually will list the concentrations of the different cannabinoids. What you do you do want a total plant extract. Although, CBD is the one that we know now provides all these benefits. It actually works better when there’s other cannabinoids present and they’re finding now, some of the other cannabinoids are very fascinating like CBC, cannabichromene I think is the name, has been shown to grow new brain cells. It’s actually been shown in animals.
Ben: No kidding.
Sal: It’s very, very fascinating.
Ben: Similar to like psilocybin or a lion’s mane or any of these other neurogenesis-based compounds.
Sal: I don’t know if they work in the same way because I know those are all tryptamine-based molecules but I did some studies with some cats and that’s what they found. There were no human studies.
Ben: Smart cats.
Sal: It’s really fascinating stuff. The thing about CBD that really fascinates me is–because we’ve only identified two cannabinoids receptors, the CB1 and CB2. 1 is much more prevalent in your peripherally and the other one is much more prevalent in your brain. CBD doesn’t attach to either one.
Sal: It doesn’t attach to either one of them.
Ben: Allosteric modulator of those two different receptors.
Sal: That’s the theory, right? And, yes, it helps you use your own endocannabinoid better and that’s why I like that. Here’s something a lot of people are talking about because Cannabis are so popular now. You use a lot of Cannabis or cannabinoids or THC in particular that really lock down and hammer on to the CB1 and CB2 receptor like anything if you use a lot of it, those receptors down regulate and because your body creates its own endocannabinoids, you could be getting your body to produce less of its own cannabinoids and start to create this cycle where you’re now your body produces less, you have lower receptors, now you have to use more THC to get the same effect or even just keep yourself normal.
Sal: CBD doesn’t do that. In fact, there is some evidence to suggest that actually may up regulate cannabinoid, the two cannabinoid receptors. So, really, really fascinating but I do want–I’m very careful because now what we’re seeing in our space, especially like the muscle building space, there’s [censored] CBD protein, CBD pre-workouts, they’re testing on everything.
Ben: I actually have back home. I got a bunch of packets. I forget what company sent me. It’s like CBD has got some caffeine is like a pick me up, I’ve always found my own personal response to CBD is that it settles me down. I don’t like to take it before a workout because it decreases stress to the point where I’m a little bit too easy going. Now, this is also a lot of ultra-runners and trail-runners use CBD because [0:11:01]______ for a run.
Sal: Whenever we hang out, which I love hanging out with you by the way, every time we hang out, I’ll see you drinking coffee or caffeine, you seem to have a pretty high tolerance for stimulants.
Sal: Would you say you do?
Ben: Well, I grew up on freakin’ espresso. My dad was a gourmet coffee roaster and repair espresso machines. My parents were not too clued in to nutrition, to biochemistry or to healthy eating in general, meaning that, for example, I would consume the equivalent of almost a gallon, you know the big plastic gallon jugs they get from the grocery store of 2% milk, just crappy commercial cow’s milk. Every night I would go to bed with a stomach ache and my parents thought I just had a really bad case of the stomach flu all the time. So, they’d give me antibiotics and medications and I go to the doctor and it turns out later on, I found that I have a pretty severe lactose intolerance. You’d think—I love you, Mom, Dad but you’d think someone would know that back then. Same thing with coffee. I would easily do like 6, 7 shots of espresso when I was 12 years old.
Sal: Holy [censored]!
Ben: Now, granted and actually related to the BDNF thing, I want to come back to that because there’s kind of an interesting genetic factor here but I am a very fast coffee oxidizer genetically. It goes in and out of my system.
Sal: I’m slow, I’m a very slow caffeine organizer.
Adam: You found a whole new mean to put them in, though.
Sal: That’s true. I process it slowly. So, for me, caffeine can be edgy and so when I combine it with CBD, best combination of all time. I get the elevation from the caffeine, I don’t get the edginess and CBD or cannabinoids also change how the liver actually metabolizes caffeine and I’m not quite sure–I read an article and I remember exactly what the article said but it said that there may be some benefit to combining the two for some people. I think I’m one of those people. It’s one of the best combinations ever.
Ben: Yeah, L-theanine, you put 200 milligrams of L-theanine [0:13:05]______ and astragalus are two compounds that Four Sigmatic is blending with their instant coffee blends now.
Sal: Love that company.
Ben: And, same thing, you drink that coffee and you get just this kind of stabilize non-jerry energy from the coffee but it lasts longer. So, L-theanine, astragalus, [0:13:26]______. I have not tried CBD in caffeine.
Sal: I love it. You can also do grapefruit seed extract. What’s that compound in there? [0:13:33]______, N-I-A-G—something like that. It’s grapefruit seed extract will actually slow down the rate at which you get rid of caffeine. So, for someone like you if you want to last longer, stronger, you can take grapefruit seed.
Ben: Yeah, that’s the dangerous thing about grapefruit. That’s what people tell you, “Don’t take grapefruit juice with medication.”
Sal: Yes. It’ll get the blood concentration too high. It increases the [0:13:54]______, I think.
Ben: Exactly. Medications can do damage if you take it with grapefruit juice.
Sal: We’re talking about coffee, I see your Kion…
Adam: I’m just going to pull that out.
Sal: …coffee right here in front of me. Let’s put that next to the THC.
Adam: We just talked about that.
Sal: Let’s talk about your supplement company for a second because I’m trying to plug anything but I’m very curious how well it’s doing, what is the process of starting a supplement company and getting that going because I’ve always been curious about that. I’ve always been curious about, “Oh, maybe I want to put some together, so and so.” But it feels like such a monster. Is it a monster? Was it just a big massive endeavor to get going with that?
Ben: I want to reply to that question but I want to close one loop if I may.
Sal: Do it.
Ben: And that’s that part about BDNF because I mentioned genetic testing and I recently found this out that [0:14:48]______ and actually test for a pretty small amount of them. And so, I got tested up in Canada and I tested both of my twin 10-year-old boys too and we got all of our data back and it turns out that all three of us guys produce very low levels of endogenous BDNF. We possess a gene that makes us lower and miracle grow for the brain.
Ben: And so, now, my kids are drinking lion’s mane tea for school. They’re doing the infrared sauna three times a week because sauna is another way to increase BDNF. They’re not fasting because I don’t think fasting is all that great for highly hyperactive kids. We’re going to wait for the social workers to show up but I’m doing a lot more attention to fasting and some amount of calorie restriction.
Sal: What are some of the side effects or potential negatives of having low levels of endogenous BDNF? Is there a risk of dementia?
Ben: Later in life, yeah. Increase of dementia and Alzheimer’s earlier in life just not having your cognitive performance as high as you would want. We found also—
Sal: Wait. Does that mean you’re not as smart as you could be? Get the [censored] out here.
Sal: Oh, [censored].
Ben: Long term, it could come back and I found out a few other interesting too that none of us boys possess the gene that allows you to produce vitamin D in response to sunlight.
Sal: Oh, [censored].
Ben: I get a ton a sun. Even when I was an Ironman Triathlon, I’d be on the sun for like eight hours a day and now I take my shirt off and I go outside and I’m in my backyard naked a lot of the time. I get a lot of sun and I love it and obviously I’m getting all the circadian rhythm benefits and the near and far infrared benefits but it turns out that there is a reason that despite me doing that, my vitamin D levels on tests are always like 30 to 50 max. You’d expect my levels to be like…
Sal: Optimal. Yes.
Ben: …at least 50 to 70 or 80. And so, now, same thing, my kids are supplementing with vitamin D, I’m taking a vitamin D, vitamin K blend. So, this thing about genetics, it’s just like a fascination of mine of late because I’ve got this 50-page report that I’m going through that’s highlighting all these things I didn’t know about my own body and also my kids. It’s kind of fun to be able to see how I can help my kids to live a better life, to be smarter or to detox better or to have higher levels of vitamin D for their bones or their teeth.
Sal: Now, do you ever think to yourself, because sometimes I wonder, let’s say you use the example of the BDNF. You naturally have low endogenous levels of BDNF but what if there’s this genetic variant that goes along with it that we don’t know to test for where your body is adapted or at least it knows how to use the low levels optimally and increasing it beyond that may be detrimental. You know what I’m saying? What if there’s something like that because—
Ben: I start to get brain cells coming out my ears.
Sal: Yes, you know.
Ben: Too smart. I see what you’re saying.
Sal: Have you ever think about that? Yeah, yeah. I wonder.
Adam: [0:17:48]_____ get brilliant images dies off. Would you rather that or would you rather be like the average IQ for your entire life? What would be worse? Being brilliant and then [0:17:57]______ fall off or like the average IQ your whole life?
Ben: That’s actually my concern too. I realized, in theory, I’m ignoring a question. I’ll get to it [0:18:03]______.
Sal: Yeah, we’d get to it.
Ben: When we’re talking about the up regulation of CB1 or CB2 receptors or desensitization in response to heavy THC use, the same thing scares me when it comes to what seems to be the darling of the fitness or the health industry right now and that’s specifically like other synthetic smart drugs or psychedelics. Same thing. The huge flooding of the synaptic cleft with dopamine and serotonin and depending on the supplements. A lot of these [0:18:34]______, arugulas that people are using, norepinephrine. And, you see an increasing need for a lot of these neurotransmitters, increased sensitivity, a need for increasingly higher dosages. I got on the psychedelic’s bandwagon for a while. I was doing every three days dose psilocybin and doing like the weekly microdose, some LSD, I’m a lot less, I guess, infatuated with those compounds now and just based on my hunch that it can create some pretty significant—specifically, like dopamine insensitivity. If you have an insensitivity in dopamine…
Sal: That’s not good.
Ben: …and you’re not feeling good when you have sex or when you eat a chocolate bar or anything else that you might just need more and more of to feel good, that’s kind of a serious issue.
Sal: Yeah. I think we have a tendency, people, humans in general, have a tendency to find something powerful and fascinating and then abuse the [censored] out of it.
Sal: That’s what we do and I think that’s what’s happening right now with a lot of these—
Adam: Don’t you think that’s how we also naturally evolved and we need that though? Don’t you think it’s necessary—
Ben: The tribe is starving and, “Oh, hey. There’s honey in the tree. Let’s eat as much [0:19:47]______.
Adam: Oh, it tastes good.
Ben: Who knows, we might see honey again? And now, we live where you can go buy giant mason jars full of honey at Whole Foods and eat as much as you want and all of a sudden there’s kind of this this ancestral backfiring mechanism.
Adam: So, back to Kion.
Ben: Oh, we’re back to Kion.
Sal: What was it like getting it started? I want to know—
Adam: How did you source it and all that. We’re going to detail with your decision making with it.
Sal: How well is it doing now? Because, you’ve had it now for–you went live with it how long ago? Wasn’t that long ago?
Ben: Oh, 8 months, almost a year. I think it’s coming up on almost a year. We launched with several flagship products. So, we had a colostrum for the guts, oregano for the immune system, something called Flex which is this joint support compound that’s just got everything in it that you’d need for tart cherry and ginger and turmeric and one of those shotgun formulas for the joints, skin serum. Frankly, a lot of compounds that I had already either private labeled or worked with other companies to create for me and was selling under Greenfield Fitness Systems. A few years ago, I made the decision that rather than having my name tied to a company and having a company rely upon me as the face and name, despite me still being one of the prime faces and names for Kion, I didn’t necessarily want to be burdened with the idea of my entire company being dependent upon me, being dependent on a key man that whole, like if I get hit by a bus type of thing.
Sal: That’s some serious foresight because it takes a little bit of–you have to have a pretty healthy comfortable ego because the opposite tends to happen. People want to be the face.
Adam: Yeah. They want to be the face of everything.
Ben: Right, exactly. I don’t have a deep desire. At least when we talk about the supplements industry, it would be like the Tony Robbins or the Tim Ferriss or somebody who knows you based on your name versus knows you based on your product and your brand. As an author, my dream is to continue to be known for my nonfiction books and my goal by the time I’m 50 is to have a bestselling five-part fiction, fantasy fiction series. For those types of things, I absolutely want people to know my name. I want them to see, “A new book came out by Ben Greenfield. Go buy this book.” But with Kion, I couldn’t care less if people know whether or not I’m the CEO or the founder. My role right now there is I am behind the scenes developing formulations. And that’s what I love to do. What we have are formulators who we work with, who go out and find the raw ingredients, the best ingredients or the ingredients that we want to put into a compound and then those are produced. They’re manufactured in CGMP facility, or private labeling or white labeling certain supplements from companies or even having them modify those before they send them to us, or we’re partnered with companies like Thorne because I have a lot of athletes that follow me and I want something that is either NSF-certified or TGE-certified or is super-duper clean. That’s very expensive for me to do. Let’s say, the colostrum I get from a small goat farm in western Washington. It’s wonderful grass-fed, grass-finished organic goats and the product is amazing but that’s a very spendy process for me to NSF certify that. So, I’d rather have some options for athletes as well.
Sal: It doesn’t show up in their drug tests and all that.
Ben: Right. So, we’ve partnered with Thorne. If you buy a product from Thorne and you look at the label of any of the products I’ve partnered with them on, and a lot of people don’t realize, is you see a Kion logo on all the Thorne supplements and that’s because I’ve chosen to partner with them for some of the things I want to have NSF or TGE certified.
Sal: So, how long of a process was it getting to getting your own brand together and then finally being able to launch it? Did that take a while?
Adam: Yeah. Can I ask you like–
Ben: It was about two and a half years.
Sal: Oh, wow.
Justin: Oh, okay.
Ben: I mean, in terms of me making that decision and then developing the logo, I mean internally, we follow a certain–like a book called, “Traction,” where we use their document. They also have a wonderful book called, “Rocket Fuel.”
Sal: EO systems.
Ben: EO systems. We follow their entire formula for a few reasons. First, my operations manager is –he would be considered like the executer in the whole rocket fuel type of relationship. Whereas, I’m the visionary where I say, “I want this to happen” or “Hey, these are the last eight books I read on mitochondria and this is currently what we’re in the middle of.” I want to create a full formula that’s got PQQ, D-ribose, Coenzyme Q10, magnesium, full vitamin B complex. If we can afford it and if it makes sense in the supplement, if the price point is right, can we put nicotine in my D-ribose side in there? And I go through everything that I want in the ultimate supplement. And many times, I’m scratching my own itch. I’m like, “I want this supplement so I can take it in the morning.” There’s got to be at least a thousand other people who would use something like this. And then, he goes to our team and works with the formulators, works with the manufacturers, works with our team who runs the warehousing facility in Salt Lake, and then we’ve got a whole marketing team now, we have a social media team, we have a customer support.
Sal: That’s a monster. Yeah.
Ben: The [0:25:09]______ of our team is based out of Boulder, right? So, we have brick-and-mortar offices in Boulder. And then, we do a ton of our work on–the two main apps that I use to run the team is Slack and Voxer, just because Voxer allows you to do very high bandwidth audio communication and play it at two to four times speed. It’s the same way. So, I coach nine people, who I just help out with their health, their sleep, their heart rate variability, their diet, their training. So, I still do some personal training online, and for these people who use–they use Voxer. So anytime my clients talk to me, it’s on Voxer.
Sal: What’s your–I guess your most popular product? Is it something that’s got a pretty good response now or your–
Ben: Right now, the bar, I mean, and I was–
Sal: We eat the [censored] of them.
Adam: They don’t last long in here.
Ben: Yeah. I keep them. So, I quit buying cocoa nibs. I keep the bar in the freezer. My favorite thing is a frozen Kion Bar. I’ll eat that as dessert after lunch. I like to sprinkle it on top of Halo Top ice cream for like a dessert in the evening, like you sprinkle on some cinnamon roll or some chocolate peanut buttercup or oatmeal cookie flavored Halo Top. It’s bomb. So, yeah, what I wanted to do was make a real food bar that wasn’t ketogenic and that wasn’t like some greasy oily thing that you pull out of a wrapper but that instead just tasted like real food, almost like a healthy trail mix in a bar form.
Sal: Speaking of ketogenic, I have a question for you because another big trend that we’re seeing in fitness, and we called this a while ago, was exogenous ketones in everything. Everything’s got ketones. We were talking to Robb Wolf a while ago and he posed some pretty interesting questions and he said, “You know, we don’t really know what the effects on the body are long term when you have the presence of ketones with full glycogen stores because that doesn’t really happen in nature unless you’re diabetic.
Ben: Oh, no.
Sal: Or maybe at that level?
Ben: [00:27:07]______ ancestors eat organ meats. Liver has extremely high endogenous levels of beta-hydroxybutyrate. If you consume organ meats a lot of times, you have–our answers would have liver–
Sal: No. Is it the same–I don’t know that?
Ben: –with meat and —
Sal: Is that as high as like when you would supplement with like seven grams of beta-hydroxybutyrate? Would it be the same?
Ben: I don’t know what the levels would be but you take another scenario. You’re in a facet state, you’re hunting. Your endogenous ketone levels are high. Your ancient man who’s looking at your ketone pee strip and your [0:27:40]_____ ketones, breath ketone monitor out there just to make sure you’re at one meal a bowl or above because otherwise, you’re not going to be able to go out on your hunt. And then you come across a kale, an animal, and you’re going to eat a bunch of protein. You’re going to stop and get the honey out of the tree, right? Eat a bunch of honey. And automatically, by shoving all those nutrients in your body, you’re putting glucose on top of relatively high amounts of endogenous ketones. I don’t see that it flies in the face of the ancestral mechanism. And furthermore, when you look at something, especially like a ketone ester into a lesser extent of ketone salt, there are some really cool things that those things do to like the NF-kappa B pathway in terms of mitigating inflammation. They act on the mitochondrial membrane to enhance the function of electrons–
Sal: Are you coming out of the ketone supplement, Ben? Is that what you’re doing?
Ben: No. So, one of the products that I was interested in developing and if you guys want more of kind of like the opening [00:28:41]______ on Kion, this is related to that because I’m not going to develop this now, I think, was I wanted to do kind of like a ketone supplement that was a complete ketone meal but that also included amino acids, your full vitamin complex, ketone salts and some type of flavoring, a little bit of protein, and a little bit of MCT oil. So, it’s just basically would be a powder that would be everything that you’d need like a full meal with all your vitamins and nutrients and everything in a keto form. But, what I’ve decided to do with Kion is to quit going after all these long tail concepts and to instead provide people with what they need to almost like satisfy this whole Maslow’s hierarchy of needs or the things that I would know are really big pain points for people. What would those be? Sleep, hormone balance…
Ben: …longevity, your joints. We’ve got five or six different needs that we are creating flagship formulas for. Like that longevity formula I began to describe, which longevity is almost synonymous with mitochondrial support.
Ben: Right. And so that’s what I’m staring Kion now is towards formulas that allow someone to say open their cupboard and you’ve got six different supplements and that’s it. You’re not going to the four corners of the planet to fill in the gaps with this and that. Gut is another one that we’re working on.
Sal: Now, is this because of the market response and market research in finding that, “Okay. If I make this super specific, insane supplement, I’m really limiting myself to a very, very small audience?”
Ben: Exactly, exactly. You have to create.
Sal: You were thinking too much about yourself because–
Ben: Yeah, exactly. You have to create a high number of SKUs and have like 100 SKUs that you’re selling a pretty decent amount of or you need to have a huge following in that one tiny specific sector that you’re starting to target, like say a ketone meal. So, I instead want to have–like my dream would be you go to Kion and there’s only like seven or eight SKUs. That’s it. There’s not this huge shopping bag falls up–
Sal: We’ve learned that lesson with our podcast where sometimes we get really deep in the weeds because that’s what we want to talk about because we’ve been doing this for so long. And then we’ll do an episode that’s like, “How to work your hamstrings in the best way possible.” And just people download it and share it like crazy.
Ben: Right. Did your biceps. Yeah. It’s like number one. We forget about that.
Ben: Yeah. I mean, elephant in the room, we’re talking about book just before this, right? And it was like we are making fun of it but we are sort of laughing.
Sal: Critiquing it.
Ben: Yeah, critiquing it. Oh, don’t snack too much to elevate your metabolism because that’s a myth. Or it turns out that saturated fats might not be bad for you. You work and laugh, “It’s so basic.” But honestly, that’s what a lot of people want to hear.
Sal: Or need to hear.
Ben: Yeah, or need to hear if your goal–now, on the flipside though, ironically, I’m writing a book right now and it’s on these really cutting edge concepts in terms of longevity and biohacking and energy medicine, all these things that would be considered pretty far out, farfetched, woo-woo, biohacking stuff that’s going to be–it’s going to be a big 500-page, 8.5 by 11 hardcover style Costco book with a $60 price point. I mean, it’s not something that the masses are going to buy.
Adam: Is that what you talked about in your magazine article that you just recently did with the–it was Outdoor magazine or something like that?
Adam: Oh, Outside.
Ben: Outside in a big–I don’t know if there is my book.
Adam: Yeah. Well, maybe there is.
Ben: I probably just offended them. What did I talk about in that?
Adam: I don’t remember I was asking. I just remember your pretty face on the cover so I think that was a big deal.
Ben: Yeah. That was a fun photo shoot.
Ben: It took me to this loft in LA, near Culver City and they had–like you walk into this loft and they literally have a whole room the size of your studio. For people listening, this is a big studio. You know how many it was? It was like 500 square feet.
Sal: Probably. Maybe a little bit more, 600 or so, let’s say.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And it’s just like stacked with all these hangers with clothing, like literally, 6,000-bucks worth of clothing in this room. Then you walk into another room and there’s camera equipment. Another room and they’ve got camera equipment set up there. I mean, they just plan this photo shoot out to the T and they’ve got you wardrobe and haircutting and different lotions on your face. I mean, they go and they know our photo shoot.
Adam: They’d use blue steel hard. You guys see that?
Sal: That’s your handsomest.
Ben: And then they finished up with almost an hour of shooting in the cold tank. The front cover photo of Outside magazine is me with my face in ice. So, I was laying in an ice tub and they would take a bunch of photos. I get up. I drive myself off. Then, I go get round two and you do some different photos, different angle. They got to quit shooting and go through all the photos to see if they’ve got the shadows and the angle and the clarity that they want. They throw you back in the ice tub.
Sal: Damn, quite the process.
Adam: And it was real ice.
Sal: It sounds like torture.
Ben: It was a real ass ice tub.
Sal: You show your fake ice?
Adam: I mean, did you fake weights for it all?
Ben: And then they put dry ice in it too so that you get like the smoke kind of coming at you.
Sal: Oh, wow. That’s clever.
Adam: That’s nice. Yeah.
Sal: I don’t want to leave the Kion talk because I actually–how much of the back side were you–I mean, you’ve already alluded to using EOS. But what about like, will you share with us how much it takes to even start something that big, like how much capital did you need and–
Adam: Right, partnerships.
Sal: And runway time to actually turn it into where it’s green. Is it green yet?
Ben: I just took on 100k from a friend of mine. I invest in a lot of different health and fitness companies, like I mentioned that CBD company. I’ve invested in some bone broth companies. My portfolio is growing in terms of fitness and nutrition and supplement companies. I have an LLC that I co-run with another guy who’s like my investment partner. And he’s got more cash than I do, so a lot of times in some of these investments, he’ll bring cash to the table and I’ll bring more of my influence or an affiliate staff to the table. And usually, I’ll put in for an investment like 10 to 20k. And so, we partner up, we invest in a company and then I do my best to ensure that that company really does a good job. I do advising for the company to make sure that the CEO is getting their questions answered or I’m able to help them fill in holes in the market, stuff like that. But this guy who I run this with, he wanted to invest in Kion and he’s also on the board of Kion. I’ve got five people on the board of Kion who are–they’re smart and savvy in the business world. They built big companies. They’re savvy at raising money, those types of things. So, 100,000 is how much I’ve taken on, but that was just in the past few months, and that was primarily for the bar. The bar was just so popular we had to get more bars and stock and just didn’t have the amount of cash flow necessary to buy enough raw ingredients and product that should make that happen. So, that’s all that we’ve taken on. Everything else, I personally financed. I mean, I literally financed everything myself.
Sal: And are you in the green? Are you still working back to be even for how much you’ve invested in it?
Ben: We’re in the green.
Adam: Well, less than a year. Nice.
Sal: It’s great.
Ben: Yeah. From what my CFO told me, about–this was when we were about nine months in. We were at the same growth curve of what he sees in companies that have been around for three years. So, I think a big part of that was I just had a platform. It’s not like we were at traditional startup. I had a big–I have 100,000 people on my email list and we have a lot of podcast downloads. And so, going into the launch of Kion, we had pretty good traction to start with. And then frankly, and this is what I tell a lot of people in the fitness industry who are just getting started, fledgling personal trainers or people who want to start a supplements company or people who want to be like a nutritionist or an author, whatever, relationship capital is huge.
Adam: Oh, my gosh, it’s everything. That’s old business knowledge ever leashed.
Sal: Never change.
Ben: Going out, like the book, Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. Going out to conferences, boots on the ground, flesh and blood interaction, talking to people in the back hallways, having a glass of wine at the bar, and really, almost just like working the industry in terms of relationships and in terms of Rolodexes. Probably, half my Rolodex is, “Hey, which bar we’re going to go to after this? Let’s meet up. Oh, hey, what’s your number?” And you put the number in the phone but then maybe a month later, you’re actually doing business, and you’re not drinking, not–I don’t want to sound like a lush. You guys know me.
Adam: That’s kind of how we met though. We met. The first time I think we hung out we’re having a Moscow mule.
Ben: Exactly. But it’s relationship capital. A lot of people think it’s like cold call emails and virtual masterminds.
Adam: Or asking people for favors right away. You got to build that relationship first.
Ben: Right, exactly. You want a go out and throw down a good workout with somebody at the gym or go out to the bar after a conference or just like skip a bunch of talks when you’re out [00:38:07]______ series and hang out in the hallway. Yeah. And so, that’s a big part of Kion too is I literally have a spreadsheet that’s essentially like a virtual Rolodex with the names over 300 influencers, most of whom you’d probably be familiar with their names in the fitness industry, but it’s their number, their address to receive free product, their phone number. So, if my COO emails me and tells me, “Hey, you should text so and so and let them know if they want to send out a quick tweet about this bar launch.” That kind of relationship capital is huge. It’s how you grow exponentially.
Sal: Was that part hard for you or was that easy for you, that part of the business? Just knowing you, I think you’re a personable individual, but knowing how you grew up and we’ve hung out so many times, you do a lot of things on.
Ben: Just say it. I’m socially awkward.
Adam: Well, he’s nice about it right there. Just [censored] say it, bro. I’ve already admitted it.
Sal: Well, I don’t think you are but then again, I may be, so who knows? But was that a hard part for you or was that something you had to develop or was that easy?
Ben: It is not hard for me to talk to people. It’s harder for me to ask for favors. Again, I don’t like to feel like I owe people something. And frankly, you do. I mean, if I call in a favor for somebody, then I know that down the road, I’m going to be the way that the industry terms like mailing out for them or returning the favor by featuring something they send me in a tweet or in Instagram. There’s some of that that goes around. Now, granted for people listening in who think that this is all just folks buying each other off and bribing, that’s not what we’re talking about. What we’re talking about is products that are amazing that you like and you getting the word out to people about high-quality ethical products by using other people’s channels to do so because you’re friends with those other people because you’ve made smart business moves to develop relationships.
Sal: Well, here’s the bottom line. If you’re Ben Greenfield, people are probably throwing ideas at you all the time every day, all the time. And at that point, when you’re getting that much stuff thrown at you, just don’t listen. You don’t listen to anybody. So, making relationships becomes important because someone gets to know you, they like you, and then they’ll listen, “Okay. Well, let me hear what you have to say.” At that point now, you still have to have a good idea, you still have to have a good product. The person still has to believe in what you’re doing for them to want to connect and promote your thing. But that relationship is what opens the door. And if you don’t open the door, then especially with influencers, good luck. They’re not going listen to you.
Adam: Which by the way, I’m going to put you majorly on the spot because–yes, Briana told me, “Remember to ask this,” and we’re talking about Kion. For the events, we want to be able to have cups of coffee being brewed the entire time.
Ben: Like the hard event in Tahoe.
Adam: So, if you could be the coffee that is supplied to all the podcasters that would be podcasting, I would love that.
Ben: Yes, absolutely. I would love that too. And of course, the way I run my business is I then say, “I don’t know. Here’s my partner’s email.” I ruthlessly guard my time.
Sal: I did the same thing. I respect that.
Ben: You guys do a good job at this too. For example, when we wanted to schedule this podcast that we’re recording right now, I texted you guys and told you I was going to be in San Jose, et cetera, et cetera. You want to sit down and do an episode. But, I think I got maybe like one text back from you guys and after texting all three of you–and it was something like, “Katrina will be in touch,” or something like that. And then, I pretty much don’t hear anything for a while, but then I do the same thing on my own end. So, I have an assistant. I have an executive assistant named Penny on my end. She just sends me the Excel spreadsheet two days before I fly out and I look at it and I was like, “Oh, okay. I have a podcast with Mind Pump on Friday at 2:30.” Honestly, some people think that that would be stressful to be in the dark about what’s going on behind the scenes with your own schedule, but oh my gosh. Like even having something as simple as a virtual assistant in the Philippines, which was the first. I put a Craigslist on Manila. Manila, Philippines Craigslist ad back when I was trying to write and create my first ever triathlon product. I needed this Excel spreadsheet created for all–
Sal: How old are you? How old are you at this time?
Ben: This would have been 10 years ago. So, I was 27, and I wanted a list of all the different triathlon clubs and triathlon coaches in the USA along with the email addresses and phone numbers so that I could email them and offer them affiliate percentages of any sales that they generated from the triathlon training product that I created. But I knew that would be incredibly laborious for me, and I’m trying to write out these workouts and training plans and periodize everything. I’m trying to do what I do best, and what I do best is not research people’s contact information and then one by one insert the first name and send out the email to them and all. So, I hired this–
Sal: Your time is better spent in other places.
Ben: Right. I hired this gal from the Philippines to do it and since then, over the past 10 years, I have rinsed, washed and repeated based on Gary Keller’s book. You can get it for free on Amazon, One Thing. You want to crush it at your one thing. And if there’s any one thing that you also want to crush it at that you’re not good at, you find an amazing person, you hire them, you add them to your team, and you have them crush at their one thing and you rinse, wash and repeat that. That’s how I’ve built my entire company.
Adam: To your point of the relationships, I mean we have so many. I saw this opportunity in the podcast space when we first really started taking on sponsors because we’re just now starting to see this flux of companies that are coming into the podcast space and starting–like big companies dropping money out of the pockets, and they really don’t understand how it works. No one has any really good systems back and forth. So, we actually have a position. This is what Rachel does for our company. And that’s all she does is manage these relationships and we’re making it so much easier for the sponsors. And on top of that, she’s coached by us or by me to touch all these sponsorships on a regular basis to let them know what’s going on with their company and making sure that anything that they need or if they are rolling out something new with their business that we’re being informed so that we can communicate in. I just didn’t see a lot of people doing that. And because of that, we’re like one of the highest performing podcasts for every one of our sponsors because we go that extra mile. And so, that really pays off that understanding how important that relationship is in all aspects of the business.
Ben: Amazing. You know, what you need to do next though is get like ass, cheek implants and start your own separate Instagram account where it’s pretty much you with the featured, sponsored products in a bikini by the edge of the pool. I guess, if you’re a guy, [0:44:54]______.
Sal: I’ll do it.
Adam: Just underneath the implant stuff.
Ben: Implants. People don’t realize how much those Instagram girls make. They just feature a product. I mean, they were doing like $5,000 to $10,000 a [0:45:02]______.
Adam: Oh, we paid one of them one time.
Ben: Oh, yeah. You know what though? They have to have so many to make that much money, and it’s not a sustainable business model. I tell people this all the time, like if you’re chasing likes and followers in hopes that you’re going to build a business and you’re chasing that so hard, you don’t even really have a great product or you’re not providing a lot of value to someone’s life, even if you do cash out because you get to two million and you start flipping T-shirts or 20% percent commission on supplements —
Justin: And then the question becomes what are you going to be proud of?
Ben: So, Ryan Holiday, author of “Ego Is the Enemy” has this other book. You followed it up with and now I’m embarrassed–
Sal: “Obstacle Is the Way.”
Ben: Yeah. No, not “Obstacle Is the Way.” Another book about writing a really good book, like writing your classic, writing your masterpiece, writing something you’d be proud of. I forget it. Maybe —
Sal: It must be his newest one. Is that his newest one?
Ben: It’s a Ryan Holiday. Maybe it’s a Ryan Holiday article but I could have sworn it’s an actual book.
Adam: Because I was only familiar with “Obstacle Is the Way” and “Ego Is the Enemy.”
Ben: We’ll find out. Steven Pressfield has some very similar ideas in his books like “The War of Art,” about creating a masterpiece, something you’re going to be really proud of. For me, this is my 100% focus on this book I’m working on right now. I’ve turned down publishers, I’ve turned down agents, people who want to get this thing to big New York publishing houses because I know that the kind of huge life changing last book you’ll ever need for health kind of book that I want to write is something that–like I mentioned earlier, it’s not going to be like that popular book that’s going to be potentially something you see in airport bookstores. But, I want to create something, not only with Kion but also with my books that I can stand by and be very proud of. And if you build your entire business around some Instagram account where you’re featuring products and getting paid $5,000 for whatever, A, it’s difficult to be proud of, that is a life changing business; and B, what are you going to do when you’re 70 years old and wrinkled?
Adam: I also don’t think it’s going to last very long. I think it’s popular right now because it’s so fresh and so new and it works.
Sal: Oh, “Perennial Seller?”
Ben: “Perennial Seller.” Yeah. Sorry, Adam.
Sal: No, no, no. Good. I wanted to know what it was, anyways.
Ben: Yeah, “Perennial Seller,” 2017.
Adam: Oh, it’s a newer one.
Sal: There’s also a massive, massive risk in terms of your own sanity when you so strongly identify with your appearance, and how you look and how sexy you are because at some point, that’s going to change; at some point, you’re going to age like you said. And I know you make the joke, “What are you going to do when you’re 70?” Here’s all the evidence you need. Look at all these celebrities who are reaching their 40s, 50s and 60s. The amount of plastic surgery in the Botox and the drug abuse and things that start to happen because you identify so strongly with your appearance and people love you for it, but then it goes away and then what? Who are you and what are you is a very scary place to be.
Ben: The fastest triathlete on the face of the planet is going to have joint degradation.
Sal: Some point.
Ben: Swimsuit illustrated cover model is going to accord in a pop culture standard, probably look like [censored] when she’s 85, at least with the clothes off. Even the CEO who’s ultra-successful, which is kind of a different form of almost like a potentially shallow thing that you could put too much trust in. Eventually, that money is going to be gone and they’re going to be laying on their deathbed or that money isn’t going to be as important. And so, I think even deeper than this, even deeper than building a business is just you yourself, building you rather than just focusing on the body or just focusing on biohacking the brain, actually focusing on your spirit, on your soul.
Sal: Now, in defense of people though that haven’t reached the level of success that you’re at right now, much of them are on a different state right now where they’re–it’s survival still to make a level of income just to get by in this world and to make it and be able to eat and do whatever they need to do.
Ben: You see very few people on their deathbed saying, “I wish I’d made more money.
Sal: Of course. Agree.
Ben: I wish I did get more time in my business. I wish I had more time with family. I wish I had slowed down to smell the roses. I wish I had–you hear people talking about meditation and visualization, all these things that we never remember to do until we slow down and those are the things that you regret not doing later on in life. And those were all the spiritual practices, right? What are the spiritual practices? Fasting, gratitude, meditation, belief in a higher power, some kind of devotional reading or something that betters your soul or your spirit, the website, The Art of Manliness, which is a great website. They have a shout-out to Brett McKay who runs that website. They have a really good series on the spiritual disciplines.
Adam: And many of them revolve around some form of abstaining or abstinence in something.
Ben: Yes. They’re very stoic.
Adam: That’s right. You abstain it from food or from sex or from electronics or from something. You find that there’s a lot of growth because whatever you have trouble abstaining from is probably something you’re using to distract yourself with. And so, there’s a lot that comes from that.
Ben: And then we look at the actual effect that that does have biologically where know that we don’t have to kick this horse to death, but fasting has a profound impact on mitochondrial health and on longevity and on that BDNF that we are talking about earlier. We know that meditation decreases plasma and salivary cortisol and also can increase BDNF. A gratitude practice lowers blood pressure and reduces hospital visits. I mean, it’s amazing how much of this stuff has biological crossover for people who actually are still mostly interested in their body and their health, and maybe aren’t even that interested in their spirits. It still has impact.
Adam: It’s funny I was talking to somebody who I know who’s in the fitness space, very much into fitness, understands abstaining from certain foods to maintain their health and fitness and all of that stuff. But then, they also have this opposite belief that or what seems to be in my view opposite where, “Oh, I’m here to enjoy things so I’m just going to sleep with as many people as I can and I’m going to do all of these different things.” It was funny to me that they didn’t see that they were opposing. So, I told them and I said, “I think you might find more meaning if you abstain from so much of that.” He’s like, “No, we’re supposed to be here to enjoy things. We’re monkeys. We’re pleasure monkeys or whatever.” I said, “Listen,” I said, “It’s no different than why you abstain from processed food. You do that because you notice it’s better for your health and you obviously get more benefit worth more than the immediate pleasure of eating the hyperpalatable food.
Ben: You do. It’s delayed gratification and we talked about this a little bit on our last episode.
Adam: We did, yes.
Ben: The whole Chris Ryan’s “Sex at Dawn” thing. I mean, it is [censored] hard to do that. I walked through the lobby of Rosewood Sand Hill last night. Thursday night, a bunch of rich stockbrokers hanging out and there are beautiful women everywhere, right? I’m walking through after dinner at 8:30 and I’m …
Ben: …I’m dressed at 9:00, I’ve got my…
Adam: And you’re gorgeous. I could see it right now. I could see it.
Ben: … I’ve got my cologne on, my hair is slicked back, I’m not wearing my blue light blocking glasses.
Ben: Yes, I mean, I could have walked out within about 10 minutes with one or two beautiful women on my arms. When I’m in that situation, I’m walking through that lobby, it is [censored] hard for me, and I have to remind myself that what I have decided, the option that I have chosen is to build an amazing family, to raise two young boys who are going to grow up to make this world a better place, to have a legacy that I create, that I know could get really [censored] up, if I’m sleeping around and if I’ve got, whatever, jealousy and my wife is all of a sudden embittered, and feels belittled, and betrayed, there’s a ton that you throw out the window for that temporary pleasure and it feels good, don’t get me wrong. I mean, that kind of [censored] is a lot of fun but to bring this down to even more–just like more specific terms for people I have a book on my bed stand and it’s amazing. It’s one of the most incredible ways for me to continually remind myself about the importance in the magic of love and legacy and fidelity, and it’s this book. It’s thick. It’s like 500 pages long. It’s all the love letters between Winston Churchill and his wife.
Adam: Oh, wow.
Ben: They wrote themselves letters almost every day and Winston traveled a ton and his wife was really busy too and they didn’t see each other a lot and they were on the road a lot. Kind of like the modern traveling salesman kind of thing except he was a politician, an orator and a lawyer. He would write these beautiful love letters to his wife and she would write letters back and you see pictures of them holding hands, power couple change the world, amazing legacy, amazing family and children they created but they were true to each other. For me to just be at home and sometimes I’ll thumb through that book before I head off on a trip where I know I’m going to have beautiful women thrown at me and I’m going to be in that situation where all of a sudden that temporary gratification seems super, super interesting and really fun compared to leaving legacy and love.
Adam: Right and I think a lot of people think the only consequences that occur from–and we’re focusing on sleeping around but this is for anything in life that becomes excessive. We think that some people may think, “Oh, the consequences are my wife is going to find out and I’m going to get divorced, therefore I’m not going to do this.” That’s not the only consequence even if you didn’t have those kinds of consequences, there is a lot of growth that comes from understanding how to abstain from indulging in all these types of senses. It’s what makes us human, it’s why we’re not animals. We talked about the gift of consciousness, well, part of the gift of consciousness is knowing to not do those things or at least knowing that there’s benefit to not doing those things. Like fasting, I’ll use the word spiritual for lack of a better term. There’s a lot of return from that kind of stuff. It doesn’t make it easy. In fact, the fact that it’s hard is one of the reasons why you get so much out of it because if it was easy then you probably wouldn’t get much out of it.
Ben: I’m sorry. One quick [0:55:52]_____ our friend, Aubrey Marcus, who disagree with about 99% of what I just said says about food though, it’s temporary mouth pleasure, right? You’re getting temporary mouth pleasure but the long term is a whole bunch of ATPs available to the mitochondria so you get free radical leakage and increased longevity and oxidation and all of these things that come along with punishing the pint of Ben and Jerry’s, not Halo Top. But sorry I interrupted you.
Adam: No. No, I already forgot my thought, because now you got me thinking about how Aubrey would disagree with half of what we’re saying. I have something I want to ask you that was more related to it. I know that a lot of your morals probably come back from the Bible, right? I believe that it sounds like a lot of what you talk about and I’m really curious with someone at your level of intelligence when you learn something new about science, do you tend to go back track it into the Bible or do you read something in the Bible and then try and look for scientific stuff to support some of the lessons in it?
Ben: Hmm. That’s tricky. I mean I’ll give you an example and it might not be a great example but I’m going to give it. You see, one of the very first things created in the Bible was light, right? Like light is a big one. Light is super important. It was like it wasn’t trees that were made first, it wasn’t like dirt that was made first, it wasn’t even human being that was made first, it was light, right? Then, we turn around and we look at the human body and we’ve always thought that the primary way with which cells communicate is neurotransmitters or hormones or the propagation of nerve transmission across the myelin sheaths and it turns out that the primary way with which cells communicate is biophotonic signaling. We are literally light machines, that’s how our cells actually communicate. It’s also one of the ways our body–
Adam: So, we are [0:57:41]_____.
Ben: Yeah, our body responds profoundly, as you guys know. You guys have talked to the folks at Joovv infrared light and near-infrared light and far-infrared light and the effect that that has on the aqueous matrix around the cells, the effect that that has on the body which is basically one big human battery. Well, when I see that type of signaling and I look at the Bible and I see like one of the first things made was light, it just basically makes me think, “Well, on the totem pole of what I should really prioritize from a health standpoint, I should probably be thinking really damn hard about the light in my home and the light in my office and the light that I surround myself with when I’m traveling whether or not I put those blue light blocking glasses on. I’ve replaced all of the lighting in my home with clear incandescent and red incandescent and created the perfect lighting scenario there and get out in the sunlight every day.” I realize that doesn’t directly answer your question, but in many cases, I’ll find something interesting and then almost like wonder in the Bible where that’s backed up. Then, there’s the nutrition piece too. Like there’s a reason I’m not Paleo. If you look at the Bible, there’s like honey and milk and bread and all these things that are either vilified in our modern dogmatic calorie restriction, no fructose type of environment, things that are kicked under the bus. But, we see these types of things in the Bible, right? Like when you’re rich and you’re wealthy and you’re crushing it in life and you’re spiritually sound, in the Bible, you’re surrounded by honey and bread and milk and dancing virgins and anything else but, yes, it’s very interesting I think to a certain extent. Then, coming full circle to where we started with cannabis and plants and St. John’s Wort. It was the very first job that humans had in the Bible. They were gardeners.
Adam: That’s right.
Ben: Very first man, Adam, he was called to garden the earth and till the earth and take all of those plants and all of those trees and it says, “Everything was good.” Like weed is not bad and St. John’s Wort is not bad and psilocybin mushrooms are not bad, all of these things were created for our enjoyment and for us to actually learn how to garden and how to potentially make extract of and tinctures of. So, yes, I think there’s a lot that we can learn from them.
Sal: Well, here’s my thing…
Ben: I’m laughing, Adam is trying to open…
Sal: …when they became carpenters …
Ben: He’s trying to open the Moxey’s Mints THC.
Adam: Whoa, are you [1:00:10]______.
Ben: It’s worth it once you get in and here’s a few things about those THC mint you’re trying to open. No, those are worth it because they put like ginkgo biloba and…
Adam: Doug, can you help me get scissors or something over there?
Ben: …ginseng and all sorts of little herbs in with the THC. But because they’re packaged so much like that, you can’t smell them if you’re traveling with them. So, they’re sniffed up by dogs …
Adam: Yes. Well, it’s in like a super vacuum sealed bag. What are they, 5 milligrams?
Ben: …they’re a little hard to open? Also, my kids are going to open that tin and think it’s Altoids.
Sal: That’s right.
Ben: Toss three in their mouth.
Sal: That’s a big one. That’s a concern.
Adam: My take on the whole science and in the Bible or spirituality is that there’s subjective scientific truth and I think there’s spiritual truth and I think they’re just two different tools and you try to put them together. I think all of those tools help explain life and help us move in a direction [1:01:02].______
Justin: Well, before we had science, that was science. Religion was science before science, right?
Adam: Well, I think it was spirituality. I think science does its own thing and it does a very good job of what it’s supposed to do. Here’s a great example, I’ll give you a great example. So, when people say, “We should just only have science and don’t worry about objective, like a moral code or don’t have spirituality.” You can’t do that because science itself eliminates that. Science is only cause and effect. There is no is this right is this wrong, so you need both of them. If scientists rule the world and it was just a bunch of atheist scientists who didn’t have any moral belief or anything based on anything that they learned, they would do a lot of tests and do a lot of [censored] just because they could, because that’s what science tells you to do. There wouldn’t be a–
Ben: There was no need for morals, right?
Adam: Yes, there wouldn’t be like, “Hey, I’m going to clone a bunch of humans.” There wouldn’t be someone saying, “But should we?” You know I mean? I don’t know if we should, he would just do it.
Ben: Right. We have some kind of built-in inherent morality that I think that sometimes science denies but I do think that all of us kind of know what’s good and what’s bad. Like despite science potentially arguing that we’re all just here to survive on a giant rock floating through space to either [censored] or survive or see who can live the longest time. I think that there’s a little bit of a built-in inherent morality that lends some amount of stability to culture. I actually first came across this, I think it’s the teachings of Aristotle in which he goes into like a built-in inherent morality, one of these old philosopher dudes, I don’t remember. I went to a classical Christian college for my first two years at University of Idaho. I was duly enrolled in a college called New Saint Andrews, wonderful institution, down in Moscow, Idaho for a liberal arts education. I got kicked out for breaking the code of conduct multiple times.
Adam: What did you do?
Ben: Pretty much everything that I could do to break the code.
Adam: Were you intentionally trying to get kicked out?
Ben: You know what? I was a homeschool kid K through 12 and once I got cut loose into college I committed every sin I could commit.
Adam: Oh, really?
Adam: So, you were a little rebel.
Ben: I went off the deep end in college for a while until I met my wife. I aim at my wife and B; decided I want to be a doctor. Those are the two things that straightened me out. But, for those first couple years, I did go to this college and I learned a lot and one of the things that you read are a bunch of these–
Adam: Like what are we talking about? Like upside down cake stands and run around naked, like what are you doing?
Ben: We’re talking about like getting drunk frequently, sleeping around a lot. I didn’t use a lot of drugs aside from alcohol, so that was an issue for me. Frankly, I got into drugs and those got me out of alcohol.
Adam: So, normal college kid stuff, just not at a Bible college.
Ben: Normal college kid stuff, but the stuff that would very quickly get you kicked out of a Bible college where–as my mom said, who also went to a Bible college, “You can’t have holes in the knees of your swimsuit, ladies,” and nothing gets that college, I think it’s wonderful. Frankly, I think if you want to be a lawyer or an author–I think liberal arts education is great, but I didn’t do well at that school because I was not living a very upright life at the time. But one of the things that I learned at that school was that human beings do have and philosophers and teachers have kind of built this into a lot of religious systems for a long period of time. We had like this inherent built in morality.
Adam: So, Ben, tell me when you’re hanging out with Aubrey and you guys couldn’t have more polar opposite ideas like what we’re talking about before, do you just bite your tongue or do you guys go back and have like a debate about it?
Sal: Oh, we just appreciate each other for whatever.
Ben: Honestly, Aubrey and I never talked about open relationships or–
Adam: Oh, really?
Ben: I’ve hung out with him and…
Sal: Whitney several times.
Ben: Sorry, Whitney. I hung out with him and Whitney a lot. We’ve gone hunting for a week together in Hawaii.
Adam: Hawaii, you’re together, down in Texas multiple times.
Ben: Yes. We’ve got another hunting trip coming up with a group of us, again, down in Hawaii and we hang out a lot. But it’s never something we’ve really even talked about. I mean, maybe a part of it is it’s pretty obvious with me as a father and extroverted as a devoted husband that it’s just kind of not really something that is on the table for me. But, no, we’ve never really had a discussion about it.
Sal: It’s probably like a mutual respect going on.
Ben: I know it’s kind of a boring answer, but we never really talk about it.
Adam: No. No, I’m just curious. I actually figured that it would come out. I’m imagining that because you have done multiple trips, I thought for sure you’d be put in opportunities like that and maybe happy to have a discussion, you’ll never know. Like I thought for sure you guys have at least discussed it.
Justin: Like parties we weren’t invited to, those kinds of things.
Ben: Did we not invite you to a party?
Adam: No. Crazy parties, yes. That’s all.
Sal: So, when you did text us that you’d be in the area, it’s because you have clients that you travel to and work with and these are, I guess, executives like people who really want to work with Ben Greenfield, what kinds of things do people hire you for? Because I can assume and you don’t have to say anything on air, but I’m assuming you don’t cost what a personal trainer would charge, you’re probably a very, very high fee especially because you’re flying from Washington to San Jose to work with someone or wherever. What are they hiring for you for exactly?
Adam: Yes, you’re just doing squats for an hour? I know that’s not [1:06:28]______.
Ben: Usually, like learn how to make scrambled eggs, that’s a big one because you need some protein for breakfast. I do a lot of bench-pressing work on the chesticles, sometimes bench-pressing forum and then how to sit in a sauna properly, like proper sauna culture and…
Adam: Bad liar, bad liar.
Ben: …and sauna posture. No. Typically, there are especially among wealthy, high achieving, hard-charging executives, some pretty serious built-in issues with specifically sleep, how to exercise and keep yourself in shape for things like golf or tennis without actually stripping away time for your business or in some cases your family or other hobbies. How do I go out to all of these dinners and meetings and mitigate the damaging effects that alcohol might have and a lot of times folks who just want to pick my brain about what I do in those type of scenarios? Blood and bio work or biomarker interpretation are a big one. A lot of these folks are willing to or have already paid the money for a complete blood panel, gut panel. Some type of urinary hormone analysis, salivary genetic analysis, tell them your evaluation and they’ve already either started down the self-quantification road or very interested in it and they want somebody other than their kind of like ho-hum western medical trained physician who’s going to tell them, “Your cholesterol is high, get on statin” to actually go through their blood work and their biomarkers with them and not only help them interpret those but help them set up a customized diet and a supplement plan. So, what I do for all of these clients is I sit down every week to every two weeks, typically on a Saturday and I write out every workout they’re going to be doing. They upload their travel. They upload where they’re flying and when. I program out everything they’re supposed to be doing from an exercise standpoint. They pay me a monthly fee to do that. They all have an Instagram account, that’s a private Instagram account that they share with me where they take photographs of everything that eat and same thing on the weekends I go through all of their food, I leave comments, I adjust anything that needs to be adjusted. I have a meal plan that I deliver to them. It’s not a very strict meal plan. It’s basically like, “Okay,” so based on…
Adam: [1:08:43]______ made to optimize what they need.
Ben: …based on your blood, your body, like here are your breakfast options, here are your lunch options, here are your dinner options for home, for travel, a lot of them have chefs, a lot of them have nutritionists, so these are the type of things that they share with their chef or their nutritionists so that they can be eating according to their genetics, their blood, their biomarkers, et cetera. Then, most of them either wear something like the Oura ring or use some other self-quantification device, some of them use an Apple watch. Most of the time I go through air, light, water, electricity if I’m visiting their home. We do a full walk through of their home environment and by the time we’ve done that, most of them aren’t using these Wi-Fi enabled self-quantification devices like the Apple Watch. But some of them still have some of these older devices. But either way, whatever they’re using to collect sleep and heart rate variability, I also analyze that each week and track how their sleep and their heart rate variability is corresponding to nutrition, to supplements which I also set up, customized and then exercise. So, I’m essentially acting as the CEO of their health and I’m either coaching people like that or I’m doing one-on-one a-la carte consultations where it’s just, “I’m not going to have you as my month-to-month coach, Ben, but you’re going to work with me for 60 minutes or 90 minutes. I’m going to fly in and have lunch with you and just pick your brain for a while.”
Adam: I want to follow that up too, because you also do consulting with like professional teams. Was it the NBA Heat that you went in and kind of went through their facility and set them up?
Ben: Right. Yes.
Adam: So, what’s that look like?
Ben: What we did with the Miami Heat, for example, was we began to inspect some of those variables I just alluded to like what’s the air lighting. We know that indoor gym pollution, there was actually a study that just came out that showed the amount of cognitive impairment that occurs from air pollution.
Doug: How much? What did it say, do you remember?
Ben: It’s significant. I don’t know the percentages, but it’s significant and so we’ve got these HEPA air filters, these molecule air filters setup in different corners of the gym. Same thing with light, like we’re going with a more biologically friendly light. Frankly, incandescent lighting and these old school clear incandescent bulbs are not an option for a facility like that but there’s a company called Wala that does more of like a biologically-friendly LED, very similar to Lighting Science. Even though LED creates a lot of flicker which can be disruptive to the retina and can deleterious affect circadian rhythm, if the lighting is pretty high off the ground, like you guys’ studio is a pretty high ceiling. We’re not talking about like a bedside lamp that’s right in your face. LED is not as big of an issue. It’s kind of like a Wi-Fi router. Like the damage that it causes is exponentially decreased based on your distance from the router. So, the worst place on the planet to have your router is in your bedroom. For a team like that, we don’t want Wi-Fi routers in the gym. Same thing with the water, right, we get rid of the water fountain where they’re getting whatever fluoride and chlorine that the Miami municipal water has in it. Instead, they’re drinking–what they’re doing at their facility is hydrogen rich water which is a pretty potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant water. You can go to the molecular hydrogen foundation, look at some of the research on that. Then, electricity, customization of nutrition and diet based on blood work and biomarkers. So, a lot of the things that go above what–there are a lot of strength conditioning coaches out there who are miles ahead of me as far as their knowledge of movement strains and…
Adam: It’s fascinating to see what’s happening.
Ben: …in modern high-speed video. I used to run a physiology lab and a biomechanics lab where we’d surround triathletes running on a treadmill or riding their bike with high-speed video cameras and do gait analysis or a bike fit. But now, I mean, you frickin’ step into a pod and you do a squat and then you do an overhead and rather than a trainer putting you through an FMS like the actual machine is doing it.
Adam: Oh, wow.
Ben: I mean, some of this technology is like insane.
Adam: That’s awesome.
Ben: These stuff on facilities like this I was unaware that even existed. But what I’m doing is going in and looking at all of those little variables that are going to affect the players’…
Adam: You’re like an interpreter.
Ben: …long-term career, health career, et cetera and attempting to make those tiny micro adjustments that take a team from good to great or take a player’s career from 10 years to 12 years.
Adam: How did that relationship happen?
Ben: It’s a good question.
Adam: I know Aubrey was connected to the Heat at one point.
Ben: I think their coach listens to my podcasts, it happens a lot. Someone listens to your podcast and then they try to get ahold of you.
Ben: Sometimes I’ll get texts on how somebody got my number and there’s some text I’ve gotten almost like getting me as a joke and a lot of times they’ve discovered your podcast and they’re getting ahold of you and asking you something. Opening a support ticket on your website.
Adam: Do you find that these executives and stuff you work with hire you because they want to perform better to outcompete their competition or they’re hiring you because they’re having health problems and issues like is it a phone call like–
Ben: Oh, it’s because they can’t get an erection, they can’t sleep and…
Adam: Wow, really?
Ben: …they feel like crap after these multiple wine-fueled dinners and they travel to Tokyo or to Miami to do business and they feel like [censored] during all of their meetings during the day because they’re jet lagged and they don’t know what to do to manage jet lag and they fly home and they feel like [censored] when they’re with their family because, again, their jet lag coming back to the West Coast. It’s all those pain points. Like frankly, I mean, as simple as it sounds, they just want to feel good.
Adam: Let’s talk about some of the stuff that you’re really well known for which is figuring out how to mitigate the negative effects of things that might happen when you’re, let’s say, traveling, for example. What’s a great strategy to mitigate jet lag? If I’m a business person, I travel and I want to reduce the amount of time my body takes to get used to new time zone or whatever. What are some strategies that I can do?
Ben: The circadian rhythm, our natural 24-hour biological clock responds to three primary circadian cues: light, movement and food. Those are the three lowest hanging fruits when it comes to keeping your body on a regular clock when you travel. What does this mean? It means that you get exposed to the natural light and whatever the places that you’ve traveled to on that clock as quickly as possible.
Adam: Okay. So, if the sun is up being the light, if it’s not …
Ben: Meaning that when you step off that plane, if it’s night, you got your–not your blue light blocking glasses, but you’re really–like your red amber glasses like from Raw or from True Dark or from one of these companies that does a really good blue light blocking glass. You walk in your hotel room and you pull out like these LED light blocking stickers and you put them over the TV and the router and anything else that’s blinking light Christmas lights in the hotel room. Then, as soon as it’s light where you happen to be, you get yourself into as much sunlight as possible and if you can’t step outside of your hotel room and get out in the morning sunshine or go for a quick walk to make your morning calls whatever when you’re on the West Coast back to the East Coast, whatever the scenario is, you get as much sunlight as possible. If you can’t get outside, because you wake up at 7:00 AM and you got to go straight in at 7:30 or 8:00 AM meeting, you’ve got the human charger in your ears and you’ve got something like to re-timer glasses on your eyes and you’re using light as much as possible to reregulate your circadian rhythm and you’re doing the same thing when you come back home. So, light is one, food is another. The more you eat on an airplane, the more out of whack your circadian rhythm is going to be.
Adam: So, I should fast?
Ben: Well, on the airplane, we talked about ketone esters, really potent anti-inflammatory. The NF-kappa B pathway is one of the inflammatory pathways that tends to be most affected by flight, by being off and away from the planet Earth and all of the oxidation, solar radiation, et cetera, two of the best ways to affect that type of inflammation are ketosis and/or ketone esters. Meaning, that it’s best to faster eat minimally when you travel and then sulfur-rich antioxidants. So, having a lot of your first meal when you get to where you’re going when you are going to eat which I’ll get to in a second is cruciferous vegetables; broccoli, cauliflower. If you don’t have [1:16:43]______ or something like that, you can handle garlic, onions, a lot of these sulfur vegetables or sulfur-based antioxidants and ketone esters act similarly. So, that would be the next thing is you want to be sure you’re not stuffing face on the airplane and what I do is typically I’ll have like some [1:17:04]______ like some of these little Spirulina and Chlorella tablets. This would be for longer flight right now for like a two-hour gig but like overseas.
Ben: Something that’s relatively slow release fuel like macadamia nuts, a liquid or powder-based ketone ester like one of the keto prime meal packets or one of the human little bottles of ketone esters, something that’s going to keep ketones elevated and then a lot of gum, a lot of stevia, a lot of these little effervescent electrolyte tablets, things I can put into water to kind of keep my appetite satiated. So, fasting when you travel and then when you get to where you’re going, whatever time you get there, you wait until that place’s first regular meal time to eat.
Adam: Because it tells your body it’s time to get up when you’re starving.
Ben: My flight lands in Tokyo at 10:00 AM, I might be just ready to chew arm off from having eaten very little on that nine-hour flight, Seattle to Tokyo, but I’m still going to wait until about 12:30 to eat in Tokyo so I get on that regular meal time whatever it is.
Adam: Oh, so you wait for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Ben: Yes, you wait for breakfast. Same thing, if you land at 2:00 AM and you get into your hotel room and you’re starving over that mini bar and there’s a dark chocolate and nut, you go to–you take your CBD and I take a lot of melatonin when I travel as well because that’s a really good way to reset the circadian rhythm. It is also an anti-inflammatory, a really good anti-inflammatory. You go to bed and then you don’t fast, you don’t skip breakfast. A lot of people are on this intermittent fasting bandwagon when they travel, like it screws up your circadian rhythm as you skip breakfast. So, one of the things I’ll do is I’ll actually go out of my way to eat a nice big good breakfast, especially when I travel internationally to realign that circadian rhythm. Then, the last one is movement. So regularly timed movement, whether you’re getting home or whether you’ve traveled to a certain location is important. What do I mean by that? If you exercise in the morning at 7:00 AM at home, get up at 7:00 AM and workout when you’ve gotten to where you’re going.
Adam: At that time?
Ben: If you work on the afternoon–yes, at that time wherever you happen to be. You want to use movement to begin to get your circadian rhythm into the same alignment that it was back home. There are other things to the hot/cold thermogenesis, like doing the sauna and the cold pool.
Adam: That’s what I’ve heard you say before, I was waiting for you to say that. Because you’ve told me before, a lot of times you’ll look for an infrared sauna as soon as you get into a place.
Ben: Not even just an infrared sauna. What I’ll do is I’ll look for–there’s two things I look for when I get into hotel. I look for the nearest–well, three things, I look for the nearest gym and it’s a big bonus if it’s got a sauna and a pool, because water and heat are two things that really help a lot with jet lag. They help with the blood flow, they help with the mitochondria which are drastically affected again by the elevation in the solar radiation and then the cold is very helpful too at shutting down inflammation.
The other thing I look for is a park, any patch of green at whatever hotel I’ve traveled to because the park allows you to get out and get the sunshine, it allows you to typically get into your bare feet, which a lot of times you can’t do in the concrete and that allows you to get the grounding and the earthing effect that can decrease jet lag. If you know of a park near your hotel, if your hotel has a crappy gym all of a sudden, because I always travel with the resistance band and a suspension trainer, I have a place where I can go to train. I can make my own outdoor gym. Then, the last thing if the gym doesn’t have a sauna or the pool, I’ll search for a local spa or local sauna like Banya 5 in Seattle or AIRE spa in New York City or one of these places that has some really good heat/cold so I can put on my underwater mp3 player and go and chill in the sauna and then go to the cool pool and go back and forth for a while.
Adam: Have you ever put this together, like what you just said to us, in an easy to read blog or article or guide or something? The reason why I ask is because so many people travel for work so much and they don’t realize how much jet lag negatively affects their performance and, of course, the long-term, their performance at work and the pocketbook and all of that stuff and then their health, like something like that. Because I know I have family in Italy, so we travel to Italy. It would always take me like three or four days to adjust and it’s [censored] horrible. I couldn’t imagine going somewhere and then like you got a meeting tomorrow and you got to perform or whatever.
Ben: Try to [censored] do an Ironman Triathlon.
Ben: I tapped into a lot of this stuff which I would arrive on a Thursday and it’s like, “Oh, [censored], I got to race for 10 hours on Saturday like deep in the pain cave. What can I do to feel good within two days when I’m in Thailand or Japan doing an Ironman?” So, to answer your question there’s a few resources, A, I have a small section of my book, “Beyond Training” that has a jet lag and sleep management section in it. B, on my website, I have an article I wrote that’s even more updated than that about six months ago called “The last resource you’ll ever need to get better sleep.” That’s just on my website. Number three or C–did I start off with A and B? I hate it when that happens.
Doug: A, B and 3s.
Ben: That THC might be kicking in. Okay. So, A, B and 3, is that I have a document–so a lot of my clients that I work with I just have shared Google Docs. Anytime I come across something interesting to add to that Doc, I just add it so they have like my jet lag tips cheat sheet and they’ll just delve into that. Then speaking of the devil, Aubrey’s book, “Own the Day,” there’s a lot in that on jet lag management too. Aubrey and I talked a lot when he was writing that a book about what to include in those sections. So that’s a good guide as well.
Adam: Awesome. Talking about cool stuff, I know when you and I were texting each other a little bit before you came here I asked you what you wanted to talk about and you said right now you’re getting you’re really, really into anti-aging and longevity.
Doug: And Halo Top ice cream.
Adam: Yeah. And Halo Top ice cream. Hey, are you rocking the Vuoris?
Ben: These pants? Well, these pants are Vuori, yes.
Adam: How do you like them?
Ben: I love Vuori.
Doug: Aren’t they great? The best.
Adam: We love them man.
Ben: I have a lot of Vuori now. They’re actually one of my podcast sponsors.
Adam: No way. When did you start working with them?
Ben: Obviously, even if they weren’t a sponsor, I’d wear their clothing because it feels good and it’s like Lululemon for dudes. I don’t know if Vuori likes me to say that but it’s like Lululemon for dudes.
Adam: I think they’d accept it.
Ben: And then I’m wearing my special trampoline jumpy socks because I take my kids, the big trampoline park just got built by our house.
Adam: Why are you wearing them here?
Doug: You big dork.
Ben: You have to have special socks. Sometimes you never know when you’re going to encounter a trampoline but they’re actually really comfortable socks. Then, I’m wearing Paul Chek’s underwear.
Adam: Really? His underwear?
Justin: Were they pre-worn or what are you talking about?
Ben: Last time I was at his house he had these bamboo underwears. These are little, I think they’re a little smaller because I have big athletic ass and I have tiny hips and tiny butt. So, he gave me his special…
Adam: Paul Chek’s underwear?
Ben: Yeah. He me his special Bam Bamboo underwear and I love them. They’re super comfortable. So, I’m wearing Paul Chek’s underwear. Not like new underwear like his actual used underwear.
Sal: Smells like universe.
Ben: This shirt, this German guy gave me who’s developing a clothing company to block EMF. He gave me pants that block EMF and a shirt. So, what I’ll do after we podcast, before I get on the flight back home to is…
Sal: You’ll give me Paul Chek’s underwear?
Sal: Damn it.
Ben: I’ll pull my German EMF blocking pants. This is what travel with. They even have a clip at the bottom that you can attach to your Uber cars or anything metal in the car or even the airplane when you land to ground to earth right when you land without even having to get outside barefoot. The shirt blocks EMF. The pants block EMF. I have EMF blocking underwear but I probably–I’ll just keep Paul Chek’s lucky underwear on for the flight because it’s not a super long flight.
Adam: Do you understand how important it is for us to keep you alive to 150 years at least, you know that right?
Ben: I mean I look like an idiot.
Adam: Ben Greenfield dies at 52.
Ben: One of my Jerry and Dorf butts me when I’m 42 and I die.
Adam: You’re the only human left [1:24:57]______. We got to keep you alive.
Doug: Spent $30,000 a month on his longevity and killed by his goat.
Adam: Longevity, let’s talk about the longevity. Is there anything new or interesting or fascinating that you’re just learning now about extending lifespan?
Ben: I would say that we do know about all the overlap between all the blue zones that I think a lot of people are aware of right now. Where it’s no smoking; high amount of wild plant intake which act as a hormetic stressor to the body’ high legume intake not I think because there’s anything magical about beans and legumes but they’re eating a low glycaemic index carbohydrate rather than processed starch and sugar; large amounts of outdoor physical activity; low level outdoor physical activity not exercising but just moving, outdoor gardening, hunting, gathering whatever and then a lot of time spent with family, social relationships, family dinners that type of stuff. So, we know a lot of these tried and true things. As far as some of the more interesting things I haven’t talked about yet such as ketone esters and fasting. There are calorie restriction mimetics that are very interesting that trigger the same type of pathways. So, the way that it works is…
Adam: Like resveratrol?
Ben: Yeah. Resveratrol is one, rhodiola is another. Astragalus may possibly act, there’s this company making this thing called TA-65 which may act as a calorie restriction mimetic but it may also be acting as just like a mitochondrial support compound.
Adam: So, they stimulate cell program depth and cell autophagy or…?
Ben: No. The way that it works is, so when you look at cold thermogenesis, very simple example, we know that cold thermogenesis up regulates something called uncoupling proteins. So, uncoupling proteins would be what you’d find a higher amount of in brown adipose tissue. When you get exposed to cold, you get a conversion of white fat into metabolically active brown fat which, rather than taking calories and oxygen to produce ATP, instead produces heat. Why is that important? Well, because when we look at the electron transport chain in the mitochondria, we know that once you have a certain amount of ATP and ATP is no longer being depleted, what happens is there is almost like a backup in the electron transport chain and free radicals begin to leak out of the membrane as electrons build up in the chain because they no longer need to be used for conversion into ATP because ATP stores are full. Now, that doesn’t mean free radicals are bad because free radicals serve as signaling molecules to tell all of the mitochondria within the cell whether or not they need to down regulate or up regulate how much ATP or how much energy they’re producing. So, it’s a very good way for your body to be able to keep track of its metabolic rate. But, what happens is if you’ve got too much ATP around, too many free radicals build up, too many spills out into the body and this is why fasting has such a profound effect to a certain extent because you deplete ATP and by depleting ATP, you have the ability of the electrons to move through the transport chain without getting backed up and having free radical spillage back into the inner cellular membrane.
Doug: Does this mean that then supplement…
Adam: Can we get an interpreter in here?
Doug: Does this mean then that supplementing with creatine and just dramatically increasing ATP stores and keeping them high all the time could potentially have a negative effect from that standpoint?
Ben: Too much of that could. Now at the same time, we know that ATP is it’s a healthy cellular energy compound. Furthermore, the more ATP that you can get without a large amount of calories and large amount of digestive distress and some of the oxidation that occurs from a breakdown of proteins and carbs and fats is good. This is why some of the best nutrients for longevity from an ATP standpoint are creatine and D-ribose because D-ribose is a very low glycaemic index sugar that rapidly restores ATP availability in mitochondria without excessively producing ATP. As far as on the other end, kind of draining ATP levels are at least causing calories to produce less ATP and to instead produce something like say heat. We know that brown fat does a very good job at that because there’s a higher amount of these uncoupling proteins that essentially uncouple the little transporter that causes ATP to be produced by a cell and instead simply cause heat to be produced by a cell. So, some of these things actually increase UCP and they act as calorie restriction mimetics. That’s what a calorie restriction mimetic is it’s basically–
Adam: Great now there’s someone who’s going to sell them as fat burners but keep going.
Ben: So, we’re talking about things like astragalus, like rhodiola. One interesting thing is sea urchins. Sea urchins actually have a very high amount of the molecules that increase your availability or the up regulation of these you UCPs. There’re some people out there like Dr Jack Kruse who kind of gets painted with a poor light sometimes because he’s a little bit controversial and relatively dogmatic but he believes that most humans grew up or humans originated on in coastal areas or he had a high availability of shellfish, DHA, sunlight and really mineral rich water. So, by getting a lot of these things in our diet we’re actually enhancing our health from a very ancestral standpoint. You could say that these sea urchins might fall into that category of supporting mitochondria and uncoupling protein.
Adam: It just goes to show and highlight just how complex the body is in the sense that on the one hand you want to increase ATP, you want to have a lot of ATPs. Studies shows build more muscle, burns more body fat, it’s got cognitive boosting effects, seems to be some antioxidant effects at least for the heart. Doctors are now prescribing or at least telling people or recommending to take creatine when they have things like anxiety and depression but on the other hand, it’s very important to also encourage a process that depletes ATP. Things like exercise, these fasting mimetics and then of course the ultimate which is fasting. Now, here’s something that’s fascinating. I want to ask you a question on this. We had Stan Efferding in our show the other day. He’s the world’s strongest bodybuilder, really, really cool guy, 50 years old now but at one point he had one of the highest…
Ben: Body builder strong?
Adam: This guy’s very strong dude. He’s got one the highest three lift totals.
Ben: Has the best concentration curl?
Adam: No, no, no, no. He’s also a power lifter so he’d do a deadlift squat.
Doug: Like 800-900 pounds.
Adam: Very, very strong dude. So, we were talking about fasting and he’s like, “No, I’ll never fast. I was one to feed my body and feed my athletes.” I told him my own personal experience with fasting, which I thought was fascinating. Now, I didn’t go into fasting for any kind of performance enhancing benefit. I employ 48 or 72-hour fasts every other month now or so for things like gut health, longevity, reduction inflammation. I get a spiritual effect from it in the sense that it clears my mind, helps remove me from food and all these other benefits.
Ben: May I say something real quick?
Ben: For people listening, especially my audience who’s listening right now. Sal is not like a skinny ass faceted like cold emaciated dude, he’s built. You’re still fasting 48-72 hours and maintaining muscle.
Sal: Yeah. In fact, I did. I was doing a 48-72 hours fast once a month and I did that for about seven months. Here’s the side effect that I got. I did it for gut health, I did it for all those other things that I mentioned, the spiritual effect, just detaching from food, the low inflammation, longevity, all that stuff. The benefit I noticed, which was fascinating, was about two or three days after I started to refeed, so I 72-hour fast and I start to slowly reintroduce food. About two or three days later, some of the best workouts that I’d ever had, incredible pumps and I built more muscle during this entire process. Now, part of me thought, “Okay, maybe it’s because my gut health got so much better and better and I’m able to assimilate more food.” Well, I’ve since retested this, and by the way, I had a similar effect years ago. Years ago, I started employing once a week vegan day but really what it turned into was a once a week 600 calorie day.
Ben: Like a meatless Monday kind of thing?
Sal: Yeah, but it really was like 600 calories. So, it’s kind of like this low-calorie day. Now, I always notice the day after, when I’d eat meat, I get this rebound effect. Bodybuilders have seen this for, I’ve talked about this for a long time, one of the most anabolic periods that they’ll ever experience is post show after hardcore dieting. So, after these long fasts, I refeed two or three days later, I’m building more muscle and I’m wondering if it’s resensitizing me to protein. It’s increased in the way I used glycogen and it’s giving me some of this effect that we’re talking about where I’m depleting ATP and then I’m giving myself more ATP. Have you ever noticed anything like that from fasting or when you start refeeding?
Ben: Well, it’s interesting because the human body in general seems to respond very well in terms of whatever ATP depletion and then ATP restoration or caloric depletion and caloric restoration. This idea of cycling, right? We know this is the basis of puritisation and that stair-stepping effect to get better fitness. You build then you recover, then you build then you recover. We now know that there are cancer researchers doing what’s called press-pulse cycling of, I believe it’s glutamine that they’re the high glutamine and low glutamine, high glutamine, low glutamine.
Sal: This is during cancer treatment?
Ben: Yeah. I think the term for it, and I don’t know a lot about it because I know they’re doing what’s called…
Sal: Because I think glutamine can feed cancer.
Ben: Yeah, exactly which is why I think it’s glutamine but it’s called press-pulse cycling. I think Thomas Seyfried is the guy to look up to who’s looking into a lot of this research on this type of dieting for cancer patients. We see guys like Dr. Dan Pompa, who I interviewed on my podcast doing feast-famine cycling, right. Five days low calories, calorie restriction, one day fast, one day ad libitum, calorie refeeds, as many calories as you want. We look at the Bible. God built and He worked his ass off for six days and then on the seventh day he rested, right? So, we see–there we go, Adam, I just responded to your question. So yeah, the idea that it seems the body responds very well to freakin’ high-intensity interval training, right? Same thing. Thirty seconds hard, four minutes easy.
Sal: There was a study that came out within the last five years where they compared–because the old way of approaching dieting, at least from a fat loss standpoint in our space in the fitness personal training space, was let’s figure out how many calories you’re burning, let’s put you at a deficit and then, that’s your new calorie intake and will do your macros or whatever. That’s your new calorie intake every single day. So, if your body is burning 2,000 calories a day I’ll put you at 1,500 calories a day and then this is what you’re going to eat every single day. That was the old way of approaching it. Now, through my experience working with clients and doing it myself, I always noticed that people got better results from staggering that. So, I would still average out to at the end of the week a 3,500-calorie deficit, which is what 500 calories a day adds up to. But, it wasn’t 500-calorie deficit every single day. Some days it was a 1,000, some days it was no deficit, some days it was a surplus and so on and I saw better results. Part of me thought, I wonder if it’s a psychological effect from that because some days you feel like you’re eating more or less. Well, they did a study and they actually controlled for that. They compared two groups of people that eat the same calories, both in the deficit. One group, same deficit every single day. The other group kind of staggered it. The group that staggered it got better, more fat loss, preserve more muscle, got better results. Here’s the best part, mitigated the metabolic adaptation that happens from restricted calorie diets which is one of the biggest problems that you’ll run into especially for people who compete in bodybuilding and stuff like that or even people who just diet real hard. When you drop your calories, your metabolism adapts downward and becomes very efficient which we all know is extremely frustrating. You lose 20 pounds and then you’re [censored], your metabolism slows down. Now, you’re doing all those cardio, you’re eating low calories and it’s like you eat anything over that you gain all the way back real quick. Staggering it seems to mitigate that metabolic adaptation. Really, really fascinating.
Ben: Now do you still, when you’re when you’re fasting like that for that 48 to 72-hour cycle what are your workouts look like? What do they feel like?
Sal: None. So, what I do during that period is I’ll walk or I’ll hike, I’ll stretch, I’ll do mobility work. If I do resistance training, it’s very low intensity, full range of motion. I’m not trying to–
Ben: Stress the body anymore.
Sal: I’m not trying to increase my performance. I’m not trying to get stronger, build more body fat. Really, I was treating it like a spiritual experience if you will. But when I would come back, I’d get stronger and felt so much better. Taking time off from exercise I think it’s important too. Anyhow, it’s funny because now I get a text from Stan, he’s like, “I did my first 24-hour fast.” So, I actually was able to convince him to give that a shot. I think it’s because I told him there may be some muscle building benefit from it.
Ben: When I am at home I try to do a Saturday to a Sunday night dinner fast. I do 12 to 16-hour increment and fast every day aside from the days where I’m traveling internationally or across many time zones where I’ll eat breakfast at whatever the time zone is where I happen to be at and sometimes that means it’s not 12 to 16-hour fast. I do that 24-hour Saturday dinner to Sunday dinner fast. I’ve got two other things regarding longevity. One would be, and I don’t know if you guys have talked about this much on the show before, but these NAD or NR precursors.
Sal: Oh, there you go.
Ben: It’s a precursor to NAD. We know when it comes to longevity, mitochondrial health, inflammation–
Sal: Seems to be [1:39:18]______ role for that.
Ben: NAD to NADH ratios are incredibly important. So, now you can buy supplements that have some really good research behind them. Last week, an article came out, I think it was a New York Times, about the pill that cost less than a cup of coffee that can make you live to 150 years. Well, 10 years ago it was resveratrol, now it’s nicotinamide riboside. The way that you can also, and there are companies now who are selling patches, nasal sprays, injections and IVs are very common in a lot of these anti-aging clinics now. So, I actually once every two weeks, I have a company in Texas that sends me NAD in a syringe. I’m not allowed to do IVs. I’m still competing in a water sanctioned sport. I can’t put more than 30 ml into my body so I can’t do a drip IV but I can do a push IV. So, I do a push IV of NAD and it’s super uncomfortable injection like your gut burns and your body feels like it’s on fire. You finish and you feel freakin’ unstoppable. It’s a really, really…
Doug: You actually feel the difference?
Ben: Yes, and in tracking my telomere length it drastically reduced telomere length when I began using, not just NR in between my NAD injections, right. So, I do NAD injections once every two weeks. I do NR every day to keep my NAD levels up. I drink a, there’s a tea Dr. Mercola introduced me to this tea it’s called Pau D’arco bark tea. That’s also an NAD precursor so I have a batch of that tea in the fridge. I’ll just drink that as one of my beverages throughout the day.
Doug: I like that because it’s a natural form and here’s why because I’m always careful because for example 15, 20, 30 years ago is all this research showing antioxidants are great for you, they fight for free radicals, you need lots of antioxidants. Then they did studies where they gave people high [censored] doses of antioxidants that you wouldn’t necessarily find in nature. What ended up happening was increased risk of cancer and other problems because it’s not the same.
Ben: Because and now you know why, what are some of the primary signaling molecules in your body, free radicals. Free radicals are what tell the mitochondria whether energy is high or energy is low. We take all those away and all of a sudden, the mitochondria don’t know which way is up and which way is down.
Sal: You get cancer.
Ben: So, they go into these states of unobtrused energy production.
Sal: So, the NR precursors and NAD…
Ben: NR, NAD, there’s injection clinics popping up all over the place and there’s some really good research behind this. I go to a lot of this anti-aging conferences now. NR and NAD and stem cells are probably two of the biggest things that anti-aging docs and folks in a lot of these conferences are talking about. Stem cells I think that’s a horse that’s been kicked to death. I’ve talked about stem cells a lot but it’s interesting. There’s one other category in my research for this book that I found really interesting and that was a profound improvement in rodent lifespan with fecal transplants with actual bacterial replenishment especially in mice.
Sal: So, you’re shoving someone’s [censored] up your ass now?
Ben: No, I’m not. I’ll get to that. Especially mice with issues like clostridium difficile, C. difficile seems to cause a decrease in lifespan but by replacing colonic bacteria with some kind of extra fecal matter from someone else, there appears to be some kind of an immune modulating effect. Now, even though there’s clinics now like the Taymount clinic in Britain, there are websites where you can purchase stool from a healthy donor, have it shipped to you and some pretty straightforward videos about how to do your own at home fecal transplant.
Doug: Or get the Paul Chek underwear.
Ben: I would rather eat a lot of really good prebiotics and take care of my gut and hopefully keep my gut to the point where I’m not getting clostridium difficile. What if you did, you tested and did have it might actually be prudent to do something like a fecal transplant therapy. But, what I find more interesting and this is something I started doing after seeing some of the data on this, working very, very similarly from a longevity standpoint in terms of immune system modulation and gut health is this whole old friend’s hypothesis. The fact that we live in this ultra-clean culture with antibacterial hand soap and super clean hospitals and antibiotics and you don’t want your dog to kiss your kid, God forbid. So, what happens is you see a decrease in beneficial bacteria in the immune system becoming stronger in response to germs and bacteria. So, a lot of people now they’re eating fermented foods and they’re letting their kids go to petting zoos and play with farm animals. Now, word is beginning to get out that it’s pretty good to get dirty and to get in touch with bacteria and dirt. Then you take that to the next level because many of these things, measles parties, sounds like you’re pretty [censored]. [1:44:19]______. Some of these things are a little bit lesser known like say whipworms or tapeworms. These actually have some very potent immune modulating effects and many of them are not parasites because a parasite has to do damage to the host and live within the host to be classified as a parasite. If it lives within the host that doesn’t do damage and one can even argue mitochondria fall into that category as an ancient thing. It’s a eukaryotic organism that got enveloped into a cell.
Adam: I read a book on this. There was a guy who wrote a book who had terrible Chron’s disease and started reading about how people who would get infected with like hookworm for example had much lower rates of symptoms from the Chron’s disease. So, he actually went to a third world country because nobody would give him hookworms to infect himself with and he walked barefoot around latrines and stuff, got infected and his Chron’s disease pretty much went away. Today, now I don’t think you can find any of these clinics in the US but I know one in–
Doug: There’s one in Mexico, right?
Adam: Mexico they have some of these where you’ll go there and they’ll actually infect you.
Ben: They’ll inoculate you. Here’s the problem with that. Those live within you and they don’t go away. So, a lot of people who do this, let’s say with like tapeworms, they go to Mexico and they get inoculated. They start pooping the tapeworm babies and your asshole itches. It can create a situation where you are intensely aware that something is living within you. Some people lose weight because it begins to eat a lot of calories and food stuffs but at the same time there are certain forms of–
Adam: Weight loss.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Along with your fat burning calorie restriction mimetic, we feature hookworm, Kion hookworms. Anyways though, so some don’t actually have the capability to survive for long periods of time within the body but still cause immune system modulation. There are specific forms of rat tapeworms and pig whipworms that I research for this book and for the past four months every two weeks I’ve been dosing with whipworms and tapeworms. What it is you drink them down, that’s like this little salty–
Adam: That’s it. I’m not making out with you anymore.
Doug: You’re sitting in my seat right now.
Ben: I’m [censored] or I’m sitting in your seat?
Doug: You’re sitting in my seat
Ben: What I have noticed is my gut feels much better particularly when I travel, right. So, I used to get like some got issues and constipation like I would just feel kind of funky when I go overseas. That went away and my immune system feels like it just feels better. I didn’t get sick a lot anyways but I feel–I know I’m doing a lot of things, there’s a lot of confounding variables but ultimately just the –
Doug: Is it the injection of the NAD?
Ben: Yes, exactly. Just the data alone on dosing with, it’s called helminthic therapy.
Doug: Right. There we go. I forgot the name. Now, you have to keep taking them because they die, right? So, it’s not like if you stop your body gets rid of it.
Ben: Yeah. For me the dose for four months I think was about $1,700. So, it’s a spendy protocol for you to do it. I don’t know if I’ll keep doing it but I at least wanted to try it out and see how I felt. I felt pretty good.
Doug: People used to pay to get rid of those things, you’re paying to get them.
Adam: I want to know how often like, so I know you’ve tried so many, I mean you’re the guy too for sure I’d love reaching out to. I did the BPC-157 by the way for my Achilles and it was miraculous. It really was. I know Sal was anti.
Sal: Oh, no. I don’t like the way it made me feel.
Adam: It was huge for me.
Ben: Sensitive coffee, BPC.
Adam: Did you know it actually may influence the way that the dopamine acts in the brain? There’re some studies showing that they’ll give BPC to rats and then give them amphetamines and the amphetamines won’t affect them the same way because their brains become less sensitive to dopamine.
Ben: No kidding. Oral administration?
Adam: They were doing injection and then oral.
Doug: So, I took a few shots of it and I felt flat.
Doug: I did and I felt flat and so I stayed from it.
Adam: You shot it into your gut, right?
Doug: Yeah, I did,
Ben: Wow. I’ve injected in the joints. Have never done like the subcutaneous into the gut. That’s interesting.
Adam: But anyways, I’m asking this because you’ve put so many things probably in your protocol for a while, how often is it that you eliminate something that maybe you’ve been doing for a while and you’re just like, “Okay just the hassle to do that. I’m not seeing or noticing the benefits that much. It’s not going to become something very regular for me.” I can’t imagine you can keep up everything.
Ben: Yeah. Pretty regularly, pretty regularly. There’s stuff like –
Adam: What were some the last things that fell off?
Ben: I guess the last couple–I hate to say stuff because I feel like I’m shoving people under the bus but I also have to be radically honest and just say how it is. Like theacrine. It was developed by one of my friends, Sean. It’s supposedly super potent creatine precursor that gives you energy for days and so. I went through two bottles of it and just didn’t feel a thing. I was hoping it would be the next new biggest creatine. Granted it could be just me because I know they have some good data behind it and some decent clinical research but I didn’t notice anything from it. So, that’s one example another one would be of course like CBD for energy. I haven’t really seen any benefits from something like that but I haven’t used too much of those like pick me up energy focus caffeine CBD pre-workouts. I have them at home to try. Probiotics almost zero probiotics have I notice much of a difference from.
Doug: Is that because you do such a good job of eating foods that are fermented?
Ben: Probably, but they say probiotics increase cognitive performance and–
Adam: See, I only feel that it’s true for people that are not probably getting it in their diet and they’re deficient.
Ben: Increased rating of perceived exertion and improve sleep and markers. I’m not depressed but markers of depression. I don’t notice that much at all when I use probiotics.
Adam: They’ve connected probiotic use for some people with increased risk of cebo, believe it or not.
Ben: One of the formulas I want to do for Kion is a complete gut formula. I want sulforaphane and I want colostrum.
Adam: You’re not putting whipworm in there?
Ben: No, I’m not putting whipworm in there. Well, that’s just not scalable. It’s not NSF certified for sport. Anyways, though, I also want to include a form of probiotic that could potentially seed the gut. So, I’m an investor. I’m not going to say the name of the company right now but I’m an investor in a probiotic company developing a probiotic that could potentially act, seed the gut and stay in there or not get degraded by the stomach acid and prevent–none of the difficulties that are currently presented with probiotic absorption and if that one turns out to really flush itself out in more clinical trials, that’s what I would include in something like a supplement. I’ve tried like twelve different kinds of probiotics and never kept up with them because I have a nose thing.
Sal: I haven’t heard much about colostrum. Could you go further into detail for that. Isn’t that from breastmilk?
Ben: It’s well the first part of mammalian milk and it has a lot of immunoglobulins in it. It has a lot of growth factors in it. It’s a precursor for both growth hormone…
Sal: That’s an old school body building supplement too.
Ben: …and into like growth factor, old school bodybuilding supplement. Studies have shown that it helps to heal a leaky gut by improving the stability of zonulin, a protein in the gut lining that can, when it’s not moderated, cause leaky gut like increased gut permeability. It’s also been shown to allow athletes to experience less gut distress and less gut permeability especially when exercising under stress in hot conditions. So, the fact that it’s relatively anabolic has some pretty good gut barrier protective capabilities, make it something that I like but that is something I cycle, based on the fact that it’s such a potent growth hormone precursor, an idea of precursor, like you don’t want to be in a cause an anabolic state, return to our [1:52:13]______ discussion, so I load with colostrum, I’m with colostrum right now. I take eight Kion colostrum every morning because I have the Tahoe Race coming up right here in a week so I know my body’s going to be going to battle for, I think that race will be–
Adam: Twenty-seven hours or?
Ben: No, for me that’ll be like a two and a–I’ve raced the big long one there but this year I’m racing the Fittest CEO Challenge. So, I’ll be racing pretty hard for about–
Adam: Who the hell is going to compete with you at that?
Sal: Dude, that’s pretty hilarious and stupid.
Ben: And also, I have a triathlon on Sunday that I’m racing. I like to do some short fast race. So, I get multiple reasons for me in taking colostrum. I don’t take it year-round but what I do is whenever I have a big event coming up, I load with the for two weeks prior in the same way that you’d load with beet juice for two weeks prior to an endurance event.
Justin: Did you jab Dave Asprey twice in the show?
Sal: No, just once.
Justin: No, he jabbed him once earlier.
Sal: Well, that was off air. That was off air.
Sal: Have you ever messed around with the anabolic effects of cholesterol, dietary cholesterol? This is something that bodybuilders have used for a long time and I’ve experimented with doubling or tripling my cholesterol levels intake for a week or two, strength increases every single time. Every single time I get strength increases from doing that. Have you ever messed around with things like that?
Ben: Do you think that that’s because of the availability of fat-soluble vitamins or because it’s an increase in cholesterol?
Sal: Increasing cholesterol.
Ben: The reason I asked is that there’s some there’s some research out there that shows that food does not have a big impact on cholesterol levels.
Sal: Well, so, you’re right but here’s what’s interesting, and I just read what you’re talking about but here’s what’s interesting. So, I control for all those factors but also there are several studies that support what I’m talking about. There was one in particular when it took people between 50 to 60, so they were a little bit older, and they broke them up into three groups and it was a low cholesterol, moderate cholesterol, and very high cholesterol intake and they compared them all to each other and the biggest difference was strength and muscle. Strength and muscle gain and it was directly related to the amount of cholesterol they were consuming and it came from egg yolks. Bodybuilder like Vince Gironda, who was with the old school scientists’ bodybuilders back in the back in the 90’s maybe 40’s, used to put his athletes on these high cholesterol, full fat dairy, lots of chicken liver and beef liver, egg yolk type diets and people with these crazy games since I started experimenting with this–
Ben: And you’re saying even when controlling for all the other anabolic factors like more protein more calories more fat–
Sal: Correct and so I started I have now told several people, they’ve tested it themselves and they’ve also noticed the same–Doug, in fact, Doug didn’t you do the same thing you notice the increase in cholesterol gives him more strength. So, yes, I would love for you to look into that because you dive deep into things and I think it’s a fascinating especially because we’ve been told for so long that it’s not good for you.
Ben: Is it an increase in HDL or LDL cholesterol? Do you know if they’re getting blood tests?
Sal: I don’t do any blood tests. It’s just I literally will go from eating on average to egg yolks a day to twelve yolks a day. So, dramatic increase in diet and I can tell within a day or two, I literally can feel it when I work out and it almost feels like my CNS fires harder when I was–
Ben: I’ve never intentionally tried to raise cholesterol but I guess, I kind of have, and then, I try to keep my total cholesterol above 200.
Sal: So, you actually get tested?
Ben: Yes, the cognition enhancing and the effects on the cell membranes and having high cholesterol, assuming you don’t have familial hypercholesterolemia, assuming you don’t have high blood glucose which an oxidize that cholesterol, assuming your HGL to triglyceride ratio is favorable, meaning you don’t have high cholesterol but also high triglycerides which would indicate over-eating, or high intake of vegetable oils or some herb or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or something like that, and finally assuming you don’t have high levels of inflammation like high HSCRP or high homocysteine or high [1:56:18]_____. In the absence of any of those factors that make cholesterol a cardiovascular risk factor, it’s a good idea to keep your cholesterol elevated. You just have to, in my opinion, this is where I like blood testing, you’ve got to kind of pay attention to some other variables, or at least, know intuitively what’s going to affect those variables. If you’re eating a high cholesterol diet, processed sugar and vegetable oil, it’s probably worse for you than the person eating the low cholesterol diet because you’ve got more around to be oxidized. You’ve got more around to build these foam-based plaques in the arteries. So, yes, I’m a fan of keeping cholesterol elevated but it did needs to be couched in terms of you also mitigating risk factors.
Sal: What about sodium? You manipulate that all? Are you paying attention to that as an athlete, especially?
Ben: I have really been geeking out on minerals. Meaning a lot of minerals, less water, more minerals based on all the stuff I’ve been doing with light and the fact that your body needs to be rich in minerals in order to properly responds to light-based signals whether it’s you know the Joovv or sunshine or whatever. And, just drinking more water is not necessarily going to increase your level of minerals you must actually drink like salt water or put Himalayan Sea Salt, I hate to say this but it’s high in iron, it’s high in metals, it’s one of the reasons it’s colored.
Sal: It’s why it’s pink.
Ben: Even though it’s pretty high in minerals, Celtic salt is actually higher in minerals and cleaner.
Sal: My people.
Ben: If you’re going to have salt, yes, have a Celtic salt. So, a big fan of that. There are companies now selling like these super salty sachets, there’s one called, Quinton, another one called QuintEssential. I showed you like one of my magical Mary Poppins bag, I showed you like these trace liquid minerals that had travel with on a plane. I do a lot of minerals but I got into that way back, back in the Ironman days again. When I would go to bed and I could hear my heart rate pounding in my ears right there and I knew there was some kind of blood pressure regulation issue or something. It turns out, I was just for a long period of time, mineral depleted. We used to have exercise physiologist come in and use a sweat sodium analysis patch to test all the athletes when I train for Team Timex.
Sal: To see how much sodium they lose when they–
Ben: To see their sweat sodium lost. I was two to three times most the other athletes.
Sal: So, you just sweat out a lot of salt.
Ben: I have robust sodium excretion mechanisms which dictates that I need to take more sodium in or more minerals in and the interesting thing, we talk about genetics is that, I come from a heavily Northern European heritage where traditionally, there is a lot of fermentation a lot of salt in, a lot of pickling, it’s what is used to cure food and so it makes sense that the body would respond by developing a mechanism that allows it to get rid of excess sodium or excess salt so that you don’t see too high of a rise in blood pressure or the other thing that can happen is it can have a little bit of a D.L. colonizing effect.
Adam: So, let me tell you something I just did recently and I want your opinion on it like what you think it might be. So, something happened, sometimes when we get so caught up in work here, we’ll work like a 12-hour day or talking like crazy, I don’t get a chance to eat. I do make sure, because I’ve teased this out to make sure it’s not that, I hydrate myself but sometimes, I start to get these headaches and they’re pretty bad headaches. And then, I’ve gone home and tried all, thinking that it’s hydration drink more water, thinking, “I just need food.”
Ben: Your period?
Adam: So we were having this conversation we got into a talk about sodium the other day and I thought man I wonder if I’m just like really depleted and I wonder if my body goes through it really fast because I also notice too like I can hold and release lots of water too and so I wonder if I just have this ability to use it up really quick and my body’s needing that, maybe it has something to do with blood pressure, maybe that’s why my headaches were happening. And so, the last three times this has happened, I have ate two deal kosher pickles and the headache has gone away like almost instantaneous. It’s crazy. It’s a pretty serious headache. What do you think that is?
Ben: Pickle fetish.
Ben: It’s pickle fetish.
Adam: That’s terrible.
Ben: I mean it very well could be related to a mineral deficiency although the headaches, it’s typically magnesium and I don’t think pickles are very high in magnesium but it certainly could just be as simple as what you’ve just elucidated. it’s a mineral issue causing blood sugar or regular blood pressure dysregulation which is resulting in a headache.
Adam: It’s three for three right now so I don’t know yet for sure but I mean this has happened to me three times. Three times I’ve gone back to that and it’s like instantly it’s relieved.
Ben: Do you also crave things like bananas, sausages? Because we can have a discussion about this later. There are some other things that could be at play here.
Sal: Keep talking [censored], nerd.
BEN: So, two more things you were–what were we just talking about before Adam talk about his headaches.
Sal: Phallic foods.
Ben: Oh, the minerals, the genetics.
Ben: So, when you look at the African-American population, not a strong heritage of salting and pickling and ferment in foods, not to stereotype. I know this sounds horribly racist but the time spent in, especially in the Southern American areas, time spent on slave ships, were like losing a lot of a lot of sweat losing a lot of sodium during those long periods of time in boats transported over from Africa, and potentially, the development of some pretty robust sodium retention mechanisms. You put someone with that type of genetic ancestor…
Sal: That’s a fact.
Ben: …scenario of heavily salted foods and all of a sudden you see an epidemic of high blood pressure in African-Americans that you don’t see with the same type of salt intake in Northern Europeans.
Adam: It actually says in medical journals that African-Americans tend to be more sensitive to sodium in relationship to high blood pressure. If you read medical journal would actually say that.
Adam: Because your body gets rid of sodium so quickly, do you test your other minerals? How are you with your calcium, for example?
Ben: So, I test on a quarterly basis, hydroxy Vitamin D which can be relevant to calcium levels because if you have too much which I rarely have based on the reasons I was talking about earlier, you can get excess calcification. I test calcium, I test red blood cell magnesium, potassium, CO2 which can be indicative of minerals because a low bicarbonate level can indicate that you have, for example, too much unopposed sodium that you’re consuming which would typically be from package foods and I test chloride levels. Those are the minerals that I analyze on my blood and really the ones I pay closest attention to would be that chloride, that bicarbonate level, which can indicate overall net acidity in the body.
Sal: Not a good state.
Ben: Meaning you’ve got to eat less sodium, less caffeine, less alcohol, less red meat, step up your intake of dark leafy greens, that type of thing, and then, magnesium which I think is one of the most important minerals and it’s just called an RBC Magnesium Test. Super simple test but those are the minerals that I pay attention to on a quarterly blood analysis. So, yes, I do track that stuff.
Ben: And the interesting thing about pickles, this is the second thing I was going to say, is that it was relevant for all those people listening in who might be racing Tahoe next week or who are athletes, is that it turns out that cramping during exercise is very rarely due to mineral depletion or due to dehydration especially in people who are already paying attention to those variables. They’re using electrolytes, they’re salting their food regularly, going into a competition they’re staying adequately hydrated. I cramp during my race, during my workout, what the hell? How could that have happened? Well, it turns out that the majority of cramps are due to a protective mechanism. An alpha motor neuron reflex that basically causes the muscle to go into a protective spasm or cramp so that you don’t tear it or rip it. It’s generated by the Golgi tendon organ. So, what you can do to reverse this cramp, and we know this works because when you do this, there’s not enough time for any of these things to get absorbed into your system and absorbed into your muscles and provide salts your muscles instead it’s all neural. You can inhibit this alpha motor neuron reflex. When you cramp by tasting anything incredibly salty or incredibly spicy. This is why there are companies now developing high-priced like, you know, like these gel shots that are like carbohydrate gel shots?
Ben: Well, they’re doing like pickle shots with cayenne pepper. Things are like mustard powder with incredibly high amounts of salt. So, there’s almost like this gag reflex but as soon as that hits you, it’s a trick to reverse a cramp. So, what I do when I’m racing, is I carry these electrolyte capsules. If you ever break open an electrolyte capsule and dump it in your mouth, it’s horribly like gag reflex salty. But, if you cramp within 20 seconds after that thing hits your [2:05:19]_____ or the inside of your cheeks or anywhere else where you can taste it, the cramp goes away.
Ben: It’s crazy
Sal: Why is it not every athlete have these on hand?
Ben: Because they don’t listen to MindPump.
Adam: Their loss.
Sal: Is it because of the taste is signaling something in the brain to reverse this?
Ben: Exactly. The taste of something salty or spicy causes what’s called a motor neuron reflex that the cramp loosens.
Adam: Now, this is something that you’re talking about people are making products for, so I’m assuming that this has lots of science supporting it and it’s a taste that sends a signal. So, with that, this is one of the arguments I tend to make a lot with people in our space who try to say things like artificially flavored products with zero calories have no negative effects on the body and I always tell them, the taste alone, even if what you were eating was inert, the signal of taste alone does tell the body to do certain things.
Ben: It does and did you see a study that came out this week on sucralose? Splenda?
Adam: No. What was it? Oh, that it stores the fat?
Ben: The taste of it activates glucagon like peptide GLP-1 and that actually results in insulin insensitivity with frequent sucralose intake. Now, granted, has any of you mention Layne Norton? I’m sure a guy like this is going to know this, is going to say this, that’s with the equivalent of close to a dozen packets of Splenda per day, that equivalent of sucralose. But frankly, when you look at a lot of these energy drinks and weigh proteins and artificially sweetened compounds, there’s the equivalent of a good two to four packets of sucralose or Splenda in just a single serving of those. So, there’s a lot of people in the fitness industry possibly developing–
Justin: How common is this? We’ve talked about this. We shared this on the show before where I would have two or three of these in my coffee in the morning because I have two or three cups of coffees. So, I have to get at least three there. I have a protein shake. I have a protein bar and I have some sort of a pre-workout shake or something. Easily we were over that, easily.
Ben: Yes, exactly.
Justin: And there’s also duration. I’m using it for years because of what I do every day.
Ben: Granted, I realize that this might sound hypocritical coming from a guy who regularly uses Stevia but I’ve never said that I believe that Stevia may not be having an impact on an incretin hormone or an insulin. For me, the pros outweigh the cons. I think it’s less artificial and less potentially neurotoxic than aspartame or sucralose. And, it allows me to restrict calories very easily when I’m, for example, on a long plane flight, I put some organic vanilla Stevia into my Sulphur water to make it taste like cream soda. So, for me, the pros outweigh the cons of using an artificial sweetener. But, even for that, I use either monk fruit or organic Stevia. Yes, the artificial sweetened thing–
Sal: I’m with you.
Ben: Yes, good point though based on the fact that when you taste something it can reverse a cramp, then, why wouldn’t it be when you taste something it can cause an insulin release or at least a release of [02:08:12]______ or some other incretin hormone.
Adam: Well, we need to remember that these signals exist for a reason. Why do we even perceive taste to begin with, because it tells us a lot about what’s happening around us or inside of our mouth. That signal by itself over thousands of years of evolution, that signal itself already starts a cascade of events before whatever was anticipated acts on the body. And so, it only makes [censored] sense when we manipulate all these different senses thinking, “Oh but the calories aren’t there, it’s inert or has a zero effect.” Wrong. That’s impossible. Now, they may be less of an effect or maybe a cost benefit analysis that you do but there’s definitely a [censored] effect. On the same way, I would I would err on the side of something that’s natural versus something that’s synthetic just because it’s been around longer and we tend to know and react better to things that have been around longer than things that are synthetic.
Sal: How do you feel when people refer to you as like the pseudo-science guy?
Adam: You know, I saw that comment a lot after you did your Rogan interview. People were like, “Oh, pseudo God.” A lot of trolls on there.
Sal: How do you feel about that when someone says that?
Ben: Technically, some of the things that I talk about are pseudo-science such as religion and spirituality which is very difficult or I would even say impossible to prove in many circumstances. But, I would argue that some of the things that I talk about such as the fact that cells communicate via biophotonic light signaling has been a proven scientific fact since almost the 1700s. It’s just that a lot of this stuff is not common knowledge or people are, to a certain extent, afraid of it because it disrupts societal expectations, meaning when you find out that plastic bottled water that you always knew had some of these plastics and phytoestrogens in it and is probably bad for you, also has a different electro-chemical structure than the spring water that you get from a natural spring. That sounds like pseudo-science and people kind of get a little bit uncomfortable about the fact that, “Gosh, that means I have to replace the water filter in my house and go to findaspring.com and start drinking more natural water?” It’s uncomfortable, it’s inconvenient to accept the fact that sometimes pseudo-science, what we call pseudo-science, can tell us things that we get very uncomfortable with. Yes, I mean, those are the two things that come to mind. And then, I think the last would be that there is a certain amount of industry influence, everything from the pharmaceutical industry influencing most medical physician stance that essential oils would be useless or worthless simply because there are pharmaceuticals that could do the same thing or there’s a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor that beats out the St. John’s Wort that we’re talking about. So, using St. John’s Wort as an anti-depressant could potentially be pseudo-science. You know, “Ben’s out collecting yellow flowers with his kids in the wilderness. Let’s make a ha-ha, you know, skipping naked through the meadow joke about Ben because—”
Adam: You should just take Prozac.
Ben: Right, exactly. “We have all these studies on Prozac, why don’t you just take that?” So, I think a big part of it too is that there’s some amount of industry manipulation. Same thing when I say, “If you’re going to have milk, have it from cattle with an A2 genetic history because that protein compared to A1 is better absorbed by the human body and results in less of an allergenic response. But, if you’re really wanting to dial things in, then, you should drink milk and prepare for all the trolls to jump in and laugh here, like cue trolls, you should drink something that’s a little bit more thermodynamically favorable for the human body meaning it has a smaller protein than cow’s milk like goat’s milk or camel’s milk or water buffalo milk even has a smaller protein than cows.” And that’s when everybody jumps in and laughs because this is the stuff that either people are talking about or there’s a big–there’s a lot of industry influence from the American Dairy, was it the American Dairy Association?
Ben: I forget if that’s the exact title.
Adam: I think the ADA, American Dairy Association.
Ben: Whatever you call it. So, I think those are a few the things that you need to bear in mind is, A, yes, some of stuff I talk about, religion and spirituality, that is pseudo-science admittedly and I’m okay and comfortable with that. I think if you could prove it, it would not be as magical as it is. If you could prove in J.R Tolkien’s book that the dragon was there and the ring actually works and here’s the science behind how the ring could work and here’s how Golem could have lived to be as old as he lived. All of a sudden, all the fun is stripped out of this magical pseudo-science book. You could say the same thing about religion and spirituality in the life that we’re leading. In addition, it’s inconvenient for a lot of people and people just tend to basic evolutionary ancestral mechanism, be afraid of something they don’t understand or something that’s going inconvenience them. And then, C, there’s the C or 3, I don’t remember again. The industry influence that I think also pretty dramatically influences consumer choice.
Sal: Ben, yesterday’s pseudo-science was microbiome health. It was leaky gut syndrome. I mean, I remember talking about these things to my doctor clients, I don’t know, 14 years ago and them, you know, laughing at me like, “Oh, that’s hocus pocus.” That was considered pseudo-science. Today, that’s real science. The real stuff coming out.
Adam: That was the reason why I asked because we know you really well and we have a lot respect for you. I think anybody who doesn’t know you very well and they ask about you to us, that’s the first thing that they say to me is like, “Oh, that pseudo-science God.” I’m like, “Oh, you really don’t know.”
Ben: And I’m guilty of that myself, I make fun of Dr. Mercola for talking on the phone on his freaking selfie stick. But, you know what? Maybe when people are dropping dead of brain cancer 20 years from now, everybody’s going to say, “Gosh, that’s pretty smart of him to do.” So, I mean, I’ve been in that chair before, I’ve laughed at him doing that or the fact that he wouldn’t get in it and I’m sorry if he’s listening in, I’m not throwing him on a bus, I’m just using this as an example.
Sal: I love him by the way.
Ben: Yes, I love Dr. Mercola too. I learned a [censored] ton from him. But, he wouldn’t get in the car to travel with me from LA to Malibu to visit a friend over there that I wanted him to hang out with because of the EMF potential in the highways and all these 5g power lines.
Sal: How did he get there?
Ben: He didn’t go.
Sal: He teleported?
Ben: And, you know what? Rather than me raising an eyebrow at that and thinking, “God, Jesus, live a little, you can’t prove that by taking a car from LA to Malibu, you’re going to get cancer.” You know what? All that “pseudo-science” that people might accuse him of, he could be laughing at us 10 years from now when the people who followed his advice are far healthier and living a longer time.
Adam: I agree.
Sal: Well, you have to juggle modern life with a lot of these risks but I think he’s somebody who lives it and breathes it. And so, he goes in that.
Ben: And sleeps in a Faraday cage.
Sal: He sleeps in a Faraday cage. People like you, I appreciate, do that kind of stuff so that the rest of us can pick and choose what we think is important based on what you’re doing. You may be doing all this other [censored], all kinds of crazy stuff and I’m going to take two or three of those big rocks of the big ones that I see make the biggest difference and apply it to myself.
Ben: And when my dick falls off, you know to avoid anything that Ben did to his dick.
Adam: Dick shots.
Ben: Don’t do dick shots. By the way, speaking of–
Sal: Of your dick?
Adam: Nice segue. I’m listening talking about your dick.
Ben: Totally shoved my–
Sal: Woah. Hey. Be careful.
Ben: I can’t say anything. Layne Norton. Speaking of dicks. I’m kidding.
Adam: Jokes, people.
Ben: I’ve never hung out with Layne Norton.
Adam: We did, he was talking [censored] about you.
Ben: A little bit but honestly, everything I’ve heard of him he seems like a very, very cool, grounded, nice dude. So, I meant nothing by the dick segue. I was actually referring to the fact that I guess, he’s going to be debating Dominic D’Agostino on the Joe Rogan pod about ketogenic diet.
Adam: How do you think that’s going to go? Your opinion?
Sal: I wish you were on there.
Adam: Yes, I know, I kind of want to. I saw you throw name in that.
Ben: Well, no, I’m not a Ph.D. Both of those guys are doctors.
Adam: Yes, I think you can have a death match, doctor against doctor versus doctor against like, you know–
Justin: Pseudo-science guy?
Ben: Technically, I’m an exercise physiologist and nutritionist but not board certified in exercise physiologist. I have a master’s degree [2:17:11]______ but, yes, there’s a whole bunch of reasons why I’m less qualified than both those dudes.
Sal: On paper.
Adam: Way more a humble, way better ego than them.
Ben: I’m not sure. I think there’s another guy who’s going to be debating on there, Joel Kahn, vegan dude. I don’t know who he’s going to be debating.
Sal: Chris Kresser, right?
Adam: It could be.
Sal: It is Chris Kresser.
Adam: Yes, Chris.
Ben: Gosh, it’s hard because everybody I’ve just listed except Layne and it’s just we haven’t had the opportunity to hang out, they’re kind of, sort of, my friends and acquaintances. For me to make a prediction in public. But, you know what, there’s also something we said for radical honesty so I’m sorry to say this, Joel, but I think Chris is going to kick your ass in that debate just because, I think he’s a less dogmatic perhaps. I love you, Joel. You know that. And then, regarding Layne and Dom, I suspect that that’s going to turn into a polite exchange of ideas versus an actual debate. I think both of those guys–
Adam: They’re both friends too.
Ben: Yes, they might be on a little bit too friendly of terms or–
Doug: They are. Way too friendly.
Ben: Polite and gentlemanly and I think it’s just going to turn into a scientific exchange of ideas.
Adam: Yes, it is going to be like that.
Sal: I could see that.
Ben: Especially, I mean, I’ve hung out with Dom. He’s like a big cuddly teddy bear
Doug: Oh, he’s a great guy.
Ben: He’s not going to rip your head off and say, “That’s [censored].”
Adam: No, I’m actually a little disappointed in Joe as matching. I don’t know if Joe made the decision or somebody else is matching those two up because if you wanted some good radio, you would have put something fiery on the other side because Layne can be that.
Sal: If you have Layne and Gary Taubes or something like that. Because Taubes who he was going after initially, I think.
Adam: That’s what he should have done. I think would’ve made better radio. Dom, I know Dom too is going to be–and I know Layne. Layne will throw some points out but Dom would be, “Oh, okay.” “In that case, I could see that but in most…” it’s going to be a lot of agreeing back and forth on their points. I don’t see him challenging in that.
Ben: Right, well, the older I get, the less I give a [censored] about what people actually care about me. And the less I find myself being a people pleaser which is probably why, you know, the old men in the locker room walk around their hips thrust out their dicks, blow dry their balls because they don’t really give a [censored] anymore.
Adam: I do that every now and then.
Ben: Same thing, if I were to go on that podcast and debate somebody, I would be blow drying my balls all day long. And, calling out [censored] right and left because I really don’t give a [censored].
Adam: We love you bro.
Sal: We [censored] love you, Ben. Always a good time when we run in to you. Always a good time, man.
Adam: When do you take off? Tonight or tomorrow?
Ben: I’ll fly out tonight like 7:00 or something. [02:20:07]______ San Francisco so I should probably–
Adam: Oh, God. You better get wrap up pretty soon.
Ben: Maybe pop a few of these wonderful candies that we have laying around.
Justin: Yes, sir.
Sal: You already did. I counted so I think you’re okay.
Ben: Maybe four? I don’t know what I took.
Adam: Oh, no.
Ben: By the way, I want to finish with this that I only endorse responsible use of any mind-altering substance and furthermore, I think that it’s perfectly fine for bros to sit around shooting the [censored] and you know, dropping F-Bombs and everything else but when I’m around ladies and in a polite etiquette situation, I’m not a foul-mouthed druggie. I guess that’s what I want to say.
Adam: Great disclaimer. I’m glad you cleared that up for everybody.
Sal: No, you are a very stand up person. You have tremendous integrity.
Ben: Yes, but I also want to hang out with the dudes.
Sal: We’re just having a great time and you’re in MindPump studio. This is how we roll.
Adam: This is how we do it, man
Sal: We appreciate it, thank you.
Sal: Good time, man.
Adam: How long is that, Doug?
Doug: Two hours and twenty-three minutes.
Warning: today’s podcast episode gets a bit…well edgy – even explicit.
See, every so often, I get together with my fellow fitness-freak podcasting friends – the good fellas from the MindPump studios– and we take a rather rough around the edges, occasionally drug or alcohol infused, definitely entertaining and edgy foray into longevity to life to religion to parenting to biohacking and beyond. These always turn out to be incredibly popular podcast episodes, and this one promises to be just that.
The hosts of Mindpump claim to “pull back the curtain on the mythology, snake oil and pseudo-science that pervades the fitness industry and present science-backed solutions that result in increased muscular development and performance while simultaneously emphasizing health.”
Take a gander at these fellas…as they seem to have the body composition and transformation equation pretty well figured out. They include…
Sal DiStefano. Sal was 14 years old when he touched his first weight and from that moment he was hooked. Growing up asthmatic, frequently sick and painfully skinny, Sal saw weightlifting as a way to change his body and his self-image. In the beginning, Sal’s body responded quickly to his training but then his gains slowed and then stopped altogether. Not one to give up easily, he began reading every muscle building publication he could get his hands on to find ways to bust through his plateau. He read Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding, Mentzer’s Heavy Duty, Kubrick’s Dinosaur Training, and every muscle magazine he could find; Weider’s Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Iron Man and even Muscle Media 2000. Each time he read about a new technique or methodology he would test it out in the gym. At age 18 his passion for the art and science of resistance training was so consuming that he decided to make it his profession and become a personal trainer. By 19 he was managing health clubs and by 22 he owned his own gym. After 17 years as a personal trainer he has dedicated himself to bringing science and TRUTH to the fitness industry.
Adam Schafer is a IFBB men’s physique Pro and fitness expert. Adam made his entrance into the fitness world 14 years ago and has continued to send shock waves throughout the community ever since. He is a man of many talents who wears many hats. He is first and foremost a certified fitness expert who has an insatiable desire to help people in need of major lifestyle changes and daily accountable motivation. He is also incredibly driven entrepreneur and business minded individual with a vision that continually challenges his colleagues and peers to think bigger and achieve more.
Justin Andrews has an incredible passion to disrupt the personal training industry and create ground breaking programs and tools that fitness professionals and clients alike can benefit from. The fitness industry in general needs a massive face lift to speak more to the generation growing up with a more advanced technology tool kit. Justin’s approach is to create programs that utilize technology as it advances and cut through the millions of options people face everyday when seeking specific information relating to their fitness needs. The great thing about where we are today is how easy it is to access information, the bad part about accessing all this information is how much misinformation is out there to weed through. As a health and fitness professional with a proven track record here in the heart of the Silicon Valley, Justin Andrews will keep working tirelessly to keep people educated and connected to quality personal trainers long into the future.
Doug Egge received his first gym membership as a gift from his dad when he was 16 years old. Rocky III had just come out and he was determined to build a body like Stallone. It never happened. Despite following the advice of muscle magazines and busting his butt in the gym, Doug saw minimal gains over the next 30 years. Then he was introduced to Sal Di Stefano by his chiropractor who recommended he work with Sal to eliminate muscle imbalances that were causing lower back issues. Sal’s unique approach, often 180 degrees different from what Doug had read in books and magazines, produced more results in a matter of months than he had experienced in the 30 years prior. Doug with an extensive marketing and media production background, recognized Sal’s unique gift and perspective was missing from the fitness world and suggested that they should join forces. Doug and Sal have since produced life-altering programs such as the No BS 6-Pack Formula and MAPS Anabolic. Doug is very pleased to have the opportunity to work with Adam and Justin as Producer of MindPump.
Bottom of Form
In this epic 2+ hour conversation with the MindPump guys, you’ll discover:
-Health hazards of the new nicotine vapor pens…7:40
- Hyper-concentrated amounts of THC. Nearly 100%
- There’s such thing as too much of a good thing (essential oils)
- John’s wort an anti-depressant; put it in vodka for 4 weeks, then strain it.
-Observation: as humans have manipulated nature, all of a sudden we have a bunch of diseases to worry about…10:45
- Two beliefs: creationism vs. evolutionism.
- Means of concentrating elements have changed.
-Synthetic THC, gravity bombs, etc…13:45
- A kid took two hits and lost his mind; scary thing to watch.
- Deaths associated with synthetic cannabinoids
- It’s impossible to kill yourself with real cannabis
- You want a total plant extract; CBD provides benefits but works better with other cannabinoids present.
- Actually grows new brain cells.
-Oversaturation of cannabis-related products in the marketplace…17:00
- If you use a lot of it, you could be getting your body to produce less natural cannabinoids.
- CBD protein, pre-workout, products.
- Ben has a high tolerance for stimulants like coffee and caffeine due to his upbringing.
- Varying reactions to caffeine/CBD combinations.
- Don’t take grapefruit with medication.
-How I and my kids are increasing our levels of BDNF, which are naturally low…22:05
- Drinking lion’s mane tea; using the sauna 3x/week.
- Side effects of low levels of BDNF.
- Not enough Vitamin D
- Not optimal cognitive ability
- The ins and outs of “smart drugs.” I’m not as into them as I once was.
-What it was like to start a supplement company, and a progress report 1 year into it…27:30
- Began with just a few supplements: Serum, Flex, etc.
- I don’t want to be “the face” of the company. I want the products to stand for themselves. I’m behind the scenes, formulating the supplements.
- We partner with some companies, like Thorne. Their labels contain the Kion logo.
- The process from idea to opening the company…
- Best selling product is the Clean Energy Bar.
- Rather than focus on “long tail” concepts, I focus on specific pain points: sleep, longevity, joints, etc.
- We want people to have just a few supplements in their cupboard.
- You have to create a high number of SKU’s, OR have a huge following in one specific area.
-The financial investments and human labor that went into founding Kion…41:30
- Initial investment: $100k from a friend, who is an investment partner.
- I invest in a lot of nutrition, fitness, bone broth, etc. companies.
- Kion has a board of 5 business-savvy members.
- Everything else I’ve financed personally.
- We’re in the green less than a year into it.
- Same growth curve as companies that have been around for 3+ years. Due to existing traction from the podcast, email list, etc.
- Relationship capital is HUGE. It’s not about cold calling…
- I have a spreadsheet that’s a virtual rolodex of influencers
- Address to send free product
- Ask them to share on social media
- Relationships make it easy to decide who to listen to, what products to promote, etc.
- Having assistants who make our schedule is actually far less stressful than feeling like we’re in control of everything.
- I’ve successfully built my business hiring experts who can focus on just one particular element of the business. i.e. scheduling, podcasts, etc. (H/T to Gary Keller’s The One Thing.)
- It’s futile to build a huge following on social media and promoting products. Although it’s a temporary success, what do you really have to be proud of? It’s an unsustainable business model.
- I’m more concerned with creating a legacy with Kion, my books, podcast, etc.
-The risk in terms of your own sanity in being consumed with your appearance…55:00
- Look at celebrities using botox, plastic surgery.
- The body changes, ages. You realize money isn’t that important.
- Focus on building YOU, rather than your image.
- No one on their death bed wishes they made more money. They wish they had more family time, practicing spirituality: meditation, gratitude, connecting with a higher power.
- There’s a lot to be gained by abstaining from certain comforts of life. Delayed gratification. How do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to build?
-Balancing scientific truth and spiritual truth…1:04:00
- Light is the first thing created. Research has shown that the primary way in which cells communicate is via biophotonic signaling.
- There’s a reason I’m not paleo…
- The first people were gardeners; EVERYTHING was good.
- Science itself eliminates the idea that you can have only science and no moral code.
- We have a built-in morality that some scientists claim to disprove.
-What kinds of things do people hire me for?
- How to exercise and stay in shape for leisure activities and meet business demands.
- Blood and biomarker interpretation.
- Create meal plans based on their own lifestyle.
- I’m the CEO of their health.
- Consult with pro sports teams: Miami Heat.
- Optimize light
- HEPA air filters
- Micro adjustments that take a team from good to great.
- Mostly for personal health reasons, rather than outperforming competitors.
-Things I do to mitigate jet lag…1:25:45
- Circadian cues: light, movement, food.
- Get into natural light ASAP; block LED lights.
- Avoid eating on the airplane as much as possible. Recommend macadamia nuts, gum, stevia, electrolyte tablets. Wait until the first regular time to eat a meal. Ex. You land at 2 am, wait until normal breakfast time to eat. DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST!
- Mimic your movements in the new location, i.e. exercise time. Look for a park; walk in your bare feet. Find a sauna and pool.
- The Last Resource You’ll Ever Need on Sleep.
-The newest science in anti-aging and longevity research…1:36:30
- Calorie restriction memetics Resveratrol, Astragalus
- Using fasting to build muscle mass.
- Interval training.
- When you drop your calories, your metabolism adjusts. Staggered fasting helps mitigate that adjustment.
- NAD precursors: Tru Niagen, NiaCel, nicotinamide riboside (NR)
- Primary signaling molecules in our body are free radicals.
- Fecal transplants.
-What are some things I’ve eliminated from my protocol?…1:58:52
-Whether I’ve ever experimented with my cholesterol levels for strength increases…2:04:34
- Is any increase in strength because of fat-soluble vitamins, or because it’s an increase in cholesterol?
- I try to keep my total cholesterol above 200.
-The significance of consuming the RIGHT minerals into your diet…2:08:30
- Your body needs to be rich in minerals in order to respond to light signals.
- Drink salt water vs. tap water. Celtic salt is higher than other types of salt.
- Why a couple of dill kosher pickles relieves a headache.
- On a quarterly basis, I test for hydroxy vitamin D, calcium, red blood cell magnesium, CO2, chloride levels. I pay the most attention to chloride levels and magnesium.
- Cramping during exercise is rarely due to mineral depletion or dehydration.
- Due to an alpha motor neuron reflex.
- To reverse this cramp, taste something incredibly salty or incredibly spicy.
- The taste causes a motor neuron reflex and relieves the cramp.
-My reaction to being labeled the “pseudoscience guy”…2:20:30
- Religion and spirituality are very difficult to prove.
- Some things such as cells communicating via biophotonics light signaling have been proven since the 1700’s; it’s just not common knowledge.
- People are afraid of it, or it disrupts the status quo.
- There’s a certain amount of “industry manipulation” on the information we receive.
-My opinion on the upcoming debates between Layne Norton/Dominic D’Agostino and Chris Kresser/Joel Kahn on the Joe Rogan Podcast…2:27:30
Resources mentioned in this episode:
-The MAPS training plans designed by the MindPump crew for fat loss, muscle gain, mobility, sports performance and more.
-My previous 3 podcasts with the MindPump guys:
- The Mysterious Kuwait Muscle-Building Phenomenon, The Too-Much-Protein Myth, Anabolic Triggering Sessions & More With The MindPump Podcast Crew.
- The Mysterious Micro-Workouts, Turning On Your Butt, Overdosing With Melatonin & More With The MindPump Guys
- Six-Egg Breakfasts, Ketosis For Bodybuilders, Resetting Weed Tolerance, Kratom Experimentation & Much More With The Mindpump Guys!
-Book: Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday
-Book: The Art of Manliness
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