[10:05] Why Katy Got Rid of All Her Furnitures
[17:45] Why Katy’s Kids Go to Nature School
[28:50] Foraging with Family
[33:55] What Katy Would Update in Old ‘80s Pop-Up Books on Muscle
[40:30] Mechanical Trigger as Vasodilator
[45:45] Why Weight Training Counts as Cardio
[49:35] Why Grip Strength is Important
[58:36] Gooey Bones
[63:40] Importance of Chewing Food
[1:11:21] End of Podcast
Ben: Hello, ladies and germs! I like to talk like I’m out of the 1940s… or ‘50s… or ‘60s… or whenever they said “germs”, and I’m displaying my intense lack of knowledge about all things historical and geographical, really. This is Ben Greenfield; but I do know about fitness and I do know about why you should consider throwing out your furniture. I’m serious; my guest does too. We talk about throwing out your furniture, we talk about forest school; how cool is that? Gooey bones, why weight training counts as cardio and a whole lot more. It’s my friend, and I think she’s been on the podcast now four times; she’s that popular, biomechanist Katy Bowman.
And before we jump into today’s show, I’ve got another little impression for you. [barking sound] Know what that is? That was a bark, or a wolf dying; one of the two. But the reason I’m doing that is to get your dog’s attention because there’s this company that, every month, paw-picks the best all-natural treats and innovative toys, see what I did there, “paw-picks”, to match your dog’s unique needs like your dog’s allergies or if your dog is a heavy chewer. And they make all of their products in the USA or in Canada; they test them on animals, meaning their own animals, at this company and the name of the company’s Bark Box.
Every single monthly box is themed, like the one that I recently got was called “Bark Ball”, full of different kinds of balls that my dog, Comet, loves to chase around the living room, which is cute/annoying, especially the ones that squeak. But anyways, you’re gonna love the toys they send you; new and unique toys keep your dogs engaged, and interested, and happy, with the scout’s honor that if your dog doesn’t like something in the box, I’m not quite sure how you’ll know that, I guess they just will leave it forsaken in the corner, they’ll send you something else that your dog will love for free because they’re all about dog happiness. And you get free shipping on any Bark Box; how, you ask? You go to barkbox.com/ben, that’s B-A-R-K-BOX.com/ben, and you get a free extra month of Bark Box when you grab yourself a 6-month or a 12-month Bark Box plan.
This podcast is also brought to you by the Human Charger. So the Human Charger is this handy-dandy little device, smaller than a phone that I carry with me at all times especially when I travel; it’s a light-therapy device. So you may have heard of “seasonal affective disorder”, which is what this was originally designed for, and then they found that, voilà, it helps to get rid of jet lag; it helps to align your circadian rhythm; it gives you energy, like a cup of coffee for your brain, because it stimulates the photo-sensitive proteins on the surface of the brain using a calibrated white light that passes through your ear canals. How do you like that? And it helps reproduce serotonin and dopamine and noradrenaline and just feel amazing, and did I mention beats jet lag. So you get 20% off on this handy-dandy little device. Visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/humancharger; that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/humancharger and simply enter code “BEN20” to get 20% off of your human charger today.
In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“That vasodilation was caused by chemical or vasoactive substance. That was the hypothesis. It’s been the hypothesis for a very long time but it’s never been a proven hypothesis.” “They discovered that a large of your bone mineral density is actually goo; the organic solids. Might not be the best way to describe a mineral because as far as your bone mineral density goes, they’re wet minerals.”
Ben: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and my guest today, a few years ago, taught us how to look like a million bucks from head to toe in the podcast episode “Making Biomechanics Fun: How to Fix Your Body, Align Your Posture and Look Like a Million Bucks From Head To Toe.” And then she taught why Kegel exercises suck and why most ab exercises are completely useless in the podcast episode “Why You Shouldn't Suck In Your Stomach, Why Standing All Day Is Bad For You, And How Kegels Are Killing Your Core.”
Well, today, I have invited her back to talk about her new book called “Movement Matters: Essays on Movement Science, Movement Ecology, and the Nature of Movement.” And her name, if you haven’t guessed it yet, because she’s relatively famous in the world of biomechanics especially ancestral biomechanics, is Katy Bowman. And Katy is not only a biomechanist, and a science author, and a self-described full-time mover, but she spends her time educating hundreds of thousands of people from around the world via not only her huge collections of books, the number of which I’ve actually lost track of coz she’s got a ton from “Move Your DNA”, to this book “Movement Matters”, to “Foot Pain Relief”, to “Whole Body Barefoot”, to “Alignment Matters”, to “Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief”; the list goes on and on, but she also does live classes online. She has a fantastic website that I’ll link to over in the show notes for this episode, which you’ll find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/movementmatters, but she also lives right across the State from me, where the sun does not shine quite as much as it does on my side of the state. Ha-ha, Katy.
Ben: Na-na-na-na-na. But she has a very interesting life over there; we’ll talk a little bit about the fact that her kids go to nature school and she threw out all her furniture and she does a lotta cool wildplant foraging adventures and all sorts of interesting things. We’re also gonna take a deep dive into science because she has some really interesting ideas about muscle and about bone that really don’t get talked about a lot in stereotypical, biomechanical chatter or cocktail chatter about muscle and bone, if you go to those kind of cocktail parties. So, Katy, welcome to the show.
Katy: Hi, I would love to go to one of those cocktail parties.
Ben: I know. Seriously, where we could just talk about biomechanics all day and how bone is goo and muscles really aren’t the way that we think they are. Everything that you talk about in this fantastic book that I’m holding in my hands right now; funny thing is I read your books and wind up just destroying them coz I fold over so many pages. I don’t talk about this too much on the show but my undergraduate degree is in biomechanics so I have this special place in my heart for biomechanic talk and some of the geeky stuff that you delve into in your book. So whenever you mail me a new book that you’ve written, my face lights up and I take out the red pen and get to work figuring out what I wanna talk to you about when I have you on the show.
Katy: There’s not a lot of fun books about biomechanics; they’re all technical or they’re research articles so for me, someone who loves biomechanics and geeks out about it, I think to have something that kinda makes you laugh as you’re kinda going “oh yes, of course” academically, it’s a nice mash-up, I guess.
Ben: Right. Yeah, it totally is and you’ve got a really, really cool way of talking about biomechanics in kind of a layman’s or laywoman’s perspective that I truly appreciate, including the… do you actually draw the images in your book or do you have someone do those for you?
Katy: I have someone professionally draw my crappy drawings. So for me, really beautiful anatomy textbooks, what’s often lost is the actual mechanics of what’s going on; they’re not able to communicate well leverage, and so I have always found that really simple diagrams with arrows that totally shatter any artistic… I don’t want you to pull any art from my diagrams; I want you to see in and out and up and expansion and this direction and that direction so, I’m actually not that bad of a drawer but I draw really crappy stick-figure drawings on purpose so that the communication I need these drawings to make, which is not as beautiful as this, come through. So I do have someone, though professionally recreate my crappy drawings. She is a professional illustrator who can do beautiful things but she just does these crappy line drawings for me all the time.
Ben: Yeah, that’s the way my wife and I work together. I’m writing a fiction book right now called “The Forest” and I’ll get through a chapter and I’ll write out, again, my own crappy line drawing of what I would imagine it look like as the protagonists in the story, which are my two twin boys, come wandering out of the woods, out into the ocean and I’ve got the rocks which are little circles. And the trees are sticks and the ocean is the stereotypical wavy lines and then she turns it into an actual epic fantasy painting. So yeah, we’ve got that relationship going.
Actually the first question I wanted to ask you Katy, was, you got rid of all your furniture; I think we talked about this a little bit in the last podcast but we didn’t really take much of a dive into it. How’s that going for you, not having furniture?
Katy: It really gets better every day. (chuckles) Getting rid of furniture is my way of modifying my environment so the environment facilitates movement versus me having to drum up some sort of artificial willpower, or to have to think myself to “I should be moving.” Our environment, our habitats have gotten rid of the need for a lot of movement so we’re having to artificially manifest that. “Okay, I’m gonna get up and bend my hips and my knees to these particular degrees at this particular frequency”, that’s one particular way of relating and taking science and kind of helping you create behaviors, but it’s very exhausting and then we have this whole issue of frequency. It becomes very difficult to move at a particular frequency coz I have to be thinking all the time that “I need to move this much, I need to move this way” in addition to also “and I need to eat this much of this thing and in this way”, and it just became so overwhelming that I thought, much easier for me is to strip out the elements of the habitat that I’m constantly having to rally against.
And so, what I’ve done is I’ve gotten rid of chairs and things that are so easy to plop or outsource my body’s work to. So I got rid of things with backs, the classic chairs, and then we’ve started to play with temperature, getting rid of warmth from our house. It’s still able to be warmed, but we don’t build a fire the first thing on a cold morning; we’re like “oh, if we leave it cold, guess what? We’re a lot more likely to head outside and warm our own bodies” because we’re not thwarted by this cozy environment, and so by doing that, getting rid of warmth a portion of the day, I found that we were all moving so much more and going outside so much more so I’ve just been playing with it.
There’s a lot of research coming out where, this is a cool biomechanics thing, where the shape of your environment shapes the animal and the behavior of the animal within that environment. Ants and lots of other colony animals, bees and whatnot, they’re behavior and body shapes are in a relationship with their habitat’s structure. And we know this about animals but we just continue to create more environments that facilitate less of the behaviors that we really know we need and then we’re constantly rewarded with that shaping towards comfort with a body that’s more suited for comfort and less for taking action in various ways. So I was like “oh, okay” and once I understood that it becomes very easy for me to choose which elements I am ready to let go and to what degree. So that’s all; getting rid of my furniture was the first step of that acknowledgment that my environment is influencing me tremendously and I’m just gonna go ahead and do the work on the environmental end.
Ben: Yeah. From a biomechanical standpoint to just the simple act of knowing how to get down and get up is more challenging than I think a lot of people realize. For example, I teach these special movement classes when I go to a conference, not just the health and fitness event, but I’ll go speak at these different business events and sometimes they’ll have me do morning movement sessions, and one of the things that I have people do is just sit down and stand up, typically 20-30 times. Just literally, sit down and stand up, and it completely gasses, and many people are destroyed and sore the next day from sitting down and standing up 30 times. And this idea of, and by the way I have retained all the furniture in my home despite my respect for you having gotten rid of yours; I still have my couches and my futons and my beds and everything like that, but just this concept of being able to get down on the floor and get back up is something that so many people lost the skill of being able to do.
Now, granted I understand that a lot of people that listen to my show, they’re able to sit down and stand up, but I think, even more importantly, what you said about temperature fluctuation is important in that, and not just this idea of minimalism but also this idea of embracing some amount of discomfort in our lives is important. Not just from the stress and resilience standpoint but also a biomechanical standpoint, right? Like sometimes sleeping on hard surfaces, sometimes eating on the floor instead of eating at a table, sometimes figuring out something to do other than sit in a chair like kneel, or lunge, or stand, or embrace something other than furniture.
It’s important and I love that section in your book where you get into how you got rid of the furniture and kinda went minimalist and swapped your 24 inches of box spring mattress for 3 inches of futon, and I think it’s something that a lot of people, especially people who are trying to reinvent their bodies could certainly benefit from.
Katy: Well, it has a lot to do with time, too. Movement Matters is really about time which is, you and I are constantly informing people of “you needed this” and “did you know your body needs this” and there’s many other people in many other fields that are continuously layering on these human needs. And because they are, I use the term “parsed”, like they’ve been extracted. Their extractions from, usually ancestral behaviors or human behaviors that have been around for a very long period of time, there’re elements of these; but if you just keep adding elements, every day you’re gonna be missing a large portion because you can only get to like “how many times do I get up and down off the floor? How many times do I have to run out and expose myself to a certain amount of minutes of sunlight? And how many minutes do I have to spend with my kids?” It all becomes, when you pull out the parts, the parts themselves end up summing up larger than what the thing taken in its entirety, would have been. So, the idea of sitting on the floor, it’s not only that you have to use your knees and your hips and your ankles and you’re mobilizing the joints and you’re using those muscles to carry you towards the floor.
Now, your body is being deformed by the floor; it’s pressure. We don’t consider the other types of movement that fall outside of our fitness variables so exposure to pressure is something that our body needs, and we currently take it in the form of foam rolling or putting our body on some tool, “I’m gonna put my knee on this tool in this way and then I’m gonna roll out my hips and I’m gonna roll out my quads”, and we’re doing it all separately but these are motions, these relationships with pressure at various angles of my body, are something now that just happened because I have to sit on the floor, because I got rid of all other options to not sit on the floor. So it’s to get even more movement in than those joint kinematics that we’re so used to talking about when we talk about biomechanics that we forget about the other movements that we need and how easy it is to get them within a lifestyle versus outside of one.
Ben: Right, yeah, completely. And on a related note, kinda going outside the box, you also have your kids, if I understand correctly from what you go into in the book, in forest school or nature school. Can you tell me about what a typical day at nature school or forest school looks like and also, just something to think about as you explain this to us, I know a lot of people don’t have the ability to put their kids in nature school. I haven’t even looked into this in Spokane; there’s not really much of a formal nature school in Spokane, and even though I replicate that for my kids everyday when they get home from their regular school and we’re out in nature.
Even right now I can see them outside the big picture window over my office; they’re barefoot standing right now out in the forest. I have no clue what they’re talking about but they’re both looking at each other talking about something, and I send them out to do sit spots and meditation and every day they need to go find one new wild plant to forage and identify and learn a new use for. And then we even have Foraging Fridays, where they can only eat, at least up until dinner, things that they’d found outside. They’re allowed to use the kitchen to use olive oil or to prepare what they’d found, but the main staple, what they eat, needs to come from the outdoors. And so there are ways that we figured how to get the kids a little bit of schooling outdoors, but I’m curious what does an actual, formal nature school or forest school actually look like? What do your kids do when they head out to school?
Katy: Well, they dress well, they dress appropriately; that’s a big thing so you’re already learning what you need to be comfortable and safe within particular environments. They switch between three different landscapes throughout the year and sometimes throughout the week. Throughout the year, we had a very cold winter here in Washington and that was different than the last two years, and so there was a lot of fire building elements to the class coz they actually had to be close to a fire, so they had to switch to a landscape.
Ben: And how old are they?
Katy: 4½ and 6.
Katy: They’re in two separate programs, but one is for slightly younger kids, 3-6, and the other one’s in a slightly older program, 5-10. So they do mix the ages which is really important. So nature school has elements of, it kinda looks like a regular school in that they get together the first thing and they’re usually playing some sort of game. Like we go to school and play recess in the morning beforehand, but the games are like freeze tag, right? Every kid plays freeze tag at some point, but the freeze tag is you, when you’re tagging someone, maybe you tag “bee sting”, and so when you tag them they have to stop and freeze coz they have a bee sting. And in order to unfreeze, the other kids have to go get the plant that is a good remedy for bee stings, actually go find it, pick it, bring it and touch the kid with that plant to unfreeze and you can only use each plant one time.
And so the teacher’s constantly changing the issue, so in that way they get a little bit of plant identification and then plant purpose. They do projects, kind of project-based learning which there’s lots of project-based learning school that don’t happen solely in nature but there’s a lot of science kind of built in but in a more practical level. So my son worked on a unit where he made a spear or an arrow, and they have knife skills so they start knife skills when they’re 5, and they aren’t full size knives and they learn knife safety. And so he’s wiggling this shaft of the arrow and he’s bringing it back to me and I asked him “why are you, what’s the point of removing the bark? Is it too heavy with the bark?” or whatever, coz I don’t know.
Katy: I’ve never made an arrow, and he says “if you look at a stick”, he picks his stick up to the eye, “you’ll see that it’s actually, even if it seems straight, if you look up close its bumpy, and so when the air passes down as it’s going through the air, it makes the air bumpy, kinda like when we’re on an airplane, mom, like turbulence, and then it can’t fly straight. So we have to remove all the bumps.” So from this biomechanics mother, he’s explaining aerodynamics to me; he understands laminar flow and turbulent flow and that the wind can displace something but it’s not really wind that, despite moving through the air it could create displacement, and then the objective of that arrow which is to hit what you’ve shot is unattainable until you get rid of these other forces and I was like, “wow”. So nature school, you could say “oh look they’re making arrows that they’ll never really need in the modern world”, but it’s really a much more fun way of learning aerodynamics and he’s 6; and so it’s just a lot of those types of things, a lot of physical play. They can look at ice; they spend a lot of time going out and trekking and then they find this amazing thing and all the teachers are very well-versed in wilderness safety and wilderness studies, and in different tribal studies and they can explain when you see the ice and it looks like this, this is an indication of how the temperature has fluctuated through the night; that there was like a partial melting.
And so, so many little things like that where they’re learning observation, identification; they added letters to our school, so there’s a traditional element of going through the alphabet, and every day would be a different letter, but then they would identify all the nature things that start with that sound. So even when they’re doing things like language arts, they still require that you observe what’s going around you. And they don’t have a chalk board, but they have dry erase boards that they’ll bring in and they’ll have the kids recap various things, and they have journals; they make notes or drawings of various animals. Sometimes they do things, like they found a dead bald eagle and a dead owl this year, and they were able to be with it; they were actually able to move its wings and learn that the height of an owl’s ears are staggered and why that is, and now you’re back to…
Ben: You weren’t afraid they were gonna get some horrible avian virus and you didn’t rush to rescue them from the dead bald eagle or the dead owl?
Katy: No, no.
Ben: You’re a horrible parent.
Katy: I know. Well, it’s definitely risk-taking. (chuckles)
Ben: What’s the actual name of this school? Well actually, I should ask you if you even want to say coz I don’t want people going in and stalking your kids, but I’m curious, is there a name for this type of school or the school that the children go to?
Katy: If you wanted to go see an example of it, Olympic Nature Experience is the non-profit, is it a company, I dunno, it’s a school but they have various schools. And for those people who are listening going “there’s no way my kids can go to a nature school”, a lot of nature organizations offer summer programs, after school programs…
Katy: …before school programs, camps. There’s a lot of ways to get into, or even weekend workshops; our school or this organization, they offer adult foraging classes, family foraging classes that are just on Saturday afternoon. I list that in the back of Movement Matters, which is like if you’re going “oh my gosh, I would love to do this; it’s not feasible”, there are so many ways to get various elements or aspects of it. Richard Louv wrote a book, “Last Child in the Woods”, and they have a huge children in nature network where if you go to that website, you can find various programs near you.
Ben: Yeah, I see that in you book, it’s called childreninnature.org; here in Spokane, Washington, it’s Twin Eagles Wilderness Adventures where my kids go in the summers, they go do wilderness school there and they even have a father-son immersion experience where we just all go out into the wilderness for several days. And it’s really cool because the fathers get together and we do, for example, traditional Native American ceremonies like the sweat lodge inside the teepee and we do different scouting adventures with the kids and it all culminates with us needing to go on almost like a night-time vision quest with our kids; where they just send us off into the forest and we gotta go out and survive and build our own shelter, and we don’t have any food, they just send us out with a knife and a bow, fire-making kit and we go and we bond with our children by surviving out in the forest for the evening.
And for those of you listening in who haven’t kind of looked in your local area for this type of adventure for you to do with your children or this kind of, even if it’s a summer school for the kids, it’s amazing and just about every place has some kind of a way to get started with this. So at the back of your book, Katy, you’ve got all sorts of resources on it, but the take away thing for me, really, when looking at your kids going to nature school, is not that every kid needs to go to nature school but every parent should at least into the resources in their community that allow their kids to get these kind of outdoor education or immersive experiences in nature just because a child can learn so much, and like you mentioned, your kids freakin’ making an arrow and learning about laminar flow and how an airplane can fly at the same time, so there’s not a disconnect from technology when they’re in these type of scenarios, at all. And so…
Katy: Mmhmm. No…
Ben: Go ahead.
Katy: And I think Richard Louv, he’s argued pretty extensively that nature is actually its own vitamin, so it’s like if you’re looking at “how do I feed my kids nutritiously and move them nutritiously?” that this is another element of they might very well indeed need abundant exposure to nature. And it can be through these structured programs and it could also be that when they have a birthday party, you do a nature theme, out in a park or that you take some of you breakfast or some of your meals; just put a blanket in your backyard and you eat outside. Or when the Audubon Center has a bird spot that you participate; it doesn’t require some of these larger things that we’re talking about. It’s very accessible in smaller ways, but slowly, what you are doing is introducing a skill in being exposed to and adapted to and comfortable in an outside environment, or else you’re destined to have to be inside a lot of times or “your feet inside shoes” or your whole body encased in smart wool all the time, in which your experiences are limited and that you have to have the environment just “so” for you to be able to function, which is a limit of your freedom, in a way.
Ben: How can people tie this into food, because I know that you do a lot of foraging with your kids too and you talk about how you’ve worked foraging into your guys’ lifestyle, can you tell me a little bit about the foraging scenarios that you create for yourself and for your family in the foraging section of the book?
Katy: Sure, and it can be, again, as small as… I mean if you nothing edible growing in your landscape and I live near the Olympics in Washington; if you live in an apartment, this could be something as growing an herb or two in a pot on a patio.
Ben: Right, or even just a vertical gardening system which is simple to buy off Amazon.
Katy: Exactly! Or even if you have no money you can go to a community garden or buy some seeds and a window; it can be very inexpensive but what you’re doing is you’re teaching this relationship or where food comes from, that someone has got to go get it. And so your foraging experience in this case will be very small, “can someone go to the back lot of our apartment and bring me three leaves of basil” or “cut two onions” or something like that; something that’s really easy to grow. Then it could be something a little bit larger which is identify, if you do have a community garden or if you do have some wilderness or park around you where you know the quality of the plants meaning they’re not sprayed, and you wanna make sure that your identification skills are on par, so I do request that if people are gonna start to forage, that they make sure someone who is a local expert has helped them identify things.
Obviously, most of us can identify apples on an old apple tree or the general fruits that we’re aware of; you start with those. You start with abandoned fruit trees and you figure out, “oh, can we walk to that old abandoned apple tree that’s always lousy with apples and grab some” or are there neighbors in your area; I’ve lived in California for a very long time and in Washington now, I’ve been here for 6 years, and the number of fruit-rich plants that go unpicked is startling, I mean totally startling to me. I’m talking about oranges and tangerines and avocados, and then here, apples and pears. You can usually find something like that where you can walk to it or walk part-way or even if you drive, you’re moving a ladder around and you’re maybe climbing trees or helping people, your kids, or even just you move to kind of get some of these foods or glean; to pull off and either use for yourself. There’s always a couple of herbs, usually, that are around; so many people have rosemary bushes, things in their yards that they didn’t even know are edible. They kinda knew that they were an herb but they don’t cook any recipes that use it.
Look through your area that’s easily accessible on foot, see what’s there and then go home and see if you can find a couple of simple recipes and then you’re gonna go out and as you said, you guys give your kids permission to use the kitchen which is amazing. And if you have smaller kids just going out and I would give my kids, when they were very little, I would give them branches of herbs and have them simply pull them apart, or tear a lettuce up that they maybe picked around where we are. So you’re getting them moving, right? The movement is important, but you’re showing how movement and food are connected because only very recently that all of the movement of the foods that we eat has been completely outsourced. So it’s nice to kind of reclaim that a little bit. And kids, especially, they will eat more nutritiously if they played with their food, in a way, right? If their food was outside of this thing on a plate that you put in front of them; it was a walk, it was good times, it was “wow I’ve never seen an artichoke grow on a plant before”, or something’s popped up that they themselves planted, even better.
Ben: Yeah, and it’s absolutely doable to do this in the city; to do it in the others, not saying that there’s wilderness in the blade of grass that grows up through the sidewalks and for a child to be able to even do something as simple as walk a long ways to the grocery store and bring a grocery sack full of groceries back. I mean, that was my initial foray into “foraging”, just not go to the grocery store unless I’d walk there or ride my bicycle there and granted I’d be coming back with bananas and coconut milk and avocados flown in by jets using fuel to the grocery store, but it was still like some form of foraging and having your children do things like that can be extremely useful in just teaching them about the fact that food doesn’t just show up for free.
Ben: And that you really do have to figure out a way to go out and find it in a truly ancestral scenario. So, your section about foraging in the book is fascinating and I really like what you’re doing with your children in that respect as well, but I also don’t wanna give people the impression that the whole book is just about kids and nature school and foraging and getting rid of your furniture because you also, of course, have biomechanics and muscle and bone in there. And I wanna talk about that a little bit too if you’re good.
Katy: (chuckles) Sure.
Ben: Okay, cool. So, you have a section in the book where you talk about how if you update your old pop-up book on muscle from the ‘80s, there are some definite changes you would make, particularly with relation to the way that muscles contract and the things that you’ve discovered in your own research and reading about how muscles move a little bit differently than the way that we’ve been led to believe. That stereotypical sarcomere type of scenario where the muscles slide on each other and the fibers move and the overall length of the muscles shorten, but it turns out there’s a little bit more to muscle than that. Can you go into this idea of the expanding radial motion of muscle?
Katy: Yeah, and I think that books are so limiting. We learn anatomy from books, certainly if you study at the university level, the bulk of your exposure is either in book pictures or, if you do work with cadavers as we did, they’re not living, right, so you’re not grasping the full moving muscle. So in this picture that I used in that essay, and if you open up any anatomy or physiology text book, you’re likely to find the same picture which is… you are given a two-dimensional picture of a sarcomere, right? It’s the same picture that’s used over and over again and the sarcomere’s getting shorter and it’s getting longer based on the muscles getting shorter or getting longer, and that’s happening. But the sarcomere itself is a tube and shorter and longer isn’t only the motions that are happening, that when something is getting shorter, it’s also expanding radially; it’s getting thicker and you can experience that yourself if you wrap your hand around your bicep and then flex it, you’ll feel your muscle pop beneath your fingers. So it’s clearly not only getting shorter or longer. I mean we have the experience of it, the observation of it, but it’s this idea that the force production is also being affected by this expansion; that’s kind of the new understanding because when you’re constantly bombarded with that same two-dimensional picture, you tend to start thinking about how muscle works two-dimensionally, right? That the resistance to motion is in this single plane, it’s on this line or thread going through a sarcomere rather than it happening in other planes as well.
Katy: So it was just me saying there’s a ton of anatomy nerds out there, right? There’s a ton of people who study anatomy and study movement but again, the imagery that we’re given, this is another shout-out for my crappy drawings, when we see that picture over and over again and it doesn’t really explain the forces, we’ve kinda ended up with a force-free understanding of movement. So much of our movement relates more to chemistry than the mechanics because the physics can be a little bit more challenging and they’re very hard to depict two-dimensionally, so I just like to throw that in for all the people out there studying movement to go know that some of the force that’s being produced is coming from this radial expansion as well, which of course is kind of like a “oh, of course” once you see it, but if no one’s ever talked about it before, it’s not really in your model of muscular force generation.
Ben: Hey, I wanna interrupt today’s show to tell you about two things. First, I mentioned the last episode that my children made waffles for their Go Greenfields podcast, the new food podcast that they have; high protein, low carbohydrate chocolatey vanilla waffles. For the topping for those waffles, they made an amazing fruity yogurt dressing that they described in that episode but for that, they used the same pre-workout booster, the same pre-sex beverage and the same all-day long energy powder that I personally have sitting around my pantry, that I suck on when I need a little pick me up or a little boost of blood flow anywhere in the body; it’s called red juice.
And the folks at Organifi packed this red juice with pretty much anything that you need to boost blood flow to your body along with some things that help you to balance hormones like adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms and it’s got a sweet, fruity flavor but almost no sugar in it. Thanks to the fact that they sweetened it with monk fruit, so you get this nootropic-like effect without any smart drugs. Helps to kind of flush your body of free radicals too, coz it’s a super dense antioxidant. That one’s called red juice; the red juice, the green juice, the protein powder my kids used to make the waffles, any of that, you get a 20% discount on. Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi, that’s Organifi with an “I”, and you can use discount code REDBEN for 20% off the red juice, or discount code BEN for 20% off of anything else. So enjoy that, bengreenfieldfitness.com/organifi.
This podcast is also brought to you by HealthGains. HealthGains is an amazing anti-aging institute in Aventura, South Florida. Now, I go down there a few times a year and they make me young; they particularly do work on my crotch to turn me into a crotch-machine. They enhance your nether regions with shots and soundwave therapy and all sorts of drug-free surgery, pain-free sexual wellness treatments. But they also do a lot of anti-aging treatments and the guy who runs it, Dr. Richard Gains, amazing Harvard-trained pioneer in the use of hormone-replacement therapy; you get $250 off for seeing the same anti-aging doc that I personally see. All you gotta do is text the word GAIN to 313131; that’s the word GAIN, G-A-I-N to 313131 and you automatically get $250 off of any of the HealthGains’ HGH treatments, testosterone treatments, which I don’t do, coz I compete in World Anti-Doping Association sanctioned sports, but if I didn’t, I would. But I take advantage of all their other services; they’re amazing. Of course their sexual health services are the ones that are my personal fave, so text the word GAIN to 313131 and you too can go into Gain’s wave and reinvent yourself.
Ben: And in many cases for example, when we talk about vasculature and vasodilation of muscle, nitric oxide is one big thing that comes up, right, like Viagra for your entire body; this gas that causes vasodilation in vessels. And you talk about, when you discuss how it could be biomechanical as well as biochemical how blood flow to working muscles can be triggered by something aside form just vasoactive substances signaling the arterioles inside the muscle to vasodilate, and that instead there could be a mechanical trigger for the actual vasculature to open up. And I think this is fascinating, basically the way that you lay it out is that when a muscle contracts, and correct me if I’m misunderstanding here, but basically like the forearm, for example, when you contract your forearm muscles, that the arteries in the forearm get compressed and deformed and that that’s actually moving blood flow; that’s vasodilating and also compressing vasculature and causing blood flow in a way that’s very similar to something like nitric oxide, so it turns out that there’s this biomechanical component of blood flow.
Katy: Well, that vasodilation was caused by chemical or vasoactive substance; that was the hypothesis. It’s been the hypothesis for a very long time but it’s never been a proven hypothesis, it was just the working hypothesis and they’ve then; it’s kind of like… There’s a lot of lingering in scientists, oftentimes, coz you can’t ask all the questions all the time and it takes a really long time, 30 or 40 years to conduct a number of various experiments. So that’s just what we learned in kinesiology, it’s what you learn in fitness is that here’s why arteries vasodilate but it hasn’t really held up to testing very well and that’s because, at the onset of exercise, that vasodilation is so quick, it happens faster than it takes to produce or release the vasoactive substance.
So there’s got to be some other trigger that precedes the chemistry that you can then measure at a slightly later time; so that’s when, and again we’ve talked about force-free sciences, anatomical sciences, biological sciences for hundreds of years. Forces are only recently being added back in because you can’t see forces, and without any nanotechnology, you can’t really see what’s going on; all we’ve been able to do is draw blood, right? And then measure what’s in the blood and so the hypotheses are always chemical in nature for having these chemical aspects because it was the only thing you could measure. But as we’re able to see, things on smaller and smaller levels to go “oh there’s cytoskeleton within the cell” and “oh that’s moving”, “hey, the whole behavior’s changing”.
This idea of mechanotransduction is emerging, it’s like “oh, the behavior of tissue is very much affected by the forces that are at play” and although you can’t see the forces when you see something really close, you can’t see that things are being deformed and that the anatomy of a cell is being altered by this deformation. And then now you’re starting to see, over the last 20 years, the hypothesis steer more towards the biophysics, right? And now you’re starting to see college programs emerge from biophysics that we’re talking about on podcast, but that whole process has been 30 years in the making, so yes. It’s a little bit hard to explain on a podcast but we just said when a muscle contracts, remember, because of just this last thing we talked about, it not only really being compressed; you have this radial dilation, right?
Katy: If a muscle’s getting thicker, your muscle activity is actually opening the blood vessels; you’re creating space for the blood vessels to open. And so we think of vasoconstriction and vasodilation, they’re not equally active motions in nature; you do the work to contract and vasodilation is often just a relaxation, meaning there’s not musculature that opens it; you just stop tensing it. And so when you’ve removed the walls of the muscle, literally by opening them or by pulling them away from the main axes of this tubular thing, it then immediately causes space for the arteries to open, so they’re not really compressed as we think they are; that action of the muscles is actually opening space, which then is going to immediately change the pressures in the mechanical environment of the musculature. So that’s the hypotheses that they’ve been working on over the last… The reference from Movement Matters on it when they first started testing it in rats, looking at their skeletal muscle that was… Gosh, it was when I was in graduate school, so…
Ben: Yeah, it was like 2006… is the reference.
Katy: 2006. Yeah.
Ben: And this is important for people, in my opinion, primarily because there’s this idea, for example, that weight lifting is gonna increase your blood pressure or that you need to do cardio and strength and the two are separate when in turns out that moving muscles, lifting heavy things, moving weights turns out to have a pretty significant cardiovascular training effect due to the increase in this peripheral blood pressure followed by the decrease in peripheral blood pressure; the vasodilation, the vasoconstriction that occurs in something as simple as muscle contracting around a blood vessel.
And for example, Doug McGuff, in his book “Body by Science”, talks quite a bit about this, about how, to really put it in his simplistic term as possible, “weight training counts as cardio; you’re getting a pretty significant cardiovascular and vascular training effect just from moving heavy things without any need to go for a run or go for a bike ride.” And so, it’s an interesting concept that there is this mechanical trigger for vasodilation and vasoconstriction, and you actually can get a very significant training effect just from moving your muscle.
Katy: And also important to the nature of the work that I do or the problems that I’m interested in working through is that our model of exercise right now are always whole body states. So if I’m gonna measure your blood for a vasoactive substance, it’s gonna be throughout all of your blood, which kind of lends us to think that my whole body is benefitting from this bout that I’m doing, right? And that’s the way that we’ve been led to think about movement is that the benefits are on the whole body level. But if we talk about mechanical compression it means that the area that the blood is being pulled into, the areas that are vasodilating, they are only the areas that are working.
So, and this lines up really well with our experience of when you do things of a more intense nature, your body has to limit; you don’t have enough blood to reach all of your parts. You have an amount that’s sufficient for you to carry and shove to various working parts, and when you go really intense to things of your arms and your legs, it has to pull it away often times from organs and other places because of a mass issue; you only have so much volume to work with.
And so, as we look at the idea that exercise has systemic benefits for sure, but there are local influences of flow which means oxygen delivery that you are nourishing particular tissues more than other tissues, that’s more of interest to me, or that’s also of interest to me, as we work through this idea that using your body, that there is a distribution of use throughout your body, we call it cross training. But when you look at the number of parts and the number of capillaries that are fed by various arterioles and metarterioles that getting the blood to all of those sites in a well-distributed way is not something that happens simply because your intensity level is at a certain point, so it’s really starting to delineate between the holistic or systemic benefits of exercise and then breaking it down to see if there are also local benefits and there could be, within a very fit person, areas that are not actually moved at all. Sedentary areas, cellular areas that look sedentary simply because the number of body part that you use isn’t well distributed throughout your movement activities. So to me, that’s why this is so important, coz it aligns well with the other things about cellular sedentarism that I’m working on now.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. And speaking of sedentarism, you have a section in the book that delves into an area that I think is incredibly important; that is this concept of grip strength and the relationship between grip strength and can all cause mortality. Why is there such a significant relationship between grip strength and mortality?
Katy: Well, “I don’t know” is the most right answer and it’s kinda where it stands right now. I think the hypothesis would be that if you happen to have better grip strength; that you had been using your body in a way that challenged it, and so you’re very rarely using only your grip strength, right? You’d be using your arms and your shoulders and your chest more, probably be as you were saying before, moving or pulling on or carrying heavy things that then challenged your cardiovascular system more because of course, the split between what’s cardio and what’s strength training is just on paper, like of course.
Katy: Those things get so easily mashed up, so I think in the end, probably gonna take 10-20 years to break all that apart and look at it in pieces; it’s gonna turn out that those populations are simply moving more of their body more.
Ben: They’re not just the people who are doing Captains of Crush grip strength hand devices or dynanometers?
Ben: That’s not what makes you live longer, what makes you live longer, our activities, so just being that person who’s engaged in enough activities where you naturally have strong hands.
Katy: Exactly, they weren’t sitting there prepping for the test. I mean you could have. I did a lot of hand, probably as you did to at university, coz it’s a basic strength test that we would often use in collecting data in human performance lab. And one time this lady came in and pegged it and she was probably 65 years old and she pegged that thing better than some of the 20 year old athletes that we had there at the time. And I had her do it two or three times coz I’m like “is this thing calibrated, what’s going on”; she was a cake decorator, so she was like grabbing these bags of frosting. She was essentially training for this test her entire life. She was very sedentary; she did not pass any of her other physical tests, but if I looked at just her grip strength, it was off the charts. You’re always gonna find those outliers and I always think of her going “sometimes you have trained really well to one fitness test but it’s why we need to pass all of the fitness tests to really come out on the other side.”
Ben: Yeah. Now granted, my take away from the type of research that you discussed in the book when it comes to grip strengthening is this concept that if I’m doing a work out or I’m engaged in some kind of activity, I try to make it challenge my hands; I try and go out of my way to work with my hands. For example, when we go down and we get our Alfalfa Bales or our Hay Bales for the goats or for the chickens, for the bedding in the barn, when I’m transferring those from the pick-up truck down into the barn, I don’t use a wheel-barrow, I actually try and make things somewhat biomechanically inefficient just so I get some of the crossover effect from having worked my body. And I figured out a way to kinda like grab the string in the middle of the bales and carry them that way rather than push them in the wheel-barrow or rather than just kind of like hoist them up onto my shoulder. Or when I am, for example, at the gym and I’m loading up the plates onto the barbell, I try and use the pinch grip on the plates, rather than just picking up the plates and holding them normally. So I’m figuring out a way to work my grip, to work my hands and actually take advantage of some these relationships between grip strength and all-cause mortality. And for me it’s just a matter of being cognizant of every single day, doing something to challenge my grip. And since I start thinking about that, coz I discovered this research a couple of years ago; my hands have changed. My fingers are like sausages now.
Ben: People tell me this, they’re like “dude your hands are huge” and my brother, who’s a farmer, his hands make mine look miniscule. And it’s amazing how you can actually develop muscles in your freakin’ fingers. My hands are actually big and thick now, and granted obstacle course racing has helped out with that quite a bit as well, but it’s amazing how you can literally just watch your hand change before your eyes once you begin thinking with this mindset of “okay how can I challenge my grip” and do something every day.
And for example, the thing that I have hanging above the kitchen table in the living room is a yoga trapeze. And so I’ll go and hang upside-down from that, but I also do single arm hanging just from the yoga trapeze where every time I walk under it, I’ll just hang myself from my right hand or my left hand for as long as I can. And putting tools and implements in your home that allows you to these type of things, just like you’ve removed your furniture; these are all ways that you can take advantage of this idea of just everyday doing something for your grip.
Katy: You know, I walk to the grocery store as you do quite often to pick up; that’s kind of a family foraging is like “let’s walk the mile and pick up what we’re gonna need today”. And you know it’s easy to throw, and this is why movement is a category of many different geometries that are affecting your blood flow and your adaptation uniquely. So if I walk to the grocery store, fill my backpack with groceries, put it on and walk home, my hands could be sedentary through that entire bout of movement. So whole body-wise, my fitness measures went up, I loaded all these different parts but my hands weren’t involved. Hands are not involved in almost all exercise, so you can have these very sedentary hands; very sedentary hand skin.
So I started taking a cloth bag and putting my groceries; it’s like 30lbs or 40lbs of groceries that I’ll have, it’s a very strong cloth bag. And I will just put them in this bag and hold the bag, so the bag is just hanging from one gripped hand and carry that until I’m tired and I put it over to the other hand and walk the mile home. So I’m actively changing the way that I accomplish going to the store to get groceries; it’s not just using my hands, I’m using my forearms and my biceps and my shoulders differently from before and throwing it on in the easiest way. Putting something in a backpack is the easiest way of holding coz it just dispenses that weight over a large part of your body so that very little of your body has to work more.
When you start giving one or two body parts all of that work, you really up the ante of the same activities, the same amount of time that you are spending doing anyway. That’s my grip strength hack and I just got done taking my daughter on a backpack [0:56:33] ______ both of us and I was carrying a ton; we flew to where we were backpacking and I was carrying a ton of stuff and my hands were so strong. My forearms and my biceps could carry a very large amount of weight and her, simply because I had been doing this grocery store training on a smaller scale but the frequency was pretty high. So those little changes do make a difference.
Ben: Yeah, that’s something that I do when I’m going through the airport; I get a lot of people asking me why I’m not using the roller bags, these things that make things more biomechanically efficient. What I do is I wear one backpack, and I travel all over the world, I don’t check any bags ever. But I wear one backpack, it’s this big like a HiLite bag that carries a bunch of objects like an insane numbers; it’s one of those backpacks that expands.
Katy: Just put your family in there.
Ben: Right, exactly. But the other thing that I do is I have a book bag, and it’s got a lot of books and a lot of computers and all sorts of things in it, but I clutch that; I carry it up against my body. I don’t drape if over my shoulder the way that you would a messenger bag, and throughout the entire airport, even if it’s freakin’ Atlanta or LA or one of these big airports, I alternate between holding that at my side, like gripping it in my actual grip, clutching it to my chest as I would if I were say like carrying a bucket during a Spartan race or a sandbag or something like that, and then carrying it on the other side. And I’ll go through an entire airport and get a grip strengthening workout by just foregoing the temptation to just drape something over a joint. And not only has that gotten rid of shoulder pain and back pain that I get from wandering through an airport with stuff draped over my body in a biomechanically unfavorable form, but it’s also vastly improved my grip strength.
So yeah, you just kinda have to think outside the box, like you with the grocery store; things you’d be normally doing anyways, and you just figure out ways to challenge your grip using those methods. So, yeah, it’s a matter of making life, seems to be kinda the theme of this podcast, slightly uncomfortable to make your body better.
One thing I wanted to ask you about Katy was this concept of bone. And you talk about bones being wet, bones being like goo. Can you go into why you thought that was important to talk about the book and what you mean by that?
Katy: Well, I added it to the book because after these denser bones which was always confusing to me because I always knew that you wanted supple bones and more dense bones, because dry or brittle bones are more likely to fracture, and also alongside this was bones that were more dense were stronger and less likely to fracture. And I couldn’t [0:59:17] ______ too because bone minerals, mineral by definition, are inorganic solids. So biomechanics should line up across the board, there should never really be conflicts within a science; it just means that something isn’t dialed in.
So because those two things are in conflict for me, it had been for like 10 years; I never really got quite what was going on. But then they’ve discovered that a large portion of your bone mineral density is actually goo; that we might need another definition of… like the organic solids might not be the best way to describe a mineral because, as far as your bone mineral density goes, they’re wet minerals. They’re minerals that are packaged within goo, and so once that discovery was made then those two pieces of contradictory information were able to not be in contradiction anymore. So it was just this idea like “okay”, so I included it because it’s very important I think for people to understand how dynamic science is that a lot of the things that are at that cocktail party and you’re really passionate about this thing and this thing is someone else’s like “what about this things” and you’re kind of arguing over the thing, that sometimes it could be that there’s another piece of data that’s not known yet that will make those two things align quite nicely.
So there’s just a lot of argument in general over a lot of things so it’s my way of going “we probably need less argument and more just discovery over time and then things will start falling into place” and so just as I wanted people to understand that muscle is also expending radially and that the onset of vasodilation is linked to that radial motion and thus making it easier to understand why it’s mechanical in nature. If we talk a lot about bone health, it’s nice to recognize that you don’t want bones to be hard per se; you want them to be dense and also supple. And so it was just, to me, a cool tidbit that I think people who are interested in movement and health would find exciting. Or maybe it’s just me; I just found it super exciting.
Ben: No, I think it’s interesting coz the science that you cite from the University of Cambridge about how they discovered the shock absorbing goo in bone highlights the fact that bone mineral itself is made up of goo. The citrate binds like these mineral crystals and so, what you find is that people who probably have a mineral deficient diet, not only would they have lower bone density but they have harder bone.
Ben: Like the bones would be less pliable, the bones would be less gooey even though we don’t think of our bones in that way. So one of the ways you could stave off, not low bone density but I guess low amounts of this bone goo, of bone pliability so to speak, would be like keeping yourself well hydrated with a mineral rich diet, like drinking extremely mineral rich water and going out of your way to use lots of good, rich salt on your food or using trace liquid minerals. And basically, being cognizant of this fact that it’s not just loading the bone to increase bone density but it’s about actually introducing a wide range of minerals so you maintain this gooeyness.
Katy: Yeah, you need all of it. It takes the load to get the goo to the bone, but then if you have the load and none of the building blocks, then none of the mineral or the extra fluid, I imagine those have to be manufactured by our body. Anytime we want to adapt or change you have to remember that your body has to make a new anatomy part, and so it not only needs an abundance of those foundational building blocks, it might also take other things that provide the energy to make that fabrication, right? You’re making “something out of nothing” although not really. So you really have to watch all input.
Ben: Yeah. And it’s very similar to, and this is one of the last things that I wanted to kinda dive into with you: this concept from, I believe the book that you cited is the Human Machine by George Bridgeman, where you get into this fact that you shouldn’t only load your bone and perhaps eschew furniture at some times. But speaking of eschewing or chewing [chuckles]…
Ben: Chew your food and not blend, not use meat tenderizers or graters or fruit processors or blenders or grinders or knives all the time, but actually force your freakin’ teeth and jaw and mouth to break down food all on its own. Can you get into the concept behind that and how you implement that in your life?
Katy: Well, it’s just another sedentary area, right? We all grew up in a culture where the work that our faces and our jaws used to do has almost been completely outsourced to machines that have milled or cooked or tenderized, blended our food down where mastication, that physical process of converting something that you put into your mouth into something that you will ingest; we’ve gotten rid of all of that motion. We are so used to talking about movement as relating to fitness that we forget about the non-fitness benefits to movement. So I just got back sitting on an Alzheimer’s panel, a panel about the movement in Alzheimer’s, and they know that mastication, that act of chewing is part of the way the brain receives blood flow.
So you might wanna think about as only smoothie diet because if you’ve eliminated the chewing, there is a purpose in that mastication and its blood flow but it’s also being able to continue to masticate. So you’re keeping the bone density of the jaw and the muscles in the face really well developed. It’s not only the jaw; if you put your hands in the side of your face and chew, you’re gonna feel it around your temples move, right? Chewing is a very vigorous activity but it doesn’t fall under the fitness category. For most people, they never would’ve thought of their face needing to work out, but if you have ever gone there’s a man at the Polynesian Traditional Center in Hawaii who does things like, he tears a raw coconut open with his teeth. Something else to remember is that your teeth…
Ben: Holy cow.
Katy: They were not only used…
Ben: I can barely get a raw coconut open with a freakin’ machete.
Katy: I know, I know. And the guy is just peeling it off with his teeth; his jaw and his beautiful, huge, white smile, all his teeth just nice in a row and his face is just so buff. His jaw muscles are huge that we used to use our mouths as tool; now it’s like “oh don’t open that with your teeth, you’ll break all your teeth off”, but if they used to be… You know, you would tan leather, you would masticate large quantities of food, there’s a lot of traditional drinks that the mastication of these plants that is done for an entire day and everyone’s chewing and chewing and spitting and chewing and spitting into this big pot that’s slowly being developed.
I just got back making a purse out of buck skin and I had to make a cord; I had to make my own string, my own rope and I had to use my mouth as the third hand to hold these pieces. I’m twisting and weaving coz the string is made out of twisted fibers that are then twisted around each other so I have to make my own string in this course that I’m taking and my jaw is completely tired because I’m not used to using it really for anything. And so, we had this idea of a whole food diet but I would counter to say it’s only whole chemically; it’s not whole mechanically, thus it’s not whole. There’s a whole other element of processed to our otherwise whole food diet when things are chopped with steel and blended using electricity or cooked to the point where it’s falling apart and softened. And there is a value, a need to use your jaw and your teeth and the muscles of your face in a way that keeps those tissues that are not only used for but benefit from that motion, healthy.
Ben: Yeah, and even for me when I make my smoothie, I add things like coconut flakes and cacao nibs and all sorts of chewables on top of it and then blend it thick enough to each with a spoon so I actually chew my smoothie. What’s the saying go; you should chew your liquids and drink your solids, something like that. Anyways though, so it’s not like you can’t have your morning kale smoothie or whatever, but you need to be cognizant of the fact that you should challenge your mandibles.
The other thing that I do a lot of now, this is after interviewing Dean Karnazes, the runner, who told about how the ancient Spartans and Greek warriors and Greek runners used to chew on this stuff to strengthen their masseter muscles and also to induce gastric flow and reduce gastric distress when they’re running is this mastic gum, which is like gum but it’s really kinda like hard and difficult to chew, and your jaw muscles get tired but I chew on this stuff now and it actually helps out with not only your vagus nerve and your trigeminal nerve but also the strength of your jaw muscles and the bone density in your teeth and your jaw. So it’s just in line with the kind of things that you talk about in the book. And for those of you who want to listen to that podcast, just go look for my episode with Dean Karnazes and we get into mastic gum.
And I’ll put a link in the show notes to that one; it’s actually a really interesting show. But yeah, that’s what I do now; I’m constantly chewing on mastic gum except of course when I’m podcasting, that so would get annoying. But I’ll put that one in there for those of you who wanna listen to the podcast with Dean where we talk about that.
We really only scratched the surface, by the way, for those of you listening in, in terms of what is in not just this book by Katy, “Movement Matters”, but also all of her other books. And I’ve done other podcasts with her too that you should definitely listen into, so I’m gonna link to that and a whole bunch of the other stuff we talked about. If you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/movementmatters, I’ll link to all that and you can check it out and in the meantime, Katy, thanks so much for coming on the show and giving your time and sharing all this stuff with us. I love your work and every time I get a new book, like I mentioned, I just eat it up.
Katy: Well, thanks for having me, Ben, I really appreciate it.
Ben: Awesome. Alright folks, well thanks for listening in. Again the URL is bengreenfieldfitness.com/movementmatters where you can learn more about Katy and previous podcast episodes I’ve done with her; all the show notes for this show, and until next time, I’m Ben Greenfield along with Katy Bowman, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
She taught us how to look like a million bucks from head to toe in the podcast episode: “Making Biomechanics Fun: How to Fix Your Body, Align Your Posture and Look Like a Million Bucks From Head To Toe.“
Then she told us why kegel exercises suck, and why most ab exercises are useless in the podcast: “Why You Shouldn’t Suck In Your Stomach, Why Standing All Day Is Bad For You, And How Kegels Are Killing Your Core.“
Today's she's back to take a deep dive into her new book “Movement Matters: Essays on Movement Science, Movement Ecology, and the Nature of Movement“. And her name, if you haven't guessed yet, is Katy Bowman.
Part biomechanist, part science communicator, and full-time mover, Katy has educated hundreds of thousands of people on the role movement plays in the body and in the world. Blending a scientific approach with straight talk about sensible, whole-life movement solutions, her website and award-winning podcast, Katy Says, reach hundreds of thousands of people every month, and thousands have taken her live classes. Her many books, including bestsellers like Move Your DNA, Diastasis Recti, Movement Matters, and Dynamic Aging, Simple Steps to Foot Pain Relief, Don’t Just Sit There, Whole Body Barefoot, Alignment Matters, and Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief, have been critically acclaimed and translated worldwide.
Passionate about human movement outside of exercise, Katy volunteers her time to support the larger reintegration of movement into human lives by providing movement courses across widely varying demographics and working with non-profits promoting nature education. She also directs and teaches at the Nutritious Movement Center Northwest in Washington state, travels the globe to teach Nutritious Movement courses in person, and spends as much time outside as possible with her husband and children.
Movement Matters is a collection of essays in which biomechanist Katy Bowman continues her groundbreaking investigation of the mechanics of our sedentary culture and the profound potential of human movement. Here she widens her “you are how you move” message and invites us to consider our personal relationship with sedentarism, privilege, and nature. Bowman explores:
-How convenience often means less movement, not more time
-The missing movement nutrients in our food
-How to include more nature in education
-The impact of adding movement to permaculture and ecological models
-Our need for vitamin community and group movement
Unapologetically direct, often hilarious, and always compassionate, Movement Matters demonstrates that human movement is powerful and important and that living a movement-filled life is perhaps the most joyful and efficient way to transform your body, community, and world.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Why Katy got rid of all her furniture and temperature regulators in her house…[10:05]
-Why Katy's kids go to nature school, and how you can replicate forest school or nature school at your home if your kids don't have a nature school…[17:45]
-The fascinating foraging scenarios you can create for your family…[28:50]
-What Katy would update from her old popup books on muscle from the 80's…[33:55]
-The new idea of a mechanical trigger as a vasodilator (because up to this point, most folks only talk about chemicals like nitric oxide as vasodilators)…[40:30]
-Why weight training “counts” as cardio…[45:45]
-Why your grip strength is so important and practical methods you can use to make your hands far stronger…[49:35]
-What Katy means when she says bone is made up of “goo”, and why you should focus on having “wet bones”…[58:36]
-Why you should not always use a food processor or blender or grinder and instead force yourself to chew your own food…[63:40]
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
-Bark Box – For a FREE EXTRA MONTH of BarkBox, visit BarkBox.com/ben when you subscribe to 6 or 12 month plan!
-Human Charger – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/humancharger and use the code BEN20 for 20% off.
-Organifi – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Organifi and use discount code REDBEN for 20% off your Red Juice order, or discount code BEN for 20% anything else!
-HealthGains – Text the word “GAIN” to 313131 to receive a $250 voucher toward your HealthGAINS treatment.