[04:49] The Morning Smoothie Ben Had With Kyle
[08:03] Kyle And Ben's Morning Workout
[10:06] Who is Kyle Kingsbury
[11:58] How Kyle Utilizes Hormetic Stressors
[30:34] The Microbiome And Ketosis
[41:29] Quick Commercial Break/The Art Of Charm Podcast
[44:42] Earth Runners
[52:12] Some Of The Technology Kyle Uses
[57:49] Caffeine Rotation For Adrenals
[1:01:45] Meditation Techniques Kyle Uses
[1:22:41] End of Podcast
Ben: Hey, folks. This is Ben Greenfield, and my guest on today's show is a beast. Kyle Kingsbury. He's a former football player at Arizona State University, a mixed martial artist who fought professionally for eight years, six years of that being in the UFC, and he came up to my house. We spent some time in my backyard recording this, a few weeks ago actually. Kyle's a pretty entertaining guy. And in the show notes, I'm going to put a pretty entertaining video, do you like how I said that? Pretty entertaining? I'm going to put a very entertaining video of Kyle up to a whole bunch of biohacking goodness, along with the healthy morning smoothie that Kyle and I made together, a big-ass smoothie. So the show notes are full of goodness, and you can access them over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle. It's bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle. So you're going to hear this one from my backyard.
Now before we jump into today's show I want to tell you about fulvic minerals. So I was recently talking, don't laugh, with this guy in LA who drinks his own urine. And he actually mixes his own urine with fulvic minerals and something called Shilajit to make this morning enzyme producing tonic that he drinks. Now I don't know yet if I'm on board with drinking my own urine, but I do drink fulvic acid and I do drink Shilajit. Shilajit is this nutrient and mineral rich biomass loaded with what's called humic and fulvic acid. And then fulvic acid is just this naturally occurring organic acid that you basically harvest from soil, in this case this stuff is harvested from the Himalayas. It's Onnit Fulvic Minerals Concentrate. Keep a bottle of this stuff in your fridge. I dare you. It's amazing, this black label fulvic minerals. You can get a 10% discount on this and everything else over at Onnit. Just go to onnit.com/bengreenfield. You don't need to use a code or anything. Just go to onnit.com/bengreenfield. Check out the fulvic minerals. I take no responsibility for what happens if you happen to mix them with your own urine. But either way, check 'em out.
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In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“If you don't have an off switch, if you don't, even just five to 10 minutes, if you don't turn your brain off, you're just going to be running that system into the ground. It'd be the equivalent of trying to work out all day long. You're never really going to get a lot out of your workout. You can hit a maximal effort if you're just constantly moving. And it's the same thing with the brain.” “There are foods on this planet that are so good for you that you really shouldn't be looking at the macros with. And if it means going over 50 grams of carbs, who cares. So one of those being sprouted seeds, sprouted pumpkins, sprouted sunflower seeds.”
Ben: So Kyle, you're picking little cacao nibs out of your teeth there. How was that meal?
Kyle: I am. I'm still working 'em out. Quite delicious.
Ben: Did you like my morning smoothie?
Kyle: I like how I can taste all the different flavors. It's truly a symphony in my mouth.
Ben: That's complex. You should be a Master Chef judge. A lot of folks who I have over to my home who I feed my morning smoothie to, they tend to kind of make a frowny face, and then one edge of their mouth goes up a little bit, and then they ask me if I have any scrambled eggs or bacon, and apparently they don't like the medicinal taste of my morning smoothie. But I absolutely love it when you shove 30 superfoods into a blender.
Kyle: Yeah. I'm not sure they understand how good cinnamon is, how good turmeric is, how good cacao is.
Ben: They don't get it!
Ben: We shot a whole video of well, this morning smoothie was ice and lemon at the bottom because the coolness from the ice and the ascorbic acid from the lemon helps to prevent oxidation of all the other relatively expensive things that we proceeded to place into the smoothie. We added a whole box of kettle and fire organic bone broth, we added some organic wild arugula, Ceylon cinnamon to lower that post-prandial blood glucose response even though they're really on a lot of carbohydrates in my morning smoothie. We added a little bit of hemp pea rice vanilla-flavored protein powder and some butterscotch organic stevia. And then a whole bunch of organic cacao powder. And then we blended that all up over the ice, and then we broke up a NatureBite bar. I put one of the Greenfield Fitness Systems NatureBite bars in there, and we put it a nootropic energy bar that the folks at TruBrain sent to me. We crumbled that up and put that in there. A whole bunch of organic unsweetened coconut flakes. And by the way, all of these other things are after we blend, right Kyle?
Kyle: That's right.
Ben: So we can get the chewableness.
Kyle: Get a little chewable.
Ben: And clustered sea salt, a little Aztec sea salts. And what else we did do? I said cacao nibs.
Kyle: Cacao nibs.
Ben: Yeah. Cacao nibs. And that was it. Each of us got our own blender bowl because it's so big. It's one of those smoothies where you get your giant cup, my Teddy Roosevelt man-in-the-arena quote cup, and then you get whatever's left over in the blender bowl with the spatula. It's a man's man drink.
Kyle: Well, it's nice too. It's like when you go to Johnny Rockets or one of these places as a kid and they always give you the little extra ice cream from the milkshake, you want to have that. You want to have that feeling.
Ben: I do that. Whenever I go anywhere and I have them make me a smoothie, I always lean over the counter and I watch them, and I see just as they're about to throw that wonderful, blended smoothie into the trash, which is what they do, they just rinse it out and toss it, I tell them, “Hey, why don't you grab an extra cup and put some of that goodness in there. I'll take that off your hands for you.”
Kyle: Let me get both.
Ben: Yeah. So I've had Kyle, for those of you listening in, who I will introduce here in a moment, over at my house the past couple of days. We've also been throwing down some workouts. How'd you like this morning's workout, Kyle?
Kyle: Well it started a little rough, but you scaled it down for me, thankfully, and it was phenomenal. It was good. It was a good pace of jack the heart rate up, get the body moving, and then kind of tone it down, control the breath, when we're doing some of the other exercises towards the end of the rounds like the glute-ham activation…
Ben: Yeah. That's something I've been doing a lot. So I'll work out hard one day, but then the next day I'll do something that's a little bit more morning mobility. It's like yesterday, we tackled the obstacle course. So both of our legs are bleeding, and we were climbing the vertical ropes…
Kyle: Some nice rope burn from that.
Ben: Horizontal climbs, and the log crawl, and the bucket carry, and the keg carry, and the tire flip, and the rig…
Kyle: The barbed wire crawl.
Ben: Yeah. But then this morning, it's basically like some easier, lighter kettlebell get-ups, some roll-outs with an ab wheel, goblet squats, but not like incredibly heavy, more like range of motion goblet squats. We did, what else did we do?
Kyle: The little plank exercise you did where you superset it with the ab roll-out was phenomenal.
Ben: Yeah. That's a really good morning mobility exercise. What you do for those of you listening in, oh and by the way, just so I don't leave this too far in the background for you, that smoothie that we talked about, we video recorded the whole thing and you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle, as in Kyle Kingsbury, K-Y-L-E, if you want to watch the smoothie goodness ensue, as well as any of these exercises or anything else we talk about. But this plank exercise, I really like it for your pelvic joint and your pelvic mobility. You just get into a plank position, and you take your ASIS, that hard bone on either side of your hips, and you rotate your ASIS until you, and then drop it down to the ground to get it to touch the ground, and then you rotate back the other direction and you do it in the other direction, and you do that a few time through.
Kyle: I could feel that opening up the psoas.
Kyle: Yeah. It felt really good.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. So our psoases are nice and open for this morning's show. Who is Kyle Kingsbury? Who are you, Kyle? Former football player, Arizona State right?
Ben: What position?
Kyle: Defensive end and defensive tackle. It was too small to be a good D tackle and too slow to be a good defensive end.
Ben: Nice. I like it. But you were good enough to be an MMA artist. You fought professionally for a while after that.
Kyle: Yeah. Eight years professional, six years in the UFC.
Ben: And I only know this 'cause we went down to the rope swing at the Spokane River and we were getting ready to jump off the ropes when someone's like, “Kyle Kingsbury, UFC fighter!”
Kyle: “Hey, man. Ain't you Kyle Kingsbury?”
Ben: Yeah. All the kids are coming over, wanting to pose for shots with Kyle while the rest of us slunk into the backgrounds and played on the rope swing as Kyle signed autographs.
Kyle: Well they recognized you 'cause the way you were talking into the camera, they were like, “Oh, I think he's a YouTuber. I seen 'em YouTubers before.” So that was nice.
Ben: See, I was a random YouTuber, but they actually recognized you. Anyways though, for those of you listening in, Kyle knows a lot actually. We've had a chance to touch a lot from longevity, to plant-based medicine, to a lot of these workouts, to family, and kids, and beyond. And so there's plenty that we could talk about today and plenty that I've heard you talk about as well. So rough to actually know where to start, but you told me about a few things that you were interested in discussing and so I've got a whole list in front of me. And one of the first things you told me, this might sound completely random, is that you've been into really, I asked you how you were working out these days and you talk about how you're trying to utilize the hormetic effects of certain activities to enhance your fitness rather than just like crushing it with hard workouts, really focusing more on hormetic stressors. So tell me a little about that and how you're utilizing hormetic stressors.
Kyle: Well I started, I mean I guess the concept would be I had to bust my ass for so many years in fighting, it was kind of like how can I, what are the cheat codes I can enter in to create some type of systemic response where my body's going to respond and really think of things ancestrally, like, “Alright, if we don't have air conditioning in our cars. air conditioning in our homes. and things like that, how would we live? What are the types of stress that our body would encounter?” And I live in Las Vegas now, so it gets pretty hot. And so I was telling you about the poor man's sauna, the poor man's heat shock protein guide that I'm doing where I get a sauna suit like you would cut weight in before a fight or something like that, “Throw this guy on with some sweats underneath, and get the headphones going,” and I just go through for a nose breathing walk. So I try to time that in the middle of the day after a heavy powerlifting session.
Ben: Are you talking about like one of these sauna suits you can just buy off Amazon? Like a giant wrap of aluminum foil around your entire body?
Kyle: Pretty much. So I'll throw on some sweats, a few layers underneath, that way I have something to sweat into. And then I'll throw that on over the top, and it'll be 105 to 115 depending on when I'm going out in the day, really focus on nose breathing the entire time. I was doing this in April when we first moved out there and it was pretty nice weather, high 70's, low 80's. So nothing too hard on the body. But I wasn't sure that I'd be able to get through this hundred degrees that was coming over the summer, and it's amazing how fast the body adapts and responds when you put it through things like this. ‘Cause just in a matter of weeks, it jumped into the hundreds and I'm able to continue to do this. So really just…
Ben: I used to do this. When I trained for Ironman Hawaii, what I would do is in the summer I just wouldn't use my AC at all. I'd drive around with my windows up and purposefully get the car as hot as possible, and just choose the middle of the afternoon to go run errands, and I would get home just drenched in sweat. Poor man's sauna. But it works. You don't have to actually go buy a spa membership, or buy some fancy infrared sauna for your basement, which is nice…
Kyle: I will be getting that…
Ben: We have been spending a lot of time in my infrared sauna, by the way, for those you listening in. What was that first session that we did? We slept like babies the first night. We just put on the sauna, put a bunch of blue spruce essential oil in there, we played Michael Tyrrell's “Love, Life, And Lullabies” tracks, which are like these beats that are specifically designed, I've had this guy on my podcast, specifically designed to produce certain frequencies of relaxation. And then we went from there, to a quick dip in the cold pool, to finish up in the hot tub. Anything like that in the evening, dude, it just knocks you out. But I like this idea of a sauna suit in the afternoon, and then you do like deep nasal breathing or some kind of hypoxia as you're doing that.
Kyle: Yeah. I'll do the deep nasal breathing. I've been combining my altitude work with strength training to where I'll either wear, I have a Hypoxico altitude simulator. So I'll wear that while doing strength training. Or if I'm really going to push myself and I need maximum effort, I know I'm not going to get that at 12,500 feet of elevation, so I'll lift at regular oxygen. And then in between sets or after my lifting session, I'll do six minutes on, four minutes off with just breathing, nasal breathing into the oxygen, or low oxygen machine.
Ben: So this hypoxia is, or Hypoxico, it's not like, for those of listening in, like a training mask which is just something that creates a breath resistance to strengthen, for example, your inspiratory and expiratory muscles. The Hypoxico actually strips oxygen out of the air and causes you to need to be, or simulate 18,000, 20,000 feet, whatever you put it at. And you're not exercising with that, you're just sitting there like reading a magazine or whatever, going from hypoxia to regular?
Kyle: I'll do both. So sometimes I know if I'm doing a higher rep range, I can get away with it. So if I have lower weight, and everything's relative, so lower weight for me on squat will be back squat would be like 315 or 365 if I'm hitting anything in the five to eight rep range. I know I can get away with that at altitude. Whereas if I want to get into some really heavy triples, and doubles, and singles, and things like that, I'll want to do that without the mask and then go ahead and use the mask afterwards to go ahead and get into that…
Ben: The Hypoxico mask?
Kyle: Correct, yeah.
Kyle: So I'll turn the machine on…
Ben: Isn't it attached to a long tube, so you're walking around with the tube attached to the unit?
Kyle: Yeah. And I have a home box set up from Rogue, so I can get that going in my house. It's kind of a pain in the ass to lug that thing around. I used to take that to the gym…
Ben: What do you mean a home box set up?
Kyle: Well you just go on a website, you order a squat rack, you get your weights, your kettlebells, that kind of stuff. I've got 320 pounds in bumper plates, another two and a quarter in iron. So I can go up to 560 pounds, which would be pretty much a PR deadlift for me. I'm not really going to tap myself out like that with an altitude machine going at the same time. But I'm kind of playing with the differences. When I need to go really hard, I'll do that without the mask and just use the altitude simulator afterwards so I can still get that response.
Ben: And you find you're still able to lift pretty well with the mask attached to your face and that tube coming out of that mask?
Kyle: Yeah. On the higher reps, it's not a problem. It's not dynamic. Powerlifting is squat, bench, and deadlift, so it's really not getting in the way at all.
Ben: Yeah. I guess you're not really doing burpees or something like that.
Kyle: Yeah. I couldn't do barbell snatch with that thing in the way or anything like that.
Ben: Now this is a little bit different than the unit that you and I worked out on yesterday. We hit the paddle board in the Spokane River, and we came back and we were going to a party last night, and we actually wanted to kind of wake our brains up, and this is actually a tactic you can use as like a cup of coffee for the brain with no actual stimulants and it's hyperoxia. So the Hypoxico that you were just talking about, Kyle, that will simulate altitude. I actually have one of those in the treadmill, so I have an incline treadmill in my garage. And when I'm getting ready for the last couple of months before I'm getting ready for the Tahoe World Championships for Spartan this year, I'll walk on that treadmill at about a 40% incline with a Hypoxico mask set on a relatively high altitude. So you're walking with the mask on. But last night what we're using was this different unit, and this is a relatively new kind of addition to my home protocol, it's called a LiveO2, and you got to experience this, Kyle, but what it does is it allows you to restrict oxygen. So for example, what we did yesterday was you warm up for about six to eight minutes with restricted oxygen, and then you flip it from hypoxia into hyperoxia, and you'll do like a 15 second sprint with hypoxia, and then a 15 second sprint with hyperoxia. It feels pretty cool when that full-blast oxygen hits your face though.
Kyle: I wasn't sure, I saw this thing at Paleo f(x) with you and have I it here, I was like, “I'll definitely give it a try now.” And I thought you were going to put me through another torture technique like when we were doing your Spartan obstacle course. Yeah, I thought I was going to get waxed before we went out drinking, and having wine, and things like that. So I really wanted to take it easy, but I thought I'd at least give it a shot, and that first breath of hyperoxia goes in through the nose and you feel it through your entire body immediately. Yeah. 15 seconds sprint as hard as you can in hypoxia and you feel like you can't go another second, flip the switch, and then you can go that last 15 as hard as you can.
Ben: It's amazing. It's like life blood hits your face. So for any of you who haven't tried this before, I'll put a link to it in the show notes, but's it's called a LiveO2 machine. It's not cheap. It like a five, six thousand dollar thing that you saw. ‘Cause it's right there in the office next to us, 'cause by the way, if you guys haven't guessed yet, we're outdoors, it haven't heard the birds singing out my patio, podcasting right now. But this LiveO2 was in my office and it's this giant bag. So we flipped it on like an hour before we got in so the whole bag sucks all the oxygen out of the atmosphere in the room, concentrates the oxygen, and then you just breathe pure oxygen whenever you hit the plus button on the little remote that you hold while you're doing the workout.
Kyle: I want to comment on that, the cost. I read “Beyond Training“. It's a phenomenal book. One of my favorites. When I was…
Ben: I wrote it.
Kyle: You wrote that book. So I was reading the Amazon reviews, there were some one star reviews. And you know why? It was the recommendation of very expensive tools, like a Hypoxico, or a LiveO2 machine. And the thing is, I look at you as like my consumer report for body enhancing electronics. And there are tools that you can do without any of this stuff, like you reviewed the “Oxygen Advantage”, phenomenal book, they talk about breath hold, things like that that'll improve CO2 retention and things like that. So you're still going to train some of the same responses without having to spend a penny. And it's important to have all these different avenues that you can trickle in, so if you don't have these machines, you can still get these effects for the body.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. And part of it too is, and you've been out here, it's not about just having fancy electronic equipment that you hook yourself up to and exercise with to cheat yourself out of ever having to put in the hard work. Like I'm a big fan of putting the hard work into the body and then using a lot of this stuff as icing on the cake or as a way to engage in better living through science to feel better, or to enhance oxygen delivery, or to improve longevity. But I mean you see it, you see how it is out here. We work hard too. We climb ropes, we jump over walls, and we carry sand bags. So I think a little bit of both. And sandbags aren't quite as expensive as oxygen concentrators.
Kyle: Yeah. Not at all. Something that I've kind of gravitated toward since retiring is what is the minimum effective dose. And you can get so much out of hold breath retention while you're working out, things like that…
Ben: A sauna suit and a breath walk in Las Vegas.
Kyle: Sauna suit, things like that, yeah. There's a lot that can be gained from things like that. My resting heart rate has dropped 10 beats per minute. I have one of these OURA rings that you turned me on to, and obviously that's not a cheap purchase either when you're comparing it to a Fitbit, or a Jawbone, and things like that, but I've owned those products and they don't work nearly as well. They're not going to tell you REM sleep, deep sleep, and things like that. They tell you when you move in the night, or if your wife moved. They'll tell you that you moved if your wife moved.
Ben: They also emit a Bluetooth signal. Every one to three seconds you get a Class 1 Bluetooth signal blasted out by those devices in search for a device like an iPhone to talk to, so you're just constantly irradiating your body. That's why I like this ring too is you can put in airplane mode and it doesn't transmit a signal.
Kyle: It's an easy way to fine-tune and kind of know, coming from fighting and especially training in American Kickboxing Academy, there is a culture of push harder. Like you get hurt, “Throw some dirt on it, pussy,” that kind of thing. And you're not really taught to listen and pay attention to your body. So having something like…
Ben: You mean like yesterday on the obstacle course when you were walking up the hill and you were fried and done, I told you to just keep going and listen to your body and quit?
Kyle: I was like, “No, dude. I'm done! I'm done! No mas! No mas!” That was it. I had to tap out after one round.
Ben: Yeah. Thing is that you've got a lot more muscle than I do to carry and cool with your training regimen.
Kyle: I felt that on the rope climb. ‘Cause on the descent of the rope climb, I went to failure. About a halfway down, going nice, and slow, and controlled, I ended up getting a nice little rope burn there trying to really slow myself down and the grip failing. But it was awesome.
Ben: Yeah. And by the way, for those you listening in, we put a manuka essential oil on it. For those of you who haven't tapped into manuka honey or manuka essential oil, any topical wound or scar like that, dude. I have that stuff out in the counter right now for the barbed wire wound on my back from that Spartan race last weekend, but that heals stuff up like Wolverine. It's crazy. So manuka honey works well, but if you can get the actual oil like we were using, that's like pounds and pounds of manuka oil just steam distilled into one tiny little bottle.
Kyle: Yeah. And that's not going to break the wallet or break the bank?
Ben: Nah. That's only like $7,000. It's easy.
Kyle: Easy buy.
Ben: So when you're doing these hormetic stressors, like restricting oxygen for example with this hypoxic approach that you have while you're weightlifting, or you are wearing a sauna suit, have you found that works well when you're combining it with other strategies, like combining a hormetic stressor with fasting, or using some kind of supplement, or are you doing hot-cold immersion? What kind of other things are you doing to go along with some of these unconventional hormetic stressors you're using?
Kyle: Well here's something I want to talk to you, I wanted to pick your brain about. Because when I went to XPT, and I know that you've been a part of that, I went down in Malibu, they do their cold first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
Ben: And XPT, to clarify, that's the performance breath work? What's XPT stand for again? I forget. It's Brian McKenzie…
Kyle: It's Brian McKenzie, it's Laird Hamilton, Gabby Reese, Kelly Starrett's there…
Ben: Yeah. You do like underwater breathing, and mobility work, and…
Kyle: Yeah. They're combining basically everything you could think of in terms of boosting the body in unconventional ways.
Ben: Yeah. And by the way, I'm actually going to be doing a clinic with them in Kauai this December. I'll put a link in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle if any of you want to go to that and you yourself can freeze and almost pass out in water. You went to this?
Kyle: One of the things I learned from them was, 'cause I was doing the Wim Hof method and I would jump, you have to create space. If you think of these things like an altitude training, that's a workout. Even if I'm sitting on my ass watching TV or reading a book, that is a workout, and it's taxing on the body. So if I'm going to do cold therapy and it's only a five minute session, I need to give that space prior to my next workout. I can't just jump in the car and go to jiu-jitsu, and I learned that the hard way. I showed up to jiu-jitsu class and it felt like I had been training for three hours just from that five minute ice bath once I got on the mat. Like everything was tapped out, ATP stores were all gone. And so when I was at XPT, I noticed that they would do this…
Ben: I should clarify. They weren't all gone. You just had so much vasoconstriction going on that you couldn't access 'em. Lack of blood flow.
Kyle: There you go. Yeah, lack of blood flow. Body was taxed. So when I go XPT, I see they do this first thing in the morning, or they'll do it right after some of their underwater training with the breath holds and things like that. And then there's maybe a two hour gap with some smoothies, some really high profile turmeric tea, things like that that are going to help the body, and some breath work. So you're able to recharge the system, and then give it space, and then you can go into a hard workout a couple hours later. So learning that was a big deal for me. But then also this idea that we had talked about where there are certain things that you take that are good for you, like high dose vitamin C, things like that, but if you were to take them prior to a workout, they would minimize the training effect. And so I've also…
Ben: Or after workout, really.
Kyle: Or after workout, right? So giving it that space, 'cause these things are good for you, your body does want them, and they help you with recovery, but timing of things like that. So also timing of your cold bath. ‘Cause if you were to jump into an ice bath right after really heavy strength training, you might minimize some of the inflammatory response that's going to be helping you to gain more muscle and more strength.
Ben: And I think it depends too, and the reason that I say that is this morning, for example, you and I did a workout, we followed up that workout with cold water and hypoxia in my cold pool back there, and then we came inside and we had a smoothie. And a lot of the ingredients of that smoothie, like I just mentioned when we were talking, there was ascorbic acid, an antioxidant from the lemon, and we had turmeric, another antioxidant. And people would say, “Oh, you're blunting your hormetic effects of that training session.” The way that I view things is if I do a training session that has a ton of breath work, which is going to create a lot of potential for oxidation or the need for your body to learn how to bounce back without having exogenous antioxidants or things that are going to blunt that hormetic response in the body, I won't do something like that afterwards. But for me, what that would mean is 45 minutes of hypoxic underwater swimming. Like a real true breath work session. Or like this morning, what we did, I classify that as a primarily mobility session. There wasn't a lot of eccentric muscle tissue damage, there wasn't a huge metabolic load like there was when we were doing the obstacle course yesterday. And so the type of meal that I'll choose after that, or the type of like cold water immersion, or something like that is far different than a very hard workout where sometimes just to get the body core temperature down, I'll jump in and out of the cold pool very quickly. I won't do a longer, 5 to 10 minutes soak like we did this morning. And then afterwards, I'll make a smoothie, but it won't have the vitamin C, and the turmeric, and the extra antioxidants in it. So you kind of step back and you look at your training session, how much eccentric muscle tissue damage occurred, how much hypoxia was there, how long was it. And if it really is one of those brutal sessions that beats you up, that's where you can actually wait a little while to shovel the antioxidants, and the cold baths, and all these other things into your system. Which sounds counter-intuitive, but in fact you're giving your body its own chance to heal. And then a few hours later, that's when you start to pull out the stops, after your body has had a chance to upregulate its own stress response.
Kyle: Yeah. And even if you look at the cold, the cold we did was 60, 70 degrees.
Ben: This morning was not that cold.
Kyle: It wasn't freezing temperature. The vitamin C content in a lemon is still highly bioavailable and very good for you, but it's not like taking a gram of vitamin C…
Ben: Exactly. We aren't doing like a bunch of liposomal…
Kyle: It's not overkill.
Ben: Yup. Exactly. So you've got stressors like that. Now how about from a dietary standpoint? I know that you have certain things that you do in terms of like fasting and ketosis, and obviously I don't want to insult people's intelligence by explaining what intermittent fasting or ketosis is, but at the same time, for example, you mention the microbiome to me and how you've discovered some things when it comes to ketosis and, I believe if I'm not mistaken, the microbiome. Have you found certain things that happen to your body?
Kyle: I've been working with Dr. Grace Liu who started the Gut Institute in Dublin, California.
Ben: Grace Liu. L-I-U. She's actually very good.
Kyle: Yeah. She's a speaker at Paleo f(x). Phenomenal lady. She's been helping my wife and I. But one of the things we noticed from staying strict low carb, like 40 to 50 grams a day, for an extended period of time, and I saw this in getting poop tests done, looking at the balance of microflora, and it shifted over time. I would notice that if I stayed in ketosis, strict ketosis that is, not low carb, but actually into ketosis, for longer than four months, that I would see a dramatic change in the amount of fat burning bacteria versus the fiber eating good guys that we tend to know and love. So if we take a probiotic, a lot of those guys are going to really thrive on a high fiber, high plant-based diet, and those are the things they want to chew and break down, and create buterate and these good short chain fatty acids. They're also our protectors. They help balance the microbiome. They make sure that candida's under wraps, things like that. So by staying in this long term ketogenic state in preparation for my first and possibly only 50K Ultra that I did, I had like 90% fat burners, and I didn't realize this, but I had candida and parasites already. Possibly picked up on a tour for the troops way back in the day. Never really noticed it. Obviously when you're low carb, you're not feeding those guys, so they stay dormant. They go into hibernation. And then after the race, being extremely broken down and quite dehydrated over the course of 10 hours, we saw just everything exacerbated. All these problems came up. I went from training two or three times a day to only being able to train twice a week. Kept getting a common cold no matter how little I was training. And she just said, “Hey, man. I think you got parasites.”
Ben: She did like a stool test for this?
Kyle: Yeah. We did a comprehensive stool analysis from Great Plains Labs and…
Ben: Was that the one where you poop into the hotdog tray for like three days in a row?
Kyle: Yeah, yeah. Three days in a row, hot dog tray, you got to scoop your own poop. That was probably the nastiest thing ever, but you know all the name of science and understanding what's going on.
Ben: You just don't want to eat breakfast for like an hour afterwards. That scent is still wafting in your nostrils and you're still checking your hands in a very paranoia-like fashion to see if there's any brown specs still remaining…
Kyle: You got plastic gloves on, but it's a big difference between having, if you've ever pooped and you leave, they have a name for it, it's called the iceberg, when the top of your poop still comes out of the water?
Ben: Oh, that's me like every morning.
Kyle: Yeah. So you smell that and you're like, “Oh, man.” Sometimes it's not that bad, sometimes it's bad.
Ben: That's the best dump, is when it's big enough to where it's no longer submerged.
Kyle: But when you [censored] in a tray, all of that's out in the open. It doesn't matter if you have the fan on, it doesn't matter if you have incense burning…
Ben: Yeah. You're breathing in some good particles.
Kyle: It's a different deal. But the test showed that I had the highest level of parasites on the test possible and the highest level of candida possible.
Kyle: Yeah. I was pretty proud of myself, especially considering how we eat organic and how much I'm really trying to take a dive…
Ben: Parasites are organic, after all.
Kyle: I was like, “Man, how did this happen?” And one of the things that led her to that was asking me about all the countries I've been in, and I've been in quite a few suspect countries doing goodwill tours for the troops. Ironically, it probably happened in Djibouti, Africa. So I got parasites in Djibouti is pretty much where I nailed it down 'cause that was the only place where we got off-base and had tap water.
Ben: You got some Djibouti in your booty.
Kyle: Yeah. I got parasites in Djibouti. So it's taken about a year to work through that…
Ben: Now returning back to what you were talking about though, before I hear, 'cause I'm curious, even though some parasites can actually be beneficial for the body, in many cases like an opportunistic parasite like that, you want to get rid of. I've come back from Thailand with those things and it's nasty. You're up like clockwork every two weeks as they lay their eggs and your stomach feels horrible. For anybody who hasn't had a parasite, it's not fun. But you were talking about your bacterial ratio. Now are you referring to like the firmicute bacteroidetes ratio? Like what you can get testing with the American Gut Project, that type of thing?
Kyle: Yeah. And uBiome as a company out of San Francisco, I think you just did with Viome out of Seattle. I think that might be a little bit more comprehensive, but…
Ben: Yeah, Viome is a newer one. And there's some other companies popping up that are doing, so the way I like to think about it is you can test, let's say how much fruit versus how many vegetables that you have in your digestive tract via something like uBiome or the American Gut Project and look at your firmicute bacteroidetes ratio. Or you could look at the amount of apples, oranges, pears, bananas, blueberries, cherries, et cetera and the amount of parsnips, kale, arugula, cucumber, carrots, green beans. And so it's breaking down these bacteria into extremely precise ratios and identifying every single one as far as what that's worth from a diagnostic standpoint or what this can tell you about your body. I'm still trying to wrap my head around that. Like I have all my Viome results and I'm waiting for their scientists to go over them with me because to have that comprehensive of a look at my biome, I almost don't know what to do with it. There's so much data.
Kyle: Yeah. And a lot of this is new too. So we're figuring this out on the fly. One of the things that we kind of came to the conclusion of was I needed more fiber, I needed to not think of things like, in talking with a guy that you just went down and recorded with, Darren Olein, the superfood hunter, there are foods on this planet that are so good for you that you really shouldn't be looking at the macros with. And if it means going over 50 grams of carbs, who cares? So one of those being sprouted seeds, sprouted pumpkin, sprouted sunflower seeds, they have a micronutrient profile that's unheard of. They're also high in fiber, high in protein, and high in really good fat. But if I'm trying to minimize and really lock in that under-50-grams so I get into this ketogenic state, I might miss out on that. Well it's kind of like…
Ben: You're missing all the nutrient density, you're missing on the prebiotics. You can turn your gut into a veritable wasteland if you're not careful. That's even related to an article I wrote recently that I've been having to revisit a lot lately on coconut oil because of the recent controversy over coconut oil. My article on coconut oil had nothing to do with the heart disease factor, but instead the fact that coconut oil is inflammatory to the gut, and saturated fat in general is inflammatory to the gut when consumed in the absence of adequate amounts of fiber. And that's why a lot of people who do like that, like the high fat diet, coconut oil…
Kyle: So waking up, throwing a half a stick of Kerrygold butter and a mountain of MCT or a coconut oil probably isn't ancestral. It's probably not how our predecessors lived and woke up each day.
Ben: It's not such a great idea. Now granted when we made the smoothie this morning, and those of you who watch the video will see me say this, I used to go out to the garden that's back behind us right now, Kyle, in the morning before I did exactly what you just saw me do in the kitchen, and I'd be out there tooling around the garden for a good five minutes, picking some kale, some lettuce, some bok choy, some parsnips, cilantro, I'd go out and harvest some wild mint, I do nettle. And I'd find all these various plant-based super foods, but the problem is that when you add all of those to a morning smoothie, I will drink my smoothie and then I'll work like a dog until like 2 or 3 PM and just not stop. Doing e-mails, and consults, and podcasts, et cetera. But the problem is you've got to take a huge dump at about noon when you put that many plants into your morning smoothie. And so I've kind of, I do a lot more plants with dinner now and even with lunch than I do with breakfast. You saw me, it was just like a handful of arugula in the smoothie that we had this morning because there can be a lot of diminishing return with the bulk. But at the same time, yeah, you definitely want to, and we of course had fiber from the cacao nibs, and the coconut flakes.
Kyle: Tons of fiber in the coconut flakes, yeah.
Ben: It's not like it was a fiber-deficient smoothie. But yeah, that is a huge error that you see a lot of people make is they'll switch to a ketotic-based diet, but it's a low fiber ketotic-based diet. And probably I would say, and I don't know if you're aware of these resources, two of the best resources that I'm aware of out there for a fiber-rich ketogenic diet, or at least a fiber-rich diet that controls blood sugar levels by not introducing high amounts of carbohydrates, because I'm not necessarily sold on ketosis as the solution as much as controlling blood sugar, fluctuations, and controlling long term blood sugar elevation. That appears to be a better predictor of longevity and health than whether or not you're producing a lot of ketones. The two resources are the “Wahls Protocol” by Dr. Terry Wahls and the book “The Plant Paradox” by Dr. Stephen Gundry, and specifically the ketogenic portion of that book, The Plant Paradox. Both of those in my opinion are perfect examples if you're listening and you wanted to see what a fiber-rich, low carbohydrate diet actually looks like. Those are really good examples of how to do it and how to do it right.
Kyle: Yeah. And I'm by no means saying, I mean when I was on Rogan's, I pretty much put the ketogenic diet on a pedestal. I think there is very specific uses for it as a tool. Obviously it was created for kids with epilepsy and things like that. If you're obese and you really need to drop pounds quickly to save your life, there's a lot of efficacy there for that. But unless you're an Inuit or an Eskimo, chances are you're not eating 80% fat in your diet year round or 10 months out of the year at least. You have to think about where your ancestors come from, looking at Weston A. Price and his work, traveling the globe and understanding different indigenous tribes and people that lived in different parts, whether you were closer to the equator, you had access to more fruits and vegetables, smaller game, fish and fowl, that kind of thing. You get up towards the poles, you're going to eat bigger game, probably do better with red meat and lower carb diets. Most of my ancestors are from Northern England, Northern Europe, so odds are that I can do better with less fruit, doesn't mean I'm going to go off the wagon and have a ton of carbs now. But I don't necessarily need to be under 50 grams a day to be a healthy person.
Ben: Yeah. And granted, playing devil's advocate because I'm not quite sure of this, while the Inuit and Eskimos do show absence of large amounts of obesity while consuming extremely high blubber-rich diet, I'm actually not sure what their microbiome looks like, I'm not sure what the rates of colon cancer are like, I'm not really sure what their rates of gut issues are like. So I don't know if they actually do have some fiber deficient type of gut issues based on their diet. I actually don't know maybe if you pipe in on the comments section and let us know, you could clarify on what their guts look like.
Ben: Hey. I want to interrupt today's show. We'll get right back to the interview after this quick message:
Hey. If there's one person that makes me quake in my boots yet inspires me at the same time, it is a Navy SEAL. And not just any Navy SEAL, it's this Navy SEAL Commander name Jocko Willink. You may have heard of him. He has a podcast. He's a very inspirational dude. He talks about responsibility, and discipline, and intensity, and leadership, and he wrote this book called “Extreme Ownership”. But oddly enough, I've never actually interviewed the dude. However, Jordan Harbinger, my friend and the host of this great little podcast called “The Art of Charm” has indeed had a chance to pick Jocko's brain for quite some time. And Jordan is right here with me. Jordan, what was it like to have this dude on your show?
Jordan: It was cool 'cause I actually flew down to San Diego to do it in person just 'cause I figured, good chance to get a better interview. So I happened to go down there and go to his office. And we were talking about decision making, which variables you can control and what you should be thinking about and focusing on, 'cause this is a guy who's made some seriously tough decisions in Iraq while getting shot at with RPGs and stuff like that, and having to take ownership over people dying under his command. So we talked a lot about his maxim, “Discipline = Freedom”, and how you stop small weaknesses that sometimes permeate discipline from having a negative impact on those same decisions that you have to make as a leader. And we talked about natural leadership, we talked about combat and the mindset of combat, and it was cool. It was a little like kind of intimidating. Not scary, but very cool 'cause I remember saying something like, “What about combat? Is there anything that you miss?” And he said, “Yeah. I miss the focus of having to look at something and be 100% focused on this one thing,” because obviously you die if you lose in combat. And that was something that you just don't get anywhere else. And he had a lot of things to say about killing and having people trying to kill you. It was just a really fascinating look into the mind of a soldier who has trained other soldiers to be the best soldiers that we have, or the best men in combat that we have in America. I guess it’s technically the Navy. It was intense. It's intense. That's the word I would have to pick for this interview.
Ben: Well, not to kiss up to you too much, Jordan, but I have a lot of respect for your ability to be able to get really interesting snippets and anecdotes from these guys that I think guys and girls who you interview on your show that I don't think a lot of people are able to get. You're a great interviewer. That's why your show is one of the few that I listen to. That's why I'm telling all of you right now listening in, that you got to go over and check out Jordan show. It's called “The Art of Charm”. You can go to theartofcharm.com, the episode with Jocko is Episode 521. Or you can just go to Apple podcast, or wherever you find and digest your podcast of choice, and look for “The Art of Charm Podcast”. Thanks, Jordan.
Jordan: Thank you.
Ben: Hey. I want to interrupt today's show to tell you about Earth Runners. So you probably know the benefits of going barefoot. You get improved biomechanics, and stronger feet, and legs, and bones, and you stimulate meridian channels via reflexology points on the bottom of your foot. But you didn't know that. And you're Earthed. You're actually connected to the ground. But unfortunately when you put on shoes, it blocks all of that. So Earth Runners figured out how to create like this hemp Earth grip foot bed that has a copper grounded conductive lacing system and a copper plug that keeps you grounded. They even have these videos that you can check out on their website with a volt meter showing the effect of sandals on the human EMF field. It's crazy. And they also have now these custom wool socks that allow you to wear your Earth Runners well into the fall. At least in California. I don't know about Washington State. But either way, they're Earth Runners, minimalist outdoor sandals. You get a 10% discount on these bad boys. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/earthrunners, that's bengreenfieldfitness.com/earthrunners, and use code BG10 for 10% off. Alright. Let's go join Kyle in my backyard.
Ben: I wanted to close the loop on the parasite thing though. What you wind up doing as far as the parasites are concerned?
Kyle: I've been working with Grace for about a year now and we've been having a different rotation of dietary stuff. We went through GAPS diet for a little bit. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride out of the UK wrote that one. It's a fantastic book. A lot of healing with that, tons of bone broth, collagen hydrolysate, things like that to heal the intestinal wall, make sure that there's no leaky gut syndrome going on. Reintroduction of different probiotics, systemically building the microbiome back while taking a lot of things that would wipe out things. So things and things. If I can break that down a little bit, wormwood, black walnut, and what's the other one? Wormwood, black walnut, and there was…
Ben: Allicin? Like a garlic extract?
Kyle: Yeah. Allicin. But then even things like oil of oregano, which is fantastic if your immune system's down. But if you were to take that for a long period of time, that actually kills everything. That'll kill the good guys and the bad guys.
Kyle: Yeah. So understanding like if we take some of these…
Ben: Even in high doses, yeah.
Kyle: Yeah, high doses for an extended period of time, you have to understand why you use it and when you use it, and then really regulate like a rotation of things. Like, “Okay. I'm going to wipe these guys out for a couple weeks, but then give my body a break, rebuild the microbiome so I'm making sure that I balance back the good microflora, making sure that I'm feeding those guys, and then kind of rotate things back and forth, on and off.”
Ben: Rotation is incredibly important. Rotation from a seasonal standpoint and if you look at Ayurvedic medicine, or the different doshas or body types, or even a lot of Native American diets, there is a lot of dietary rotation based on seasonal availability. And of course that's important due to the fact, a variety of factors. You are more sensitive to carbohydrate and insulin fluctuations in the absence of sunlight versus the presence of sunlight. And so higher amounts of fruit and carbohydrates in the summer can actually be okay. Or another example would be that your gut responds very good to like warm, kind of like rich, spicier foods in the winter, like hot foods. Whereas hot foods in the summer can actually aggravate and create too much, I think it would be called in Ayurvedic typing, too much pitta, I believe. There's probably somebody who just like I wants to jump through the podcast and throttle me right now.
Kyle: Going to jump out of a lotus and strangle you.
Ben: My local physician here in Spokane is an Eastern medicine practitioner and that guy's body of knowledge is just, it's through the roof. And I know we've got some listeners who are very into this as well, but bear with me here. In addition to that, what you're talking about is the importance of kind of like both herbal variety and then also I would even say nutrient and caloric variety. So having your body go through phases or periods that you see a lot of religions implement, fasting. I see my dad follows Eastern Orthodoxy in a very religious way, and you'll see him in and there are certain times there where he's like, “Yeah, I haven't had meat in like two weeks. I won't be eating meat for another week and a half or so.” Well that might seem strange, but if you look at things from a longevity standpoint, like the Mediterranean diet and longevity, one of the things that we fail to take into account is that they fast a lot. They have certain periods of time where they engage in meat restriction. There are certain periods of time where there are 24-hour fasts. Like Saturday dinner to Sunday dinner. And so while those are not things that people are necessarily doing every day. It seems like in America, we're like, “Oh, I'm going to go pure vegan.” “I'm going to be pure omnivore.” Or, “I'm going to do a 16 hour fast every day no matter what, damn it,” 365 days a year versus, “I'm going to have these two weeks where I'm working two 24-hour fasts and a 16-hour fast everyday”. So rotation and variety versus just pure dogmatism in diet I think is really important. And especially as you went through with your parasite and with your gut issues, you can fix things and then go back to perhaps not using as high an herbal protocol. You don't have to be on your wormwood for life type of protocol, right?
Kyle: Correct. And going back to what you're saying about rotation and kind of not being dogmatic, I mean if you decide I want to try intermittent fasting, you don't have to decide that the way I decided to go into ketosis. You can say, “Let me work this in.” So one of the things I've been playing with is if I do two really hard lower body lifts a week, odds are I'm going to wake up very hungry the next day, the day after that lift because my body is demanding of calories, protein, and nutrients to recover from that. So I will eat breakfast the day after, say I have a really heavy squat session Monday with some altitude training, and possibly even nose breathing, heat shock protein walk in the sun. When I wake up, I'm going to need to eat. And that's fine. Listen to my body, have breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day. And then as I feel fine going to bed that night, maybe the next day I'll do a 16-hour fast. And the day after that, I'll crunch that to a 20-hour fast. Water only, maybe some black coffee, a cup or two in the morning, and be fine. But really working that end so that it is something cyclical but it's also something that I can still pay attention to my body and have some leeway when I need more calories, I follow my body and do that.
Ben: Yeah. And when you're talking about quantifying like that and, well not quantifying but more like listening to your body, are you using technology much? Like you mention the OURA ring. I'm curious, for a guy like you who played football and competed at a high level of MMA, who's very dialed into biohacking in fitness now, and who studies a lot of these things, and you, yourself, I know, are launching a podcast as well where you're interviewing a lot of folks in this sector. And I'll link to that in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle for those of you listening in. What are you doing as far as technology is concerned? I mean aside from walking around with a mask on your face while you're power lifting, especially when it comes to either self-qualification or other ways that you are either enhancing recovery or learning more about your body.
Kyle: Well the OURA ring really has been the best piece of equipment that I've purchased. It's not cheap, it's not going to break the bank, but it's definitely not cheap. It's $300. But if you talk about some of these other things, like I had a Withings Watch, a Jawbone, all these are things. They're not going to break down information the same way that the OURA ring does. And they aren't constantly improving things. So one of the complaints that I had when I was talking to one of the guys that works for him was that if I had a heavy power lifting session, and I mentioned this to my strength coach, Jesse Burdick, 'cause he was like, “Man, should I get it?” And I was like, “Well, I don't know. Let's hold off for a second.” If I did a max effort deadlift day, because my heart rate's not jumping through the roof and I have a lot of time in between sets, it would look like I was going for a walk in the park. So literally a slow jog would show more work output. Now they've added in this ability to put an activity in, which will change…
Ben: Press the little plus button and add in, describe what you've done.
Kyle: Yeah. And the whole reason why I kept with it through that was because sleep. Sleep was the number one thing when it comes down to recovery and how I'm breaking down things, and it didn't matter what it showed for my activity level that day because how I slept that night was telling me how hard I had worked that day. So a max effort deadlift day is obviously going to take its toll on the body and the central nervous system, heart rate variability's going to drop, a might get my lowest resting heart rate much later in the night as I'm recovering and things like that, body temperature might be elevated throughout the night. All these things are mapped and broken down on the app.
Ben: Actually, I've found the complete opposite to be the case. I actually just this morning, I don't know if you've seen it yet, I released a video on my website where I used the new dashboard that these folks at OURA, and by the way, I don't, this podcast isn't sponsored by OURA, I'm not sponsored by OURA, I don't think you have a financial title. I just like to use it. But the idea, although if you buy it using my discount code, I get like a referral kickback or whatever as an affiliate. But other than that, the thing that I released this morning was their new cloud dashboard that lets you pull up anything. Let's say your body temperature, your heart rate variability, your level of activity, and the level of, let's say, deep sleep that you acquired during the night. You can compare and contrast all these variables. And what I found quite interestingly was a direct correlation between the amount of high intensity physical activity that I accomplished each day, the drop in heart rate variability that occurred because of that, and an actual significant increase in my level of deep sleep. Meaning on any day where I beat myself up really hard, my sleep doesn't suffer. It actually gets better and deeper. Which I guess makes sense to a certain extent, and I suppose there'd be a law of diminishing returns. ‘Cause I remember when I'd race Ironman triathlons, maybe part of this was due to all the sugar and caffeine I'd consume before I got into doing them in ketosis. But I would have to take Valium to go to bed at night after racing for 12 hours. You'd think I'd just pass out, but you're so amped up you can't even fall asleep.
Kyle: Yeah. You can't turn it off.
Ben: Yeah. At all. So, yeah. It's interesting. But I've actually found a correlation between how hard I've worked and how good my sleep is. So you use this sleep self-qualification. Any other pieces of technology that you use to enhance life? I know yesterday at my breakfast table you had photobiomodulation, you had in-ear light therapy, and in-eye light therapy. All three at once.
Kyle: I wanted to test that stuff out. Like I said, you're my consumer electronics reports for anything biohacking.
Ben: I can put a photo in the show notes for you guys, but Kyle is literally, I think you had three different pieces of high-end technology attached to your head all at once before breakfast yesterday.
Kyle: The only thing I didn't get was the ball zapper.
Ben: Right. We still have to try the ball zapper. Actually, I don't own one of those. You mean the GainesWave device?
Ben: That's like a $40,000 ball zapper. Anyways though, so any other pieces of technology that you use or that you're into from like a biohacking standpoint?
Kyle: Yeah. I mean the Hypoxico machine was a big investment. Obviously it's in the thousands, but my wife and I both use that. We get a lot from it. As I've said, I retired three years ago from fighting and I really didn't want to push myself the way that I used to. It just…
Ben: And you're not going to fight again. That's not in the works.
Kyle: Yeah. I don't want to fight again. I don't want to get hit in the head anymore. It's something where I really do like this idea of minimum effective dose because I've spent so many years training that hard and I don't enjoy that. I enjoy picking up something heavy off the ground, I enjoy going for a smooth nose breathing run, I enjoy walking in extreme heat or meditating in a really freezing temperature, cold bath because I've adjusted to those things. But they're low impact, they're not hard on the body, and I'm not wiped out. So I can still play with my two year old boy and be a dad. I don't want to beat myself up to the point where I can’t have sex with my wife for two days because I'm not run down and my body feels destroyed.
Ben: Right. And your firmicute bacteroidetes ratio is so messed up that nobody would want to have sex with you anyways.
Kyle: They could smell it. The pheromones coming off of me would be all that.
Ben: We were at that discussion last night, complete segue though, pheromones and about how women on the pill tend to choose partners who are incompatible with them, and it was a fascinating discussion we were having. I don't think you were part of it, but that's a chat for another day I think. A few of other things I wanted to talk to you about though, you're mentioning sleep. And something you talked to me very briefly about was how you're doing caffeine rotation for your adrenals. What do you mean by that?
Kyle: Yeah. So one of the issues we had by doing this high-fat coffee for so long, and really that was breakfast every day for years. Whether I was in ketosis or not, that was still my breakfast. And just understanding, this worked up. So mentioning that I have a two year old son, when my wife went off coffee being pregnant, I still made a full pot every day. And I would drink the entire pot, this was a light roast, so much higher in caffeine, and that's what I got adjusted to. So we would split, once was she was able to have coffee again, we would split that pot, which is still…
Ben: The lighter roasts are the ones that are higher in the caffeine?
Kyle: Exactly. And so we would split that.
Ben: And lower in the antioxidants?
Kyle: Lower in antioxidants. So, yeah. It was a real issue just in terms of necessity. When it starts to be something where, “Oh, god. I have to have my coffee.” You're no longer using it to go up, you're using it to get normal. And really understanding that about myself, maybe want to kind of dial that down so I can feel coffee again and really understand like what I'm using it for, like I'll use that on a day where we have a podcast, I'll use it on a day when I have a road trip, I'll use it on a day where I have a really heavy lift or I want to be sharp as a tack, that kind of thing. But if I know I'm going to have a relaxing day and I don't have to do a whole lot, I'll use a tea or something with less caffeine in it. And it's funny 'cause I went for a month without coffee, I switched to yerba mate thinking I was going to drop my caffeine level. About three weeks in, I decided to read some more on yerba mate and I realized the caffeine levels are quite similar to coffee. So I was like, “Oh, no wonder I didn't get a headache or have any withdrawal symptoms. I just substituted one for another.”
Ben: The research on this idea behind lower caffeine coffee is actually really compelling, and I recently talked about this on a podcast, how the caffeine content of a beverage or just your caffeine intake in general is correlated to your telomere length. And high amounts of caffeine decrease the, or I'm sorry, increase aging, increase the rate at which telomeres lengthen. Whereas coffee and some of these caffeine containing beverages, ironically enough, decrease the rate at which your telomeres shorten and have an anti-aging effect. So you're actually best served by choosing very tannic-rich beverages that only have trace amounts of caffeine in them. And that's why I'm actually a fan, you talk about caffeine rotation in that sense, this idea that you have x amount of adenosine receptors in neural tissue, and caffeine will adhere to those receptors. And as more and more caffeine builds up and you need more and more receptors over time for the caffeine to attach to, you also need more and more adenosine in order to feel sleepy. And the best way to decrease the number of adenosine receptors that you're building is to stop caffeine for anywhere from 7 to 12 days. So what I do is I have one bag of, and it's up in the freezer right now, I didn't even tell you this, but that was decaf you drank this morning by the way.
Ben: Yeah. So right now I'm on a decaf cycle. So all the coffee is decaf, but you get all the antioxidant benefits, you get all the taste benefits, you'll get all the bowel movement enhancing benefits of coffee without the caffeine when you do that rotational type of set up with your caffeine intake. So that's all I do is for one week out of every month or so I just switch to decaf, and you get a lot of the antioxidants there as well.
Kyle: That's awesome. And still it's kind of a brain trick because you still have that flavor of your coffee, it doesn't feel like, “I got to suck this tea down now.”
Ben: Yeah. And the mushrooms. We always have the mushrooms in. So anytime you have coffee at the Greenfield house, there's always a box of the Four Sigmatic chaga, or today we had the turkey tail, maitake five mushroom blend from Four Sigmatic. But I'm a fan of putting the mushrooms in the coffee, and then typically just a touch of stevia for a little bit of a flavor. You could argue I have a morning sweet tooth perhaps.
Kyle: It was delicious, yeah. No issues there.
Ben: No issues with the deliciousness. You are also a proponent of meditation.
Kyle: Big time.
Ben: And I'm curious what it is that you do with meditation. I know use like the Brain.fm headphone app, which I…
Kyle: Yeah. That was a big one for me. And I think that's a big one that I, the reason that I talk about that a lot is because I really have come to understand this importance of quieting the mind, especially in the world that we live in, whether you have a high profile job or you're in sales. And I saw this first hand with my father and his stress levels growing up, trying to be the provider for the home, and everything is commission based, there's no salary, 100% commission. So it's all on the sales, and just seeing how stressed out people can be, if you don't have an off switch, even just 5 to 10 minutes, if you don't turn your brain off you're just going to be running that system into the ground and be the equivalent of trying to work out all day long. You're never really going to get a lot out of your workout. You can't hit a maximal effort if you're just constantly moving. And that's the same thing with the brain if we, from a performance standpoint, can push pause and give it some space to not think, and to rest and relax. It doesn't even have to be a nap, and I'm big on naps too, but that will give so much more power to the brain when we do need to use it for creativity or critical thinking. And it is a booster for the brain, especially for the second half of the day.
But circling back to meditation from a peace standpoint, it's really been something that has improved my quality of life more than many other things and it's something, when you talk about hitting the lowest common denominator, something that everyone can be and should be using, there's so many different forms of meditation. When I first started, and it was very hard for me to quiet my mind and understand, like, “What the hell am I doing here? I can't stop thinking. What is this quiet space that I'm trying to get to?” And it didn't really work for me, but two things made a big difference. One was using something like brainwave entrainment through Brain.fm. I could throw in the headphones. And I noticed even if I thought during that…
Ben: Kyle, what is brainwave entrainment?
Kyle: Basically you're using some type of music to train the brain into a certain wave state, whether its alpha, theta, those kind of things. We want to take that down from a high-thinking beta wave state where we're really just “go, go, go” and we slow that down just a notch. So Steven Kotler has pioneered and talked a lot about flow states, I think “Stealing Fire“ is an excellent book that I just finished, but how we get into that, I mean there's many paths to the same truth. And one of the ways that we do this and has been done for thousands of years is through meditation. So if you find it really hard to sit quietly in a room, or if it's hard to find a quiet room because you have kids or different things going on, or you're in the office and even with your office doors closed it's still pretty loud outside, you can throw in the headphones, and close your eyes, throw an eye mask on, and enter into your own little quiet time. And 15 minutes later, you feel the difference. I mean it really is a game changer, and that's why I promote these guys. I am affiliated with them, so full disclosure there. These guys, I work closely with. They sponsor my podcast but it's a phenomenal tool. And for $7 a month, I think it's well worth the price of the ticket.
Ben: I interviewed them, and for those of you listening, I'll put a link to that interview in the show notes. But one of the things that I've noticed with it, well a couple of things. The first we discussed this morning, and I'll get to in a moment, but one is that, yes, you can take a nap without actually sleeping. You put it on for like 20 minutes, or even five minutes, and you feel as though you've just kind of disconnected from the world for a little while. It's very hypnotic. The other thing that you mention is it's almost so hypnotic that if you put it on, let's say, an eight hour sleep cycle, and this might sound ridiculous but some people like to sleep longer than eight hours, and the longest you can program that thing for right now is eight hours. You wake up when it stops. So the little hack I found for that, or in addition to that, I think the longest you can nap on the app is 45 minutes. Let's say you actually want to nap like an hour, which is a lot of times, I will nap for an hour, what you do is you put on your Brain.fm app, and then there's another app called Sleep Stream, which is like a DJ for sleep, for deep sleep, for power naps, for focus, for creativity, for anything, and I'll all play that in the background of Brain.fm. So I've discovered that my phone can play both sounds at the same time. You can activate both apps simultaneously. So you play the Sleep Stream at the same time that you're playing the Brain.fm. And then when the Brain.fm turns off, the Sleep Stream is still going and it doesn't wake you up.
Kyle: You don't get woken up abruptly.
Ben: You stay in that state of sleep. So there's your little app tip for those of you who want to know how to hack your Brain.fm and hack it. Another thing that I wanted to touch on was you're also very much into, I know for example you've been on the Joe Rogan Podcast. And I believe that you talked quite a bit about ayahuasca on that podcast. And when we were paddle boarding yesterday, you were discussing various successes and failures that you've had with that plant as well as other psychedelics. When it comes to psychedelics, what are some of the biggest things that you've learned as far as efficacy for certain situations, or dosages, or sourcing, or any practical tips for people who would want to utilize psychedelics for any of the things that you've found them to be efficacious for.
Kyle: Yeah. I think, I mean that's a deep rabbit hole to go down and certainly a loaded question. I think really a great place to start for people trying to get into this would be the “Psychedelic Explorers Guide” by Dr. Jim Fadiman. He'll talk about everything from microdosing for creativity and just changing perspective, all the way 'til going deep. So what would be considered a “heroic dose” as Terence McKenna calls it, five grams of mushrooms or more, things like that, what you need in terms of a sitter, a babysitter, basically somebody that'll sit with you and make sure that everything's okay. So if you hear an odd noise, or if the door knocks, or there's some interruption, you have somebody to handle those situations for you and make sure things are fine. All the way up to a guide or a shaman. And obviously a shaman is going to have a different level of understanding of what the plants are doing, and where you're at in that space, and be able to guide you through some of the tougher moments. But really this is something that anybody who talks about psychedelics will talk about this is set and setting. So your mindset going into it. You don't take these things when you're having a mental breakdown. You take these things when you're well prepared, you've meditated or prayed.
Ben: But don't a lot of people use microdosing with LSD or microdosing with psilocybin if they’re, for example, like low on sleep?
Kyle: Yeah. And that's a whole different ballgame. I want to separate that real quick. These things are dose dependent and what you get from them are completely different experiences, even among the same thing. So if we're just talking psilocybin, if you were to have a half a gram microdose, that's going to be a world different than having a five gram, 10 times the amount, heroic dose, will really shift. You're talking about things like dissolving the ego, and out of body experience, possibly having a visionary state where you can go through a dream world and experience things as other people. I mean we really don't need to get into the things that you see, but in terms of the impact that you have, I mean these are some of the, when I talk about, you joked about this with JP Sears, the micro level versus the macro, more is better, and that was tongue-in-cheek. But if I can quote Terence McKenna, he was giving a lecture on Lorenzo Haggerty's Podcast, “The Psychedelic Salon”. And while he's giving the lecture one of the questions, he opened up to the public to ask questions, and one of the guys said, “Is there a wrong way to take psychedelics?” And he laughed and he said, “Yes. If you don't take enough.”
And the reason for that is during the ‘60s when it was all about flower power, and partying, and you're listening to Jimi Hendrix, and you're out at Golden Gate Park with 30,000, people it's very easy to just say, “Oh, I'm going to try some of this, and I'm going to try some of that, and I'm drinking beers,” and this kind of thing, and you don't go in to your own meditative state where you're alone, you're quiet, you're in a dark space, and you can really dive deep. And the beauty of a macro or heavy dose of these things is to really understand yourself differently, and to think of the world differently, to see the world with new eyes, to shift your perspective, and understand to things about yourself maybe you couldn't understand. But you don't get that when you're surrounded by a large group of people if you're out at a house party or a bar. It has to be a situation and a setting, the second part of this, the setting where you can give yourself space to really dive deeper and understand things, and maybe face some things that you didn't know were there, or face some things that you don't want to face. That's a big one. When you talk about things like ayahuasca, and they talk about that as being the apex of teacher plants. So the pinnacle. One of the…
Ben: Teacher plants?
Kyle: The deepest experience you could have among these things. And iboga is right up there with it. But out of all psychedelics, ayahuasca has been one of the most transformative and one of the hardest things that I've ever one. And it is usually is that way every time. It's different every time, but it's a much harder situation to go through.
Ben: Is it hard because it's uncomfortable physically or because it's uncomfortable mentally? Because…
Ben: You're a fighter, you played football. I mean it seems like throwing up and having some mild physical discomfort wouldn't be that big of a deal for you.
Kyle: Yeah. There is the physical discomfort. They call it “la purga”. You're going to purge of some sort. And purging could be laughter, it could be crying, it could be a physical purge like vomiting uncontrollably or pooping your brains out, which has happened to me more often than not, especially with the parasites and candida. But there's some mental stuff. I mean if you think about things that, we go through life and something happens to us and we try to forget it. Therapists will say, “You're blocking this memory out. Let it come up.” And these kind of things. And the truth is everyone's got baggage, everyone goes through stuff. And even the super-rich kid that grew up having everything, the whose dad was never around, never went to one of his games, was out of town all the time, went on trips and left him at home with a live-in nanny, that kind of shit, that kid's got problems too. And so when you take a substance like this, you basically throw the curtains back. And whatever's underneath is going to rise to the top. So the things that you're bothering, if you had a really traumatic experience like a rape, or if you're a soldier and you watched one of your friends and fellow veterans die right in front of your eyes, you might go through that entire experience all over again. But seeing it for the second time allows you to see it from a new angle, and allows you to heal from that and move on. And you might think you're over that, but it's really about getting through that another time to understand it differently and truly heal from it that allows you to move on and experience life differently.
Ben: One thing that I'm extremely curious about was that yesterday when we were on the paddle board, you said something like, “I asked myself a question to get the answer.” And is that something that is typical in a ceremony like this where you would actually say something to yourself, or you’re cognizant enough to say? Because I haven't done ayahuasca before. For example, it's a hey-I-want-to-know-this-about, whatever, let's say, let me think of a good example here, “Should I be spending more time with my children in the morning while they're having breakfast?” Like that type of thing. Like should you ask the universe that question about yourself, and can you?
Kyle: Yeah. You can. So you set an intention before you go into this, and you can pray on it, meditate on it, you can just write it down if you're not into those sort of things. But really understanding and outlining what you want to get from the situation, what are the things that you want to work on and improve in your life, and you take that you know weeks ahead of time going into this ceremony. So once you're there, you have something to focus and return to when you are going through some of these physical discomforts.
Ben: So you actually prepare…
Kyle: Yeah. So you definitely prepare. There's a pre and post. Yeah, a lot of people bring note pads, they'll write things down during the ceremony. In my opinion…
Ben: An iPhone to text your friends?
Kyle: Yeah. I've seen some people pull open the iPhone to take notes and it's a little disturbing. So try to not electronics.
Ben: Remove the sim card if possible.
Kyle: Yeah. Exactly. Keep it in airplane mode. I'll give an example. I just thought of my wife, and this was before we were married, I thought of her in my first ceremony. And my very first vision, and this was after a really hard purge, and I thought of her and I became her. And I relived every single argument we've ever had in our relationship up to that point as her, looking up at me, yelling at me. But the things that were coming out of Natasha's mouth, it was all stated in a way that Kyle understood it. And when I pulled out of that, I mean it was just pure waterworks. I cried and let go. And I understood that in all the situations, we weren't coming eye to eye because of our own filters, of our own background, of our own prejudices, and saying things or thinking things like, “Yeah, you just don't want me to have fun,” or I used to drink like an asshole, so, “Why are you on me about drinking? I just want to have a good time,” not being honest with myself and understanding that I was really destroying myself. It was not in a productive way. It was not to have a good time. It was, “Hey, let's go balls to the walls because there was some shit inside that I hadn't dealt with.” So these things can really bring positive change to the way you live. I can give credit to nothing more than then really wanting to do that work first. It's not something you just show up to and say, “Hey, let's see what happens.” You have to have a reason to being there, and understanding that about yourself, and wanting growth, and wanting to improve your quality of life. And you'll get more from it than you expect.
Ben: Yeah. Interesting. I'm a little bit scared because my brother and I are going down to do a seven day iboga in Costa Rica in October. And so I'll definitely be going in equipped with a note pad and plenty of self-reflection beforehand.
Kyle: Quite deep.
Ben: Yeah. You also, of course, have the things that are a little less deep than that that you play around with. I noticed you're preparing to drive home after the podcast. You've got the kratom out, the little capsules of kratom, and that's an interesting pick-me-up. You like to use that stuff when you're on a road trip, for example?
Kyle: Mark Bell hooked me up with that.
Ben: Don't worry. The sheriffs won't listen in. I'm not sure if it's illegal to be consuming that when you're driving anyways.
Kyle: I think it's a legal grey area. Kratom is an opiate in a high dose of six to eight capsules, or if you're a bigger guy like myself, maybe 10 capsules. It's a big sedative. So I don't want to be drowsy behind the wheel. But I'll take one capsule…
Ben: It can be euphoric uplifter too.
Kyle: For sure.
Ben: What I find very similar to caffeine.
Kyle: Yeah, for sure. And that's really why I take that on a road trip is that I don't feel a ton of discomfort sitting in a tiny Prius for 17 hours. And it does sharpen my mind to wake me up a bit. So while I'm driving home, I'll listen to a ton of podcasts, I'll finish another book on audible. But I'm tuned in, I can pay attention to these things, I can still have my eyes on the road and understand what's going on around me. It doesn't shut me down in a way. And same thing would go for something like LSD. If you do 4 or 500 micrograms, you're going to be out of your body. But if you take a microdose of 10 micrograms, up to 50 micrograms based on experience and size, you're not going to experience that at all. You're going to be highly tuned in. And that's a big reason why a lot of these Silicon Valley tech guys are getting into it and really work on it for creativity and innovation.
Ben: I'll do it typically for a big writing session. About once a week, I have little volumetric doser up in my bathroom and just about 10 exactly. And it's very good for that, for lateral thinking patterns, and for almost like merging your right and left brain interaction. It kind of keeps you out of being in a super overly analytical mode and more open to creative ideas seeping into anything that might otherwise be analytical. So it really is interesting.
Kyle: It's fascinating because science is catching up to things that people were saying a long time ago. And this goes with everything from yoga and meditation, on to psychedelics, and a lot of the work that's being done by Roland Griffiths at John Hopkins University and things like that where they're doing fMRI and brain scanning while people are under the influence of LSD and psilocybin. They're seeing this globalization of the brain and new neural networks being created where the body and the mind can think about things from different angles. And it's pretty fascinating to see science really catch up to what hippies have been saying since the ‘60s.
Ben: Yeah. Well speaking of hippies, I'll lay out the tea that I made for Kyle. He said he couldn't get a good night of sleep last night before we did this podcast. It was kind of funny because I made each of us a giant mug of this tea, and then my son came into the room wanting us to blast dubstep and have a Nerf gun fight at about 10 PM. And we had our tongues hanging out the corners of our mouths from a day of obstacle course racing, and paddle boarding, and playing around with this hyperoxic unit in my office, and sauna, and cold pool. But we were drinking my little night time blend. So into a little pot of water, I put about a tablespoon of kratom, another squeeze of vitamin C to enhance the absorption, any ascorbic acid increases the absorption of alkaloids from things like kratom, or marijuana, or anything like that. We took some of my company's Nature CBD capsules with the ashwagandha and the lemon balm. Broke open eight of those. And so we put about 80 milligrams of CBD, no THC in there. A couple of packets of the Four Sigmatic Reishi, which is like a relaxing mushroom extract, a little bit of stevia for flavor, a little bit of cacao for flavor, and a little bit of what's called copaiba oil, which is, it's kind of like this agent that increases the absorbability and deliverability of just about anything that you mix it with. And so we put a few drops of that in there, and it was a nice little night cap.
Kyle: Yeah. It was phenomenal. I slept like a rock until 7:30, just out cold.
Ben: Yeah. Well I know you got to drive to Vegas after this, but I'm glad got a good night's sleep and that we got a good podcast in this morning, bro.
Kyle: Hell yeah, brother.
Ben: It was fun.
Kyle: Thanks so much for having me up here. This has been a blast. Absolute.
Ben: Word. Anytime. And for those of you listening in, I've got plenty of photos, I've got videos. If you guys don't follow me on Snapchat, I actually Snapchatted much of the podcast today, so you kind of see the environment in which we were at, and that's something I do a lot of. You go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/snapchat. You can check that out. And all the show notes are bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle. Best website for you, Kyle, for people to go to would be what?
Kyle: Well you can see me on Twitter and Instagram at Kingsbu. I'll be starting a website a little bit later. And then the podcast that's launching this month is “Current Space With Kyle Kingsbury”.
Ben: “Current Space With Kyle Kingsbury”. I'll make sure that I tweet that out myself. And if this podcast that you are listening to right now comes out close to the time that Kyle releases his podcast, just head over to the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle. And I will link to that and a lot of show notes today about everything from Kyle's sauna suit and Hypoxico setup, to some of those books that we mentioned like “Wahls Protocol” and “Plant Paradox”, to resources for making your own sleepy time tea, to the “Psychedelic Explorers Guide”, and oh so much more goodness. So check it all out bengreenfieldfitness.com/kyle. In the meantime, Kyle, thanks for coming on the show, man.
Kyle: Thank you, brother.
Ben: Alright, folks. This is Ben Greenfield and Kyle Kingsbury signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
Kyle Kingsbury is a former football player (Arizona State) and mixed martial artist who fought professionally for eight years (UFC six years). While fighting at the highest level he became fascinated with all things diet, performance, and recovery related. Since retiring, his focus has shifted to learning more about longevity, plant medicines, and inner peace.
And the dude is one entertaining son-of-a-gun.
This summer, Kyle descended upon my home in Spokane, Washington and, as you get to hear in this podcast, recorded straight from my backyard, we take a deep dive into the realms of superfood smoothies, fasting, ketosis and the microbiome, biohacking, nutrition tactics, training tactics and beyond.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-What Kyle has learned about combining ketosis with MMA and the impact on the microbiome…[12:00 & 30:05]
-Kyle’s best hacks for maximizing O2 utilization and best practices for altitude training…[14:55]
-Combining hormetic stressors like fasting, heat, cold immersion, hypoxia and beyond…[24:30]
-Fasting and Kyle’s approach for fat loss and for power athletes who don’t want to lose strength…[39:44]
Take the hassle out of health with my complete nutrition guide, exact daily routines, and 12-week detox program. Sign up now for instant access.
I'm interested in…*
Fat loss Gaining muscle Having more energy Motivation and willpower Racing and competition Biohacking my mind and body Anti-Aging Injuries/Pain Just help getting started! Other/Anything else
YES, HOOK ME UP!
-The technology that gives Kyle the best bang for his buck and his must own equipment recommendations for recovery, self quantification and performance…[22:20 & 51:25]
-Caffeine rotation for adrenals and maximizing deep sleep levels…[57:45]
-Kyle’s favorite meditation techniques and wisdom on psychedelics…[61:45 & 67:00]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
Ingredients for the Big Ass Smoothie we prepared in the video:
You need to have a blender and a mug.
- Half a lemon
- 20g to 30g of vanilla protein powder
- 2 tbsp of cacao powder
- 2 drops of Omica Organics liquid stevia
- 1 box of bone broth
Blend everything for about 90 seconds, adding bone broth for desired consistency. Then add the following.
Pour into your mug, and enjoy!
LiveO2 Hypoxic/Hyperoxic training system (save $300 with code BEN)
Viome Gut Microbiome testing – use code FITNESS to get priority status in their waitlist
-HealthGains – Text the word “GAIN” to 313131 to receive a $250 voucher toward your HealthGAINS treatment.
-Onnit – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/ONNIT and save 10% on your purchase.
-Earth Runners – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/EarthRunners and use code “BG10” to get 10% off your purchase.