[00:00] Introduction/GainsWave & Four Sigmatic
[06:04] About Tom Bilyeu
[07:46] Tom’s Morning Routine
[16:27] Tom On Meditation
[28:41] Tom’s Program
[30:42] Audio Books & Note Taking
[36:21] Quick Commercial Break/Organifi/Zip Recruiter
[39:45] “Disrupt You” By Jay Samit
[42:49] Impact Theory
[43:15] Tom on Business
[53:09] “The Biology of Belief” & “Healing and Recovery”
[54:27] How Quest Started & His Nutrition
[1:19:07] End of the Podcast
Ben: Hey, what’s up you guys? It’s Ben Greenfield. The podcast episode you’re about to listen to is with this dude named Tom Bilyeu. Complete badass. This guy, he’s created I believe almost a billion dollar evaluated company, and I’ll tell you more about his bio when I interview him, but super-duper interesting dude. I always like to interview these guys who have amazing morning routines, and this guy thinkitates, he meditates. You’ll get a lot out of today’s show.
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Now before we jump into today’s show, one last thing. I have all sorts of talks that I’m giving over the next few months that are completely open to you. Everywhere from Finland, to Iceland, to Bulgaria, I have also got a whole bunch of races, Spartan races that I’m going to be at, and I’ll be there doing things like signings, helping out with clinics, having little Ben Greenfield Fitness meetups. You can check out all of the places that I’m going to be, all of the cool conferences that you can attend I’m speaking at if you just go to oh, and there are discount codes on all these conferences too, by the way. My weekly roundup, every week I put out a roundup of all the places I’m going to be at and all the latest news, and all you need to do is subscribe to the newsletter, and you can do that if you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com. Click subscribe, and you’re in like flint, baby. So check that out, www.bengreenfieldfitness.com, sign up for the newsletter, and check out all the places where we can hang out together. Have a good time, talk more about shocking our nether regions, drinking mushrooms and herbs and supporting primal passion. Alright let’s jump into today’s show with the great Tom Bilyeu.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“Wellness is so important, and getting the body right is so critical to living and optimize life and just enjoying your life, but then it doesn’t stop with the body, and it really does continue on to the mind.” “What’s going to move me toward my goals, and then creating systems and habit loops around that? So I’m very much a product of routines.” “What happens when we’re not building from a deficit back to middle of the road, rather than building from middle of the road to extraordinary? And that’s where it gets really exciting.”
Ben: Hey folks, it’s Ben Greenfield, and my guest today is definitely not an underachiever. His name is Tom Bilyeu, and if you’ve ever munched on a Quest Nutrition bar, you’ve probably nibbled on a little bit of Tom’s genius because he’s actually the co-founder of that company. Start up, that’s now valued at I believe over a billion dollars, and he’s also the co-founder and the host of a new company called Impact Theory. Tom’s goal is to basically get people out of what he calls, I believe, the Matrix, and to enable people to actually accomplish a lot more and defy this pandemic of physical and mental malnourishment that so many people are stuck in, and he’s an incredibly well spoken entertaining guy as you’re about to find out. He speaks all over the world and inspires everybody from entrepreneurs to change makers to thought leaders. He’s spoken at conferences like Abundance 360, the Freedom Fast Lane. He’s been a guest on the Tony Robbins Podcast, my friend Lewis Howes, The School of Greatness Podcast. He’s been featured in Forbes, Success Magazine, and the Huffington Post. He’s on the Innovation Board of the XPRIZE Foundation. The dude is all over the place, and he also has made some pretty tasty energy bars in the process. So Tom, welcome to the show, man.
Tom: Thank you, man. Thanks for having me on.
Ben: Yeah. You know I was looking over some of your stuff, and I noted that you have a pretty elaborate and unique morning routine. That’s one thing that I’ve talked about before on the show is morning routines and habits and how important they are, but I think maybe a good way for people to get to know you a little bit is for you to elaborate a little bit on how you set your day up because I think it’s pretty interesting and unique and worth talking about. So would you be game to dive into your morning habits?
Tom: Yeah, most definitely. So for me the morning routine really starts the night before, and I think that we live in a society, and ironically, even I’m getting a reputation for this that celebrates not sleeping, and I’m actually am a hundred and eighty degrees in the opposite direction. I think people should prioritize sleep. I don’t use an alarm, so I become a little bit notorious for waking up really, really early, but what people miss is that I go bed really, really early.
Ben: What would early be?
Tom: Nine p.m.
Ben: Nine p.m. okay. So you’re even worse than my wife and I ’cause we consider ourselves now to be old fuddy duddies. We’re usually like 9:45, 10, or if it’s a really exciting party night, 10:30.
Tom: Ben, you guys are living dangerous by my standards. So I try to get to bed really, really early, and the reason I do that is I want to get as much time in the morning to myself as I can. So go to bed super early, I wake up. Usually I’m up by 4:30, sometimes I’m up as early as 2, but even if I get up at 2 which I do without an alarm. So I, not never, but almost never walk up to an alarm. And so if I wake up at 2, I just woke up for whatever reason, and I have a rule. If you get five hours of sleep and I wake up, then I have ten minutes to get out of bed. If I’ve had less than five hours of sleep, then I will try to fall back a sleep even if it takes me hours because I find that less than five hours sleep, I’m just sub-optimal performance, and so I’d rather lose a bit of time to try to get more sleep to really be ready for the day, but I usually sleep between five and six hours. I get up, I immediately hit the gym.
Ben: Even five to six hours though. I mean a lot of folks will say that’s not enough, like you see that whole idea that 7 to 9 hours is the sweet spot for sleep. And if you sleep less than 7 or more than 9, you might have increased risk of mortality. Do you find that 5 still gives you enough, I guess health and recovery.
Tom: Yeah, so I will take as much sleep as my body will give me. So every now and then randomly, I’ll sleep 9 hours and be like okay, well that was weird, so I’m making no effort to get less sleep. I just wake up when I wake up, so rather than too much time tossing and turning in bed. I do get up, so that’s the only thing. Sleep as much as I can, and then I immediately go to the gym, and hit that. And I think there’s a huge connection between the body and the mind. So for me the gym, even though I don’t enjoy it, I am not a fan of the gym. I think that the results you get from it are so important that I try never to miss it, so I have Monday to Friday anyway.
Ben: So if you wake up, sorry to keep interrupting you, but I don’t mind taking a deep dive into some of this stuff. When you wake up at 2 a.m., you actually do get up or do you fall back asleep at 2 a.m.?
Tom: If I went to bed at 9, so at 2 I’ve had five hours, then I have ten minutes to get out of bed.
Ben: And then you’ll go to the gym at 2 a.m.?
Tom: Yeah. I have a gym in my house so that makes that maybe a little less weird, so yeah. Roll out of bed and hit the gym no matter what time it is.
Ben: Just straight downstairs or straight into your home gym?
Ben: Okay, cool. So you don’t take a break for coffee, anything to eat, stop by the bathroom, you’re just like jump straight into pumping iron?
Tom: Yeah, I probably pee if I have just woken up, but beyond that, it’s straight to the gym. So get up and hit it, and part of that is just that’s my morning routine and how I get the day started, and a part of it is if I get myself too much time to think about it, I will come up with a very compelling reason not to work out. So yeah, I do that right away.
Ben: Now were you always somebody who would operate like that? Like just basically get out of bed early, go to bed early, or was this a habit that you had to develop to get to the point where you are as far as the amount of success that you achieved?
Tom: I very much had to force myself to create routines and habits that would be beneficial. There was one period in my life when I was unemployed, and I let my natural sleep cycle kick in, and I had to set an alarm to make a 10 p.m. movie, and at that point I thought okay, this is just weird. And you start to feel super bizarre when you don’t see daylight, and also you really begin to notice how many people are on the normal schedule of daylight hours. And so you really start to feel isolated, or at least I did and found it very disconcerting, so I started forcing my sleep cycle into something a little more normal, but that, and I spend hours in bed. Hours just lying there ’cause I didn’t want to get out of bed. If I found myself when I was in my early 20s, if I had woken up at 2 in the morning, forget it. No matter how much sleep I had, I would just stay in bed. So for me it really is about saying what’s going to move me toward my goals, and then creating systems and habit loops around that. So I’m very much a product of routines.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Did you have to do things to actually get yourself into that sleep cycle? One thing you see a lot now in the biohacking circles or sunrise alarm clocks or the use of blue light blockers at night to let yourself get to sleep at a certain time or the use of even sleep supplements to put yourself to sleep at a certain time, and then wakefulness compounds in the wee hours of the morning when you wake up, and I know some people are even doing things like Modafinil and Adderall to get them through a morning after they’ve woken up super-duper early. Do you use anything like that or do you pretty much lights out at 9:30 or 9, and then you just wake up when you wake up?
Tom: Yeah, so I don’t use any other than caffeine, which I don’t drink that much of. That’s sort of the only thing that I use from that perspective other than fatigue. I think fatigue is my greatest ally when it comes to falling asleep. So I fall asleep very fast, but between the gym and then working, my typical workday is north of probably thirteen, fourteen hours. So by the time I stop to go to bed, I am exhausted. My wife makes fun of me ’cause I fall asleep in literally less than thirty seconds.
Ben: Wow. Do you use like a Fitbit or anything like that to track what they call sleep latency like how long it takes you to fall asleep? Have you actually looked at that, or just no you’re lights out within thirty seconds?
Tom: Oh I know because my poor wife is not lights out in thirty seconds, so she reports when I start twitching. So that she is my human Fitbit.
Ben: Oh that’s funny, we’re the complete opposite, Tom. I’m one of those guys who puts on the sleep mask, the headphones, the binaural beats, and the lavender oil on my upper lip. For me, it’s ten or fifteen minutes, and I can already feel my wife’s legs twitching, and hear her breathing change as I’m over there doing all my biohacks to fall asleep.
Tom: Yeah, that’s interesting man, and that’s cool that you found all that stuff that helps. I know a lot of people struggle with falling asleep, and I did when I was a kid. So like in high school, it would take me an hour and a half to fall asleep, it’s crazy. But now, not the case.
Ben: Yeah, interesting. Okay so you’ve got this five-hour sleep cycle to bed early, up super early when you wake up, no alarm. You get up, you go down and you go straight into the gym.
Tom: Yup, hit the gym, and then after that, I go immediately into meditating. And I meditate, I find the most comfortable thing that I can sit in and meditate usually about twenty minutes which is somewhat hemmed in by when the position stops being comfortable. So if my legs start falling asleep or just being generally uncomfortable, then I switch, and I go from meditating which puts me in a nice, creative, calm state. Alpha wave state and do what I call thinkitating.
Tom: Yeah, so I found a big frustration in meditating was that I’m sitting here trying to not think about anything to refocus myself on my breath, but in getting in an Alpha wave state and being in that calm creative place, the ideas that was trying to shut down, rushing really good ideas. And so I would find myself breaking my meditation to take notes ’cause I don’t want to forget, and then I thought you know what? This would probably be better if I just knew going into it that when I’m done meditating, I will have this time where I leverage the buzz of this creative vibe to think of whatever my biggest problem is in business to take notes, to know that it’s okay at that point, that I’m not going to stop my mind from wandering, and as I just started thinking about why it was so effective then gave it a name so I could explain to people, and that’s been really powerful for me, to know that I have that time.
So I’m not worried about really quieting my mind, and that then when I’m in the thinkitating part where I still maintain some breath control, but it’s a lot less focused than when I’m meditating, but I stay in that state sometimes up to half an hour. Let’s say 70% of the time, I’ll have some decent ideas. I’m pretty good. And then 30% of the time is just total bust, and I’m a little bummed out. For whatever reason, my mind just wasn’t clicking. But that’s become the source of some of my biggest, it’s not always a breakthrough, but clarity of what we should be doing with the business and how we should be pushing it forward and what we need to do and focus on. It’s been very, very helpful.
Ben: So when you’re meditating before you start this thinkitating thing, are you in a specific spot? Are you one of those guys that goes to the same place every single time you meditate or in the same position? ‘Cause you said you’ll meditate and just focus on your breath until your leg fall asleep. So you’re like cross-legged? What exactly do you do, what’s your setup for meditation?
Tom: So mine is overly basic. I find the most comfortable seat that I can, so 90% of the time, I’m in this one specific chair that I just happen to find obscenely comfortable. My wife hates because it is ugly. But man is it comfortable, and I sit in that chair cross-legged ’cause it feels good, and purely this was not me trying to follow anyone’s prescription. It was literally what makes me feel like I could take a deep breath? What feels really comfy when I sit down? I just found sitting cross-legged with my back slightly arched, which most people would tell you is just death from a meditation standpoint. But for me it allows me to take really deep diaphragm breaths, and so in meditating, I’m going purely for what lowers, what I call, my background radiation, anxiety, stress, all of that. So people can tell me all day that I’m doing it wrong, but I get the result I want which is feel really calm and at ease.
Ben: Did you make this up yourself or did you actually go through some form of transcendental meditation course or some kind of other form of formal meditation instruction?
Tom: No, well I guess very mildly formal meditation instruction from a guy named Mark Divine who’s a former Navy SEAL.
Ben: Oh yeah, I know Mark.
Tom: So amazing dude, and he was the one that really got me over the hump of meditation’s not for me, I don’t know about this.
Ben: Well, it’s hard to resist meditating when a badass Navy SEAL tells you to do it and says it changed his life. I mean all of a sudden, it puts that skinny yogi pushing a giant shopping cart full of kale through whole foods, whose the meditator in a whole different light when you see the Navy SEAL who can kill you with his little finger meditating.
Tom: Yes, I totally agree. So based on his box breathing method and I’ve modified it to what feels right to me, but that’s it. He is my only yogi thus far.
Ben: Yeah, I actually use Mark’s box breathing technique for walks now. So for me in many cases, it’s moving meditation that I do in the mornings, and I’ll go for a half hour walk out on these farm roads back up behind my house and simply do box breathing through my nose the whole time. So four count in, four count hold, four count out, four count hold, and now that I’ve kinda taught myself how to do that while walking, I find myself doing walking meditation just about everywhere. Like when I’m walking through an airport, or a mall, or through downtown, my body reverts to meditating and box breathing as I walk. It’s like this natural mechanism it falls into, but it originated with Mark Divine teaching me how to do box breathing before, well in this case, I went down and did his Kokoro, which is the hell week for civilians that he puts on down there in San Diego. But the box breathing, it’s a very powerful technique. It works well even for moving.
Tom: Yeah, I don’t do walking meditation, but that is actually a pretty good use of time.
Ben: Yeah, if you already know how to box breathe, it’s worth trying. Anyways though, we rabbit holed a little bit, but you were talking about how you’ll move from this meditation into thinkitating, and are you saying is that what you do is you stay in that meditation position and then just start to solve problems that are in your business or your personal life while still in that same chair?
Tom: I actually break the position but usually stay in the same chair, so it happens to be a recliner, so normally I recline it back, I straighten my legs, I start breathing just through my nose which normally I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth but maintain a nice rhythmic breath. Yeah, and then I just let my mind wander on whatever problem I’m facing in the business at the time, and that’s it. Instead of trying to crow my mind, and I don’t force it to stay on that problem, I let it go. Let it go where it’s going to go, and being in a creative state like that a lot of times, you’ll get some pretty interesting ideas.
Ben: Now I noticed on one of the articles that you wrote, speaking of Mark Divine, you said that you think meditation is critical to becoming a badass. What do you mean by that?
Tom: I think if you’re going to optimize cognitively which is step one if you want to be a badass, meditation is just critical. I’ve heard it likened to defragging your hard drive, and for me I think of it as background radiation. If you’re not lowering your stress, your anxiety, you just never get to that calm creative state where you’re going to be able to have intellectual breakthroughs or even just have a better baseline in your everyday life, so I think that that’s really, really important all around.
Ben: Gotcha, okay cool. So you meditate, and then you thinkitate, and this is all after you’ve worked out. Then what comes after that? Are you one of those guys who does a cold shower or anything like that or some kind of elaborate smoothie before you start into your official workday?
Tom: No, not at all. So I used to read first, and then I would go into my list of most important things, but I’ve actually switched that now, and I go to my list of most important things. And I get that all moving, usually try to spend a couple of hours on that, and then if I still have time before employees show up, then I’ll do some reading, and that’s really where I get the bulk of my reading done as well is in the morning, so on a day of work like today, I was up at 4 a.m. So on a day where my day starts at 4, my first employee shows up at 10. I’ve got six full hours to really take care of all that morning routine stuff, make sure that I’ve moved all the critical stuff forward ’cause for me the reason I try to do that even before the first employee shows up is only execution matters. And so if you’re not actively doing things, if you’re not moving the ball forward, it’s a super dangerous game, and I think people lose years of their life to essentially just, I’ll just put it off ‘til tomorrow, just ‘til tomorrow. And they never make those big or even small changes that accumulate over time. They just never do it.
Ben: It’s kind of interesting because I’ve talked to a lot of people who are seemingly hyper-productive, and I even get people asking me personally about this, how I write a blog post every day or do all the podcasts or whatever. And it seems like a prevailing theme is that a lot of the successful, productive people are super-duper, almost like selfish with their mornings, or wake up very early to be able to do some of the things that you just talked about, like a whole bunch of me time, prep time, body time, mind time, and then in your case it sounds like some education time before the actual day to day rigor morale starts. By the time all of that begins to take place, you’ve already really put a lot of money in the bank when it comes to yourself and your own kinda personal development, and I found out that for me, that’s a game changer when I can begin the day. For me, I guard my morning pretty selfishly, so that my day doesn’t begin until about 9:30 or 10 a.m., and all the way leading up to that point, that’s all that it is. It’s basically education, reading, meditation, gym, the workout, the walk things along those lines that might seem like their all just a waste of time but allow the rest of the day to be like hyper-productive.
Tom: Ben, I am totally with you, and taking care of that stuff first I think is just so important, and that’s also why I make sure that I go through that list of most important things before anything can interrupt me. And there are some super distressing studies that have come out about how often we all get interrupted in an average workday, its nuts like every eleven minutes or something. So getting deep work done to me is that’s how you get ahead. If you’re not able to go deep for a sustained period of time, it’s crazy, and it’s crazy what you could get done if you’re able to go deep and sustain it. You have like 45 minutes, an hour just makes a huge difference.
Ben: Yeah, now just back pedaling a little bit, when you’re in the gym and you’re doing your morning workout, do you have a specific routine that you follow or have you found something that works really well for you with your busy lifestyle sting, assuming it’s relatively fit, I’ve seen it? Couple of pictures of you seems like you’re a pretty lean and mean dude.
Tom: Yeah, so right now I’m doing push pull leg splits, so on day one, I do everything that’s push. On day two, I do everything that’s pull, and then day three, I do legs and abs, and then rinse and repeat. I work out five days a week, and I typically take the weekends off. Honestly it isn’t even about resting my body, it is purely about sanity because I don’t enjoy working out, so yeah, that’s it.
Ben: So push pull? You’re going to do like pushing exercises with the legs on one day, and then pull exercises with the leg the next day, or both push and pull on the same day?
Tom: For legs, it’s push and pull on the same day, so I work quads, hamstring and calf on one day all together.
Ben: Right, and then when do you do upper body?
Tom: That’s when I split push pull, so on my push day, I’m going to do chest exercises, shoulders, tris, and then on pull day, I’m going to do back, bicep, forearm, and then legs I do all three major muscle groups at once.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. So basically, it would be like day one, legs push pull, day two other body push, day three upper body pull?
Ben: Okay, gotcha, and then you work on the core on those upper body days?
Tom: I actually do core on legs.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. What about cardio, like high intensity interval training? That type of thing? Do you work on any of that?
Tom: I only do cardio if I’m really trying to get lean. For most part because my diet is so strict, I don’t really have to worry about that. But then if I’m trying to get shredded for the summer, going into that, I will start to do some cardio just to really take the leanness to another level. I can’t get shredded without cardio.
Ben: Yeah, about how long are you in the gym each morning?
Tom: About an hour.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. So as far as the education piece kind of returning back to that. You’ve got your gym, you’ve got your meditation, and you’ve got your thinkitation. You said you read after you’ve done this thinkitating?
Tom: Well so I read now after my list of most important things, so yeah I’m a voracious reader. I read about fifty books a year.
Ben: Fifty books a year? Is that all Kindle or paper or do you just use a variety of methods for reading?
Tom: Almost exclusively Audible, so for me I can simulate auditory information way faster than if I actually have to move my eyes across a page, and it’s with the exception of one book a year, it is all non-fiction.
Ben: Wow, amazing. And all via audio book?
Tom: Yeah, all via audio book ’cause I can speed it up to three x.
Ben: Interesting, and I don’t do the three x, and the reason for that is I’d be curious to her your take on this actually, Tom. I’ve found that when I listen to a podcast or an audio book super duper fast, I almost tend to lose the voice of the author or the narrator. It almost seems to shift to just pure information without their emotion or their inflection when I speed it up a lot. Maybe that’s just me, I don’t know. Did you have to progress from one speed up to three speed to actually get to that point, and do you find you lose any of the meaning when you do that?
Tom: I definitely had to progress, and I do not feel that I’m losing anything. So there are some times where somebody, the narrator will speak if they have an accent. This is a perfect example, so if you have a British narrator despite the fact that my wife is British, I find that three x, I have a hard time understanding them, so I’ll slow it down to two point five, but it’s pretty rare that I have to slow something down, and there are times where I’m convinced that I bumped it back down to a normal speed ’cause I’m so used to listening to it now at high speeds. I think anybody can do it, you just have to put in the time to. First one point five is a stretch and then two’s a stretch, and then two point fives a stretch, and then you get to the point where you keep forgetting that it’s at three x, and it’s only when somebody gets into the car with me, and it starts auto playing. They’re like what the hell, these people sound like chipmunks that I forget that it’s sped up. It’s like anything, man. You put somebody in the gym on day one, and they’re not going to be able to lift a lot of weight. But three years into it, it’s nothing.
Ben: Yeah, and you know I’m a voracious reader. I usually would go through about three to five books in a week, and then for me it’s a mix of Kindle and then books in my office, books in my bed stand, books on the coffee table and then audio books. But one thing that I found with audio books is I have yet to find a good mechanism to take notes. With the Kindle it’s easy, you drag your finger and you highlight or with a book typically, and folks see this on my Snapchat channel. For example, I usually Snapchat books that I read, take photos as I’m reading them, and you can see what I’ve circled and what I’ve underlined as I go. But with audio books, do you have a mechanism that you use, and I’m totally asking this for my own selfish purposes because I have difficulty still highlighting or jotting down notes when I’m doing audio? Do you just remember things or do you have a way to keep track of notes when you’re doing an audio book?
Tom: Now I found taking notes as really, really helpful, so the Audible app lets you turn things in eclipse, so you could grab a section. It also lets you just straight bookmark which is normally what I do ’cause it’s so fast so I know, bookmark that, and when I go back to listen to it, rewind it thirty seconds, and then let it play.
Ben: Did you say that’s the actual app for Audible that allows you to do this?
Ben: Interesting, I didn’t know that. Okay, this is good to know. I actually don’t own that app. I haven’t used it. My own book is actually on Audible. I recorded about eighteen hours of reading for it, but admittedly I don’t actually own the Audible app. I didn’t realize it allows you to do that.
Tom: And it’s amazing, that app really changed my life like it’s just incredible. And then beyond that, I do notes through the voice recognition. So I click over into the notes app on an iPhone, and then just talk into my headphone microphone, and I find that it’s very, very good. It’s not perfect but very, very good, and then that allows me to later go back and recapture a sentiments or memorize a quote or something if it’s really powerful. I didn’t for years and years, I didn’t take notes, and I did find that I could remember ’cause I read a lot in themes, and I would remember the major themes and stuff, but I wouldn’t remember what book it came from or they’d be like that one quote. I wish that I had written it down, but I don’t remember exactly where it was at in the book. And so starting to take notes, one just the active note taking reinforces it already, so you’re more likely to remember it, and then two I can go back and scan my notes and that’s been tremendously helpful.
Ben: Hey, what’s up? Ben Greenfield here. I want to interrupt today’s show to tell you three things. First of all, if you haven’t yet been over to iTunes to leave us a review, go to iTunes. Leave the show a review because that is what does things like boost ratings and gives you good karma so that you don’t die an early, horrible death, and also so that you really feel good about yourself. So go to iTunes, do a search for The Ben Greenfield Show, and leave a review, leave a rating, read a comment, the constructive criticism. If you leave a one star, at least tell me why, and that way I can fix stuff. ‘Cause that’s the only way I know, that’s if you tell me.
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So I noticed that on your podcast, and by the way for those of you listening in, Tom does have a podcast. It’s called Impact Theory. If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/tom, what I’m going to do is I’ll set up show notes where you guys can go and access any of the things that Tom and I talk about. That’s www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/tom. So, Tom, on your podcast, you actually, if I’m not mistaken, do little short snippets where you talk about what you’ve learned in each of these books. Is that correct?
Tom: So yeah, I do book reviews, so yes.
Ben: Okay, cool. Right now when we’re recording this, it’s 2017, what would be in your recollection the better books that you reviewed or what you would say would be your top book thus far this year?
Tom: It’s “Disrupt You” by Jay Samit. It is amazing, amazing. That guy’s mind is just absolutely incredible. Honestly, I don’t want to get too crazy here, but in my mind, he is a national treasure, and I mean that literally. That is not hyperbolic, he just needs way more exposure. This guy’s been insanely successful, and the way he’s able to look at problem solving in business is unparalleled, and it applies to any aspect of your life no matter what you’re trying. Just the way he breaks things down and helps you think is just incredible.
Ben: What’s Jay’s story? Where’s he from?
Tom: So he’s an entrepreneur who’s been both an entrepreneur and was called an intrapreneur. So going into a big company, but acting like an entrepreneur, they literally hire you to do this, so if they wanted somebody to, like the music industry, when it was dealing with Napster and trying to reinvent itself. EMI, MI, I forget if it’s EMI. I think it’s EMI hired him, and so basically this is completely eroding our business model, how do we save ourselves from this. Universal did the same thing. How it’s been Sony, Sony was the other one. They bring them in and say help us really disrupt ourselves, and change the paradigm that we’re operating under and have been operating under for God knows how long, and he goes in and does that, and just really explains to people the way to think and how to seize disruptive moments at any marketplace to create opportunity. We’re about to live through one of the biggest disruptions ever with automation. So the way he’s thinking about that and really trying to help people generate massive opportunity in this time of disruption is really special. I’ve also had a chance to get to know him as a human being, as a great human, and so supporting what he’s doing even if you’re doing a period selfishly, just to learn from him is worthwhile.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. I’m already bookmarking this on Amazon, and I’ll link to it for you guys in the show notes who are listening in. I may actually have to download the Audible app, maybe I’ll make this the first audio book that I actually listen to, “Disrupt You”.
Tom: Most definitely, and it’s read by him sounds like just like he did.
Ben: Oh really, okay cool. I love it when author read their own books. I can’t guarantee I’m going to do on three times speed, Tom, but I’ll check it out for sure. And this kind of relates a bit to what you’re up to now because I know that you founded Quest Nutrition, and I would actually love to talk nutrition in a little bit and your take on bars and formulations and things along those lines, but that’s not your hardcore focus now. Is that correct?
Tom: That’s correct.
Ben: So what exactly are you creating now with this whole Impact Theory thing?
Tom: The easiest way to explain it, and this is admittedly the finger pointing at the moon and not the moon itself, but we’re trying to build a studio bigger than Disney. So if you asked the question what would Disney look like if they were founded today? We’re trying to answer that question.
Ben: Gotcha, so you mean you’re wanting to make cartoon-style entertainment or movie-style entertainment?
Tom: Movies, yeah. I mean how exactly we convey the story will be specific to the story, and the reason that I use Disney as an example isn’t because of the animation. It’s because Disney is the only studio really that’s ever existed that had one overarching thing that it was trying to convey to the world, and you can shorthand that to the magical childhood which is not the thing that’s interesting to me, but it is so critical to what is called the total merchandising strategy to have ideology that the entire company revolves around.
So if you ask yourself what kind of movies does Sony make? No idea, it’s all across the map. What kind of movie does Paramount make? Same thing. Warner Bros? Same thing. They all just make whatever movie they think is going to be a hit. Disney said there’s one more thing. Not only do we want to make sure that it’s going to be a hit, but it also needs to capture that magic of childhood and be family friendly, and there’s this certain criteria that all of their properties fall under, and if I say, “hey this movie’s coming out. It’s a Disney movie,” you already know something about it and that’s just really, really, incredibly important to brand integrity. So that’s the one thing, I’m literally looking at the entire narrative industry and befuddled that nobody has copied that before.
And so that’ll be the big thing that separates us, that and a whole host of the other things that I won’t go down in that rabbit hole in this interview but is very compelling to me in terms of how we transmit ideology in an arrow where people don’t believe in the mythology anymore. So I think that’s incredibly important to doing what my real goal is which is total body wellness, mind and body. The reason that I was so interested in Quest and the reason that I’m still just huge believer in Quest and consider myself the Chief of Angeles for the company is that wellness is so important, and getting the body right is so critical to living an optimize life and just enjoying your life, but then it doesn’t stop at the body, and it really does continue on to the mind, and originally I had planned to do all of that in Quest. Quest was going to be a mind and body company, but man, to get a brand to flex and change and be that broad that it can handle both is just the challenge that clearly I’m not prepared to undertake and to drag my partners into that, which is obviously a high risk endeavor. Also, not necessarily fair for them if that’s not the vision that they have, so just made more sense. We were building a studio inside of Quest, which is literally where the name “Inside Quest” came from, and instead of trying to get one brand to do double duty, I split it off into a standalone company, and that’s Impact Theory.
Ben: Gotcha, and I noticed that you actually have a lot of interviews with quite a few folks, so you’re doing studio-style interviews with, I know that you interviewed this guy that you were just talking about, the author of “Disrupt You”, Jay, is it Samit or Sameet?
Tom: Samit, Samit.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. And you interviewed actually somebody I was with this weekend over at the Spartan race, Amelia Boone. You’ve got Jamie Wheal on there, the author of “Stealing Fire” who I had recently on my show as well. So you’re taking all these people in your studio, and you’re interviewing them in a way to spread this message of total body wellness?
Tom: It’s really getting to the mind, optimizing the mind. So some of them we talked about the body, some of them we don’t. Like with Amelia Boone, it was very much talking a lot about that and mindset, but really the show is mindset focused. So total wellness, I misspoke when I said total body wellness. To me it’s getting at the mind and the body both, and that show folks is almost exclusively on the mind, so it’s really the whole kit and caboodle when you take Quest in conjunction with Impact Theory.
Ben: Now when you say the mind, do you mean like IQ, working memory, executive function or are you more talking about I guess emotions, vibrations, frequencies, things along those lines like more of the invisible spiritual aspect?
Tom: For me, the biggest thing I’m interested, the frequency stuff makes me a little uncomfortable, but I’m interested in all of it, so I think you really have to understand mindset, first and foremost. I think that the foundation on which everything else rests, and that encompasses your perspective, and Einstein said the most important decision any person has to make is whether you live in a hostile or friendly universe. I think it’s a choice you choose to believe, and so that’s really, really important, but then also just anatomically understanding the mind, literally the brain, I think is critically, critically important, and so we’ve had a bunch of neuroscientists on the show. But in the end of the day if I had to wrap everything up, it would be mindset.
Ben: Interesting, you know I’ve had some similar, I guess breakthroughs with the way that I do things with my company, Tom. I started off basically wanting to help soccer moms look good in bikinis and help dudes get six-pack abs and then realize that a big, big part of optimizing your body went above and beyond that, right?
Like you need to fix your gut, and you need to balance your hormones, and you need to optimize your sleep, and there’s so much more that goes above and beyond sinews and muscles. And then I realized what a lot of companies like brain biohacking companies, folks like Bulletproof and a lot for these people who help people gain better brains, they’ve actually tapped into something as well, right? You can’t separate the body from the brain, ad you need to pay attention to neural function, and the blood-brain barrier, and neurotransmitters and all these things that a lot of times fitness junkies don’t think about. And so there’s the body and the brain, but for me I think of it almost like in three ways. You’ve got the mind/brain, you got the body and then you have the spirit where you delve into things like relationships, and love, and gratitude, and again, all these things that in many cases people who have their bodies optimized or perhaps even their brains optimized also don’t think about. And so for me a big part of what I want to personally help the world achieve is this total optimization of not just body, not just mind, not just spirit, but body, mind and spirit all together.
Now I’m curious, do you focus much on the spiritual aspect? Do you focus on things like gratitude and love, and emotions, and relationships, and things along those lines with what you’re doing?
Tom: Yeah, definitely. We actually have a show called Relationship Theory which is specifically about relationship with love, relationships. I think about and talk somewhat on the show about gratitude. I would say that’s 30% to the 70% mindset, but I think that’s such a critical component to mindset that it’s somewhat inevitable to get into it.
Ben: Yeah, now what is the use of the idea of frequencies, you said it makes you nervous or gives you pause when you hear about things like frequencies or vibrations or things along those lines? I’m curious why that is.
Tom: Because I think that for me feels like we’re putting language around something prematurely before we necessarily really understand it. So there’s clearly things that we don’t understand, but I find that when things get named too early, they can be misleading.
Ben: Yeah, I guess the way that I think about it, and I actually have a book recommendation for you that you might like related to this. A few of them is this idea that every cell vibrates at a certain frequency. It’s why certain forms of music make you feel good versus make you feel bad. It’s why for example when you’re hanging out with someone who is full of peace and love and joy and positive emotions. You can feel really positive, and there’s this idea of energy vampires who actually have a little bit more of negative frequencies, like very fast Beta brainwaves or very low what’s called heart rate variability, and you can actually detect people, animals, et cetera. It can detect brain’s electrical fields, heart’s electrical fields, and so the frequency of one person or one animate object can actually change the emotions and the frequencies of another.
That one really good book that kind of goes into this, I don’t know if you’ve heard it before, it called “The Biology of Belief” by Bruce Lipton, I think is the one who wrote that. Then there’s another really, really good one about how many of these emotions and frequencies can affect health, and there’s a book called “Healing and Recovery” by a guy named Dr. David Hawkins where he goes into how you can use things like positive emotions and frequencies and things like that to actually induce healing of things like chronic diseases and illnesses, and you know for me, I’ve really never been into a whole bunch of them, I guess what many folks would call like the woo-woo until I started to delve into some of these books and realized that there’s actually this link between quantum physics and vibrations, and frequencies, and people’s health, and people’s emotions, and people’s mind, their body and their spirit. And so both those book, “The Biology of Belief” and “Healing and Recovery” maybe I’ll send it over to you after we record, but they’re actually really, really good books.
Tom: Nice, man. Thank you for the recommendations.
Ben: Yeah, no problem. Got to take at least a little bit of a dive into the woo on every show. So anyways, I want to actually talk nutrition a little bit too because we have a lot of people listening in who are big into diets and nutrition. I know that with Quest, you we’re pretty involved with that. Tell me about how Quest came to be, what was the idea behind that from a nutritional standpoint? Were you personally looking for a new diet or a new bar for yourself and created something in your kitchen? How did that actually come to be, that company?
Tom: Well, so my partners and I were looking for something we could really be passionate about and that we could just do from a value creation standpoint. Up until that point, our company that we were doing previously, really was about being smart marketers and finding the product to fill the niche in the market. Not necessarily something that we really believed in and deep passion for, and I grew up in a morbidly obese family. Full disclosure, we founded the company for three very different reasons. But for me having grown up in a morbidly obese family, understanding that the nature of the problem is, everybody else’s solution is to ask people to change their behavior. And so we wanted to create a solution that leveraged people’s behavior, so most people eat for pleasure way more than they eat for sustenance.
So we wanted to create products that they could choose based on taste, and it happened to be good for them, and that was going back to this notion of me wanting to create wellness, body, and mind. It was looking at my family members who struggled profoundly with food and say I want to see them happy, and how do we get them happy? And just understanding that optimizing the body is one of the most powerful ways to get to the mind, and starting with that notion of okay, let’s make something that they can crave, and love, and enjoy eating, and replace something that is bad for them. So my sister is a perfect example. She used to just love M&Ms and wanted to give her something that she could enjoy just as much or at least almost as much, and that was good for her. So that’s why I was so excited with it, and then my partner, Ron, who really is the nutritional genius. This guy is just unbelievable. And look, I understand how self-serving what I’m about to say is, but I really believe this. He is the Steve Jobs of nutrition. The guy’s understanding of human metabolism, nutrition is just unbelievable.
Ben: What’s his name? Ron?
Tom: Ron Panna. Yeah.
Ben: Is he like a physician or a nutritionist? What’s his story?
Tom: No, man. Not at all. So he is an entrepreneur who is a devout mixed martial artist and got tired being thrown around the ring by guys bigger than him, and so starting when he was like nineteen or something, just went on an all-out quest to learn about adding muscle, to learn about health and longevity. It started this way, and I don’t know that he would say that that’s still his primary focus, but it started for him as really a way to bulk up and be a more effective martial artist. And so started learning about adding muscle mass and what you have to do to your diet to do that and became very interested in the deep complexities of human metabolism, and understanding food’s impact on the body and things like arterial flexibility, and just really, really going down that in a hardcore way. It was, for sure when I met him, I had started to figure out how to lose fat, but I didn’t know how to put on muscle. I certainly did not have put up muscle and stayed lean. And so meeting him, and this was a decade before we founded Quest, just working with him to understand nutrition for myself and to change my own physique, and he was very instrumental in me putting on mass, and just really, really unbelievable.
So anyway, by the time we decided we’re going to found Quest, he and his wife had been formulating these protein bars that they were just making and because there were no protein bars in the market that any of us would eat. So my wife was making me protein bars, and his wife was making him protein bars ’cause it’s such a convenient way to get the protein. By making them at home, we could get them without the sugar, but they still tasted great, and that was really the beginning. His wife, they just started to get really, really tasty, and so when we were looking for that next business we thought hey, this could be a good start. We always saw it as being a food company on a protein bar company, but it would be a good opening [59:13] ______ and so we brought some food scientists in to help us make it shelf-stable [59:20] ______ an entirely complicated process unto itself. Did that, and then found a way to actually manufacture them, and that was the start.
Ben: Yeah, and you guys are obviously one of the, I believe, most popular protein bar companies out there now if I’m not mistaken. Is that true? You have like a one billion dollar evaluation or something like that?
Tom: Yeah. I mean if you take it by sales, we’re the dominant force for sure.
Ben: Yeah, do you get any bounce back by the way, or knew bounce back wouldn’t be the right word, but any push back from this growing movement that excess protein reduces longevity, and that too much protein could trigger aging or cancer by activating, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with mTOR which is this protein pathway in the body that’s responsible for accelerated aging or accelerated inflammation, and this idea like too much growth hormone, too much insulin-like growth factor, too much protein might potentially be an issue versus higher fat, versus higher protein. Do you ever dive into any of these nutrition debates as somebody who’s involved with a high-protein type of company?
Tom: Well one thing I will say, I never engage in the debates, and food is like religion.
Ben: Oh yeah, totally.
Tom: Just intense about that, so our thing as a company is to get people control, to let them decide what they want to do. So we’re just trying to clean up the ingredients and we’ve made huge investments into ketogenics, and I can tell you for me personally, four days a week I’m high-protein, three days a week I’m ketogenic.
Ben: Oh really? So you do a protein cycling type of approach in your own diet?
Tom: For sure. Now I went pure keto for nine months one time. It was the most glorious nine months of my life. I absolutely love being ketogenic, love. The problem is I have a hard time maintaining muscle mass, so I found that by dipping in and out, it was just way more effective. Now the reason for me that keto was so transformative is I’ve struggled with inflammation problems my entire life. For fifteen years, years, I had to ice my wrist every night because I just had so much pain, and it was, I just assumed, a forever thing, and I did keto. Like hardcore 4 to 1 keto as a part of a hopeful, I won’t say that there’s enough science to say that this is definitive, but there’s some exciting research coming out that says that maybe ketogenics has implications and [1:02:05] ______ terms of defeating cancer. So I thought hey, what can it hurt? I’ll do a yearly hardcore ketogenic cycle, and if it doesn’t have anti-cancer properties, I not the worst often [1:02:18] ______ and so I did my first cycle and hated it, hated it. But my inflammation was gone.
Ben: Why’d you hate it? Just because you can’t walk past an Italian restaurant without going nuts, or was it too restrictive?
Tom: I was a fool is the short answer, so we joked at Quest about making t-shirts that said keto, you’re doing it wrong, and I was very much doing it wrong. So that t-shirt was very much made for me, and what I was doing, I was 4 to 1 first of all, so for every combined gram of protein and carb, I was eating four grams of fat which is just brutally difficult. Your meals are tiny and gross, and so that wasn’t fun, and then I wasn’t supplementing, so I wasn’t getting some of the micronutrients I needed. So I had keto flu tremendously.
Ben: Right, you mean like minerals and things like that? Electrolytes?
Tom: Exactly, so that was a misery. Now there’s ways to supplement around that, but again I was a fool and didn’t know any of that and just went head long into this as an intrepid self-experimenter. So when I did the whole nine month cycle of pure keto, I had worked with people and figured that out and wasn’t doing 4 to 1. I was doing 2 to 1 and supplementing where I needed, so once you’re doing it right, keto’s fantastic. But like I said, for me it was hard to maintain muscle mass. But the impact of my inflammation, it was unbelievable. It was like taking a drug, I was shocked at what a big impact it had.
Ben: Oh yeah, there’s some very, very compelling research behind mediation of inflammatory-related cytokines in a ketogenic diet. It’s enormously helpful for that. What you’re eluding to though is the fact that a lot of people do it wrong, like they don’t use electrolytes, they don’t use minerals. They’re very active people, and they excessively restrict carbohydrates because of trickled down advice from people who are following ketosis to manage medical conditions who are eating twenty grams of carbs a day, but really. If somebody was physically active or who’s training every day, tries to do something like that, you just don’t have enough freaking carbohydrates to produce things like proteoglycans for your joints or enough glucose for the mucosal lining of the gut, and so yeah. I think that there’s a lot of mistakes that can be made, but your approach now sounds interesting. So you’re basically doing ketosis a few days a week and doing high protein for more of like an anabolic day?
Tom: Exactly, so the days that I work out, I’m high protein, and then it’s like anything. The actual routine I do is slightly different, and I actually do one high protein meal on Fridays and then I switch to ketogenic for the rest of the day, but I just round it to 4 and 3. That’s really great, it allows me to maintain that hard full feeling in my muscles and yet manage my inflammation. It is a game changer, and it’s one of those things that I thought I had this on lock, I thought I had everything figured out. So it always makes me wonder like how vast is the world of nutrition that I still don’t understand. It is for sure bigger than the world that I do, and that’s the thing that actually excites me about nutrition and human metabolism is we’re really at the very beginning, and to see where this goes, to see all the thing we’re going to learn, and hopefully the food industry will continue to keep pace with what’s coming out and make better products.
That was our mission when we started this was we’re not trying to be the only food company. We want other people to rise up with us, and be watching what’s going on and really investing in research and seeing what’s true. That’s all we care about. We’ll change on a dime if we see that there’s something that’s true like when we started. High fat wasn’t on the radar, and then as we began to learn about ketogenic and the importance of fat, and then we came out with the ketogenic lines. So it’s metabolic truth is truly what we seek.
Ben: Yeah, it’s a very good point, and actually you have a unique approach because in many cases what you’ll see people who are trying to get adequate carbohydrates or not stay in a strict ketosis type of diet will do as though eat carbs at the end of the day. Do what’s called cyclic ketosis where you’re in ketosis all day, and then you eat a whole bunch of carbs at the very end of the day to replenish your stores. But that’s actually, what you’ve just described, is an approach we haven’t talked about on the show before which is you basically have certain days of the week where you’re in ketosis, and then rather than doing carb refeeds or higher carbohydrate days or evenings, you instead have certain days where you do high protein, and I’m sure it sound to me like you’re pretty nutritionally savvy. You know that some of that protein get turned into carbohydrates, and so on those high protein days, you’re still getting adequate glucose from the gluconeogenesis from the protein. So that’s a cool approach. It probably worked pretty well for people who are wanting to build muscle or go anabolic as well without excessive protein intake would be it’ll have certain days of the week where you’re in ketosis, and then certain days of the week where you’re not even on high carb, but you’re instead eating high protein. So it’s kind of a unique approach. There must be a name for it I’m sure, or we can make one up on the spot if we needed to, the Pro-Keto Diet.
Tom: There you go, I like it.
Ben: Yeah, and that idea that too that you just talked about regarding the emerging science of nutrition, I guess individuality and your emerging science of nutrition. I don’t know if you’ve read it, I’m going to get them on the podcast soon, but there’s a really good new book by Robb Wolf where he talks about how some people’s blood glucose will just skyrocket in response to a cookie or a banana while other people have just no blood sugar response at all and it’s a perfectly healthy food for them, and so people based on their genetics, and their levels of digestive enzyme production, and amylase production, and insulin sensitivity will be able to handle really sugary foods or carbohydrates while other people simply can’t, and so it simply comes down to the fact that, of course, one diet isn’t going to work for one person even if it works for another person, but this idea that even blood sugar response to certain foods is going to differ from person to person is really intriguing, and I think highlights the fact that everybody really should actually be doing some kind of blood glucose testing or DNA testing or blood testing to determine what diet is going to work best for them versus buying the latest diet trend book off the book shelf.
Tom: I think it’s a great point, man, and I have for years now had a precision extra within reach and testing my glucose, testing my ketones. People just need to test. That’s what I love about a ketogenic diet is it’s not faith-based, right? You don’t have to take anyone’s word for it. Test your levels, see if you’re producing ketones or not.
Ben: Yeah, I actually did a laboratory test with this guy named Dr. Jeff Volek down at the University of Connecticut. So he had one group of athletes follow for twelve freaking months, a 90% plus fat-based diet like strict ketosis, and I was in that group, and he compared us. I think there were twelve of us with another group of athletes who followed just like a traditional endurance athlete diet, right? Like 50 to 60% carbohydrate and 20 to 30 protein, 20, 30 fat like round there, and then he took us all in and tested us. They did the three-hour treadmill run and a VO2 max test, and muscle biopsies, and fat biopsies to look at things like how much glycogen was stored in the muscles of the high-fat ketosis people versus the low-fat non-ketosis people. And ultimately the findings of that study, it was called the FASTER study. I’ll link to it in the show notes for those of you who want to listen or check it out. It found that the high-fat athletes not only performed just as well, but also literally rewrote the textbooks like what the prevailing science of exercise physiology says is that the human body can burn at maximum 1.0 grams of fat per minute. And the high fat group who followed this high fat diet for a long time, way longer than the two or the four or the six weeks you see in most studies. We were burning on average, about 1.7 grams of fat per minute.
And so, it completely rewrote the textbooks as far as how much fat the human body can burn when it actually is given a chance to adapt to a high fat diet, but there was also some pretty significant issues with that. For me, twelve months of ketosis, my testosterone dropped, my thyroids seemed to dysregulate a little bit. And there were some definite issues that reflected the fact that super active people may need to actually do some of those things you and I were just talking about, right? Like increased protein intake or have carbohydrate refeeds or things along those lines, but my own experience with ketosis was pretty interesting in terms of the fat burning adaptation that occurred in response to twelve strict months on it.
Tom: Yeah, my gut instinct is that cycling is just a big part of evolutionary how we ended up here. I mean barring Inuits who would have had essentially access to only high fat meats. For the most part everywhere else, you’re going to be cycling through meat when you could get it, and sometimes that meat would have more or less fat depending on the time of year, plus you’re going to be grazing on the things you can gather, and so it’s just the mix of things that you would get on an ancestral diet. It just seems like it would just change too much for us to pick any one thing and just stick with it, so even just as a way of admitting my ignorance, I just try to mix it up a bit.
Ben: Yeah, and they even feel good the Inuits, right? They’re evading a lot of the deleterious hormonal bounce back from really low carbohydrate or even slightly low protein by eating a ton of the organ meats. They’re doing a lot of brain and liver, and I know they’re eating the thyroid glands and a lot of those things that you really, really do need to eat even more so when you’re restricting carbohydrates or restricting proteins. So it’s really fascinating, I could probably talk with you for a very long time about this stuff. But I actually know were getting a little long in the tooth on the show, and your time is valuable, but I did want to ask you one other question, I guess more of like a broad question. I noted that you wrote, actually in the bio that you sent over to me, that you wanted to address the pandemic of physical and mental malnourishment, and I’m just curious. When you say a pandemic of physical and mental malnourishment, what do you mean by that?
Tom: Well the physical I think is pretty easy for people to understand. You look around, that’s something like 30,000 new people are diagnosed with diabetes every thirty seconds. It’s ridiculous whatever the actual status is, it’s crazy, and the problem that people are suffering from physically is very visible, it manifests itself as obesity, it’s amputations, it’s all kinds of crazy stuff. So people get that, but the one that throws people because it’s invisible is mental malnourishment.
And right now in Australia, suicide is the leading cause of death among young men. It’s number two in the US, it’s crazy what’s happening from a mindset in terms of even things that you could liken to a disease with anxiety depression which come down to really manifesting neurologically. It’s just not being addressed, and it’s still considered somewhat taboo like to say that you have a mental illness. So, that is from wanting to see the connection between the mind and the body brought out more, to see people optimize not only their body but their mind. That’s really what I want to address, and Quest played into the body and really helped people understand that, or more importantly to understand it, to give them the tools they needed to combat it, and I’m talking like the general public ’cause for somebody who can eat less and exercise more as a way to combat the stuff, it’s great, but the general public that just isn’t the way that, it’s just not a winning solution, and Impact Theory is meant to take that same approach with the mind rather than changing behavior and trying to leverage it, to help people have a mindset and just doing things liked we talked about with the morning routine.
Getting enough sleep, eating right, meditating, doing things to help them address cognitive function, ideas of self-esteem and how to build your self-esteem in an anti-fragile manner, so that you are not as susceptible to things like feeling stupid or being inadequate, things that end up being so deleterious to people’s sense of self, and really just giving people the tools to deal with that kind of thing. And then if you really want to get crazy to what happens when we’re not building from a deficit back to middle of the road, but rather building from middle of the road to extraordinary, and that’s where it gets really exciting, and what does the world look like is people begin to really optimize cognitively and spiritually as you were talking about, really find a life that they’re excited about. What does that look like? And when people are able to not just dream big but execute against that, what does the world begin to look like?
Ben: And you’re basically going to take all that and Disnify it?
Tom: Yeah. I mean, you’re going to have to use Disney in the way that I mean it, and not in making it childish or anything. But understand that there’s a reason that they’re one of the most dominant content creators on the face of the planet that have ever existed because they’ve understood some fundamental things about human nature that other companies have just simply not acknowledged, and so leveraging that, I’ve no interest in. I mean I think some of the things that we do will be aimed at kids, but there are many things about Disney that just isn’t what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to help people empower themselves to think in a way that will let them acquire the skills that they need to execute again some of the biggest problems that we face as a society. I just accept that the way that humans assimilate truly disruptive information is through narrative. And we are meaning making machines, and we draw a lot of the inspiration and transmit a lot of the knowledge about how to live, how to think through stories, and I think we’re living in a unique time now where you can have social content that runs along in parallel with the traditional narrative content to really give people the characters and the ideas that they need to understand [1:17:53] ______ lives.
Ben: Yeah, are you going to grow the ash for a Walt Disney mustache?
Tom: I have zero intention of doing that.
Ben: Okay. That was the million dollar, that’s why I got you on the podcast actually. This was all leading up to that question.
Tom: To ask that? That’s very fair, time well spent.
Ben: Well, what I’ll do for those of you who want to check out Tom’s Impact Theory website where he actually has some really good interviews, I’ll link to that site along with some of the books that we talked about from “Disrupt You”, to the Audible app, to the Quest Nutrition website. Everything you want to check out from today’s show. Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/tom to go read up more on Tom, stalk him, follow him, whatever you want to do. Leave comments or questions over on the show notes, and I’ll be sure to reply, and again. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/tom. Tom, I want to thank you for coming on the show, and haring all this stuff with us, man, and being so generous with your time.
Tom: Thanks for having me on, man. I had a great time.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. No problem. And for those of you listening in, until next time. I’m Ben Greenfield along with Tom Bilyeu, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
My guest today is no underachiever. His name is Tom Bilyeu, and if you’ve ever munched on a Quest Nutrition bar, you’ve probably nibbled on a bit of Tom’s genius.
Tom is the co-founder of 2014 Inc. 500 company Quest Nutrition – a unicorn startup valued at over $1 billion – and the co-founder and host of Impact Theory. His mission is the creation of empowering media-based IP and the acceleration of mission-basedbusinesses. Personally driven to help people develop the skills they will need to improve themselves and the world, Tom is intent to use commerce to address the dual pandemics of physical and mental malnourishment.
Tom regularly inspires audiences of entrepreneurs, change makers, and thought leaders at some of the most prestigious conferences and seminars around the world, including Abundance 360, A-fest, and Freedom Fast Lane. Tom has also been a guest on the Tony Robbins podcast and The School of Greatness podcast and has been featured in Forbes, Inc., Success, and The Huffington Post. Tom is also currently on the Innovation Board of the XPRIZE Foundation.
During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-How Tom sleeps for five hours a night and wake with no alarm…[8:15]
-Tom’s technique of “thinkitating”…[16:45]
-Why Tom says meditation is critical to becoming a bad-ass…[23:47]
-The “push-pull” split Tom does in his home gym each morning…[28:20]
-How Tom reads 50 books a year, all via audio…[30:45]
-The best book Tom has reviewed or read so far in 2017…[40:00]
-Why Tom wants to build a business that is bigger than Disney…[43:15]
-How Tom eats a high-protein diet combined with ketosis in his own personal routine…[61:00]
-Why Tom says that there is a “pandemic of physical and mental malnourishment” that he wants to fix…[73:20]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode: