June 22, 2012
A few weeks ago, I told you about my little brother Zach Greenfield and how we're combining Crossfit and a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet to get him ripped for his modeling career.
Today, you're going to meet another Crossfitter who lives in Dubai, and who I'm helping get to the next level by optimizing his body to qualify for the Reebok Crossfit Games – where he'll compete for the title of “The Fittest Man On Earth”.
This guy is already pretty talented and accomplished in the world of fitness. Not only is that him rowing in the picture above, but he's also graced the cover of magazines like “Physique” and “Men's Fitness”, and has won the title of “Fittest Man In United Arab Emirates”.
His name is Marcus Smith, and here's a couple more photos that show you just how fit he is (below these photos, I'm going to fill you in on his current training, supplementation and nutrition protocol, and some of the changes we're making to turn him into the fittest man on earth).
Steps To Becoming The Fittest Man On Earth
When I first started working with Marcus, we began by looking at his blood work. Some of my favorite labs for bloodwork include WellnessFX, DirectLabs, Cyrex Labs and Bioletics. You can learn more about what I recommend testing and why in Episode #188: What Blood Tests To Ask Your Doctor For When You Go In For Your Physical.
In a relatively healthy guy like Marcus, most of his labs were satisfactory, with just a few red flags.
-High homocysteine – this is typically flagged by docs as higher risk of heart disease. In athletes, it is instead most usually an indicator of net inflammation or low recovery status. Marcus was not off the charts, but thissomething to be aware of.
-High PAI-1 – this is a marker for high fibrinolysis, which happens when you have to break down a great deal of fibrinogen during muscle repair and recovery. For a hard working athlete, it's nothing to be worried about, but rather just a sign that you're tearing yourself up, which most Crossfitters already know. However, this is the reason that I really like to get somebody like Marcus on a good proteolytic enzyme protocol, which I'll discuss more below.
-Testosterone – at first glance, his total testosterone looked fantastic, but his free testosterone, which is a more accurate picture of bioavailable hormones, was tanked for somebody with his goals. In addition to upping the fat in his diet, we introduced some of the supplement changes you'll read about in a bit.
Tests that Marcus has not yet taken, but that we're working on getting, are omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acid ratio (to see if we need to decrease his grain fed beef intake or add more fish oil), vitamin D (important hormone that he currently takes, but I have no clue what his levels are at), ferritin (iron storage protein that is linked highly to metabolic performance), cortisol (stress marker), and an ION panel for antioxidant status (see how prepared he actually is to fight inflammation from his tough protocol). Most of this except the ION panel, Marcus will be getting done in Dubai, or when he comes to the states in July.
Nutrition & Supplements
When we started working on his diet, Marcus's food intake looked like this on a typical day:
-On waking – 5-10 grams branched chain amino acids, continued 2-3 additional times through day, along with 5000mg Vitamin C
-Morning pre-workout – “Mud Shake”: Macca, beetroot, ginger, green creatine, lean 95 protein, deer velvet, microhydrin powder
-Morning post-workout – “War Juice”: Progenex recovery powder, oats, coconut flakes, almond flour, organic cocoa, coconut oil
-Breakfast: 4-5 eggs with spinach, muesli and black coffee
-Lunch: Salmon, broccoli, sweet potato & avocado
-Dinner: 8-10oz beef, chicken, pork or salmon with large serving of cooked vegetables
-With all meals: Digestive enzymes, fish oils, multivitamin, Immune360 supplement
-Before bed: Chelated magnesium, zinc citrate, Vitamin D, GABA, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon olive leaf extract
While the nutrition protocol outlined above may seem fairly solid, I did have a few concerns, primarily:
-To increase Marcus's anti-inflammatory potential and omega 3 fatty acid quality, switching him from a poorly absorbed ethyl ester based form of fish oil to a triglyceride form, and ensuring that his intake was closer to 4g per day.
-To make sure that gut health is optimized so that ideal nutrient, vitamin and mineral absorption can take place, introducing 8-10 20 billion+ count probiotic capsules per day, and encouraging Marcus as much as possible to get more good bacteria sources in his diet from fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kim chi and sauerkraut. We're also ditching the grain-based muesli to limit any inflammatory or gut damagiing gluten, phytic acid and lectins in his diet.
-On several days, Marcus was doing egg whites instead of egg yolk. To get cholesterol and hormonal precursors elevated, he can only do eggs with the yolk now, and we're also trying to add more fats, including lots more olives, coconut milk, butter or ghee, and when he can get it (although this is tough in Dubai), fatty grass fed beef or pemmican – especially in higher amounts than his current chicken and salmon intake.
-To break up fibrinogen and increase speed of muscle healing, adding 1-2 daily doses of proteolytic enyzmesto the daily protocol, on an empty stomach. Also, to decrease inflammation even further, and also to improve pain tolerance, Marcus is required to only use ice cold water when showering, and 5 days per week, 1-2 hours prior to bed, to fill up his bathtub with ice and soak for at least 20 minutes, full body (OK to have head out and mp3 player on).
-Eliminating synthetic vitamin C, which may actually increase risk of stroke when taken in high doses, and instead introducing a whole foods antioxidant source, such as Solar Synergy or Superberry.
–Removing any sources of artificial sweeteners from recovery compounds (in this case, the sucralose in the progenex) and instead using only 100% natural protein powder sources.
-In addition to increasing fat intake, adding in more testosterone support via supplementation, particular focusing on:
-Increasing Vitamin D3 to up to 35IU/lb
-Adding 1-2 Tablespoons cod liver oil per day
-Adding Brazil nuts to the diet at 5-6/day
-Adding D-Aspartic Acid at 3g/day (approx 1 teaspoon)
-Adding Myomin (an aromatase inhibitor to keep testosterone from being converted to estrogens) at 1000-1500mg/day
-Increasing current magnesium intake to 30-40 sprays transdermal magnesium in high blood flow areas, like inner thighs and armpits.
Marcus is a personal trainer at Evolve Gym in Dubai, so he gets up very early to work with clients or teach classes, and his sleep log looked something like this:
Day 1: 7:30
Day 2: 6:30
Day 3: 7:30
Day 4: 7:30
Day 5: 45 minute nap + 7:30
Day 6: 6:30
Day 7: 7:00
To increase testosterone, decrease inflammation, and improve performance, we introduced 45-60 minute Earthpulse induced daily power naps for any day that included less than 7 hours of sleep, along with maximizing melatonin release through use of blue light blocking glasses after sunset.
Since Marcus is a very knowledgeable personal trainer, and is also being coached by a good certified Crossfit coach, I'm not needing to currently change up much in his workout protocol, but here are 5 samples of his daily workouts, which include a combination of both daily and 2-a-day workouts (just Google any exercises with which you're unfamiliar):
Row and thruster couplet: 500m row / 5 thrusters, 400m row / 10 thrusters, 300m row / 15 thrusters, 200m row / 20 thrusters, 100m row / 25 thrusters, 100m row / 25 thrusters, 200m row / 20 thrusters, 300m row / 15 thrusters, 400m row / 10 thrusters, 500m row / 5 thrusters.
Row damper setting was at 5 and the thrusters were all done using 2 20kg dumbbells.
1. Snatch: 1 power snatch 1 squat snatch. 10 sets @ 60kg
2. Power cleans: 3 power cleans @80kg on the minute for 10 minutes
1. 8 sets of: 2 power snatch 1 squat snatch. (4 sets @ 50kg, 4 sets @ 60kg)
2. 8 sets of 2 squat cleans. (4 sets @ 80kg, 4 sets @ 90kg)
1. Bench press @ 90kg: 30, 20,10
2. 10 rounds of: 5 dips / 5 strict pull ups with 14kg dumbbell between legs
1. Squat session: 20 reps @60kg, 15 reps @100kg, 10 reps @ 120kg, 5 reps @ 140kg, 5 reps @ 140kg, 10 reps @ 120kg, 15 reps @ 100kg, 20 reps @ 80kg.
2. 4 sets of 8 walking lunges with 80kg barbell
3. 3 sets of 20 Russian Oblique twists
1. 4 sets of 2 reps (1 power, 1 squat) snatch @ 50kg
2. 2 power snatch @ 60kg
3. 4 power snatch @ 70kg
4. 3 sets of 1 clean,1 clean and jerk @ 80kg
5. 2 sets of 1 clean and jerk @ 90kg, 2 sets of 1 clean and jerk @95kg, 1 clean and jerk @ 100kg
6. 1 squat clean @ 100kg, 1 squat clean @ 105kg, 1 squat clean @ 110kg
7. 3 sets of 3 reps front squat @ 110kg
1. Work up to 1RM bench press. Hit 120kg.
2. 25,20,15,10,5 KB swing @ 36kg, HSPU's (Headstand Pushups – not for time, focus on form)
3. 2k row*, damper 7. 6:54
1. 5 sets of 1 power snatch into 8 overhead squats @ 60kg
2. 3 sets of 1 power snatch into 3 overhead squats @ 70kg
3 . 5 sets of 3 squat cleans @ 70kg
4. Front squat: 2 reps @ 100kg, 2 reps @ 110kg, 1 rep @ 120kg, 1 rep @ 130kg, 1 rep @ 142kg.
So in a nutshell, that's the current nutrition, supplement, lifestyle and exercise protocol of a man who is vying to become “The Fittest Man On Earth”. Our goal, the 2013 Reebok Crossfit Games, is in exactly 13 months, and between now and then, my primary job is to monitor Marcus's diet and supplement program, review his lab results, and fill in any physiological holes in his workout protocol.
You can look forward to seeing additional blog post updates this year on Marcus's progress, and you can leave your questions, comments or feedback below!
40 thoughts on “How To Become The Fittest Man On Earth.”
Hey, Ben. Quick question. When would you recommend taking DAA? In the morning, on an empty stomach? With my first meal of the day? Or maybe before a workout?
Is this approach also similar to the exercise plan that you had Zach on to achieve his results?
Would love to know what his program looked like!
of course like your web site however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts.
Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to
tell the truth on the other hand I will surely come back
I’m curious why you would include d aspartic acid in a testosterone boosting protocol when it’s shown to not increase it but actually decrease it. I may be missing something?
At what times did you assign the probiotics capsules for him?
Morning upon waking, preferably with 5-6 capsules of NatureColostrum to enhance efficacy. https://greenfieldfitnesssystems.com/product/natu…
Hey, Ben! I’m sure Zach will become a world-class fitness model with the help of such coach like yourself. Thanks for the info on Sucralose, reviewing my diet right now, will take it into account for sure :) Love your blog, by the way!
Did Marcus make it to the 2013 Crossfit Games?
Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d figured I’d ask.
Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest writing a blog post or
vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we
could greatly benefit from each other. If you’re interested feel free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Wonderful blog by the way!
Ben you said Marcus will try to add more grass fed beef into his diet along with 4 grams of fish oil (supplementation in addition to any fatty fish, I assume). Would you recommend increasing the amount of fish oil to maintain a good Omega 3:6 ratio if he/anyone in general didn't have ready access to grass fed beef?
The reason I ask is that I've been eating about 4 servings of fatty beef a week for the past 2 weeks and am not entirely confident its all been grass-fed. I don't want the perfect to be the enemy of the good-so I want to keep eating hormone free beef, even if it is corn fed, but I was wondering if I should dramatically increase fish oil consumption to compensate for the Omega 6's. Other than the one time or so a week when I have a pesto sauce, (includes pinenuts etc.) I avoid almost all other sources of Omega 6, but it's hard for me to get access to grass fed.
While omega 3's can certainly help ameliorate issues with omega 6 intake, inability to get grass fed beef, etc., the problem is that once you begin to exceed 4g, there is an issue with dosing. I recently tweeted: "
A very good reason to prioritize good fatty fish intake over fish oil – the presence of intact phospholipids: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.13… "
The reason for this is you have to have intact phospholipid content to megadose on stuff like this. I am working with a doctor right now to try to formulate a solution that will work (kind of like Udo's Oil but with more omega 3's and intact phospholipids). We should be ready with it by next year.
A year ago i did a allergy RAST test and scored 4 for cow milk and products and 2 for goat milk and products in a scale of 1-5+. i have since been off all Dairy and Eggs. do you recommend me trying out Mt Capra products? my only worry is that it might trigger a milk allergy since goat milk is similar to cow milk. many thanks for your great website.
Great information as always Ben.
5 gram of Vit-C (and 2-3 times a day ? )… doesn't that give him intestinal problems ?
Yes, I agree…it's a lot of ascorbic acid!
Great post. 3 questions.
1. When you say up to 35IU/lb of vitamin D3 and 1-2 tbl of cod liver oil, are you counting the vitamin D3 in the cod liver oil as well?
2. How does cold showers and soaking in ice improve pain tolerance?
3. How cold should the tub be for the cold soaks?
Kirk, great questions!
1) yes, the vitamin D in cod liver oil counts.
2) a bit complicated, but we cover it here: https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/06/cold-…
3) see the link above! Around 55F….
In past podcasts you have recommended Chrysin as an aromatase inhibitor. Would Myomin be a better choice?
Blaine, in a word, yes. After research and speaking with Dr. Jonathan Wright's clinic, which is on the cutting edge of this stuff, Myomin is better.
Ben, what is the benefit of the Brazil nuts for testosterone support? Is it the selenium? Also how many Mg of magnesium and vitamin D do you recommend someone trying to keep their testosterone levels elevated?
Andrew, Brazil nuts is the selenium, which is being used by leydig cells in testosterone for increasing hormonal production. Magnesium would be about 400-600mg, although it varies quite a bit and you'd want as much as you can get without getting loose stool. Also, check here for more testosterone recommendations: http://goo.gl/Zu02D
Speaking of "spendy", what would you estimate it costs to eat according to your superhuman food pyramid, and to purchase supplements for someone who isn't a professional trainer/ athlete? Just a guy looking to be healthy and to be a competitive middle-of-the-pack competitor in sprint/ (and someday) Olympic triathlons and running races. I would also be interested in hearing your thoughts on the types of things we "weekend warriors" should be eating and supplementing with. You give a lot of great info here, but a lot of it seems to be geared toward the more serious, higher end athlete. I only get in between 20 and 40 miles a week between my running and biking, I would be interested to hear what you have to offer in the way of diet and supplement suggestions for people like me. Maybe you've already done that in an earlier blog post? If so, I would appreciate a link to that.
For a family of four, our average grocery bill is about 750, and then there's around another 150/month in supplements, vitamins, etc. Brent. If you're just looking to be healthy, I recommend starting with Vitamin D, magnesium, fish oil and some kind of greens supplement – all of which can be found for decent pricing, and then simply learning bulk food preparation methods (soaking dry beans, bulk food fermenting, etc.) which also cuts a ton of costs. The cookbook "Nourishing Traditions" is good for that…
Noticed you're not recommending triglyceride form fish oil by Pharmax which I started using from one of your recommendations in the past. Any reasons I may have missed??
Superessentials is my newer choice. It's better and less spendy: http://pacificfit.net/items/superessentials-omega…
Great insight Ben,
One question, "Removing any sources of artificial sweeteners from recovery compounds" why?
and if my post protein contains sweeteners, sucralose this is a bad thing?
Sucralose can kill up to 50% of the good bacteria in your gut, so it sucks if you're trying to maximize nutrient, mineral and vitamin absorption.
Is xylitol or Stevia ok?
Yes, both are better options, although xylitol can cause GI distress…
My trainer is of a very strong opinion that Sucralose is safe but he wants to look more into it. Do you have links to any experiments or studies that show sucralose kills 50% of bacteria. There are so many really good pre and post workout supplements out there but they all have sucralose, even Xtend BCAAs has it :(
Here you go: http://newhope360.com/sweeteners/splenda-may-not-…
Thanks Ben now I'm very convinced. I've been researching several post workout (heavy lifting) recovery drinks without any fructose or sucrose and all of them have Sucralose as a sweetener. Can you recommend anything without Sucralose but may be Stevia instead?
I usually take a post workout drink as I won't be able to have a proper meal at least 90 mins after my workouts.
Why do you need a recovery drink? Why not just some real food, like brown rice and chicken? Or time your workout so it finishes up just before a main meal, such as lunch or dinner?
Yes I've heard you say a few times why post workout drinks are not really needed if I'm not planning a workout in next few hours.
One reason I take them is because I mix creatine and L glutamine and create a insulin spike so my body can absorb creatine. I don't know how else I can take creatine.
Post workout insulin spikes are very minimal. You don't need an insulin spike to absorb creatine…
Thanks again Ben. Its feels good to learn new stuff and clear misconceptions every time I visit your site :)
replying in regard to what Keerthi said below
Ben – why don’t you need an insulin spike to absorb creatine?
Good to hear someones adding some science & logic into Crossfit training lol, should be interesting to see the progress.
He'll rock it, Dom, guaranteed!