December 19, 2015
It's my birthday today. Happy birthday to me. So why not box jump onto a soapbox for a brief moment. I think I shall (deep breath), and here goes…
I'm often asked…
…instead of podcasting, interviewing and speaking about one specific topic, I have such a huge variety of guests on my show, from vegans to Paleo-ists, from biohackers to mushroom harvesters, from minimalist exercisers to ultraendurance masochists…
…instead of recommending one single mighty exercise program, I write about and feature everything from super-slow training to powerlifting to obstacle racing to body weight workouts to yoga and beyond….
…instead of recommending one single supplement or brand, I instead experiment with and talk about a huge variety of superfoods, herbs, oils, tinctures, patches, supplements, supplement stacks and supplement companies…
…instead of using and recommending one single quantification or biohacking device, I talk about and use everything from heart rate variability to intranasal light devices to in-ear phototherapy to wearable infrared and beyond.
As a matter of fact, because I'm constantly immersed in, studying and experimenting with the most intriguing, the most enchanting and the most useful things to better your body and brain, I've been accused of being a guy with a confusing and ever-shifting message, a flake, shallow, a charlatan, a hypocrite, and a sleazy internet marketer who promotes every newest workout, diet or supplement on the face of the planet!
So please allow me to set the record straight here with three quick facts for you.
Fact #1: Since I was 15 years old, and for nearly two decades, I've spent time immersed in everything from tennis to bodybuilding to water polo to basketball to volleyball to obstacle racing to Ironman to hunting to freediving to fiction writing to guitar to violin to being single to being married to being a father…you get the idea. And during that time, I've committed to 7 day body part split workouts, isometric training, electrostimulation, neurofeedback, water aerobics, strength-only, endurance-only, spinning, Zumba, infrared sauna, transcranial direct current stimulation, kickboxing and beyond.
Take-away message: it's OK to have different body and brain training approaches for different skills and desired outcomes. My goal is to simply spend time in the trenches so I can educate and equip YOU with as much helpful information as possible so that you are able to choose the correct movement approach, workout, exercise or “hack” for your specific goals. That's not going to be the same for everyone, and I certainly don't recommend you do it all at once (looking at you, yoga guy holding the kettlebell underwater with an electrostimulation cap).
Fact #2: Posted on my office wall is a sign that says: “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
Take-away message: even though it's just fine to do so, you don't *have* to do the same thing your whole life (e.g. Ironman triathlons or bodybuilding or yoga). You can branch out and live life to the fullest, and for you, this may mean experimenting with many different pleasures and pursuits planet Earth has to offer. And sometimes people will find it confusing when your passions change like new chapters in a book. That has certainly seemed to happen to me (e.g. Q. “But Ben, you said last year that you found Tai Chi was the best way to reduce stress and now you say it's freediving…you're such a flake!” A. “That's because my opinion changed based on personal experience”). Hopefully that does you more good than harm.
Fact #3: Every week, I look at dozens of blood and biomarker results from clients all over the globe, and spend countless hours doing phone and Skype consults, coaching everyone from athletes to CEO's to soccer moms, and doing online exercise and nutrition programming. While working with so many different individual body types, metabolisms and personalities, I have developed different biohacks, different diets and different supplement stacks for different people and have found that those needs often drastically change depending on what you happen to be doing in life at the time (e.g. long breath-holds vs. fat loss vs. ketosis vs. pulling an all-nighter studying vs. drive vs. hunting in the wilderness, etc.).
Take-away message: when I recommend or talk about a specific fat loss supplement, or meal replacement powder, or a probiotic, or infrared device, or electrostimulation tool, or heck, a razor, it doesn't mean I recommend every single person on the face of the planet needs to rush out to buy that tool immediately. All it means is that I've discovered a cool new thing that is going to help SOME people in SOME situations, and if you listen to my podcasts and read my articles, you will become very well educated about whether something I recommend is actually meant for YOU at this point in your life, and if you DON'T know or you're confused, then ASK me!
Quick summary: 1) different strategies need to be used for different desired outcomes; 2) life is like a book, with new chapters as you go, and that should be exciting, not confusing; 3) take everything I say with a grain of salt because you may need to actually go out and discover (or simply ask me) whether it applies to your specific situation.
I'm a connector. I do my best to connect you with people and solutions that address your specific problems or questions…
I'm an author. I write what I keep my fingers crossed will be educational, enchanting and non-run-of-the-mill information about health, fitness, nutrition, longevity and happiness…
I'm a teacher. I love to teach you how to get the most out of your body and your brain…
And I realize that some people would be less “confused” if I stuck with just one exercise, one workout, one diet, one supplement and one biohack for the rest of all time.
But that's not the life I live.
Some days I eat kale, some days I eat bok choy, some days I eat spinach, and some days I fast.
Some days I take TianChi, some days TruBrain, some days Reishi mushroom, some days nothing.
Some days I do yoga, some powerlifting, some body weight training, some cold water swimming.
Sometimes I don't eat meat for a week and sometimes I have steak every day.
I have different approaches for different days for different needs for different goals.
And yes, that means that on any given blog post or podcast I might tell you about five different new ways to solve a problem you're facing and those ways might be completely different than five other ways I told you about just a year ago. That's because I'm constantly learning, constantly evolving, constantly adapting. It doesn't mean I'm some slick, slippery marketer who is taking handfuls of cash under the table so I can jump in front of a microphone or keyboard to promote every silly thing that comes across my radar. Trust me: hundreds of products, diets, books, supplements and people come across my radar every week, and I'm extremely selective about any I choose to experiment with, trial, or tell you about.
So there you have it. I realize that it can be confusing to follow a guy who is constantly immersed in and chasing new ways to live life to the fullest, but I also like to think it's a heckuva lot of fun, and I promise you won't be bored.
And now I'm off my soapbox. It's time to go eat birthday cake, because, yes, some days I even eat gluten.
Now it's your turn.
Would you rather I create the Greenfield Workout, Greenfield Diet, Greenfield Supplement and Mighty Greenfield All-Encompassing Wristwatch so that I can get laser-focused and stop confusing people?
Or should I keep on keeping an open mind, and exploring every corner of the earth for things that help me and you to continually get better bodies, grow better brains, and become better people?
Comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Oh yeah, insert shameless, shirtless photo above. Cuz it's my birthday.
57 thoughts on “Happy Birthday To Me…A Vegan-Paleo-Biohacking-Minimalist-Masochist-Mushroom-Harvester.”
Ben Greenfield, how old are you?
That was awesome, Ben.
Mic Drop of The Year for 2015.
I’d nominate you for this award if there were such a thing in sports and nutrition! :-) And thank you for asking US to ask you and clarify when we have questions, usually due to bioindividuality! Truly a personal touch that I really, really appreciate. Happy late birthday, brother.
Man, thanks for all that you do for us out there! #staycurious #stayben
I so relate to the take away message from fact#2. I have jumped from one passion to another for past several years. May it be astrology, photography or film making, computer programming, cooking, fitness, OCR. Each of these things have left an imprint on how I do things now. I am a different person because I have tried them all.
I do have a fleeting belief in astrology. Which makes me think that just maybe that's one thing we have in common because it seems I was born exactly on the same day as you were :)… Hope you had a great birthday Ben!
keep being curious.
Dear Ben, Happy Birthday-better late than never!
Knowlege should be shared and debated over. I love that you explore all types of fields and that you have an amazing ability to share such a vast amount of information. Life is a trial, and anyone who is game to use oneself as a scientific laboratory or commit to powering through hardships, enduring those physical and mental moments deserves to write about such experiences. Wisdom can only be gained if we take that leap and try. Your knowledge is totally appreciated. Forget about those who have a negative opinion and never stop writting about what your heart thrives on.
Thank you for being the person you were born to be.
Merry Christmas and cheers to a new year ahead!
Ben, I think you had better stick with what you are doing, since it is how you roll, and apparently how many of your subscribers roll. Feel free to keep posting pictures, too, it is honestly a great incentive to keep busting our “butts”. And Happy Birthday!!!
Happy Birthday Ben! Keep on doing what you do. Your podcast is the only one I listen to religiously BECAUSE you cover so many varied topics! I love learning, and I learn so much from your podcasts, books, etc. My journey back to health from multiple heart arrhythmias, pancreatitis, and obesity has been helped along its way by you and others like you. I’m back on the courts and bike again and have a new lease on life!
Keep on doing the same, keep exploring, keep trying, keep us interested, keep us enthralled, keep us educated, keep us thinking and keep telling us about what the newest things you are hearing – that is why I come to you. Best of luck and Happy B’day!
Smart people learn, adapt and admit when they are wrong consistently. Others are full of sh**. Thanks for being one of the smart ones Ben.
Life is so colourful and multifaceted to try squeezing it into a box of dogmatic routines. Unbreakable set of rules are for service dogs.
We, as humans, are supposed to evolve as we mature, therefore change to facilitate the best performance of our minds and bodies.
You, Ben, are a true educator, always presenting multiple sides of the topics and researches that you share with your audience!
Please continue to explore and share your discoveries!
Hi Ben! Happy Birthday and keep on rocking your authenticity and sharing such great information with us. Great post, way to lay it out there. Congrats on another year around the sun, don’t ever change!
So glad that you cleared that up. I need things spelled out for me! happy birthday how old??
Happy Birthday young man! Yes, keep doing what your doing! I have learned a ton of stuff. This week I am trying the “Perfect Amino” product. If it helps me hold onto muscle when dieting or doing intermittent fasting then it is a great product. If it doesn’t then I have learned it doesn’t work for me. It will still be fun to go through the process of finding out.
I miss Rachel. Where is Rachel
Happy Birthday! Thank you for all that you do!
I'm going to guess since you felt compelled to get up on your Soapbox you must have got some emails or post from jealous haters? I have probably listened to 90% of you podcast, I have never felt you were trying to sell me any particular product, I have to say that I try to listen to quite of few other peeps in this particular field of health and wellness and almost all of them have the only pure product to fix all my problems. Let's be honest this field of health and wellness is every changing with new studies and technology. I'm still waiting for the all day Cake & Ice cream diet to be the best! Keep up the great work and pound some cake. I feel bad for you, you get ripped off with the " Here's your Birthday & Christmas gift all in one"
Happy Birthday Ben!
I’ve been listening to you for roughly 4 years now and I’ve gotten a lot from you and learned a lot. Thank you!
I guess I’m one of the few listeners that feels you should focus in and hone what you know now and be a little more close minded. I have lost a lot of interest in BG Fitness over the last year, because of your constant self talk and the search for the ultimate biohacking tools and supplements.
Your podcast and articles had me so confused at one point it put me on a search to find educators opposite of you, who have strong consistent teachings from year to year. My search lead me to find teachers like Dan John, Pavel Tsatsouline, Chris Kresser, Paul Jaminet, Kelly Starrett and Phil Maffetone. With this group of educators I’ve been able to find grounding and achieve personal records in athletics and daily life. I’ve achieved much more with these simple almost dogmatic teachers then I did with your open minded, superhuman, spartan warrior approach to fitness and health. Your free spirit, endless search for health just doesn’t work for me. The book by Pavel Tsatsouline “Simple and Sinister” really hit me hard and made me realize your teachings have made my pursuit of health and fitness way to complicated.
I still listen to the podcast, but I use it more as infotainment and not solid advice. I get most of my inspriration from boring people who wear a shirt to get their picture taken. Sorry to be so cynical, but I really liked what you were doing a few years ago, but now I sensor everything you say and write so I don’t get lead down an endless road of biohacking,workout variations, an being superhuman.
…"because, yes, some days I even eat gluten." GASP! HORRORS! **holds up a crucifix** Just kidding obviously. But this reaction isn't far off from some. It happened when I was checking out a "box" and I told the guy showing me around I basically eat what I want out to 2000 cals to include a desert of a small bowl of ice cream or six Milano cookies. "You won't be doing that here" he says. "I won't be here" I says. Me and my buddy left, but not before he smoked the dude on STRICT form pull ups. 68 to his 22 or something like that.
Merry Christmas and happy birthday Ben. Keep it going the way it is. Maybe with the occasional reminder that this info is just….info. Find what works (lots of stuff 'works') and work it into your personal program and goals. 90% carbs diet? Works. 90% fats? Yup. USE the info carefully, actually do the research on the references, make your choices and be prepared to adjust as needed. Simple enough. Not as easy as "do this, do that". But then, ya know, reality.
Happy Birthday Ben! Great post! :-)
Happy birthday brother. And by the way, that Heinlein quote is one of the biggest drivers for my life and the one that has driven me to learn how to run, cycle, swim, ultra-run, adventure race, GoRuck, Sealfit, shoot, ruck, lift, biohack and much more. I love it.
This reminds me of the great scene in Monty Python's Holy Grail when Jesus tells his followers "stop following me, you are all individuals!" and they all yell back in perfect unison "we are all individuals!" which exasperates him even more.
Keep being weird, trying new stuff and being such an adventurer and sharing your stuff with us like that. Maybe the odd caveat here and there made a bit more explicit would help – "Hi, I'm sticking goldfish up my nose this week to cure headaches. I'm not saying you should all do this, especially if you don't have a headache".
Keep it up man. Sorry I missed you at UMA this last month. Hopefully we'll be crossing paths in spring/summer 2016 somewhere.
Also just in case you haven't heard yet, sticking goldfishes up your nose helps cure headaches. You heard it here first.
I love your podcast and I'm listening to your book Beyond Training now:) Definitely keep doing what you're doing…stay open! I love learning new things and keeping an open mind to everything. Happy Birthday Ben!
Tinker, experiment and evolve.
You have been blessed with an extraordinary set of gifts and the fact that you are so willing to share your learning suggests that you are an extraordinary human being to boot.
So please, continue with what you do, it’s working and oh.. Happy Birthday :-)
It never occurred to me that you were any of those negative things you mentioned. I like your approach. I also agree with what you wrote about a human should be able to set a bone, pilot a ship, etc. – except for butcher a hog. I am at a crossroads, choosing what is next or again or still. Ship navigation was great! As cello can be with a cooperative body. Changing diapers was a privilege! I’m 63.
So, your blog is nothing but inspiring to me. Your birthday marks my own, spiritually speaking: I had a spiritual change of perspective or transformation in the night while I slept, woke up feeling *good,* got up early, and read your list, the frosting on my cake. Thank you! For the first time in years, I feel like I have assets and accomplishments instead of failures to provide a livelihood. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you too! Truly.
Happy Birthday Ben???? Thank you for what you do, you educate us and make us aware of our options. Keep it up!
Happy birthday Ben! I have willingly subscribed to your blog because of the diverse information you put out there for your readers. Some info I run with other stuff you explore is not for me. That said, I have always admired your keen sense to explore all these faucets of health and fitness that I could not be bothered with. Yet your information enlightens me to explore new ideas and to continue to think outside the box. Thanks for all you do and please, continue to think outside the box and provide your followers (me) with ways to race faster, live healthier and be your own advocates for our health. Just be yourself, that’s why I like you.
Cheers and hope you get spoiled today. :-)
Happy Birthday! I love that you introduce so much variety into your information. You and your guests introduce a lot of things nobody would ever know about otherwise. That’s the main reason I refer a lot of my friends and people I meet to your podcast and website.
Ben Happy Birthday! I love what you do. Keeping us informed and up to date on cutting edge information. Ultimately you give us the information and it is up to us to choose what is best for us or try new things we would otherwise never know about. I’m always excited to see what you have discovered this week and can’t wait to read your blog or listen to your podcast. Keep on keeping on!!
Fantastic work Ben.
Thanks for everything.
Keep doing what you’re doing (until it’s time to change).
And Happy Birthday.
“The record shows you took the blows and did it your way..” I get confused at times about what a good “simple path” would be for me at times. Your all over the board is fun and people can grab bits here and there but maybe a ” temporary two month approach to diet and fitness ” for the person that just needs a drill sergeant with easy steps. For example, if you’re 12 lbs over weight you will eat, X for breakfast, take Y in a cooler for lunch, and xyz for supper. You will get up and do 50 push-ups or xxx before leaving the house, you will run 3, 6, or whatever miles on Monday, etc. or walk 1 hour. Etcetera. A simple low cost, no thrills, Zombieland work out for the stressed out, burned out, brain dead who have prior experience bit need a reset from a good, tough, global view dietician and pro/Everyman athlete-Ben.. Just an idea that you probably already did.
There’s only ONE Ben G! And we like it that way! You do what you do well!!
Happy Birthday to a guys who’s changing lives and games!!
Ben- I think if you got super focused on one path that we might not believe in what you have to say as much. Currently, we have belief and there is much value in what you have to say, because we know that you are testing everything. When you speak it’s from a place of real life education through either case studies or personal case studies. In my opinion you are the way more doctors should be, there just isn’t enough faith or trust that their “opinion” from trying something new could outweigh the text book they’ve been using for 100 years…
Dude!…my B-Day was a few days ago. :)
I like how you challenge your guests and ask relevant questions that may not jive with their research or products unlike so many other podcasts that compromise their integrity turning interviews into infomercials.
Keep it up.
Great article Ben,keep going, what you are doing is awesome and I have personally benefited from your continued experimentation. Many happy returns!
Happy Birtgday Ben!
Not since we met, back at the Leadman Triathlon many years ago, have I seen a more vulnerable, transparent, and spot on explanation of who you are.
I would say, ‘Don’t Change a Thing’,
But that would be blasphemy!
Hope you have a great one Ben. I’ve been following you for a very long time and have listened to almost all of the podcasts, read your book, done a WellnessFX consult, joined inner circle, purchased a workout plan, etc. One of the main reasons I have stuck around this long is that you are constantly evolving based on new knowledge and personal experience. The one thing I wish you had would be online fitness programs that we could subscribe to that always reflected your latest recommendations. e.g. a Marathon Dominator program that isn’t stale a week after it is published. Keep up the great work!
Keep learning and passing on what you feel could be beneficial to others. The pod casts are great and the info you share is always thought provoking. Keep up the great work
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEN! Just keep being authentic! You are unique and that's why your fans love you. There will always be haters and complainers but you are not doing this for them. It's so amazing the wealth of knowledge you have and that you are constantly learning and experimenting to find out what works best.
Keep on doing what you're doing that's the main reason I follow you! One thing people must realize is that all great information is developed thru research, observation and experimentation but it's important to verify yourself. Spend some personal time digging into the information to determine what works for you and what doesn't. I love the variety as it gives me avenues to look at things I never would have researched even though I may not implement everything because it may not fit into my lifestyle I'm more informed by doing the research. Right now I'm digging thru the EXOS website and looking my current supplements and seeing what I should try and what I can afford and I'm reading your book Beyond Training!
One request would you ever consider or have you done an episode on kids nutrition vs adults and what you should treat the same and what should be different?
'Different strokes for different folks.'
Thank you for all your work.
Beyond Training is amazing.
Agree! Stay wide-ranging. Congrats on another birthday!
Happy Birthday Ben! Keep at it. Anyone that has been in the human performance field for any length of time like yourself knows their are no easy answers-and pretty much every question could be answered with “it depends”.
Creating the Greenfield Diet etc., would actually be much easier and probably more profitable for you in the long run. The fact that you haven’t done that shows a high level integrity and a sincere commitment to helping people. Simple minds will always want a simple solution. I admire your courage to adapt and change over time. Thank you for continuing to push forward and do the work.
Exactly what I’ve been doing to my patients for 30 years!
Appreciate your help doing it the past 5 years!
I love your approach and totally agree with it. It inspires me to be less rigid and I am a rigid girl. I am a physician and I can attest to the high quality of the products that I have researched which you talk about on the podcasts. I think people need to be shaken up and have someone challenge their thought process by introducing things that are not mainstream. Happy birthday!
Very, very grateful for your range of advice and for your introduction to so many authors/thinkers in the field of health, nutrition and wellness!!! So appreciative. Have a great birthday and a healthy, productive year.
Everone is unique so having many options to achieving better performance is a good goal. I enjoyed your angle on minimal training for maximum gain. This concept is good for life.
I would incorporate some extremely geeky podcasts in Biochemistry with some wicked smhart people
Keep on doing what your doing. Always love the cutting edge info and interesting people on the podcast. Even at 67 it keeps me looking at new ways to stay healthy. Happy Birthday Ben
Happy Birthday! Love your content just the way it is.
Happy birthday Ben. What you do has been so helpful to me and I’m sure thousands of your listeners. I have found experimenting with the body and health I’ve been blessed with to be fascinating. I like learning about a variety of new strategies and use my common sense in picking which ones I try. Life is a journey of trying and learning, not just an end result. I’m looking forward to some great ideas from you in 2016!
Happy Birthday Ben! I’ve been hooked on your podcast for about a year now and I have learned soooo much. You get it! Meaning you understand people conscious about improving their quality of health and physical well being are always on the hunt in finding ways to improve it. Thanks for all your hard work. P.S. I’m now 60 y/o, and down 40 lbs. because you introduced me to the term, “Ketosis.” No more blood pressure meds for me!
Continue doing what you do brilliantly. We can go elsewhere for dogma and same old same old. Your approach is spot on and I am in awe of your passion and interest in finding the right solutions for all types of people and situations. Your recent foray into deep diving, ketosis etc has me on edge. Can’t wait for more detail as you discover it. Following you over 5 years. You have came so far and never compromised your integrity.
You rock Ben,
Keep on keeping on! I think I follow you for all the reasons you stated above because that’s exactly how I live my life. Ever changing and trying to find the best possible me. Thanks for keeping me on my toes and happy birthday Ben!
Ben keep doing what you’re doing. I love it! And Happy Birthday! No shame! I have two books for you to review “The body that heals itself” and “The MindBody Code.” I’d like to know what you think. I started following you when I did triathlons in 2012. I was in an accident in 2013. I haven’t been able to do close the exercising I used to do. I need inspiration. I like what you said here basically about there being a time and purpose for different modalities.