Episode #225 – Full Transcript

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Introduction:  In this podcast episode: How to test your antioxidant levels, should you mix sports drinks with energy gels, how to have one recovery day a month, Ucan Superstarch vs. Vitargo for fueling, why your legs aren’t toned, how the Squatty Potty works, and Tough Mudder vs. Spartan Death Race.

Ben:  Hi everybody!  If things are a little bit different than usual, that’s because it’s just me, Ben Greenfield and I’m traveling right now.  I’m in Vancouver, Canada. I’m in my room, in this tiny little bedroom breakfast and you’d actually laugh if you saw me right now. First of all, I’m attending a conference up here so it is 6:00 in the morning. I’m still in bed. The computer is here, the microphone is propped up against a book on the bed ‘cause my room is so tiny, there’s no actual desk in it.  I’m staying in a bedroom breakfast which means I’m in a spare bedroom of somebody’s house and breakfast is a loaf of bread and a block of cheese.  A little mini fridge is tucked in the corner of the room.  I’m podcasting to you from basically like a Russian prison in Canada.  Anyways though, I wanted to get a podcast out to you so we have a bunch of questions that I received via writing.  Usually, we play people’s questions that they call in on this podcast.  I’ve got some really good questions.  People have written them and I want to get to them and the reason I’m podcasting so early is because I gotta be at this conference in about an hour or so.  So I’m just gonna answer all you guys’ awesome questions and if youheard the answer, we’ve got some good ones.  And then I’m going to take my ice cold thermo shower.   So my pants are and my shirt too, surprisingly, and head to the conference.  Listen to just a few announcements and we’ll jump right in.

Special Announcements:

Ben:  If you have not been to the website lately, there are a ton of special announcements. There’s so many of them that I’m not gonna read them all to you.  I just wanna start with a few quick things and some new stuff.  First of all, February 23rd, I’m going down to LA. There is an event in there called Endurance Live and a website that I run and many of you listen to the podcast over there called enduranceplanet.com.  We’ve got a table over at Endurance Live and this is a huge party. It’s kinda like the big gathering of triathletes and marathoners – all these people in the endurance world and we eat and yes, we drink and dance and hang out and party and have a good time. Anyways, I’ve got a table down there for 10 people and right now, we’ve got 8 people at the table including Tawnee Prazak, the host of Endurance Planet, and Lucio, the host of our Ask the Ultra Runner segment, myself and a few other folks and we still got 2 seats left.  So I thought I’d give you a shout out.  Just e-mail me [email protected].  It’s not cheap. Tickets to it are $250 to get into the table and that’s not like making us a profit or anything, it’s just covering the cost of getting that table. Anyways, if you wanna go, just fire me an e-mail: [email protected]. First come, first served. Next thing is that, as we may know, my upcoming live event which is gonna absolutely rock is on March 8th and 9th and you can get CEUs now if you’re going.  I just heard form Ace Fitness and we’re working on the National Academy of Sports Medicine as well and they’re giving CEUs to personal trainors and fitness coaches who wanna get some continuing education units for attending that conference so that’s gonna be great and the speakers and the content (and we keep adding to that) is just blowing up.  So if you plan on going, you need to register because I have to figure out catering.  We’re doing a bunch of organic local food.  I gotta make sure that we fill up the hotel room blocks that we got discounted and ready and waiting for you.  I gotta plan the after party.  There’s still a few tickets left to the VIP after-party that we’re having during that session and it’s just gonna be fantastic.


I actually wrote a big article and answered all the FAQs on my upcoming live event. You can check that out at bengreenfieldfitness.com.  I’m almost done before I shut up.  Just a couple other quick things: First of all, January 31st, I’ll be in Jimmy Moore’s as low carb experts and in the show notes for this episode and this episode is Episode #225.  I will link to Jimmy’s shows where you can look into the call-in numbers, any access numbers.  That’s a live show.   You can call and then ask questions to me about Low Carb Fueling for Performance. Then finally, camps and events galore.  I’m gonna put a link to all the camps in the show notes that I’m gonna be at but the main 2 that I wanna mention to you are April 5th  through 7th for anybody doing the Wildflower Triathlon Bike Camp schedule.  You can register as of this morning, actually, so check that out. It’s the Wildflower Triathlon Camp. It’s for anybody doing the Olympic distance or long distance triathlon down at Wildflower in California which is one of the most fantastic races on the face of the planet.  By the way, if I fumble or mumble or stutter during this podcast, I’m not going back and editing because like I mentioned, I only have an hour to podcast today. And then the last thing that I wanted mention is I am going to Vietnam to race in the Laguna Lang Vietnam Triathlon over there. This race is the sister race of the race that I regularly do every year in Phuket Thailand and it rocks.  This organization that puts on these races, they take care of you like you’ve never experienced before in terms of food, your race experience, the pre-race dinners, the post-race parties.  It’s gonna be a blast and I’m planning on probably be getting a villa down there. If anybody who is a podcast listener and triathlete has basically a spare time in April. It’s gonna be April 10th-through the 16th.  Shoot me an e-mail because I can get us discounted rates on entry fee for the race, on all the party tickets, on the villa.  I don’t think I can get you discount on the plane tickets. That’s about all you’d be needing to go find yourself but I’ll hook you up with everything.  I’m willing to take up to 6 people on this trip.  So you gotta fire me an e-mail if you want and you got some spare time April 10th through 16th to go and Vietnam should be really cool.  All right, let’s jump in to this week’s Q and A.

Listener Q and A:

Ben:  All right. I noticed the microphone was kinda making some bouncy ran noises so I’ll try and limit that as much as possible but I can’t guarantee perfect audio in today’s podcast obviously because  I’m podcasting on a freaking bed. What’s that with Chuck’s question and Chuck says:  “You mentioned having your antioxidant profile tested. I actually just had that done and I’ve had very good results. My dietitian mentioned that there was a significant genetic factor in that as well. How much of a role does that play? Also, my cobalamin (which is vitamin B12) and my pantothenate were low. What dietary changes can I make to increase this?

Well, first of all, just to answer Chuck’s questions straight up, yes.  Everybody has certain levels of antioxidants in their body that allow them to be able to fight free radicals a little bit better or a little bit less better.  And that’s an example of something that I’m not gonna edit out, by the way.  Anyways though, these genes are responsible for pulling triggers that allow your body to produce more or less antioxidants and people with modified forms of the genes that are responsible for producing antioxidants specifically modified forms of those genes that limit your ability to express antioxidants, what happens is you here increase risk of developing heart disease or increase risk of developing some kinds of cancers, specifically, breast cancer and colon cancer. First of all, there are tests that you can do to look at genetic markers. These specific genetic markers, if you really wanna geek out and go look at them, one is called SOD 2 and another is called PUN 1.  You get these really weird names.  They sound like space ship names. Bunch of different genes that are responsible for producing antioxidants and you can test those.  There are companies that will do genetic testing for you.  23andMe is an example of the company that will do genetic testing and you can look at any number of biomarkers.  The other thing that you can do, and this is the test that Chuck actually did, not to test the genetic potential to produce more or less antioxidants but to just test how many antioxidants you have which I think is a more useful test.


One example would be what’s called Ion Profile. And for those of you who listened to the interview that I did with Dr. David Getoff, he talked about the Ion Profile as a good way to see how well equipped your body was to mitigate the effects of swimming in chlorinated water because if you have low antioxidant levels, chlorine can do a little bit more damage to your body.  But what this Ion Profile test is, is it looks at not just your antioxidant levels but also things like your amino acids, your fatty acids, your vitamins, your minerals. It’s a really good snapshot how well equipped your body is to fight against the free radicals that are generated by things like pollution and toxins in cleaning chemicals, and even to a certain extent, exercise. The things that a test like this (and I’ll link to it in the show notes if you wanna check it out, it’s called the Metametrix Ion Panel) looks at some of your main antioxidant vitamins specifically vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E. It looks at beta carotene and co-enzyme Q10 which are also involved in antioxidant protection and it looks at a couple of other things.  One called lipid peroxide and one called 8 hydroxy 2 deoxyguanosine (I know that is a mouthful, I hope you memorize it, there’ll be a quiz at the end of this podcast).  Basically, each of these antioxidants is responsible for different types of activities within the body. For example, vitamin A is a really important antioxidant for your eyes and if you have poor antioxidant levels of vitamin A, you could have poor vision later on in life needing glasses or contacts. There are other things that vitamin A is used for. Whereas if you look at for example, vitamin C, that’s something that’s used more often in connective tissue and collagen and even to combat levels of heavy metals in the blood. Each of these different antioxidants, there’s a bunch of them, I’m not gonna go through  them all but they have these different roles so getting a test that looks at all the different antioxidants and allows you to identify which that you may be low in can be really useful especially if you wanna take some nutritional measures to adjust that as Chuck is asking about.  Because the B vitamins that Chuck asked about, the pantothenic and the B12, those also have antioxidants activity. For example, vitamin B12 along with folic acid is the most common dietary deficiency that can lead to what’s called homocysteine elevation and that’s a really big risk factor for heart disease as well as having the ability to affect your risk for cancer.  The other one that he asked about the pantothenate, I believe is the other one, pantothenic acid as it’s also known, that’s vitamin B5. And you have to have vitamin B5 in order to synthesize what’s called co-enzyme A which also helps you quite a bit in terms of your antioxidant activity.  Now, in Chuck’s case, you can find pantothenic acid or pantothenate primarily in meat.  We’re gonna find a ton of it literally in animal muscle. Another couple of things that have really, really  high levels of B12 are avocados and broccoli. And then if you really wanted to go all out and hunt down some fringe sources of vitamin B5 that are also really, really high on vitamin B5 or pantothenate is ovaries specifically cold water fish ovaries, yum.  Just had a sandwich covered in fish ovaries yesterday, and royal jelly which is actually sold for a lot of these websites or healthy companies or whatever that say like bee pollen and propolis and another one is royal jelly.  So B5, that’s where you can find a lot of that stuff and most people get enough from meat. Now B12, you can find that all over the place and a lot of people they’ll change one thing in their life so start to get foods that have high levels of B12 and all of sudden, they’ll feel like million bucks. B12 deficiencies are really common especially in people who don’t eat enough meat. You’re gonna shoot me but liver is packed with vitamin B12 that’s why I have a serving of liver at least once a week whether it’s lamb or beef or turkey or duck or goose, whatever.  Nice clean animal, clean liver, very good for your dead source of a ton of different fat soluble vitamins and also vitamin B12.  Clams, oysters and mussels are good, caviar which I already mentioned, kinda of when I mentioned fish ovaries, caviar or fish eggs, very, very high source of vitamin B12. Fish, just about any fish has good sources of vitamin B12 as do shellfish like crab and lobster.


Similar to pantothenate are vitamin B5, beef, lamb, muttons, stuff like that, high in vitamin B complex.  And then eggs and cheese, if you can handle those as well, that’s another place that you can get those.  Now, one thing that I always get asked when I’m talking about antioxidants, is this machine and you see it in a lot of gyms and a lot of health expose, it’s called the biophotonic scanner and you put your finger or the back of your hand against this thing and it measures your antioxidant levels. Well. I’ve got 2 thoughts about that. First of all, it only measures what’s called your carotenoid levels in your skin. Carotenoids are the antioxidants you’re gonna find in a lot of fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, kale and stuff like that and our carotenoids are used for betacarotene. Other carotenoids are lutein and licopine and carotenoids do have some really good antioxidant activity.  However, the scanner says that it can give an accurate and reliable biomarker of overall antioxidant health status. The fact is you’ve got a lot of antioxidants that are necessary. They go above and beyond just your carotenoid levels especially above and beyond just the carotenoid levels in your skin. So I thinf that a measurement of a low skin carotenoid score could tell you a little bit especially about your riskfor being able to mitigate the effects of long term sun exposure and stuff like that.  It’s not gonna give you as good a snapshot as actually getting your blood tested and doing something like an Ion Panel, for example of this company called Metametrix. Great question, Chuck!  I hope that helps you. I’ll link to this Ion Profile in the show notes. Also, by the way you guys, everything that I talk about today, I will also link to in the MyList for this episode over at facebook.com/bgfitness. We create MyList for every episode.   MyLists are freaking awesome. They’re like Pinterest for Facebook.  So check that out.  It’s over at facebook.com/bgfitness where you can find a lot of other cool stuff that you can’t find on the blog.

Edwin:   Ben, my question is regarding the use of energy gels in combination with other liquid nutrition. Energy gels by themselves are extremely hypertonic and thereby it is important to consume adequate amounts of water.  The gel company that I use states that drinking sports drinks with your gel will not properly dilute the gel and thus slow the absorption rate. This can also lead to stomach irritation and a dehydrating effect as your cellular fluids are drawn upon to dilute the gel. What are your thoughts on this? I heard you said that you use a gel every 20 minutes during a race.  Do you only drink water?

Ben:  Well, first of all, let’s start here. You’re right, Edwin.  Gels are designed to basically have a certain level of what’s called osmolality. What this means is that the effectiveness of sports drink or gel or any other kind of engineered fuel that you’re drinking or that you’re eating during an event or during a training session, the absorption of that will depends on the osmolality of it.  And if you have an imbalance in the osmolality of a substance in your stomach is going to inhibit gastric emptying. It’s going to inhibit your intestinal fluid absorption. It’s gonna inhibit your blood flow.  It’s gonna draw blood away from muscles and it can cause cramping and high body temperature. Many of us remember high school science where we learned about osmosis which is basically the movement of water or some other kind of solvent through a membrane, what’s called the semi permeable membrane and your gut law and also your blood vessel laws are semi permeable membranes. So the water tends to move through a semi permeable membrane from a less concentrated solution to a more concentrated solution.  And if the osmolality is the same on both sides of the membrane, then the water is just not gonna need to flow anywhere and when that’s the case, the 2 solutions are called isotonic. Now, you can also have solutions that are not isotonic.  One example of that would be hypotonic solution where you’ve got your gastric fluids in your stomach. And gastric fluids are what’s called the really, really low osmolality meaning they’re less concentrated than the blood. So what’s going to happen is water will flow from the stomach into the blood in that case. On the other hand, if the gastric fluids were more concentrated then, that would mean there’s more particles and high osmolality in the gastric fluid from something that you ate, for example.  And then, there would be net flow of water from the blood to the gut and that would be known as a hypotonic solution and that’s what Edwin is talking about when he’s talking about hypertonic gel.  That means that when you eat that gel, it makes the osmolality in your gut to be hypertonic and it will cause water to flow from your blood to your gut unless you drink something along with that gel to make the solution isotonic.


Now, here is the thing: Different sports drinks and different gels are mixed at different levels of osmolality and you’ll see most nutritionists recommend 6 to 8% carbohydrate solutions and that’ll be in Gatorade or Powerade or anything like that and all that means is you generally are getting extra amount of grams per amount of liquid that you’re drinking.  And there are some drinks out there that go higher than that – that are like 10 to 12% carbohydrate, for example.  And in many cases, the percentage of carbohydrate used in the solution depends often on the type of sugar used in that carbohydrate-containing beverage or carbohydrate-containing gel. For example, some have just glucose in a lot of those grocery store sports drinks that you see like Gatorade or Powerade or whatever.  Those are primarily glucose and some sucrose and those can deliver fewer grams of carbohydrate than a big, big sugar like malted extract. And that’s why those are mixed in a lower concentration so those simple sugar sports drinks have to be mixed in a lower concentration in order to maintain the osmolality of your stomach whereas the fancy or sports drinks that have malted extract and more complex carbohydrates, those can give you more energy without upsetting your stomach’s osmolality. So, take away lesson number one here is that I personally think if you’re gonna use a liquid beverage using the longest chain starch that you can use mixed properly, meaning mixed in the exact ratio that the manufacturer has recommended is a very good way to go if you’re gonna use sports drinks. Two examples of a longer molecular weight sports drink that allows you to drink more calories during an event without affecting the osmolality of your stomach:  One example would be a Carbo Pro. Another example would be what I use now which is Ucan Superstarch which is a very, very long molecular weight starch.   You still need to mix it exactly as they recommend. I think it’s something like one serving per 16-20 ounces of water.  I should know ‘cause I use it during races but anyways, that would be an example of like a longer chain carbohydrate mix.  Now, as far as gels go, bunch of different gels is a bunch of different mixes of sugars so it’s hard to say how many ounces of water you’re supposed to drink with any given gel.  I mean, you’ve got hammer gels, and clipshots and power bars, and excel gels and honey stingers and all these different gels out there and you need a certain amount of water that you need to drink with that gel in order for that gel to be isotonic. What that means is that you shouldn’t drink sports drinks with the gels because that is going to affect their ability to be absorbed properly and I’ve never really ran into a scenario where an athlete does a really good job it feels great the whole race mixing gels with sports drinks. That’s a no- no.  Gels full of water. So here is the thing and I’m gonna link to this in the show notes.  There is a table on Wikipedia that shows you the exact amount of water that you have to drink with each gel in order for that gel to be isotonic – super helpful chart. You just go find the gel that you use, like let’s say you use Clipshot. For every gel of Clisphot that you eat, you’re supposed to drink 300 ml of water and for example, for every hammer gel that you eat, you only need to take in 100 ml of water for that one to be isotonic. So really cool chart. The other cool thing about the chart is it shows you all the different gels that are recommended for sensitive stomachs vs. people with fructose malabsorption vs. people who want to go longer distances vs. people who want extra electrolytes. I’ll link to it in the show notes, hook you up and you can check that out.  It’s a chart on the ingredients on the popular sports gels.  That’s the long answer.  Short answer is if you’re using gels, don’t use sports drinks too.  I do not recommend it. All right.

Hollie:   I am an absolute beginner as far as fitness and exercise.  I started a boot camp in June and was actually liking it quite a bit and seeing results.  And then I got tendonitis in my shoulders, my right elbow and my right wrist. I work as a housekeeper so I’m not able to rest that arm at all.  I ice it after work, I take ibuprofen when I remember (not daily). And my arms hurt so much they wake me up at night. Is there a way to “power rest” my arms?  I got one day off a month and my daily life is kicking my butt. I can’t even pour a cup of coffee some days. Can you suggest anything?


Ben:  Wow! You’re in a tough situation Hollie, because in a situation like this, ideally,  you get a chance to get a couple of weeks off and allow that tendonitis to completely heal because if you keep working through it, it’s gonna form scar tissue, it’s going to continue to have limited mobility and it  can eventually turn into chronic pain. You have heard of fibromyalgia, or complex pain syndrome or some of these issues that really frustrate people and people struggle with a lot of times. Some of those situations can be created by simply pushing through injuries.  So ideally, you can get a couple of weeks off.  If you can make a change in your life to allow that to happen, it’d be awesome. But let’s say that you’re somebody like Hollie who is experiencing something like this with the body, just can’t get a break whether due to lifestyle or whether due to your exercise scenario or what or maybe you just wanna try and squeeze as much out of your body as possible and you’ve got either way, one day a month to recover and to get as much recovery, squeeze that out of your body as possible, what would you do?  I’ll tell you what I would do. First of all:  anti inflammatory diet. Preferably, you’re eating an anti inflammatory diet all the time but you’d definitely on this day of the week, you’d have no sugars, you would have no wheat, no grains, you’d have no soy, you’d have no omega 6 fatty acids from crackers and baked foods and nuts (there are roasted, especially nut butter stuff like that) you just go on super super low inflammation.  If you wanna see how to do that, go to my Superhuman Food Pyramid and eat the foods that are only the Eat Foods of the Superhuman Food Pyramid. By the way, Monica Reinagel (maybe, you know her as the nutrition diva on iTunes), she’s coming out to my live conference in March to talk about inflammation and specifically The Inflammation Factor. That’s another reason to come to the conference.  So anti inflammatory diet, hopefully you’re reading it all the time. You really wanna eat it on the day of the month or day of the week that is your recovery day. A lot of people like myself for example, will almost go into a little bit of some semblance of a fast on a recovery day. We’re just doing like greens, a lot of amino acids.  You’re really limiting food intake just doing some healthy fats like maybe you so like the bowl of proof coffee or something like that with some butter and some coconut oil stirred into your coffee and you just don’t eat much at all because there is some evidence that just the pure active fasting can have some really cool anti inflammatory and recovery effects.  So you start off with that.  The next thing I would do on that same day would be Chinese adaptogenic herbs. I know that sounds really geeky but on my days when I ‘m trying to get my body to bounce back as quickly as possible, I double how much Tianchi I take and Tianchi is the adaptogenic herb I use to control my cortisol levels.  I’ll link to all these stuff in the show notes for you.  Next thing you’d wanna use from a supplement standpoint would be something like proteolytic enzymes. There’s a bunch of amount there like wobenzymes.  Recoverease is another one and you take these on an empty stomach so that they shut down inflammation and specifically, formation of something like that can really cause some pain and inflammation called fibrinogen.  These are great for people who are bouncing back from surgery, for people who are bouncing back from injury.  You can take them everyday if you wanted to during the month especially on your recovery day, you’d prioritize getting those into your body.  You wanna balance your ph so definitely, greens supplements as well as I already mentioned. Finally, if you tend to have low iron, low iron levels can really limit your ability to bounce back effectively from a workout.  And if you test your iron as low (and you wanna test first ‘cause you don’t wanna take iron if your iron is high considering the iron toxicity), I really like the supplement Floradix for people with anemic like people who have iron issues.  So Floradix is another one that you’d look into.  Okay, so basically, you’re not eating much, you’re eating anti inflammatory foods, you’re taking some proteolytic enzymes, some adaptogenic herbs, working some greens in there to balance your ph and keep your body alkalinic and then including iron if your iron is low.  And then some other things that you can do to improve mobility:  I really like muscle sticks or a foam roller and using those on your recovery day to help you bounce back as quickly as possible.  I use one called the Rumble Roller.  I like one to two times during that day at 15-20 minutes soak in magnesium salts and you can also use Epsom salts. Magnesium salts are a little bit better but they’re more expensive. Epsom salts will work too. I use magnesium flakes.  I’ll link to magnesium flakes that I use in the show notes.


You would want to wear compression and preferably combine compression with ice. So for example, I have these compression tights that you can literally put ice sleeves into that compress your body and allow metabolic waste to be removed from muscle while at the same time applying therapeutic ice to reduce inflammation and to make sure that as you’re removing metabolic waste from muscle, you’re not getting backflow into the lymphatic fluid.  That’s another thing is combining compression with ice and I use basically a full length compression tight that I could put ice packs into for that.  And then as far as some things that you can have around the house, if you really wanna geek out on this, you could use magnets. Some people aren’t fan of magnets. I found it helped me when I’ve got little nagging aches and pains that I wanna get rid of like these magnetic wraps that you can wrap around the joint. Nikken is one company. There are really popular multilevel marketing company but they make really cool magnets like on the bottom of band aid that you can just stick to a specific joint or specific area and I found that sleeping with magnets on an injured joint can really, really help you feel better the next day. So check those out. You can also get Home Handheld Cold Low Level Laser units. Lasers are very cool.  But these are basically handheld units that you can hold where you can move in a circular pattern slowly over an injured area.  I have one that’s an infrared device, basically, it’s what it is. Now physical therapists clinics and alternative medical clinics, they have really, really antic  versions, really, really nice cold low level laser units.  The low level laser in terms of improving temperature area, improving blood filtering area, can really help with stuff like tendonitis and muscle injuries. And then the other thing you may wanna look into is again, something you can use at your home, (I don’t know what your expandable income is like but) you can for anywhere from $100-1000 get Home electrostimulation unit which actually sends little tiny electrical impulses into your muscles causes them to fire, improves blood flow and can enhance recovery when you’re bouncing back from an injury and I have one called Compex works really well.  So check that one out.  I know that was a ton of stuff but I’m just saying like if you wanted to totally win on that recovery day and do everything that you could, those are the things that I would do.  And then, don’t use ibuprofen, please.  Use PhenocanePhenocane is the all natural alternative to ibuprofen. It’s basically a high dose curcumin extract just like turmeric of a really, really high dose like 500 mg and then it’s mixed with the nato kinase.  And what this does is it achieves the same Cox 2 inhibition of ibuprofen without inhibiting Cox 1 which is what protects your gut. You don’t get like gut bleeding and damage to your gut lining when you’re trying to shut down the inflammation. Phenocane is the name of that you’d wanna use typically4-12 of those on the day that you’re injured.  Hopefully that helps you out and best of luck, Hollie. I really recommend that you try and get a little bit of time off if you can so that you can attend to your body, attend to that arms so it doesn’t turn into a chronic long-term issue. All right, let’s move on to Bill’s question.

Bill:   What do you recommend for a 2-hour mountain biker cross country race?  UCAN Superstarch or Vitargo S2?

Ben:  This is a great question because a lot of people mix up UCAN Superstarch and Vitargo S2.  And for those of you who think I’m talking about aliens, I’m not.  I’m talking about 2 different types of carbohydrate-based fuel. The reason that they get mixed up (and these are just like powders that you mix with water) is that they’re both high molecular weight carbohydrates. They both exit the stomach quickly and because they’re such high or long chain molecular carbohydrates, a lot of people think that they’re the same thing but they’re not. Vitargo S2 is this patented type of carbohydrate that’s high molecular weight long chain carbohydrate that’s been what’s called fractionated. And the process of fractionation makes a carbohydrate extremely digestible, meaning that it gets absorbed super quickly and Vitargo is derived from what’s called amylopectin which is a barley starch (for those of you who care). But Vitargo S2 is rapidly absorbed in digestion in the intestines and it gives this big spike in blood sugar, this big spike in insulin and if you’ve just finished the workout, that is a great scenario. Rapid glycogen replenishment and if you can get your hands at anything else right after workout and you’ve got another workout coming up soon for which you need to restore your carbohydrate levels as quickly as possible, Vitargo would be something to go for vs. UCAN which is slowly and much much slowly absorbed in the intestines causes the slow release carbohydrate, allows for much more stable blood sugar levels and lower insulin response, no spike in blood sugar.


And the whole idea between the UCAN Superstarch is that it supports your body’s own use of fat as a fuel by not spiking your blood sugar and by allowing you to actually consume fewer carbohydrates during your exercise session or your race.  You’re looking at a more steadily released glucose profile and a better ability to tap into your body’s storage fat when using UCAN Superstarch whereas when you’re using Vitargo, you’re looking at a fast acting carbohydrate that could allow for really, really quick replenishment right after workout preferably.  The question here during a 2-hour mountain bike race is how much do you need to spare your body’s carbohydrate levels, how much do you wanna stay in your fat-burning zone, and how keyed in are you on being a fat-adapted athlete, meaning, are you one using that low carb, use your body’s own fats that turn yourself into a fat-burning machine type of approach or are you okay with just using like fast-acting carb sources. Ultimately, until you completely exhaust your body’s storage carbohydrate, it doesn’t matter that much.  Like for sprint distance triathlon or Olympic distance triathlon, really anything, up to right around 2 hours doesn’t matter that much whether you use a long chain carbohydrate or a short chain carbohydrate or fast-acting vs. a slow-acting, they’re all gonna give you pretty decent bang for your body especially if you’re going in which your body’s glycogen levels or your storage carbohydrate levels or you topped off, meaning you’ve already had breakfast and you’re fueled up going in the race, you’ve been starving yourself for a week. But once you get into that 2+ hour event length, that’s where I think that you should have more of a focus on using fuels that do not cause rapid fluctuations in blood sugar. Yeah, I know you’re more insulin sensitive in everything when you’re exercising and a rapidly digestible starch like Vitargo would be less prone to cause blood sugar fluctuations than if you are to eat a bunch of Vitargo while you’re sitting on the couch. But regardless, I am a fan of using something like UCAN Superstarch for the reason that I’m a fan of the high-fat-low-carb-turn-your-body-into-a-fat-burning-machine type of approach. For your distance though of 2 hours or for anything up to 2 hours, I mean gels, sports drink, Vitargo, UCAN really, it doesn’t matter until you’re getting up into that high long term endurance range like half Ironman, marathon Ironman, stuff like that where then it comes down to what you wanna achieve. Are you okay with just eating carbs? If so, Vitargo is gonna work fine. Practice in your training first and use that as I mentioned earlier exactly according to manufacturer instructions so you’re mixing the proper concentration.  Are you more concerned about your blood sugar levels?  Are you wanting to lose weight or tap into your body’s own storage fat or stay ketogenic or something like that, then use a long molecular weight carbohydrate like UCAN Superstarch for slower absorption.  Hopefully that helps you out, Bill and yeah it’s a deal with UCAN vs. Vitargo.  Just a few more questions here.

Angela:   I’m having a hard time with the Squatty Potty and why it is a benefit. I actually get what the Squatty Potty website is saying about the anorectal angle and why using the Squatty Potty to change it makes it easier to go to the bathroom, but I don’t see why you can’t just bend over. In comparing images between someone on a Squatty Potty and someone doing a seated row, both show that their knees are just inches from their chest. Do you believe someone can get the same benefits as the Squatty Potty by simply bending over the toilet?

Ben:  For those of you who are laughing at me using the word Squatty Potty and don’t know what the Squatty Potty is, basically, it is this device and I’ve got one in every single bathroom in my house that adjust the anorectal angle that Angela references to the point where it’s not kinked because it tends to get kinked when you’re in a seated position and there are some serious health implications in gut and bowel movement implications that can happen from using the traditional western approach of sitting on the toilet vs. squatting which is what many cultures do and which is what human beings have done for thousands of years because squatting lengthens out the anorectal angle and push you in a position where poop comes out easier.  You don’t have to strain and stuff like that. Can you achieve that type of position without a special stool called the Squatty Potty. Well, yes you can but the problem is the toilets are not low enough.


Unless you got like a whole dug on the floor of your bathroom that you can literally squat down and crouch over and poo into. Have you ever tried to do that over a toilet?  Your butt hits the front of the toilet that you can’t get low enough unless you’re 7 feet tall, Angela. I don’t know. Maybe you’re a professional basketball player and you have the ability to squat down and crouch over your toilet and do your thing in there without your bottom and your hips actually getting blocked from squatting by the actual toilet itself. That’s the issue is toilets are too high for you to properly squat and get into that position that straightens out your anorectal angle. Now in a pinch you could something like your kids’ stool (when I say stool, I mean stool that they stand on)  that you could stand on and use that to stand above your toilet and get into a squatting position. You could use any type of bench or something like that or chair that you have in the bathroom to get you into the squatting position. There’s a chair that’s too high, you’re gonna have to really good aim by the way. But that’s why I like the Squatty Potty, is because it kinda bypasses all these issues with trying to have something together yourself in the bathroom and it’s just this really nice looking little wooden thing that slides in through toilet and it’s very non-invasive and you just basically pull it out when you’re ready to use it and you squat and do your thing in and out of the bathroom real quickly without straining and I like it. I enjoyed my pooping quite a bit more than without the use of the Squatty Potty.  So there you go. I hope that’s helpful and that’s why you should use something like that instead of just trying to bend over while you’re on the toilet which I don’t really understand how you could possibly do, again, unless you’re really tall.  Let’s move on to Synthia’s question after that.

Synthia:   For the last 3 months, I’ve been doing the insanity DVDs everyday.  Before that, I was running everyday so all in all, I’m in good shape but I feel that with this rigorous exercise, my legs should be more toned.  However, it still feels that I can’t them to be stronger or more toned.  How can I achieve this?

Ben:  Well, this is something that a lot of women run into and something that I talked about quite a bit in my book, Get Fit Guys’ Guide to Achieving Your Ideal Body which you can get now at GetFitGuy.com. Basically, descriptions of your body shape and the specific workout that is unique to your body type are in that book and one of the things I talked about are all the different kinds of female body shapes that there are. So you’ve got your female ectomorph and these are skinny girls who are kinda waif-like – pretty slim, thin neck, thin shoulders hips, wrists, calves, ankles, all of it is kinda ruler-shaped or stick-shaped. So think of like Gwyneth Paltrow or like Kylie Minogue for example, the petite skinny females.  And then you get the mesomorphs and these are the more athletic females. Think of like your soccer players, celebrities like Jessica Simpson has kind of a mesomorph body shape. Beyonce does too. Scarlet Johansson and people like that, they tend to have a little more of an hourglass shape of wide shoulders and hips and more narrow waist. And then you’ve got meso endomorphs. They were the basically classic pear-shaped – small upper body, bigger lower body. That would be somebody like J Lo for example is a meso endomorph. I mean, you’ve got endomorphs – people who tend to have more apple shape.  They’re bigger on the top half of their bodies than on the bottom and have kinda more of that round apple shape, like Queen Latiffa or Oprah Winfrey or somebody like that.  Ultimately, each of these different shapes is gonna need a different type of program for any type of body re-invention or body transformation including how to tone the legs.  So if you look at, for example, like an ectomorph.  An ectomorph is gonna get toned legs not from doing running, not from doing cycling which is gonna give them really skinny legs, make their butt disappear.  Ectomorphs need to be doing basically heavier sets in the weight room – barbell squats, dumbbell squats, heavy walking lunges or reverse lunges ‘cause it’s hard to use or having a flake when you’re doing a front lunge.  That can be tough on your knees.  Deadlifts, anything like that whether you’re using a heavy weight anywhere from 6-10 reps, that’s gonna help an ectomorph get really nice toned legs, give you some curves, give you a butt, hips and that type of thing.  But you should stay away from lots of running and cycling if having those toned legs are important to you.


When you look at a mesomorph, a mesomorph which is that more of athletic shape, they can actually get away with a combination of running, cycling and then moderate weights in the weight room ‘cause if a mesomorph goes heavy weights, they can tend to bulk up in the lower body and get a real hefty bedunk pedunk and you wanna be careful with that. Running and biking for mesomorph is okay and they can get toned legs from doing that but then they’d wanna use moderate weight 10-12 reps and all of the similar exercises as an ectomorph will wanna use like barbell squats, heavy walking lunges or reverse lunges, deadlifts, stuff like that. Meso endomorphs – that’s the pear shape. Pear shapes don’t do well with weight lifting for the lower body to tone the legs because they bulk up really, really easily in the lower body. I find that the pear shaped, the meso endomorph shaped, they tend to get the best legs when they’re doing running, bicycling, elliptical, basically cardio for the legs, weights for the upper body for that type of body shape, works a lot better when it comes to just toning the legs and almost like reducing some of the curves that tend to almost bother a lot of pear shapes – bottom hips that are too big in proportion to the shoulders or the waist.  Finally, we have the endomorphs and endomorphs again, they’re the apple shape and what I find tends to work best with that body type is a combination of body weight or low weight type of exercises like front lunge, side to side lunge, reverse lunge, step back lunge and then light dumbbells as well can be used during something like that but just light work. So we’re talking in the range of 12-20 reps for the apple shape for getting toned legs.  And then they also can get away with some running and some cycling. Really, the only body type that tends to lose tone from running and cycling is the ectomorph just because they can get so catabolic.  Their metabolism is already so high.  They’re already so skinny. Running and cycling doesn’t work so well for that body shape for getting toned legs. But yeah, so basically, ectomorphs: heavy weight lifting for skinny chicks for the legs.  Mesomorphs or more athletic looking females:  combination of running and biking and then moderate weight with 10-12 reps in the weight room.  Meso endomorphs or pear shaped:  just do more cardio really and not a lot of weights for the legs and then endomorphs: light body weight or light dumbbells for the lower body toning exercises and then just cardio like running or cycling or elliptical.  And I laid this out way more comprehensively in my book.  So I would recommend you grab my Body Typing Book if  this kind of stuff intrigues you. That’s over at GetFitGuy.com.  Check it out.  Okay.  We’ve got another question here from Angela.

Angela:   I don’t think I’ve ever heard you talk about obstacle races. Have you ever considered qualifying for and of course, competing in the World’s Toughest Mudder or the Spartan Death Race?  If not, why?

Ben:  First of all, the World’s Toughest Mudder:  you all may have heard of these toughest mudder competitions where you’ve got this course that’s like barb wire and you run through the fire and there’s even like these electrical fences that shock you that you climb under and you’re just like going through that mud pits and obstacle courses and climbing and crawling and falling and they’re relatively short though.  It’ll take you like an hour ish to do it at tough mudder event. But if you look at the World’s Toughest Mudder, what you are doing is you have 24 hours to do as many laps of the tough mudder course as you can.  So this event is a big competition.  You actually get some pretty good money.  You get 15000 bucks for the male and female individual winners and $20000 for the team winners and they’re supposed to be pretty tough and doing it for 24 hours in a row I think would be a challenge.  I don’t have the risk of dying ‘cause you’re just going at your own pace going through all the obstacles there. But that’s what the tough mudder is vs. the Spartan Death Race.  By the way, over at EndurancePlanet.com, we’ve interviewed the guy who is the mastermind behind the Spartan Death Race and in my opinion, this is way tougher than the World’s Toughest Mudder because during the Spartan Death Race, on average only 15% of the competitors actually even finish the event.   But it is a 40-mile course that runs through the backwoods of Vermont and during the death race, you might be doing things like chopping wood for 2 hours in row, carrying a 2o pounds tree stump around for hours, lifting 30 pound rocks for up to 5 hours, building a fire, cutting a bushel of onions crawling through mud under barb wire (sounds a little bit similar to the tough mudder) and it generally takes about 20 hours of racing and you also have to do things like memorize the names of the first 10 US presidents or like memorize a Bible verse, hike to the top of the mountain and then recite them back in order and just do weird stuff like that.


So to me, the Spartan Death Race is way over and above the Tough Mudder.  Tough Mudder is just like go go go do as many races as you can.  Spartan death Race is like kinda pay attention or you’re pretty much done and out. Why don’t I do either of these?  I’ve just got too many other things going on.  I’m doing triathlon, I homeschool my kids, I play guitar, I cook, I podcast.  Frankly, and now I’m gonna pour my heart out to my podcast listeners.  2013 is my year when I’m gonna taper stuff back.  I’m gonna be changing my coaching scenario to give more time to the clients that I work with and actually coach fewer clients. I’m gonna be tapering back some of the companies that I run and kind of not running them. I’m just basically focusing more on my winners and I’m focusing more on creating as much value as possible because my goal is to change over a million lives in terms of teaching people how to get the most of their bodies and their minds and how to defy the status quo that we all settle for when it comes to what our bodies are truly capable of.  And I can’t do that when I’m traipsing around the Vermont backwoods in the Spartan Death Race.  Seriously though, I would love to do one of these someday.  It’s on the bucket list.  I just haven’t done it yet, Angela.  Although my wife and I this year are planning on doing a 7-day adventure race to cross North Idaho if we can find a babysitter.  I’ll put links to the World’s Toughest Mudder and the Spartan Death Race in the show notes but (and I’m not done yet) there is a really cool training program out there called Race Day Domination that gets you ready for these events, not just the Death Race or the World’s Toughest Mudder but even something the Tough Mudder or the Spartan Race. It’s called Race Day Domination.  I’ll put a link to it in the show notes but it’s literally an obstacle race training program.  I recently came across it.   It looks super cool.  It’s what I’m gonna use when I start training for these events.  That’s called Race Day Domination.  So check that out.  I’ll link to it in the show notes. And we made it through all the questions. I still have time to shower and get dressed and everything. So this is Episode #225.  All right.  So everything I talked about, I’ll link to over there and then you can check out the MyList for this episode over at facebook.com/bgfitness and scroll through the special announcements – tons of stuff.  E-mail me if you want in on that party table at Endurance Live.  Check out the Become Superhuman Live event.  Get it on that. Register so I know you’re coming.  Get your hotel room.  And then also check out the stuff like the Wildflower Triathlon Training Camp.  All the other training camps I’m doing are listed in the show notes.  Remember the Vietnam Triathlon trip. If you want in on that, e-mail me [email protected] and finally, leave the podcast a ranking in iTunes or even leave a donation when you’re over at bengreenfieldfitness.com so that you can support me sitting here in my underwear, my bed and my tiny little bedroom breakfast with my refrigerator with my loaf of bread and my block of cheese, podcasting.  So there you go. I skipped my morning workout for this one. So thanks for listening in and have a great week.  I’ll be back with Brock in a more professional podcasting format next week.

Wanna get personal access to all of Ben Greenfield’s secrets life? This March in Spokane, Washington. Ben is bringing the world’s best speakers straight to you. You’re gonna get step by step blueprints for performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep, and hormone optimization and get inside or access to private parties special sessions for podcast listeners only. And of course, delicious locally grown organic meals. The conference is called Become Super Human and it’s already filling up fast. But you can get in now at bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman. You’ll come away from this live 2 day event completely set for life  to achieve everything you want for your body, mind and performance. Whether you want to maximize fat loss, achieve an ironman triathlon, or push your body and mind to the absolutely limits of human performance. So visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman and we’ll see you live and in person March 8th and 9th, 2013.



In today’s episode, I podcast completely without my usual podcast sidekick Brock, straight from a hotel room in Vancouver, Canada, where I’m hanging out with Jeff Spencer, a featured speaker at my upcoming “Become Superhuman” live event….

Jan 9, 2013 free podcast: How to test your antioxidants, should you mix sports drinks with energy gels, how to have 1 recovery day a month, UCAN Superstarch vs. Vitargo, why your legs aren’t toned, how the Squatty Potty works and Tough Mudder vs.  Spartan Race.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right side of this page, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.

Please don’t forget to leave the podcast a ranking in iTunes – it only takes a minute of your time and it helps grow our healthy community!


News Flashes:

Skipped the news flashes in today’s podcast, but to get interesting news flashes hot off the press every week, follow Ben on Twitter and Google+.


Special Announcements:

Thursday, January 10, noon PST: Heat Prep For Cold Climate Athletes. In this webinar presentation, Ben Greenfield will teach you the science of the body’s physiological response to heat. You’ll learn how cold climate athletes who are non heat-acclimated can prepare for hot races via the research-proven use of body cooling gear, heat acclimation strategies, hydration strategies, dietary supplements, food choices and more. All USAT coaches are eligible for CEU’s from this course. Get in now.

Thursday, January 31: Join Ben for a LIVE Q&A on Jimmy Moore’s “Ask The Low Carb Experts to discuss low carb diets and performance. Tune in Thursday night at 4PST/7EST! Call 712-432-0900 or Skype freeconferencing. 7124320900. Use access code 848908

Get Featured On the Podcast By Creating Your Own MyList – and to create your own MyList, here’s what to do (did I mention that it’s free?):

  1. Create your own “MyList”list that targets your passion in health, fitness or nutrition (gear, tools, supplements or anything else)
    2. Share your MyList right here by leaving a link to it in the comments section at the bottom of the page
    3. I’ll choose the best list, and get you on for an interview about why you chose the items on your list.

Wildflower Triathlon Training Plans now available for both Olympic and Long Distance. These are 18 week training plans designed to begin in January 2013.

Want to get lots of new customers in the health, fitness and nutrition industries? Sponsor Ben’s upcoming “Become Superhuman” Live Event? Full event sponsor details.

“Become Superhuman” Live Event With Ben Greenfield Coming To Spokane, WA, March 8 & 9, 2013 – Reserve your spot now! The video below tells you all about it and/or you can listen to this audio interview from the Wide World Of Health to learn more. Need ACE Fitness CEU’s? They’re awarding 1.2 CEU’s if you attend!
2013 training camps:

  • February 22 to 28: Winter Triathlon Camp in Austin.
  • March 2 to 8: Winter Triathlon Camp in Florida.
  • April 5 to 7: Wildflower Camp.
  • April 10-16: Vietnam Trip. “The Laguna Lang Co Triathlon aims to build on the success of its sister event, the legendary Laguna Phuket Triathlon. E-mail [email protected] if you want in on the private trip that Ben is arranging for this race. We will have a beach pool villa and some private tours arranged. Depart Wednesday, April 10 or Thursday, April 11 and return Monday April 15 , or Tuesday April 16
  • Nov-Dec: Ben’s Annual Trip to Thailand (details TBA). Email [email protected] if you want in – it will fill fast!


Listener Q&A:

As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Chuck asks: You mentioned having your antioxidant profile tested.  I actually just had that done and have very good results.  My dietician mentioned that there a significant genetic factor in that as well-how much of a role does that play?

Also, my Cobalamin (B12) and Pantothenate were low.  What dietary changes can I make to increase these?

In my response to Chuck, I mention the ION Profile w/40 Amino Acids-METAMETRIX

Edwin asks: Ben, My question is regarding the use of energy gels in combination with other liquid nutrition. Energy gels by themselves are extremely hypertonic and thereby it is important to consume adequate amounts of water. The gel company I use states that drinking electrolyte sports drinks with your gel (instead of water) will not properly dilute the gel, thus slowing the absorption rate. This can also lead to stomach irritation and a dehydrating effect as your cellular fluids are drawn upon to dilute the gel. What are your thoughts on this? I heard you say that you use a gel every 20 minutes during a race. Do you only drink water? I want to get the best and most useable nutrition into my body during a race.  I called the gel company who also make the liquid fuel that I use, and asked how they suggested the use. I didn’t really get an answer.

In my response to Edwin, I recommend he reads my Healthy Race Day Nutrition Plan.

I also reference this chart on the ingredients of popular sports gels.

Hollie asks:  I’m an absolute beginner as far as fitness and exercise.   I started a boot camp in June and was actually liking it quite a bit and seeing results.  Then I got tendonitis in my shoulders, right elbow and right wrist.  I work as a housekeeper so I am not able to rest that arm at all.  I ice it after work, take ibuprofen when I remember (not daily).  My arms hurt so they wake me up at night. Is there a way to “power rest” my arms?  I get one day off a month, and my daily life is kicking my butt.  I would like to be able to do pushups again, or any kind of arm work.  Some days I can’t pour a cup of coffee.  Can you suggest anything?

In my response to Hollie, my recommendations include:

-Only choose the EAT foods off the Superhuman Food Pyramid

-1 TianChi per day (Chinese Adaptogenic Herb complex) on empty stomach

4-6 Recoverease proteolytic enzymes on empty stomach 

-1 daily serving of concentrated greens (to balance pH). Recommend EnerprimeCapragreensSupergreens, or cycling between all three.

-1-2x/day full body session with Rumble Roller

-1-2x/day 15-20 minute soak in magnesium salts

-10-15 sprays topical magnesium on all sore muscles

-Only if you test iron and it’s low, use of Floradix

-Wear 110% Play Harder full leg compression tights with ice for 30-60 minutes [sc name=”110-Affiliate-Code”]

-Sleep with magnet taped or placed over injured area

Home handheld low level cold laser unit, circle around area for 10-15 minutes, 1-2x/day

-Home electrostimulation unit, 1-2 20 minute sessions per day

-4-12 Phenocane per day

-9-12 Capraflex per day

Bill asks: What do you recommend for 2hr MtB/XC race – UCAN Superstarch or Vitargo S2?

Angela asks: I’m having a hard time with the Squatty Potty and why it is a benefit.  I actually get what the SP website is saying about the anorectal angle  and why using the SP to change it makes it easier to go to the bathroom, but I don’t see why you can’t just bend over.  In comparing images between someone on a SP and someone doing a seated row, both show their knees just inches from their chest.   Do you believe someone can get the same benefits as the SP by simply bending over while on the pot?

Synthia asks: For the last 3 months I have been doing the Insanity dvds everyday (finished the first 60 days and started it up again).  Before that I was running everyday.  So all in all I am in good shape (could still be better) but i feel that with all this rigorous excercise my legs should be more tone. However, it feels like I can’t get them be stronger or toner looking.  How can I achieve this?

In my response to Synthia, I recommend my body typing book at http://www.GetFitGuy.com

Angela asks: I don’t think I’ve ever heard either of you talk about any obstacle races.  Have you considered qualifying for (and of course competing in) the World’s Toughest Mudder or the Spartan Death Race?  If not, why?

Compare/contrast tough mudder and death race, then talk about your adventure racing.

In my response to Angela, I mention the Endurance Planet interview about the Spartan Death Race.

I also recommend this Race Day Domination plan for obstacle course racing.

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/01/225/


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