June 19, 2013
Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast: How To Use Hot Baths For Performance, Natural Remedies For Dry Eyes, How To Enhance Vision, How Your Feet Affect Your Butt, High Heart Rates On A Ketogenic Diet, Strength Training For Trail Runners, and How Your Ears Affect Your Muscles.
Brock: Well, it’s to be the sunny day here on Toronto. What’s going on in your world Ben?
Ben: Home day for us. The smell of bacon and eggs is emanating from the kitchen.
Ben: ‘Cause the kids would normally be off at tennis camp this morning but the rain has shut it down. So we’re making a…
Brock: At least you’re making the best of the rainy day, that’s alright.
Ben: We are. We’ve got a guest over at the house right now. Kiwi. Ironman Coeur D’alene is here on town this weekend so I’ve got a New Zealander pro-triathlete sleeping on the couch, Bryan Rhodes. He’s actually, he was one of the very very first guest on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast. I remember like, it was like, 4 years ago, I should call him in but I think he’s stuffing his face with bacon and coffee right now.
Brock: And Vegemite probably too.
Ben: Yes, so if you hear children screaming and dogs barking and bacon cooking and people from New Zealand shouting, just a typical morning in the Greenfield house. So, yeah though. That’s about it. Got a whole lot else going on. I’ve settled in from the race in Japan and I’m personally getting ready to head up to Ironman Canada and do that event and I’ve been doing a, still been doing the whole ketogenic thing. I’m doing my Metron. My breath tubes are in, so you just breath into these tubes and if they turn purple, you’re in ketosis and I’ve been doing a pretty good job drinking the BulletProof coffee every morning and doing the ketogenic kale shakes and keeping myself in that geeked-out state of ketosis and yeah, now that all our listeners are asleep, after hearing about my exciting life.
Brock: Mine’s not more exciting, I’m just like recovering from, I did a sprint triathlon on the weekend.
Brock: You know, we talked about a couple of weeks on the show we actually talked about a fellow Rhodian and did 2 back-to-back marathons at a very very low pace and you’re talking about how that doesn’t beat your body up as much sometimes as doing something really full-out and I can really attest to that right now like a sprint triathlon, I did it on Saturday and it’s Wednesday now, I’m still really tired and sore.
Ben: Yeah, it is.
Brock: Like not too horrible but it took it out on me.
Ben: You know, this whole, this relates to an article, you know what, I actually wanna link to this article in the show notes for folks but it was over at a cool website that I like, it’s gokaleo.com and not gopaleo.com, gokaleo is written by this chick who started off overweight and basically just ate a lot of food, like a lot of really nutrient-dense food, lifted weights and just got this bangin’ body.
Ben: Sorry for that description. For you women out there, I did not mean to paint you as objects.
Brock: He’s not objectifying, that is a qualification.
Ben: But I mean, check out the website. It’s pretty amazing, Gokaleo. And she has a guest article on there this week about low-intensity steady state cardio and how it’s gotten such a bad wrap lately. I’ve even been guilty of kinda jumping on the you know, endurance-sports-can-be-bad-for-you bandwagon but in particular, there is a guy named John Kiefer who’s, he is the author of the Carb Backloading program that some people might be familiar with and he wrote an article called…
Brock: The guy that eats cherry danishes all night.
Ben: Exactly. He wrote an article called “Why Women Should Not Run” and we talked about all kind of the issues with that article a few weeks ago about how it blames low thyroid and everything else on low-intensity steady state cardio and just have a bunch of errors in the way that the article is written in terms of citation errors and she has a guest article on her website that digs into it even more and really digs that, that whole endurance-sports-is-bad-for-women theory to pieces.
And you know, it’s an interesting article. I’m gonna link to it because it’s really long and folks could go read it and ultimately one take-away and you talking about sprint triathlons made me think about this, is that they talk about how high intensity interval training and how high-intensity cardio in many studies has been shown to have just as big as a “detrimental effect” on your hormones and your thyroid and everything else as low-intensity steady state cardio and the one thing, the one link that kind of makes both of these “bad” for you is them being done in the presence of calorie restriction. And you know, that was something that I talked about, I actually wrote my race report for Ironman Japan that I just got back from and in that race report, somebody said, “what would you do to PR in the half-marathon?” and you know, my answer, basically was I ate more, ran less and you know, what it comes down to in many cases, we were talking about doing like a sprint triathlon would be you know, bad for you, harmful for your body, doing lots of low steady state cardio would be bad for you, is that in most cases, most of the hormonal deficits and the inflammation and all that stuff that shows that this stuff beats you up, really is only proven to be that significant if your simultaneously restricting calories so what it comes down to is when you’re working out, when you’re racing, when you’re beating up your body, eat.
Ben: Go enjoy some food.
Brock: I think we’ve talked about that before like prioritizing your weight loss in the off season and then prioritizing your training on the on season. Don’t try and do them at the same time.
Ben: Yeah. So I, you know, knock on wood, I’ve actually been stuffing my face the more I see studies like this and I’m really not gaining weight. I’m working out, I’m eating food, my body composition is great, I feel fantastic and yeah, so don’t fear food. There you go.
Brock: Okay, I think we already covered one of the news flashes but we’ve got a few more coming up and if you wanna find out all the links, makes sure to go over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/244 and we’ll have links to all of the studies we’re about to go through here.
Ben: That’s right. So studies, articles, I always wanna share with you guys some of the cool or slightly nerdy things that I run across.
Brock: slightly nerdy things….
Ben: Here’s a study by our friend Alex Hutchinson, not a study but an article. He writes for The Globe and Mail, does some fantastic articles, and he actually….
Brock: And he’s darn fast too.
Ben: Is he?
Ben: He’s like a runner?
Brock: Yeah. He did, I think it was the London Marathon just recently and did extremely well.
Ben: Well, he may have been electrocuting himself because what he reported on in his article and I’ll link to it in the show notes is a study that they recently published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine where they used this non-invasive form of brain stimulations called Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation and what they did was they applied this small electrical current to targeted areas of the brain and when you do that it causes this little changes and neurons communicate with each other and they did this on cyclists who were doing all out cycling tests after getting either 20 minutes of real brain electrical stimulation or fake brain electrical stimulation meaning the electrons were hooked up but there wasn’t actually any stimulation going on. Now after…
Brock: Well I guess he wouldn’t… I was thinking you should be able to tell the difference between that but you don’t really have those kind of receptors in your brain so…..
Ben: You don’t.
Brock: You wouldn’t really know.
Ben: You don’t. When I went down and did, I went down to Dave Asprey’s Biohacking Conference in San Francisco and I did a bunch of neurofeedback and I was hooked-up to electrodes for an hour at one point and the only difference I know is every once in a while you hear almost like a little bit of static in your ears but aside from that you just couldn’t tell. It’s not, it’s very different stimulating muscles with….
Brock: Yeah it’s not like being hooked up to the compex and walking your calf freak out.
Ben: Exactly. So after the brain electrical stimulation, the cyclists who were getting stimulated with the electricity, they had lower heart rates, they had a lower increase in perceived exertion, meaning they felt like they were working less hard, and they produced 4% more power in the cycling test which in research, for cyclists, for anybody who studies cycling research and wattage and stuff, that’s huge. 4% is a big boost in power. Now, they actually explored where this boost came from and that was a little bit tougher to explain in the research.
They thought it was related to the role of something called your insular cortex in your brain which helps to control your heart rate and your blood pressure and what seemed to be going on was that that was being somehow kind of regulated in a way that the stimulation to the brain was causing the same section of your brain that gets turned on when pleasant feelings occur like happy voices or pleasant music or something like that. Those are getting turned on by the stimulation that was down regulating heart rate and blood pressure, down regulating rating of perceived exertion. So you know, almost giving these people you know, the feeling like they smoked a joint prior to exercise but somehow increased power at the same time by modulating neuronal activity and it was really really interesting and I could totally see somebody coming up with some kind of a device that you could like put into a….
Brock: Put into your bike helmet….
Ben: A hat or a helmet. Totally not kidding here and super interesting stuff so you know, and then it opens up the whole ethical kind of worms about you know, is that need or anything you know. Put in Andro you know, jacks you full of Andro in your right butt cheek….
Brock: Yeah, I guess.
Ben: Interesting study. I’ll link to that in the show notes.
Brock: It sounds really similar to the stuff they’re doing for a, for like severe depression to like people who aren’t responsive to any other sort of treatments for depression they actually pass a current to parts of your brain and it gives a same sort of a, well not the same but a similar sort of response.
Brock: I wonder if that’s how they discovered it. Like all these people went from being depressed to being like super fast and powerful.
Ben: Yeah, so if you’re a depressed cyclist, all the better.
Ben: So if you’re a cyclist from Seattle….
Ben: Eggs, a study on eggs, where they compared egg whites with regular eggs and I think that with this much of an emphasis we have placed on the benefits of healthy fats, the benefits of cholesterol, the benefits of a specific enzyme called lecithin found in egg yolks that helps you to kinda break down fats, I think we’ve established on this podcast before that egg yolks are probably better for you than egg whites. But in this study they actually found….
Brock: And tastier.
Ben: And tastier, that’s right. They found that the regular consumption of whole eggs every day compared to the use of an egg substitute, the yolk-free egg substitute resulted in increased ability of HDL, your good cholesterol.
Brock: Good cholesterol.
Ben: To you know, LDL isn’t bad cholesterol, but just for some antics sake, your HDL, your good cholesterol enhanced its ability to carry fat out of macro fascias and macro fascias are your pro-atherogenic, they allow the formation of these foam cells and plaque formation in the coronary arteries and so HDL had an enhanced ability to be able to carry lipids out of this area, carry potential for plaque formation out of this area in the presence of whole eggs but not in the presence of egg whites and as a matter of fact when egg whites were consumed, the HDL tended to have a higher what’s called triglyceride content which is actually the more triglyceride you’ve got in a lipid like HDL, the worse your cholesterol profile is. So ultimately, and I thought about this last night as I was driving home from dropping the truck off at the airport, I was biking home from dropping the truck off at the airport, I rode by the McDonald’s offering their brand new Egg White McMuffin, you know which they’re branding as their brand new healthy pair and so ultimately, whole eggs with the egg yolks beat out the egg whites. So.
Brock: And don’t wrap them in whites – what do they call them, English Muffins?
Brock: White Flower English Muffin.
Ben: Or dump sucralose on them because there was another study that came out at the Washington University School of Medicine where they found out that sucralose, so they tested sucralose, they had people eat splenda….
Brock: That’s an artificial sweetener, sucralose, like the stuff people dump in their coffee all the time. Pink package.
Ben: Sucralose, Splenda, the little, I think it’s the yellow one is it?
Ben: I believe it’s yellow, I don’t know.
Brock: I’m colorblind, I actually have no idea.
Ben: Pink, yellow, whatever. They found that insulin levels rose about 20% after the consumption of sucralose meaning that there is a response of what’s called your incretin hormones, your gut hormones, in response to an artificial sweetener, that’s not supposed to be right, it’s just artificial.
Ben: There shouldn’t be anything going on but this is why in my opinion, people who consume diet beverages, have a higher risk for obesity and overweight, this is why you tend to get appetite cravings after you consumed a food that has an artificial sweetener versus food that has real calories because you turn your gut and your pancreas to churn out all these hormones responsible for causing food to be showed into cells for energy or to be digested but there’s no actual calories present.
And this study backs up the idea that artificial sweeteners, in this case sucralose, does indeed have a very significant effect on gut metabolism meaning you do get a significant insulin release in response to its consumption so….
Brock: And that’s on top of it being a neurotoxin and destroying part of the gut bacteria in your body as well.
Ben: That’s right. That’s right.
Brock: Win win win.
Ben: At least in rats, which we all know are little people… A couple of other things I want to mention real quick. We’re coming up on Ramadan and there’s an interesting study that looked into fasting and intermittent fasting specifically. This was in the Mission University of Medical Science from the University of Nicosia.
Brock: And Ramadan’s when you can’t eat anything between sunrise and sunset, right?
Ben: That’s right. And I have no idea where the hell University of Nicosia is. But….
Brock: Sounds fancy though.
Ben: It does sound fancy. So Ramadan, basically what they found was that during this fasting window of Ramadan, young men and older men experienced improvements in body composition, dropping body fat percentage and some pretty good physiological adaptations to allow them to increase their burning of fatty acids but in women, there was not a similar response in terms of a change in body composition or in terms of an improvement in fatty acid utilization. And this kinda returns to something that I’ve talked about in this podcast before and that is that with the clients that I coached and trained for fat loss, for sports, I used fasting protocols far less often for the women that I trained compared to the guys that I work with because women end to get pretty messed up with frequent fasting and they just do better with more regular energy intake and part of that might be due to the fact that women are pretty good at fatty acid utilization anyways and don’t need extra you know, kick in the pants so to speak but this was interesting and I’ll link to the study in the show notes so there’s increased fat utilization during Ramadan in men but you didn’t see the same change in body composition or fat oxidation in women and of course we also know that in women, intermittent fasting is specially combined with exercise we kinda touched on at the beginning of this podcast has a pretty nasty effect on your thyroid hormones specifically your T3 as well so just for you women who are listening in, you know, I actually don’t know if we have any female listeners…
Brock: I think you scared them off with your objectifying them at the beginning of the podcast.
Ben: That’s right. That’s right. Those of you hanging around after I described your body as banging…
Ben: The intermittent fasting thing, not the great of an idea. And then the very last thing that I wanted to mention and I promise I’d be done geeking out, is this whole idea of grounding or earthing, and a lot of these people are into this grounding mats or this earthing mats for recovery, and you know it’s something that we actually talked about in this podcast years ago. I had Jeff Spencer who’s the team physician for, it was that time Team Radioshack I believe and he talked about how these professional cyclists would sleep on these grounding mats or earthing mats and I believe they would like to…
Brock: During the Tour de France they would lay on these things.
Ben: Yeah, and they’d make full-on mattresses and everything too and they plug in to the wall. And the problem with this and I’m gonna link to a full-on podcast where they talk about this in detail but the problem is that when you plug those mats in the US at least, into the wall, they plug-in to the grounding outlets so they’re grounded and in the US, about 70% of the power that goes into our homes and our buildings travels back to the substation, not through the wires but through the ground. And the earth in the US is literally electrified with power travelling back to the substation so you’re essentially introducing extra electrical pollution and extra electro-magnetic frequencies into your bed or wherever you happen to be sleeping or standing on this grounding mat when you use grounding or earthing mats in the US.
So I recommend, unless you live in Europe and again, I don’t know if we have any female listeners or any European listeners, I think that most of our listeners are just red-blooded American males in pick-up trucks….
Ben: Or Canadians. But if you do happen to be looking into the grounding or earthing thing, I recommend you, you use one called the BioMat. Super expensive but it’s like this magnetically-infused mat that still releases that Schumann frequency which is the natural frequency of the planet earth that’s supposed to help quite a bit with sleep and with health and with cellular metabolism and stuff like that or else you use one of these earth’s pull devices which are, it’s like a magnetic device that you place under your mattress that doesn’t get grounded like an earthing or grounding mat does but I’m not a fan of these grounding or earthing mats and I know that they’re popular and they’re sexy, whatever and a lot of people are using it but you know, I’m gonna link in the show notes to the podcast that explains this a lot better than I do. It’s over at the website, It’s Rainmaking Time, which gets kinda French sometimes in this podcast but heck, that puts them in the same category as us right?
Brock: I guess so.
Ben: In our aluminum tinfoil hats so.
Brock: Crap, I’m not wearing my hat.
Ben: Go put your hat on and let’s do the special announcements.
Brock: So you’re gonna give everybody a helping hand in their race this weekend.
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: So you’re gonna run in front of them and just hold your hand out, “come on, you can do it!”
Ben: That’s illegal actually in triathlons.
Brock: Hold hands?
Ben: You’re not supposed to give people any aid at all or hold hands, yeah. One of my friends got disqualified from doing Ironman Hawaii for life when he accepted a beer from a participant, because he was blowing to pieces during a race and he started walking and was just like pretty much ready to call it quits. And one of the spectators was like, “oh here, have a beer,” so he took the beer and was sipping the beer and he’s a pro and he got caught in television coverage and he got banned for life from doing Ironman Hawaii so anyways though, here in town, where I’m at, Ironman Coeur d’Alene Triathlon is that….
Brock: And we’ll be passing out beers.
Ben: We’ll be passing out beers. No, gluten-free beer of course. Now basically, I’m going to be over there on Saturday, that’s this Saturday, whatever it is, the 22ndor 23rd.
Brock: That sounds about right.
Ben: But at noon, kinda over when the race starts on what’s called Independence Stairs at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I will be lecturing, which sounds really boring. I’ll be doing a Q&A basically and I’ll be doing a Q&A kinda like the last minute nutrition pacing for everybody who knows that it’s a really good idea the day before the race..
Brock: The day before to change your mind completely.
Ben: To change your plan completely. Before anybody who actually does change their plan completely. I’ll be doing a Q&A and if you just wanna come over and hang-out, noon over at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for those of you who’re in town for Ironman Coeur d’Alene.
Ben: And then also, I wanted to mention, because I do know we have a lot of triathlete listeners, the 2013 Thailand Triathlon Adventure.
Brock: Is it filling up like crazy?
Ben: It’s filling up like crazy. We still have a few spots left. What I really wanted to emphasize this kind of the thing we’re doing from November 17 to November 21stbefore our actual adventure starts and it’s gonna be at this health resort where we’re gonna be teaching people a ton about nutrition and healthy living and also, you know, doing things like swimming and cycling, running efficiency and economy and drills but just really unique training camp. We’re gonna teach people how to have better lives, how to move better, more efficiently. Not one of those triathlon camps where you go and get beat up and just like you know, swim and run and bike your ass off. It’s gonna be, you know, I’m bringin’ on some cool lectures, some pro-triathletes. Latest one I talked to was Thamson Lewis who’s a physician and a professional triathlete. She’ll be there and she’ll do a guest lecture and it’s just gonna be a really really cool experience for people who wanna come along, who have nothing better to do this winter then go to Thailand for 1 week or 2 weeks or 3 weeks, kinda some options in there but email, you gotta email at this point cause it’s filling up.
I don’t, I’m not sure if you can use the register link anymore but if you wanna get in, you gotta email me. [email protected]. The races are sold out but I can still get you in. I’m getting discounted hotel room blocks, lots of cools stuff. I actually bought my plane tickets last week so. Anyways though, email [email protected] if you wanna go party and live and have fun in Thailand this winter. It’s gonna be a blast.
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Brock: Okay, so before we get completely out of the news flash mode, I guess we kinda have, I think this first question relates to a news flash we had last week where you talked about taking a 20-minute hot bath 48 hours before doing a hard effort like a race or really hard workout and so Michael wanted to know, he’s training for an Ironman distance triathlon so every Saturday is a long ride followed by a transition run and then Sunday is a long run. He wants to know if he soaks every Thursday would that be too much.
Ben: So basically he’s trying to time it so that he’s doing some hard workouts and every single Thursday before he starts his hard weekend he wants to do a hot bath.
Brock: Yeah. It seems that makes sense. It sounds logical.
Ben: What basically this study found was that you’d recover from your workouts faster if you took this hot baths 48 hours prior so 20 minutes of hot bathing led to this statistically significant decrease in exercise-induced muscle damage when the workout was done 48 hours after and there was basically the upregulation of the satellite cells that are responsible for repairing muscle and also some immune cell infiltration. At least in mice, in rats, which we all know are….
Brock: Little humans.
Ben: Little people. That would be a fun study. Just giving the mouse a nice little hot bath, give them, you know, get out a loofah and kinda you know, give him some nice bubble bath and….
Brock: That’s cute.
Ben: Fun study. Anyways though, you know, there’s nothing to say that wouldn’t help. You can try it out but honestly this is one of the questions where they you know, this is all blue skies stuff, it’s like yeah it may help I mean heck, like I mentioned when we talked about this last week. I love to get some, I get these magnesium flakes from a company called Ancient Minerals. I dump about half pound of those into a nice warm bath and man, you feel magical when you get out of that thing. Incidentally, by the way, if you’re constipated also yeah, initiates a bowel movement with about 30 minutes so….
Ben: Magnesium soak is awesome for this stuff and I use these magnesium flakes but interestingly, in the same way that they make like these cool fat-burner vests that we’ve talked about before in the podcast where basically they’re ice packing vest that you wear, you put them over your collarbone….
Brock: Looks like a bullet-proof vest but it’s got ice packs instead of Kevlar in it.
Ben: Yeah so it steps up the activation of your brown adipose tissue so you burn fat to generate heat basically and by the way they, the guy who owns that company, the coolfatburner.com company, he wrote me 2 days ago and told me that he’s developing a cool fat-burner like a weight belt where you could wear you this around your waist and step up the activation of brown adipose tissue on your waistline too and burn extra fat that way so….
Brock: Feels like an icy cumberbun.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So your little icy cumberbun that you could wear to prom but they also, I found this this clothing company called Spartzy and its spartzy.com and what they do is they make this special fabric that’s a heated fabric and the idea behind this heated fabric they called it the T-X fabric material is it warms your muscles and by warming your muscles, it increases blood flow to the muscle and can step up metabolic rate in an area of localized blood flow and research has indeed shown that local heating that increases skeletal-muscle blood flow can also amplify fat oxidation, it can amplify carbohydrate oxidation so basically overall metabolism in whatever area is being heated and there’s a few different studies that have actually looked into what’s called the hemodynamic response to heat stress in in leg muscles and arm muscles and found that there is indeed higher muscle metabolism when you heat up an area in that way. It’s different when in response to cold, so when you’re doing something like cold thermogenesis, you’re getting activation of like brown adipose tissue to generate heat to keep you warm and when you warm a muscle you get that increase in blood flow that steps up fat oxidation and carbohydrate oxidation just because of an increase in localized metabolism and this is probably why something like the protocol that we talked about at the Become Superhuman Conference a few months ago that we did where a guy named Ray Cronise was there, a NASA materials engineer and he was talking about how you get better fat loss results if you’re gonna use temperature for fat loss, you get better results alternating hot and cold water when you’re like taking a shower you know, 20 seconds cold to 10 seconds hot 10 times through, for example for a 5 minute shower. You get better fat loss results from doing something like that than if you were to do just a cold shower ‘cause you’re giving yourself the best of both worlds right.
You increase blood flow, and then also the activation of the brown adipose tissue so ultimately, you know, this whole like hot bath thing especially if you were to follow it with like a cold shower, you could do that. You could also do something like wear one of these you know, cool fat-burner vests at work and then you know, maybe put on some of this this Spartzy fabric and you know, warm the muscle back up so, a few different ways you could play around temperature in that sense but you know, it’s kinda funny just because like you know, some people would do all this stuff and be like you know, whatever eat a hamburger for lunch and skip their workout for the day and it’s like we’re talking about the extra like 5% here. You know, granted in the case of Ray Cronise, he did show some data that indicated that even in the absence of exercise, doing this hot-cold contrast showers twice a day for 5-10 minutes, he was actually inducing 20-30 pound weight loss in some of the folks he was working with but again..
Brock: I think there was a lot of diet restriction involved as well.
Ben: There was. There was a lot. Basically, in his case they were doing full on vegan diets I believe and so there were pretty severe calorie restriction going on which long term was not all that great for your brain and your nervous system but for short term you know, really really high fat loss. You know, it definitely you know, by the research that he showed had a significant effect. So ultimately, you know, that was my really long way of saying I have no freakin’ clue.
Brock: But it’s not gonna hurt you.
Ben: It’s not gonna hurt you.
Brock: Michael give it a try.
Ben: Light your candles, your romantic candles and get your lavender out and take your bubble bath and then go, go workout and let us all know how it goes.
Jenny: Hi Ben, this is Jenny. I’ve had a problem with my eyes being really dry and I experimented for about 5 months with just putting, making sure I put drops on my eyes, over the counter drops, and I also increased my, and I have Omega-3s I am taking but it just wasn’t working and it got really bad and my doctor said that I needed to start using restasis which is a prescription eye drop and she said that I’ll be needing that for the rest of my life and I never liked to hear somebody telling me that I’m gonna be needing to do something like that for the rest of my life. It got to the point where I couldn’t see as well as I normally do and she said it’s a hereditary condition. She called it chronic dry eye and so anyways, I just wanted, if you have any thoughts on how to improve this condition without me having to be committed to using this prescription drops forever. Thanks a lot Ben, I really appreciate it. Bye.
Ben: Yeah man, have you ever had dry eyes?
Brock: I get dry eyes quite a lot, I have to admit so this question is has a great interest for me.
Ben: So I have not been wearing like glasses or sunglasses or eyewear when I ride my bike and I’ve been getting a bit of dry eye myself but that’s typically due to me. Going downhill….
Brock: Drying your eyes.
Ben: Going downhill 30 miles an hour….
Brock: With your eyes wide open….
Ben: Implicating…. You shove in a blow dryer in my face but yeah, dry eyes syndrome you know, goes by a bunch of different names if you wanna get scientific, the lacrimal caratejunktilitis, whatever. Evaporative tear deficiency. I like that better than saying dry eyes, I have a tear deficiency.
Ben: I think that just sounds much more impressive.
Brock: Actually it sounds kinda heartbreaking.
Ben: It sounds like a, yeah. Tear deficiency would elicit much greater compassion from someone you are telling it about your issue compared to dry eyes so Jenny’s tear deficiency. But yeah basically, dry eye syndrome is kind of an issue because it can eventually lead to damaging your cornea and loss of vision and there are a bunch of different things that can cause it. Anti-histamines and nasal decongestion are probably the biggest 2 but a lot of women don’t realize that birth control pills can dry your eyes. Anti-depressants can be a big issue, a lot of blood pressure meds can do it too, hormone replacement therapy is another big issue when it comes to dry eyes and there are more physiological hormonal reasons for why some of this stuff happens that I care to get into in the podcast but all that stuff can cause dry eyes as can of course just allergies, infrequent blinking because you’ve been staring at a computer or a video screen for a long period of time or even like using contact lenses like long-term use of contact lenses can cause this as well. I think we do have a question about glasses and contact lenses.
Brock: Yeah. Coming right up next.
Ben: And I do have some thoughts about how to, how to avoid using those. But as far as standard treatment for dry eyes syndrome, usually there’s gonna be some kind of an anti-inflammatory medication that you could get prescribed. There are devices that they make that kinda plug the holes where tears drain from your eyes so you essentially retain your tears.
Ben: Tear retention devices.
Brock: That doesn’t sound good.
Ben: Cool idea. And you can get surgery to permanently close your eyes’ drainage holes if it’s a big issue.
Brock: And then your head explodes.
Ben: I’m never a huge fan of closing any of the body’s drainage holes.
Ben: The corking fix is not in favor to mine so I would not….
Brock: Yeah, they do that for excessive sweaters sometimes too not sweaters that you wear but people who sweat a lot.
Ben: Right. Yeah.
Brock: That just sounds painful.
Ben: Yes. Eye plugs, butt plugs, whatever.
Brock: Don’t plug your butt.
Ben: I’m not a fan of plugging. So preliminary research that I’ve seen as well as a couple of fairly conclusive studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids have real promise as a natural approach to dry eye relief and that’s where I’d start. They did a ….
Brock: How is that? Taken orally or taken what would that be, ocular….
Ben: Dumping a fish oil capsule into your eye?
Ben: No, that would be taken orally in supplement form so salmon, mackerel. You could do like some flax seed or chia seed. You obviously get less absorption with something like that but specifically in one really impressive study, where they purposefully induced dry eyes syndrome in rats, I have no clue how they did that, possibly by …..
Brock: They blew on them.
Ben: Putting them on bicycles, putting them on little bicycles and having them ride downhill at a high speed.
Brock: In a wind tunnel.
Ben: With little helmets.
Brock: I bet they were at the trek bicycle window.
Ben: Yeah, but they gave them a combination of gamma linoleic acid and the eicosapentaeonic acid and docosahexaeonic acid, the DHA and the EPA and that lead to a significant reduction in dry eye symptoms and they were able to replicate that study in mice later on. Some people have anecdotally reported it so I’m a fan of fish oil anyways as long as it’s a good high quality fish oil preferably packaged with anti-oxidants cold-processed so you’re not getting a lot of the free radical formation. I’m up to 8 a day that I use so I’m which comes at, I think it comes at to about 6 grams per day of fish oil…
Ben: That I use.
Brock: Yeah, I was gonna say, ‘cause Jenny said that she did try increasing her Omega-3s but maybe she didn’t increase them enough?
Ben: Yeah, so I would bump yourself up. You don’t necessarily need to do the whole mega dose you know, like those guys like Charles Poliquin committing 40 grams or whatever but you could step up from the standard you know standard. A lot of people are doing like 1-3 grams and I’d bump that up, 6, 8 grams around in there. Make sure it’s a good you know, a bad fish oil is really worse for you than not taking fish oil at all so I’ll put a link to the one that I take, it’s the Super Essentials Fish Oil. It’s the best fish oil on the face of the planet that I found just because it does include you know the astaxanthin antioxidant, the Vitamin E, the natural cold-processed triglyceride form. It’s pretty magical fish oil.
So that’s one that I’d used and then also the other thing that you could try is like moisture when you’re sleeping like one of these humidifiers. I actually bought a couple of these for travel after I read about them in, I think it was Tim Ferriss in an article on them but this little humidifiers that you just take a standard plastic sized water bottle and you attach it to this very small portable device and humidifies the air next to your bed and it can help you sleep a little bit better, could definitely help with dry eyes, you know dry throat, if you’re congested, stuff like that but they’re just this little, I wish I could remember the name of them. I’ll write a note to myself here to look up our Amazon link for these little humidifiers but I mean they’re like 20 bucks or something like that and you just put a plastic….
Brock: And you just plug it to a socket somewhere and it just goes?
Ben: Yeah, but it’s like a very small portable humidifier. So that, you know, especially if you travel a lot, that can help out so that’s something else I would consider and yeah, of course, duh, stay hydrated. That’s a big one but I assume you’re already doing that so, yeah, those are some of the things that I would try.
Brock: Okay. So following on the heels of that we’ve got a question from Benjamin who wrote in and said I just found out from my optometrist that I may need vision correction and of course they’re recommending contacts or prescription glasses but I’m interested on whether there are some natural ways to enhance eye sight without using glasses or contact lenses.
Ben: Yeah. We’ve talked about before in the podcast, I believe this whole Bates Method.
Brock: Yeah. Yeah, I think we talked about that a month or 2 ago. It’s been a while.
Ben: Yeah. And this is the method that kinda flies under the radar, I think I mentioned it. It’s like the thing that I do if I wanted to improve my eyesight naturally and it’s a series of techniques like palming and visualization and ocular muscle movements like literally eye muscle training. There’s also interestingly, even sunning that’s involved in that protocol which is literally exposure to sunlight and there are some people that swear by that and probably the person most famous for saying that it really helped in their vision was this Aldous Huxley guy.
Brock: You remember the writer Aldous Huxley? Great New World?
Ben: Yeah. And he actually wrote a book called “The Art of Seeing” where he talked about how he used the Bates Method to help him. I don’t believe that he actually got himself off of glasses or prescription lenses but he got to the point where he really couldn’t read at all without the aid of a magnifying glass to the point where he could read as long as he was in good condition so you know.
Brock: It’s pretty darn good especially in the 1920s or 30s or whenever that was.
Ben: Yeah, you know, I have zero…. Like my eyesight is fine. I have zero experience in this Bates Method, but in the past I said that that is something that I would try before turning to contact lenses or glasses if I, if my vision started to suffer. Now, I’ve also, and I’m waiting for my glasses to arrive, but I did a 4-hour session with what’s called an irlen practitioner and irlen syndrome is a kind of syndrome when you’re reading the words bounce around a little bit and you have poor visual acuity. And an irlen practitioner basically does a session with you where you spend hours like reading and looking at objects and tracking visual acuity and comparing how well your eyes do with different colors of lenses so we went through like 30 different color combinations and everything and actually it turns out that like this light purple lens with the little bit of like an amber kinda blue light reduction type of lens placed on top of that, actually really improves personally for me, my visual acuity and my reading speed.
Like we actually tracked how quickly I was able to go through pages and paragraphs and so I ordered some Oakley prescription frames and my irlen lenses aren’t here yet. This is a process I’ve been going through the past couple of months and they’re gonna put them in, the lenses in the frames and they’ll send them to me and I’ll wear those when I’m playing tennis, when I’m reading, when I’m writing not only to block blue light and glare coming from the computer screen but also to enhance my visual acuity so.
Brock: Would you describe those lenses as being rose colored?
Ben: They’re, no, they’re purple. Like they’re literally like a light purple. I’ll take a picture.
Brock: Rose colored glasses?
Ben: No they’re not rose colored glasses Brock.
Brock: That’s unfortunate.
Ben: But if I were able to see the world through rose colored glasses I’m sure that I would even be happier than purple colored glasses.
Ben: There is, did you listen to the podcast that I did with Eric Cobb, the guy from Z Health?
Ben: And he talked about, Z Health is a really really cool program and I’ll put a link to the podcast that I did with him in the show notes but he talked about basically enhancing your performance and your health through the use of training your nerves, like your vestibular system and your eyes, your ears, your balance, and rather than just focusing on lifting weights and strengthening muscles, you know, it really focuses on a lot of these you know, cranial nerves and really just training the nervous system, making your nervous system bulletproof so to speak. So Z Health is the name of that company but they recently like literally, I think in the past 2 weeks, they came out with this program called the Vision Gym and the Vision Gym is….
Brock: I like that.
Ben: Yeah, it’s a very very marke-ty name. But what it is is almost like a modernized version of this Bates Method where you learn how to do like eye symetriques and circles and spirals. They teach you like this blinking routine that resets your visual system. They teach you how to warm up your eyes using this this fingertip warm up method and it’s like 10-20 minutes each day of exercises that you do and it literally realigns your vision. And so they’ve got people that they’re working with like pro boxers and Olympians. They got some folks in the MLB and the NBA who are using these and it’s not just for if your eyes are suffering, it gets actually to be an ergogenic aid like to enhance your sports performance if you just want better peripheral vision or better visual acuity but a bunch of stuff that they teach you in this. I think, I mean it’s not cheap. It’s like, I think it’s like a 90, it’s one of those like internet marketing 97.77 type of programs that you download or whatever. But I mean still, compared to like doing contact lenses or glasses.
Brock: You could pay like a thousand dollars for a pair of glasses.
Ben: Yeah. It just came out. I haven’t tried it yet, it’s on my list of things to do. I wanna get these irlen glasses dialed in and then I’m gonna try, cause I love to experiment with this stuff. But I mean, heck, if you can fix your eyes and also improve hand-eye-body coordination and your peripheral vision and everything, this thing might be worth a go as well. And so I’ll put a link to that Vision Gym thing in the show notes. I’ll put a link to the previous podcast that we do with the people from Z Health as well and then I’ll keep all of our listeners posted and send you a photo of me in my geeky purple lenses when they arrive but those are some of the things that I’d look into.
Brock: We’ve got a question later in the show from Troy. I think he’d really benefit from the Zed Health as well.
Brock: You like how I call it, Zed Health?
Ben: I like, that was very European.
Brock: It’s ‘cause I’m Canadian.
Ben: Oh yeah.
Jim: Hello Ben and everyone else. My name is Jim an endurance athlete from Florida and I’m mainly focused on the Xterra Triathlon that I took your advice on the golf ball on my feet and definitely an interesting interesting kinda way to break up all the junk on my feet but I’m curious because later that day, this is kind of I’m on downtime, I’m recovering on some pretty hard racing, some pretty hard training and so I had a bit of work to do and I golf ball-ed both feet and later that day I ended up doing some yard work and it sent my left glute area into spasm and my right as well, not as much but I’m curious did I break up that much stuff and I just send my body into spasm or what.
Definitely not a muscle pull and I was able to stop and I rolled it out on a film roller which helped tremendously and now today, the day after, I’m not feeling much tenderness but it really, it shot me down almost to the point of not being able to walk. So if you give me insight on the bad, I’ll really appreciate it. Love the advice. Keep up the podcast.
Brock: I like any excuse to say something about your butt in the podcast and….
Ben: Butt spasms most especially. If I were gonna start a band today I would probably call it the Butt Spasms.
Brock: Ben Greenfield and the Butt Spasms.
Ben: Yeah, assuming you’ve been sitting on the golf ball Jim. I actually keep a golf ball under my desk and I do that because you can roll your feet with a golf ball and it really really good actually this routine called the fast foot mobility routine for those of you who have been listening to this podcast, I coach Brock and we’re gonna try and get Brock to qualify for the Boston Marathon and one of the things that Brock’s, I don’t know if he knows this yet…
Brock: I did yesterday, for the first time and I actually went so hard that I think I bruised the bottom of….
Ben: Yes and it’s called my fast foot mobility routine. It’s just this routine that you roll a golf ball around your feet and underneath your feet and all over the place for about 5-10 minutes per foot. And it really helps with mobility and your feet for foot mobility is one of the biggest issues in terms of creating kinda up chain the injuries like knee injuries and ankle injuries and hip injuries in folks who have poor foot mobility due to using overbuilt shoes or sitting too much and not spending enough time on your feet, just having weak feet in general.
Brock: Spending your entire childhood in ballet slippers.
Ben: Or for those of us who spent their entire childhood in ballet slippers like Brock. But the idea behind using golf balls is great so I’m glad Jim’s using the golf balls but the problem is that once you reinvent the feet, you just like switching the minimalist shoes or whatever, you tend to start to use the muscles that you’re supposed to be using. You get up the chain positive benefits but if those muscles up the chain are not used to be activated, then you start to get issues. So for example, when you look at the glutes.
Brock: I love to look at the glutes.
Ben: I do like to look at some glutes. Yes.
Ben: Bangin’ glutes. Glute imbalances are really common. So by nature human beings are asymmetrical and you find that you tend to, when you’re sitting, you tend to shift to one side or when you’re standing for a long time, you’ll tend to shift to one side or the other. And because of those asymmetrical patterns, we tend to have kinda stronger glutes on one side than we do on the other side and when you combine that with inhibiting the glutes, through long periods of time sitting in a car or at a desk or with shortened hip flexors, and that’s one of the best ways by the way to turn off your glutes is to shorten your hip flexors. That, combined with these natural asymmetries tends to create some real glute issues. And if you have ever in your life sprained your ankle or stubbed your toe or you know, pulled a hamstring, fell and landed on your tailbone, any of these things, have all been proven in research to inhibit the glutes neurally and the glutes will stay inhibited until you fix them, until you turn them back on and because those are your goal muscles, your propulsion muscles, your glutes, a lot of folks, because of asymmetry and sitting and previous injury, have glutes that need to be re-educated. So when we’re talking about getting a better butt, you know, whether it’s fitting out a pair of fitted jeans or whether it’s running faster, you gotta be able to turn on your glutes and you know, we talked about this a little bit in the interview I did with Kelly Starrett, I think about how a lot of people have weak glutes and you know, his book, that would be coming at supple leopard books certainly teaches you how to mobilize your glutes and how to do a lot of the soft tissue work that is going to like use your glutes properly. I mean a lot of the same type of soft tissue work that Jim’s already doing at his feet but you know, this would be more, rather than taking a golf ball to the foot, kinda take a lacrosse ball to the glutes but you need to be doing glute exercises as well.
If you wanna get a better butt or if you wanna activate your glutes, best place to start is just with simply asymmetric contractions so you’re keeping your butt squeezed when you’re driving in your car, when you’re standing, when you’re sittin’ on an airplane, when you’re whatever. Pretty much anything….
Brock: So whenever you think about it.
Ben: Don’t do it when you go to the bathroom because that would be about the equivalent of using one of these butt plugs that we talked about so aside from contracting your glutes when you’re taking a poo though, doing a lot of isometric glute contractions and also doing all of these different exercises, body weight exercises that activate your glutes are a good place to start. Things like clam shells, fire hydrants, what are called quadruped exercises, google any of these if you wanna see pictures of them so again, clam shells, fire hydrants, quadrupeds, any of those 3 would be really really good as just body weight glute exercises and then of course once you’ve got your glutes turned on, doing those type of things, that’s where you would progress to doing like bilateral movements with this like mini bands that you can use to attach your feet together like side to side movements, you know, side to side shuffles, yeah exactly. Forwards monster walks, backwards monster walks, a lot of people go straight in to the squats, the deadlifts, the dumbbell lunges, and stuff like that but if you haven’t taught your glutes how to be activated with some of these smaller body exercises or somebody’s elastic band exercises, that’s all for naught because you’re gonna use you’re low back, you’re gonna use your knee joints, but really if you haven’t learned how to turn on your glutes with easier exercises first, some of these bigger moves are kind of a waste of time. But once you do it to the point that you’ve turned on your glutes by doing preferably every single day some kinda glute activation exercise and you’ve learned how to kinda keep your glutes turned on, while you’re sitting, while you’re standing, that’s when you progress into making sure that at least once a week, preferably a few times a week, if you’re working in like squats, single leg squats, dead lifts and single leg dead lifts, remaining dead lifts, reverse lunges, side lunges, front lunges, you know, I work my butt in the weight room at least once a week and I work my butt in terms of keeping it activated at least once a week with like elastic band type of exercises, injure prevention type of moves, and then of course I just kinda keep my butt squeezed a lot just cause I like to walk around looking like I’m constipated.
So but seriously though, like glute activation issues are a big deal and by fixing your feet, you may find that you simply kind of magnify an issue higher up with a glute issue you know, or a lot of times like weak knees, quad issues or another area where you tend to see manifested but you know, it’s all fixable so what I’ll do, there’s a pretty good article by a guy named Bret Contreras, he’s a really good strength conditioning coach. He’s got glute training programs, he’s got like a glute e-book, and he’s kinda noticed the glute guy. I’ll put a link to a good article that he has on how to fix glute imbalances in the show notes for anybody who wants a better butt or for anybody who’s doing a lot of golf ball pulling to read so.
Brock: I wanna be known as the glute guy.
Ben: I would like to be known as the glute guy. That’s true but there’s probably, how about we just, we give you something else. How about the butt, the Baron of the Butt.
Brock: The Butt Bastard?
Ben: The Butt Bastard. Yeah. The Butt Buddy, how about the Butt Buddy? You can launch the buttbuddy.com. So but seriously, I’ll put a link to that glute imbalances article by Bret Contreras in the show notes. So there you go.
Ketoman: Hi! I’m eating a ketogenic diet, checks the blood ketones. Heart rate in the morning, usually in the middle of 50, sometimes 40 but I likely when I’m doing interval workouts, whether it be running or bike, my heart rate just goes bonkers I mean I was surprised, ______ [0:59:30.2] and I’m running out of gas. Maybe it’s a lack of carbohydrates usually happens when I work out later into the day and maybe that’s my issue. I’m just not getting enough carbohydrates for a workout and it takes me out of zone 2 so if you have any thoughts, I’d appreciate if you do.
Ben: Well, there was this whole ketogenic diet thing. First of all, before I say anything, like Brock and I did this huge like monster podcast for the Jimmy Moore Show, Jimmy Moore’s Living La Vida Low Carb Show and we talked about ketogenesis the whole time.
Like basically how you do it, why you do it, and like all the practical as, we’ll link to that in the show notes ‘cause we spent like an hour geeking out and stuff but this question from ketoman about whether or not you know, like a ketogenic diet could cause your heart rate to go bonkers. There was an interesting study, actually last night, Graham Turner, he’s actually been in this podcast before, he emailed Brock and I this link to his study that has yet to be released in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research but they looked at the effects of a short term carb-restricted diet on strength and power performance. And that’s always something people get nervous about, it’s like if I’m carb depleted, if I go into a state of ketogenesis, how the heck am I going to produce power, produce strength, go through a crossfit workout, go through a track intervals workout….
Brock: It requires that big burst, like sudden burst of energy.
Ben: Right. Exactly. ‘Cause the whole thinking behind that is you’re gonna be glycogen depleted during a carbohydrate restricted diet so your body wanted the glucose to rely on to those fast contractions those fast twitch muscle contractions and then in this particular study, what they did was they took folks and they switched them from their habitual diet to a carbohydrate restricted diet. And literally they did that over the course of 7 days. So they ate their regular diet for 7 days and then they switched to a carbohydrate restricted diet that only had I believe about 5% carbs for 7 days so a really really low carbohydrate diet. And they tested their maximum repetition bench press, they tested their 30 second anaerobic what’s called the wind gate power test in the bike which is a really hard test, they tested their vertical jump, their one rep max bench press, their one rep max squat, hand grip dynamometry which is basically your hand grip strength and what they found was that the folks who switched to the carbohydrate restricted diet as expected, they experienced a significant drop in body mass, so they reduced in water weight and carb weight, probably some sodium retention as well and despite that decrease in body mass, they retained strength output and power output completely after this carbohydrate restricted diet.
Ben: So it didn’t have any issue at all for them which has implications for people who are either trying to cut weight, like wrestlers or fighters, but also has implications for people who are switching from like a ketogenic or a low-carb diet and who are concerned about being able to maintain strength and power efforts. And this is something that also Brock and I talked about in that podcast but basically, with only protein and only fat intake, you’re able to maintain your glycogen stores at up around 70%, up around 70% of their peak storage capacity and so if we’re looking at being able to store away let’s say a really really generous number, 2000 calories let’s say of storage carbohydrate.
Well, you know, 70% of those carbohydrates are what would come out to what, 1400 calories of those carbohydrates you can literally fill with just protein getting converted to glucose and also the what’s called the glycerol backbone of fats getting converted into glucose and that gives you pretty good stores of glycogen to rely upon for hard efforts or for training. The other 30%, yeah, you know, maybe you’re eating 400-600 calories worth of carbohydrates. 100, 200 grams of carbohydrates on a daily basis if you’re training pretty hard and that’s gonna take care of the rest of your glycogen stores or maybe you’re doing less than that, whatever, 25, 50, 75 grams of carbs everyday but you’re throwin’ in a re-fed day where you’re getting a little bit of extra like 200 grams of carbs or something like that, you know, that’s another option. But ultimately, the reason that I’m kinda laying this out is to say that there’s no reason that your heart rate should be going bonkers due to like carbohydrate depletion or something like that. The only issue would be because that carbohydrates can allow you to retain water, can allow you to retain sodium, and retain electrolytes, this may be related to more like an electrolyte deficiency and the sodium deficiency which is why people get dizzy when they switch to a low-carb or a ketogenic diet. In a case like that, you start using some nice Himalayan sea salt, you know, there are guys like you know, Dave Asprey, the BulletProof exec, he does 6 teaspoons of Himalayan sea salt on a daily basis.
There are you know, guys like me, I’m doing low-carb. I do about 2 servings of liquid trace minerals. I use the natural life liquid trace minerals every morning and I also use Himalayan sea salt and salt my food quite liberally. There are guys like Peter Attia who has been on this podcast before who follows a ketogenic diet and he does 1-2 cubes of….
Brock: Bouillon cubes.
Ben: Yeah, of chicken bouillon a day. You know, and kind of in the same lines like bone broth is another way to get minerals and electrolytes in your diet. So could be an issue with electrolytes, and then the last thing it could be an issue with and this is something I had to deal with an athlete recently who I coach who we were seeing crazy heart rates with during his workouts and turned out that he was using one of these wireless heart rate monitors and the heart rate monitor was just producing a heart rate dropout and a heart rate spike and that’s really common with these newer heart rate monitors that are soft straps that have the little wireless device that plugs on the front of them, here’s the cool thing though and one of my friends, DC Rainmaker, he runs a really cool website where he does product reviews of fitness equipment.
Brock: I didn’t know you knew that guy.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Brock: That’s a great website.
Ben: Rainman. At Galvestone and it was kinda interesting ‘cause we went on that run and his heart rate monitor wasn’t working so he actually he dropped out of the run. But dcrainmaker.com, cool cool website if you’re like into fitness technology and heart rate monitors and stuff like that. But he compared a bunch of different wireless heart rate transmitters and he found that in most cases, when you’re heart rate transmitter is the issue with you having heart rate spikes and it’s really not your heart rate, just your transmitter that you’re using, all you have to replace is the soft strap that came with the heart rate monitor which is like 17 bucks and not the entire transmitter which is like 70, 80, 90 bucks so you may wanna just try getting a new soft strap which is the part of the strap that goes around your chest, not the whole transmitter, not the whole heart rate strap, you can save that little transmitter, it comes off the straps with a little button, so you take that off, you get a replacement strap off at Amazon or whatever which is like, again, 15, 17 bucks, and just see if, maybe it’s the heart rate monitor too or if you, if you really wanna go caveman and get down with your bad self like put your hand on your neck and take your heart rate or put your hand on your wrist and take your heart rate and it’s kinda magical. A lot of people don’t realize this in an era of technology but you can with your fingers, actually feel your heart rate.
Ben: I’m being facetious.
Ben: You can. Try it. So, or put your hand over your heart, and you could feel your heart rate. Amazing.
Brock: I can actually, if I’m laying in a quiet room, I can hear my heart beat.
Ben: You don’t need an iPhone or a heart rate strap or anything isn’t that amazing?
Ben: Amazing. But.
Brock: My girlfriend’s an ER nurse, I’d seen her just like grab somebody’s wrist and she can assess her heart rate in like 10 seconds.
Ben: Yeah. Exactly.
Brock: It’s an art form.
Ben: Yes. Yeah, so anyways, make sure it’s not your heart rate monitor strap too, but ultimately look at electrolytes, look at sodium, make sure your heart rate monitor strap is good to go but don’t freak out about being like a carb issue, it’s probably not carbs or a lack of carbs more likely a lack of electrolytes or sodium or a technology fart so.
Brock: Did you just call him a technology fart?
Ben: No I said it could be.
Terry: Hi Ben. I have a question in regards to a workout plan I can present to my 17 year old son. He has always been the jock in the family, he’s gone through a baseball phase, an archery phase, and now it’s looking pretty serious for cross country running. And he’s on the team at school and this morning he pleasantly surprised me by saying he wants to tag along with me to the gym and workout with me. By the way, as a father, that’s always a great thing to hear. Anyway, I consider myself very savvy on working the search engines on the internet but boy, after about an hour I found a poultry offering of information on what a young man can do in a gym to improve his cross country performance. So, I’m coming to you. What have you got? Thanks.
Brock: Okay Terry first, kudos. When I was 17 years old, I didn’t want to do anything with my dad.
Ben: Yeah, when I was 17, I didn’t know what trail running was.
I was more into bench pressing and how fast I could serve a tennis ball. But I was actually not….
Brock: I was smoking behind the school.
Ben: Yeah. I love to trail run now. I mean actually, trail running for me, that’s like 99% of what I do. Like I stay off concrete, I stay off the roads, when I run, I want nature, I want a trail so yeah. I’m almost always ducking down to this park called Seeconee Park down by my house and just like hitting the trail, running down the river, yeah. I freaking love trail running now.
Brock: If I do that around my house I have to dodge all the homeless people, which actually is good practice.
Ben: Why? What’s the trail going on bridges near your place?
Brock: Yup. Nice. Talking to …..
Ben: Hurdled the cardboard boxes. There is an interesting article they did on active.com where they interviewed a bunch of elite trail runners on the type of core and strength training programs that they do and frankly most of them really emphasizing on body weight strict training that they did. Single leg, squats and hip hikes and a lot of body core work and standing on one leg and doing like T lay out lunges and just a lot of stuff that really wasn’t done on the gym but was more like things that they could do after they’ve finished trail run while they’re out there on the trail. And part of them might be because a lot of trail runners are ultra runners and they kinda have limited time just don’t spend a lot of time in the gym but it’s really a good point, you don’t have to go to a gym to get strong ankles and feet for trail running.
You do a little golf ball mobility work like we’ve talked about using glute activation exercises and I’m really not convinced that you gotta step in to a gym to often to be a good trail runner. But that being said, if you are gonna go to the gym, I would definitely doing a lot of unilateral work meaning I’d be doing a lot of single leg deadlifts, loaded or unloaded, single leg squats, I’d be doing a lot of lateral work, lateral lunges, side steps, side step-ups, front step-ups, reverse lunges. I actually have a whole program that I wrote out, It’s called “The Trail Running Terror Plan” and this was, I created this for the endurance planet listeners ‘cause if you subscribe to the Endurance Planet Newsletter over at enduranceplanet.com, I put in like a 10% discount code on this plan or whatever. But what it specifically focuses is ankle stability, strength, change of direction and a lot of kinda ______[1:12:56.6] which is basically a random speed style training to like become a really successful kinda lean mean trail running machine. It’s a 12 week program, again it’s called “Trail Running Terror” and basically what it allows you to do is that the final 2 weeks of the program work you up to a race. It’s essentially designed for anybody who’s doing from a 10K up to a 40k trail running race.
So, there are some distance adjustments in the program based off how long you’re gonna run but most of the strength training exercises that I prescribed in that program “The Trail Running Terror” one are same thing: single leg, lay out lunges, single leg deadlifts, single leg squats (there’s really nothing magical here) and you can see how to do most of these stuff over at youtube.com/bengreenfieldfitness. In that trail running plan, and I’ll to it in the show notes, it does cost money it’s like I think it’s like 90 bucks something like that, I used in this kinda code, it’s 80 or whatever, but it walks you through, I’ve got videos on how to do all the stuff but I just start with that stuff, nothing magical just lots of single leg, unilateral works, some side to side motion and stuff that replicates the same type of condition you’re gonna see up there on the trail.
Brock: It sounded like Terry was concerned by his son’s age. Should he be worried at all about his son being 17 and doing this kind of stuff?
Ben: Usually if you’re looking at like somebody going through puberty where you’ve still got the formation of the growth plates that’s where you’re gonna be careful with excessive loading and typically in strength conditioning research that would mean anything below about a 12 rep weight meaning that you shouldn’t be using a weight if you’re going through puberty that is so heavy that you can’t do up to 12 reps of that weight and in the case of a 17 year old, I would hope that he’s going through puberty if not I’m sorry.
Assuming your balls have dropped and your voice is lower and all that kid’s stuff, not an issue at all, I mean really like you can lift heavy and obviously high school football players across the nation are lifting heavy and that’s giving them quite a bit of an advantage. I’m a big fan of post pubertal males doing heavy strength training for sure, heavy strength training is fine not an issues there at all for some reason you are a super duper late bloomer. Your growth plates haven’t fully fuse but heavy weight training for 17 year old male not an issue at all even though for trail running, you know, heavy weight training isn’t really necessary but it’s something you can do. I’m actually, I’m a bigger fan of heavy squats, heavy deadlifts, heavy lunges stuff like that. Bigger fan based off the research that I’ve seen of doing this stuff for cyclists that I am doing it for runners. For runners, you gonna get a little bit more mileage of core work, single leg work and plyometrics. If you really had to prioritize your time.
Troy: Hey Ben and Brock, it’s Troy in Canada. For years, my massage therapist have told me that my left side is extremely tight. One even referred to it as massaging a brick. We don’t really know why it’s that much tighter than my right. I’m right handed, I worked on the computer all day but I stretch, I’m pretty active, I’m a triathlete and I’m also mostly deaf in my leaf ear, I have been for years. And it wasn’t until I read your article the other day on becoming a balanced Ninja that it came to me that maybe there’s a correlation there, maybe there’s something connected that my left ear isn’t working so I’m somehow compensating for that. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. Thank you.
Brock: This is the question I was thinking that would go well with that interview that we did with Eric (what’s his name) from… I’m just completely forgetting his name.
Ben: What you’d say? I’m sorry!
Brock: That would help this one as well.
Ben: What’s that? I’m sorry, can’t hear you. I’m just kiddin’. Yeah! So the link between the ears and the muscles, I’ve mentioned the vestibular system earlier and your whole what’s called your vestibular balance system which is based off the sensory information about where your body is at in space is provided by what’s called your vestibular apparatus and your vestibular apparatus which actually sounds like something that could impress someone at the bar if you’re bragging about the vestibular apparatus capacity, the size of your vestibular apparatus.
But anyways, the vestibular apparatus is part of your ear that includes 3 different little semi-circular canals and then these sacs basically that detect gravity, you know, these fluid-filled sacs and so when you move front to back or side to side, the fluid in these sacs detects that movement and they slash around so to speak and tell your head or your body out in space and vice-versa and then these semi-circular canals that are near to those same sacs, those detect rotational movement like rotating side to side, so we’ve got these whole system that detects front to back movement, side to side movement, rotational movement and so anytime your head rotates you’ve got these receptors that are sending impulses to your brain that are telling you what kind of movement is happening with your head and with your body. And you could actually train these vestibular apparatuses in the way that you take care of your body in what specific movements that you do. I talked about this in an article that I wrote for my book on how to increase balance and specifically some of the neglected areas that a lot of athletes kinda forget to train. It relates to that Z health program as well and again go listen to that interview that I did with Eric Cobb because we talked about this stuff too.
If you’ve got issues with your ears, it could affect your muscles for sure based off of this neuro link between vestibular system and your muscular skeletal system. So, you’ve got these what are called projection pathways starting from your vestibular nuclei on either side of your brain and those are gonna send signal to your spinal cord, to your thalamus, to a lot of your cranial nerves and so yeah, all of these stuff are linked. So, some of the recommendations that I gave in that article that I wrote to improve specifically your vestibular balance, one would be to just be really careful with loud music and loud sounds and something a lot of people don’t think about, electro-magnetic field radiation from your cell phone held next to your head. I recommend using an ear tube head set or using the speaker phone setting on your cell phone. So, never ever ever you know, my wife and I, we’ve got this rule of thumb where we pay attention to each other and if either of us see each other holding a phone to our ear we remind each other knock it out of our heads, yeah, exactly.
A few other things that can train your vestibular system would be to go unshod as much as possible or using minimalist footwear because big support of built up shoes do a lot of the balance work for you and if you have no feel for the ground and you’re spending your day in these “moon boots” essentially then you’re not getting a lot of those tiny little micro motions, those tiny little movement patterns in your feet that feed directly into your vestibular system so that’s another way that you kinda train your vestibular system. Single leg balance stuff like we’ve already talked about as well as doing stuff like on the bengreenfieldfitness phone app we have this big interview with Darell Edwards, the fitness explorer guy and we talked about fitness exploring in it and including in your workout you know, balancing on fences and real posts and rocks, fire hydrants, working some of these fun stuff and the runs and the outdoor workouts that can also help out quite a bit with literally training your vestibular system.
So, those are some things to think about if you’re deaf in one ear, I don’t know of any method, we talked about this visual gym and this Bates Method for the eyes. I don’t know of anything similar for the ears, I don’t know really to reverse deafness in your ear. So what I would be focusing on is a lot of these balance stuff, minimalist footwear and barefoot stuff, being careful with the electro-magnetic radiation, as far as like foods and supplements go, I think that one thing that really flies into the radar when it comes to your vestibular cocliar system specifically and the health of your ears would be folate and there’s actually a study that they did in The American Academy of Otolaryngology (I don’t know even how to pronounce that) the study of ears basically, the oto doctors and they found out that men over 60 who have a high intake of foods and supplements high in folates had a 20% decrease in the risk of developing hearing loss. So, folate is actually really really good way to (from the supplementation standpoint) enhance the health of your ears so to speak.
Brock: And if you have to get pregnant while taking it, it’s even better.
Ben: Yeah! Yeah exactly! So, you can have good hearing and babies. And folic acid is what you’re gonna find a lot of vitamins. I’m not a big fan of that. It is usually oxidized, it’s usually synthetic, there are some issues with folic acid that I don’t, I don’t have time to get into right now but if you’re looking at increasing your folate intake, I do not recommend folic acid supplements. I recommend you get your folates from food and the best sources of dietary folate are gonna be your leafy greens, your cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, beets are a good source of folate. If you soak them so that you’re decreasing the amount of lactin content, lentils are also a good source of folate, and then of course if you wanna get a little adventurous, you can do liver. Liver pate, cow’s liver, chicken liver, all those are really really excellent folate sources as well. So that from like a food supplementation standpoint would be something to look into would be the folate for kinda enhancing your ears so. A lot of talk about the ears and the eyes today, so….
Brock: Yeah, yeah. I like it.
Ben: It’s good stuff.
Brock: We’re usually concentrating on arms and legs. Today’s ears and eyes.
Ben: Today’s the, today we talk about your vestibular apparatus. Was that the last question?
Brock: That is the last question.
Ben: Sweet. Well, should we read a review?
Brock: Oh, I was just gonna have my banjo handy. Wait a seconds, I’m gonna get my guitar.
Ben: While you’re grabbing that, just this morning, I actually sent out a couple of care packages, care packages to people who left a review on iTunes. I sent you some books, I sent you some supplements but I sent all these care packages out this morning so if you leave a review on iTunes, then if we read your review on the show as we’re about to do for one of our lucky listeners, and you hear your review written, and you let us know that you heard your review written on the show, you send us your address over at [email protected], we’ll send you some cool shiz bang in the mail to your home.
Brock: Shiz bang.
Ben: So here is today’s review. It’s called “Taking Us to School” is the name of the review. And it was written by alldamnday28. Here’s what alldamnday28 has to say. Hola! Thank you so much for kicking this knowledge right to my dome. It’s great to get very insightful, healthy, long-living material, from your podcast. You guys keep it smart, healthy, and funny at the same time. This is the ultimate Steve Jobs Flow J O Steve Martin podcast. Boom. So alldamnday28, send us your address and you’ll get a care package in the mail for that kick-ass review. So, and for anybody else, leave a review, leave a ranking. Go to…. What’s the URL they could go to Brock?
Ben: And also, bengreenfieldfitness.com/love. If you wanna share the wealth. So check all that out. Grab the phone app if you didn’t grab the phone app yet.
Brock: At bengreenfieldfitness.com/app
Ben: Ton of extra interviews in there as well. A bunch of stuff. So check all that out and yeah man, I think that wraps up this week. And then a…..
Brock: Let’s wrap it up.
Ben: Let’s wrap it out. Play us out Brock.
June 19, 2013 Podcast: How To Use Hot Baths For Performance, Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes, How To Enhance Vision, How Your Feet Affect Your Butt, High Heart Rates on a Ketogenic Diet, Strength Training For Trail Runners, and How Your Ears Affect Your Muscles.
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 (if you hate the sound of your own voice) scroll down to the “Ask Ben” form.
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- Can Electrocuting Your Brain Improve Your Endurance?
- Whole eggs on a low carb diet are definitely a good thing – especially if you include yolks.
- Wow: When study participants drank sucralose, their blood sugar peaked at higher level than when consuming glucose.
- Very interesting in this study that sugar is *most* damaging in the presence of fat.
- Why you shouldn’t use an earthing mat or grounding mat.
- These Ramadan results indicate that intermittent fasting based solely on absence of food intake is beneficial for men only.
- Great article about why John Keifer is WRONG that all “cardio is bad”.
The brand new Ben Greenfield Fitness app – is your portal to all of Ben’s best fitness shows, special episodes, and videos in one convenient spot – including exclusive bonus content you won’t get anywhere else except inside this app!
2013 Thailand Triathlon Adventure with Ben Greenfield – details at pacificfit.net. Now including the pre-camp: It’s a “high end” triathlon training resort. Brand new facilities – check ’em out! We’re going to do coached sessions every day. It won’t be hardcore training as much as a focus on learning about nutrition, training, fitness, and how to “get the edge” in endurance, life and health!
Brand new BenGreenfieldFitness triathlon kits and clothing is available! Need a BenGreenfieldFitness triathlon suit or running/workout shirt? bgpromo13 is good for 20% off of anything.
If you’re looking for a topic we covered in the past – we have released the Ben Greenfield Fitness Top Hits, Vol. 1.
1. The Benefits of Fish vs. Fish Oil
2. The Best Ways to Stop Hair Loss
3. Increase Your Hematocrit & Oxygen Levels
4. Strengthen Your Immune System & Shorten the Duration of a Cold
5. Top 10 Ways to Boost Drive
6. Get Rid of Migraines Naturally
7. Become a Curvaceous, Lean, Ripped Female Athlete Without Destroying Your Health
8. Stop Side Stitches as Fast as Possible
9. Is It Possible for a Vegan to Be a Healthy Endurance Athlete
10. How Much Water Do You Really Need to Drink Each Day
As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
How To Use Hot Baths For Performance — Michael wrote in to ask @ 00:26:56
In your recent podcast, you mentioned that taking a 20-minute hot bath two days before a hard effort or race could be beneficial. Is there anything to the frequency of this practice? Currently, I’m training for for an iron-distance triathlon, so every Saturday is a long ride followed by a transition run (and Sunday is a long run). If I did a soak EVERY Thursday, would that be too much… or to a degree that the practice would lose its effectiveness as you reported?
Natural Remedies for Dry Eyes — Jenny says @ 00:34:09
She has had a problem with her eyes being really dry. She has used drops and increased her omega3s. That didn’t help and it has started to effect her vision as well. Her doctor told her that she needs to use a prescription eye drop for the rest of her life – and she really doesn’t want to do that! Do you have any tips on getting her eyes not to be so dry.
How To Enhance Vision — Benjamin wrote in to ask @ 00:42:15
I just found out from my optometrist that I may need vision correction, and of course, they’re recommending I go with contact lenses or prescription glasses. But I’m interested in whether there are natural ways to fix your vision or enhance your eyesight without necessarily using glasses or contact lenses.
~ In my response to both Jenny and Benjamin, I discuss The Vision Gym.
How Your Feet Affect Your Butt — Jim says @ 00:49:28
He has been rolling his feet out with a golf ball lately (after some hard training and racing) and experienced some extreme glute spasms later in the day while doing some yard work. Could the two be related?
~ In my response I talk about Glute Imbalances article Bret Contreraras.
High Heart Rates on a Ketogenic Diet — Ketoman says @ 00:59:15
He follows a ketogenic diet and checks his heart rate regularly. His HR in the morning is mid-to-low 50s. But lately he has noticed that when he does intervals (running or on the bike) that his HR goes bonkers (into the 180s) and his tires out quickly later in the day. Could it be a lack of carbohydrate for a workout that takes him out of zone 2 later in the day?
~ In my response, I reference this good article about how cutting carbs doesn’t decrease strength/power and also the podcast on ketogenesis with Jimmy Moore.
Strength Training For Trail Runners — Terry says @ 01:09:07
Is looking for some workout advice for his 17-year-old trail running son who wants to go to the gym.
~ In my response, I recommend this Trail Running Terror plan from TrainingPeaks.
How Your Ears Affect Your Muscles — Troy says @ 01:16:32
For years massage therapists have told him that his left side it very tight (like massaging a brick) and they don’t know why (he is active and spends time stretching). He is nearly deaf in his left ear and is wondering if that could be causing some of the tightness. He would like to hear your thoughts on that.