Episode #247 – Full Transcript

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Podcast #247 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/247-can-you-still-exercise-when-recovering-from-overtraining-what-is-the-best-blood-test-and-3-good-testosterone-supplements/


Introduction:  In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: Can You Still Exercise When Recovering From Overtraining, How To Push Yourself While Racing, What Is The Best Blood Test, How To Fix Exercise Induced Anemia, Natural Remedies for Tonsil Stones, Are Prohormone Supplements Dangerous and 3 Good Testosterone Supplements.

Brock:  So my living room is so warm right now that I’m only wearing boxer shorts.

Ben:  Yes, that’s always, it’s a conundrum for me really, the whole podcast with pants or podcast without pants thing.

Brock:  Yeah, really there’s no technical reason why we couldn’t always do a show pant less but yeah, right now I’m using heat as an excuse.

Ben:  Yeah, it kinda depends on the quality of your chair. There can be some logistical difficulties too if not wearing pants for you means you’re going totally combat style.

Brock:  Yeah, well I stand while we’re recording. I don’t sit during shows.

Ben:  Okay.

Brock:  That’s not a problem for me.

Ben:  See, I sit just because like the location of my microphone and everything, and so I sit when we podcast and so I do have to actually have something on for me. When I put on pants I get a little bit more professional so usually, I think a podcast listener could probably tell you know, and you tell me, folks listening in, you know, whether or not I’m wearing pants just based off of how professional versus unprofessional I actually am.

Brock:  Actually, that kinda sums up our positions in the podcast. I’m obviously the idiot of the podcast.

Ben:  Well, yes obviously.

Brock:  Since I’m not wearing pants.

Ben: Brock is always standing in the nude as we can all tell. Probably occasionally in like a thong and some hockey skates. You know I kinda go back and forth between like you know, the jogging suit, you know, I’m actually wearing, well right now I’m wearing surfboard shorts combat style so there you go.

Brock:  Nice.

Ben:  So today’s podcast will be…..

Brock:  When you said tracksuit I was thinking like Russian mobster, like matching Adidas thing, unzipped a little too far with a gold chain.

Ben:  Yeah like, it’s like the gray one from Rocky. You know, so like when he’s running through Chicago or whatever. Getting stronger.

Brock:  It’s Philadelphia man.

Ben:  Oh yeah, Philadelphia. The other US City. Alright man, what are you think, should we do this thing?

Brock:  Absotutely.

News Flashes:

Brock:  All right, cruise on over to bengreenfieldfitness.com/247 to find these studies that will make your sporting life and health life better and more beneficial.

Ben:  That’s right. Or your diet tastier. The first thing that I wanted to mention is ways that you can get health-promoting, endurance-boosting nitrates cause we’ve all heard about beet juice right? Beet juice is like the sexy grandchild of the sporting industry right now where everybody is…..

Brock:  That’s funny. I thought of hotdogs not beets when you said nitrates.

Ben:  Well you know, great minds think differently sometimes.

Brock:  Completely opposite.

Ben:  But you know, you’ve got a lot of elite athletes guzzling beet juice before a race and you know this article that Alex Hutchinson wrote in the Globe and Mail. Actually talked a little bit about nitric oxide and the release of nitric oxide that we get from beets and also he listed some of the other foods that tend to have a very very similar effect in terms of their nitrate richness and really they all have very similar properties. They’re all dark leaves, right you can get a lot of the nitrates that you get from beet juice or from beets by just eating the leaves of the beet and a lot of these other foods are similar. Swiss chard is one, rhubarb is another, arugula which I have growing outside in my garden and I’ve been making a smoothie in the morning, I go out there and just grab a handful of arugula, is another; celery and then of course beets. We have arugula, rhubarb, celery, Swiss chard, and beet as those top 5 sources that are gonna give you that nitrate rich boost in your cardiovascular system and you know what the one thing is that can shut that down, that can keep these nitrates from getting converted into the efficacious nitrites in your body?


Brock:  Eating hotdogs?

Ben:  You’re stuck on the hotdog thing.

Brock:  I am, I’m sorry.

Ben:  Is it because you’re standing pants less that you’re thinking about hotdogs?

Brock:  Shhh.

Ben:  The one thing that can inhibit nitrates from these foods from getting converted to nitrate oxide, you know what it is?

Brock:  It’s gotta be something to do with your saliva.

Ben:  Yeah, exactly because it’s, they are friendly bacteria that live in your mouth that convert nitrate in your saliva to nitrite.

Brock:  How about yoghurt?

Ben:  Mouthwash.

Brock:  Eating too much yoghurt.

Ben:  Mouthwash. Well anti-bacterial mouthwash, anti-bacterial toothpaste, that kind of thing. All that beet juice guzzling is for naught if you’re using Listerine or something like that so.

Brock:  Crazy.

Ben:  There’s 5 ways to get your nitric oxide boost whether it be for sports performance or interestingly even for like virility and sexual performance this stuff works and you know, the quality of blood flow in orgasm or whatever for guys or girls but also, you know, if you’re combining that with mouthwash, it’s really not doing any good so there you go.

Brock:  I actually, a company called Neogenis send me this stuff called Beety Leet, it’s like this little powder thing that you put into water and I’d be testing that over the next couple of races and just, you’re like supposed to put in into like 4 ounces of water and guzzle it like 30 minutes before a race and has supposedly the equivalent of 6 beets or something jammed into that little packet.

Ben:  Beety Leet.

Brock:  Let see how that works.

Ben:  Does it have like Captain Vegetable like jumping out of the can in the front of it? Like…..

Brock:  It does. Like Captain Vegetable’s holding somebody down….

Ben:  Captain Vegetable with my carrots and my celery. Remember that from Sesame Street?

Brock:  No.

Ben:  It’s an awesome show.

Ben:  You don’t remember Captain Vegetable? I’m pretty sure it’s Sesame Street. Anyways, we’ll have, maybe what we can do at the end of the podcast is we can find the Captain vegetable song and play it for everyone.

Brock:  Okay.

Ben:  So we always save little surprises at the end of the podcast. For today’s podcast we’ll see if we can hunt down Captain Vegetable and get ourselves get out pants suit off by public TV or whoever. I guess we’re not wearing pants so it doesn’t matter.

Ben:  Alright, so the next thing…..

Brock:  You’re welcome to them.

Ben:  Intramuscular triglycerides are a huge source of fuel during endurance and this was interesting. It was a study that came out that looked at what happens when you have folks exercise for a long period of time in a fasted state and what actually occurs is you get a huge huge drop in what are called intramuscular triglycerides or these are also known as your intramyocellular lipids. Essentially, there’ve been a few studies that have looked into this but one looked at moderate intensity exercise in endurance trained males in a fasted state and found that fatty acids from the muscle and intramuscular triglycerides were a very important substrate source during fasted endurance exercise. I’ll get in a second to why this could be important for you if you’re trying to boost your sports performance or to figure out what you’re supposed to eat you know, during endurance but the other thing that was interesting was that there was another study that looked at basically how your body taps into this intramuscular triglyceride and it was found that the, when your body is tapping into intramuscular triglyceride sources, your intramuscular triglyceride pool to use that stuff as an energy source during exercise, it can actually cause a little bit of an insulin response and cause your pancreas to have to work a little bit, to churn out insulin in order for you to be able to effectively tap into this adipose tissue and so it’s one of those things where there is a little bit of stress on the pancreas when you’re tapping into these intramuscular triglycerides even though they’re used as a really really potent source of fuel for you when you’re out there performing specifically endurance exercise and in this case, for this fasted, male endurance athletes, 60-70% intensity.


So this got me to thinking there probably is quite a bit benefit of giving your body an exogenous source of triglycerides while you’re exercising. This was something I experimented with. I rarely do this in my training ‘cause I’m big into this whole quality or quantity thing but I rode 112 miles on my bike. I went up to Ironman Canada, the Ironman Canada bike course up at Whistler and I rode 112 miles 3 days ago, on Saturday. And I took a bunch of the BulletProof MCT oil with me and I mixed that in with this SuperStarch stuff that I usually used so I had about 4 capfuls or so which is about 4 ounces of medium change triglycerides but I think that comes out to right around 300 calories or so and I put a few packets of SuperStarch in there as well and it was kinda like an oily type of flavor. Really really interesting but you know, the crazy thing is that I only, during 112 miles, I only consumed 600 calories and I was fine. I was just like, I wasn’t hammering hard the whole time, I was just kinda riding the course and checking it out and stuff but just felt great all day long so I may, and I’m thinking about doing this as like my Ironman triathlon protocol and possibly starting to recommend this to folks, I may start to introduce more of this kinda like MCT oil rather than just like throwing in to some just like you know, BulletProof coffee in the morning. Actually start to use this stuff during endurance exercise based of a lot of these studies I’m seeing in terms of the body’s preference that tap into these triglycerides is a very significant source of fuel so….

Brock:  Aren’t there a few of the guys doing the Tour de France thing right now using MCT oils?

Ben:  There is word on the street and kinda rumor on Jack Cruz’s forum for example there’s a lot of like high-fat intake enthusiasts over there that there are folks in the Tour de France right now who are only using MCT oil like that bike bottle that would typically be filled with Gatorade or whatever, it is literally just pure fat. MCT oil capsules and they have been studying this stuff in the military. We mentioned this stuff a few weeks ago in the podcast as a potential source of fuel as well. Just pure MCT oil. You know, it’s also expensive. That’s one of the things. It’s some spendy stuff and you know, I’m curious, what I need to do is go out and try and I’m thinking about doing that this weekend, go out and try just guzzling MCT oil during like a bike ride and then running for maybe 20, 30 minutes afterwards and seeing it if I wind up with nasty oily poo running down the back of my leg or something like that.

Brock:  That seems like the biggest risk.

Ben:  That’s in the back of my mind. You know, the oily poo.

Brock:  Do they call it danger pants?

Ben:  That’s right. Danger pants. One other thing that’s interesting, speaking of danger pants is gluten intolerance. Here is a really interesting study that came out that looked at the fact that there’s no effects of gluten in many many people who thought that they were gluten intolerant. They put these folks through a study where they compared the effects of gluten with the effects of what are called fodmaps which we’ve talked about in the show before but that’s fructose, oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, what is it, and polyols.

Brock:  Polyols.

Ben:  Something like that.

Brock:  Fermentable oligodimonosaccharides and polyols. Fodmap.

Ben:  If you think that you’re gluten intolerant, you may not be at all. It might just be that you are sensitive to these fodmaps and there are charts, I’ll link to one in the show notes for folks listening in where you can go print a fodmap chart, slap it on your fridge for a week, and avoid the foods that are high in fodmaps so we’re talking about foods typically like foods that contain a lot of fructose, a lot of melons, you know unfortunately in the summer are high in fodmaps, dairy is high in lactose part of fodmaps, a lot of legumes like kidney beans and baked beans and stuff like that, no surprise there. Apples, pears, a lot of cereals, anyways, there are some foods that are really high so you slap this on your fridge and just for a week try it, try eliminating fodmaps. I’m personally kinda experimenting with this stuff myself and I am noticing a huge change in terms of you know, like toots bloating here and there. You know, sometimes you like to start to run, start to work out and you gotta….


Brock:  Toots?

Ben:  You need to duck into the restroom to like, you know…..

Brock:  Did you say toots?

Ben:  Toots gas, you know?

Brock:  Yeah. You clearly have small children in the room.

Ben:  Yes. Anyways though.

Brock:  Grown men don’t call them toots.

Ben:  Toots. You know me, I got me some toots.

Brock:  I got badass toots.

Ben:  Anyways though, fodmap chart. Hang it on your fridge, check it out. And this is something that I’m actually looking into quite a bit right now for a few clients is this small intestine bacterial overgrowth issue. I think it’s something that a lot of people are dealing with. They’re unaware of the issues. They think they’re gluten intolerant, have nothing whatsoever to do with gluten but has to do with fodmaps. I suspect that maybe the issue in a lot of people and this study, when I saw it, it was right in the midst of me kinda looking into this stuff and it’s like boom. Maybe it’s not the gluten and not the GI effects caused by you know, bread and pizza and stuff like that. Maybe it’s these fodmaps instead and it turns out based on this study that many many folks, it’s the fodmaps not the gluten so there you go.

Brock:  But that doesn’t mean you should throw a whole bunch of gluten back into your diet like I can see on this, I’ve got one of these charts in front of me and wheat and rye, bread, crackers, cookies, pasta, they’re all on this elimination chart as well so it’s kind of stay off the gluten and also stay off the apples, apricots, avocados, blackberries, cherries, etcetera.

Ben:  Yeah but at the same time, let’s say you’re at an Italian restaurant and they got like a nice artisanal you know, slice of pizza, that kind of thing, you know, and you’ve just been completely, 100% strict, you know, totally gluten free, kinda like you know, whatever. Robb Wolf paleo-esque. Don’t go near gluten or it’s gonna destroy you. You know, maybe, possibly, there are a lot of people out there who could tolerate trace amounts of gluten, sane amounts of gluten in their diet, you know a loaf of bread a day or anything like that and be okay and maybe it’s a lot of these other fermentable foods that are causing these issues instead. Possibly due to things like small intestinal bacteria overgrowth and some GI issues so I’m personally through my private consulting business, you know, with the coaching calls that I do with folks, I’ve been walking a lot of people through a lot of gut issues and this is something I found to be more and more the cases is the combination of bacterial overgrowth and fodmap consumption being a big issue so.

Brock:  Right. Well we’ve gotta link to the fodmap chart in the show notes here and anybody who’s listening to this inside the app, if you just click on that little e, there’s a little lower case e in the bottom right hand corner, if you click on there you could find all the links laid out really nicely for you so just scroll down there until you see the fodmap diet.

Ben:  Yeah, it’s pretty useful, that part of the app actually. Like honestly, I would go through our own show notes and click that letter e button just because it’s super cool and it makes me feel warm inside when I see all our links that we worked so hard to put up right there for people so if you wanna feel warm inside too, that’s one way to do it.

Special Announcements:

Brock:  All right, this Friday, 6:30PM, you and Jessa are going to lead people to be your own diet sleuth.

Ben:  That’s right. I was talking to Jessa last night and she was telling me how Friday night I was gonna be watching the kids ‘cause she’s heading off to a party with some of her girlfriends and I said 6:30, you and me babe, we’re sitting down for the inner circle webinar where she’s been logging her diet. We’re gonna go through and show basically what kind of programs and apps are out there that are good for logging your diet and then how to interpret the numbers like how to interpret calories, carbs, protein, fat, macronutrients, micronutrients, all the data you can glean from something like that. I’m personally not a huge fan of logging your diet all the time but doing it for a week or doing it for a month, you can learn a bunch and so before Jessa heads off to that party, I’m gonna make sure she plants her butt in a chair for at least an hour with me and so that’s gonna be in the inner circle. Every month we do a new webinar, every month we do a new bonus meal plans, you know, I spend a few hours a week in there answering questions from people on the forum.


Kinda giving a little bit more time for thought to my responses and how I help people in like you know, the comments section on the blog or something like that so you know, it’s kinda a cool service. The whole thing about the inner circle is I just, I wanted a figure out a way to help people and not feel guilty that my kids were starving because I was doing it for 100% free so I figured 10 bucks a month, you can join the inner circle, you get a monthly webinar from me, you take advantage of the fact that a bunch of other people are doing it so you know, It’s not like you’re gonna pay hundreds of dollars a month for coaching from me instead it’s just 10 dollars a month and yeah, it’s the best 10 dollars a month you will ever spend unless you have like an Amazon prime membership or something like that which is honestly even cooler than the inner circle but you know.

Brock:  You know, actually, Amazon Prime sucks in Canada so maybe it’s really good for you guys…

Ben:  That’s what I heard.

Brock:  It’s totally useless. But anyway, during this diet, since I hope you actually you also cover how to ignore some of the feedback you get from some of those apps. ‘Cause I know like I’m following a low-carb high-fat diet and on days when I have like a BulletProof coffee for breakfast and then avocado salad for lunch, it, like alarms are going off and it’s like oh my God you’re killing yourself. This is terrible.

Ben:  The animated GIF of the heart exploding….

Brock:  Pretty much.

Ben:  Bursting in a flame of fat globules.

Brock:  A little hand reaches out and knocks the food off of my hand. So yeah, I hope you cover that information too.

Ben:  Yeah, we’ll do all that. And then the other thing I wanted to mention was that I’m in the midst of putting together our camp over in Thailand. We’re gonna be doing a bunch of, I’d be doing bike fits for folks….

Brock:  Oh cool.

Ben:  I’m gonna be doing run like track economy and efficiency drills. I’m gonna be doing like some video recorded swim lessons, we’ll be doing a nutrition workshop, breathing workshop, mobility workshop, yoga workshop, strength training workshop, bunch of stuff. This is at the 5-day camp at Thanya Pura that I’m putting on in Thailand on November and that camp kinda culminates in a race and then we go and party like in a few islands and then come back and do another race. Anyways, still room to get in on that if you have the freedom and flexibility to get away for a few weeks to Thailand this winter and you want to experience the adventure of a lifetime and also learn a bunch from me and some other pro triathletes and guest lecturers I’m gonna have at that camp. It’s pretty killer so it’s at pacificfit.net/Thailand so check that out.

Brock:  Sounds awesome.

Listener Q&A:

Chris Hughes:   Hey Ben. I just wanna say thank you for the awesome custom training plan you gave me. Before starting, I was overtrained and bouncing from injury, you know. I was probably training for like 20hours a week just killing myself and missing kind of my family and ultimately missing my goal for triathlon which is like the whole point of the training. You know, I used to be stuck at these giant heavy supportive shoes again just going from injury to injury and now thanks to you training plan and the strength training, I’ve gone from slow and big heavy supportive shoes to placing the top 50 of my first 70.3 this season. It was just might be a race and so I’m excited to see what’s coming and you know, I did that in racing flats. If you told me 12 weeks ago, I would be running in racing flats, I would be laughing at you. I’m thinner and faster that I’d ever been without all the injuries that would just constantly haunt me. You know, I look better. I don’t have the skinny fat syndrome going on. You know, the icing on the cake really has to serve as a minimalist training without any loss in performance. I just had so much time with my family and a much better balanced life. Looking forward to the rest of the season and I’ll see you in Ironman Canada. Thanks again.

Ben:  That is pretty cool. Chris was actually with me up in Canada 3 days ago. Chris and John and Tyler, Jim and Dan. Basically, a group of us guys just went up there and checked out the Ironman Canada course and we swam like about 4k every morning and biked 112 miles on Saturday and Chris and I actually went for a run on Sunday and kinda went on for like a half marathon run and got lost and winded up running almost 20 miles.


But yeah, it’s kinda cool for me when I’ve got a guy say like Chris who’s like following my triathlon dominator, or actually no, he’s not following triathlon dominator. He’s doing the deal where what I do with some people is you go at pacificfit.net and you fill out a questionnaire there and then I design a customized plan for your entire year based off the races that you’ve chosen to do and all that jazz and you know, it’s 500 bucks and I basically just lay out you know, which days you’re supposed to do which workout and you know, based off what your calendar is so it’s kinda like a hybrid between custom coaching and kinda like a generic plan. Chris did that and for me it’s cool to go out and train with folks who are following a plan like that that I wrote for them ‘cause you know, he rocked it. You know, he hadn’t ridden any longer I think ever in his life like 80 miles and you know, he basically hammered through the 112 miles. He got 4 flat tires but he still, he killed it and he was strong. He hung with me for 20 miles of running. You know, we went out there with no food, no water and just like you know, we were only planning on running 13 miles, we ended up running 20 ‘cause we got lost but you know, no food, no water, he hammered through that. Sat on my feet for 2 different days of swimming hard 4k, you know, and the dude’s just been doing my quality over quantity stuff, minimalist training, but it’s pretty cool to see you know, when I’m writing out a plan for somebody, you know there’s a difference between all doing zeroes and ones and emails flying back and forth and then me getting to actually meet them and see how the training that I have assigned to them is actually fleshing out and yeah. So I know Chris is a podcast listener. He’s probably sitting there with his ears burning but you know, shoutout. Just cool to see that you know, when I’m sitting down and looking at these studies and trying to you know take what science is telling us and apply it to training programs that lo and behold, big surprise.

Brock:  It works.

Ben:  The crap actually works regardless of whether or not I’m wearing pants when I write it, it works, I mean you, you know, this is me being the salesman now. I mean, you do what I tell you, you do what I say and if you’re trying to go after feats of physical performance, you know, follow what I tell you and it will work so there you go. There’s me bragging and I’ll now get off my soap box.

Brock:  I like it.

Mark:  Hey Ben it’s Mark in Texas. I’ve been diagnosed with overtraining syndrome where and it’s early on set. I’ve been prescribed like a month and a half of just rest and recovery ‘cause I’ve been going on for like 7 years and I’ve never stopped training. And so during this time of 6 weeks off, other than mobility and stretching, things like that, what are some things I could do to really enhance my recovery as far as what kind of supplements to take or resistance touch stuff to do. So I’d appreciate your thoughts. On that, ______ [0:28:22.3] and thanks.

Brock:  All right so this is actually a little bit of a follow-up. Mark asked us a question about high heart rate a little while ago and I guess since he’s been diagnosed with over training syndrome.

Ben:  Yeah and I have spent, I probably have been doing 4, 5 consults a week with people who are in a state of adrenal fatigue or overtraining in some stage of it or another. You know, they’re going out and their doing the metametrics panel, I forgot the name of it, it’s the 4 daily cortisol measurements and the 2 daily DHEA measurements that the adrenal stress and XDSI. They’re over trained, they’re adrenal fatigued, and they’re experiencing a lot of the issues that mark is experiencing. It’s crazy how many people have dug themselves out into a hole. Crazy. Blows my mind really and it’s sad and it’s scary. It’s stuff that you can fix though, and one of the biggest questions that I get is kinda similar to Mark wants to know here, it’s like what can you do. Because quitting cold turkey when you’re addicted to exercise or you’re relying on the release of the dopamine and the cannabinoids and everything else that you know, we kinda hit on on this last podcast that I did with Mishka Shubaly. You know you could check that out at bengreenfieldfitness.com, the podcast that we did about is it okay to be addicted to exercise. It’s kinda weird because some people will turn to exercise as a way to save them from smoking or drugs or alcohol abuse or something like that ‘cause exercise gives you ….

Brock:  Or overeating.


Ben:  Yeah or overeating or whatever. And then, you know, on the flipside, you quit exercising ‘cause you got overtrained or adrenal fatigued or whatever. It can be easy to turn to like alcohol and drugs or you know, or something like that or simply just refuse to stop exercising ‘cause you’re so just like addicted basically. You know feeling that you get. So when I’m dealing with people who have adrenal fatigue or who have over training syndrome, the last thing I do is tell them to lay over the couch because I know how hard that can be. Granted in many cases….

Brock:  They’ll probably ignore you too.

Ben:  Yeah, and that’s what happens and I have had people who have dropped out of my program because they simply refused to stop in most cases, swimming, biking, and running. They just won’t stop and they you know, and they’ll keep on floundering for years eventually until the body just poops out. But for the folks who kinda adhere to the program, you know the basics stuff that I work in especially for the first 4-8 weeks and this kinda depends on you know, we test as we go so you look at, even if it’s impossible to test cortisol and DHEA, that can be expensive, it can be time consuming but at least track things like your morning heart rate variability to see how things are responding as you go and you kinda keep your finger on the pulls of recovery of you know, sleep quality, mood, soreness, heart rate and heart rate variability, things of that nature. And some of the main workouts that will do you know “workouts” are yoga. Mobility sessions that involve a series of foam rolling moves you know, 10-15 minutes of foam rolling followed by a dynamic warm-up of arm swings, leg swings, balancing drills, a little bit of body weight core stuff, moving back into foam rolling and then finishing with some light restorative yoga. Doing like easy 20-30 minute nature walks. Doing a lot of fascia work, mobility work like golfballs, lacrosse balls, stuff like that using the break from training and the restorative portions of the workout to basically reinvent the body and you know, Brock as you being someone that I coach, you know that these are sometimes the types of weeks that I throw in to your program.

Brock:  Yeah, I say this is sounding very familiar to what I’m doing next week.

Ben:  Yeah, it’s kinda like the stuff that I’ll do with the athletes that I coach every 4 weeks or every 6 weeks or depending on how much I’m wanting to beat up an athlete to get them ready for something as seldom as any 8 weeks but for someone who’s recovering from adrenal fatigue and over training, I’ll take a similar recovery week and we’ll do like 8 solid weeks of just that kind of stuff: yoga, mobility, nature walks, easy movement. And we combine that with a lot of for example, the supplementation protocols that I talk about in my article on over training recovery and I’ll link to that in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/247 but we combine that with stuff like high mineral and   intake, high vitamin c intake, high intake of liquor root extract to kinda decrease the half life of cortisol and cause your body to churn out some of that wakefulness hormone that it needs. We’ll combine it with some herbal support from something like Inner Peace or Tianchi, you know, some Chinese adaptogenic herbal action. You know, and there’s a more comprehensive list that I’ll link to in the show notes. I won’t get into all of this cause frankly, I’ve written a free article on it and you can read over at the website. But you combine a lot of that stuff with you know, basic movement protocols and generally, if you’re not into deep state of adrenal fatigue, you can kinda wean yourself back into doing basic workouts within 4-8 weeks and when I say basic workouts, what I’ll usually start with is I’ll take someone from just doing like the yoga, mobility, easy nature walk, stuff like that, and I will take for example, one of those easy nature walks and I’ll start having folks stop and do some rock lifts and log lifts, maybe some pushups, some kinda fitness exploring type of work that still doesn’t send your body to that stressful structured running from a lion exercise message but allows you to begin to stretch your muscles and joints and heart rate and cardiovascular system a little bit. And then we’ll throw in some bear foot sprints or some real real short high intensity things like you know, hundred yard short sprints, 20, 50 yards, things of that nature. And then one of the first structured sessions that I’ll throw back in is super slow strength either with a suspension strap like a TRX or most fit suspension strap or doing like a super slow protocol at the gym using something like Doug McGuff’s Body by Science protocol where it’s lots of breathing, focus and quality of movement but again, no chronic repetitive motion.


The very very last thing that I add in and sometimes it can be a good 12-15 weeks before I add in this component is chronic competitive motion where it’s okay, we’re actually going out to go on a bike ride or swim or run or something that is metabolic conditioning roadwork because that’s the stuff in someone that is overtrained who often times has their parasympathetic nervous system really really beat up you know, if you test their heart rate variability, the number called there high frequency is really really consistently low you know usually because there are triathletes or marathoners that’s more often I’m dealing with those people with adrenal fatigue than I am with like a cross fitter who’s kind of an opposite sympathetic nervous system fatigue issue but with those parasympathetic nervous fatigue, the last thing we add back in is the swimming and the biking and the running because it’s important to realize that when you’re trying to recover from adrenal fatigue or overtraining, even if you’re doing like an easy swim or an easy bike ride or an easy run, if you’re a triathlete or a marathoner or a swimmer or a cyclist, those easy sessions send a message to your body that you’re training, that you’re running from a lion and you still get that hormonal depletion and it’s so easy for you to just turn into a depletion session and so that’s the very very last thing that I’ll add back in so that’s kinda like the crow’s eye view of you know, the type of things that I’ll implement in a program for overtraining recovery, you know and you know, this is something that people hire me to walk them through. I’m thinking about just riding possibly you know, just riding up a plan for training peaks or PDF of something that I can just you know, put out there for people to use but the problem with doing something like that is a lot of this stuff is customized like it totally depends on genetics and your micronutrient status and how deep into the hole you’ve dug yourself and you know, frankly require some hand holding sometimes to get yourself out of a situation like that. So, but those are some of the basics that I’ll start with if I were Mark.

Brock:  You know those wilderness fitness walk things are, they’re my favorite. I love those. Like you do come home feeling like you had a workout but like you said, you just don’t have that fight or flight stressed out feeling ‘cause it was unstructured and it was just goofy good fun.

Ben:  Yup.

Brock:  But you still get a good workout. It’s a nice way to fool your body into having a workout without thinking I’m working out.

Ben:  Yeah exactly. It’s like my you know, my little circuit at the park I do on Thursdays like you know, balance on park bench, jump off a park bench, sprint over to the like picnic benches, do like a snake crawl under those, or under the tree, do some handstand, pushups, jump up over the fence which is about 20 yards away from there and I’ll walk along the fence for a good 2 or 3 minutes, hop off the fence, I’ll crawl literally on the ground like a rabbit or a cat over to this big electrical box. Kinda do a muscle up upon to that, jump off that, land soft like a monkey, run off to this big, it’s like this big it’s almost like this pole that a sign is hanging from and I’ll do 3, 4, 5 pull ups on that and then run backwards, or sideways, or skip or bound or hop over to my original starting point and that you know, these are the type of workouts that Darryl Edwards talked about in his book Paleo Fitness you know, or on his website, fitnessexplorer.com. You know, just fun stuff. And you can do that kind of stuff when you’re recovering from overtraining, kinda in the later stages of recovery you know, after you’ve gotten, usually again about 4-8 weeks of kinda easy stuff under your belt and that’s a great way to kinda reintroduce your body to fitness and movement and you know, if you’re not over trained, that’s a great kind of workout to include once a week you know, do it with your kids or whatever. If you wind up in your local municipal jail house for climbing up on the elliptical boxes at your park just blame the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast. There you go.

Brett:   Hello Ben and Brock. This is Brett from Sandpoint, Idaho. In the latest podcast, Ben has been encouraging us listeners to push ourselves beyond our comfort zones to maximize our workouts. I have tried this approach but I’m having problems. I feel as if I am “saving myself” for that last push of a race or a workout. Do you have any ideas on how to go harder during the beginning and middle of workouts or races? Thanks so much.


Ben:  So Brett. You know, this reminds me of Andy Potts. Andy Potts is a professional triathlete and I had the pleasure of seeing him speak. He’s actually very dynamic. Cool speaker and I saw him speak at the Triathlon Business Conference in San Diego this year and he talked about his pre-race protocol that he uses to get himself pumped up to go hard when the race starts from the very very beginning and it was pretty hilarious. It’s like this combination of like spastic yoga breathing and like this almost like what do you call it, shamanic breathing pattern that’s like breathing in and like hyperventilating and breathing out really fast. It’s actually a technique that John Douillard talks about in his book Mind, Body, Sports. I saw Andy up on stage doing this a few months ago, John Douillard’s book and it was very very similar. It’s almost like this process of hyperventilation in a way but lots of crazy breathing, it was like 5 minutes he demonstrated on stage and the whole room was cracking up because he was literally filling his lungs with air over and over again and then building these breaths faster and faster and faster like panting and then he finished with one deep deep breath. He held it in and then he blew it out really fast and went through that a few different times and it was all the more hilarious ‘cause he was like pitting out in this dress shirt and just sat like huge balls of sweat building under his shirt but that’s what the dude does and he’s known for you know, in a triathlon, just like going off the front, the first 300, 400 yards you know, and that’s where he breaks from the crowd, right there and boom, he’s gone. And that’s what he does, that 5 minutes of breathing before his triathlon.

Brock:  Interesting.

Ben:  And I tried something similar, I tried something similar in Japan. We had no warm-up, no swim warm-up in Japan. You know, I went off the front with a few other swimmers and felt great the whole time so I’ll put a link in the show notes to an actual article that describes Andy’s swim routine. You know, if you wanna print that  out or whatever, his breathing routine that he does, so that’s the first thing that I’d recommend or go grab John Douillard’s book, Mind, Body, Sport and read, I don’t remember the page but he’s got, it’s like a hyperventilation kinda blow off kind of technique. So that’s one thing to try, these deep breathing techniques before you go out there and do the workout or the race. The next thing that I’d recommend, I’ll give you five recommendations so the first one would be to breath. The second one would be, and this is something really, you know, it sounds simple and stupid but when I’m at a triathlon, or at an event, I see most people not warming up properly. You know, a proper warm-up consists of several surges that take you up in the race pace that cause your body to begin producing its lactic acid buffering enzymes and cause you to begin you know, increase in the elasticity of the lungs and really opening up the blood vessels and a lot of people do like a light jog, light bike ride, light swim, whatever and you actually have to throw in some real hard race pace efforts – 20, 30, sometimes up to 60 seconds long – to really get your body into that state that it needs to be in to be ready to push hard when the gun goes off so to speak. So that’s number two, warm up.

Brock:  Yeah, I think people are generally worried about using up their finite amount of energy before the race starts so they’re standing around really still trying to conserve every bit of energy they’ve got and that’s really not how the body works.

Ben:  Yeah. Even before an Ironman triathlon, for example, you, those things start hard. You gotta be ready for it so warm up the right way. The next thing that I’ll use personally, is, I’m a big fan of music. That gets me pumped up. I grab like some of the podcast, find me on iTunes, I subscribe to Paul Oakenfold’s Planet Perfective Podcast, I subscribe to the Tiesto ClubLife Podcast, the State of Trance Podcast, Felix Cartal’s Weekend Workout Podcast, like for me, I’m a big fan of techno. Those are all techno podcasts and that’s what gets me pumped up. I suspect Brock that you’re probably like more of like an 80’s butt rock guy right?

Brock:  I’d like to call it hair rock but yes. Little Pantera, maybe some Rat.

Ben:  Right. Some mullet.

Brock:  Van Halen of course.

Ben:  Some mullet action. Anyways though, you know, there’s a reason that armies going into battle in history used drums and trumpets and things like that to get them pumped up, I mean you know, the crap works so you know, use music as well. Use an mp3 player to get yourself pumped up.


And you can have those tunes kinda continually playing in your head too as you’re out there pushing yourself which is nice ‘cause they kinda stick in your head.

Brock:  Yeah, having that power song to call on that you know when you’re starting to fall apart, just start singing it in your head.

Ben:  Getting stronger. The next thing that I’d do is count so for me, sometimes, especially if it’s a slow start, I’ll just be like okay, for the swim for example. For those firsts you know, 200 yards for the swim, I’ll just be counting the whole time like 1, 2, 3, left; 1, 2, 3, right; 1, 2, 3 left. So it’s almost like this distraction technique. I’ll also use that towards the end of like a race or a triathlon. I’ll literally count to 20 over and over and over again just to distract my mind to keep my body from shutting down and that counting technique can work really well also. It’s something that a lot of pro athletes would do, they’ll just like count to string themselves that last little bit. So that’s another thing that you can use, not just in the end but also in the beginning of an event. And then finally, number five, so I said breathe, warm up properly, use music, use counting, and then practice like, for example, I’ve got one workout that I’d recommend that I use and some of my athlete uses, it’s called my Swim Start Workout where it’s a series of 200 and 300 meter repeats where the first 25 or the fist 50 or just all out and then you take yourself into a cruise pace for the next you know, 100, 200 meters or for example, for a run, rather than easing yourself for a run, do a quick warm-up, you know, 5 minutes of you know, aerobic running with a few short 20-30 second efforts thrown in and then just push yourself, you know, rather than waiting ‘till the end of your run for a fast finish use a fast start. The same thing in the bike as well. Also, in your practice sessions, for whatever it is you’re trying to get ready for, try to go hard in the beginning rather than going hard in the end which is what most people really do you know, and that is, for example, like I mentioned how I you know, accidentally got lost and ended up running 30k this past Sunday, I went out and ran the 13 miles really hard ‘cause I was well not really hard but at a harder pace than would I have gone if I hadn’t been running 20 miles instead of 13 and it was almost like I tricked my body, I ran hard for 13 miles and then tacked another 7 or so on and you know, a lot of times folks would do the opposite, they would go easy for the first hour or so and as they’re going towards the end they start to run harder ‘cause the light that’s at the end of the tunnel and instead you push yourself hard at the start and you know, put your motivational music from the start, from the get going just like push from the get go rather than building into your pace so that’s another way that you can do things and you know, that can sometimes you know, treadmills and stuff like that came in handy to set the pace for you so.

Brock:  Yeah. Well practice really is the right word for it because you do have to practice at each pace so you know what you can and can’t do. If you start off really hard, there’s no way you’re going to be able to stay in this pace. Of course that’s a bad strategy especially if you’re in a race but during your practices, during your workout, go too hard a couple of times so you know what it feels like – where too hard is and where just hard enough is so you can gauge that when it comes to race day.

Ben:  That’s right. That’s right. And then illegal performing enhancing drugs is gonna be number 6 but I think we’ve got a question with  that later on anyways so we’ll save that.

Brock:  We’ll save that.

Julia:  Hi Ben and Brock, my name is Julia and I’m from California. My question is about recovery and this is the topic that of course you guys approach every week usually in some way but my question is about people who have a hard time recovering quickly and not even quickly. It takes me 3 or 4 days between running event or spinning. I have spin class to feel ready to do it again and to pass injuries. I don’t like to work out on sore muscles, on weak fatigued muscles, but at the same time waiting 3-4 days between just cardio sessions and don’t even get me started on weights, if I do weights, it’s usually 5 days. I don’t know if this is a diet issue or a nutrition issue. I’m looking at changing things in my diet but perhaps you have some supplementations, suggestions or some training suggestions even to rectify my situation of full recovery.


Brock:  Well, 5 days to recover from some resistance work, that’s a long time.

Ben:  Yeah, I mean, it can be, depends on the resistance work. There are for exam, I mentioned Doug McGuff’s Body by Science book earlier and he recommends a full week of recovery in between those slow resistance training exercises that he prescribes in that book and that’s because they’re just so freakin’ hard, I mean you really lay it out there and you’re really really pushing your body and taking yourself to complete fatigue if you’re doing those workouts properly and sometimes that takes a full week of recovery. I remember when I was a body builder, I would have some workouts where you’d have like chest day and if anybody touch your chest for the next 3 or 4 days, you know, you’d punch them in the face because you were so freakin’ sore. You know, after literally doing bench press, push up, declined fly, inclined fly, inclined press, declined press, and then finishing up with whatever, pushups to exhaustion you know, and you walk out of the gym 90 minutes later and you know, that is the type of thing that definitely requires a fair deal of recovery. You know, there are some workouts that are gonna take, heck, you know, there’s evidence that something like an Ironman triathlon will take a good 19 or as long as a month for recovery.

Brock:  It doesn’t sound like Julia is doing that kind of work though.

Ben:  No, it doesn’t. Which is….

Brock:  What she’s indicating is spin class, running, or doing some resistance band training, doesn’t sound as that intense.

Ben:  Exactly. So in this case I recommend that you get tested. One of the biggest biggest issues that I’ve seen with people who have difficulty recovering after a normal workout that they should be recovered from is that they’ve got some kind of a micronutrient deficiency going on. Some kind of a fatty acid imbalance, amino acid imbalance, vitamin b deficiency, vitamin d deficiency, low antioxidant status. Something in the body that is supposed to be there to help the body bounce back and recover the way that it’s supposed to, the way that the body repairs holes in the cell walls and you know, restore metabolic function, it’s simply not there. Probably the gold standard test, well not probably but sure, the gold standard test that I would do for something like this would be the MetaMetrics Ion Profile Panel. It’s one of those tests that is pretty gold standard. It’s not inexpensive. You can use something like Direct labs and I’ll put a link in the show notes for you but  that particular panel, it’s gonna run close to I believe 800 dollars but it tests for all your functional markers, for all your full vitamin b panel folic acid, for vitamin a, vitamin e, keratin, coenzyme q10, all your amino acids, your fatty acids, what are called your organic acids, your antioxidants like your lipid peroxides, your homocysteine, extremely comprehensive, comes with a very very nice little report that shows you exactly where you need to kinda like plug up the holes. I think everybody should be doing one of those about once a year. Whether you have a doc walk you through it, whether you just do it yourself and kinda like self-interpret the pdf, but that is, that’s one test I recommend everybody look into getting. Now, the other, if you really want to go gold standard and go after like the best kinda 1-2 combo of a blood test, you’d get that ion profile and you then you do something like a longevity panel. Longevity panel, I’ll link to that, that’s another, it’s gonna be another close to a thousand dollars so you’re looking at a good 2k worth of testing but this would be like once a year, you do something like this. And this again if you wanna just know everything that’s going on inside your body so longevity test has an inflammation panel and it looks into c-reactive protein, basically and it also includes a fibrinogen measurement, a metabolic and hormone panel so estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, thyroid, everything from a hormonal standpoint. Insulin, insulin growth factor, full kidney and liver panel so blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, CO2, body acidity, liver health, everything like that. Electrolyte status, so all your basic minerals. Your cardiovascular health, so you know, your lipoprotein, your cholesterol particle size, HDL, LDL, another measurement called Apo B, phospholipase, and you know that particular panel comes along with an hour-long consult with a holistic physician who’s able to kinda walk you through interpretation.


So if you were to put those 2 together, I mean I know that that sounds like you know, taking a nuclear bomb to the issue but if you really wanna know, beyond the shadow of the doubt and money really wasn’t an issue for you or you have whatever, flexible savings account, health savings account, if you’re here on the US, you can pay for this stuff tax deductible. That’s the kinda thing that I do. If you just need help recovering, I mean honestly like I could sit here talking for an hour about it in the podcast or again, like I mentioned my response to Mark when he was asking about recovering from over training, go read that, that pretty freakin’ comprehensive article that I wrote about on how to recover from workouts at bengreenfieldfitness.com and you know, I’ll link to it in the show notes again but it’s called 26 Top Ways to Recover from Workouts and Injuries with Lightning Speed. It’s the one with Wolverine.

Brock:  Wolverine.

Ben:  That’s right. Just because I like to toe the edge at how much it takes for me to get sued by marvel comics by putting photos of their stars on my blog but I would read that article thoroughly and take into account everything that I talk about in there you know, from compression to ice to you know, kinesio tape, foam rolling, EectroStem, just like look at all my recommendations and see which ones that are practically within your control to implement. I talked about supplements on there too like curcumin and proteolytic enzymes you know, magnesium salt baths, just all this stuff. And you’d be surprised, you put it all together, you throw it in your body post workout, you combine that with addressing micronutrients status, inflammatory marker status, stuff like that, and you know, the body bounces back. You just gotta give it what it needs so that’s what I’d be doing.

Ken:  Hi Ben and Brock. My name is Ken. I’m a 48 year old, healthy omnivorous guy. I don’t take any medication and I have no chronic health conditions until recently. I went to my doctor for my annual checkup and found out that while I have my normal density of red blood cells, my red blood cell size is on the low end of normal. Measured by the test called the mean corpuscular volume and my ferritin level is about 50% of normal. So while I’m not yet anemic, I’ve dug pretty heavily into my body’s iron stores and I am almost certainly headed in that direction. I have no symptoms of any problems with my upper gastro-intestinal track to suggest an ulcer. Now I’ve been a triathlete since 2008 and I’ve been competing in long distance events. My question is can you talk about iron storage issues and iron deficiency among endurance athletes? Are there particular stressors that endurance training places on the athletes’ ability to store iron? Thanks.

Ben:  Ken, the first thing is, dude, hemorrhoids. Mild hemorrhoids, just hemorrhoids in general. I’d get that looked into. I’d get that addressed.

Brock:  Yeah, even if they’re not bleeding very much that’s still….

Ben:  Yeah, I hate to use a word like squirting on the podcast but blood squirting from the hemorrhoids can definitely cause anemia, you know, in the same way that a woman bleeding every month can kinda you know, eventually if iron doesn’t get replenished in a dietary standpoint, there, you know, and you combine that with high levels of red blood cell turnover from endurance exercise, you can get some anemia-like symptoms so don’t blow off your hemorrhoids. That’s you know, coming from 2 guys who are pants less and underwear less while talking to you, I don’t know about you Brock but I definitely make sure I nip hemorrhoids in the bud if that ever comes up to be an issue which has only happened once from excessive bicycle riding. But anyways though, if your red blood cell size is on the low side of normal, that’s really not too concerning and even hematocrit and hemoglobin levels being slightly low, that’s pretty common in athletes, especially endurance athletes. It’s called sports anemia. You ever heard of that Brock, sports anemia?

Brock:  Yeah, we talked about it a lot on an episode that is actually available on iTunes.

Ben:  Yeah actually, if you go to the iTunes album, I talk about how to legally boost your hematocrit levels.


We’ll put a link to it in the show notes but what it comes down to and this is something I didn’t talk about in that episode is what’s called pseudo anemia which is naturally lower hemoglobin levels of athletes so what happens is that aerobic exercise specifically, it expands what’s called your plasma volume and this naturally reduces the concentration of your red blood cells so what I mean by that is when you exercise really vigorously, it will, in the short term, while you’re exercising, reduce your plasma volume by about 10-20%. There are a few different ways that this happens, you get a rise in blood pressure and this muscular compression of all these capillaries and that boost the fluid pressure inside the capillaries of your muscles and drives out plasma volume. You get a bunch of generation of lactic acid, another metabolite which increases the pressure in tissues and then all of these forces drive fluid not red blood cells but fluid from blood to tissues and then you lose some extra plasma water through sweat. So you get about a 10-20% kinda fluid loss and then in response to that, your body releases all these different hormones that are responsible for conserving water and conserving salt to bring your blood pressure back up right, ‘cause you lost all these volume so your body’s like crap I gotta get blood pressure back up. So it releases stuff like rennin, aldosterone, and another one called vasopressin and your body even releases extra albumin in your blood and when this happens, your plasma volume expands and even though, while your exercising short term, especially for like an aerobic session, your plasma volume decreases by 10-20% by the time your body has bounced back and responded a single bout of intense exercise, especially like a long or hard session, can expand your plasma volume or your plasma fluid by 10%. You can actually gain a bunch of weight from a hard workout because of this expansion of plasma volume and when that happens, when you get this plasma volume expansion of 10% and that can happen within 24 hours, mean, it’s pretty quick. What can happen then is, technically, your hemoglobin concentration is gonna test, if you’re gonna test it is below normal just because you’ve got this big expansion plasma volume without a subsequent expansion in red blood cell concentration and because red blood cell concentration is kinda synonymous with your hemoglobin levels, all that drops and that’s sports-induced anemia and really, it’s an adaptation of your cardio-vascular system really the result is that you become a better athlete but you may notice that this reduction in hemoglobin, etc. That’s why something like a taper before an important event works well because all of a sudden, your plasma volume has expanded and you tapering your red blood cells and hemoglobin get a chance to kinda catch up and then you’re sitting pretty once you’re ready to go out and really take all that fitness that you built up and do something that, whatever. Climb Mount Everest, do an Ironman triathlon, or do whatever reason you’re doing this aerobic exercise is so I wouldn’t worry too much about something like low to normal hematocrit or hemoglobin levels or low red blood cell size if you’re kinda testing yourself in the midst of your training and it’s not during a taper or a rest period, one would expect those numbers to kinda be higher up. What concerns me though is the ferritin being low because ferritin is a really critical iron storage protein and that’s one that does tends to be low in endurance athletes and that’s very very similar to like an iron deficiency anemia so there’s different forms of anemia like you can have a b12 deficiency anemia, you can have a folic deficiency anemia or you can have an iron deficiency anemia where either iron stores are low or ferritin which is your iron storage protein is low and this is something that you can definitely fix. There are 2 supplements specifically that I’m a fan of using when you have an issue with ferritin levels. One is called Lactoferrin and what lactoferrin does is it can actually act on your bacteria.


What happens is that lactoferrin kinda sequesters iron, it’s an iron transporter and it hides iron from bacteria in your gut which would normally be taking that iron and metabolizing it so lactoferirn allows your body to use the iron rather than allowing bacteria in your gut to use iron and so lactoferrin is something I talked about on the podcast as being a really really potent like bone-building supplement. You get it from Capraflex which is one thing that’s always in my refrigerator for when I’m injured or whatever. I’ll pop back about 8-12 Capraflex a day until that strain or sprain whatever goes away. But it’s also got a ton of lactoferrin in it and so that’s one thing that I’d really consider is using a good lactoferrin supplement and then the other thing would be some kind of a ferritin/iron supplement that doesn’t constipate you. ‘Cause that’s the issue with most of these supplements is that they constipate you and the best one that I can recommend, it’s a liquid, it’s a ferritin pyrophosphate that’s mixed with some bitters, some herbs to enhance absorption, it’s got some other stuff in there that keeps you regular so that the iron does not constipate you. It’s called Floradix and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. Floradix. Any time I put a link to something in the show notes by the way, and you buy it over at bengreenfieldfitness.com, you support the show, so if I’m gonna recommend this stuff to you. Do go over to the show and buy it through the show notes ‘cause that actually ensures that we don’t starve to death. But those are the 2 things.

Brock:  It’s the right thing to do.

Ben:  It’s the right thing to do. Lactoferrin supplement or Floradix. You could do both of those, frankly. That would help a ton as well and then get those hemorrhoids patched up dude for sure. And I think we’ve talked about natural hemorrhoid remedies and things like that in the podcast before so you can go search for that at the site but yeah, take care of that.

Brock:  This is a little glimpse of the health of podcast is made. I actually I believe I edited the part about hemorrhoids just because I didn’t want our listeners to have to picture that while they’re out for a run or something but Ben decided to talk about it a lot so sorry folks, I did my best.

Ben:  All right.

Zach:    Hi Ben. Can you tell me everything you know about Tonsil Cheese and what you can do to prevent it?

Brock:  Okay. Warning to everyone, do not just google tonsil cheese. The images actually made me gag.

Ben:  Yeah.

Brock:  I’m not a very squimish fellow but I gagged. I wretched a little.

Ben:  We like to call them tonsil stones. Tonsil stones is much much better than tonsil cheese.

Brock:  I’m sure the google images would be just as gag-worthy though.

Ben:  Tonsil stones though, if tonsil cheese just takes away your appetite and ruins your day as a better term to use, that’s what I’ll switch to, tonsil stones.

Brock:  All right.

Ben:  And these are just clusters of calcified material that form in the crevices of your tonsils. And they can produce bad breath, they can make it hurt when you swallow, sometimes they’re small and they don’t really cause any noticeable issues but they can get pretty big and these clusters can be fairly annoying. As you would probably imagine, based off of the cheese term, a big big part of this is related to the growth of bacteria and fungi. So many many times, you’ll find somebody with tonsil cheese or tonsil stones has some issues lower down in the GI tract, as Brock heaves.

Brock:  Stop it.

Ben:  With bacterial overgrowth or bacterial imbalance and so one really important part of this is addressing that and we’ve talked about that in previous podcasts but I mean, literally, just fixing your gut, destroying bad bacteria by using something like an oil of oregano everyday, taking a good probiotic supplement. Eliminating the type of things that bacteria tend to feed on like carbohydrates, starches, sugars, things of that nature and you know, really going after this from a bacterial standpoint, that’s number one. There are natural kind of irrigation type of remedies that you can use for tonsil stones and I do have some recommendations for you especially if you’re getting dragon breath from these things so one of the things that you can do is you can gargle with lemons and aloe vera juice and aloe vera juice or aloe vera gel is something that’s really really great for cleaning your tongue, for cleaning your mouth naturally but can also help get rid of tonsil stones naturally.


And all you do is you take some lemon which has some good vitamin c in it, which also helps to get rid of tonsil stones and you mix a few tablespoons of the lemon juice into a cup of warm water and you mix equal parts of aloe vera juice or aloe vera gel into that and you just gargle for about 1-2 minutes with that and then spit it out.

Brock:  You don’t swallow it.

Ben:  You could swallow it if you want to I mean aloe vera gel has some cool gut healing properties as well but another couple of things that work really really well as anti-inflammatories or natural anti-bacterials would be a combination of extra virgin olive oil and garlic.  Extra virgin olive oil and garlic, that’s another mixture that you can gargle. You can chew raw garlic cloves if you really wanna get bad breath but you can also make like a garlic-oil, mix that with an extra virgin olive oil and gargle with that a few times a day. So that would be another option. Any of these you wouldn’t wanna do in pill form because then your swallowing it, it’s going in you GI tract. It will have some anti-bacterial action there but not higher up which is what you wanted, kinda like upper tract. Apple cider vinegar would be the last thing. You can take a cup of warm water, you can mix a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into that, you can gargle with that a few times a day and that will help quite a bit as well. So we’re talking about all things natural anti-bacterial type of compounds like lemons and extra virgin olive oil and garlic and apple cider vinegar and aloe vera, and you’re just gargling with the stuff. Kinda more than one way to skin a cat there. I’m also a fan of course of the wild mediterranean oil of oregano. Make sure if you get oil of oregano, you get the good stuff. Most of it is just thyme oil which has a really really low carvacrol content. Carvacrol is active anti-bacterial component of oil of oregano so get a really really good oil of oregano. Use some of these others like lemons and garlic and extra virgin olive oil and apple cider vinegar, and you should be able to get rid of this stuff just by treating it like a bacteria, like a fungus and then go after the underlying issue which is the fact that your gut probably needs some of these anti-bacterials  as well and fortunately, many of these same compounds as I mentioned, if you’re using them as a regular component of your diet, can really really help minimize a lot of kinda fluoral overgrowth and gut overgrowth bacteria.

Brock:  You know if you take all that stuff like take the oil of oregano, garlic, some nice extra virgin olive oil, some lemon juice, and you throw a little bit of tonsil cheese in there, you’ve got yourself a stew.

Ben:  You’ve got yourself a smoothie or a stew. Yeah. Tonsil cheese smoothie. That will be the featured recipe on the facebook page this week.

Chas:  Hey Ben this is Chas from Ohio. My question for you is about pro-hormone supplements and the use of them. In the past 18 months, I’ve done 4 different month-long cycles of different pro-hormones with at least 3 months in between each cycle. Each time I focus on dialing both my peri cycle and post cycle supplementation, making sure to get hydrated, get plenty of sleep, even though I have been training pretty hard about 6 times per week with 1 day of rest. My ultimate goal is to build size and strength but specifically get the short term boost in strength that I get from this prohormones which allows me to increase my training frequency and the total time under tension which seems to lead to more permanent size gains. What I like to know is your thoughts on pro-hormones in general, any specific brands or companies you’d endorse or recommend? Also any tips other than a proper post cycle therapy to help restore endogenous hormone levels that you recommend? Thanks for all you provide to all fellow geeks out there. We love the podcast.

Brock:  I gotta say Chas sounds like he’s got it pretty figured out.

Ben:  Pretty figured out from like a muscle gain standpoint.

Brock:  Yeah. And the way he’s cycling on and off, he’s taking the 3 months between the cycles. Worrying about the peri cycling and the post cycling and everything it’s pretty good.

Ben:  Yeah, that’s something that you do have to do with pro-hormones is you have to have to cycle them if you’re gonna take them because it allows your body to return to its normal level of endogenous hormone production so anytime you’re using testosterone or any of these testosterone pre-cursors, you’re artificially increasing your testosterone levels, as a result your body generates far less, you know, if we’re talking about testosterone, far less testosterone than normal, and so you know that’s not really concerning when you’re taking the pro-hormones, once you get off them though, you feel like crap.


You’re body is used to all these endogenous artificial testosterone, you know, your testosterone to estrogen ratio is getting messed up and so you do have to use what’s called post cycle therapy when you’re on pro-hormones and we won’t get into the post cycle therapy as much on this podcast ‘cause I know we’re kinda pushing for time but the problem is that if you don’t cycle pro hormones, it can be tough on your liver, it can be tough on your own endogenous production so it’s something that you do wanna make sure that you do, that you understand how to cycle properly and I have to be careful of course, giving out recommendations like that on this show just because so many people who are listening to this are competing in event like triathlons and marathons and thing of that nature where they’re gonna be drug tested and stuff like this would be a big no-no anyways, you know, or they’re going after more natural means and let’s face it, prohormones can be kinda damaging to your body and the reason for that is because a lot of these side effects: acne and hair loss, breast tissue enlargement, or you know, what we affectionately call bitch tits in dudes, prostate swelling, you know, a lot of these hormonal imbalances that get created from dumping exogenous sources of hormones into your body and creating like a hormone milieu that can be a real real issue from a health standpoint. This is not stuff to play around with. It’s why there are, you know, that’s why even if I do not feel that our government should not be controlling drugs and pharmaceuticals per se, you know it’s the reason for President Bush I believe it was, who signed it, the anabolic steroid control act, in the process that really controlled a lot of these pro hormones from getting distributed willingly you know, over here in America because they can be so dangerous and most of them, if you’re gonna order them you gotta go over to like world-pharma.org and order them from the European Union just because they’re more available over there so if you wanna order like Andro or any of these pro hormones, something like that, usually you’re gonna be getting it from Europe. So the effects of pro hormone supplementation in terms of increasing muscle mass or increasing athletic performance, it kinda goes back and forth. You know, there have been some studies that looked at some pretty high oral supplementation doses with stuff like Andros in a dione or Andros in a diole and found absolutely no effect in body composition or physical performance and actually a decrease in HDL when, your good forms of cholesterol. We combine that with some of the like the possible pro-cancer effects and the effects on the prostate, on acne, on your own endogenous production of hormones which is why you get the testicular shrinkage and you know, the high amounts of testosterone getting converted to estrogen and the breast tissue formation, you know I’m not really convinced that pro hormones are worth it in my opinion. You know, as far as tips on post cycle therapy, to restore endogenous hormones, my main tips are cleanse your liver first of all, ‘cause it’ll be super beat up from trying to metabolize all these estrogens that are getting converted so you’re gonna have to use you know, stuff like acetylcysteine is a good liver cleanse. Silymarin or milk thistle extract is a good liver cleanse. A lot of these stuff I recommend for women, for estrogen dominance, you know those are the same type of cleanses that you’re gonna have to look into using for something like pro hormone therapy. You really wanna stay away from alcohol because, again, your liver will be pretty beat up from metabolizing all the extra estrogens. You know, as far as kinda flushing out your body, there is one product called Nolvadex and that’s basically, you know, it’s not an over the counter drug but it’s what’s called a selective estrogen receptor modulator. It’s an anti-estrogen, it helps to keep your body from basically taking all this extra testosterone and converting them to a bunch of estrogens, it’s not that safe. It’s also known as Tamoxifen. Stuff that can cause like birth defects if women are taking it. It’s, you can get it from the same place you can get pro hormones which a lot of these EU websites but again, I’m a bigger fan of going after stuff naturally which is you know, I’m almost kinda blowing off the part of this question about pro hormone cycling.


Instead, I’d recommend you just use natural testosterone precursors. So there are decent testosterone herbal support formulas out there and frankly, all of them will at least, they give you a little bit of improvement in your mood, in your competitive drive which can help you life more at the gym. They’re not gonna turn you into complete freak of nature you know, testosterone and andro would but they’ll at least allow you to get some benefit without a lot of these downstream side effects so I would say there’s 3 testosterone supplements that I tend to kinda cycle between for herbal testosterone support. They’ve got a lot of similar ingredients but I’ll throw it out there for you. I’ll put a link in the show notes. The reason I’ll tell you 3 is frankly, this stuff is so popular these days that it will tend to be sold out depending on when you happen to land on the website where you’ll buy this stuff from. One would be called Renew Male, it’s a mix of cordyceps and rhodiola, it’s got some tribulus in there, it’s got eurycoma in there which is a really really popular. You’re gonna find that in a lot of different testosterone support herbal formulas cause it’s, it can increase DHEA and testosterone and growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor and then also, norvaline and a little bit or an aroma taste inhibitor. So Renew Male is one and that one, any of these you’d cycle, preferably 5 days on 2 days off, and then just have 3-4 months during the year when you’re not taking this stuff at all but Renew Male would be one and that’s very very similar to the formula, I’m kinda privately trying to make for my rev supplements that I’ll launch later on this year so Renew Male. Another one is made my Mike Mahler, it’s called Aggressive Strength. A little bit different than Renew Male. That one is a combination of bulbine and bulbine is an herb. It’s kinda similar to tribulus and it has some pretty decent studies behind it. Stinging nettle root which supports your free levels of testosterone as well as DHT and it also helps to kinda keep your sex hormone binding globulin under control which can decrease the amount of free testosterone that you have available and then Mucuna which is something that’s really really cool cause it can help you produce more dopamine and nuero transmitter but it also supports growth hormone production, it reduces your prolactin formation which can help to optimize testosterone levels so kind of a different formula which is why sometimes it can be useful to cycle between formulas as you go through the year but that’s another good one is the Mike Mahler Aggressive Strength formula. And then the last one that I’m using right now, again cause I kinda cycle between testosterone supplements and again, for me, I’m not really going after muscle mass as much as frankly my biggest boost and I don’t wanna be crass or anything but you know, I have better erections and better sex and better ejaculation when I use this stuff. Any testosterone herbal support formula.

Brock:  Makes sense.

Ben:  I notice it more in the bedroom than I do with my workouts so you now, for me it’s kinda like bedroom living for science but it’s the Onnit T-Plus formula. And Onnit stuff it’s also got the Mucuna in it. They add some branched chain amino acids in it, it has the eurycoma in it that the Renew Male also has in it. It is a powder, it’s like a watermelon flavored powder that you mix in the water and you take it like a half hour before workout or half hour before sex. It’s got some red clover, some isoflavins in there that help you kinda not convert testosterone into excess estrogens so that’s another one. So those would be my top 3 testosterone support formulas would be Renew Male, the Mike Mahler Aggressive Strength and the Onnit T-Formula. There’s nothing wrong with kinda cycling between all three, kinda throughout the year, weekly about 5 days on, 2 days off or just like dose with this stuff when you plan on having whatever like a big night with your significant other or you’ve got a whatever, a tough game or a race coming up and you want a little bit of an extra boost. None of them are gonna cause you to be pulled aside and kicked out of whatever like a, you know, a triathlon for testing positive.


All this stuff is just natural herbal support formulas somewhere like eating spinach basically. And then the last thing I would mention cause I know we are getting long in this podcast would be, I’d put together a muscle gain formula. It’s not a testosterone support formula, it’s a muscle gain formula designed to enhance growth hormone release, designed to enhance recovery. It’s a combination of a cold-processed goat based whey protein, colostrums, which is a growth hormone precursor and then amino acids. I’ll link to it in the show notes but it’s essentially just like this box that you get in the mail. It’s those 3 things. You get a bottle of the master amino pattern, bottle of colostrums, a big tub of cold processed, it’s a goat-based whey protein so super duper bio available. Most of the packages I’m putting together now kinda change the way I do things. They all ship from a warehouse over at Philadelphia so shipping to the USA is free and then I just you know, push these stuff out as rock bottom a cost as possible so I’ll link to that, that muscle gain pack in the show notes as well. That’s over at pacificfit.net you know, you put something like that together like a good herbal testosterone support formula and you know, you’re sitting pretty and you don’t have to spend a bunch of money on pro hormones or worry a lot about those side effects in the cycling and all that jazz that kinda tends to be a headache so there you go.

Brock:  So presuming the things that were meant to mitigate the side effects sounded equally dangerous so fixing something with somethin’ that’s also bad ain’t a great idea.

Ben:  Yeah. So there you go and hey, what do you say, should we read a kick-butt review before we play the Captain Vegetable Song?

Brock:  I think that is a fantastic idea.

Ben:  All right. So the deal is, if you leave a review of this podcast on iTunes and you give it a star rating, if you hear us read your review and then you write into the show and you let us know that you heard us read your review, we send you, I personally send you a care package from my office. Usually it’s like a ……

Brock:  Personally made up of crap that’s on Ben’s desk.

Ben:  Some tonsil cheese. No like a Ben Greenfield Fitness t-shirt and you know, usually I’ll throw out like a CD or a DVD or a book in there. Some supplements, stuff like that. So here is a review from claptonfan who says get fit back, check. Leave pain behind to get life back, check. And here’s what claptonfan has to say. Even though I love fitness studies and advice that I get from Ben and Brock, and Brock’s assorted collection of musical instruments, the reason I want to leave this review is not about fitness. You see, growing up, I underwent around 80 surgeries and procedures for my kidney. One of which cut my right lower thoracic nerve by accident. Before the nerve, I’ve been a 4-year varsity athlete but since I can’t seem to get my life in order by the pain and medications. For the advice that Ben gave me, I was able to go to my doctor and we’re able to set me up with a lower dose of my meds and increased focus on nutrition and vitamin supplements. Ben and Brock, there are enough thank yous in the world that I can give to you. One day, I hope to become an accomplished doctor and shake your hand. Please give this podcast a try. I’m glad I did. So there you go.

Brock:  Very cool.

Ben:  Leave pain behind, get life back.

Brock:  Although you don’t have to be a doctor to shake our hands.

Ben:  That’s right. We shake hands with everybody, not just doctors.

Brock:  Yeah, everybody.

Ben:  So claptonfan1992, if you heard your review, let us know. We’ll send you some cool stuff in the mail and now it is time for Captain Vegetable.



July 10, 2013 Podcast: Can You Still Exercise When Recovering From Overtraining, How To Push Yourself While Racing, What Is The Best Blood Test, How To Fix Exercise Induced Anemia, Natural Remedies for Tonsil Stones, Are Prohormone Supplements Dangerous and 3 Good Testosterone Supplements.

Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right, use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form… but be prepared to wait – we prioritize audio questions over text.

Please don’t forget to give the podcast a comment/ranking in iTunes – it only takes a minute and you could win a BGFitness care package!


News Flashes:

You can get these News Flashes hot off the presses if you follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfieldFacebook.com/BGFitness and Google+.


Special Announcements:

This Month’s InnerCircle webinar – is on Friday, July 12, 6:30pm Pacific time and is entitled: “Be Your Own Diet Sleuth“. You’ll get the in’s and out’s of analyzing and interpreting your own nutrition and food intake – and the best resources and tools to track your diet.

The Ben Greenfield Fitness phone 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!

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


Listener Q&A:

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

Testimonial from Chris Hughes @ 00:23:14
He’s loving his custom training plan from Ben and can’t wait to race Ironman Canada.

Can You Still Exercise When Recovering From Overtraining? – Mark says @ 00:27:46
He has been diagnosed with early stage over-training syndrome and was prescribed 1 month to 1.5 months of rest and recovery (he has been training for 7 years straight). He is wondering what he can do to speed his recovery along (supplements, stretching, mobility exercises, resistance training).

~ In my response to Mark, I recommend this article on overtraining recovery.

How To Push Yourself While Racing – Brett says @ 00:39:32
She is wondering if you have any tips on how to go harder in the beginning and middle or races and workouts? She feels like she is “saving herself” for the last push of a race or workout.

~ In my response to Brett, I mention how Andy Potts breathes before a race.

What Is The Best Blood Test? – Julia says @ 00:48:58
She usually takes 3 to 4 days after running or a spin class (5 days after resistance work) to feel like working out again. Could this be a diet or nutrition issue that is causing her to recover so slowly?

~ In my response to Julia, I recommend a micronutrient analysis – specifically the ION Profile w/40 Amino Acids-METAMETRIX KIT. I also recommend the Longevity test and my article on how to recover quickly from workouts.

How To Fix Exercise Induced Anemia – Ken says @ 00:57:01
At a recent checkup at the doctor he found out that although his hematocrit and hemoglobin levels are normal, his red blood cell size is on the low side of normal (mean carpuscular volume) and his ferritin is about 50% of normal. He is not yet anemic but he is headed that direction. He has some mild hemorrhoids but they do not bleed. He had a colonoscopy that was normal. No ulcers. He is an avid triathlete and is wondering if the sport may have caused this issue.

~ In my response to Ken, I recommend he listen to “Legally Increase Your Hematocrit & Oxygen Levels“. I also recommend he introduce a lactoferrin supplement and Floradix.

Natural Remedies for Tonsil Stones – Zach says @ 01:07:28
Wants to know more about Tonsil Cheese and how to get rid of it.

~ In my response to Zach, I recommend Oil of Oregano.

Are Prohormone Supplements Dangerous and 3 Good Testosterone Supplements – Chas says @ 01:13:11
He has been using prohormones supplements. In the past 18 months he has done 4 different long cycles with 3 months between cycles. He focuses on dialing in his pericycling and postcycle supplementation and gets plenty of sleep and stays hydrated even though he is training hard. He wants to build size and strength but he really likes to get the strength boost that leads to better size gains. What are you thoughts on prohormones and do you have any tips other than postcycle therapy to restore endogenous hormones?

~ In my response to Chas, we discuss these prohormone supplements. I recommend this Muscle Gain Pack and a good herbal testosterone blend like RenewMale or Aggressive Strength or Onnit T Plus.

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/247-can-you-still-exercise-when-recovering-from-overtraining-what-is-the-best-blood-test-and-3-good-testosterone-supplements/


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