October 9, 2013
Introduction: In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: Special episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast straight from Kona, we answer all your questions about travel and how to stay healthy while doing it.
Welcome to the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast. We provide you with premier exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon, and wellness advice from the top fitness experts in the nation. So whether you’re an ironman triathlete, or you’re just trying to shed a few pounds, get ready for non-run-off-the-mill, cutting edge content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Brock: So what’s happening, Ben?
Ben: Well, Brock…
Brock: Why are you breathing so funny?
Ben: I’m wearing an altitude training mask.
Brock: An altitude training mask, nice.
Ben: Just a minute. Let me move this off of my face.
Brock: That’s not conducive to good podcast.
Ben: I’m gonna turn blue in the face any second. Take that off.
Brock: That’s better.
Ben: I do have to admit though that looking and feeling like Bane from the movie Batman is just this feeling of intense superiority combined with hypoxia and mild light-headedness.
Brock: You actually look quite terrifying with that on, I have to admit.
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: You got a very sinister look on you, in your eyes.
Ben: By the way, speaking of looking terrifying, we should mention the fact that in this special episode of the podcast, we’re recording this entire episode via video.
Brock: Video and audio, look at us.
Ben: Sitting on the back porch of our condo here in Hawaii at Ironman Hawaii. So for those of you who happen to be premium subscribers of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast…
Brock: You’ll be able to see that we’ve both been freshly leid.
Ben: You can see that both Brock and I have been freshly leid, meaning that we are wearing fresh leis around our neck, not – what were you thinking? Sickos. And we are also wearing the brand new Ben Greenfield Fitness t-shirts which – Oh, nice. Brock just turned around to show off the back. But we’re gonna be sending out these t-shirts from now on along with hats and water bottles to people who leave iTunes reviews. So, this is the new swag. All sorts of jazz going on. But we’re down here because I am gonna do a little work out.
Brock: A little eight, nine hour workout. Hopefully that’s some 10-hour workout.
Ben: Called Ironman Hawaii on Saturday. And so on this special episode, we actually put out Facebook post early this morning. And we got a bunch of questions from you guys about travel. We wanna focus on healthy travel tips, whether you’re into triathlon, or fat loss, or you’re just somebody who wants to maximize your mental and your physical capabilities while you’re on the road, in the air, on your moped, riding a motorcycle trip across the Himalayas, whatever it is that you do.
Brock: That sounds like fun.
Ben: That does sound like fun. We should do that. We’re gonna answer all your questions, and…
Brock: Maybe not all of them. There’s a crap load of them.
Ben: Is there a lot of them?
Brock: I didn’t realize that this many people are interested in how not to get sick…
Ben: We can skip the ones about how not to contract herpes while you’re gallivanting about Asia. Anyways, then we’re gonna answer all those questions. And first – what is first?
Brock: Why don’t we talk about audible, our sponsor for today.
Ben: Let’s talk about travel, ‘cause here’s something interesting. Travel is really for me personally, I don’t know about you, Brock, for me travel is a way to satisfy my needs to constantly be – like making life more fulfilling, making life more interesting. So, and this is about as cheesy, woo-woo and airy-fairy as I promised I’ll get during the whole episode. But I read a book, or started reading a book on the way down, on the plane, called “Die Empty”. And what Die Empty is about, and you can find this over on our – I have to give you the correct url, so that audible, the good folks at audible can track the podcast. Go to audiblepodcast.com/ben.
Brock: That’s audiblepodcast.com/ben.
Ben: But it’s about this idea that we think that we’re always gonna have tomorrow to do our most important work or our most valuable work, But the fact is that tomorrow’s gonna run out a lot faster than we think and so, it’s all about living life not selfishly in the present but kinda like embracing this concept of mini retirements, and going out and enjoying life and I’ll like swing ‘til you’re seventy in a diaper.
My apologies to all our seventy-year-old listeners who I just offended.
Brock: That’s a little early to be in a diaper.
Ben: Yeah. I hope I get to ninety before the diaper. I mean, it could happen.
Brock: It could happen.
Ben: Anyway, though, Die Empty. Check it out at audiblepodcast.com/ben if you need some inspiration to inject some excitement and some fulfilment into your life.
Brock: I love the idea of the mini retirement. I like to live that way, too.
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: I don’t own a lot of stuff. I don’t even own a car but I do travel a lot because that’s a – it’s a great way to expand your horizons, learn more about this world and feel good about your existence, I think.
Ben: That’s right.
Brock: I need some delicious food.
Ben: Delicious food! So speaking of expanding your horizons, what say you, shall we jump into today’s episode on travel?
Ben: And by the way, well Brock’s pulling up the questions on Facebook. If you’re a brand new listener, usually this show rocks with special music and transitions, and a ton of audio editing and today, you’re just getting kind of the crappy version of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Brock: It’s not crappy. It’s just stripped down.
Ben: Yeah, the stripped down version.
Brock: Remember in the nineties…
Ben: The unplugged version.
Brock: Exactly. Back in the nineties when everybody put out cheap albums and they called them “unplugged”? That’s -this is…
Ben: This is Ben Greenfield Fitness (Unplugged). Let’s call this episode The Ben Greenfield Fitness Unplugged Travel episode. There you go. So let’s jump into your guys’ questions. Oh by the way, something we totally forgot to mention.
Ben: The book launched this week. The book!
Brock: That’s very wonderful. What else is going on?
Brock: Three days in a row.
Ben: The number one book in health. The number one book in triathlon. My publisher tells me that – as a golf cart drive by –
Brock: The garbage truck just drove by.
Ben: My publisher tells me this book is selling 150 copies an hour right now. So if you’re not in on that party, you can get in on it and get over 5,000 dollars in swag…
Brock: But you have to do that – hopefully, if you’re up for 5,000 dollars of the swag.
Ben: Raffles, giveaways, preorder with the swag engine 3 days. So if you’re listening to this on Wednesday, October 9th, which is when they’re releasing this podcast, once I cross the finish line of Ironman Hawaii, you’ve got about 12 hours left to preorder your copy. Everything that you need to do it- Barnes &Nobel, Amazon, wherever good tasty books are sold. You can get it at beyondtrainingbook.com. Kindle electronic version is not out yet but if you want to get in the know once that’s out, fill out the tiny little email address form right there at beyondtrainingbook.com, you know you’ll get a hidden chapter that tells into all the special medical testing I did on my heart to see what ten years of extreme endurance would do to your cardiovascular system and the morphology of your heart, but you’ll also get an email from us as soon as Kindle version goes live. So, check it out beyondtrainingbook.com. This is pretty much the last book you’ll ever need to guide you through training, nutrition, life, bio hacking, everything, it’s all in there along with tons of goodies, hidden chapters, bonuses, and swag, like squatty potties and stuff like that.
Brock: There’s a lot of squatty potties to be given away.
Ben: A lot of squatty potty going on.
Brock: First prize winner gets two of them so just in case you need to poop in more than one bathroom. There you go.
Listener Q and A:
Ben: So after having bored you guys for like eight minutes, let’s jump into our Q and A.
Brock: Anybody who’s watching the video will see that I have to hook the computer very close to my face. Okay.
Ben: And if you need to watch the video, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium . Check out the video.
Brock: Okay, Steve says, “I traveled a lot for the past year and I had trouble sleeping in hotel beds. My fiancé thinks it’s because I am now old”. He’s forty-six. “Do you think this is more of a nutritional thing? My eating habits change or get worse when I’m traveling. Or is it a mental thing? Do you have any recommendations?
Ben: Well, everybody has trouble sleeping as they get older.
Brock: Is that true?
Ben: You actually – yes, you do. You get less sensitive to a substance called GABA –gamma amino butyric acid as you get older. Now GABA is something you’ll find in a lot of sleep supplements, sleep capsules. You’ll find GABA in something I recommended in the past couple of podcasts – as really good relaxant and a really good sleep aid–passion flower extract. You’ll find GABA in the stuff that I saw Brock slam last night –Somnidren GH –
Brock: Oh, that stuff’s good.
Ben: -which throws you into a – one of the athletes I coach describe as Somnidren-induced coma.
Ben: But you actually, as you age, in the same way that as you age you become say, less able to digest proteins. You simply produce less hydrochloric acid. You get less protein digesting enzyme released into your blood stream, or into your gut, rather, your stomach. The same thing happens to GABA. So gamma amino butyric acid, you lose sensitivity to that. What that means is that you also get a little bit less efficacy from melatonin. Now the kinda potent one to combo here is that as you get older, you also produce less melatonin naturally. So your pineal gland in your brain up inside your head is actually releasing less of the specific compound that helps you to sleep and also helps your neurons to repair as you sleep. So not only do you sleep less soundly but you wake up more groggy. And you have a little bit more –Brock’s screensaver just came on telling us it’s 1:59PM.
Brock: It’s very nice of it to tell us that.
Ben: So basically you kinda have that one-two combo, less GABA so less deep sleep, less neuronal repair while you are sleeping and less melatonin release. And it just doesn’t have to do with the hotel beds.
Brock: So his girlfriend’s right.
Ben: So, your girlfriend’s right,
Brock: He’s getting old.
Ben: It could be because you’re getting old. I’ve even found –I mean I’m not old. I just turned the clock past thirty, I’m thirty-one now. I even noticed I have a little bit more difficulty sleeping now than I did when I was twenty-something college student I pretty much crashed just about everywhere I went. And I could sleep on the floor –
Brock: Passing out.
Ben: Floor of a hotel room after a few beers. And I was good to go.
Brock: That’s not actual sleep. That’s unconsciousness.
Ben: Yeah. There are shreds of truth to Brock’s observation. So anyways, what this comes down to is that first of all, you can totally hack this. How could you hack it? You could use something like a passion flower extract. Get it off Amazon or wherever. You can get it mixed in ethanol. You can get it mixed in a non-alcohol solution. Both work equally well in my opinion. I’ve experimented with both. You could get this Somnidren GH stuff. It’s made by a company called Millennium Sports. That’s another good option for the GABA and you could take that at the same time as the passion flower. And then a third thing you can add in to that, and all of these will play nicely with one another, would be melatonin. And I do not recommend a melatonin taken orally. I recommend now these slow release patches. And again you can find them on Amazon, wherever, a lot of times they release other natural relaxants like St. John’s wort in your bloodstream while you’re sleeping. You put them on. If you take melatonin too close before you go to bed, you actually wake up when it hits your bloodstream. So take it about 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. And that will really help. Yeah, especially if you’re struggling to sleep more as you get older. And those would be the primary things that I would do to kinda overcome the issue with age, sleep, and travel. And then just bolt loads of Valium, of course.
Brock: Yes, of course. Actually, I was gonna say red wine. Actually Valium and red wine, they usually go together.
Ben: Diazepam and booze.
Brock: That’s something I learned from David Bowie. Valium and red wine. Potent combo. Actually here’s a question for you. We should have discussed this before the show started. Are we gonna put together show notes or do people have to read…
Ben: Yeah. Why don’t you pull out a little text doc, we’ll remember to throw in some show notes there. So far the things I’ve mentioned have been the passion flower extract, the Somnidren GH, and the melatonin sleep patches. So the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/259 will make sure, we’ll put links in there to the stuff that I personally use, just in case you wanna not have to navigate the wide world of confusing options out there. And of course, we’ll link to the altitude training mask, why not?
Brock: Yes. Of course, they were nice enough to send us the…
Ben: Yeah. Full disclosure. They sent us this for free. They sent us like five of these for free. Cool!
Brock: We did ask for it, though. Alright. You ready for the next one? Alex wants to know –“Do you have a good blending solution while you’re traveling? It’s monumentally harder to intake my normal nutrients without my blender!” Exclamation point. “Thanks!” Exclamation point. “I’m definitely looking forward to the shows”. “Oh, and good luck!”
Ben: Well, thanks! Thanks! We actually ground our coffee in the blender last night. We’re lucky enough to arrive at our condo and find a blender sitting on the counter. They actually had one right here waiting for us.
Brock: I thought that was yours, too, ‘cause when we were in Whistler, you did bring yours.
Ben: I drove to Whistler, and so I was able to toss my Vitamix or my Omni blender, rather, into the trunk of the car.
Now an Omni blender by the way is really good. They have a huge engine and they fly under the radar, but they are about half the cost of a Vitamix. They don’t sponsor the show, I don’t really make any money off recommending them but it’s Omni blender it’s what I use. Oh and I – blender- it’s just less spendy than a Vitamix, honestly. And it’s an identical engine. I don’t know why they sell it or how they sell it at half the price. But anyways, it’s big, it’s bulky, it’s one of those blenders you can’t really travel with if you’re flying. So option one is a Magic Bullet. I’m a big fan of the Magic Bullet. You can’t make my quintessential “big ass” morning smoothie in a Magic Bullet ‘cause they’re pretty small. You wouldn’t get the big ass portion, 12 ounces maybe.
Brock: You could make a small bulk.
Ben: You could make a few Magic Bullet smoothies in a row, I guess, and dump them on the cup. That’s one option. Another option, I will confess to having done this. And I do not endorse this. I really hope that no one from any major department store or local business is listening in. But you can actually go to any store that has a fantastic return policy, specifically Walmart, Target, or Costco. Purchase a blender and bring it back for a full refund…
Brock: The sixteen-year-old that’s working at the counter won’t even ask you why.
Ben: That is number two. Just take it to the man. Take it to big commercial stores and there you go, that’s another option. You didn’t hear that from me. The final option is simply chew your food better. And really what happens is when you chew your food, the digestive enzymes in your mouth work to break up that food and it actually does a really good job. People start with leaky gut syndrome, nutrient malabsorption, things of that nature. Twenty to thirty times is the number of times you’re supposed to chew your food. Most of us chew our food anywhere from like three to five times then we swallow. So, make your mouth your blender. And I know that sounds like a simple and stupid solution. But just take the stuff you normally blend and eat it but chew it really, really, well. If you’re used to blending like apples with almonds, with coconut milk, with whatever, you really can’t just dump all that in your mouth and chew and replicate the feeling of a blender. But, Magic Bullet, good return policy, or chew your food intensely; those would be my top three.
Brock: Or just bring your last shoes and pack your Omni blender.
Ben: Or pack your Omni blender.
Brock: Or stay in a condo like this.
Brock: Alright, This one’s not necessarily a health-related one but it’s a- the question is simple: “Ship my bike or rent one locally?”
Ben: Assuming that you are a bike rider.
Brock: I’m assuming this is a triathlete or…
Ben: We’re trying not to keep this podcast too triathlon-specific but you can get these fold-up bikes but they’re spendy, like over 3,000 dollars to get a nice good travel fold-up bike. So, it’s on my bucket list for sure ‘cause I’d love to be able to have just one of those bikes that you can carry in a suitcase.
Brock: Yeah. They come with their own suitcase. Those are kinda cool. Almost like a briefcase.
Ben: Here’s the deal, you cannot replicate the efficiency and the economy that you build in the muscles and the joints that you get when you’re riding your bike at home. Say you’re a racer, and you race bikes, you race triathlons. You simply can’t arrive at your race, get a different bike, have it fit with the seat height approximately where you had it or the seat fore, aft approximately where you had it and expect for your body to simply wrap around that bike and act just as well on that bike as it does on your “home bike”. So if you’re serious about racing, you don’t rent, you learn how to pack your own bike. You learn how to take the rear derailer off, and learn how to take the handlebars off and the fork off. And you travel with your bike. It’s a little bit of a learning curve. I have twenty-minute long videos inside the Rockstar Triathlete Academy at rockstartriathlete.com, we’ll link to that in the show notes. But basically, learning how to take your bike apart is a pretty good skill to have anyway, so what I do is I have a hard case, it’s made by a company called TriCo. It travels well, keeps the bike protected. It’s not a huge case. It fits in the trunk of a car. I take the bike apart. I take the fork off, the wheels off, the rear derailer off, the seat off, wrap it in foam and travel that way. And if you’re serious and you don’t want to, say, get a chronic repetitive overuse injury from using muscles you’re not used to by riding a bike you’re not used to. That’s an option. You also take risks. Like Brock had an interesting experience in Thailand when he joined this last year.
Brock: Yeah. I was gonna say the only thing I have to offer is – my only DNF was when I rented a bike.
Ben: Yes. Because what – the breaks failed or something?
Brock: They – oh, the breaks actually came…
Ben: Those are golf carts going by.
Brock: Golf carts zipping by. It’s okay, they’ll be gone, Yeah, the back break actually came off on the one time I really needed to hammer on the breaks near the beginning of the race. The back break kinda went (intelligible sounds)…
Ben: Yeah. So, that being said, if it’s just for fitness, rent a bike for sure. Like, Brock’s touring around town all week on a beach cruiser from our condo and…
Brock: It’s awesome! Single speed, I pedal backwards. I stop.
Ben: He’s gonna have buns of steel by the end of the trip.
Brock: Are you saying I don’t already?
Ben: I was not implying that, no. I’m just saying your buns are gonna get steelier.
Brock: Right. Better not. Oh, sure. Never mind. Okay. Let’s see. Oh, yeah, okay. “I always get sick” – Oh, sorry this is Keerthi – “I always get sick for the first week when I visit India. So I’m trying to find ways to avoid it this time.”
Ben: Okay. Cool. So…
Brock: So he travels to India and get sick the first week he’s there. That’s not necessarily just an India thing.
Ben: Ways to keep your immune system elevated while you’re traveling. I’m gonna tell you exactly what I do. You see this whole pill box right here, Brock? For our premium subscribers, this is what I travel with, this pill box. I just can take my pills, put them in the little box so all…
Brock: For those of you who are watching the video, it’s one of those things that your grandmother has on her counter that has all the days of the week on it.
Ben: Except it doesn’t have the days of the week on it. It doesn’t have the days of the week on it.
Brock: That’s all my pills. Pass me my heart meds.
Ben: So, see these little white pills? This is colostrum. It’s a very, very good immune system support. And I take four of those in the morning, and four of those in the evening when I’m traveling. So colostrum works really, really well. A few other things…
Brock: Colostrum is found in mother’s milk, right? That’s actually derived from…
Ben: I actually do not get colostrums from my mother per se. I get it from an organic goat farm. I use this stuff called Colostrum. And we’ll probably wanna put a link to that…
Brock: Oh, yeah. When Ben goes like this…
Ben: Yeah. When I go like this, for those of you watching the video that means… so Colostrum. What I don’t have right here, it’s in my bathroom right now. I use Echinacea/Golden Seal tincture. Echinacea is really good for your white blood support. Golden seal is a really good natural anti-bacterial. And I get that Echinacea/golden seal mixed together in a tincture. You can find that on like Amazon or whatever. That’s a really good system support from when you’re traveling. I use an oil of oregano with a very high carvacrol content because that’s able to break down bacterial cell walls, very good anti-parasitic., anti-fungal. You can put a few drops in your mouth before you get into crowded areas like airports, buses, football games, prisons, whatever. And oil of oregano is another thing that I’ll use. I use colostrum…
Brock: Don’t let it leak all over your luggage. That happened to me on the last big trip.
Ben: That actually happened to me on this trip. Yeah. Make sure the lid is screwed on tightly. It does make a mess. So Colostrum, Echinacea/Golden Seal, oil of oregano. There’s pretty good evidence that probiotics can help. I’m kinda careful traveling with probiotics ‘cause they’re not very heat stable. So it’ll depend where I’m going. I didn’t take probiotics on this trip because sometimes you take the risk that your luggage is sitting in the belly of an airliner kinda getting extremely hot and so I’m pretty careful with the probiotics. I have a big bottle that I keep at home. I loaded it with probiotics before I left but I don’t have any of those with me. But probiotics can also help out quite a bit. And then just the basics – making sure that you’re sleeping as much as possible when you’re on the plane, drinking lots of water, avoiding lots of alcohol and caffeine. You gotta take in those basic measures. There’s a little bit of evidence out there that high dose vitamin C can help. The issue is whether or not oral absorption is adequate. There are some people that will literally go as far as to do vitamin C intravenous injections like what’s called the Myer’s cocktail prior to periods of time during which their immune system activity is really important. A lot of time, Superbowl teams will do this. They’ll give the folks on the team Myer’s cocktail so that their immune system just gets chockfull of antioxidants and vitamin C. and if you really want to step up your immune defenses, that’s like the gold standard but you gotta go find somebody who lives on your neighborhood who is a registered nurse and get your IV or go to a local naturopathic medical facility or natural medicine facility. A lot of times they’ll be able to do high dose vitamin C injections, high dose antioxidant injections, and those can really give your immune system a huge boost.
You’ll feel completely superhuman for like three or four days. You’re gonna pay anywhere from $50-$150 depending on how much you want in there. There are some docs that will literally test you, they’ll do what’s called the spectra cell analysis. They’ll test you for certain levels of these vitamins and minerals and antioxidants, customize an IV formulation and just use that. So, I actually did that once and I ended up ordering it from a physician who sent it to me overnight on ice. Had a registered nurse who lived a couple miles from my house give me the injection. Totally legal, it’s not like banned by the world anti-doping association or anything like that. It’s just kinda a lot of hoops to jump through there to get the IV– man, if you haven’t ever tried that and you’re listening in, it’s kind of a cool experience to feel that power surging through your veins.
Brock: Oh, so you really did feel it.
Ben: You feel it plus the IV is a little bit cold. So your blood gets a little cold and you feel that, too. So…
Brock: Should we answer one more.
Ben: Let’s keep going. Let’s do a few more.
Brock: Okay, so we got a question from Trevor. He wants to know – “Should I worry about bed bugs or other gross and creepy possibilities from my hotel room?”
Ben: Bed bugs…
Brock: Where are you staying, Trevor?
Ben: So, there’s lots of essential oils out there that are marketed as bed bug repellants or things that are supposed to kill bed bugs. I have never seen any studies to back any of these up. Lavender oil is a popular one. Oil of oregano sometimes gets touted as that. I like oil of oregano for some stuff like antibacterial. Never heard of it being able to kill bed bugs. Lavender, great for kinda sleep and relaxation. Might be another one to add into your relaxation protocol, incidentally. But again, no evidence that that stuff can take out bed bugs. So ultimately, if they were in your home, I’d say heat is the best thing. Go run your sheets, your bed linens, everything through a really hot cycle, through your dryer.
Brock: Or really cold.
Ben: And, yeah, cold can kill bed bugs as well. Cold or heat.
Brock: In Canada, you put it outside in the middle of winter and that just takes care of them right away.
Ben: Yeah, so this is gonna be kinda French, it might become hard for you to travel with enough for you to be able to sprinkle over your bed linens, and this is not something that I’ve personally done. But there is something that can break down the exoskeleton of bugs, crickets, bed bugs, whatever. Literally, it breaks down the specific cellular collagen-like make up of the exoskeleton of a bug. It’s called Diatomaceous Earth. You’ll find it at natural health food stores. You can find it online if you will Google it. It’s d-i-a-t-o-m-a-c-e-o-u-s. It’s like a form of clay, almost. And if you’re really serious, you check in your hotel room, sprinkle that stuff over the actual mattress, pull the sheet up on the top mattress, put another sheet on top of that, you can potentially kill off some bed bugs. I am a big, big fan of using the Dr. Bronner soap when I travel. In the bathroom at our condo right now, I’ve got Dr. Bronner’s natural herbal soap mixed with oil of oregano, and that’s what I shower with. And it does a pretty good job of killing infections, fungus, bacteria and stuff from the skin. I don’t know if it does anything against bed bugs. Knock on wood, though, I travel a lot and I haven’t gotten bed bugs.
Brock: In my bathroom, there’s just a big gallon thing of kerosene. That’s what I’ve been showering with.
Ben: Yeah. So Brock lights himself on fire, runs out the living room screaming, does the stop, drop and roll. And that’s his bed bug secret.
Brock: Really. That’s why my hair is like this, too, actually.
Ben: That’s an interesting question, though. I guess, ultimately, maybe you ought to step it up and start getting some awards points or whatever and go check into a Four Seasons rather than a hostel sitting by, beside of the 7-11. By the way, I actually use- this is totally off-topic. Well, it’s not off-topic ‘cause it’s related to travel. I do a lot of travel hacking so I rarely buy my own airline miles. I rarely buy my cars, anything like that. What I do is sign up for credit cards. As soon as they become available with like thousands of airline miles associated with them, I buy a bunch of stuff on that credit card, pay it off, set up a reminder on my computer to cancel the credit card within one year so I don’t pay the annual fee. And then I use this website called the awardswallet.com. and awardswallet.com just basically sucks in all your award miles points, your rewards points – we can link to these folks if they want to – and then it shows you how you can use those points and it also sends you an email when a new credit card comes up that has a bunch of points associated with it. So…
Brock: Oh, good! That’s a good feature.
Ben: It’s called travel hacking. Just like a whole underground community of travel hackers.
Brock: A whole movie…
Ben: Travelhackers.org and there is– what’s the other guy who I follow who does it? –Chris Guillebeau, The Art of Non-Conformity blog. And at the art of non-conformity blog, he actually does a bunch of posts about travel hacking and how to – basically stringing together airline awards miles and hotel awards miles so that you get to the point where you don’t have to check in to a hotel, Trevor, that has bed bugs in the beds. So, there you go.
Brock: Alright. I like it. And that also explains why it took me eighteen and a half hours to get to Kitsakona from Toronto. Okay, Kev has a question. He says he’s got a 10K cross country race this week and he’s had a lower back pain for a few days. Any advice to help it not get any worse? And I’m assuming he means not getting worse while he’s traveling or staying in the hotel for the race.
Ben: Low back pain. I’m gonna give you two books first of all and then one exercise, okay? So book number one, I’ve already mentioned. I mentioned it on last week’s podcast. It’s called Foundation. Foundation by –he was typing a different book?_- you were typing Supple Leopard.
Brock: I was.
Ben: Supple Leopard is a good book, but Supple Leopard is a cookbook. It’s got a ton of stuff in there. It’s big, it helps with knee pain, hip pain, back pain, toe pain. But it can be a little bit intimidating or foreboding or whatever, just because there‘s so many different things in it. So it’s good to have around but I recommend Foundation which is a book that has ten different exercises in it. I’ve been doing these exercises once every 48-72 hours or so. So once every 2 to 3 days, I go out on my porch and I do these 10 exercises. It takes me about 10, 15 minutes. It turns on what’s called your posterior chain. Turns on your butt, basically. And a turned off butt is one of the primary reasons that you’re gonna get low back pain in the first place. I’ll tell you how you can address a low back pain in a second but first of all the book Foundation, you need to get that book, learn all ten exercises, do them at least once a week. The second book that I’m gonna recommend to you is called Alignment Matters by Katy Bowman. You can find that at katysays.com I’m gonna get Katy in my podcast at some point here in the near future. Excellent knowledgeable bio-mechanist who goes into huge choices, postural exercises, diaphragmatic breathing exercise, a bunch of stuff that does what’s called stacking your body in the correct position for standing or sitting so that you learn how to have the proper vertebral and hip alignment. Things in there like purchasing special socks that actually spreads your toes while you’re asleep to improve flexibility in your toes which is where posture really begins. Special exercises like deep diaphragmatic exercise that get into a bridging position and you do a diaphragm release, you hold your breath and then you slowly lower that bridge to turn on some of those deep neck proturi muscles that can brace the spine. Anyways, it’s called Alignment Matters. So the book Foundation and the book Alignment Matters would be two really good books for anybody who wants long term back health to read. And even though that other book Supple Leopard is not bad, either. And then for fixing it, a simple trick that will help to adjust your sacroiliac joint. Brock, I know you’ve dealt with sacroiliac joint issues in the past.
Ben: As a runner, I’ve dealt with them primarily from cycling. What happens is you have a joint in your body called your SI joint, or your sacroiliac joint. It’s got two different what are called articulating surfaces, kind of a smooth surface and a surface that’s a little bit more grizzly. And the two surfaces can basically lock on each other. And once that happens, it limits hip motion typically on one side or the other. And once you start cycling or running, you’re moving with that limited hip motion. The muscles on the side that’s locked, the back muscles on the side that’s locked, they spasm, they cramp, they become painful. You can go to a chiropractor who will adjust your sacroiliac joint. You can also do a self-adjustment. And the way that you do it, is that you lie on your back on the ground and you put one hand on the front of your right leg and one hand on your left leg. And then you simultaneously push your right leg away from you while you’re resisting the movement of pushing your right leg away from you, And pull your left leg towards you, while you’re resisting the movement of pulling your left leg towards you. So you’re torquing your hips basically and using your hands to provide that resistance as you push.
Brock: I was sort of demonstrating it in this seat but it’s hard to do sitting down.
Ben: Brock is doing it on the video here. You do that and then you switch sides. So you push the left leg away from you while resisting your left leg and pull your right leg towards you while resisting your right leg. And you do that several times for about three to five second pretty intense holds.
And then you finish up by putting a foam roller or a pillow, like a hard pillow, or a medicine ball or anything like that between your knees and squeezing that so you’re contracting your adductors, your inner thigh muscles. You squeeze that ball as hard as possible. And after doing those right leg and left leg exercises and then squeezing, you’re gonna heal – you’re gonna hear a clunk and feel a clunk as your SI joint adjusts. It’s kinda cool. This actually works. If you’re not an audio person and you’re a visual learner, and none of that made sense to you, google self-adjust SI joint video. And there’s a couple different videos on youtube that will show you how to do it. So, just google self-adjust youtube video. Let’s put a link in the show notes for folks. We’ll make it easy for you. bengreenfieldfitness.com/259 we’ll throw in a link there that will show how to self-adjust your sacroiliac joint. So, what’d you think, should we do one more question?
Brock: Yeah. I don’t think we could do a travel episode without talking about jetlag.
Ben: Ah, jetlag.
Brock: So, Ian wants to know – he is….
Ben: Both Brock and I are both mildly, ultra- mildly jetlagged right now. Brock had an 18-hour travel day yesterday.
Brock: I’m also living six hours in the future so it’s already 8:30PM my time.
Ben: And I traveled with two five-year-old twin boys who insisted on doing a triathlon as soon as we landed, as soon as the airplane touched down. We’ve been going non-stop since yesterday, basically.
Brock: Well, we all went to bed at 8PM.
Ben: Well, we all went to bed at 8PM and woke up at four. A little weird but yes, we still got eight hours of sleep. That’s true.
Brock: Ian’s going to Florida with his family. He lives in the UK and –golf cart alert! Golf cart! Jet lag is going to be an issue.
Ben: Okay, jet lag. I’ll give you some of my top tips. And they’re kinda related to the first tips that I was giving you about relaxation. So, jet lag. First of all, tip number one is those melatonin patches. Those work really, really well for jet lag. So use those melatonin patches when you land. You can use them for a good two to three days. Put them on, whether you’re young or you’re old, melatonin patches will help with jet lag. Number two…
Brock: Whether you’re young, or whether you’re old.
Ben: Whether you’re young, or whether you’re old…melatonin patches will save your gold. Gold, yeah. Let’s not give up our day jobs. Sorry, everybody. So the other thing in addition to melatonin, now that Brock has completely distracted me – I was walking around today. I don’t know if you noticed the sandals I was wearing, Brock.
Brock: I didn’t.
Ben: I was wearing Earth Runner sandals. They’re made by a company called Earth Runners, and we can link to ‘em. There’s another company called Pluggz. So both the company Pluggz as well as Earth Runners -yeah, you can go and grab them, hold them up to the screen you guys for you all. They’re sitting by the front door, dude. So Brock will go and get them. Pluggz and Earth Runners, they make these special kind of sandals. And Pluggz actually makes actual shoes. They have carbon plugs on the bottom of them and they ground you. So you may have heard of the concept of grounding or earthing. And this allows you to ground or earth without actually say, going to the inconvenient process –that’s actually my son’s Converse shoes, those are not mine.
Brock: Oh, those are not yours?
Ben: No, they’re size 5.
Brock: Is it? Is that? Is this it?
Ben: That’s my size 13 Earth Runner. They look like a Tama Mahara Indian running sandals, so they’re kinda bad ass in my perspective. These carbon plugs, though, what those do is those actually they draw negative ions up from the surface of the earth into your body. And offset a lot of the positive ions that build up when you’re hurtling through space 40,000 feet above the surface of the earth in a metal tube.
Brock: So as far as ions go, negative and positive are reversed from what you’d assume. Negative ones are good, positive ones are bad.
Ben: Yes, exactly. Exactly. So earthing or grounding is something that like Tour De France cyclists and a lot of European competitive athletes, soccer players use this a lot. So European soccer players and Tour de France cyclists always seem to be on the cutting edge when it comes to a lot of these recovery jetlag stuff because…
Brock: Wonder why that is?
Ben: They travel to compete. And they travel a lot. And Americans just tend to rely on our brute ability to put on helmets, eat lots of hamburgers and go out and hit each other.
Brock: Fair enough.
Ben: Anyways, though, get yourself a good pair of grounding shoes or earthing shoes especially if you need to be walking around when you get to where you’re going. You don’t have time to go into your yoga, chattaronga post for two hours on an earthing mat outside your front lawn. So, I like the Earth Runners ‘cause I can just be like walking around like we were today at the Expo and be earthing at the same time. So that really helps with jet lag.
Brock: You were actually riding your bike in those, too.
Ben: I was riding my bike in them. It’s a good trick to cool off. Yeah.
Ben: So, grounding or earthing, melatonin. I’m a big fan of avoiding caffeine of course while you’re traveling period. So don’t drink coffee on the plane, tea, any of that stuff, just avoid caffeine, period. And drink oodles and oodles of water. That really helps.
Brock: Why, I so screwed up yesterday when I drank oodles and oodles of both beer and coffee.
Ben: Bad move. Bad move. Which is possibly why Brock looks so crappy today whereas I look shiny and new for our video.
Ben: So the next thing you wanna think about is this Chinese –it’s like a Chinese over-the-counter herb that you can buy. You can get it off at Amazon. You can find it at a lot of places. Hong Kong airport is where I first discovered this stuff. It’s a mix of homeopathic remedies. You take one when your airplane takes off. And then you take one every two to four hours during travel. And then you take one when you land. And it’s called No Jetlag. No Jetlag.
Brock: It just cuts right to the chase.
Ben: They just cut right to the chase as the Chinese do who defended the Asians and the old people in today’s podcast but it’s called No Jetlag. That stuff works really well. Now that’s another thing you can do for the jetlag I’m a big fan of. The last thing you can try. This one is a little bit annoying and complex but you can actually try a jetlag diet. It’s – you could google it and get the nitty-gritty details but here’s the basics. Go back three days from the day you’re gonna fly out. Let’s say you’re gonna fly out on a Saturday, So we count back Friday, Thursday, Wednesday. So Wednesday you eat well. You don’t go hungry. You eat three square meals a day and preferably at some point before you are going to bed, you’re not completely avoiding carbohydrates. You’re actually getting a little bit of serotonin release from a carbohydrate-rich meal, or at least a meal that includes carbohydrates like white rice or sweet potatoes or yam or whatever before you go to bed. So, Wednesday, three days out would be a day in which you don’t deplete calories or deny your body of calories but you also give yourself some carbohydrates which helps to get your circadian rhythms dialed in in the evening. And then the next day is a fasting day where you actually do not eat much food at all. You may have like a light breakfast, some water, or some sparkling water, maybe some coconut water during the day, light dinner, that’s it. So a lot fewer calories than you would normally consume. The next day’s a fast day. Same as the day that was two days before. So you fast, feast, fast. And the final day is your travel day. And on your travel day it’s pretty simple. You wake up. You head to the airport. You get on the plane. You start traveling and you don’t eat any meals until it’s time for the main meal at whatever destination that you’re going to. So like Paris is what? Six hours ahead of New York? Let’s say Paris is six hours ahead of New York. You hop on the plane to New York at 10AM and so that would mean in Paris it’s 4PM. So what you would do is on the plane to New York, you would simulate your dinner in Paris at around noon, which would be two hours after your flight leaves the ground which should be 6PM around dinner time in Paris. And that basically helps your body become used to the eating window in the destination that you’re going to which is highly tied to circadian rhythms. Now this whole fast-feast-fast type of protocol is not something I personally do because for me, a lot of times I’m stringing together travel, like, I’ll go home from Hawaii. A few days later, I’ll be headed down to L.A. and Malibu, and I would be driving to Santa Barbara, come back, turn around, grab my family, we head over to Thailand. And for me trying to string together this whole fast-feast-fast thing doesn’t work. But if you just travel every once in a while, it can be a pretty good protocol. And you can just – if you google jetlag diet, that’s the most popular jetlag diet out there and some people just swear by it.
Brock: So it’s just basically- you’re just confusing the heck out of your body in order to reset it?
Ben: You are essentially think of it as priming your circadian rhythm. So your circadian rhythm is tied to your feeding cycles. And so by fasting you’re restoring your circadian rhythm. That feast day, I’m not totally sure of the science behind the feast day in between the two fast days. Then another fast day and then obviously the protocol behind fasting on the day that you actually travel until the main meal time and the time on the destination that you’re going to makes sense because you’re just resetting your body’s clock. So, there’s been a lot of chemistry talk. One other resource that you guys before we start to wrap up and before we move on to our iTunes review so we can give away some swag, look up supermemo.com, we’ll put a link to that in the show notes.
Ben: So go to supermemo.com and at supermemo.com there’s a section there on sleep super duper long, long article on sleep. But it really is jam packed with a bunch of really helpful stuff especially when it comes to napping, what’s called poly phasic sleeping, what’s called free sleeping, circadian rhythms, jetlags. It’ll take you a good couple weeks to read the whole article, honestly ‘cause it’s huge. But it’s called supermemo.com. That about wraps up the time that we have today because we have lots of important things to go and do here on the Big Island to get ready for the big race like drink mai tais and…
Brock: I believe there’s a slow twitch party that we are going to.
Ben: And go to a slow twitch party. Brock gets to go to the thank-God-I’m-not-racing party tomorrow. So go to beyondtrainingbook.com to get 5,000 dollars plus in swag and preorder my brand new book.
Brock: Very soon.
Ben: Do it within 48 hours after you hear this podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/259 to get access to any of the helpful links that we give on this podcast. Next week we promise we will be back to our less crappy…
Brock: Less unplugged.
Ben: Less unplugged format. And we’ll also be telling you in that episode how you can get some of these t-shirts for yourself. Some of these shiny new Ben Greenfield Fitness t-shirts. We’ll be back to reading iTunes reviews, giving away swag, and all that jazz. So, thanks for joining us if you’re watching the video. Thank you to all our premium members from bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium. Over and out. We kept our clothes on so I’m gonna say this was a success. Aloha!
Brock: Aloha and Mahalo!
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Oct 9, 2013 Podcast: 4 ways to not get sick when you travel, why you lose sleep as you get old (and what you can do about it), 5 jet lag remedies, how to kill bed bugs in your hotel fast, and much more! If you are a premium subscriber you can watch the video of this very podcast (warning – Brock breaks out some crazy dance moves).
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As compiled, edited and sometimes read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.
I travel a lot and for the past year have been having trouble sleeping in hotel beds. My fiance thinks this is because I am now “old” (I’m 46) but do you think this is more nutritional (my eating habits change/get worse when traveling) or mental? Any recommendations? I’ve started tracking my sleep with a Jawbone UP band and only get 1 or 2 hrs of deep sleep when on the road compared to around 3 – 4 when at home.
….ship my bike or rent one locally?
Do you have a good blending solution while traveling. It is monumentally harder to intake my normal nutrients without my blender! Thanks! I’m definitely looking forward to the shows. Good luck!
I always get sick for the first week when I visit India so trying to find ways to avoid it this time.
Should I worry about bed bugs or other gross and creepy possibilities from my hotel room?
Got a cross county 10k this weekend (i normally only do road running) and i’ve had a lower back pain for a few days, any advice to help it not get any worse please chaps?
In my response I mention:
Supple Leopard book
SelfAdjust SI Joint video
How do I fit in ironman training in a 2 week vacation to Florida with the family, I’m from the uk as well so jet lag an issue as well!