Episode #295 – Full Transcript

Affiliate Disclosure

Biohacking, Podcast, Transcripts

Listen on:

Podcast #295 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/10/295-red-light-and-blue-light-biohacking-tips-can-coffee-raise-cholesterol-the-ultimate-guide-to-stretching/


Introduction:   In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast:  Red Light and Blue Light Biohacking Tips, The Ultimate Guide to Stretching, Should You Stop Taking Supplements Before a Blood Test, Can Coffee Raise Cholesterol, How to Reset Your Sleep Cycle, How to Beat Insomnia and much more.

Welcome to the bengreenfieldfitness.com podcast.  We provide you with free 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-of-the-mill, cutting edge content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.

Brock:  What’s happening Ben?

Ben:  I’m tired!  I got up early this morning at about 5 to build a gym in my basement.  I’ve got about 600 pounds of bumper plates, barbells, squat rack, a battle rope, and a bunch of kettle bell training equipment that has finally arrived that I’ve built up in my home gym so now I can get strong like bull.

Brock:  Yes, that sounds awesome but shouldn’t you be like swimming or cycling or doing something triathlon-related perhaps?

Ben:  I should, I probably should, yeah, not be lifting weights right now.

Brock:  Yeah, that’s not the most important thing you should be doing right now leading up to Ironman Kona.

Ben:  Yeah.

Brock:  With no training.

Ben:  For people who don’t know, I just got the word two days ago that Timex, who I race for, wants me to race Kona.  And the problem is that I have not really been training for Ironman and have barely been swimming, biking at all for the past year.  So it’s gonna be really interesting.  It could be quite disastrous.  But if you wanna follow that journey, probably the best place to follow that whole Ironman Kona thing is go to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Facebook page at facebook.com/BGFitness, where you can witness me putting the hurt on my body, you can guess my finishing time for amazing prizes from Timex.  Who knows what other swag will materialize for you out of this but it should be interesting.

Brock:  It will be something that’s for sure. I’ll be in Kona doing other things while you’re racing but I’ll do my best to keep an eye on your times and do some tweeting and Facebooking and stuff during the race, do so people wanna check in.

Ben:  That’s right. I’ll get some gory pictures of the finish line and next week we’ll have a special Ironman, post Ironman podcast since Brock and I are staying in the same condo he’ll yank up the microphone and shove it in my face…

Brock:  While you’re sitting in a bucket of ice.

Ben:  At some point on Sunday post-race, prior to me diving into my cold margaritas.  One other thing speaking of epic adventures, as everyone who listens into this podcast knows, I have a full face beard and very easily can grow body hair like a matted freaking ape.

Brock:  Really?  Hmmmm.

Ben:  No, I have smooth skin like a baby but regardless, this podcast is actually sponsored by Harry’s Shaving which we’ll tell you more about later, but for now, you can visit Harrys.com and use the promo code “Ben”, to save 5 dollars off some really sexy shaving gear.

News Flashes:

Brock:  Even while you’re ignoring your Ironman training you’re still tweeting stuff out, Facebooking stuff out, and Google plussing all kinds of interesting articles, all over the place and right now we’re gonna highlight a few of those.

Ben:  That’s right, we’re gonna talk about sleep and biohacking sleep.  I was actually just at the Bullet-Proof Biohacking Conference.

Brock:  Oh yeah, that’s right I forgot. I was over at Primal Con and you were over at the Biohacking Conference. In the same State but not at the same conference.

Ben:  That’s right. One of the things I actually spoke about in that conference was biohacking light, although it turned out to be a really interesting presentation because, the Spartan Race CEO Joe De Sena and myself were scheduled to speak, we’re like the closing speeches and we were on two different stages, in two different rooms.

Brock:  Oh, so not at the same time.

Ben:  So we called, yeah, Joe and I called an audible and we actually gave our presentations together and it turned out to be like this kinda, Flintstones versus Jetsons.  You know him talking about flipping tires and me talking about biohacking and we put it all together and it was actually, actually kind of fun.


So, anyways though, I tweeted out that there’s a cool new reason to use those little sunrise alarm clocks.  Now I actually have my children, now that they’re getting up a little bit earlier for school, using these sunrise alarm clocks.  And what a sunrise alarm clock is, for those of you that don’t know, it’s an alarm clock that you set when you want to wake up and it gradually begins to release light over 20 to 30 minutes as you gradually wake.  And so it’s the same as if the sun was rising in your room and they actually did a study called “The Effects of Dawn Simulation” and honestly…

Brock:  Dawn.  Like D-A-W-N?

Ben:  Uhmm.  I think that’s a much more marketable term than sunrise alarm clock.  I like the, how about the Dawn Simulation Device.

Brock:  Yeah, I like that.  It sounds soothing.

Ben:  Yes.  Effects of dawn simulation on markers of sleep inertia and post-waking performance and what they found was that light exposure during the last 30 minutes of habitual sleep can increase your alertness and cognitive performance and even your physical performance after waking and this study was exactly what it sounds like.  They compared a group of people who got light in the morning via one of these gradual dawn simulators versus folks who didn’t.  Now, even if you don’t have a sunrise alarm clock, another way that you can do this is with what’s called blue light boxing which is where on your desk or even on your table at breakfast if you live in like a darker area like say Seattle or Portland, and I’m sorry if that’s the case.

Brock:  Canada

Ben:  Canada.  You set one of these up and you just have it running for 20 to 30 minutes as you’re eating breakfast or sitting at your desk in the morning and that also would be dawn simulation if you can’t get out into the sun.  One of the things that I have, I actually spent this morning as I was building my gym bathed in sunlight because I use this special form of light bulb in my house called the Awake & Alert Light Bulb.  It’s in my office, it’s in my gym.  Two areas where I actually want simulated sunlight and what it is, is you’ve heard of blue light reducing bulbs this is just the opposite.  These are bubs that actually have a bunch of blue light in them to simulate the sun and so they light up the room and you feel as though you’re standing in sunlight and it has that same dawn simulation effect.  So that’s another option you could go with, the light bulb effect. The one that I use is called the Awake & Alert bulb by a company called Lighting Science. They are expensive bulbs, you wouldn’t want one in every room of your house but in areas where you want enhanced cognitive and physical performance like your gym or like a home office, it’s perfect.  Or you could simply have a room in the house where you turn it on.  I mean this is gonna sound, let’s say this is gonna sound weird, but let’s say you go to the bathroom in the morning, so you, you have the bathroom in your house that you go to the bathroom in, in the morning with one of these Awake and Alert bulbs, you don’t want that thing flipped on if you gotta pee, go to the bathroom at midnight.  If you habitually use the same restroom every morning why not have the sunlight shining on you as you poo.  So there’s that.

Brock:  So I’m assuming those light bulbs don’t have UV radiation associated with them, just the blue light.

Ben:  Yeah, it’s just the blue light.  I’ll put a link to them in the show notes for this episode at bengreenfieldfitness.com/295 if you wanna check them out.  And the other thing that I tweeted out was there’s a good reason to consider only having red light waves spectrums in your bedroom or perhaps in your master bathroom where you might get up during the night to use the restroom and the reason for that is a second study, and I’ll put both these studies in the show notes, but the second study was called Millisecond Flashes of Light Phase Delay the Human Circadian Clock during Sleep.  What that means is, is that they took a group of folks who were sleeping and compared them to a control group that didn’t get this treatment.  And the group that got the treatment was actually subjected to a series of light flashes during the night from about hours 2 to 3 after they went to bed.  And what this is was it shifted and actually disrupted their circadian rhythm.  Just these brief exposures to light while they were asleep which kinda should make you think about if you’re trying to get the best sleep possible, if you’re trying to optimize your circadian rhythm in the best way possible, or you’re trying to say ensure that your sleep phase during the night doesn’t get shifted forward, so you’re sleeping in longer and longer because somehow you sent the message to your body during the night that it was daytime.  You should consider limiting light in every possible respect in your bedroom.


And one of the ways that I’ve started doing this is number 1: I make sure that when I use the bathroom at night, if I need to get up and go to the bathroom, I pretty much just try to do it without the light.  So, so far my big toes have survived there’s been no stubbing but…

Brock:  Nope, how about puddles?

Ben:  No, uhm, well, actually yeah.  My wife did shout at me once.  I learned that you need to sit down rather than stand because…

Brock:  Yeah, you can’t aim in the dark.

Ben:  I pretty much drenched the toilet one time, so you do have to be…

Brock:  That’s not surprising.

Ben:  … be careful with the sink.  Oops!  Not the toilet.  So, there’s that. But the other thing is that the other form of light bulb that this same company makes, this Lighting Science company makes, is a Good Night bulb and it’s exactly what you would expect.  The bulb where they take all the blue light out of it and it’s only the red light wave spectrum and it filters the blue light that would get in the way of melatonin that would disrupt your sleep cycle in this way and just make sure that if there’s something flashing in your room like a whatever, like a WiFi router…

Brock:  Or stalkers taking photos of you.

Ben:  Yeah, or even like your phone if you have your phone and you’re using a white noise app or something, flip it upside down so that the light doesn’t getting released from it.  So like anything you can find in the bedroom that’s releasing even little blips of light, it’s pretty significant or well I should say insignificant the amount of light they use in this study, like we’re talking about really low wave light flashes.  So basically, the take away massage here is control the lighting in your environment in both the morning and in the evening.

Brock:  The takeaway message for me is that we’re all screwed.  Seriously like living anywhere, like I live pretty close to downtown and we’ve got curtains and stuff but man, it’s really hard to eliminate all of the light.

Ben:  Yeah, well I mean you could always just use the sleep mask too.  And that’s a good way to go and I sleep with a big ol’ sleep mask.  So, and the other thing in addition to my full face beard, of course, the other thing is of course when I was at the Bulletproof Biohacking Conference they unveiled their big new supplement called Unfair Advantage.

Brock:  Oh yeah, the PQQ stuff.

Ben:  Yeah it’s called PQQ.  It’s a supplement that contains PQQ.  And I think a lot of people are confused about what PQQ actually is.  So I found a really, really good article that kinda explains what it does but PQQ is an abbreviation for a molecule that I’m not going to embarrass myself by attempting to pronounce it on today’s show.

Brock:  Oh come on.  Come on.

Ben:  So a few of the things that PQQ does is, it’s a key regulator in energy metabolism because it upregulates the expression of this enzyme in the cell that is responsible for increasing glucose uptake into the cell and improving the delivery of energy into a cell during like strength training, endurance training etcetera.  Another thing that it’s been shown to do is to be involved with the actual – it’s called a CREB signaling protein or a CAMP-response element-binding protein and the basic idea behind that is that it helps to activate skeletal muscle tissue, and because of the way it interacts with that particular protein, it might actually have an anti-carcinogenic effects too.  And then the other thing that it does is that it prevents cell death by interacting with this cell signaling protein that helps to combat oxidative stress or free-radical damage.  Now what I just went into was the basic, kinda like layman’s term almost description of PQQ but if you want to delve into the science the website Biohacks Blog at biohacksblog.com did a really good series on PQQ and everything you need to know about it.  Just delving deep into the science of how it works, what it is, why is it the new darling supplement, you know, why there’s this new Unfair Advantage supplement that uses it, and why it beats the pants off a lot of these things we hear about like Coenzyme Q10 or mitochondrial support supplements.  So, well worth checking out and the one last thing I should mention when I’m talking about the Biohacks Blog is, I think, we’ve kinda kept this under wraps for a while because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted folks to know, I actually, in charge of that blog.  Yeah, I own it.

Brock:  That’s why it’s so darn good.

Ben:  That’s why it’s so darn nerdy.  It’s like my outlet for the true propeller hat type of stuff, yeah.

Brock:  Ladies and gentlemen, if there is more nerdy stuff in Ben’s head than he lets out here, so believe or not…

Ben:  The reason I bring it up is because of that blog is just a totally free blog, and I, and in order to keep that going, the Biohacks Blog, I need some advertisers who wanna actually get on there and we may actually be looking for writers too for that blog as well.  So, anyways if you’re interested in the whole biohacking thing and if you wanna get involved then come on board and help that website, the biohacksblog.com, or if you’re interested in writing then just email me personally.  Email [email protected] and I will help you take part in the nerdiness.


Special Announcements:

Ben:  Well Brock, like I mentioned this podcast is brought to you by Harry’s and Harry’s at harrys.com makes these German blades at least they say they’re German, I’m going to assume that they’re German.

Brock:  Why would they lie about that?

Ben:  They appear to be very high quality blades.  As a matter of fact, when I shave with them, my full face beard that I grow every few days, they…

Brock:  Because I’m actually stroking my full face beard…

Ben:  Because you actually have a beard, I almost…

Brock:  I actually have a beard.

Ben:  I actually, I honestly only have to shave at least once every three days. That’s about how, how infrequently I grow facial hair.  But when I do shave I’ve been using these Harry’s blades and you don’t get any nicks, you don’t get any scrapes, you don’t get any razor burns, they actually are not that expensive considering that they’re these pretty cool fashionable looking, really sharp, I’m assuming, because they can cut really well, blades. I have only used them on my face I have not tried to shave a goat or kitten or anything like that, but I would imagine that you could probably shave a goat or a chicken with these Harry’s.

Brock:  I thought you said a kitten.  Shaving a kitten, that would be cute.

Ben:  Yeah, shaved cats are all the rage on YouTube.  So you can go to harrys.com and they give you 5 bucks off if you type in the coupon code “Ben”, so harrys.com.  I guess I should probably mention it: h-a-r-r-y-s, dot com. How else would you spell Harry’s? Maybe I-S

Brock:  I-E?

Ben:  Or I guess probably h-a-i-r-y, hairy, right?  But it’s not hairy, it’s Harry’s like the name. harrys.com and there’s a coupon code “Ben” for 5 bucks off and start shaving better, today.

Brock:  When I decide to get rid of my beard that’s the way I’m gonna go.

Ben:  Okay, a few other things that I wanted to mention for special announcements before we jump in to this week’s Q&A if you are in Kona, then head on over to the Ironman Sports Medicine Conference, it’s not just for doctors, that’s what their logo should be.

Brock:  Not for doctors anymore.

Ben:  Not just for doctors.  Anyways, you can go check it out.  A ton of medical and nutritional geekery over there and I will be speaking on fueling the ancestral athlete and actually that was the original reason why I was gonna go to Kona was just to speak at this conference.  Now it turns out I’ll be exercising a little bit too while in there.

Brock:  A good 18 hours of exercise.

Ben: We’ll put a link to the conference in the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/295.  The other thing is that my friend Yuri Elkaim who’s book we’ve been talking about for the past few weeks is now releasing a bunch of free videos that you get all week long from him this week when you grab his new All Day Energy Diet Cookbook.  So he’s got a video how to kill cravings, how to make healthy eating stick not to be confused with how to make healthy eating sticks.

Brock:  If they’re healthy I’ll eat ‘em.

Ben:  I made a joke.  And then also the worn-out weight gain connection.  So he’s got all those videos, of course his book and then the cookbook that has recipes for natural Gatorade and green cappuccino, bone marrow and all these good stuff over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/aded, that’s All Day Energy Diet. bengreenfieldfitness.com/aded.  One last thing Brock, I’m gonna go to Dubai, yeah, I’m gonna be speaking in Dubai.  It’s a long ways off because it’s in January.  But if you listen in and you’re in the Middle East riding your camel…

Brock:  Not in Dubai.

Ben:  Is that racist?  Maybe, I don’t know.  But we’ve talked about camel milk before and how nourishing it is but I don’t know.  Aladdin used to be my favorite cartoon, and when I think about the Middle East all I could think about is the Tupperware salesman riding his camel across the desert. Yeah, anyways.

Brock:  But it’s Disney, so either way…

Ben:  All of you over in Dubai, you know I love you.  I was over there a couple of years ago, doing a superhuman fitness conference.  I’m going to do another one.  We’re gonna get into fitness, fat loss, and human performance optimization over at the Emirates Towers in Dubai.  So if you’re in Dubai or if you feel like, I don’t know driving your car over to Dubai from Nebraska or…


Brock:  Going shopping, I heard they have super good shopping there.

Ben:  There is.  There is an indoor ski resort too.  So there’s that.  If you want a really cool photo of the indoor ski resort, flip to the back of the November 2014 issue of Outside Magazine which has also a really interesting article on fat loss or fat fueling during exercise, November 2014 issue of Outside Magazine.  I love Outside Magazine.  They’re not a sponsor of this podcast though because they don’t sell shaving equipment but there is a photo of the ski resort in Dubai at the end of that magazine.  So, check it out. 

Listener Q&A: 

Brandon:  Hey Ben and Brock, Brandon from East Troy Wisconsin.  So what do you know about stretching?  It seems that there are some advocates doing very fast stretching, very quick in pulses for a neurological effect.  Some talk about stretching for a long period of time to get to the deep fascia. What do you think and love the intro music makes me wanna bust a move but only I will stretch first.

Brock:  I like this.  I think we’ve talked about many, many times about how stretching before some sort of thing like playing a football game or playing a hockey game, or something, doing static stretching is not a good idea but it is a good idea when you’re doing other things.

Ben:  Yeah, it does not warm up the muscle it decreases force production, blah blah blah, all these stuff that we all kinda know about these days.  There are actually four different kinds of stretching.  Four, count them.  There is this ballistics stretching, that’s the rapid bouncy stretches where you’re using momentum to theoretically stretch to the maximum but that’s not the way muscles really work.  You can’t really, actually stretch your muscles to the maximum by bouncing.

Brock:  That’s why we got the Gold Yee tendon form.

Ben:  Uh huh, so the muscle produces an inhibition reflex that would actually keep it from lengthening as you’re bouncing to keep the muscle from tearing.  So ballistics stretching, there’s really no place for ballistics stretching.  All muscles do is respond to that type of stretching by contracting to prevent themselves from over extending.

Brock:  Panicking. They’re like oh crap! Oh crap! Oh crap!  That’s what would my muscles say.

Ben:  Dynamic stretching is where you’re walking, moving, lunging, twisting, and often times swinging a muscle through a range of motion.  And this type of stretching is not effective because it lengthens the muscle.  It’s effective because it increases blood flow to the muscle and it begins to neurologically wake up the muscle to go through certain movement patterns.  Now it can, when it increases the blood flow prevent arterial stiffness, it can help to produce synovial fluid, which lubricates the joints that are surrounded by the muscles, which can help you to basically feel a lot better during exercise if you tend to get joint pain during exercise, and it can also assist with balance, and posture, and coordination during exercise.  There is no evidence though that it actually increase flexibility or elongate muscle tissue or make you able to move through a much, much greater range of motion, okay.  So really dynamic stretching is basically just exercising.  It’s a fancy term for exercising.  It’s like a dynamic stretch technically if I’m gonna do a squat, would be doing 20 body weight squats, right?  So dynamic stretching does work, but it doesn’t work because it increases flexibility.  Now there’s also another type of stretching called PNF stretching, that would be the third type of stretching, and PNF stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching.  Now when I was a personal trainer I always thought it was very, very impressive that I would take my clients and I would tell them that we’re going to do proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching.  And they would be all like – oh my gosh, I want to pay you extra for this.  But what it involved was, or what it involves is you have a partner who will resist you contracting a muscle, say like your hamstrings as you’re lying on your back, pushing your hamstrings down against that partner who is resisting it and then you relax, and then they push you to an even greater range of motion and then you relax and they push you.  The idea behind it is when you contract a muscle then you relax it, it releases some of that inhibition, that goggy tendon organ you mentioned.  The inhibition from that and the muscle is able to, basically the joint, specifically is able to move through a little bit greater range of motion.


But it also has no evidence showing that it increases flexibility or makes the muscle stretchier.  All that it really does is temporarily in that  moment, allow our muscle to move through a slightly greater range of motion, but once you’re done with it, there’s no evidence of increased flexibility.  And then finally the fourth type of stretching is the static stretching, and static stretching is where you stretch and hold a muscle and there is actually some evidence to show that this can increase flexibility but it’s not by making the muscle longer or elongating the muscle fibers it’s because it increases your tolerance to the physical discomfort with that stretch.  Isn’t that interesting?  So it’s all neurological when you’re reaching and touch your toes and everyday you can go a little bit farther, it’s not because your hamstrings are getting longer per se, it’s simply because you have a greater neurological tolerance to the discomfort produced by that stretch.

Brock:  So, it’s like resetting your central governor for stretching.

Ben:  Right, exactly.  So, when you look at someone who may need a very great range of motion, say like a gymnast or a skater, or a dancer, or someone like that.  Static stretching for very long periods of time or literally talking about holding stretches for 20 minutes, I mean, doing hamstrings for 20 minutes, etc.  It can definitely increase flexibility but again don’t get the impression that they’re getting super stretch in long muscle fibers, that’s not what’s happening.  What’s happening is they’re getting less inhibition of moving through that range of motion.  Okay, so that’s what happening when you’re doing those long static stretches.  So, it’s really interesting, and hopefully the way that I’ve described that helps to dispel some of the myths out there about stretching.  But…

Brock:  I think you just ruined thousands of years of yoga.

Ben:  Well no, I’ve written a really comprehensive article on yoga and the fact is, that yoga can decrease blood pressure.  It can decrease stress.  It can decrease cortisol.  So can Taichi.  But in Taichi, by the way, for those of you who’ve done it, you’ll know, it doesn’t involve much stretching.  The relationship between yoga and Taichi is awareness, focus, breathing, and it’s those things that decrease blood pressure and that give you those cardiovascular benefits or those hormones stabilizing benefits.  It’s not the elongation of the muscle fibers because a muscle fiber is not like a rubber band, like many of us have been lead to believe.  A muscle fiber – if you look at it, I’ve dissected a lot of cadavers.  I’ve spent 3 years in college dissecting cadavers and muscle fibers…

Brock:  Isn’t that thing with Jessa?

Ben:  Oh yeah, baby.  Actually, before one of our first dates, I was in the Anatomy lab dissecting cadavers and I actually spilled a bunch of formaldehyde and human fat all over my feet.  I remember sitting at the movie theater and I can smell the formaldehyde coming off my feet and I was just hoping, keeping my fingers cross inside that she could not smell the dying tissue preservative coming out of my skin.

Brock:  This guy’s really nice but really stinks.

Ben:  He smells dead.  So anyways, muscle is more like a giant type t-shirt that covers your body.  The combination of muscle and fascia and everything, and it’s like you can pull that t-shirt a little bit, you can move it a little bit, you can adjust it but you can’t stretch it that well.  So, and actually my kids can stretch their t-shirts really far.  It’s made of some crappy analogy.  ‘Cause my kids are like…

Brock:  Uhmm, it depends on what their shirt is made of, I guess.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah, exactly.  But the idea – I should say rope, right?  Muscles are a little more like rope, then it is like rubber band.  There.  That was more concise.  I do really…

Brock:  I think you started and said, things like your Achilles tendon is more like the telephone wires that you see going towards the city.

Ben:  Uhmm, yeah.  Yup.

Brock:  That in flex, or that in stretchable.

Ben:  Yup, exactly.  Now, I do really like this book and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes, it’s called “Stretching Your Boundaries: Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength”.  A really interesting take on stretching and what the author of that book does go into are certain ranges of motion that all healthy, able body people should be able to perform.  And I actually do – I do like the approach to this and I’ll tell you what those positions are.  One is, you should be able to get into a deep squat position.  Both of your heels flat on the floor and your calves and hamstrings touching its other.  Okay?


Dump in the wood position, right?  Everybody should be able to move to that range of motion of the dumping wood position.  Yeah, and don’t get me wrong, this is a reflection of mobility and range of motion more than it is stretchy, stretchy muscles.  Another one, is to be able to bend over and touch your toes with your knees close to being walked.  And that also is a great range of motion test.  It’s not necessarily meaning that your hamstrings are super duper stretchy.  What it does mean though is that you got good pelvic mobility, right? – in the mobile low back and thoracic spine to be able to bend down and touch your toes.  Another one, is that you should be able to lie flat on your back with your leg straight and your lower body in contact with the ground.  What’s called a hollow spine position, and when you’re in that position lying down, you should be able to reach your arms overhead and put both of your wrists flat on the floor behind you.  That’s an indicator that you have good thoracic spine.  People who can work on computers all day, they can’t do this stretch.

Brock:  Yeah, I can’t do it.

Ben:  And the best way to get yourself to be able to have that thoracic spine mobility for doing that is to just do that position but put a foam roller under your back so that you’re increasing or even a couple of like lacrosse balls taped together, and that helps to increase the thoracic mobility necessary to achieve that position.  Okay, another one is that when you’re standing up, you should be able to pick up one of your legs and basically do like that cross-legged chair position while you’re standing up by putting that leg up on a table, a raise surface, even like sitting down into a cross-legged chair position with your foot that is off the ground on top of your supporting knee, so basically you should be able to sit down in a chair if you’re sitting cross down-cross again in a chair without the chair.

Brock:  Oh, get leg done figure four.

Ben:  Yup, exactly.  Figure four, exactly the figure four.  I’m sorry, I forgot that Canadians only speak in numbers.

Brock:  Yes!

Ben:  Yes, the figure four position.  And then the last one, people always love this one.  You gotta reach one arm from above your back, one arm from below your back, and touch the tips of your fingers together.

Brock:  Alright, good lord.

Ben:  That’s what we’re talking about when you reach back much.  You get people should be able to do that.  If you can do those 5 things, you’re good to go like you’ve got good mobility, that’s sounds a pretty good benchmark.  I will put a link in the show notes to his book, if you really wanna delve into this even more.  But…

Brock:  I don’t.  It’s making me feel bad about myself.

Ben:  Are you tryin’ it right now?

Brock:  Yes.  I’m the word near.  I got my shoulder and maybe my scapula.

Ben:  Uhmm, maybe you need to shave.

Brock:  Perhaps the beard is holding me back.  Nope, I can’t.

Brayden:  Hi Ben!  I’d like to get a real assessment of my naturally occurring nutrient levels.  How long should I wait to take a blood test after having stopped my vitamin D supplement.  Thank you very much.

Brock:  Yeah, I guess you don’t necessarily want a whole bunch of supplemental vitamin D boosting up your levels, unless you’re planning on taking them forever.

Ben:  I don’t know.  Yeah, I mean like, when I go in for blood test though, I just like to just open the refrigerator and take everything and see what kind of chemical soup shows up in my bloodstream.

Brock:  You’ve baffled the doctor into thinking… what the hell?  Your vitamin loaded with everything.

Ben:  Yes, he takes off the chart.  You have fish oil, globules in your cholesterols, and your white blood cells are filled with adaptogenic herbs.  That’s a good thing, right?  Anyways though, yes.  If you wanna watch out – well, first of all, let’s talk about this.  What type of supplements are going to affect a lab test in a way that might skew the results, right?

Brock:  Yeah, some things have a really short half-life and they’d be out of your body really quickly anyway.

Ben:  Yeah.  Let’s say you’re going to get screen for riboflavin, and riboflavin deficiencies are B vitamin deficiencies that something a lot of people have.  If you’re gonna tested for those, you’d wanna avoid anything that has a B vitamin in it but you would also – if you’re just going to get a urine test, that’s looking using a color of your urine on a dip stick to indicate like acidity, etc. stuff like that.  If you’re taking a B12, then that also – if you’re taking any vitamin B supplement, that can also interfere with a urine test that’s being done for color.  So, that’s one that you’d wanna avoid.  Folic acid would be another or anything that contains a form of folate.  If you’re being tested for a vitamin B deficiency and you take like a methyltetrahydrofolate or folic acid or something like that, then it can mask a vitamin B12 deficiency.  So basically what I’m getting down to is, anything that’s got vitamin B in it, wash that out prior to going in for a test.

Brock:  Now that include like foods that are really high in vitamin D or vitamin B?


Ben:  No.  I mean, unless they’re – let’s put it this way – I mean like, if you’re gonna test firstly, you’re gonna be overnight fasted, right?  And second of all, you’re gonna – probably be eating a normal staple diet comprises of the things that you’d normally eat.  So, and that’s for my beef with the underlying assumption behind Brayden’s question might lie.  And that is that if you’re gonna be taking supplements anyways, why would you wanna test your blood to see what it looks like in the absence of those.  I guess – No, you know, I take that back.  It does make sense what you’re saying.

Brock:  I think the supplement side, make sense but the food side doesn’t.  My question doesn’t make sense but this…

Ben:  We’re going down a deep, deep [0:35:48.5] ______ now.  Damn it Brock.  Uhm, okay.  So, a few other things, calcium.  Calcium, if you’re taking calcium supplement and you’re getting a bone density scan, actually calcium can give an artificially high reading on a bone density scan.  So using any like CalMag supplement or multivitamin has calcium in it, you actually wouldn’t wanna do that prior to a bone scan, like a dexa scan.  Then there are supplements that have blood thinning properties, okay, like fish oil, gingko, ginger, and garlic, and a lot of things that you’re gonna find like anti-inflammatories, etc.  There are some tests that measure things like prothrombin and what’s called a blood coating ratio and if you’re test is going to look at any clotting factors, you would not wanna take these type of blood thinning supplements prior to that.  So, that’s another one to kinda avoid.  Those would be most of the biggies as far as things that are going to directly mess up a lab test.  So, that was a long answer to Brayden’s question.  Here’s a short answer, most every study that’s done on supplements and especially supplements that are done looking at populations when they’re on a supplement.  Doing a certain activity like say, a workout and then off that same supplement and then coming back to the same workout, what they generally use is a 10 day wash out period, okay.  That means that, for 10 days you don’t take it.  So, that’s generally what’s use in research and I would say that based off of that Brayden,  that’s about what you’d be looking at for stopping taking a supplement prior to getting a blood test would be a 10 day wash out period.

Brock:  So, is the wash out period, does that actually entail any washing out?  Like drinking a bunch of water or…

Ben:  No, no.  It’s just the term that they use in literature although you could try to swallow a bunch of soap.  Just make sure it’s good edible soap like…

Brock:  Just make sure you swish it around blood before you rinse.

Ben:  Dr. Bronner’s… Do you and Dr. Bronner’s gonna come on our podcast?

Brock:  No!  I didn’t know he’s a real person.

Ben:  He really is.  I didn’t know this either until he wrote me and… there is a Dr. Bronner and he’s gonna be on the podcast.  Talking about soap, and GMO, and personal care products, and sorts of cool stuff.  So, I’m actually interviewing him next month.

Brock:  And I will have Dr. Sholes on.

Ben:  He’s a real person just like Colonel Sanders.

Nathan: Hey Ben and Brock, Nathan here.  Would love to hear your thoughts on cafestol content in coffee, whether it can actually affect cholesterol in a negative fashion.  My understanding is that there is more cafestol in Arabica coffee which is more commonly used over a buzz of these days but the cafestol content can also be minimized with a paper filter when making coffee.  Does that negative effect of cafestol on cholesterol levels have more to do with pop culture misconception about cholesterol in general or should I actually be concerned about the type and preparation of my coffee.  Thanks for your time and for an absolutely wonderful show.

Ben:  Alright, coffee drinkers, set down that mug of coffee that you’ve heard it’s so healthy for you because… they finish right.  Coffee can raise your cholesterol.  There is actually a compound in coffee called cafestol that can elevate your cholesterol.  It’s really interesting how it does that to.  It hijacks this receptor in your intestinal pathway and in particular where it acts upon is your liver and what it can do – and they’ve actually investigated the biochemical background of how cafestol actually works.  Is it inhibit bio-acids synthesis.  Bio-acid synthesis being what helps you to breakdown cholesterols, breakdown fats, etc.  Which is why some people if they have coffee and then have a really fatty filled breakfast like eggs with cheese and bacon, and stuff like that.  They can’t digest that well that’s because bio-acid is inhibited.

Brock:  Which is why it’s actually shut down.

Ben:  Yeah.  So, it’s really, really interesting.  It’s probably also why people who do the bulletproof coffee thing, even though bulletproof coffee has a lot of cool effects, tend to have higher levels of LDL and triglycerides if they’re not careful with the way that they prepare that coffee because believe it or not, you can get rid of this cholesterol elevating cafestols.


So, it is possible to hack your coffee and then hack it again by making it bulletproof.  So…

Brock:  Oh man.  This sounds really complicated.  Coffee.

Ben:  I know.  Okay, I will make this simple for you.  So, cafestol and kahweol are fat soluble compounds that you find in coffee known as diterpenes.  Okay, they’re present in the oil that derives from coffee beans.  Now, these diterpenes can raise your cholesterol and they can raise your cholesterol not just by the fact that they are basically fat soluble compounds themselves but they can also raise your cholesterol via their inhibition of that bio-acid synthesis that I’d talked about.  So, you will find in Arabica beans – which are I generally what I recommend anyways because they are lower in fungus and micotoxins and are generally healthier growing in higher drying climates, etc.  Those contain both cafestol and kahweol, and the other type of beans, the robusta, robusta beans depending on what part of the world you’re in.  How’d you say it in Canada?

Brock:  Uh, I think it’s really boring, robusta.

Ben:  Uh, you know how we say it in Washington State?  Robusta!  Robusta!

Brock:  Ah, robusta!  Atutu robusta!

Ben:  I make love to you all night long then I make you omelet and give you some robusta! Uhmm.  Okay, so robusta beans contain about half as much of that cafestol.  And cafestol actually does raise your cholesterol much more potently than kahweol does.  So technically, even though the Arabica beans, I know it’s getting confusing, are lower in micotoxins and fungus and all that jazz, they do have higher levels of this potential cholesterol increasing compound.  Now, here is the cool thing though, both of these type of compounds – the cafestol and the kahweol, they’re extracted by hot water but they are retained by a paper filter.  So this means that, boiled coffee, Turkish coffee, French press coffee, (sorry, French press lovers) these actually contain relatively high amounts of cafestol and especially if you’re like a bulletproof coffee person or someone who’s doing a high fat breakfast, you really wouldn’t want coffee that was not prepared with some type of A-paper filter method.  Filtered coffee, percolated coffee, anything like that, that you’re using a filter for or like the Aeropress – that’s the one that I use.

Brock:  Oh yeah!  Like crazy squeezy thing.

Ben:  Uh uh!  That filters out most of these cafestols and lowers that diterpene concentration.

Brock:  Does espresso has bpa into it?

Ben:  A espresso does have actually pretty high levels of the diterpenes like the cafestol and stuff but even espresso are in smaller serving size, either way you’re gonna get some with the espresso.  So, anytime there’s a not a really some kind of a paper involved, you’re generally gonna have higher levels of these potentially cholesterol increasing compounds in coffee.  So basically, you may want to change up your brewing method and use something that contains paper filters which remove those specific coffee oils.

Now, you wanna hear something that’s even more confusing and may really spin your brain.

Brock:  Kinda.  Uhh, maybe.

Ben:  When you drink bulletproof coffee, like one of the things that you’re doing, when you’re putting MCT oil and butter, and stuff like that in the coffee, is you’re enhancing the ability of these fat-soluble compounds, the diterpenes to cross the blood brain barrier and cause some of that cognitive performance enhancing effect that bulletproof coffee can cause.  And so, you kind of have this paradox between raising levels of cholesterol significantly and suppressing bio-acids synthesis and your ability to digest fats, and increasing your cognitive performance.  So, it’s a real catch 22.  So yeah.  So ultimately I think the best way to go is that you use something with a paper filter or if you don’t wanna wash out those diterpenes because you want some of those cognitive performance enhancing effects, you take them in everything but maybe you do a little less butter, or a little less MCT oil in your coffee, or don’t have that coffee with a fatty breakfast or even, I guess the other way you could hack this, is you could take all that stuff and then you could take like a bio supplement like a lot of digestive enzymes contain bio-extract supplements.


Like ox bile extract and stuff like that.  Like the one that I recommend a lot – the Thorne FX digestive enzyme, that has a bile extract in it.  So, you could also – if you really want to have the best of both worlds, have your cafestols and your cognitive performance enhancing effects and also get your cholesterols would be to take a digestive enzyme with your coffee.  So, there you go, Nathan, I bet you didn’t know you’re gonna create so much confusion for so many people.

Brock:  So much confusion.  And really, this is like the – yes, where the end there about it being misunderstanding of cholesterol.  And this is really not because it raises cholesterol like “cholesterols” because of the…

Ben:  It keeps it from getting broken down basically.  So yeah, it could potential create issues with high levels of circulating cholesterol or in my opinion even more concerning issue of inhibition of breaking down fat.  So, that can just create some digestive upset later on.  Some diaper time.

Brock:  Diaper time.

Ben:  Diaper time.

Will:  Hey Ben and Brock!  I have a question regarding biorhythms.  I’ve always been a night owl.  I find it very difficult to wake up early in the morning and I actually fall asleep around 2 AM and usually wake up around 10 AM.  Whenever I am forced to wake up early, I’m sure there’s a lot of negative symptoms like muscle fatigue, absent mindedness and some resistant GI problems way far from optimal functioning.  I try going to bed earlier, use different sleep aids, turn off all the lights, stay away from the computer, etc. but nothing ever since are really helping.  I just sitting, lying there in bed just staring the ceiling fully awake.  And this is most problematic when I signed up for ultra races.  For instance, I just ran 50 mile today and it had a 6 AM start time, I started off fast but after about 5 miles into the race, I quickly fatigue and felt back into, down to the back of the pack.  Then about 10 or 11 Am which is about my normal wake up time, my body seems to turn on and my performance drastically improves and I moved way up in the back you know, I pass through the rest of the race and I actually run stronger as the race got longer.  So, what are your thoughts on how I can resolve this issue especially if I can run as well in the morning as I do in the afternoon and evening then I can really kill these races.  So, I really appreciate your thoughts and thanks for everything you do and keep it up, guys.

Brock:  Will is like the complete opposite of me.

Ben:  Uhm, you mean you wake up early and then you get tired at night and you go to bed?

Brock:  Yeah, I fall asleep on the couch before 10 or around 10 and then 4 or 5 AM, I wake up and like ready to go!

Ben:  Uhm, yeah.  It’s all based on your sleep rhythms.  So, the idea here is that there are like 2 – it’s called a 2 process model of sleep regulation and this was actually something that was develop in 1982 in the field of sleep research at the University of Zurich where there was this article on the Journal of Human Neurobiology where they described this two process model of sleep and it really helps to understand why you might wake up a certain time, and how you could reset that sleep rhythm or hack that sleep rhythm to actually either wake up early or wake up later depending on what you wanna do.  And…

Brock:  That sounds like what we’ll need.

Ben:  Yeah.  Just what we’ll needs.  So well, we’re gonna educate you.  So, this 2 process sleep rhythm thing is basically, you’ve got process one – which is called sleep pressure and what sleep pressure means is that from the moment you wake up in the morning, you get this pressure for sleep that mounts continuously until you sleep again.  So that sleep pressure helps you to fall asleep at night and it helps you stay asleep until the morning.  While you are asleep, sleep pressure decreases and after a night of complete sleep, you start the next day with low sleep pressure and if you are waking up really early, then you have low sleep pressure when you’re waking up, and if you’re sleeping in and you don’t wanna earlier but you’re sleeping in until 9 or 10, that means your sleep pressures like staying with you for really a long time into the morning but then your sleep pressure isn’t kicking in, right, until later on like 12 AM or 1 AM or 2AM or whatever.  So, the second part is called wake drive.  So, you’ve got sleep pressure, you’ve got wake drive.  So, wake drive is basically all the different parts of your brain are responsible for wakefulness producing this alerting signal that increases in intensity to counteract any type of sleep pressure.  So, sleep pressure is gonna build from the morning to the night but wake drive will also build from the morning to the night, and your alertness is going to increase as that wake drive goes up.


So you’ve got these two kinds of yin and yang cycles working together and ideally you’ve got wake drive that kicks in when you want it to kick in in the morning and if again to turn off as sleep pressure mounts as night approaches and then you fall asleep when that sleep pressure peaks and you go into your night rhythm.  So, the idea here is that you can tweak the sleep rhythm primarily with light.  And the cool thing is, that we already kinda talked about how you could do this.  So, let’s say that you want to reset your sleep rhythm and this works for when you’re travelling, this works for when you’re – like in Will’s case, for you just like, you’ve kinda set up this lifestyle where you’re stayin’ up awake late at night and getting up every morning, the way that you would reset the sleep cycle is you’re going to have to first of all force yourself.  Set the alarm whatever, blaring alarm clock, 9 inch nails, whatever you gotta do with your alarm clock to wake yourself up.  Or perhaps, nudge, nudge, wink, wink – one of those sunrise alarm clocks.  I talked about earlier if that’s able to get you up even though, it may not like if your sleep rhythm is really off.  You may actually like me – it’s full on like loud, blaring alarm clock.  The most annoying sound in the world. (making sounds)

Brock:  I tried to love to wake up to that.  We should make a little sound to people and sell that.

Ben:  That’s right.  Anyways though, called the most annoying sound in the world to wake you up.  It can be just the one from dumb and dumber.  (sounds)  Okay, anyways Will, sorry about that segue.  The way that you would do this – you force yourself to get up when you wanna get up, okay?  Force it!  Make it happen – 6 AM, 7AM, whatever that time is.  And as soon as that happens, blam!  Bid yourself in blue light, okay.  Use one of those awaking alert bulbs I talked about, get yourself a blue light box, get outside in the sun, and if you have time, do some yoga in the sun or just like stand there blurry eyed wishing you could go back to bed just like staring in the sun in your backyard, in your underwear.

Brock:  You’re not going to point to the sun.

Ben:  Yeah.  Whatever you wear to bed at night.  Your underwear, your night cap.  Anyways though, your negligee.  But you stand there staring at the sun or getting bathe in blue light.  Expose yourself to blue light, enhance that wake drive, right?  So that’s what we’re trying to do.  Okay, now what’s going to happen is that first of all, by jumpstarting that wake drive, you’re automatically going to shift your sleep pressure back earlier in the day because you’re just getting get more tired, right?  ‘Cause you force yourself to stay awake.  Now, you can also use adrenergic supplements.  You can use like caffeine, or you can use smart drugs: piracetam, aniracetam, ciltep, you name it, yeah.  Anything  you want to do to just basically put yourself in a hyper alert state in the morning even you don’t wanna be in that state.  Now, that’s gonna be really uncomfortable for a few days as you do this, I will admit.  But then what you wanna do is as soon as you are getting within about 3-4 hours going to bed or when the sun is setting, or whatever area in the world that you happen to be in, freakin’ limit blue light to the extreme, okay.  Blue light blocking glasses.  Only red light in the areas that you’re in.  Putting flux on your computer, or screen deeming your phone.  Keeping the lights off as much as possible.  I mean, just do not tell your body or that it is constant daylight or anything like that as you’re getting into the evening hours, okay.

Brock:  Then go to Vegas.

Ben:  Limiting TV, limiting computer use, limiting cell phone use, I know it sounds kinda extreme but this is what it takes to reset that circadian rhythm, okay.  So you might have a few days or you just go to the library, get these paper things, they’re called books, they don’t have lights, they don’t have flashing sounds, yeah.  Just a book.  Like a paper book or some magazines.  I actually in a process doing this right now ‘cause I’ve been travelling for 10 days, right?  So, like last night was a perfect example.  I turn on my little infrared light next to my bed and I crawled up with 3 magazines, okay.  No computer, no phone, nothing.  And that’s a really, really good way to just like basically doze off to bed and you just basically do that for several days in a row and it can take a little bit to reset that circadian rhythm, but that’s how you do it.  I mean, it sounds simple, and stupid, and it all kinda make sense when you think about it, but that’s how you reset a sleep cycle and all you’re doing is you’re shifting that rhythm, you’re shifting that two process model of sleep, right?  So, make sense?


Brock:  Yeah.  Did you mention the use of any melatonin to just sort of kick in that…

Ben:  Oh, yeah.  I mean, in the same way that you would use adrenergic stimulants in the morning.  You could use melatonin.  You could if you don’t get addicted to it or use a long term getting use like phenibut which is a powerful inhibitory neurotransmitter that doesn’t make you groggy the next morning.  I’ve actually used sometimes before races and stuff when I really need to get to sleep but I don’t want the – like ambien, valium, all that stuff.  That can stay in your system like 48 hours and it can really inhibit muscle function.  Not something you want before triathlon or race or something like that but you could melatonin, you can use phenibut, you could use passion flower, you could use gamma aminobutyric acid.  There’s a variety of things that can do the trick when you need to get that evening relaxation.  Hemp oil, like the cannabis extract – that works really well like cbd oil.

Brock:  Oh yeah.  I haven’t tried that.  I wanna get to try that one of these days.

Ben:  Yeah.  All sorts of ways to skin that cat.  So, yeah but basically any inhibitor in the evening along with the excitatory stuff in the morning.  So, I think that this is a perfect time to mention that we’re gonna do something special on this podcast episode.

Brock:  Uhmm,  that’s exactly why I chose this question for today.

Ben:  Uhmm, we’re gonna sing you a song.

Brock:  Uh la, la, la, la.

Ben:  No, Brock.  Joking, we’re not.  I know you’re excited to help but no, we’re not.  We’re actually gonna play you an excerpt from my book. (music playing)

Brock:  (singing)  Go to sleep, go to sleep.  Shot those big blood shot eyes…

Ben:  Brock, no!  Actually, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna play folks an excerpt from my book.  The audio version of Beyond Training.  It’s getting release chapter by chapter right now to every person who is a part of the Ben Greenfield fitness premium channel.  That’s the special channel where you pay $10 for the whole year, yes, for the whole year.  And what happens is, you get access to every single past episodes we’ve ever done and you get access to things like, my audio book, PDFs, videos, all sorts of cool little thing  So, anyways…

Brock:  You got a thing coming out on Friday in fact.

Ben:  That’s right.  We’ve got my entire bulletproof biohacking review and I called the bulletproof biohacking show, it’s just like off the hook, entertaining, slightly inappropriate…

Brock:  Slightly inappropriate, I edited it last night.  It gets in the blue.

Ben:  Yeah, I was kinda jacked up on.  Smart drugs.  Anyways though, that’s gonna be part of the premium show but either way, what we’re gonna play you now is a portion of the Beyond Training book from chapter 10 called “How To Fix Insomnia” and if you want to get more after listening to what we’re about to play you, again, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium.  And Brock and I will be right back after you listen in to this excerpt on how to fix insomnia.

Okay, so let’s talk about insomnia.  If you follow all the instructions that you just learn about how to get better sleep, it’s highly likely that you’re not gonna have to deal with insomnia again.  Once you’ve done things like darkened your room, you eliminated bright screens, and electromagnetic frequencies, introduced smart sleep supplementation into your protocol, and given yourself the freedom to engage in free-running sleep whenever possible, insomnia typically becomes a non-issue.  But, let’s say you pulled every trick out of the closet, you’re already using every imaginable sleep pack and you still can’t get to sleep.  In other words, for some reason you’re still experiencing full blown insomnia.  That’s driving you nuts and ruining your sleep, your productivity, your relationships and your life.  Assuming all the other strategies that I just got keep on describing have been established as lifestyle on sleep time.  There are 5 more strategies I’ve discovered which I recommend to my client or athletes I worked with who suffer from debilitating insomnia.  These strategies were either free of the body’s energy flowing meridians which are keeping you from sleep or eliminate hidden sleep stealers.  Number 1 is to eliminate parasites.  Okay, prepare to be grossed out.  Intestinal parasites which you can pick out from water, dirty food, or public toilets can affect your central nervous system and block your body from performing its normal body routines during sleep.  Parasites introduce toxins into your body that can cause restlessness and the shaky feeling making it difficult to rest and sleep.  And when you do finally get to sleep, a parasite can disrupt your body’s natural ability to efficiently detox via your liver.  So when you combine this with the fact that most parasites are nocturnal and get very active at night in your gut, this makes normal deep sleep pretty difficult.  Now, I’ve had parasitic infections before both which I think I’ve picked up in the racing triathlons overseas, swimming in nasty water.


In both cases about every 2 weeks just like clockwork when the parasites were hatching, yes, hatching.  I would have extremely restless nights of sleep in both cases I identified parasites using this at home poop test.  I eliminate the parasites using an intestinal cleanse and I started sleeping like a baby again.  So, sorry about that unpleasant visual.  The lab test that I did was called The GI Effect Test with Parasitology.  You could talk to your local natural health care practitioner about it.  I’ve also got a link to it if you want to oversee that test yourself over at greenfieldfitnesssystems.com.  Number 2, is to get rid of overtraining.  And as you learn back in chapter 7, having trouble gaining sleep at night, tossing and turning through the night, waking up much earlier than usual, and that happens in the early stages of overtraining or waking up much later than usual, and that happens in the later stages of overtraining.  These can all be signs of inadequate recovery or adrenal fatigue.  And when the early stages of overtraining, this type of insomnia is usually accompanied by a daily tired but wired feeling in which you get really tired at night, but you just can’t fall asleep because it feels like your mind and your body are both racing.  In the later stages of overtraining, insomnia actually becomes a non-issue as you tend to just fall asleep, stay asleep, sleep late, but never be recovered no matter what you do because your body is depleted of the building blocks necessary for night time repair.  So, the fix for this is pretty easy.  Go back to chapter 8 and listen to chapter 8 ‘cause I give you everything you need to know to get rid of overtraining.  Okay number 3, is to lower night time stress and it’s no secret that work in lifestyle stress can keep you awake at night.  Earlier in this chapter, you learn a bunch of the stress control methods that can come in handy.  And it may sound simple but the very best insomnia beating night time stress can sort strategy that I found is just to have a hard stop.  Sixty minutes before bed.  That’s the point at which you stop responding to emails, you stop thinking about work, you stop paying bills, you stop studying, you stop reading “how to” books, or doing any mentally demanding or even mildly stressful tasks.  And from this point until bedtime, you do things like read for pleasure, play an instrument, have sex, watch something funny, of course with your blue light blocking glasses and screen deemer turned on, of course.  Or you just chill.  Number 4 is acupuncture.  Okay, this may not seem like poking fine needles into your body with somehow help you to sleep better but a 1999 study, I’ll link to over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter10, found that acupuncture improves sleep quality and normal people with insomnia.  And there was another study in 2004 that found acupuncture help and increase evening melatonin production and total sleep time.  And patients who got it in this study fell asleep faster, they were less aroused at night and experience less stress.  And the researchers concluded that acupuncture treatment may be of value for some categories of anxious patients with insomnia.  Another study found that acupuncture improves sleep all in patients with HIV which is actually a condition that can cause insomnia.  This makes sense because an added benefit of acupuncture is relief from chronic pain which can also be a contributor to sleeplessness.  So, back in chapter 8 – the chapter in overtraining, I gave you a bunch of good information on acupuncture for recovery and finding an acupuncturist.  So, go listen to that or read it.  Number 5 is to fix mineral imbalances.  And, I feel I’m like repeating myself here but as you also learn in chapter 8, correcting mineral imbalances can be one good way to fight adrenal fatigue.  So if you find your sleeplessness and insomnia is accompanied by this feeling of blood pounding in your ears as you try to fall asleep at night, or rapid annoying heart rate, this maybe because your room is too hot but it may also be because you’re in early stage of adrenal fatigue.  You have a mineral imbalance or you sweated out too many electrolytes in the day where the week of training.  And I found that there are many sleepless nights just getting out of bed and having 1-2 teaspoons, yes, that’s 3-6 grams of an extremely mineral rich sea salt can help tremendously with this issue.  So you can get a basic Himalayan sea salt from Amazon or at the grocery store, sometimes the source of those can be effie and it’s not as high quality as another couple options I’ll give you but in a pinch (pun intended) this stuff is actually pretty decent.  There’s another company called Onnit and they make a Himalayan salt.  I’ll link to over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter10 and the salt deposits from which this salt is mined were deposited long before the earth became polluted with heavy metals, pesticides, and PCBs.  So it’s pretty pristine stuff, it’s spendy but it’s a better choice if you’re concern about quality.  And finally if you don’t mind spending a lot of money on salt, there’s a stuff called Real Good Salt, from Astec and it’s naturally flavored, organically harvested, artisanal salt that’s higher in minerals than either the other salts sources that I listed.  So, it’s a gold centered salt and a lot expensive, I personally keep at least 1 bag in my pantry at all times and use it sparingly.


So you can mix any of these into a glass of water before bed at night or into a post workout glass of water and fortunately all of these salts are pretty dang delicious on food too.

Brock:  Wake up!  Wake up!  We’re back.

Ben:  Okay.

Brock:  You have such a lovely reading voice.

Ben:  Uhmm, that’s right.  I spend a lot of time in a rocking chair, crocheting, reading aloud…

Brock:  to yourself.

Ben:  To myself.  I spend a lot of time by myself.

Brock:  Anyway, that’s funny.

Ben:  Yeah.  Let’s do this week’s iTunes review.  So, if you hear your review right on the show, then we send you a cool package of Ben Greenfield fitness swag.  Water bottle, t-shirt, beanie, all sorts of cool stuff, and the way that you get that is you go to iTunes and you find the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast or you can go to the show notes for this episode at bengreenfieldfitness.com/295 and you just basically click the section that says, leave your review for a chance to win some.  And then if you hear us read your review, just email [email protected] with your mailing address and your t-shirt size, and we’ll get this right out to you.  And it’s not a big cotton t-shirt, it’s one of those cool tech t-shirts that makes you look awesome muscular.

Brock:  Yeah.  So they tell you their sex as well?

Ben:  For this particular one, that might be interesting.  Yes.

Brock:  Yeah, sometimes that means do not indicate anything.

Ben:  Yeah, alright.  Why don’t you read this next one, Brock.

Brock:  I’m assuming this one by sritunes22 or senior, sir iTunes maybe.  And the title is, Seriously this podcast will change your life.  Five stars.

Ben:  Five stars baby!  Yeah!

Brock:  “Number 1: Ben is awesomely hot.  He is my dream man (don’t worry Jessa I know he is taken) but I hope there are more Ben Greenfield’s out there.”

Ben:  That’s okay.  My wife doesn’t listen in to the show.  You can say stuff like that on iTunes and I won’t get in the dog house.

Brock:  There isn’t a Ben out there but your – is your brother single?

Ben:  Uh hm…

Brock:  Is Zack single?

Ben:  No!  He’s not.  No.

Brock:  ‘Cause he’s actually a hotter version of Ben.

Ben:  Thank you.

Brock:  Sorry.  It’s true.  Anyway, “Number 2: Brock maybe hot… I have never seen him.  But he is super chill.”  I’ve never heard myself describe this super chill.  That’s great!  “and is great at making humorous side comments.”

Ben:  May I interject that Brock is funny and funny looking.  He has a great voice for radio but he is super chill.

Brock:  And yeah, and that’s the reason why I’m not on television.

Ben:  Boom!

Brock:  I have a huge growth.  Uhm, “and many of which go right over Ben’s head.”  Referring to the humorous comments.  “Number 3…”

Ben:  So, she’s basically saying I’m stupid but good looking and you are not hot but you do have many humorous side comments I can’t understand.  That’s where we wrap right now with this review.

Brock:  I think that’s an accurate summary.  Yeah.

Ben:  Let’s keep this thing going.

Brock:  So, the number 3. “I am a health care professional with expertise in nutrition and integrative medicine.  I have learned more applicable information about current research, nutrition, and physiology from Ben in the past 4 months of listening and reading his book than I have in most of my classes.”

Ben:  Okay, remind all of us not to go to whatever school you went to.

Brock:  She’s going to the school of health care and arc welding.  “Number 4: If you want optimal and superhuman health, this podcast and Ben’s book are the rosetta stone to understanding crafting your body and quality of life the best it can be.”  Thank you for…

Ben:  The rosetta stone was for learning Spanish.

Brock:  I think it’s for learning any language in… yeah, just or like the babel fish you put in your ear.  Uhm, “Thank you for your infinite education and entertainment on all my half marathons and long commutes.  Ben, if you ever make a clone, please send him my way.”

Ben:  I did make a clone.  But it’s a sheep, so.  I hope you got in Montana…

Brock:  Yeah.  It’s very smart and awesomely hot.

Ben:  Sheep.  But you could shave the sheep with your blades from Harry’s – sponsor for this podcast.  So, there’s that.

Brock:  Nice!  I like that.

Ben:  Not only sash swatches and kittens but also sheep.  Well, I think that wraps this up, so.  You can leave your review in iTunes.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/295 for all the resources that we talked about in this show.  Remember to email me if you’re interested in the whole biohacksblog.com involvement and stay tune next week to find out if I died in love fields of life.  Have a wonderful week everyone!

Visit bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness, nutrition, and performance advice.

[1:10:38.4]     END      



Oct 1, 2014 Podcast: Ben’s Ultimate Guide To Stretching, Should You Stop Taking Supplements Before A Blood Test, Can Coffee Raise Cholesterol, How To Reset Your Sleep Cycle, and an excerpt of “How To Fix Insomnia” from Chapter 10 of Ben Greenfield’s Beyond Training book.

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 questions.


News Flashes:

You can receive these News Flashes (and more) every single day, if you follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfieldFacebook.com/BGFitness and Google+.


Special Announcements:

Visit BenGreenfieldFitness.com/aded – to get Yuri Elkaim’s new All Day Energy Diet cookbook for free (with recipes like hemp balls, natural gatorade and green cappuccino)! This week you get free videos all week long from Yuri, including “The Worn-Out Weight Gain Connection”, “How to Kill Cravings” and “How to Make Healthy Eating Stick”.

October 8-13: Ben will be speaking at the Ironman Sports Medicine conference in October during Ironman Hawaii. He will be presenting on nutrition myths and alternative methods of fueling Ironman (and Brock will be there too).

Go ask your burning Obstacle Racing questions at ObstacleDominator.com for the brand new Obstacle Dominator podcast.

January 30th – 31st, 2015 – Talise Fitness and Jumeirah Emirates Towers, proudly invite you to take part in an exclusive two day seminar held by the renowned nutrition and fitness expert, best selling author, coach, speaker, ex-bodybuilder and Ironman triathlete, Ben Greenfield.


Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.

And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – leave your review for a chance to win some!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.

Ben’s Ultimate Guide To Stretching

Brandon asks: He wants to know all about stretching. He hears that some people advocate fast stretching, with quick pulses for a neurological effect. Some like stretching for a long period of time to really get to the deep fascia. Which is best and when should you use them?

In my response I recommend:
Stretching Your Boundaries – Flexibility Training for Extreme Calisthenic Strength

Should You Stop Taking Supplements Before A Blood Test?

Brayden asks: He wants to get a complete view of his naturally occurring blood nutrient levels. How long should he wait after he has stopped taking a supplement (Vitamin D) to get his blood tested?

Can Coffee Raise Cholesterol?

Nathan asks: He has heard that the cafestol content in brewed coffee can effect cholesterol levels in a negative fashion. Is there more in arabic vs. robusta beans? Is this issue limited by using a filter? Is this even an issue or is it just another symptom of people misunderstanding of cholesterol?

How To Reset Your Sleep Cycle

Will asks: He has always been a night owl and finds it hard to wake up early. He usually goes to bed at 2am and wakes up at 10am. When he is forced to wake up early he experiences muscle fatigue, absentmindedness, GI issues, and far from optimal functioning. He has tried going to bed early using all kinds of techniques and nothing helps. He just lays there in bed awake. This is an issue with ultra races. The first part of the race is terrible but the back half (when he would normally be awake) he picks up the pace and kills it.

In my response I recommend:
Morning blue light box exposure
-Evening red light and blue blocking glasses (see GreenfieldFitnessSystems for light solutions)

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2014/10/295-red-light-and-blue-light-biohacking-tips-can-coffee-raise-cholesterol-the-ultimate-guide-to-stretching/

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

4 thoughts on “Episode #295 – Full Transcript

  1. cookin74 says:

    Right, I get that, but it looks to me like they noticed ill effects at 3 hours: "Light exposure significantly damaged mitochondrial DNA at 3 h" Plus, beyond the exposure to something like a blue light box early in the morning- the majority of us are sitting in front of a computer for an additional 8 or more hours, and under fluorescent lights nearly all day. So it seems like the cumulative effect would be a concern. It seems like we'd want to minimize

    1. Honestly, you probably would notice ill effects after 3 hours. My running analogy still applies. Ever been on a 3 hour run? ;)

  2. cookin74 says:

    Ben, I have been a fan of blue light for a long time, and have been using my blue light box every morning for the last few years. Until I saw this… .http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15797866

    Has that come across your desk yet?

    1. Yep, it's just like exercise, sunlight or any other hormetic stressor. In this case, they used 6 hours of blue light. Try this: go running for 20 minutes. Now go running for 6 hours. Notice a difference? ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *