July 1, 2015
Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show: The Truth About Starvation Mode, Ketosis and Crossfit, Raw Milk Versus WheyProtein, Measuring HRV During Exercise, Should You Eat Before Bed, and much more!
Welcome to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast. We provide you with everything you need to know for total performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, sleep, brain, and hormone optimization. So whether you’re an Ironman tri-athlete, or you’re just wanna shed a few pounds, get ready for non-run-of-the-mill, cutting edge content from bengreenfieldfitness.com.
Brock: Dude, two big birthdays within 24 hours. This is quite a day.
Ben: This is great. Well, it's my last birthday last night. Who else’s birthday?
Brock: It's Dominion Day! It's Canada's birthday. That birthday is being ahh – confederation.
Ben: I'll sing you, I'll sing, I'll sing you the Canadian National Anthem. Here it goes…
Brock: Ok, you'll make me cry.
Ben: Ohh, Canada… (singing) da, da, da, da
Brock: (chuckles) It's about how well I do the American National Anthem too.
It’s like – The star-spangled banner… (singing)
Ben: Ohh, Hockany… uhm…, hockey. Uhm…
Brock: Actually here's a – I'll just really quickly. A little gift for all the Canadians out there if they’re listening today.
Do it! (crazy sounds) kolukoko-koko-koko! Kolukoko-koko-koko! Here's a- Good day! Welcome to the Great White North. I’m Bob McKenzie’s, my brother Doug.
Brock: Do you remember the Bob and Doug McKenzie?
How's it going? Our topic today is Great White North…
Brock: Did you ever, did you guys kept them down… across the border?
Ben: Yeah. Like vaguely.
Brock: That was the theme song to their television show The Great White North.
Ben: Hmm. Ohh! Well, there you have it.
Ben: You just intrigue all of our Canadian listeners.
Brock: Yeah. That's more Canadian than the Canadian National Anthem. I'd -I'd been true to say.
Ben: And may the rest of the planet cringe.
Brock: Yeah! Now they hate Canada.
Ben: On a more pleasant note. We, the boys named it – just a dinner last night and I think I mentioned this before on a few episode. How we're kinda getting a lot more into wild edibles. And finding wild edibles, hunting for them, identifying them, adding them to our vernacular, learning about their medicinal properties, their edible properties, etc. So, we made mom a nice, well, actually we got fresh lobster and we made lobster with a garlic butter sauce, but then everything else was just a pick from the land. So wepicked everything from a wild pineapple to a minor leaf lettuce, to pretty much, just like, I sent my boys out for like 2 hours, and we’re just out in the fields finding all the edibles and we dress them with olive oil, lemons, sea salt, black pepper. It was – it was kinda cool too.And actually I use all the leftovers in my smoothie this morning. So, we're almost to the point where we don't have to step foot into the produce aisle of the grocery store and, this is a tip for you parents out there who may have access to land, or farm, or whatever. I know it's a small section of our listeners, but one thing that we're doing now on a weekly basis is, the kids from breakfast up through dinner, or not up through dinner, up to dinner, uhm once a week, we're implementing an only-eat-outside-day which means they can’t eat food from the refrigerator, from the kitchen, anything. They have to either grab eggs from the chickens or else plants from outside that they find that they can eat. They can prepare them whenever they want, but the rule is they have to pick things from the wild to sustain their bodies during the day.
Brock: I like it! It's, it's so old-time-me.
Ben: Mmm-hmm. Yeah.
Brock: I feel like we're back on little house on the prairie.
Ben: And I have yet to have one of my boys, munch in to a bunch of poison ivy or poison ox. So, gonna like it so far.
Brock: Just be ready.
Ben: We'll see.
Brock: It's going to happen one day.
Ben: That's right.
Brock: So early this week at twitter.com/bengreenfield, you tweeted out something that I clicked the link. I was so excited.So I dig into it. It was a hundred and forty seven freakin’ pages long.
Ben: Speaking of setting my boys out to live off the land for the day, this particular tweet wasactually about Starvation Mode. Really the best article I've come across in a really long time, when it comes to laying out everything that goes on inside your body when it comes to, this idea of starvation mode. And we linked to this, this same article in the show notesover at bengreenfieldfitness.com/322, but basically it goes into all the different studies that have been done out there on what happens to your body when you lose weight, what happens to the body in response to energy restriction? Because there is this idea out there that when you restrict energy, that it can do everything from whatever, damage your thyroid to lower your metabolism.
And they found some very interesting things, and obviously, you know, a hundred and whatever forty pages or so, I'm not gonna go over the whole thing in the podcast but ey! Go read it.
Brock: Page by page.
Ben: You know, if you wanna wrap your head around this stuff but some of the highlights – for example, there are specific things that happen as a result of energy restriction. And this would primarily be related to studies in which folks went on low calorie diets without any re-feeds. Right? Without nightly re-feed or though perhaps maybe a weekend day where you're eating calories, ad libitum, etc. So, in most cases we're talking about 3-4 plus solid weeks of energy restriction. So, what did they find? First of all, they found that humans naturally down regulatephysical activity during periods of energy restriction.
Ben: Meaning, that, not only does your metabolism naturally lowers through a down regulation or thyroid hormoneproduction, but you also move less, whether that's consciously or subconsciously. When you are on a diet, you move less, you exercise less, and they found this to be true across a variety of studies which was really interesting when you consider that, you know, decrease and physicalactivity can affect your fitness levels. So, that was interesting. But then getting a little bit more nerdy, Folks wanna strap on their propeller hats. Another that energy restriction did was, it induce the decrease in a specific component of adipose tissue or a fat tissue called Eldo-C, and what Eldo-C does is, it reduces your glycolytic capacity, which means that it reduces your capacity to be able to break down muscle glycogen and liver glycogen. I'm sorry. Increases your capacity to be able to break down muscle glycogen and liver glycogen so that you get more glucose into your blood stream to rely upon for energy when you are in a state of energy restriction. But for athletes, or for people who are actually using a lot. This is actually a catch 22 because it means that you have reduced ability to store glycogen, you break down glycogen more readily. And so, it's one of those things where, once again, if you’re engage in long term energy restriction and calorie restriction without doing re-feeds, you are inhibiting your ability to store away glycogen in times of need. So that was one, one kind interesting takeaway.
Brock: So, would that be the same reason why people like, if we put our diet better kind on, basically on a long fast, like a 72 hour fast. Is that the same, would that be the same mechanism?
Ben: Do you mean that for someone who is a diabetic to fast would be a bad thing or?
Brock: No, it would be a good thing.
Brock: ‘Cause they’re actually increasing their ability to breakdown the glycogen rather than just storing it away.
Ben: Not necessarily because in a diabetic, the frequent surges in blood glucose that would come with a, an energy restricted diet, and this breakdown of glycogen would not necessarily be a good thing versus restricting carbohydrates, but not necessarily restricting calories. Meaning for a diabetic, it would be better to just have fatty acid to rely upon for energy by restricting sugar and starch intake versus going out on a very, very low calorie diet. So…
Ben: Yeah. Another, another interesting take away was related to leptin. And what they found was a significant decrease in the hormone leptin in response to energy restriction. And leptin is one of the hormones that assist with our ability to be able to control our appetite, and so, long term energy restriction, long term diet can actually decrease your ability to be able to control your appetite. And the other thing that is associated with a decrease in leptin is a decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity in fight-or-flight nervous system activity, which we would think would be a good thing, but again in athletes, exercise enthusiast, etc., that long term energy restriction and the complete down regulation of your ability to kinda like go hard when you wanna go hard, could kinda be a catch 22. So the article goes on and on but ultimately, for me the biggest takeway point was that it’s better to consistently push yourself away from the table when you're about 80% full, and to have one meal – if you're an athlete or someone whoexercises quite a bit, one meal a day or you’re eating calories ad libitum, such as your evening meal, and even if you're not an athlete and you just kinda living a “normal life” and you're not doing like cross-fit wods or triathlon training, or something like that, to have at least one day during the week where you are giving your body a little bit of a feast in response to the fast to fuel.
So ultimately, I've only skin the surface of the actual article itself and I recommend you go read it if you wanna dig in to starvation mode, but the takeaway point is that your body definitely response biologically to calorie restriction and long term calorie restriction appears to have more down sides than up sides.
Brock: Alright. That, that seems logical.
Ben: So. Now that we just…
Brock: Fast is okay, but a long term starvation – you will die.
Ben: You will die. Now, that we've just thrown everybody up their diet band wagon, let's turn to something more pleasant. Tea. Tea. They actually did a recent study.
Brock: Uhm, delightful!
Ben: Ahh, yes. Delightful. A recent study on tea. And specifically, what method of tea preparation results in the greatest amount of benefits from said tea when it comes to you being able to get access to all of the antioxidants and the tenands, and the flavonoids and the polyphenols, and all the good stuff that’s in tea. And it was really interesting because what they found was that most teas actually respond best to what's called cold extraction. And so with cold extraction, what they actually did was they put the tea in cold water and they let it steep in cold water for about 2 hours, with a stirring it about every 30 minutes or so. And I'm not necessarily convinced at the stirring is necessary versus kinda like making your tea in cold water, like steeping in cold water than just putting it in the fridge and letting it sit for a while, but ultimately compared to our traditional method of making tea, which is boiling tea and, you know, pouring the boiling water over the tea, once the teapot is whistling or the kettle is whistling, it turns out that cold water extraction is actually better when it comes to tea. And…
Brock: And when you say cold, like cold, cold, or room temperature?
Ben: Yeah, we're talking, well we’re talking about room temperature and then putting it into preferably and this is especially be case for like matcha or a green tea, very cold water. And this is, you know, in my recent quarterly, I've mailed about matcha tea or green tea that was part of the bengreenfieldfitness quarterly that we mail on a quarterly basis, which is by…
Brock: That's a good name for…a great quarterly box.
Ben: … it’s called quarterly. Yes, our quarterly that we ship out yearly. No. But the matcha or the green tea, you'll know the instruction that came along with it indicated that it's best prepared at a cold temperature. So for example when you're using like a matcha powder, you get very, very cold water, even water that you kept in the freezer for like 30 minutes before preparing the tea and you steep the tea in that, then you can either use a latte frother if you wanna speed up the process, or you can simply shake it up really well. Put it in a refrigerator and let it sit for up to 2 hours taking about every 30 minutes or so to shake it again. It turns out that if you really wanna get the most benefit out of your tea, this cold extraction method is superior and I’ll link to this article, uhh, the title of the article is Evaluation of Hot and Cold Extraction of Bioactive Compound in Teas, that appeared in International Journal of Food Science and Technology.
Brock: Wow, the title like that I can understand while you needed to rip into it.
Ben: Mmm-hmm.Yeah, so check that out if you are, if you are a tea drinker. So, now that all our Canadian listeners and our English listeners are happy, let's talk about drinking something else, shall we?
Ben: This was interesting. I thought at least. It was, and I have no clue who thinks of these studies but this was ina Journal of Physiology, and they found that melatonin in administration reduces the ethanol induced increase in duodenal mucosal permeability and motility in rats. In none geeks speak, what that basically mean is that alcohol can eff up your gut and it can, and most of us are somewhat familiar with that post drinking morning experience of kinda like a little bit of like loading gas, stomach upset, maybe decommissioning a few bathrooms, and it’s true that ethanol, alcohol, etc., and the more that you drink of it can affect gutpermeability and can cause gut damage. But what they did in these rats was, and I love Brock how you sound almost guiltily silent in response to them.
Brock: I, the only thing that I was going to add to the conversation was really disgusting term that I referred to as. And I decided I would notsay it on the podcast. (chuckles)
Ben: Oh, go ahead and say it. And will bling, bling it out.
Brock: It was just called bud mud.
Ben: Ahh. With, that would have to point bling that out. That’s actually…
Brock: No, no it’s just gross.
Ben: Bud mud. I like it. Anyways though, can we introduce a bling, blingsound effect here just – because I was…
Brock: Sure. Disgust. (sound effects)
Ben: Alright. Now that we're back to the rats. So what they did with the rats was they basically got them really, really messed up on alcohol. They gave them a bunch of ethanol, but then what they did was they gave some rats melatonin, because melatonin has been actually been shown to have a positive effect on specifically what’s called your duodenal barrier, which is a part of your small intestine. So it helps with intestinal barrier function and it can also have a little bit of a gut healing effect. And what they found was that administration of melatonin actuallyreduced some of the damaging effects of alcohol. So it turns out that if you go out on a bender, it may behoove you to keep a couple melatonin capsules on your bedside at night and take some melatonin after you finish drinking to not only help you with sleep and some of the sleep disruptionthat can occur with alcohol consumption but also with some of the gut damage. So…
Brock: Now, here's a question. Does it have to be taken orally or could you use a melatonin patch?
Ben: Uhm, or suppository, perhaps.
Ben: You know that, that is a great question because melatonin patch is something that I’ve endorsed before as a good way to get like a slow time release of melatonin, and knock it that wake up of like 3 or 4am that you can get from melatonin when a melatonin wears off and you know what, they gave it orally to the rats. They administer melatonin in the tap water and I would suspect that for this specific goal of melatonin, you'd probably need an oral administration, but frankly one of the things that you can do is just keep another dose of melatonin next to your bedside. When the melatonin wears off, you wake up at 3am, take a little bit more, fall back to sleep. So there's always that.
Ben: Brock, there was one thing that I did this morning before our podcast. One very important thing. Can you guess what it was?
Brock: Ah, just because we are talking about bud mud now and I’m concern that was it was. (chuckles)
Ben: All that too. But I, I shaved so…
Ben: As I do, you know, I have 5 hairs on my chest that I plucked every once in a while, and about every 2 weeks or so I enforced to shave my boyish chin and…
Brock: Really, 2 weeks.
Ben: And I don't have to shave that often. Just as, that's me. That's the way I am. And I have seen both my brothers attempt to grow beard and it looks like pubes on their face. And so, I'm very careful to keep my hair messing clean on my face and of course, what I used was today's sponsor, Harry's. It's this great big German engineered blade that looks like a fancy work of art. When I take it out of the top drawer in my bathroom, so, it looks nice and impressive so there’s that. If there's any crowd standing around watching you shave. And then…
Brock: Uhm, there are always is…
Ben: Also, all of their cream, their shaving creams are, you know, they’re low fragrance, paraben and phthalate free, so they're not gonna make you grow man boobs. And they also are obsessively engineered at a very low price so you get anextremely like sharp blade that last a really long time, on a really nice handle. They make them in thesefactories over in Germany. But they also, they work, really, really well and they're about half the price of the big name drug store brands like – I won’t throw me under the bus right now. But for example, one rhymes with killette. Anyways though, you can get -wow, no laughter at all, nothing? How a crowdy day, Brock.
Brock: (chuckles) Yeah. I'm destructed by my patriotism.
Ben: Mmm. Yes, that's true. Canada Day. It's so distracting. Anyways though, so you can get a Harry's blade if you go to Harrys.com and we've got a code for you. You get 5 dollars off when you use this discount code “Ben” to get a sharp and précised Harry's blade. Don't cut yourself, stay off your jugular. So, what else? Speaking or your jugular, we have a brand new Longevity Panel. So I've been talking with the good folks at WellnessFX for quite some time about the fact that I really wish that there was, even though it’s probably pretty small subset of the population that I kinda wanna get this, I wish there was like 1 lab tester to rule them all. Like everything that you would ever need all hormones, all bio markers, specifically everything that your doctor probably wouldn't order for you, everything you would have had to have paid tens of thousands of dollars at a Longevity Institute to get. What if you could just go and get that all yourself and not have to get a blood test and look at the results, and wish you had gotten the hormone component or wish you would gotten all the different thyroid panels and instead just have it all there at once.
So, what I did over the past month was helped WellnessFX to developed one panel for men, we called the Longevity Panel and one panel for women, also called the Longevity Panel and these are extremely, extremely comprehensive panels. And I will come right out and tell you, now, they are not inexpensive. We're talking about north of 12,000 dollars for a full blood panel, but I mean it's everything. So for example, like the men’s panel is all your heavy metals like lead and mercury and copper, it’s got of course all your hormones like cortisol or testosterone, all your omega3 fatty acids, every single thyroid parameter you'd ever want to test: selenium, red blood cell magnesium, all of your cholesterols and your cholesterol particles sizes, complete metabolic panel, complete blood counts, of course all of the usuals,like the vitamin D and the insulin, and the glucose and all that, and then ferritin, iron, fibrinogen, you name it. We put all on this panel to cover everything.
Brock: Does it have the hemoglobin A1C?
Ben: Of course, well of course,it has the hemoglobin A1C. I’m glad you asked.
Brock: Does it have the RDC magnesium?
Ben: It does. I just said that.
Brock: Oh, did you?
Brock: It doesn't have the uric acid.
Ben: Pay attention. It does have uric acid. It has, it has…
Brock: What about estradiol?
Ben: It has estradiol. Yes.
Brock: How about luteinizing hormone?
Ben: You can, you can check on your man boob risk. Luteinizing hormone, did you, did you go pull up the panel and you just reading this and throwing me softballs?
Brock: No, no.
Ben: Ohh, of course.
Brock: No, I wouldn't do that. (chuckles)
Been: Yes, it has luteinizing hormone. Anyways though, I'll put a link in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/322. Obviously this is my apologies to all of our Australian/Canadian listeners, etc. This one's only available to the US, but if you want to cover all, these panels are extremely comprehensive and I put a lot of work with WellnessFX, in getting this created and so check them out.
Brock: I wouldn't think that as non-US folks can do especially like British/Australian/Canadian/Cuban listeners who have full medical coverage through their government, but you can print off that page. Take it to your doctor and say I want all these.
Ben: Yup, exactly.
Brock: That's what I've done in the past with some of the WellnessFX stuff.
Ben: Yes, yup, you can absolutely do that. You know.
Brock: So there you go. Boom! Twelve hundred dollars saved.
Ben: Get a little hacked there, Brock.
Brock: Yeah, thanks.
Ben: Okay so, biohacking. The Biohacker Summit is coming up in the wonderful town of Helsinki, Finland. And the good folks in Finland – perhaps you read my post that, you know, I'm constantly releasing blog post. I know some of our podcasters don't actually read the blog post but we release some – some killer articles over at bengreenfieldfitness.com if you're not subscribe with the newsletter over there, you should because our last one was on how to biohack your circadian rhythm using a bright light shown into your ears to stimulate the photoreceptors in your brain. And I was specifically talking about a new product out of Finland called The Human Charger. And it's a couple of light that you shine in to your ears. Ultimately though, over there in Finland, they’re delving into everything from implanted chips to gene therapy, to bionic arms to biometric shirts to robotic assistance, to virtual reality. You name it, like really, really cutting edge biohacking stuff. So, for those of you who have thought about getting a bionic arm but had never really known how to go about doing it. So, I'm going over to Finland to speak at the Biohacker Summit and you’ve got plenty of time to get your plane tickets to Finland sorted out because this isn’t coming up until September 23rd to September 24th, but this is gonna be everything from like food prep cooking, kitchen chemistry to some of the other stuff that I just mentioned to wearables digital health, movilaps, etc. So, it should be pretty interesting and again its biohackersummit.com is where you can check that out. So…
Brock: I've always wanted to go to Helsinki.
Ben: Hmm. Yes, and now you can go to Helsinki and get your eyes cut out and replace with night vision goggles. So do it.
Brock: Nice! Actually I'm gonna get one of those, the – ear plugs with the lights in it for next winter 'cause I don't necessarily get seasonal effect of disorder like to a debilitating amount but it definitely affects me. So I'm gonna give that a try next winter.
Ben: Yeah, I used it this morning actually because one of the things I've been using the photoreceptor lights in the ears for, is when I begin to get on a kick when waking up earlier than usual, which I've been doing lately because I was in Southern Idaho over the weekend.
So I was getting up an hour earlier than usual. So, when I return from something like that, I begin to wake up an hour earlier than usual, right. So I wake up at 5:30 instead of 6:30. So when I wake up at 5:30 I don't go outside for an hour, if it's sunny outside, and instead I stay inside and then when 6:30 rolls around, I put those little chargers in my ears and usually that’s when whatever – sipping coffee, checking email, whatever and I get that bright light exposure and within 2 to 3 days I can reset and like shift forth my circadian rhythm, so that I am once again waking at the time that I want to be waking. So…
Brock: You’ve got a busy guy this morning.
Ben: I don't know. It's fun stuff.
Brock: You shave, stuff stuckon your ear, had a big dump.
Ben: Mmm-hmm. That's right.
Ben: So the last thing speaking of busyness, is that for those of you who are into fiction I have released the second chapter of my new book over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/theforestabout the two boys who discover a portal to a hidden forested world. And uhm, some people have asked me if this is a book for children. It is not for children although like Lord of the Rings or Chronicles of Narnia for example, kids will probably get a kicked out of it and it's not going to be an explicit book. It's not gonna be like Fifty Shades of Grey, or anything like that but…
Brock: Now you're too good of a writer for to be Fifty Shades of Grey. Focus of piece of crap.
Ben: Never read it and didn't see the movie. No interest.
Brock: Oh I – I read like just a few sentences because I had to see how badly it was written and I was astounded.
Ben: Despite my obsession with – with weighted penis magnets, I just couldn't get in to Shades of Grey. Anyways though, uhm, this book of fiction, I'm releasing a free chapter every week or two, and you could check it out at bengreenfieldfitness.com/theforest. Last week we played a little anecdote from it. I got a few complaints from people who didn't want us talking about fiction on the podcast.
Brock: Yeah, it's kinda weird.
Brock: Like, like you should start a children's podcast if you're gonna do that.
Ben: And here's – here's the deal. If you read this book, I am working in a ton of scientific concept everything from – from biohacking to a wilderness survivor, etc.within the book. So you actually will learn a great deal and so are your children as well when you read the book. And so, it actually, you know, I can't write a book without a tying in some of that knowledge. And so it does include a big component of that as well. So.
Brock: I can say that chapter 2 is a little dark too.
Ben: Chapter 2 is a little dark, it’s a little short, but it's – I have to have that little emotional component. So, and now if you're curious about what chapter 2 is, thanks to Brock. You can check it out.And again, it's all free. I'm not writing this book to make money. I'm writing it to entertain the world and scratch my itch to write creatively and I hope that you enjoy it, and get a lot out of it. So, there you have it.
Listener Q & A:
Anthony: Hello Ben, this is Anthony. A long time fan. I should make it through the Seal Fit folks and then we hang out a little bit at Niel's event not long ago. And my question today is about crossfit and ketosis, like cyclical ketosis and just fueling for that type of strategy. I know you've talked a ton about ketosis and endurance training and yeah, and I totally get how it's extremely affecting particularly like in that, you know, 60 to 70% capacity kind of exertion level, but I also know that seems like, like with the higher intensity, explosive movements in a really short period of time like crossfit requires that it's, it generally seems they need more carbohydrates and I know. Just give it a little bit more, a little bit less way from extreme endurance and a little bit more in that direction in terms of your own training, in your own diet. So, yeah man. I just, uhm, I've been in the crossfit year, made a lot of progress, and I just found doing strict ketosis is pretty hard, doesn't seem to be totally optimum for that kind of workout, and I know a lot of, there's a lot of disagreements in the community in terms of fueling and how much carbs you should have in that kind of, you know, in that overall things. So yep, that's my question. Great job with the podcast, blogs, products, everything you do is awesome man. Love it. Thanks man.
Brock: For all of you listening at home, you just missed me sniffing, Ben taking a big drink and then clearing his throat, we’re like, well, Anthony was asking his questions so politely. We're being disgusting in the background.
Ben: Mmm. That's right. Yes, if we ever record this podcast live people are gonna get completely grossed out.
Ben: This question on ketosis is interesting, because they did a study last year in the International Society of Sports Nutrition Journal. Where they took a bunch of – of a high intensity athletes, in this case they took elite gymnasts, and they put them on a ketogenic diet that primarily comprise of green vegetables, olive oil, fish, meat, partially no carbohydrates. It's actually a more strict ketogenic diet than and the type of diet that I personally would tend to recommend for athletes. What they found in this situation was that there was no deleterious effect upon performance in this elite gymnasts, and they've observed similar effects on cyclists for example, who have been put on that high fat ketogenic diet. And especially for example on the recent faster study by Jeff Voigt. They have found a no-deleterious-effect to ahh, in people running on a treadmill, in terms of VO2 Max. Now, the problem is that, it's typically takes a long amount of adaptation in order for you to be able to perform high intensity exercise on a high fat or a ketogenic or a carbohydrate restricted diet. Now, before I jump into what the implications of that are, please understand, I'm making the assumption here that you are familiar of what the ketogenic diet is, if you're not uhm, this is not the podcast for you to discover that. I'm not gonna go back and explain everything about ketosis and what a ketogenic diet is, because we have plenty of episodes about that in the past. We have my podcast with Jimmy Moore about his “Keto Clarity book”. We have the guest podcast that Brock and I hosted on Jimmy's Livin' La Vida Low Carb show in which Brock and I actually delve a lot into this topic of exercise and ketosis. We have the article that I wrote called “How To Become A Fat Burning Machine Part 1 and Part 2”, in which I go into my own participation in Jeff Voigt faster study. And then we even have the KetoMeal Plans for Athletes book that I helped to create. And that is available over at greenfieldfitnesssystems. So, I’ll link to all that in the show notes but ultimately the -the idea here is that if you want to use ketosis for crossfit, or you want to use ketosis for high intensity and explosive workouts, there are some hoops that you need to jump through that. Most people don't take that time to jump through and so ketosis tends to get a bad wrap in the high intensity, or the power, or the strength through the explosive or the crossfit community in many cases. So, a few things to bear in mind if you are going to perform at high intensities and use a high fat or ketogenic diet to do it. First, it will take you, yes, as you probably heard before about 2 weeks after you switch from a – any other diet onto a low carb or ketogenic diet before you begin to not feel crappy.
Ben: Yes. And…
Brock: They call that the keto-flu.
Ben: During that initial 2 week period of time, I don't recommend you do any wods at all, period. Yoga, sauna, cold thermogenesis, easy walks, etc. that's all fine. Crossfit wods, high intensity exercise training, just don't do it. You're literally just going to feel horrible, and you're probably gonna get sick, and you're going to sacrifice biomechanics and there's, you don't have any business doing dead lifts for time or high reps snatch sets when you are feeling as crappy as you're gonna feel for those first 2 weeks.
Brock: Yeah, you'll get sick or worse get injured.
Ben: Yes. So that is number one. Number two, is that in terms of length of adaptation, I found that it takes 6 months before you really start to be able to rock workouts and think about competing on a ketogenic high fat diet. It takes about a year before you really get super comfortable, and it took me 2 years treating like lower carbohydrate, higher fat intake before I begin to get to the point where I could just like you know, easily go for 12 hours during the day without eating or go out on a fasted workout and be fine for hours and hours on end. So understand that for you to build the mitochondrial density that's necessary for you to be able to burn enough fat, to produce high amounts of ATP, even at moderate to high intensities. We're talking about a process that just like musculoskeletal training takes patience and a great deal of time. Okay, so jumping from diet to diet is not the way to do this. So that's one thing to bear in mind is the length of adaptation. Another thing to bear in mind…
Brock: I just – to interject, I like to – when you are were talking to Chris McDougall a few weeks ago,when you had him on the podcast and he was talking about how people are in such a freakin’ hurry.
All the time when it comes to fat adaptation or transferring to a bare foot or minimalist running strategy and everybody is like “Ohh! It's gonna take me 6 months. Well, screw that.”
Ben: Yeah. Exactly. So, it takes time.
Brock: What is your – this is… It takes time but it's awesome in yet.
Ben: Next, ignore most of the recommendations that are going to commit you from the regular ketosis people. What I mean by that is a lot of the recommendations for ketosis – ketosis and ketogenic diets are trickle down information from a medical population or sedentary population who is not a, who are not using ketosis for excises per say. And what I mean by that is, you'll generally see a talk about needing 20 to 40 grams of carbohydrates per day to stay in ketosis and something like, let's say a – Terry Wahls, you know, Terry Wahls book is great, like the Wahls Protocol. But you know, Terry Wahls is using ketosis to heal MS. She’s not using ketosis for something like, you know, hacking endurance or a, you know, jacking up ketones for liver and diaphragm, and heart and brain for something like an intense wod. And what I have found is that for athletes, typically, on an average training day, you need about 75 to a hundred grams of carbohydrates, and on a hard training day 100 to 200 grams of carbohydrates. And in an athlete who is exercising quite a bit, who is also eating a – in addition to those carbohydrates, higher amounts of fat rather than higher amounts of protein, ketosis is still completely doable in that situation. Okay?
Brock: Yeah, you're not gonna get kicked out of ketosis just by having extra carbs 'cause they're going to other places.
Ben: And even if you do, because you're an athlete who's highly insulin sensitive, you're only out of ketosis for 1 to 2 hours before you're back in it. And you'll find that in a few test. Breath testing, blood testing, whatever. The next thing to bear in mind for something like ketosis is that you'll often hear that you simply cannot create enough glucose or cannot have enough glucose during high intensity exercise to be able to support glycolysis or rapid generation of ATP.
Brock: Yeah, this is the thing that people bring up the most when they complain about this.
Ben: Right. There are 2 things to bear in mind for this. First of all, you have a cycle in your body called the cori cycle which can take lactic acid generating dirt, generated during – during a muscular contraction, and can shuttle that lactic acid back up to the liver where it is converted into glucose, shuttled back down into skeletal muscle and burnt as energy. And if you train that process by engaging in high intensity exercise while in a carb-restricted state, right, so your body is using endogenously produced glucose rather than exogenous sources of glucose. You can actually train yourself to up regulate the cori cycle. And so, what would that means is that, you'll basically producing your own glucose. When you combine that with a little bit of extra creatine, I'm a fan of taking about 5 grams of creatine a day. So that you are keeping your creatine levels elevated for the fasfogenic component of intense exercise that last up to 30 seconds. That one-two combo is enough for you to sustain. Like the highly glycolytic efforts that last anywhere from, you know, 10 seconds up to 2 minutes. So you simply have to train that cycle, I mean you have to train with high intensity interval training in a carb-restricted state to up regulate that cycle. Okay. So that's the next thing to bear in mind, and then related to that is the idea that when I'm talking about high intensity interval training. And when I'm talking about exercising at – intensities that cause at least a lactic acid release, if not higher, if not approaching like your VO2max. Understand that even at those intensities, those very, very high intensities, it's gonna take at least an hour and closer to an hour and a half before glycogen depletion begins to set in, right? Before you begin to need, maybe a slow bleed of starch from something like UCan super starch, or even, you know the use of bars or extra fuel, etc. I’ve rarely found, you know, crossfit wods, etc. that are getting up in an hour, an hour and a half range. That's – that's more like a seal fit wod, right, where you’re exercising at a very, very high intensity for an hour, an hour and a half, 2 hours. So, understand that you're not nearing glycogen depletion anyways, and your glycogen levels are gonna be just fine as long as you're following that recommendation that I gave earlier of going close to the 75 to a hundred grams of carbohydrate on an easy training day, and a hundred to 200 on a hard training day.
You won’t have any issues with going to the well for long periods of time. So ultimately, that's kinda overview of what your expectation should be when it comes to ketosis and high intensity exercise. I know I just, you know, I spend maybe 2 minutes addressing that when we could probably talk about this for an hour but I want it to at least give you a few, a few little tips, and we'll put plenty of our other resources over on our show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/322, but ultimately, there – there are reason you'd want to use something like ketosis for high intensity or explosive workouts would be that you are going to have high amount of ketones available for cognitive performance. You're gonna avoid a lot of the glucose fluctuations that can result in energy swings. You're gonna avoid some of the fermentation, you're gonna avoid some of the free radical build up. You know, and for example I recently competed, I said I was in Southern Idaho, I did the Train Hunt Competition down there, and that's incredibly intense, extremely intense. So, anywhere from – it was about 10 minutes of very, very hard trek into the mountains with a hundred pounds on your pack at full on, all out heart rate intensity, like you're running for your life. Up to, you know, obstacle courses that included shooting, focus, cognitive performance, and then also moving through burpees and sand bag, polls and tire drags, and stuff like that, but extremely intense for just 20 minutes. So something that very, very closely co-relates to crossfit wod with some shooting throwing in. I was in ketosis for both 2 days of that event. I was using some hacks like I was using a little bit of creatine, I was using a little bit of baking soda which I’ve talked about in the podcast before, and I won the event. I won the entire event and took on nearly close to zero carbohydrates during the actualcompetition itself. So ultimately, it can be done. It just takes some adaptation.
Allie: Ben and Brock I have a question about whey proteinversus raw milk from morningsmoothie or morning shake. Ben, I know, you say you use whey protein but I was thinking about using a raw milk from my local cows and just to make my morning drink a little more natural. And I was wondering if there's any negative effects of raw milk versus whey protein. I want to get protein in with avocados and kale, ginger and all the rest of the stuff I stick in there. Thank you very much, great shows always. Bye.
Brock: Alright, we do have another milk question but we'll hold off until you answer Allie first.
Ben: Yeah. Everybody's interested in milk this morning. So, yeah, so raw milk rather than whey protein.
Brock: ‘Cause it's more au naturalle.
Ben: That's right.
Brock: I like that.
Ben: Well, first of all when it comes to raw milk in general, and a lot of the fears out there about raw milk. There are some – some things to be aware of when it comes to like – like the CDC says about raw milk. ‘Cause there was this big study done by the CDC in which they estimate that a lot of people are getting damage from raw milk. And when it comes to raw milk or unpasteurized milk, if you look at the period of time over which they conducted that CDC study, there were 37 outbreaks and 800 illnesses from unpasteurized milk during the period from the year 2000 up to year 2007. So that’s about a hundred cases per year, a hundred illnesses per year, from…
Brock: It’s not much.
Ben: From unpasteurized milk. And that was conducted in a – on a US population of about 313 million folks. So…
Brock: Woah! That's not much at all.
Ben: Yeah. So, if we, if we use the CDC survey data that indicates that 3% of the population consumes raw milk then based of the number of people in the United States for example, we can estimate that like nine and a half million people drink unpasteurized milk.Approximately nine and a half million people. So if you look at the average of a hundred illnesses per year, that means you’ve got about 1 in 94,ooo chance of getting ill from drinking unpasteurized milk or raw milk. So when we looked at pasteurized milk, the CDC, during the period of time that they were studying unpasteurized milk also studied pasteurized milk and they found 8 outbreaks with a little over twenty-two hundred illnesses. That averages about 277 illnesses per year.And that was again done over a population of about 246 million people who are consuming pasteurized milk. So about 78% of the US population. Now once we look at that, that means when you crunch the numbers that for pasteurized milk such as you might buy at the grocery store,that’s a 1 in 888 thousand chance of getting, you know, so you’ve got a 1 in 94 thousand chance of getting ill from drinking raw milk. You've got a 1 in 888 thousand chance of becoming ill from drinking pasteurized milk. So your risk is about nine and a half times higher, all though CDC claims it’s a hundred and fifty times higher it's not once you look at the actual population numbers that were studied because we're looking at a much, much smaller percentage of the population who's drinking raw milk. But there is – there is definitely, and I will admit a higher than – a higher risk of getting sick even though it's still a very, very low risk. You've got a higher risk of getting sick from unpasteurized milk than you have of getting sick from pasteurized milk. Now, the illnesses though that they used in that CDC data in terms of people getting ill from raw milk included illnesses associated with what's called Bath-tub cheese which is a basically Mexican style keso fresco that people are making illegally at home. It's way more dangerous than raw milk. It's associate with way more serious outbreaks and illnesses, and compared to like a properly aged raw milk cheese for example, this case of fresco is not fun stuff. So understand this statistic here. Understand that a) your risk is higher than your risk from drinking pasteurized milk, but it's still very, very low. Now Chris Kresser has a really, really great breakdown of the statistic that are linked to where he goes into much greater detail than I just did, but ultimately what it comes down to is relatively low risk. Now when you compare that risk to the actual benefit of drinking raw milk, then there's some pretty interesting things to think about. So, first of all raw milk has much higher nutritional content than conventional milk. Especially raw milk that comes from cows that grays on grass. You've got much, much higher levels of conjugated – conjugated linoleic acid, CLA. That's like the fat that burns fat, really, really important for everything, from cell membranes, tohealthy cholesterol, and you've also got a much, much higher percentage of essential fatty acid. When you pasteurized milk, you vastly reduce the nutritional quality, so you get a decrease in manganese, you get a decrease in copper, you get a decrease in iron, you completely destroy most of the vitamin C in milk. You impaired the bioactivity of the vitamin B6 in milk. There's something called Beta Lactoglobulin and that's a heat sensitive protein in milk. It would normally increase your absorption of vitamin A, but that gets completely destroyed by pasteurization. So when you're drinking unpasteurized milk from the grocery store, it's or rather pasteurized milk from the grocerystore, it's far inferior in terms of its vitamin and it's a mineral content. A lot of people get digestive problem with pasteurized milk. I used to be up at night with severe stomach ache and gastric distress when I was a kid, and I would drink anywhere from a half to a full gallon of 2 percent milk, everyday. And that was just one of my go-to snacks.
Ben: Now, when you look at unpasteurized milk, there is a great deal of a population, including myself, who suffer from everything likelactoseintolerance to digestive discomfort when we're consuming pasteurized milk, and that completely disappears from drinking unpasteurized milk. We'll get into this in a second, but even more so once you get into unpasteurized goat milk versus unpasteurized cow milk. So ultimately, raw milk reduces theincident of specifically lactose intolerance. So there's that as well. There may also be a significant increase in your immune system function especially children from drinking pasteurized milk, or, I'm sorry, from drinking raw milk or unpasteurized milk and that is because it is going to have a higher percentage of some small trace amount of contaminants in it. I mean, there will be not only good bacteria, but also small amount of bad bacteria, but it's gonna be higher probiotics, it's gonna be higher in anti-microbial enzymes too. So, a lot of that is balanced out. And when you look at unpasteurized milk studies they found that it contains a variety of anti-microbial components that are completely absent in pasteurized milk.
So, pathogens that are in raw milk actually grow more slowly or die more quickly than those same pathogens when those pathogens are added to heat treated milk. Now, I'm not saying that you should go out and find the dirtiest raw milk out there because it's got, the things in it, it helped pathogens to die. But understand that if you were finding like a clean farm and specifically I would use a website like realmilk.com to vet your farm and to find a good farm to get raw milk from. Ultimately, raw milk contains bioactive components that are going to – going to help with your immune system function anyways. So, other, there's that consideration as well, and you know, we can get in to things like the sustainability of small dairy farms that produce raw milk and being more environmentally friendly compared to like typical large-scaled dairy farm that are far more energy intensive, and the ethics of the way that a, pastured cow in a raise on grasses treated versus a large scale commercial cow production facility, feed a lot but on a same array drowning in a little bit. But ultimately, the idea here is that raw milk actually is a quite – quite beneficial innourishing for you compared to pasteurized milk. Now, if you had a kinda look at this versus a – a wheyprotein, I personally, I don't do well with whey protein isolate. I usevegan protein. I either use the living fuel, living protein, which is like a mixed of pea and rice protein, I'll occasionally use the Onnithemp force hemp protein, and I also use the exose vegan protein. And the exose, by the way, they're getting an NSF certified for athletes for all of their protein. So you're guaranteed, is not lays with stuff. But the problem with whey protein is – there's a few issues with it, and a few reasons why sometimes why people drink whey protein or use whey proteinisolate in their smoothies, get like a thick coating of mucus in their throat, get like, sometimes like head colds, they’ll get like bloating gas, all of those things happen to me when I consume whey protein. And so, there are few reasons for that. First of all, you'll always hear people say that wheyprotein isolate contain very little lactose or very little of the type of proteins that might cause mucus productions or allergenic tissues, but the problem is that in studies they've done on whey protein isolate powders, they still find significant amounts of whey proteinconcentrates, even if the manufacturer claims it's a whey protein isolate. And if any protein powder has, what's called, whey protein concentrate in it versus just whey protein isolate, then it definitely has lactose in it. It's impossible to have whey protein concentrate without the presence of lactose. So, if you're lactose intolerant and I am lactose intolerant, whey protein isolate that has traced amount of whey protein concentrate in it can mess with you, and a lot of companies will have concentrate in there even though it's not listed on the label. So, that's one thing when it comes to whey protein. There are protein fractions of dairy products in many whey protein isolatesupplements out there, and again, even though it's not gonna be as high as what you may find in like milk, yogurt, cheese, etc. There are enough protein fractions in a whey protein isolate that are specifically those dairy proteins that… Again, if you don't do well with dairy or you have a – a little bit of an allergenic response to dairy, whey protein isolate is gonna mess with you versus a hypo allergenic proteinsource such as the – probably the most hypo allergenic source of protein out there, is a rice protein isolate. And yes, it doesn’t have the complete complement of amino acids in it, but ultimately if you're taking a rice protein isolate, and you're adding some – like some raw nuts, like some almonds, or some walnuts and, you know, you’re adding a bunch of like a plants and some coconut milk and stuff like that to a smoothie, you're gonna get a pretty complete protein profile. Anyways, so, uhm, and the other thing is that the lactose and the dairy proteins that you're going to find, even in trace amount in a whey protein isolate are not packaged with a lot of the enzymes, the probiotics, and the even – even the lactase, which is technically an enzyme that you're gonna find in raw milk. There my roaster calling, back there.
Brock: (chuckles) Yes.
Ben: He’s attacking at the window right now. So ultimately, what this means is that you may be able to digest ironically raw milk, even better than you digest the whey protein isolate.
And if I personally have to choose, I would use a raw milk in my smoothie instead of a whey protein isolate in my smoothie if I’m going for the maximum bang for my buck from a nutrient density standpoint with the consideration that if you are personally who just like sensitive to dairy period, just use like a hemp or a rice or a pea protein. So, there you have it. And my roaster agreed.
Brock: The roaster agrees. Now, we’ve got another question about milk, so let's go straight into mark's question.
Mark: Hey Ben. I have to stop by saying thanks for all that you do. So, tremendous help. I got a question, what does it take on drinking raw goat's milk? Seems like there's a lot of different information and scams to people out there that are die-hard “you should be doing it” to you know, “you're a lunatic and you're gonna die within 5 minutes of doing it.” So what are your thoughts? Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Is getting the good bacteria versus the bad bacteria for things like gut health and other functions worth it? And would you recommend doing this scenario or do you wouldrecommend that for any weight gain/weight loss performance just a normal life, etc. I appreciate it. Thanks again.
Brock: So, does all the same things that you just said to – the last question, to Allie. Does that apply in this case as well to Mark?
Ben: It does as far as the raw milk considerations and the unpasteurized versus the pasteurized, but when we look at, say like a raw goat's milk versus raw cow's milk, if I had a glass of each sitting in from of me on the table, I would choose the goat milk. And it's one reason why, once my kids were done being breastfed, we didn't switch them to a raw cow’s milk, we switch them to a raw goat's milk. A few reasons for that. First of all there is a protein called alpha s1 casein they're gonna find a pretty high levels in cow's milk, and you find almost none of it in goat's milk. And alpha s1 casein is one primary proteins that you find in dairy products made from cows that people are allergic to, and so folks who are allergic to cow's milk can drink goat's milk with virtually no side-effects.
Brock: Isn’t the caseinalso the reason why the paleo diet like the strict paleo diet doesn't allow dairy?
Ben: Mmm-hmm. Yep, it is, exactly. So, technically if you're on a paleo diet, goat's milk – if the paleo police are looking through window would be a little bit more…
Brock: And they're always are.
Ben: That's right. So, another thing, and this is really interesting when you look at homogenization. You could take a glass of fresh cow’s milk and you could take a glass of fresh goat's milk, and put both in the refrigerator overnight, and the next morning, the goat's milk would look exactly the same but the cow's milk, that could, it separate into two phases, right? You get the cream on top.
Brock: It's the delicious part.
Ben: Right. And you get the skin at the bottom. And that's a natural separation process because of a compound that's in cow's milk that's called agglutinin,and it – it's basically, you know, homogenization gets a rid of that. That's why when you buy a milk from a grocery store, you don't get that same separation cream because they homogenize, they forced the milk through a tiny hole and they are in tremendous amount of pressure and that destroys the fat globular cell walls in the milk and allows the milk and the cream to stay homogenous or suspended and well mixed. And the problem with that homogenization is that once the cell wall of the fat globular has been broken it get a – a really, really big release of xanthine oxidase. Xanthine oxidase is a really potent free radical that can cause DNA mutation, cancer, metabolic damage, etc. So goat's milk, the reason why it doesn't separate like that is it has very, very small fat globular that are better absorbed by the human body. Goat's milk doesn’t have agglutinin in it. So a goat's milk is naturally homogenized, so you eliminate all the dangers associated with homogenization as well as all the inconveniences of having – to have that separation occur. So,something really interesting a lot of people don’t know about goat's milk but it makes it really – really convenient from that standpoint. I mentioned this fat globules and how goat's milk has smaller fat globules but it also higher levels of what are called medium chain fatty acid, what that mean is that when you digest goat's milk, that fat globules and the individual fatty acids have a larger surface to volume ratio. Right?
Ben: So it's just the same as, you know, that's why it's easier to digest a bunch of greens that have been blended up in a smoothie rather than eating those greens. I – it's simply results in a larger surface to volume ratio, and it quicker and easier digestion process.
Now, when the proteins that are found in milk denature, they basically clump up in the stomach because of that fat globular structure, goat’s milk forms a much softer, which called a bollis in your stomach like whenever you chew anything, it cause like a bunch of clumping in your stomach but the goat is much softer and easier to digest because of the composition of those high levels of medium chained fatty acids, and the smaller fat globules. So, that’s another advantage to goat’s milk. Another one is lactose. I mentioned lactose in how cow’s milk allergy related to lactose is an issue for a lot of people including myself. Goat’s milk has very, very low levels of lactose compared to cow’s milk. It’s simply something where lactose is an issue. So, for example, one of my kids stutters like crazy after he has dairy from cow.
Ben: It doesn’t happen to him at all after he has goat’s milk. It’s the allergenic reaction and it may be related to that casein, that alpha S1 casein. It may be related to lactose, I don’t know. But either way, he simply has no issues with goat’s milk, you know and we actually have – I’m still trying to finish up the fencing at our house all over our house yet. We’re keeping one on a different form but we have Nigerian dwarf goats that we’re putting on our property here for milking….
Brock: That sounds cute.
Ben: …in a couple of weeks. Yeah, they’re really, really cute. Tiny, tiny tits – so easy to milk – my boys will able to go out there and hi-hi milk tiny goats. And then the last thing, speaking of tiny, thermodynamics of the goat protein. So the goat’s milk is better for human consumption because the proteins are closer to the size of the – now when you look at the protein…
Brock: If you were to eat a human.
Ben: Yeah. Basically.
Brock: If you were a cannibal.
Ben: Let me put it this way, so you look at a baby goat. Usually starts life at around 7 to 9lbs., a baby human usually starts life at around 7 to 9lbs., baby cow or a calf usually starts life at around a 100lbs. So when you look at things from a purely thermodynamic position, the two animals have significant and different nutritional needs for maintenance and re-growth. And so both baby goats as well as adult goats which weigh anywhere from a 100 to 200lbs. are closer to the size of human. So biochemically and thermodynamically speaking, goat’s milk simply matches up better to the human body. And I know I’m making some scientists out there or even milk scientists are cringing right now because I’m not explaining this in great chemical detail but it comes down to the thermodynamics of the protein. And if you want me to throw in a few other things, goat’s milk has a higher amount of essential fatty acids even a higher amount of essential fatty acids than raw cow’s milk; it’s got higher amounts of Vitamin B6, higher amounts of Vitamin A, higher amounts of niacin and as if that were enough. All the things like the – if you go to Greenfield Fitness Systems, the colostrum over there, the… a joint support compound the NatureFlex, the cleanse, the NatureCleanse – all of that contains products from organic grass-fed goats raised on a farm in Central Washington. Everything from the minerals to the colostrum itself to the ingredients in the NatureFlex, all that comes from those goats. So interestingly, I actually use supplements made primarily from goats, so you can check those out at greenfieldfitnesssystems.com. You can check out a link to realmilk.com, Chris Kresser’s raw milk article, etc. over in show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/322, but I’m personally am infatuated with goats. So there you have it.
Chris: Hey Ben, its Chris here, love the show. HRV during exercise, I wonder if maybe you can give an indication of what type of values one should be looking for you know, during steady state, long intensity cardio like all should you know. Mine’s basically dropping out and hanging like flat line and yeah, hopefully, you’re able to have a look at these questions if you have time and once again, I love the show and take care. Ciao.
Ben: Did Chris say he is hanging like a flat line?
Brock: Not he isn’t hanging a flat line. I hope he’s not hanging like a flat line, I assume he meant as HRV.
Ben: His HRV is hanging like a flat line.
Brock: Like a flat line.
Ben: Okay, so let me put this in context for you. So HRV, your heart rate variability – excuse me, there’s a belch, I’m drinking… what is this stuff? Pellegrino sparkling natural mineral water, I’ve been like burping our entire podcast.
It’s great for you, fantastic and full of minerals. Very, very hot these days in Spokane, it’s like a hundred plus degrees. I’m trying to drink mineral rich water and…
Brock: How did – did Ironman Coeur d'Alene actually happened? Or was it too hot?
Ben: It did, it did happen. Yes, I was up in the hill shooting things with my bow and arrow during Ironman Coeur d'Alene but from what I hear, it did happen so.
Ben: Anyways though, so heart rate variability. In the studies that have done – that been done on heart rate variability, specifically during high intensity exercise and I’ll link to a particularly good on in the show note. I found that HRV is going to decrease significantly during exercise, and the more intense the exercise is, the greater the decrease in the heart rate variability simply because both branches of your nervous system become stressed. And when you look at your low frequency power, so when you’re tracking your heart rate variability, it’s going to show your low frequency power which is a measurement of your parasympathetic nervous system strength. And it’s also going to show your – I’m sorry, which – the low frequency power is a measurement of your sympathetic nervous system strength. The high frequency power is a measurement of your parasympathetic nervous system strength; you’re going to find that both drop significantly during exercise. So typically what happens, a typical response especially during intense exercise is the first thing to take a significant hit is your parasympathetic nervous system or your high frequency score that should have a significant dip at the beginning and that continue to fall throughout the workout. Your low frequency takes a little bit longer to drop compared to the high frequency but ultimately the sympathetic nervous system score drops as well. It’s just kind of a more consistent drop probably because it takes a little while for you to get warmed up and then stressed out and the sympathetic nervous system begins to drop. It’s gonna be…
Brock: That’s an intense exercise, right? Not aerobic.
Ben: That’s during intense exercise.
Ben: However, if you look at even the study of heart rate variability during aerobic exercise, you find a significant drop even from something as simple as aerobic exercise. You find the significant drop in heart rate variability when you get out of bed in the morning versus lying in bed, it’s just the nature of your nervous system all of a sudden being up, moving around, regulating your body, etc. Now one of the things to bear in mind with this is a.) that’s not necessarily a bad thing when heart rate variability drops during exercise that is why you exercise. If heart rate variability did not drop, it would indicate that exercise is not stressing your body significantly therefore you are not getting “fit”. Now at the same time, during aerobic exercise, if you are looking at your sympathetic nervous system score, right? Your low frequency score, if that drops significantly compare to your high frequency score, it would indicate that you are potentially working out at a pace that’s intense enough to where you were stressing your fight or flight nervous system. And if you find that you back off and you get less of a drop in that low frequency, you get less of a drop in your sympathetic nervous system score and that would indicate that you are doing a better job staying aerobic during you know, whatever if you’re training like Maffetone or Lydiard pace or something like that. At the same time, the question is whether heart rate variability is the best way to be measuring it since heart rate variability is gonna drop anyways versus just say keeping at your aerobic heart rate, keeping at a conversational pace, staying at an intense – would allow you to say for example, breathe through your nose right? Like to me, those all have far better research behind them in terms of you know, what happens to them during exercise versus heart rate variability, so that’s one thing to bear in mind. The next thing to bear in mind is that as we talk about during the podcast episode with Dr. James Heathers a couple of weeks ago, breathing has – breathing introduces a variable in the heart rate variability that goes above and beyond just movement – meaning once you begin to for example breathe deeply, breathe short and shallow, breathe through your nose versus breathe through your mouth – all of…
Brock: Or hold your breath.
Ben: Right. All that affects heart rate variability and throws – it throws an uncontrolled variable into the measurement.
And unless you…
Brock: You almost skews the numbers.
Ben: Skews the numbers and unless you are lying in bed for five minutes each morning which is exactly when I personally take my heart rate variability and you’re just breathing normally there lying in bed, your breath is always going to skew your numbers regardless of what your nervous system is doing. Okay? So that’s another thing to bear in mind is that it may not be that beneficial for you to be taking heart rate variability during exercise anyways because breath is gonna skew it so much. The last thing to bear in mind is that I have experimented a little bit with heart rate variability during exercise, and I have identified certain things that really stress my body, okay? So two things for example: one is back squats with a barbell on my back, and another one is sprinting uphill. Both of those result in a significant drop in my heart rate variability even more than I’d experience with something like dead lifts or kettlebell swings, so we’ll say like you know, underwater cold swimming. So…
Brock: Wait, I’d just have to ask – is it just back squats or would like front squats or goblet squats or something like that do the same thing?
Ben: You know, I don’t know if it’s something having a weight on your back, but that seems to drop it the most.
Ben: And it did some kind of a defensive mechanism I suppose that occur from having a – you know, a bear climb on your back.
Ben: Ultimately, you can use that to your benefit because if you can identify certain exercises that stress out your sympathetic nervous system the most then you know that if you those exercises and then you recover properly from them. Those are the exercises that are going to make you the most stress resilient, right?
Ben: And so by putting on a heart rate variability monitor and I’m not a fan of doing it for the rest of your life because you are exposed to a Bluetooth signal, there is some EMF that occurs. But let’s just say you’re gonna do it for two weeks during every exercise session that you do to see which exercise sessions stress you out the most, which exercises stress you out the most and which stress you out the least. Then you’ll be able to paint the picture of the best workout sessions for you to choose for a recovery phase or recovery day, and the best workout sessions are exercises for you to choose when you wanna get the most bang for your buck from a stress standpoint from your training. So ultimately, you can get some value out of measuring heart rate variability during exercise but understand that it’s always going to drop or even flat line compared to what you might get while say, lying in bed. And then the last thing to understand is that in the Journal of Physiology Measurements, they had an article about heart rate variability reproducibility during exercise. And it is you know, if you’re gonna measure for two solid weeks, it turns out that you are going to get good data, right? So you’re going to generate good relative data about what your heart rate variability does in response to your exercises and your workouts. Okay, it’s reproducible, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we can take everybody and do some study in heart rate variability during exercise and necessarily see data that allows us to draw a good conclusions from each of those people but for you measuring just relative to your own body’s response, I’m might do something that will give you some benefit. So you could use something like a Bluetooth heart rate monitor, you could use the Greenfield Fitness System’s Nature Beat app and…
Brock: Nature Beat.
Ben: Nea-ture. I always like spend more time in nea-ture. You look up Nature Guy in YouTube, people. Anyways though…
Brock: (laughs) Sorry, silly…. I interrupted your train of thought there.
Ben: So yeah, you can measure it, it’s not something that like I mentioned, I measured for couple of weeks you know, back in the day. I don’t really measure that much anymore just because it’s one more thing to be wearing during exercise and I know what stresses my body out, frankly I know when I’m not aerobic or I’m not at my fat-burning heart rate and so I don’t use heart rate variability anymore but when I did used it for couple of weeks, I did find some interesting things. So that’s the skinny Chris on measuring HRV during exercise.
Vladimir: Hey Ben, Brock. It’s Vladimir from Soviet. I’m a huge fan and thanks for doing what you’re doing. It’s useful, informative, intelligent and fun-to-listen-to podcast. I also have your book and I exercise in a regular basis so I got two questions: When I work all day and the only thing I want to do is to go bed but I haven’t had the time to eat. Should I eat or not before bed? So basically, never eat before bed or never go to bed hungry? And the second question is, what’s wrong with being called Vladimir? Thanks, guys! And P.S. ______ [1:14:49.3]
Brock: You know, there is nothing wrong with being named Vladimir.
Ben: Mmm. Well…
Brock: Just don’t use it as your coupon code for harrys.com.
Ben: Vladimir. Vladimir, there’s nothing wrong with being named Vladimir especially if you work for the Russian Mafia, you can get the baseball bat and break a leg when your name is Vladimir.
Brock: I’m afraid he’s gonna be at your front door when you finish this podcast.
Ben: Vladimir, I will be waiting for you.
Brock: He’s waiting for you.
Ben: I will be waiting for you. Insert evil laugh here: ha-ha-ha-ha!
Brock: You sort of sound like the guy from the Minions movie, what’s that called?
Ben: I was thinking…
Brock: Despicable Me.
Ben: Sesame Street. Oh, Despicable Me. Yeah. You are like a little girl, Vladimir. Okay Vladimir, seriously though. Yeah, you probably have heard that eating before bed is bad. That the food like sits in your stomach or turns to fat or whatever, and there’s been a ton of research on this subject. It’s like everybody wants to see like you know, what makes you fatter? Eating breakfast or eating dinner, etc.? And way back in the 90’s they actually tried to compile the findings of a bunch of different studies regarding meal timing and they found…
Brock: Way back in the 90’s.
Ben: Way back in the 90’s.
Brock: Talking about nineteen hundred nineties.
Ben: Yeah, and that was one of the more what shall I say? Not a lot, yeah I guess one of the bigger studies that was done – what they found was that obesity rates were not connected to the times of day that you eat and they were primarily significantly connected to – insert drum roll here – the amount of calories that you eat per day.
Brock: (gasps) Huh? What?
Ben: The old saying, “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper.” There’s not necessarily a lot of studies to back that up and yeah I know that Dan Buettner says in his recent Blue Zone’s book that a lot of this blue zones they do that right? “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper”, but at the same time when you flip that around you’ll look at something like you know, John Kiefer research on carb backloading, you could say that for anabolic effect you could breakfast like a pauper, lunch like a prince, dinner like a king. And if you are injecting a workout at the end of the day, you would also be relatively prone to gaining fat. So, there was also though – a pretty recent article on the – it was called ‘The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating’ and this came out just two months ago, and was actually published in a… at the time that we were recording that April of 2015, and they found some really interesting things in the study. So first of all, they found that a bedtime supply of nutrients could promote positive physiological changes in populations that were already healthy, like on populations who did not have chronic disease who weren’t experiencing obesity and things like that. Specifically small nutrient dense, low energy foods or foods that were comprised of single macronutrients rather than large mixed meals. So from this, we can draw that a.) nutrient dense food would be something like you know, having a handful like chlorella or spirulina tablets before bed, or doing something like you know, essential amino acids and maybe like coconut oil you know, dense concentrated sources of a high amount of nutrients. And so, that’s one thing or single macronutrients. Single macronutrients would be like this practice and I know I just talked a lot about casein and the issues there but let’s hypothesize for a second that you – or let’s theorize for a second that you were just fine with dairy, right? Like you could have just whey or not whey but just so like a casein protein before bed, for like a slow bleed of amino acids. Or you could have for example, you know another example of a single macronutrient meal would be the one that I recommended before in the show like a handful of almonds right? Or even doing like the raw honey and tea, that would be an example of a carbohydrate single macronutrient. So it turns out that that bedtime supply of nutrients promotes physiological changes. One of my favorites is you take coconut milk and you blend it up with chocolate stevia, right? And I’ll put that in the freezer for about 10 minutes and that’s just kinda like a fat bomb before bed. Now they’ve found that the nighttime consumption of this single nutrient meals or these meals with small nutrient dense low energy foods doesn’t appear harmful and may actually be beneficial for muscle protein synthesis and for cardio-metabolic health, and this is the most recent study that was a meta-analysis of a lot of these studies that are out there so you know, it’s kinda been done since the 70 or since the 90’s. So 70’s, 90’s – it’s all the same. Way, way back and the freaking long ago. So ultimately, whereas back in the 90’s from an obesity standpoint, they didn’t did verify that doesn’t matter you know, big dinner, big breakfast you know, eating before bed, whatever – what’s ultimately most important is the number of calories that you eat the entire day.
And yes, that is important but it turns out that let’s say that you were to take some of those calories and shift them into a night time snack, you could actually benefit from a muscle protein synthesis and a cardio metabolic health standpoint.
Ben: And for a lot of people who report anecdotally that they don’t wake up at 1 or 2 a.m. from something like hypoglycemia when they incorporate the strategy. Now, understand that the amount of calories used in this particular study and the average amount of calories in the studies that this latest 2015 study looked into was about 150 calories. We are not talking about half a pizza before bed. We are not even talking about the average size, whatever, you know, protein bar like whatever – a quest bar or bunk break or something like that. When I personally have an energy bar before bed, which I will occasionally do – like if I’m travelling and you know, I’ve gotten to location, I’m hungry, I wanna eat something before bed but you know, all I have in my bag is like bars stuff like that – I rip the bar in half or like I say if half to put into chunks in my morning smoothie and then I have the other half right there before bed because a lot of these bars are like 300 calories.
Ben: So understand that you know, a 100 to 200 calories max is all you need for this night time snacks in order to get the benefits of eating before bed. So that’s what we see in terms of the actual research in again, in healthy populations. Now when you work all day and you get home and you just want to go to bed, if you were working all day, it means that let’s say you are eating – I’m just gonna throw this out there – 2500 calories a day keeps you at energy balance. If you get home at the end of the day and you’ve only had 1500 calories let’s say by the time that you finish work, Vladimir. What that means is that you can, based on research, eat a 1000 calories when you get home from work. And if that – if you’re still on energy balance, there’s not gonna be a deleterious effect from doing that. Now granted that I’m making the assumption that you’re needing a 1000 calories of good nutrients right? Like let’s see you’re making some scrambled eggs with some nori and maybe a little bit of fish and some roasted vegetables, right? Or you know if not, you know a bowl of popcorn and some ice cream and dark chocolate. So assuming that the actual composition of your meals is sound from a health standpoint, it appears at this point, based on the researches out there on nighttime eating that if you’re healthy, chronic disease is absent, diabetes is absent, obesity is absent, etc. And if that meal is not putting a positive calorie balance that it’s just fine so…
Ben: …go ahead.
Brock: I’m gonna say, so theoretically, if you’re somebody who has trouble with like nighttime snacking, like there’s a lot of people I’ve – a lot of people I coach always come to me and they’re like “Oh by like 7 o’clock, 8 o’clock at night, I just loose it and then repeating a whole bunch of crap while I’m sitting there watching TV”. So theoretically they could skip breakfast, wait until 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon to have their first meal and then as long as the food is it again, popcorn, dark chocolate ice cream, pizza kind of thing have those snacks later in the evening so they don’t – could that work?
Ben: Yes, it would. It would but then remember that in addition to light and activity. The one other thing that really helps regulate your circadian rhythm is food and so by skipping breakfast, if you’re a person who struggles with sleep, insomnia, getting up too early, waking up too late – that type of thing, skipping breakfast may not serve you best. And in a case like that, you could like cut the number of calories for breakfast and half-skip a snack that you may half after lunch, eat dinner and then shift those calories that you cut earlier the day to after dinner. That would work so. So, there you have it! Wow, we covered a lot today and not only that, but we’re even gonna throw a little bonus at you guys because every week, I release a new chapter of my book “Beyond Training” inside the Ben Greenfield Fitness…
Brock: It’s more like every month.
Ben: Yeah, every month. They take a long time to record.
Brock: I’m not – I’m just saying.
Ben: Anyways, if you want to get a taste of that and the type of stuff that you get inside the Ben Greenfield Fitness premium channel where we’ve got over 300 secret hidden episodes, PDS, videos, etc., stay tuned for after this episode ‘cause we’ve got some extra extras coming at you there so. And it’s going to be all about how to get all the benefits of being uber fit without neglecting your family, you friends, your career, etc. But before we delve into that juicy piece, we do have a review. Yeah?
Brock: (chuckles) I like it when you call me a “juicy piece”.
Ben: Yes, I’d like to call you a juicy piece. So juicy piece Brock, we’ve got a review from Swophie531, left a review on iTunes. And if you leave a review on iTunes, if you’re listening in, you head over to iTunes, find the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast, leave 5 stars in a review, if you hear us read your review on the show, and you email [email protected] and include your address, your t-shirt size, everything. We’ll send you a fancy BPA-free water bottle, a cool tech t-shirt and a – what else do they get, Brock? A beanie, a beanie.
Brock: Or a tuque.
Ben: A fashionable tuque.
Brock: That’s we like to call it.
Ben: Fashionable tuque. So Swophie, if you hear us read this review, we’re gonna get a fashionable tuque out to you. Brock, you wanna take this one away?
Brock: Yeah, just a second, my two CPs is hanging like a flat line.
Brock: (laughs) Alright Swophie531 says, “Ben is one word: Rocks.”
Brock: Hmmm, you’re one… okay.
Ben: Dramatically interesting.
Brock: I – yeah, and there’s an extended ellipses in there as well, I’m not sure what that indicated. “I mean, he can climb them, figured a way to eat them if there is some value to them I’m sure.”
Brock: Hmmm, okay.
Ben: Swophie must be foreign.
Brock: Oh, perhaps. “What a life-changer…” in quotation marks so, not sure what’s indicating there – “of a podcast. Keep up the great stuff for the BG nation.”
Ben: Interesting. Interesting.
Brock: I have no idea what’s this review means.
Ben: Figured the way to eat them. I mean, I don’t know. But I think it’s a play on the word ‘rocks’ so….
Brock: Yeah, I guess.
Ben: Yeah. What Swophie doesn’t know is that I actually included rocks in my enema as well.
Brock: Oooh. (chuckles)
Ben: So that’s one that also…
Brock: Now that is a life-changer. (laughs)
Ben: That’s right. That is a life-changer. No, I don’t actually do that. Before a lot of our listeners who take every word that I say like the gospel rush out to find little rocks to put in your enema tubes, don’t do it. However….
Brock: Like these marbles, of course like rocks.
Ben: However, and this is the last thing I’ll say ‘cause I know we’re droning on.
Ben: I did – I interviewed the Science Babe who wrote the article about how the Food Babe is full of s-h-!-t…
Ben: And we’re releasing that interview this weekend, and you could hear her jaw-drop when I told her I do – ‘cause she was calling Dave Asprey a douchebag during the interview and I told her I do Bulletproof coffee enemas. It was an interesting conversation…
Brock: That was one of my favorite moments, for sure.
Ben: …that ensued from there. So you will want to tune in to this weekend’s episode with the Science Babe. But until then, you can check out today’s show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/322, where we’ll link to everything from the article on starvation mode to the stuff about How To Become A Fat Burning Machine to the article on The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating and oh so much more!
Brock: (old man’s voice) Oh, so much!
Ben: (old lady’s voice) Oh, so much more!
Brock: (old man’s voice) So very much!
Ben: It’s delightful!
Brock: (old man’s voice) Uhhh.
Ben: Until then, have a healthy week! And we apologize to everyone from the Russians to the elderly who we just insulted. But either way, hopefully you come back for more. Talk to you later, bengreenfieldfitness.com/322, over and out.
Welcome to Beyond Training book, Chapter 19 in which you’re going to discover “The Zen Of Getting Uber-Fit Without Neglecting Your Friends, Your Family and Your Career”. A few years ago an article appeared in the Walls Street Journal entitled “A Workout Ate My Marriage”. It begins with the tale of the wife of an endurance athlete, Caren Waxman, who wakes up alone every morning, including holidays. Her husband leaves before dawn each morning for hours of exercise to prepare for his upcoming triathlon. The article goes on to describe other exercise widows and lonely husbands who often wake up to an empty bed – a sure sign of their spouse’s morning workout. Or they find their dinner plans spoiled by a sudden avoidance of any complex foods or big meals before an evening workout. And of course, parties or nighttime social events get completely thrown out the window if they remotely threaten to sacrifice the quality of the almighty morning workout. Regret grows as romance falls to the wayside, since the exercise enthusiasts in the relationship collapses like a sack of potatoes by the time of 9 p.m. approaches. Intense commitment to a demanding training schedule for triathlons, marathons, Crossfit or some other lofty physical goal leaves couples fighting about who does chores, who gets time for themselves and who decides where and how the family has fun.
And all the effect of extreme exercise on divorce rates has never really been investigated, resentment on the part of friends, spouses and families is an undeniable reality, with many lonely wives, husbands and children wondering when the exercise insanity is going to end. Of course, the consequences of extreme fitness pursuits can go beyond family disputes and can also include degrading of important relationships and friendships, decreases in personal income or stagnant career growth and a complete lack of the ability to do anything well except lift the heavy weight, row 500 meters very quickly, or swim, bike and run faster than all your neighbors. Well, let me ask you a question: you don’t want to regret the finish line, do you? Let me ask you another question: are you missing the important things in life? Let me ask you one more question: is your tombstone or obituary simply going to say: “This person was a really good at exercising.”? The fact is, unless you’re a professional athlete and your paycheck depends on your performance, the temporary glory of crossing the finish line of an Ironman or a marathon; winning Crossfit regionals, or riding a bicycle a hundred miles is simply not worth the neglect of your friends, your family, your career and all the other things in life you could be enjoying. But the fact is, there’s a way to become uber-fit without creating exercise widows or exercise orphans, without giving up important advances in your career, without missing out good friendships and relationships and without feeling like you never got to get good at other things you really wanted to try – like music or theatre, cooking, arts, sports or whatever else strikes your fancy. So in this chapter and the next, I’m gonna fill you in on all my insider training and time-saving secrets that allow me to be in the upper echelon of some of the fittest folks on the planet – while still having time to write and play guitar or play tennis and basketball, learning languages, travel, take my wife on dates, throw dinner parties and play for at least a few hours every day with my twin boys. You may find that this chapter is skewed towards advice for endurance athletes like Ironman triathletes,and that’s simply because not only as that my wheelhouse but I also find that endurance athletes simply tend to have more pressure to put in a long hours compare to say Crossfitters, weight lifters or more recreational sane exercisers. However, no matter what you are, who you are, you’re gonna get some serious exercise time-management gems, so let’s get started. As you learned in Chapter Three, most endurance athletes and especially Ironman overdo exercise, big time. Based on the research at ironman.com, triathletes train an average of 7 months for the Ford Iron Man World Championships. The average hours per week devoted to training for this world championships generally fall between 18 and 22 hours. Average training distances for the three events are: miles per week swimming: 7, miles per week biking: 232, miles per week running: 48. That’s right: the majority of Ironman triathletes training for the world championships in Kona are averaging close to 3 hours per day. And as an Ironman coach and competitor, I can tell you that the training programs of other Ironman triathletes aren’t far behind. Yes, professional athletes train up to 4 to 6 hours per day, but their job depends on it. Does yours? But there are exceptions to this rule. Take Sami Inkinen for instance, Sami’s just coming of an amateur Ironman winning time of 8:24 at Ironman Sweden a couple of weeks ago, and last year his finishes included: Overall amateur champion at Wildflower, Overall amateur champion at Hawaii Half Ironman, Age group world champion at Ironman 70.3 distance in Las Vegas, Age group world champion runner-up at Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, with an 8:58 Kona performance. Here’s the kicker: despite kicking the butts of the 20 to 30hour per week athletes and beating many of the professional Ironman athletes, Sami trains a maximum of about 12 hours per week using many of the methods you’re about to learn. At that same Ironman, Hawaii that Sami performed an 8:58 at, I was about a half-hour behind completing the race at about nine and a half hours but on a training schedule of 10 hours per week. In a podcast I recorded with Sami at bengreenfieldfitness.com entitled “How to Maximize Triathlon’s Success with Minimal Training Time” you’ll learn the nitty-gritties of many of his personal strategies. I’ll link to that podcast over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter19 and we talk about everything from using a swim snorkel up to training on a computrainer. But I’m also going to take now several important takeaways from that discussion as well as other tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years to avoid and extreme number of hours wasted in the pursuit of uber fitness. Now before we jump into exactly 13 ways to get fit in less time without neglecting your friends, your family and your career, please remember to review or revisit Chapter Three in which I outlined which of the science behind these techniques and why they work so well.
That being said, let’s jump right in. Number one: Do Short Swims. To be a decent swimmer you don’t need massive yardage. You simply need frequent exposure to the water. Swimming requires much more efficiency, economy and ‘feel for the water’ than it requires pure fitness, which is why a 12 year-old girl can easily be me in a hundred meter pool sprint. For this reason, frequency and consistency in swimming is much more important than marathon-esque swim workouts of 60 to 90 minutes, like you might experience in a typical master’s swim class or a classic swim workout. Let’s use Ironman swim training as an example. For Ironman you only need to swim ‘long’ once per week and that swim doesn’t need to be longer than 4,000 meters rather than a steady, slow swim, you could structure this workout to include hard, race pace intervals with short rests like warm-up, 3 by 800 at race pace and a cool down. Then you can simply pepper additional brief a 15 to 30 minute swims like 20 by 50 or 10 by 100 throughout the week, preferably before a strength training session bike or run so that you minimize prep time: goggles, swim cap, pre-shower, post-shower, etc. Number two is to Train Indoors. Outdoor bike rides and runs often involve getting in your workout clothing, inflating tires, filling the water bottles, scheduling, driving to and meeting with the group and engaging in another preparatory activities that can take 15 to 20 minutes before your training session begins. And once you’re finally out there, traffic lights and stop signs can significantly detract from the efficacy of your workout. For athletes who live in inclement weather, this process becomes even more laborious and often includes a ranging multiple layers of clothing, getting hats, gloves or toe warmers and of course removing and washing all that fabric once you’re actually done with the workout. So, if you wanna maximize your training bang for your buck, find a room in the house to be your ‘pain cave’, set up an indoor trainer or treadmill and do 1 to 2 short, intense, indoor bike trainer sessions or indoor treadmill runs per week. You’ll stay focused and structured with this approach. If you need some ideas for killer indoor training workouts, I’d recommend you check out some of my favorites like MaccaXPro cycling and treadmill workouts, Sufferfest cycling and brick workouts and Runervalstreadmill workouts. I’ll link to all those over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter19. To save yourself driving time, make sure you’ve got a good indoor home gym too. I’ve written an entire article and recorded a podcast on “How To Make A Home Gym”, but my personal set-up costs less than 300 bucks and just includes a suspension strap, an indoor sprinting device called the FIT10, a stability ball, a Gymstick, a door frame pull-up bar, a kettlebell and a few other free weights that I got for nearly free off Craig’s List. Zero fancy machine’s required and I’ve saved many, many minutes by heading out to the garage rather than getting dressed for weather conditions, going outside and fighting stop sign, stop lights, traffic and grandmothers on roller blades with their 8 grandchildren and 2 schnozzle dogs in the bike path. And if you don’t have time to head to the pool, just check out my ‘Baby, it’s Too Cold Outside to Drive to the Pool’ swim workout over at bengreenfieldfitness.com which simply requires some elastic tubing. Number three is to do Minimal ‘Off-Season Training’. In contrast to their peers, who are disappearing into the basement during the winter to do 3 up to 5 hour indoor training sessions also followed by long jaunts on the treadmill or heading outside to do 4 to 6 hour bike rides up to several months before their actual race, most of my athletes save all their baby training for that final 8 to 12 weeks before their big event and I encourage you to do this too. When it comes to mental and physical freshness and vigor when you really need it, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to beat yourself up off of fallen winter long in preparation for a spring or summer event. After all, do you really think that 2-hour run in January is gonna help you in an August marathon? Or that watching back to back movies on an indoor trainer in gonna create any kind of fitness that’s still ‘with you’ during a summer Ironman? Number four: Train Alone. Don’t get me wrong – I understand the concept of ‘tribe’, the importance of social interactions and the exercise motivation that can be derived from peer pressure and a friendly competitive environment. If that’s your only social outlet and it’s not stealing time for your family and other things you want to do, then by all means, join the Master’s swim, a running, cycling or triathlon club or a Crossfit box. But if you really wanna maximize your time and workout efficiency, then for both indoor training sessions and outdoor rides or runs, you should try to train alone quite frequently. Here’s why: group training sessions not only requires significantly greater time investment to schedule, gather your group together and head out for the actual session, but for athletes, these sessions rarely simulate what you’re gonna experience during an event. Just think about it: how often during an Ironman for example, are you drafting, socializing or frequently fluctuating pace? A gym can be a complete times-suck. With plus chairs and couches conveniently located near big screen TVs, smoothie bars well stocked with snacks, piles of magazines, friends, workout buddies, vibration platforms, scales, saunas, spas, fliers and articles and fancy new workout contraptions –
you can literally spend hours of the gym preparing to exercise, eating for exercise, learning about exercise, and talking about exercise without actually doing much exercise. Case in point: I recently went to the gym to take a “metabolism boosting class”. The class was scheduled to begin at 6:30. I left my house at 6:00 to drive to the gym and get there by 6:15 so I can get into the class. I then waited around for 15 minutes for class to start, and then a few extra minutes waiting for the late-comers. I then spent another 10 minutes in the class warm-up although I already warmed-up while waiting. Each section of the class included demos and instructions by the teacher, by the time the class was over and we spent 10 minutes doing a simple cool-down and some stretching, I’d spent 90 minutes devoted to ‘working out’, but when I looked at my watch, found that I only actually engaged in significant fitness-boosting exercise for a total of 22 minutes. Although I guarantee that multiple class participants would proudly check off the class as being 60 minutes of exercise. Had I stayed home and just used my inexpensive home exercise equipment, I could’ve achieved three times as much exercise and still had plenty of time left over. Number five: One Long Run A Week. You heard me right. In your build up to a marathon or an Iron Man, you really only need one long run, typically 3 to 4 weeks out from your main event. Just the other day, during an enduranceplanet.com podcast, the host informed me that her coach advised 20 runs of up to 20 miles prior to an actual marathon. I responded by pointing out that this multiple long run strategy is all good and fine if the race involves a pay check for you, but if not, you spend 19 weekends pounding the pavement when you could’ve been spending time with your family or learning a new hobby. And while a long bike ride is a session from which you can recover relatively quickly, a long run of 2 plus hours, can significantly impact your joints and keep you inflamed and beat up for several weeks! So, what do you do instead of a long run? In the same way that anaerobic high intensity interval sessions have been shown to significantly enhance aerobic fitness, short and intense runs of 80 to 90 minutes are all you really need to get you ready for a marathon or an Ironman and some of my best Iron Man performances have come from running only once per week for 80 to 90 minutes often with elliptical training on my Elliptigo or noon basketball or tennis for the other ‘run’ sessions. The trick is that you need to make each of those 80 to 90 minute runs high-quality, not long slow death marches like most endurance athletes treat their long run. Do the session on fresh legs, after a good day’s rest and you’ll maximize the intensity and efficiency of your one key run training session. And for Pete’s sake, whether it’s your one long run or any of these ‘short’ 80 to 90 minute runs, make it a devoted practice of form, efficiency, economy and turnover and focus and not a mindless slog. Number six is to Run on Short Courses or Loops. When you run, try to stay away from long courses, like loops that are actually longer than about 3 miles or lengthy trails because the longer the course, the more likely it is that you’ll take your time and run it slow. Instead, choose to run on tracks, neighborhood blocks or short loops that are far more conducive to brief, high-quality and intense intervals. It’s a strange mental trick, but the closer you are to home or the shorter the loops that you’re running, the faster you typically go. Perhaps your body simply knows that it’s always relatively near a safe haven, food and comfort, so it’s okay to go hard. For example, if I am running more than once per week, one of my key Iron Man training sessions would be 12 by 200 meters repeats – literally in the cul-de-sac outside my house. Including full recovery between repeats, that workout takes a maximum of about 30 minutes, but if it’s performed at maximum intensity. I feel as though I’ve run 2 hours by the time I finish and my kids can join me on their bikes for this session to “race daddy”. Number seven is to Lift. We kinda kicked this horse to death in Chapter 3, but multiple research studies have shown that strength training can improve endurance performance by increasing neuromuscular recruitment, efficiency and economy – especially for cyclists and runners. In other words, you can get fit without necessarily spinning or running for hours on end. Anecdotal evidence, particularly from many older endurance athletes, guys like Mark Allen and Dave Scott, suggest that strength training also plays a significant role in injury prevention. And you can even get a significant cardiovascular boost from certain types of strength training like the super slow and isometric training I discussed in Chapter 4. The nice thing is that when you lift, you can easily train at home with your family. My twin boys will often drag their kid-sized kettlebells and medicine balls into the backyard and join me for my swings and slams.
They also have miniature jump ropes, yoga mats and their own stability ball. Sure, the workout is not quite as high quality as if I had strapped on my earphones and headed to the squat rack at the gym, but once again, I’m concerned about more than my tombstone simple saying “he was a good exerciser”. I’d rather my children have some fond memories of sweating with dad – more on training as a family later. Number eight is to Eat Lunch kinda Fast. Now it’s never a good idea to eat extremely fast in a stressed state or as my mom refers to it “hoovering” your food like a vacuum cleaner. At the same time, I’ve heard many folks complain that they just don’t have enough time left in a day for both exercise and the other elements of life they want to enjoy but then they spend an entire hour just eating lunch. In reality, you can get a healthy, solid lunch comprised of real food into your system within 10 to 15 minutes and much less time than that if it’s a smoothie or a shake. In other words, when lunch hour rolls around, you can head out a 30 to 50 minute training session, get back, take a quick cold shower and still have plenty of time for lunch. So what kind of lunch takes a long time to eat? Salads, casseroles, dinner leftovers and pretty much anything that requires cutlery or getting together with a group to eat so, choose faster lunch alternatives instead if you’re pressed for time: wraps, smoothies, shakes or edible real food that you can actually take out on your training session with you. Chapter 11 has plenty of fast, easy, real meals and Chapter 16 has plenty of portable, edible foods you can take with you on the fly. Number nine is to Commute. Now I own a pickup truck but I only drive it once about every 1 to 2 weeks. Sometimes I worry that I’ll forget how to drive. This is because I go by foot or bicycle almost everywhere. Commuting is not only a great way to mimic an ancestral, hunter-gatherer life, but it can drastically cut down on training time. For example, you can skip all your bike workouts for the week and just ride your bike to work. Put your clothes in a backpack and pack babywipes or Actionwipes to wipe yourself down. If you’re like me, you can even go so far as to wash your hair in the sink. For 2 years, I trained for Ironman just by commuting 8 miles on my bicycle, 5 days of the week, then throwing in one tougher, slightly longer effort on the weekend. Now if this doesn’t work for your work location, life or training schedule, you could also do things like: run or bike to the grocery store for small items like bags of spinach or bananas, grab a backpack and run errands like post-office and banks on your bike, sprinting between stoplights and stop signs and recovering during your stops; you can ride or run to social events like parties, make sure you’ve packed a backpack with a change of clothing on yourself or your family’s car and then drive home with your friends or family. There’s a reason those little Ethiopian boys who run to school every day grow up to be world champion marathoners. Number ten is to Include the Family. As soon as my wife and I found out we were pregnant with twins, we equipped our garage with a double bike trailer and a double jogger.The bike trailer always had two little bike helmets and a bunch of books and toys inside to keep kids entertained during rides, and until the boys were too heavy to push around, that double jogger was used nearly every day for neighborhood jogs, 5K’s and 10K’s, nature field-trips, running the kids to soccer-tots practice, running to the gym and even running to the grocery store with the kids. If you have younger children, try to join the gym or health club that is child-friendly with free kid care like the YMCA, so that you and your spouse can exercise together while the kids are being safely watched.And if you have older children, begin to include them in your workouts. Several times per week, the kids and I go “Fitness Exploring”, a fun workout that involves running through the neighborhood finding trees to climb, obstacles to jump from, curbs and fences to balance on and other elements of play around us – a technique discussed in mypodcast episode with Darryl Edwards – who owns the fantastic FitnessExplorer website.This type of play, also seen in movements such as Parkour, or MovNat, is included in my in this book. I’d also highly recommend you check out the website MyKidsAdventures.com for more fun physical activities you can do with your family. Now once a month, I take the kid’s to the local sporting goods store and let them choose a new piece of physical fitness equipment to bring home, like kettlebell, medicine ball, dumbbell, bouncy ball that bounces in different directions or anything else that strikes their fancy, just to keep them excited about fitness and anxious to join me in any home workouts that I do. Now I know some training schedules and coaches say that “Invisible Training” is advised, which involves only training early in the morning or late at night when your training is “invisible” to your family, but I encourage the complete opposite: make your family a part of your training. Number eleven is to Communicate. You, your spouse, your family, your friends, your co-workers and your boss should actually be aware of your training schedule when you have a 5 hour bike ride planned for the weekend, or you decide to disappear to the gym for an extra hour on Wednesday morning. Trust me, it’s better to announce the huge amount of time you plan on devoting to fitness rather than trying to keep it secret and pretend you’re not training.We used to keep a giant calendar on the bulletin board by our front door, where we wrote down workouts, family events, races, and sometimes the ever-present reminder for me to “mow the lawn already” which as you’ll learn in the next chapter on time-saving, I never actually do anymore.
Nowadays we are slightly more geeky and my wife and I use a shared Google calendar. Jessa knows my training plans and I know hers and whenever it becomes necessary, I can share the calendar with co-workers, employees, friends, etc.Even though it’s an extra step, I try to have a basic idea of where I’ll be and when at least 30 days in advance, so that there are no surprises. I don’t lay things out very, very thoroughly, but just enough so that my family and friends can have a basic idea of what I’m up to. Now I also log all my workouts over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/innercircle if you want to take a peek at those. Now don’t be embarrassed to wear your training schedule on your sleeve. Most people will respect you for being committed to fitness. Just make sure you give advanced notice and when the temptation arises to be rigid in your schedule no matter what, remember to ask yourself whether fitness is your hobby or your job. Number twelve is to Cross-Train Socially. Even though I do indeed like I mentioned, perform my actual training nearly 100% solo, many of my social relationships are formed from playing tennis with a group of guys in my local tennis league, smacking around the volleyball on Sunday afternoons with friends or hopping into the occasional noon basketball game at the gym.For me, these are social outlets that keep me from being an isolated training geek who has lost the skill to communicate with the general population and instead stare off into space focused on run turnover or pedaling stroke.Of course, you’re also not “wasting precious fitness time” when you cross-train in your training schedule. There’s a wide world of sports just outside your front door and many of these sports are not only entertaining and a fresh mental break from your normal training routine, but are also a perfect way to address cardiovascular fitness deficiencies, train weak muscles, stimulate your mind and give you a way to expand your social circles.And while the social sports of golf, softball and baseball may not be the best cardiovascular cross-training activities, you can look into things like soccer, basketball, tennis, or maybe if you are an international listener, cricket. Now for more details and tips on how to socialize, get fit and cross-train simultaneously, read a 2-part article series that I wrote on cross-training. I’ll link to that over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter19. And there’s Greasing The Groove, a concept I originally discovered in a book calledThe Naked Warrior. The idea is basically this: instead of doing a long workout at the gym, you simply spread your exercises through the day. This not only allows you to become proficient at certain movements but also elevates your metabolism throughout the day and gets you fit or maintains fitness without you needing to always set aside time for structured workouts. Since it’s an integral part of being an “Ancestral Athlete” which you learned quite a bit about in Chapter 4 – this is an important rule to have in your system. For example, I have a pull-up bar installed in the door of my office. Every time I walk under that bar, I have a rule that I have to do 5 pull-ups. Other examples of “Greasing the Groove” that I include in my own life to become fit even when I’m not exercising are: beginning and ending every day with 10 to 15 minutes of yoga and calisthenics with deep nasal breathing, doing 20 body weight squats every time I take a bathroom break and of course, using a Squatty Potty, doing 25 kettlebell swings at least once per day, spending as much of the workday as possible at a standing workstation or treadmill workstation, doing 100 jumping jacks for every hour that I sit, taking an icy cold shower 2-3 times each day which is actually good cardiovascular and mind enhancing trick, consistently engaging in the deep, diaphragmatic breathing similar to what you learned about in Chapter 9, you get the idea.You don’t actually have to “workout” to be working out and this is one of the biggest ways that I trick my body into staying in my only active hunter-gatherer, fitness gaining mode all day long – freeing up more time for family, friends, work and play. Now all of the tips I’ve shared with you are already included with or can be worked into the training plans that will accompany the final version of this book over at beyondtrainingbook.com. Now incidentally, I happen to write this chapter while I was hooked up to an electro-stimulation device that was firing away on my quads and hamstrings, giving me a training and recovery effect while I sat on the couchand my kids were playing with Legos on either side of me. Had I wanted to burn fat at the same time, I could have also been wearing a CoolFatBurner vest. And if you want to free up even more time and if you are willing to incorporate these type of time-saving biohacking technologies in your own life, I could’ve used any of the other type of things I’d recommend in my Underground Training Tactics For Enhancing Endurance chapter. Now I will admit, that if you feel as though some of these biohacks or time-enhancing techniques make you feel as though you’re missing the journey of your quest to achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve, then you can skip some of this stuff. If you enjoy a five-hour bike ride, by all means, do it. But make sure that you ask yourself whether perhaps a 2-hour bike ride and then 3 hours with your kids might be an even better option. Well, a full list of additional chapter resources, helpful links, scientific references and surprise bonuses for this chapter are available at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter19, enjoy.
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July 1, 2015 Podcast: Does Ketosis Work For Crossfit, Raw Milk vs. Whey Protein, Measuring HRV During Exercise, and Should You Eat Before Bed?
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- Interesting analysis of which teas do best at certain temperatures.
- After a night of drinking, take some melatonin. It can protect the gut against alcohol’s damaging effects on the gut lining.
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Sep 23-24, 2015. Ben is speaking at the Biohackers Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now.
New Greenfield Longevity Panels. Working closely with WellnessFX, America’s top laboratory for concierge blood testing and online access to all your blood testing results, Ben has developed the “Greenfield Longevity Blood Testing Package”, which is the most complete blood testing package that money can buy. There is one package specifically designed for men, and one for women. This is by far the most comprehensive blood testing package that exists, and Ben created it for the health enthusiast, biohacker and anti-aging individual who wants access to the same type of executive health panel and screening that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity institute. Virtually all hormones and all biomarkers are covered in this panel.
Ben Greenfield has officially launched his first work of fiction: “The Forest”. Twin brothers River and Terran discover a portal to a hidden forested world attacked by parasitic fungi, dark shamans, and serpents. Along with an assembled band of unlikely misfits that includes coyotes, whitetail deer, wood thrushes, and fox squirrels, they must unlock their unique powers to control the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and save the forest before the evil they’ve uncovered can spill back into their own world. Click here to read it now! (or click here to listen to audiobook version inside our Premium channel). New chapters released every 7-14 days.
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As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.
Does Ketosis Work For Crossfit?
Anthony says: He knows you have talked a ton about Ketosis for endurance events but now that you are skewing more towards the shorter high intensity type of training for OCR would you still recommend it (he does Crossfit). He understands how ketosis is advantageous for the 60-70% intensity range but with higher intensity and explosive workouts, don’t you need more carbs. He has been trying to use ketosis for his Crossfit lifestyle but finds it to be hard and there seems to be a lot of controversy around that type of diet.
In my response, I recommend:
–My podcast with Jimmy Moore about “Keto Clarity” book
–The guest podcast Brock and I hosted on Jimmy’s “Livin’ La Vida Low Carb Show”
–How To Become A Fat Burning Machine Part 1
–How To Become A Fat Burning Machine Part 2
–Keto Meal Plans For Endurance Athletes book
Raw Milk vs. Whey Protein
Allie says: She is wondering what you think of using raw milk in a morning smoothie/shake rather than whey protein. She knows that you use whey but she would like her morning smoothie to be more “au natural”. She gets raw milk from some local cows and is wondering if there are any negative effects of raw milk instead of whey protein to go along with her avocados, kale, ginger and all that other good stuff.
— ALSO —
Mark says: He is wondering what you think of drinking raw goat’s milk. It seems all over the board from the die hard “you should do it” to “you’re a lunatic and you’re going to die in 5 minutes”. Do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Is getting the good bacteria vs the bad bacteria for gut health worth it? Would you recommend this? Do you do it? Is it good for weight gain or loss or better performance?
Measuring HRV During Exercise
Chris says: He would like to know more about measuring HRV during exercise – what type of values should someone be looking for during steady state, aerobic, low intensity cardio? His is hanging like a flat line. What could this indicate?
In my response, I recommend:
Should You Eat Before Bed?
Vladimir says: He works all day and sometimes when he gets home he just wants to go to bed. Is it a bad thing to skip dinner or is it worse to eat right before going to bed? Basically: never eat before bed or never go to bed hungry? He also wants to know what is wrong with being called Vladimir? (we made a joke about that name in last weeks’s show)
In my response, I recommend:
–The Health Impact of Nighttime Eating: Old and New Perspectives