Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: Will Ice Baths Shrink Your Muscles, Do Antioxidants Ruin Your Training, Can Marijuana Damage Your Brain And Liver, The Best Way To Train For MMA Fitness, Should You Avoid Iodine, The Benefits of Fasted Workouts and much more!
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is – Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that for the natural movement, get all them. When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest effort to see.” All the information you need in one place right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Brock: So let’s start the show off by me thanking you for not only doing the show a day early but also getting up early to do this.
Ben: I am!
Brock: You haven’t had a workout, you haven’t done anything you normally do before you record.
Ben: You mainly get out of the bed so early for this episode, too.
Brock: Yeah. And I appreciate it but I also understand it’s gonna be rough.
Ben: I had a cup of coffee, I took a cold shower, I shaved, so I smell nice. I put like my oregano oil and olive oil and all my little anti-aging secrets all over my face so I smell fantastic and to address the elephant in the room, I’m feeling great because we got rid of the lady with the phone sex voice.
Brock: Oh yeah! I feel like it’s our new intro is almost too much, but it’s awesome because it’s almost too much.
Ben: I do like our new intro.
Brock: In a world… (chuckles) Good stuff.
Ben: Yeah. Well, the other phone sex lady had to move on to bigger and better things like phone sex, so…
Brock: Whether you’re being commanded by some manly voice or being charmed by a sexy lady on the phone, you can always tune in to Twitter.com/bengreenfield and check out all the news flashes.
Ben: And by the way, if you’re driving with kids, put your muffs on them but I don’t think people actually do phone sex anymore. I think they only do chat sex.
Brock: I’d assume so.
Ben: Chatroom sex.
Brock: That seems very 90’s.
Ben: Actually no, Snapchat sex.
Ben: Yeah. So…
Brock: Or, what’s our new thing? Periscope.
Ben: yes, Periscope sex. People have actually tried to convince me to start doing Ben Greenfield Fitness on Periscope and I don’t wanna livestream my life, right now.
Ben: So just for those of you who have been asking, it’s not gonna happen at this point.
Brock: Not gonna happen, folks!
Ben: Yeah, it’s hard enough for me to get out of the bed in the morning and podcast on my boxers.
Ben: So anyways though, I have been tweeting out some interesting studies, and two of the first that I wanna talk about are related. So there were a couple of studies that hit the news this week about cold. The first was that post exercise cold water immersion can – and this is from the title of the study ‘Attenuate anabolic signaling and adaptations in muscle to strength training’. And the post that came out right alongside of that was that ‘regular post-exercise cold application a.k.a. icing can attenuate trained muscle adaptations’ so, of course the news on the internet is that you shouldn’t do cold baths, you shouldn’t do icing because you may blunt the training response or reduce the ability of muscles to grow. So, I have a couple of problems with these studies. The first problem is that in the cold water immersion blunts the anabolic response and adaptations to muscle and strength training study. They were actually “fatiguing” the muscles by having people do wrist flexor exercises. Yes…
Brock: Oh, we’re back to that one again.
Ben: Wrist curls and they were doing them two days a week. Wrist curls, two days a week wrist curls. So, to me that is…
Brock: That’s a hard workout, folks.
Ben: …not a very, very difficult workout. In the other study, the icing study, they were doing twice a week strength training sessions with three full days of recovery between each session. And so none of these activities that are in a lab surrounded by scientist in white lab coats reflect in my opinion, what say like a Tour De France cyclists might experience during some brutal multi-day staged race with you know, five hours every day cranking out more wattage than the average – you know, scientist in the lab coat rides in an entire year.
Ben: Or what you know, an Ironman triathlete could experience during ten hours of red binding their body in the heat, or what a football player might get during like two days in the summer, or what a body builder might get when going to the gym one or two times a day to exhaust multiple body parts. So ultimately, I would say that you know, in the same way that many antioxidants studies for example say that antioxidants blunts the training response but they really don’t put people through very hard training at all. A lot of these icing studies and cold water immersion studies do not translate into a real world environment for hard-charging people. And you know…
Brock: The only workout I can think of that’s sort of mimics what they were talking about is like a masking protocol – the one that Dan John…
Brock: That’s got the really hard workout and then followed by like two or three days of complete fully recovery like lying on the couch kind of recovery.
Ben: And most of the folks who were using like cold water baths and icing aren’t doing them everyday. Like they do in these studies after every workout, right? So after that killer workout that you might hit every once a week or once every couple of weeks so there’s that. And then the other issue is there are so many things that go above and beyond anabolic signaling and in a moment, I’ll get into why maybe we shouldn’t be focusing on anabolic signaling and muscle growth as the holy grail anyways, but there are ton of benefits of cold exposure that go way beyond what they actually look at in the studies for example, we’ve talked on the show about like browning of white fat before red like the fact that you can literally convert storage adipose tissue white fat into metabolically active brown fat and you know, that’s done the other hormone irisin which can also function in neuro protection of brain tissue. It’s been shown to kill certain types of cancer cells like breast cancer tissue; it’s been shown the length and DNA telomeres sort of maybe like a longevity enhancing effect – so a lot of benefits of that, that irisin hormone release and then you also get a release in hormone adiponectin when you’re getting frequent exposure to cold and that’s the one that can trigger the release of free fatty acids from tissue. So you basically up-regulate you’re ability to burn fatty acids while decreasing your reliance upon glucose because the other thing adiponectin does is very similarly to insulin is, it shoves glucose to the muscles, so it allows nutrients to be kind of funneled away from producing fat and into muscles so you get like this repartitioning effect. There’s a lot of other things too; there’s like apoptosis, right? Like pre-programmed cell death, there’s the production of ironically, in response to cold, heat shock proteins which enhance your cardio-vascular blood flow and help to protect you against or help you to kinda like withstand exercise in the heat. You get a bump up in growth hormone – we talked about the sleep hack last week, how you lower your core body temperature and increase your ability to synthesize melatonin when you get some kind of cold exposure at night, you get increased insulin sensitivity. So ultimately, you know these studies – and the reason I’m bringing this up and kinda harping on this is I got so many people asking me on Twitter and on Facebook like “Are you gonna stop taking cold shower? Are you gonna stop icing? Are you gonna stop doing cold baths because it turns out that they might you know, make your wrist flexor muscles smaller?” And I was like, “no.”
Brock: You will never have a strong wrist.
Ben: Absolutely not. So – so that’s the deal and I totally disagree with the results of this new ‘Ice Baths Don’t Work’ studies, so.
Brock: You know one of the benefits that you missed on wearing a – or using an ice vest like this morning? It’s really hot in Toronto and when I’m recording like this morning, I was doing some voice-over recording and it was getting really hot in my office so I put on my cold fat burner vest just to keep me cool.
Ben: Yeah, those are cool. That’s the one – that’s actually the brand, the fat burning gear, I like it. It’s cool – coolfatburner.com, they have like a vest and the have like this what they call the gut-buster that goes around your waist. And that…
Brock: Yeah. That thing’s dangerous; I gave myself some serious prospect with that thing (chuckles).
Ben: Yeah, you can like wear a shirt when you wear it – those are pretty cool for – pun intended – for doing like cold thermogenesis when you don’t wanna do cold shower or an ice baths, so you can check…
Brock: Or you use like a…
Ben: check out our friends.
Brock: an American conditioner.
Ben: Check our friends at coolfatburner.com. They’re not a sponsor of this podcast but you can check them out anyways. We won’t have…
Brock: And no we don’t have a discount code.
Brock: Don’t even ask.
Ben: Yeah. So another interesting take on this whole like things that blunt the training response, this is the one on antioxidants. So you’ve of course heard Brock and I’m sure about people saying you shouldn’t take Vitamin C or you shouldn’t take Vitamin E after workout because and this is actually – again, with the newest study says – it says it blunts the increase in total lean body and leg mass after 12 weeks of strength training.
And this most recent study, they put a group of men – they were elderly men but they were, they were real men less. Elderly men are still men.
Brock: They’re still men. As you get older, you’re still a man.
Ben: You’re still a human even when you wearing the pants. But they put them on a strength training regimen, and they put half of them on supplements, they put half of them on Vitamin C and Vitamin E and then half of them of course not on supplements on the placebo. And then they have them do 12 weeks of strength training. What they found was that the muscle increased in thickness – an average of 16.2% in the placebo group but only 10.9% in the antioxidant group. So, so far the takeaway from that study is ultimately – it looks like your muscle size will be larger if you don’t take antioxidants. But linking in the show notes and by the way, the show notes to this podcast are all over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/325 – I’m gonna link them to show notes to a very interesting take on this article written by our friend Paul Jaminet ‘The Perfect Health Diet” fame. He’s been on this podcast a few times, but he dug into this study a little bit more and he noted that there was a significant gain in strength in the antioxidant group even though they gained less size. So essentially the smaller muscles were able to exert more force and his take on this was that the smaller muscle that can exert more force is in fact most likely the healthier muscle. Now the article goes on to point out that large muscle size could potentially be a sign of poor health. So when you look at like cardiomegaly which is an enlarged heart – that’s when your heart tissue becomes dysfunctional and incapable of exerting as much strength as it should, and you get basically a hypertrophy or growth of heart muscle tissue and this is something that reflects actually a myopathy like poor health of the heart when this happens to heart tissue. We see a similar response and he goes into a study that happens or that took place in guinea pigs – belt body building guinea pigs. I need body building guinea pigs.
Brock: Awww, cute.
Ben: But what they looked at was they put the guinea pigs on diets and one diet was a control diet and another diet had a bunch of antioxidants in it. And what they found was that in a group that was deprived of antioxidants and antioxidant supplementation and antioxidant exposure on a diet but was doing strength training and I don’t know how guinea pigs strength train by the way. I’m guessing tiny, tiny guinea pig bench…
Brock: That’s I’m – yeah, matching a lot of bench press…
Ben: Yeah, tiny guinea pig kettlebells.
Brock: …and these tiny little dumbbells.
Ben: Yeah. Anyways though, those guinea pigs experienced – those ones who did not get antioxidants, they experienced a significant loss of strength and an inability to exert force and this continued until the guinea pigs could no longer stand or move…
Ben: …and at that point, they lose the ability to feed and they began to die of starvation. And that happen in as few as 30 days because of damage by what’s called lipid pro-oxidation because of lack of antioxidants which led to cell death, they didn’t have enough antioxidants. So what happened was that the guinea pigs did not actually lose much in terms of muscle size but what they loss was the ability of their muscles to function. And so it’s very, very interesting that a lot of these studies that look at again, like antioxidants and cold exposure and etc. it’s like the holy grail is muscle growth and muscle size, right? And so what Paul gets into in this article is how they’re not even taking into account what may be a much, much bigger marker of your health and that’s the ability to have muscles that may not you know, look good in your “Welcome to the gun show” t-shirt, but that can exert very, very high amounts of force, right? Like the folks you have a – like a small like wiry physique but who can just like you know, throw around weight like crazy, like a power lifter that they would technically be more healthy than say, a bodybuilder. And actually in that article, Paul goes into the fact that there’s a lot of bodybuilders who die early of heart disease due to a lot of this, this cardiomegaly or increased hypertrophy of heart muscle tissue. There is a lot of health issues that you get with this increased in muscle mass and being in constant anabolic state and the fact is, antioxidants and taking antioxidants in conjunction with the strength training program can actually increase your muscle strength even if yes, it made blunt in increase in muscle size a little bit. But ultimately, maybe muscle size isn’t the only thing you should be looking for. So really interesting take.
Brock: Out of the weight ratio.
Ben: That’s right, baby. Uhm, okay…
Brock: I just Googled ‘guinea pig workout’…
Ben: Oh, yeah.
Brock: Just ‘cause I had to see what was going on there. There’s a picture of a guinea pig and he’s got sort of these little pads on his shoulders with springs and it looks like he might doing sort of like a football player like a sled push…
Ben: Oh, yeah. Kind of thinking sled push.
Ben: Not to be confused with the hamster dance. Do you remember the hamster dance video?
Brock: (chuckles) No.
Ben: (singing the hamster dance tune)
Brock: Oh, I just keep thinking of a hamy-hamster.
Ben: You should Google the hamster dancing and play our dear listeners the hamster dancing… Okay, so the last thing and I thought this was interesting because I actually wrote about this and the last article that I wrote on cannabidiol and the use of CBD for a variety of health effects and use of it for like neurotrophic effects for sleep, for focus etc., I talked about how we would likely see at some point pharmaceutical companies jumping on the bandwagon. And sure enough, an article came out this week that the drug maker GW Pharmaceuticals has received approval on a patent covering the use of specifically cannabidiol from CBD for treating cancer. And so what they’ve done is – they’re essentially to patent CBD, which means they’re gonna just blow the price through the roof on CBD to use it as the…
Brock: It’s already expensive enough, too.
Ben: actual cancer drug – they’re gonna patent it as a cancer drug. The reason I’m bringing this up is I got a bunch of questions from people about whether that means that like this new cannabidiol product that we’re selling at Greenfield Fitness Systems this Nature CBD stuff that’s going to have to disappear, right? Like if we’re gonna be violating a patent by GW Pharmaceuticals by selling those stuff. The issue is that you can still get CBD in that form for example in the form of Nature CBD, but we would not be able to make any claims or say anything about its potential for causing like cancer cell apoptosis or anything like that because this pharmaceutical company were on a patent on it but I thought it was interesting that – that pharmaceutical companies are now jumping on the marijuana bandwagon and trying to patent now the use of these natural compounds like cannabidiol. And this literally came out like weeks after I release my CBD article that now they’re you know, they’re patenting it for a reducing cell viability, inhibiting cell growth or reducing tumor volume and cancer so, there you go. Drug companies…
Brock: It’s funny, I thought the first one to come out would’ve been a drug for treating epilepsy because it seems like that’s got the longer history with CBD.
Ben: Yeah, but cancer is sexier.
Ben: So, Brock, do you still have a beard?
Brock: I don’t. I shaved it off. Maybe a month or so ago when it started actually become summer here in Toronto.
Ben: And what kind of shaver did you used?
Brock: I used a crappy one that I’ve had for years and years and years.
Ben: Did you used it?
Brock: And I actually – and I missed a little bit this morning when I shaved. I’ve got a little patch of fuss on the top of my cheek that shouldn’t be there.
Ben: Was it a Bic or a Gillette?
Brock: A Gillette.
Ben: Or maybe one of these – this dollar shaped clog shavers?
Brock: It was not one of the – not one of the ones – it’s our so kindly sponsor of this show.
Brock: But I don’t think they actually deliver in Canada yet.
Ben: Well, you read my mind. Because the sponsor of today’s show is Harry’s who actually bought a blade factory in Germany and they crafted the world’s highest quality blades and I actually want to visit this blade factory in Germany because I imagine this like this giant old stoned castle whether it’s like you know, like men with mustaches you know, churning out wearing aprons and making blades in Germany.
Brock: (chuckles) Do they really need to wear apron? Well yeah, I guess.
Ben: I don’t know, I don’t know.
Brock: It looks better. Fashion statement.
Ben: Yeah. Anyways though, so they make these high quality blades and they cut out the middle man and then they ship it straight to you. So they skip the drugstore – you can’t get them in drugstores but you get a really, really good shave at a fraction of a price of drugstore brands and the only complaint I have is like they’re gonna get this old school like heavy nice shaver that makes you feel like a real man – well perhaps a very macho woman if you’re the type of woman who wants a blade made by Harry’s. My only complaint is that they don’t make like those old – what do you called the old school shavers that have no guard on them?
Brock: The straight razor.
Ben: Yes. I wish they just sell a straight razor, a Harry’s straight – there’s probably some liability involved with shipping straight razors to people…
Brock: I just think there’s a very limited market for that.
Ben: I’d use one. I mean, I just – I think that would be like the ultimate macho would be to use one of these straight razors in my face.
Brock: Pretty macho.
Ben: Yeah, it would be. Anyways though, so here’s the deal: you got harrys.com, use the code ‘ben’ and you get to harrys.com, use code ‘ben’, you can get five bucks off anything from Harry’s including their little pack. That’s like a razor and three blades, and some of their shave cream and it’s the kind of shave cream that is not going to shrink your balls or decrease your testosterone ‘cause it may have…
Ben: parabens and phthalates and stuff like that.
Brock: Oh, I see.
Ben: So, yeah.
Brock: Just don’t put it on your balls.
Ben: You could – no! I’m saying you could put the Harry shave on your balls and it would be okay. You could also put it on your face and it wouldn’t shrink your balls, so.
Brock: Ah, there you go.
Brock: And I was totally wrong – they do ship to Canada – so I misspoke.
Ben: There you go.
Brock: All you Canadians, we can also get harrys.com.
Ben: Harry’s – maybe it’s harrys.ca, I don’t know.
Brock: I don’t know. I don’t think so.
Ben: Anyways though, another quick special announcement is that I have now released Chapter Four of my new work of fiction which you can read along over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/theforest and I promise to keep it entertaining, exciting and educational – that was alliteration on the spot, by the way. That’s just how good of a writer I am and…
Brock: You’re a freaking poet!
Ben: …why you should read this book. Anyways though, I’m having a lot of fun writing it, you can read it on Wattpad which is a free platform for finding any book and reading a book serially. So the book is released in a format that makes it very, very easy to read because frankly, I could write it all and release it in some giant 500-page novel but instead you’re just kinda getting to read it serially as I go. So you can download the Wattpad app to your phone – it’s very conducive to read it on small screens, you can put it on your Kindle. I may publish the paper version for you old school folks once it’s all done but ultimately, you can check that a lot at bengreenfieldfitness.com/theforest and I am recording some audio versions of those chapters and releasing them…
Brock: At least we’ve tried a couple of times now.
Ben: Yeah, releasing them to – to our Premium channel and this is the last special announcement, the last thing I wanted to mention if you’re listening in and you haven’t yet plugged in to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Premium channel, we have over 300 different secret hidden audios – everything from every back episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show to insider interviews that we’ve done to PDFs and videos of live conferences that I’ve been at. To even you know, up to Chapter 21 now of the updated audio book version of “Beyond Training” – what do I mean by ‘updated’? What I mean is that as I am reading and recording my book “Beyond Training” for our Premium channel, I’m making updates as I go so that all the information is well, updated. So…
Brock: I thought you’re gonna say you’re making up crap as you go (chuckles).
Ben: I’m making up crap as I go. So anyways though…
Brock: Although I can tell you’re slightly adlibbing as you’re going which is actually makes it kinda interesting even if you have read the book already.
Ben: Not adlibbing so much as adjusting things that may be slightly outdated or adding new information and new research and that’s come to light since I wrote that book last year. So ultimately, it’s up to Chapter 21, I don’t know how many hours of audio that is – probably almost I would say, 21 hours of audio…
Brock: Yeah, either 20 or 21 hours, yeah.
Ben: …or close to that. So anyways, all available inside at the Premium channel that’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium and bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium is $9.99 for the entire year – so freakin’ slammin’ deal, check it out and that’s it.
Listener Q & A:
Mr. Mary : Hey Ben and Brock. You’ve been talking a lot about marijuana
Jane lately and I was reading a book on ayurvedic medicine and it says “Calamus root is the best antidote for the ill effects of marijuana. Marijuana is toxic to the liver and brain cells. However, if one smokes a pinch of calamus root powder with the marijuana this herb will completely neutralize the toxic side effects of the drug.” I would love to get your statement on this whether or not it has any real scientific weight or not, and thank you for all the information.
Brock: Now this fellow did not say his name. I guess he wants to be anonymous but I think we shall call him Mr. Mary Jane.
Ben: Mr. Mary Jane.
Ah, Mr. Mary Jane, you know marijuana is something I’ve gotten a lot of questions on now that I have revealed the fact that I consider cannabidiol and CBD extract which doesn’t did come from the cannabis plant to be one of the most medicinal and naturally beneficial compounds that you can put into your body. It’s something I consume nearly every day whether it’s for like sleep or focus – it kinda depends on dosage, right? Like I take three or four capsules – one of them on the airplane when I wanna sleep or before bed at night, and I’ll take one or two that you know when I want them like mixed it with a smart drug or you know, just basically de-stress. But ultimately, it is as I’ve written before and talked about before – far, far different that THC, the tetrahydrocannabinol which is kind of…
Ben: …more… Yeah, the more psychoactive form of marijuana. And the fact is that there are – there are some definite toxicity issues with marijuana that you do need to be aware of. And the first is that THC and especially many of these edibles that people consume now, those are metabolized by the liver and THC can cause in high doses a very similar effects as like fatty liver disease so the same as if you were consuming very, very high amounts of alcohol. And when you consider the fact that folks are now breeding marijuana you know, the marijuana we have available to us now is far different than our grandparents or our parent’s marijuana in terms of the THC percentages, right? You’ll see now marijuana with THC percentages up close to like 25 to 30%, you know, and that’s up from like 4% back in the 80’s. And so you’re having to metabolize a great deal more of that and it is indeed metabolized by the liver, and it does indeed bind to receptors in neural tissue and because of that, there is potential for toxicity especially when you use – what are those two situations. When you use a high THC compound regularly especially in younger individuals like an adolescents and teenagers – it has been shown to cause some neural deficits and some cognitive damage and in any one it has been shown to cause some things that – that kinda simulate what you might get from say like fatty liver disease. Now, a couple of ways around this: the first is that if you’re going to use a plant for its medicinal effects, use it for its medicinal effects and not its psychoactive effects which is why I am indeed a fan of choosing like higher CBD strains than THC strains. And don’t use it if you still a growing nervous system such as if you are like an adolescent or teenager especially like the higher THC containing components.
Brock: Ah, really? So that actually has more of an effect or more of a lasting effect on a…
Brock: …developing nervous system?
Ben: Yep, exactly. The same way as you’d wanna keep – you’d wanna do a better job keeping everything from like, you know, radiation to caffeine away from a growing nervous system.
Brock: Oh, okay.
Ben: You just have more rapidly dividing nerve cells. Now the other thing is that if you were to use let’s say an edible, and I will come right out and say like I will occasionally use like – like edible marijuana derivatives. It’s completely legal in my state – one that I use is called Hi Jewels. It’s made by company called Baked Botanicals which produces like organic and natural ingredients like – like kemp seed oil and cosmetic products, they’re based out of Seattle, and one of the things that they produce is called a Hi Jewels, and it actually is something that contains THC in it. I am very careful not to actually swallow that or eat it in its traditional manner. Anytime I use an edible from like an edible oil to an edible lozenge, I dissolve it in the mucous membrane of my mouth directly underneath my lip so that the THC component of that goes directly into the bloodstream rather than being metabolized by the liver. And you can do this for many pharmaceuticals and compounds that would normally be metabolized by the liver, you can basically mainline them into your bloodstream by letting them dissolve in your mouth or underneath your lip rather than – than shooting and swallowing them.
Brock: Interesting. I used to take – well I used to have a prescription for Ativan and that was a sublingual Ativan. And like as I’ll beat the same idea so you’re bypassing or not…
Brock: …not impairing your liver the same way.
Ben: Yup, yup, exactly. So a couple of other things to bear in mind when it comes to toxicity: when you look at the way that a lot of these hemp plants and you know, anything from the tobacco leaf to a marijuana leaf and even recently, a new study came out with kale – you look at things like thallium, cadmium, metal concentrates – you get these things accumulating in plants especially plants that are grown in industrial sections of the country, plants that are perhaps not grown organically that are mass produced.
And metals as we know, can accumulate in the body and can cause metal toxicity issues. And so not only am I a firm believer in doing something like a metal detox at least once a year to mitigate some of these effects, but the other thing that I would be careful of because the best way to concentrate especially cadmium in your body would be via traditionally traditional smoking of the leaf, okay? So actual smoking of marijuana or tobacco is not something that I recommend versus say either vaporizing or you know, like I mentioned, dissolving the components sublingually or behind your lip. I’m really not a fan especially because of the metal component and also because of the effect that it can have on your alveoli – I’m not a fan of smoking. Uhm…
Brock: What’s the alveoli?
Ben: Ah, in your lungs.
Brock: Okay, that little more feathery things?
Ben: Yeah, it can cause damage to those. So there are companies that make things like vaporizers that you simply put oil into or even like a waxy substance that contains something like marijuana into, and again, I hope people’s adolescents and teenagers and children aren’t listening in too intensively because I do not endorse…
Brock: Firm up, kids!
Ben: …this process, you know. But I mean in the same way, let’s put it this way you know, I’ll sit there and drink a cup of coffee in front of my kids and I’ll tell them, “Hey, when your bones are done growing, right? And your nervous system is done developing, you too can have a cup of coffee just like Dad.” And my kids have seen me smoke before too, or they’ve seen me vape marijuana and I’ve told them the same thing. When their nervous system is done developing or when their brain cells are done growing, I am okay with them using something like that but until that point, they need to wait because it will do more harm than good. So ultimately you know, I’m not a fan of like you know, putting earmuffs and blindfolds on kids when it comes to this stuff. It’s just you know, some of those things where I’m a bigger fan of educating a child you know, on some of the issues. So another thing that you wanna be careful of is – a lot of marijuana, depending on how it’s been grown, how it’s been stored, how it’s been handled – it can contain fungal contaminants that can be really problematic and already immune compromised people. But of course, fungus and molds can be an issue with anyone and damp marijuana is a really good breeding ground for aspergilla and many, many other molds and bacteria and…
Brock: Did you say sasparilla?
Ben: Aspergilla. And not sasparilla. Not root beer.
Ben: Not root beer. Aspergillosis is a very common fungal infection in marijuana smokers that’s caused by this mold that you can find in either like old marijuana or marijuana that’s been a lot become damp or that’s been stored in like damp settings – you wanna be careful if you’re using like leaves or buds or anything that’s been designed from leaves and buds that you’re careful of the source. So I always look for like small organic growers that are committed to quality and I’d like – I don’t, I don’t use any buds or leaves or anything like that unless I know exactly where it’s come from and so you know, I’d actually use this little app and website called Leafly, l-e-a-f-l-y which grades marijuana and leaves and kinda tells you about the quality and the original manufacture to ensure that I get high grade oils, high grade leaves and that I’m not you know, basically getting mold and fungi, etc. So ultimately I think that the benefits outweigh the risks in most cases but most of what I’ve just gotten and talked about is a little bit of a moot point because, if you’re looking at this for medicinal purposes, if you’re looking for a lot of everything from like the creative enhancing properties of weed to the sleep enhancing properties of it, etc. – I say just go straight to CBD, go straight to cannabidiol and that’s where I use the – just like a CBD capsule. And sure, I have an entire article – I won’t even get into it ‘cause it take me an hour to get into all the different considerations, but I have an article about the effects of weed on exercise.
Brock: It’s a hell of an article, folks!
Ben: And there are some cases like a hard core trail run, very difficult workout, etc. where THC can come in handy and you know, dissolving something like a THC edible oil sublingually can assist with the workout you know, 5 to 10g – you know, 30 to 60 minutes prior, but of course there are other considerations like World Anti-Doping Association and you know, other, other issues you know this is stuff that you don’t want in your bloodstream whereas cannabidiol is a completely different molecular derivatives – it is not illegal, it is not banned by any of these, these sporting federations.
And so you know, ultimately I’m just a bigger fan of CBD than I’m of THC, but that’s kind of the issue with it potentially being toxic to the liver and the brain cells especially as higher THC compounds. As far as the calamus root powder, I’m gonna be straight forward with you: I have no clue. I do know that CBD will neutralize some of the toxic effects of THC, like taking CBD along with THC and you can do that, you can take a few capsules of CBD when you’re using THC and it will compete for some of the receptors and antagonize some of the psychoactive you know, schizophrenic, potential liver or neuro-damaging effects of THC but I don’t know that much about calamus root powder, I’ll be totally straight forward. So that’s the deal – I have now exhausted my entire knowledge based on marijuana on a single podcast.
Richard: Hi Ben! This is Richard. I have a question for you. I’m a MMA boxing coach here in Charleston, South Carolina with a Charleston Fit in MMA, and I was wondering if you thought that fight sports were endurance events you know, the boxing can go up to 3, 12 minute-rounds and MMAs can go for 5-minute rounds (clears throat) and that’s no way near an Ironman, but training can be long grinding days and it’s different because you have to take punches and you know, you have to absorb punishment and there’s the emotional aspect of fighting that comes into play as well. So I was wondering what you thought was the best way to train my fighters? Do I – can I train them or do you recommend that I train them in the same way that you would train for triathlon? Or do you think something else would be better? Or what would you recommend in general? You know, I need that long grinding ability to work every day because they need to come in and drill. Repetition is such a big part of achieving proficiency that they need to be able to keep focus and make those hours of training everyday efficient and allow them to learn something instead of just going through the motions. And at the same time I need them to be explosive in the ring when they have to fight and when it comes up for it, so – and also at the same time I need them to be durable and as Napoleon said “Fatigue makes cowards of all men.” So anyway, just wanted to know what you’re thoughts were on this and thank you very much.
Ben: Well I can tell you when I fight, it’s an endurance event – basically involves knee turning and running…
Ben: …until the person who’s trying to fight me gets tired (chuckles).
Brock: I thought you’re gonna say something about wrestling bears in your backyards…
Ben: Or it takes five or ten miles, I just basically turn and run. I’m pacifist. No, I completely agree that MMA style training and boxing can you know, take a lot of endurance. It can require a lot of endurance you know, long grinding days, taking punches, controlling your emotions – everything Richard refers to and you know, my whole experience with boxing and MMA, I’ll come right and tell you – I haven’t done a lot of rolling, I haven’t done a lot of jiu jitsu, I haven’t spent much time at all in the cage wearing my shorty-shorts and bouncing around. I was part of the boxing club for two years so I used to wake up…
Ben: …at 4a.m., hit the bags and train for boxing – that was back in college, right? And I took aikido for couple of years as a kid.
Brock: I took aikido in college too but we didn’t actually engage each other in any sort of combat – it was very controlled movement.
Ben: Yeah, but at the same time, I have done MMA style fitness programs in particular using two different sources that I think are fan-freaking-tastic when it comes to training for MMA fitness – they’re the books by Martin Rooney. And Martin Rooney, he’s brand is called ‘Warrior’, so he has books like “Ultimate Warrior Workouts” and “Cardio Workouts for Warriors” and these books are not only are they really fun to read because he’s got wonderful photos and workout and diet plans and everything in them. But you know, for example in his “Ultimate Warrior Workouts” book, he literally travels around the world taking photos and getting the fitness training regimens of the world’s best fighters in like jiu jitsu and karate and muay thai and sambo and judo and everything else. And it – you know, his books are just jam packed with some really, really good workouts and so you know, I own both “Ultimate Warrior Workouts” and also his Warrior cardio book which is a little bit more kinda MetCon-based and considered to be a little bit more for like burning fat, getting lean, etc.
But I would, I would…
Brock: That’s metabolic conditioning for you folks out there wondering what MetCon is.
Ben: Yeah, I would highly recommend his books as a resource. Now, as far as actually training fighters using that type of approach, they are a few considerations: one would be the time of training year, right? So as with any training program whether you are a triathlete or a football player or an MMA fighter, you wanna periodize your training. So let’s tale for example you know, again these Martin Rooney books you know were one the “Ultimate Warrior Workouts” and I’ll link to both of these if you want to check them out over on the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/325. One, the ultimate warrior book that’s more strength training based you know, you’re doing 6, 8, 10 reps – you’re doing a lot of plyometrics, you’re doing a lot of power, explosive speed-style training – it’s more of a type of workout that you would do during the “in” season right? Like during the fighting season not during the “off” season whereas if you were trying to develop a cardio-vascular base or if you were needing to say you know, shed fat leading up to a season of fighting, that’s where you would use something like the warrior cardio book – a more cardio-vascular style training, longer amounts of time on the treadmill, on the bike, in the pool, etc. So the time of training here is one thing that you gotta bear in mind. Another is your body type, right? So I would completely expect that a fighter who is more like mesomorphic and naturally muscular or naturally filled out or with a naturally high fats which muscle fiber that – or even let’s say someone who’s done DNA testing, right? Which reveals whether you are a power responder or an endurance responder; reveals your slow twitch versus fast twitch muscle fiber capacity, etc. that’s going to influence the type of training that you’ll respond to best. You know even myself, you know I am a power responder – meaning that I’ve done salivary testing via DNA fit and via 23andMe and I know that based on my fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fiber capacity and the specific genetic markers that I have in terms of mitochondrial density that my body responds best to power, to high intensity interval training and to short explosive efforts even for building endurance, you know – and some people would be the complete opposites so that’s going to influence the type of training that you as well. If you’re an endurance responder, yeah, you’re gonna spend a lot more time if you want to build endurance most effectively for you doing, say like, roadwork like what would be considered like the linear pace or the maffetone pace or an aerobic pace. If you’re a power type of athlete, you’re probably doing more like 30, 45, 60 second you know, hill sprints on a treadmill – those type of things. So your body type and your genetics are going to influence your fitness choice as well and just leave a date and age we can test that kind of stuff. The other thing to bear in mind and this is something I’m very conscious about in my daily activities, right? Like right now, I am standing as we’re podcasting on a mat, and the mat was designed as called the Kaibin – I think, do we have the interview with the designer of this mat inside our premium channel, Brock?
Brock: No, not yet.
Brock: It is – it’s already to go, it’s just hasn’t released.
Ben: I think we’re waiting for them to come to the U.S. first, ‘cause either if you’re listening from Switzerland and their shipping was just ungodly like (murmurs)…
Brock: Yeah, I think some time in a next couple of weeks though…
Ben: Yeah, so they develop shoes and mats, etc. that are modeled after like the rice paddy fields in Korea, and so the entire time that I’m standing during the day at my work station which is typically three to four hours in a day that I’m standing on this mat, my feet are constantly shifting and I’m balancing and I’m moving and then for another couple of hours while I’m doing phone calls, consults, some of my writing, etc. I’ll be walking on the treadmill, I’ll be going out to my pool a few times a day and just jumping in and doing a few hypoxic sets of cold water swimming, and I’ll be walking under the pull-up bar and throwing pull-up right in there but that is – that stuff adds up in terms of building your low level endurance throughout the day, your mitochondrial density, the ability of a lot of your smaller feet and core and hip muscles to be able withst… to withstand long periods of time under stress like this whole concept of greasing the groove is something that I think not a lot enough athlete – especially athletes who have to go through a long grinding day taking to accounts. So, if you can hack your environments to turn your day to day activity into an endurance event and then throw the high intensity workouts, the MMA training, etc. into your routine as kinda like the icing on the cake on top of this low level endurance that you’re building throughout the day – it is a really good strategy…
Brock: I hate turning your day into an MMA match make, yeah, a dangerous idea…
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Brock: That’s what I thought you’re going with this.
Brock: Just antagonize everybody around you, so they’re constantly bumping you and attacking you, dodging…
Ben: Exactly. No, but that’s what I would do. Now as far as training the same way I would train for triathlon; training a fighter the same way I train for triathlon? I would be careful with that, right? Because what you don’t want to do – you know for example, I used to be able to dunk a basketball with no problems at all, I mean, I’m 6’2 you know athletic, I have hops like I mentioned a power responder but my ability to dunk once I started doing the running in Ironman training because I experienced fast twitch to slow twitch muscle fiber conversion, disappeared, right? Like my ability to produce high, high amounts of speed and power – so in my opinion for something like fighting, what you wanna do is ensure that you’re not engaged in consistent and excessive chronic repetitive motion because you don’t want to get excessive conversion of fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fiber. And that’s why I mentioned you know, someone who naturally has a high amount of fast twitch like amnesia morphic body type, they can handle more of the cardio and aerobic work and more like this cardio workout for warriors type of book and “roadwork” without producing a lot of damage when it comes to losing fast twitch muscle, whereas like the more active morphic or nasal active morphic fighter you know, someone who’s naturally skinny, lean, thin wrists, smaller, hard-gainer, however you wanted to describe it – you know, you are going to have a hard enough time putting on fast twitch muscle and producing power to where you wouldn’t wanna do as much on endurance work or as much as like say like traditional triathlon training style of work. So ultimately, I just spent the past like ten minutes saying “it depends”…
Ben: But it does. I’ll put a link to those books though because I do real… I you know, I know that there are other folks who write MMA training books other than Martin Rooney, but I do like Martin Rooney’s stuff just because it’s easy to get to read of big beautiful books that are fun to read and that’s a really good place to start as well, so check those out and also listen to the past episodes that we’ve done with some guys in MMA like Mike Tullius for example…
Brock: Oh, yeah.
Ben: We have a one episode on him as far as like you know, head damage and things of that nature and so we do have some episodes with MMA fighters that we’ve done over at bengreenfieldfitness.com if you wanna take a listen and go check, check, check it out.
Rob: Ben and Brock, I’ve been listening to you for years. So thank you very much for the studying and the education that you’ve been offering – I really appreciate it. My name is Rob, I’m calling from Minnesota today or not really calling more like clicking from Minnesota today. Sitting down for a little late snack here after workout and I’m looking at my sea salt that I’m sprinkling over some corn-on-the-cob and it says it doesn’t supply iodine which is a necessary nutrient. And I’m sure you guys have heard about the ups and downs of salts and sea salts and everything else when it comes to salt. My main question here is: do I need to take a certain amount of iodine daily? And if I do, where do I get it from if I don’t get it from my sea salt? So I guess that’s two questions. Thanks guys, I appreciate it. I look forward to the answer. Cheers!
Brock: You’re in both Rob’s corn-on-the-cob…
Brock: …special workout made me really wanna have some…
Ben: My mouth is watering. Yeah.
Brock: You think butter next to it with some like garlic mixed it?
Ben: Actually what I like to do with corn-on-the-cobs I do, I do salt like a good sea salt, like a good core sea salt but then I’ll do cayenne pepper…
Ben: and olive oil.
Brock: Mmm, oh!
Ben: Some really good extra virgin olive oil – that’s how I like my corn. That’s how I like my corn and of course I like it non-GMO, of course.
Brock: (chuckles) That’s hard to find in America.
Ben: It is, yeah. Non-GMO corn with olive oil, salt and cayenne pepper – yes, please. And true it well, so you don’t get corn in your crop, it’s also corn.
Brock: Who cares?
Ben: Anyways though, sea salt and iodine. Yes, sea salt doesn’t have a ton iodine so it retains like any, any sea salt like I use this fancy Aztec salt stuff – it’s like you know, whatever – sustainably harvested off the Mexican coast that you pay out the butt for ‘cause it’s tasty but it’s – I will admit, it is expensive salt.
And it does have – it retains its natural iodine in a form of little microscopic sea lives, but when you look at the actual iodine requirements for the human body you know, and you look at sea salt or some of the this fancy like Himalayan salts, they contain a lot of trace minerals but they don’t have a lot of the iodine in them or at least enough iodine for you to reply upon them as your sole source of iodine. Now…
Brock: So did you see the Science Babe just put a thing on Facebook kind like the day before yesterday or something. The words, just the big picture of salt in there and it was just like salt is – salt people get over at it or something like that.
Brock: Basically just talking about how the amount of minerals that can actually be found in any type of salt is so negligible that it really does make a difference between table salt and Aztec sea salt or whatever else you’re paying for Himalayan big salt.
Ben: Well for just looking at iodine, that is true. But I mean, look at table salt, right? Like look at your average sodium chloride table salt – it’s stripped of its natural iodine and magnesium and most of the other trace minerals during its refining process – it’s just what happens. And so they add iodine back to it, they add what’s called the potassium iodine back to table salt in an attempt to replace some of the natural iodine that gets completely destroyed during the refining process. And potassium iodine is actually why table salt – once you’ve kinda wind yourself off it, taste almost like chemically. And the problem is that once you’ve added potassium iodine back in, they gotta add a bunch of anticaking agents a.k.a. aluminum to keep the salt dry and those cause the salt to have a little bit of a metallic taste and ultimately you know I’ve talked about this in – about it before on bengreenfieldfitness.com but table salt is not the best thing on the face of the planet to be eaten. So ultimately though, when it comes to iodine yeah, whether you get into fancy salt or whether you getting the cheap-o-salt, you’re not gonna be getting enough iodine. So the question is: should you be supplementing with iodine? Well, first of all, iodine is – it is important. You wanna make sure that you get it – it’s involved in for example, thyroid hormone production. So it’s a key component to hormones that are made in the thyroid gland and you know, I’ll get into the issues with iodine and thyroid in a moment because some people are under the impression that if you have a thyroid issue, you should be completely avoiding iodine but that’s not necessarily the case and I’ll explain why in a moment. But ultimately, iodine is very, very important for the thyroid, it’s important as a mineral for several other enzymatic reactions in the body kinda similar to magnesium, but the role of iodine in thyroid gland health is especially crucial. Now when we look at iodine, you’ll get – some people saying that iodine supplementation aggravates what’s called autoimmune thyroiditis which is also known as Hashimoto’s and you’ll find a lot of folks you know, you – I’ve seen Chris Kresser talk about this, I’ve seen Dr. Datis Kharrazian talk about this, you know, both folks who have quite a few writings that I would agree with on the internet about iodine – you’ve seen them kind of like oppose iodine as potentially being like gasoline on a fire for people who have hypothyroidism or for people who have something like Hashimoto’s. Well, the issue is that you always have to consider iodine in the presence of selenium. Okay, you always have to consider iodine in the presence of selenium. So, the reason for that is that when you look at any of the studies that have been done on the ability of excess iodine or iodine supplementation to shut down what’s called thyroid peroxidase enzyme or to deleteriously affect thyroid. They have been shown to create that type of iodine toxicity or thyroid damage in cells or in study subjects who had selenium insufficiencies, who had selenium deficiencies. And when you look at everything from mice to humans who were given iodine but who are given iodine in the presence of adequate selenium – the issues with excess iodine intake aggravating thyroiditis or aggravating autoimmune issues like Hashimoto’s – it disappears if selenium is actually present in adequate amounts. Now interestingly, there are few studies that show if you’re taking excess selenium, right? If you’re taking too much selenium, too many selenium supplements say like eating handful of Brazil nuts every day, iodine can also create a toxicity issue or aggravate thyroiditis in that case as well.
So ultimately what we’re talking about is taking smart amounts of selenium if you are going to supplement with iodine and when you combine healthy selenium intakes with healthy iodine intakes. It is actually one of the best things that you can do for your – for your thyroid and for your thyroid health. So selenium deficiency can cause an intolerance to high iodine – that’s one of the things that almost all the literature in the studies that have been done on iodine shows. Now, here are few other things that you need to consider about iodine, let’s say that you’re getting enough selenium in your diet, you’re using Brazil nuts and pumpkin seeds and maybe taking a multi-vitamin that has selenium in it, and so you’re okay with using iodine. The problem is that one of the number one sources of iodine that you see people recommend is seaweed and sea vegetables. And there are many, many studies that have shown that when you consume seaweed and sea vegetables and you rely upon those as your primary source of iodine, you are at the same time taking in a bromine, arsenic, mercury and even radioactive iodine from things like you know, the Fukushima disaster and other areas where iodine has become irradiated. And so, there is an issue with relying upon sea vegetables that are just harvested from your average sea vegetable source as your primary source of iodine, and iodine intake via seaweed is basically something that’s been shown in literature to accompanied by thyrotoxic metals and what are called halides both of which can damage thyroid tissue. So, if you have a thyroid issue and I would say anybody should consider this but especially if you have a thyroid issue and you’re trying to get adequate amounts of iodine and adequate amounts of selenium which is indeed important for good thyroid health especially if you have hypothyroidism – you should not be relying upon sea vegetables as your primary source of iodine, okay? So those are two things to consider: first of all, if you’re gonna use iodine, you have to have enough selenium, and also if you are going to supplement with iodine, you don’t want to get it all from sea vegetables even though they can be a decent source of iodine. So what are some non-sea vegetable sources of iodine?
Ben: You’ll find iodine in decent amounts. So if you look at sea vegetables, just a tablespoon of sea vegetables has 715 micrograms of iodine. Okay that’s over like five…
Brock: That’s a lot!
Ben: 500% of the daily recommended intake for iodine…
Ben: I mean like the daily recommended value for iodine. And so it’s an excellent source of iodine but ultimately, it’s not…
Brock: It’s an excellent source of other terrible things.
Ben: Yeah, I mean you wanna look for like organic sea vegetables – there are some out there like I’m a fan of Thrive Market – I’ve got some articles on Ben Greenfield Fitness about Thrive Market. They’re a good place to get like good, high quality sea vegetables. Scallops are decent source of iodine and cod also, about 135 micrograms of close to a 100% of the daily recommended intake values for iodine in scallops and in cod. Yogurt is not a bad source of iodine, shrimp is also pretty decent; milk and dairy products – you can get decent amount of iodine in and then eggs, also. So – but when you look at eggs, eggs have about 15 micrograms, right? And I’m sorry, eggs have about 3 micrograms but again, like I mentioned, sea vegetables weigh up around 750. I personally use the multi-vitamin made by Thorne and that has 75 micrograms in my three morning capsules and another 75 in my three evening capsules. And that’s actually balanced out with a 100 micrograms of selenium and that’s in its very absorbable form called selenium methionine in the morning dose and also a 100 in the evening dose. So by the end of the day, I personally get a 150 micrograms of iodine and 200 micrograms of selenium, which is a very good ratio and for me that is you know, along with my normal daily diet – some of the Brazil nuts that I eat, some of dairy that I take in, etc., the organic sea vegetables that I’m eating – that’s enough in terms of iodine supplementation, I don’t have to worry that for example my salt doesn’t have enough iodine.
So ultimately, you can find vitamins that have iodine and selenium in adequate ratios – that one’s called the Multivitamin Elite it’s made by Thorne. So…
Brock: So you don’t consider – what would I call the… oysters to be a good source of iodine?
Brock: Dr. Jack Kruse. Dr. Jack Kruse talked about that, didn’t he?
Ben: I do not believe that oysters are a significant source of iodine but I could be – I could be wrong – I mean, I know a lot of seafood has iodine in it like scallops and cod, salmon is decent, I know sardines have some and tuna has some – I’m not sure about the iodine content of oysters though. I know that oysters are good for you know things like DHA and some of the other minerals but I suppose you could use Dr. Google and find that out.
Brock: That’s what I’m doing right now.
Ben: Oh, nice!
Brock: Yeah. No, it’s not on the…
Brock: it’s not on the list of WH Foods.
Ben: Yeah, I haven’t really heard of oysters having an extremely significant amounts of iodine compared to some of those other marine sources that I’ve mentioned, but I would imagine that they have some in there but I’m not exactly sure how much.
Brock: Now I might have to go back and find out what Dr. Kruse was talking about when he said that oysters were the greatest there.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I know. You know, some shellfish are gonna have iodine in them, but ultimately it’s not gonna come close to what you’ll find in sea vegetables, and you know, I think that if you are just taking a good multivitamin with a balanced amount slightly more selenium than iodine is what you want like I mentioned, I get about 200 micrograms of selenium in about a 150 micrograms of iodine for my multivitamin source – you should be okay…
Brock: You know what probably why? ‘Cause I think it was zinc.
Brock: It was zinc in selenium.
Ben: That’s right, yeah. So there you go. Thank you, Google. So yeah, ultimately, yeah, salt is not gonna have a ton of iodine in it and you’re gonna want other iodine sources and especially if you have hypothyroid, you wanna make sure that you balance out that iodine with adequate selenium and you wanna make sure that you’re not relying upon a nasty sea vegetables that aren’t organic, sustainably harvested, etc. as your primary source of iodine. So, there you go. Now you know how to have your duby and your iodine.
Erica: Hey Ben, I have a question for you. When my schedule allows, I generally wake at 7:00, have a green smoothie at about 9:00 and workout at about 10:30. Do you think it would benefit me to switch the order of the food and the exercise, so I’m working out fasted and fueling up afterwards? Love to know your thoughts, thanks!
Brock: Now, personally, I do reverse my morning from what Erica said. I usually get up and I do my workouts and then I waited until I’m actually hungry like stomach growling-hungry and then I’ll eat breakfast.
Ben: Yeah. The way that I do things is – I do all of my easier workouts typically in the morning and that’s just because your parasympathetic, your rest and digest nervous system is prime for morning activity and your body temperature and your reaction time and your post-workout protein synthesis and all these other variables including based on recent research, even the ability of exercise to help you with sleep – all of that peaks at some point between about 4 and 6 p.m. in the afternoon/early evening. And when you combine that with the fact that I eat the majority of my carbohydrates with dinner, and I want to be as insulin sensitive as possible when that occurs, the afternoon/early evening just turns out to be a very, very good time of the day for me to do my hard workouts whereas the morning is the best time of the day to do like the easy, fasted, fat-burning type of workouts. The only caveat to that is that I’m kind of dug into this hole painted into this corner where like a lot of Spartan races and triathlons and a lot of these competitions I’m doing, they’ll start at like 7 or 8 o’clock in the morning, right? So…
Brock: I feel lucky.
Brock: I feel like six.
Ben: So I will, I will go out of my way about once a week to just remind my body how to do a hard workout in the morning and I will do a hard morning workout – not because it’s natural but just because that’s what I’m gonna move my body’s gonna have to do, and a lot of times I’ll do that a couple of times during like a race week where I really want my body just be ready for hard core, stressful sympathetic nervous system type of stuff in the morning. But more often than not, it’s simply an easy 20 to 30 minute fasted yoga or easy walk or kinda like low intensity cold water swim – those type of things, before breakfast in a fasted state. Now the reason for that is because of some of the researches out there about the benefits of fasted training. So for example, there’s one study that took a bunch of lean, active twenty-something-year-old men and they put them into three groups. They had rough fasted training group, they had a fed training group and then they had a non-training, controlled group.
And what they had the fed and the fasted groups do was eat the same meals made up of the same foods but at a different times relative to their workouts. So they both train in the morning – it was kind of a mix of a bunch of endurance type of training, and they actually were kind of difficult training sessions – not weight lifting but like harder endurance type of sessions. And when they looked at the performance of those groups during the actual training sessions, the fasted group performed much better in the actual workout itself but over the course of the study, they also gained the least weight and the least amount of body fat and experienced a significant increase in glucose tolerance and in insulin sensitivity. So from a metabolic standpoint, doing the fasted workouts beat doing the fed workouts for morning workouts when it came to like insulin and glucose control. Now another thing that you can look at is a factor involved in muscle protein synthesis or the ability of you to be able to like repair and recover after a workout. And they did this study where they again looked in the fasted endurance style training in the morning, and they had one group that got like this carb-rich breakfast and carb-rich drinks through an endurance training session that took place in the morning and then they had the fasted group that only got water. And in this case, they had them train three times a week for two hours in the morning, so that’s a long, long fasted morning workout.
Ben: And they found that the fasted group experienced what’s called a higher amount of dephosphorylation. And dephosphorylation indicates that it’s basically good for muscle maintenance, it indicates that you’re ability to synthesis proteins to be used for muscle repair and recovery is enhanced. This is based – this is what’s something like there’s this diet that are called the warrior diet – this is what that’s based on that somehow when you do somebody’s fasted workouts even if they’re long and voluminous and difficult in the morning that you can – you somehow send your body this message that it is better able to – you send your body a message that allows it to be better able to engage in post-workout protein synthesis to be able to repair the body a bit more quickly. Maybe you know, like an evolutionarily favorable mechanism – I don’t know exactly why but ultimately, it looks like from a metabolic performance as well as a post-workout protein synthesis standpoint, doing this fasted workouts in the morning is going to be more favorable than doing it like in the – in the mid-morning you know, for – you know like after breakfast. Now the only exception to this rule would be, and this is something I think I’ve talked about before in the podcast – if you’re in a state of adrenal fatigue, right? Like if you’ve done like a salivary adrenal index and you have difficulty with producing cortisol in the morning – that’s one of the primary characteristics of adrenal fatigue is when you wake up in the morning and you have a very low morning cortisol. Well, low morning cortisol is something that is going to actually be deleteriously affected by doing hard, fasted morning workouts versus doing getting like a little bit of yoga, a little bit of sunshine and then, eating breakfast. And so for people with adrenal fatigue, I’d really don’t recommend fasted morning workouts especially fasted hard or voluminous morning workouts. For the average person though, a fasted workout that is of low to moderate intensity is definitely going to enhance your cardio-metabolic health, enhance your post workout protein synthesis and it’s something that I am – based on the research that’s been done on fed versus fasted morning workouts, I’m a bigger fan of the fasted. And Brock has nothing to say about that.
Brock: Oh, I thought you’re – I thought the Skype broke. (laughs)
Ben: (chuckles) Nope that was just me waiting for your feedback, Brock. But…
Brock: I – I agree obviously, ‘cause that’s what I do.
Ben: Usually you have some kind of a stupid question after I finish talking but I guess that’s…
Brock: Why? You just answered that so damn thoroughly then what am I supposed to say other than…
Ben: That’s right.
Ben: That’s right. Yeah. And I know that the reason that we’re recording early today is because you have a doctor’s appointment to get off to.
Brock: I do.
Ben: Are you okay?
Brock: A physiotherapy appointment.
Ben: Oh, physiotherapy. Yes.
Brock: Yeah. That’s…
Ben: So that’s basically you telling me that you made me get my ass up this early to do a podcast because you have to go get a massage.
Brock: Well, acupuncture – little bit of active radiance and some acupuncture.
Ben: Well that sounds nice.
Brock: My neck is totally messed and it’s not nice – it’s really, it’s quite painful.
Ben: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
Brock: But at least I’ll be able to turn my head to the left again. After I went last week I was like “Hey, I can shoulder check on my bike again! Yey!”
Ben: Are you just finding a way to get to your doctor’s appointment that involves only right turns on the road?
Brock: (chuckles) Yes, I just put my head down and ring the bell incessantly.
Brock: “Out of the way!”
Ben: It’s like the…
Brock: (mimics bell sound)
Ben: It’s like when the UPS plans out their deliveries, they avoid I believe as many left turns as possible because they spend more time in traffic when you’re just taking left turns – that’s actually I do myself when I’m running errands – I ensure that the majority of my errands involve a right turns versus left turns because left turns used spend more time in traffic based in the U.S. and in the most countries where you drive on the right side of the road. And you can get things done faster when you do right turns versus left turns.
Brock: There you go.
Ben: So there you have it. You’re going to be incredibly efficient if you can’t look to the left.
Ben: And we do have a review today. If you like this podcast and you wanna spread the good karma; we’ll put a link to where you can go to leave iTunes review over on the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/325. But if you leave a review and you hear us read your review on the show, and you write to [email protected] – I know this is incredibly complex, but it’s really not – you write to [email protected]. Let us know your address and your t-shirt size and we’ll get a handy-dandy Ben Greenfield Fitness gear pack off to you, and before we read this review though, before you read this review, one quick note, Brock. We have a podcast coming out this weekend, it’s an hour and a half long, I recorded it yesterday. – an hour and a half long, an interview with a – me interviewing a vegan, plant-based eater. If you’re already who want to get into the whole paleo-vegan debate, it’s a good one to listen to, I think.
Brock: It is, it is! I think the most interesting part of the whole show was that Dr. Richard Akin is a fan of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: Yeah. So we do have a really good interview coming up this weekend and so stay tuned for that. But in the meantime, listener TheLifeofSymmetry left a…
Brock: The life of symmetry!
Ben: …5-star review on iTunes called “This podcast will make you poop” – what you think, Brock? Wanna take it away?
Brock: It always makes me poop.
Ben: Mmm. Eventually, I do poop at some point after as soon as possible.
Brock: Ah, it goes like this: “Before Ben, my athletic life was bland. Now I’m pooping better, sleeping better, performing better and well – I’m just all around better! You could say Ben’s podcast (chuckles)… you can say Ben’s podcast is a laxative, sleep aid, exercise machine, nutrition guide and all things related. He dares to go where no other athletes coach are a human dare to go by experimenting on himself and going against the grain in all areas of nutrition and performance. After discovering Ben’s podcast, I downloaded every episode and binge listens to them like a teenager” (laughs)… I didn’t read this before we started. Okay “…teenager who first did discovered porn” – nice, I hope he’s wrist is okay. “If you are interested in losing weight, improving your sleep, athletic performance and getting your body under control – listen to this podcast, sign up for the newsletter and start experimenting with yourself” – that goes well with the porn comment. “…why let your teammates and competitors have the competitive edge? You owe it to your body.”
Brock: There you go.
Brock: “Like a teenager who first discovered porn.”
Ben: Yeah, there’s some good takeaways there: Ben’s podcast is a laxative, listening like a teenager who first discovered porn and started experimenting with themselves.
Ben: Well, LifeOfSymmetry, I’m glad we can make your life on the internet that much better and thank you for the review! Write to [email protected] and we’ll give a nice gear pack at ya.
Brock: It sounds like you’re getting robbed or something.
Ben: Mmm. I’m watching my sister-in-law’s dog right now this – well, let me be straight forward, I have goats, I have chickens, I have a – these ______ [1:14:38.7] back, I’ve got a dragon lizard – all sorts of amazing pets, but my sister-in-law’s tiny wiener dog is something that I’ve vehemently detest, and I don’t mind saying that on the podcast because she doesn’t listen in. But every time that she drops this tiny little wiener dog off for us to watch, I want to eat it, so…
Brock: I hear they’re quite delicious.
Brock: Barbecued, little mustard…
Ben: Barbequed, a nice little gluten-free hotdog buns and ketchup – that dog is freaking going down as soon as we finish recording. That’s breakfast.
Brock: Awesome. Have a great barbecue.
Ben: Alright, later!
Brock: (chuckles) We’ll see you next week!
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
July 22, 2015 Podcast: Can Marijuana Damage Your Brain and Liver, The Best Way To Train For MMA Fitness, Should You Avoid Iodine, and Benefits Of Fasted Workouts.
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.
- I totally disagree with the results of this “ice baths don’t work” study.
- Very interesting take on whether antioxidants really “blunt the training response”.
- Well…no surprise after I predicted this in my last article on CBD.
This podcast is also brought to you by Harry’s. Get an incredibly luxurious shaving kit at drugstore prices now when you use the code BEN at Harrys.com.
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.
The BenGreenfieldFitness Quarterly box has officially launched! When you sign-up, you’ll get a Quarterly handpicked box jam-packed with Ben’s favorite fitness gear, supplements, nutrients and research-proven biohacks.
Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.
Can Marijuana Damage Your Brain and Liver?
Mr. Mary Jane says: Ben, you’ve been talking about marijuana a lot lately and he was reading a book on ayurvedic medicine which mentioned how marijuana “is toxic to the liver and brain cells, however if one smokes a pinch of calamus root powder with marijuana this herb with neutralize the toxic effects of the drug”. What do you think? Does this have any merit?
The Best Way To Train For MMA Fitness
Richard says: He is a boxing and MMA coach, and is wondering if you consider fight sports to be endurance events. Both only go for a few minutes (no where near an Ironman) but training can be long grinding days, plus you also have to take punches and control your emotions. What do you think is the best way to train fighters? The same way you would train for triathlon? They need long grinding workouts with repetition but they also need the explosive power.
In my response, I recommend:
–Martin Rooney’s Workout Books
Should You Avoid Iodine?
Rob says: He’s just sitting down to eat some post workout corn-on-the-cob and noticed that his sea salt does not contain iodine. This made him wonder how much iodine a person actually needs on a daily basis, why, and where are the best places to get iodine… since it’s not in his sea salt.
Benefits Of Fasted Workouts
Erica says: In the morning she usually wakes up at 7:00, has a green smoothie at 9:00 and works out at 10:30. Do you think it would benefit her to switch the order of the workout and the smoothie so she is working out fasted and fueling afterwards? What would be the benefit or drawback?