November 9, 2017
Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.
Kasper van der Meulen is an author and lifestyle adventurer. He went from being overweight, burnt out and unhappy, to developing what he calls “superhuman focus, fitness and personal freedom”. The guy is actually pretty dang interesting…
…for example, he put himself through numerous experiments and challenges, optimized his lifestyle, conquered the cold, ran ultramarathons on his bare feet, tested countless diets, read a ton of scientific literature and explored as many esoteric practices he could find. With over ten thousand hours of experience in teaching science, self-mastery and innovation, he decided to demystify and methodize these principles in a fun and bite-sized manner.
As a final test of his focus, he wrote his new book within 30 days, so that he would have to practice everything he preaches. Surprisingly, the book “MindLift – Mental Fitness for the Modern Mind” became an Amazon bestseller. Kasper now travels the world on a mission to teach others to be the healthiest, happiest and strongest version of themselves through transformative experiences and down-to-earth scientific understanding. He is the head-teacher of the Wim Hof Academy, he runs experiential retreats in extreme nature and he trains elite performers and professional athletes. All while keeping a playful and creative approach to self-optimization.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-A hack for the nervous system to modulate between sympathetic and parasympathetic states…[59:30]
-Organifi – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/Organifi and use discount code REDBEN for 20% off your Red Juice order, or discount code BEN for 20% anything else!
-Four Sigmatic – Go to FourSigmatic.com/Greenfield and use code BENGREENFIELD for 15% off.
-Human Charger – Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/humancharger and use the code BEN20 for 20% off.
-HealthGains – Text the word “GAIN” to 313131 to receive a $250 voucher toward your HealthGAINS treatment.
Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Kasper or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!
13 thoughts on “Cracking The Code Of Wim Hof Breathing, Writing A Bestseller In 30 Days, Barefoot Ultrarunning & More With Kasper van der Meulen”
This was a great podcast!
One takeaway I’ve been doing since this is listening to epic Gaming music!
Love your podcast with Ben. I am a marathon runner and triathlete, and I am very interested in the breathing technique you mentioned in the show. Can you provide a more detailed breathing training for endurance athelete?
I can but it would be waaayyy too long to post here. In short, like I said on the comment below: learn to breathe as sloooowwlllyyyy as possible and through your nose while you run. When you encounter a hill or other obstacle, breathe ahead of demand. So at the bottom of the hill start breathing as fast as you know you’re going to need at the top of the hill. Breathe for the state you want!
Hi Kasper. Great podcast. Thank you. You’re jammed pack with tactical advice! Please can you say a little more about your jet lag protocol. Did you mention that you fast, listen to audiobooks and focus on your breath for 12 hours?! How does this work? Do you try to sleep at all? Do you take anything? It takes me days to recover from jet lag and I’d love to try out some of your hacks. Thank you again. Best, Abi
This all depends on the time of day that I’m flying. For any flight I always fast the duration of the flight also I mentally go into what I call “hibernation mode”. I move slowly, cut down on thoughts and try to mentally pop out of the matrix and just “exist” on energy saving mode.
Night flights: I meditate for an hour on being in the new timezone. Then I take melatonin (or Bulletproof sleep mode) and try to sleep. If I can’t sleep I pretend to sleep. Fake it until you make it :)
Day flights: since I’m adding many hours to my day, I want to make sure those days don’t impact my energy too much. 12 hours of watching movies and eating airplane food keeps people calm during the flight, but destroys the ability to feel good afterwards. So I take out my contacts, wear my noise blockers, close my eyes, slow down my (nose) breath and listen to some podcasts and audiobooks and spend the rest of the time meditating and contemplating.
– Shades for over my eyes
– 30 decibel noise reduction earphones (I don’t like plugs)
– Good fat source or ambronite shake for emergency hunger (sometimes I don’t make the whole fast, don’t be too strict)
– Bulletproof sleep mode
– Lots of podcasts but ones that are more conversational than information heavy
– 2 big bottles of water to finish on the flight, next to the drinks that I’m being served (always also water)
Hope that helps!
Hi Kasper, I enjoyed your podcast with Ben, especially your details about the application of various breathing methods to ultra running which is my sport.
Currently I’m doing the new Wim Hof Method video course.
A question for you:
You mentioned using long, slow nose breathing during ultra running, focussing on the exhale.
In the ‘Endurance section of the WHM Course, Wim talks about the conscious control of breathing during 10k’s and marathons and specifically mentions “breathing ahead of demand” in these races – like over-breathing whilst running.
Do you thing that this might be useful during, for example, a walk break in a long ultra to ‘recharge’ the mind and body?
Then the long, slow breathing could be resumed whilst running?
Thanks for your time,
Hi William, yes that’s pretty much exactly how I use it. Slow and calm nose breathing for the most part. But every few miles “recharge” with some Wim Hof style breaths. Be careful to not go too fast though, you don’t want to get dizzy and tingly while you’re running.
I loved your conversation on the podcast.
Question about modulating nervous system after intense exercise: I want to adapt it to help me sleep after late night exercise, dancing, and be able to get up rested in the morning early enough for my work.
I’ve been a fairly skilled & intense swing dancer, consistently dancing 2 to 4 nights a week over periods of years since 1963. (I’m 76 this month, and in pretty good condition for my age.)
In addition to the great pleasure I take from a night of dancing, I feel fabulous the next day. FABULOUS!
But I quit again about 2 years ago mostly so I could get to sleep early enough to work the next day. Milieus for my kind of dancing are almost exclusively at night.
I’d love to resume my dancing, because it’s a great passion, if I could find a way to get to sleep within about an hour after, i.e., by 11 or midnight at the latest.
Kasper, you mentioned a breathing technique to modulate the nervous system for athletes after certain exercises. Maybe I can adapt it for my situation.
Can you clarify the breathing technique I heard you partially explain for after-exercise nervous system modulation for athletes. (FYI–I’ve been using variations of Wim Hof breathing for several months, and I’m excited about its effects on me.)
If you have a suggestion, I’d like to try it to see if I can get back to dancing
Thanks for the question. The downregulation breathing I use after workouts is:
– Lay down in a safe / soft place
– Breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 4 counts. Repeat 4 times.
– Breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 8 counts. Repeat 4 times.
– Breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 12 counts. Repeat 4 times.
– Breathe in for 4 counts, breathe out for 16 counts. Repeat 4 times.
This way you are slowly and gently stimulating the vagus nerve, and restricting some oxygen so that your nervous system knows it’s time to relax and lower the heart rate.
Hope that helps!
In this interview you mentioned methods you utilized in your teaching that helped students learn easier and more efficiently regarding attention time, etc. Could I contact you directly to learn more about these?
I am an educator myself and I am always looking for ways to improve my craft!
Thanks for sharing your wisdom,
Hi Nate, sure you could contact me personally, but honestly all of my best tips are to be found conveniently structured in mij book :) Also there are a lot of other podcasts where I speak about these topics. I’ve collected them all on my bio page.
Great podcast! For the ladies, since our bodies fluctuate depending on where we’re at in our cycle, I’d add that not only finding what time of day we’re most productive is important; but also finding what day(s) of our cycle we’d be most productive at specific activities. I use a graph notebook that let’s me track two months on one sheet, and very simply have numerous things from physical feats to creative tasks listed. Along the top I track my cycle date (along with other things I’ll spare the men from reading), and then just have checks on what I accomplished and notes on how I felt that day. It helps greatly with planning, and as a clear reminder to honor the wonder that is the female body – working with it instead of against it.
Great comment! And yes completely agree, it is about getting to know yourself and adjusting your lifestyle accordingly :)