Podcast Episode #51: Ben Greenfield & John Gilbert Answer Your Best Burning Questions About Fat Loss, Nutrition & Human Performance.

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Fat Loss, Podcast

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Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode


The story behind the highly unconventional Podcast Episode #51 (NOT podcast episode #52 as I accidentally say in the introduction!):

This week I made a big mistake. I accidentally erased the recorded audio interview on “natural topical anti-inflammatories”. So I put the future of Podcast Episode #51 into the hands of the Ben Greenfield Fitness newsletter subscribers.

Here’s what I asked: write down the one burning question you have about fat loss, nutrition or human performance (try to make it relevant and unique). Then just e-mail it to [email protected] .

The FIRST question I received was promised a brand new midnight black and lime green BenGreenfieldFitness t-shirt. And here was the official FIRST question:


“Hey Ben, I’ve been charting my meals online to monitor calorie intake now that I’m not training for long-distance events, and the most frustrating thing I find is estimating your base metabolism and how many calories you truly should be eating in a day. There is a HUGE amount of variance from site to site, depending on your normal daily activity level and amount of exercise. Is it worth being tested or consulting a “real” nutritionist/dietitian, or is there a reliable do it yourself source for this kind of information? And, relatedly, many of these sites also estimate amount of calories you burn in exercise, which also seems entirely arbitrary and potentially inaccurate, but I know my Polar is “off” too, so I only use it for estimating purposes. This gets frustrating when you’re trying to balance diet and exercise more closely. The bottom line: is good enough really “good enough” for using these systems for weight loss? I’m curious as to your opinion. Thanks for the podcasts and newsletters. They are always a good source of information.”





Congratulations, Nicole! Your BenGreenfieldFitness t-shirt will go out just as soon as you e-mail in your mailing address (by the way, that picture above is a girl getting one of those resting metabolic tests I mention in the answer).

But following Nicole’s question, I was then bombarded with a barrage of questions. So many questions, in fact, that I had to give an emergency call to my colleague  John Gilbert, the metabolism mastermind over at Human Wellness Solutions to help field these questions.

John and I sat down in our Spokane metabolic laboratory to record this podcast and answer your questions, which were all fantastic! We decided to start by awarding the THREE top questions with a free exercise DVD from “100 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism”.

We like this first question because it really strikes at the heart of what alot of people struggle with. Go ahead and send us your mailing address, Buddy!


“How do you stay motivated when you know what to eat, how to lift and the amount of cardio that is necessary to lose weight but you can’t seem to “stick with it”. I have approximately 20 lbs to lose and when I lose 10 lbs I seem to notice that I feel better, my clothes fit better and I receive compliments from friends and family.  Then I fall off the dedication  wagon and quickly put the 10 lbs back on. A month or two of dedication lost in a matter of weeks. I’m trying to understand the psychology side to my self sabotage, any suggestions? I know you’re not a psychologist but any suggestions you have would be helpful.”

Buddy – Going mental in Southern California!



Believe it or not, many people, especially triathletes, really struggle with this next question, which also won a DVD. Mailing address please, Steve!

“About 9 months ago when I got back into a training routine I was able to hit my max HR of ~170 with what seemed to be relatively low exertion. As my fitness improves I find it harder and harder to get my HR up. I used to do long runs @ 150 without a problem, now 143 – 145 is a huge effort. My endurance is greatly improved, and my pace is faster, but a max effort is now required just to reach LT. My LT tests yield lower numbers each time. Doing 100% effort 1 minute sprints or 4 min Tabata sessions won’t even allow me to reach max HR. I do not believe that I am over-trained and I don’t really feel terribly fatigued. What gives?! Is it just me or does this happen to anyone else?”

Thanks – Steve


OK, this next guy gets the last DVD just for going all out and asking a three part question. Now that’s dedication. Send us your mailing address, Thierry…

“Q1:  what is your take on krill oil as a substitute for fish oil supplements? Read that it is more potent and does not give you the fishy burps or side effects.

Q:2 there are a lot of claims being made regarding resveratol in wine and as a supplement. Is it something we should try to fit into my diet?

Q:3. What do you think about taking the daily vitamin supplement 4-6 hrs apart. Currently I break my tablet in two and take one half with breakfast and the other with lunch or a snack.  I read somewhere that the body may not be able to absorb all the good stuff and that it may be excreted if not taken in smaller doses.”

– Thierry


Here are the rest of the questions that John and I address in the podcast…


“How can I add more muscle to my neck?”



“A nutritionist told me that it is best to do your long ride or run (low intensity) on an empty stomach and not eat for at least the first hour as this improves the bodies ability to utilize fats when racing longer distances.  Is this correct and why?”

Cheers – Graeme


“Dear Ben, being a vegetarian can I still do the Shape21 plan?”

Thank you – Heidi


“I’ve always been into “fitness” even as a smoker.  I finally quit 18 months ago and feeling and looking ever so fabulous. Months after quitting, I continued to workout 5-6 days per week,  I didn’t change my diet by consuming more food, yet, the scale showed I was  “gaining weight”. i.e.  115pds before.  Was..137. I’ve only come down to 130 and yes,  I’m having a very difficult time getting back down.  I’m  ONLY 5″2″.    I’m very comfortable at 115 and I don’t want to take any type of drug to burn the fat.”

HELP – anonymous


“Hi Coach! If you had to name 5 supplements that no endurance athlete should do without, what would they be? ( Glutamine, creatine, resveratrol, fish oil, etc….) Thanks, Ben.”

Sincerely, Joe


“How should daily diets and caloric intake differ from 2/days to taper or recovery day with no exercise?”

Thanks – Noah


“I have 2 small kids who often don’t sleep through the night.  Some days I am just so tired.  Is it better to get a couple more hours of sleep or should I just get up and work out at 6 am anyway? I am really frustrated because I have lost 23 pounds so far but I still have a fat belly.  I have only lost 1 in around my waist.  What should I do?”



“Ben, As a person with occasional irritable bowel flair-ups (especially in stressful times like right before a triathlon), do you have any suggestions or nutritional thoughts on how to lessen or eliminate the flair-ups.”



“Can you recommend stretches or other solutions for extremely tight hips? I cannot bring my knees to my chest while holding them together and have very little internal rotation in my hips.”



“Ben, I can’t figure out why I have this insatiable craving for fat at night, particularly for almond and sunflower butter. I know they are not bad fats to eat, however, I will get a bag of baby carrots and go through a whole jar in one setting. I do admit these cravings occur on big training days and know I’m not suppose to be refueling on fat. How do I stop these drug-like cravings for fat. Is it because my body prefers fat rather than carbohydrates for energy? Not sure if this would help, but I’m 6′0, 170, 3-hour marathoner who is currently training for Lake Stevens 70.3, what would you recommend I do?
Love the podcast, I listen to them everyday on my way to work.”

Thank you Ben – Tommy


“Hey Ben, What are your thoughts on nightshades in relation to training/recovery/ anti-inflammatory properties…kind of gets u back on that track but let’s u expand on training intensity/volume n trying to manage it with supplements or food.”



“Does what you eat and when you eat really matter? E.g. If I have 3 slices of pizza will they give me belly fat and if I eat them 20 min before bed is the affect amplified?”

Thanks – John


“Ben, Are there certain foods that can aid in fat loss, or does fat loss depend on calories in versus calories out and musculature?”

thanks, angel


“Here is my question. How do you feel about the supplements like “fat burners”.  They are all over in terms of advertisements and promise to boost metabolism for everyone, regardless of activity level.”

Thanks – Rich


“What’s the best dinner and breakfast before race day, and also how long can you go without drinking water during a race, is it a bad thing to not drink anything during a race I usually don’t and my maximum distance is half marathon.”

Thanks – Jesus


“Hi Ben, I recently listened to one of your podcasts from May where an athlete mentioned gaining more weight during her IM training time than when she was a couch potato.  Your comment was that you heard that comment a lot. Well, I’m in the same boat.  I have been training for Ironman races since 2006 and every year since then have put on more weight and, in my opinion, gained more jiggly bits, then when I was just weight training and running for short distances.  I am not an elite triathlete or top age grouper.  Rather, I’m your average age grouper, or mere mortal.   I have been watching what I eat, and feel I eat a clean diet 95% of the time.  So why is it that I keep putting on the weight and gain body fat?  Is this just a normal thing as you age – I’m in my late 30s.  Or am I doing something wrong with my eating? I’m not sure if you can answer this question without knowing my training hours or looking at a food journal, but I’d greatly appreciate any advice you can give me, even if it is to do some research.”



“Hey, my burning question (having lost weight recently and being over 50) what can I do nutritionally, supplement / natural to handle the saggy baggy skin issue?”

thank you- Joanne


“I am in my mid-50’s and had used natural progesterone (derived from yam) for approximately 7 yrs. and, at first, was able to have some control over my weight and then, all of a sudden, it didn’t work anymore.  I then switched to natural bio-identical compounded estradial cream (myob/gyn said it  would help me in losing weight) and it didn’t do anything. I tried it (estradiol) for 6 months with no success and discontinued using it as I noticed no change.  I have continued my workouts – cardio and resistance – and am still stuck.  Do female hormones REALLY assist with fat loss?   I’ve not seen it in my experience, and I’ve tried both progesterone and estrogen (bio-identical) with no success when used singularly or in combination.  Thanks!”



“Hi Ben, What are your thoughts on Hammer Nutrition products in general and specifically Recoverite and Perpetuem?”

Many Thanks, Joe


“Hi Ben, hope things are great. I have one burning question: How do you lose weight without losing power on the bike/run. My situation is  183 cm tall and 80 kg weight (I am in Australia, don't know what that is in pounds)  am a 10.09, 5 x ironman and just ran a 3.00.12 marathon(with a 3 min toilet stop). I feel if I lost at least 4 – 5 kg it would get me that spot to Hawaii in the Australian Ironman. I need 9.40. Plus I look at the weight for height ratio's with the guys doing the tour de france at the moment and that is roughly what they are 183cm about 74 kg.”

Thanks, Nigel


“I have a multi-part question about fuel for long training and racing:   How much, when and what is your “best practice” for fueling. I'm training for my 1st triathlon … just a sprint distance, but am trying to determine what type of fuel and how much I need.”

Thank you, Ashley


“Please explain the difference in sugars and also explain cortisol cycles as they pertain to circadian rhythm.”



“What are the 3 (or more…pick any manageable number) most important initial steps for a beginner/novice to take when starting a fat loss program? What are the 3 (or more…pick any manageable number) most important initial steps to take in order to maintain/sustain progress after a fat loss program?”



“Ben, Here's a question for the Q and A.  I recently found a calorie calculator online that is based on your gender, age, weight, average heart rate, and total time exercising.  In my opinion, this would be a more accurate way of determining calories burned during any activity: what was your average heart rate during the total time of activity.  Regardless of the activity, isn't the increase in heart rate most indicative of intensity and calories burned?  Thanks.”



“If you only had one type of food to snack on during the day, what would it be and why?”

Thanks, Joe


“I recently reduced my stress level (I mean cut it by 75%!) and suddenly my  workouts were much more productive. I asked my trainer what we were doing  differently and he said nothing… it's your stress level.  So what exactly  is it that's going on there?  What is it about stress that was killing me and keeping me fat?”

Thanks, Chip


“Name one essential, must-have, won't-finish-unless-I-have-it thing (food, drink, goodie, supplement) that you take during your Iron distance races.”






“I'm allergic to all the non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDS) that I've tried (aspirin, anaprox, meclomen, naprosyn, yada).  Do you have any ideas for some topical and for some ingestible natural anti-inflammatories that I might try?   The amount of NSAID has to significantly accumulate in my body before I get a rxn – so not to worry – I don't have an allergic reaction to the first few doses.”

Thanks in advance,  Jordeane


Do you have a question? Remember, you can now ask your questions via *audio* to me via the free Skype software by simply “Skyping” me at username “pacificfit“. You can also call toll free to 1-877-209-9439 and leave a voicemail for Ben Greenfield.

Also mentioned in this podcast…

1. You may remember that in 2009, I began training the girl who had tried everything for fat loss (32 year old stay-at-home mom who has already tried Slimfast, Atkins, Herbalife, Body for Life, interval training, personal training, detox, low-fat diet, horseback riding, Slim in 6, a home treadmill and elliptical, mini-trampoline, gym membership, cleanses, Weight Watchers, hoodia, green tea, calorie counting, walking, hiking, Tai-bo, Wii fit, Denise Austin, bands, exercise balls, yoga and Lean for Life). During this episode, I talk about our new strategy – the HCG diet for fat loss. She’s already lost 9lbs in just the first 6 days! Follow her story by clicking here.

2. At that same time in 2009, I began training a 55 year old man who wanted to become as lean and ripped as possible, while also wanting to gain optimum health and energy for his incredibly busy career as a public speaker and expert adviser. He is doing fantastic! Learn about how we shocked his body off a weight loss plateau by clicking here. After just 7 days of this protocol, David’s body was “shocked” for sure. He weighed in at 198 and 15% body fat on the day of our next visit! That is a drop of 21.5 pounds and 13% body fat, between January and July 2009! Weight: 198 (Starting Weight: 219.5); Body Fat: 15.39 (Starting Body Fat: 28.2%)

3. Only 7 days left in the 63 Day Fat Loss challenge using a copy of my book, “Shape21″. You’re not going to want to miss the action over at the Shape21 Lean Body Challenge website. There are photos, videos, and much, much more. How much fat can the human body lose in 63 days? Just click here to see photos and videos and read the latest testimonials from participants.

4. Check out the brand new http:/www.humanwellnesssolutions.com!

That’s all for this week. Be sure to leave our podcast a rating in iTunes! Just click here to go to our iTunes page and leave feedback! Finally, remember all the time put into producing this podcast for you, and consider donating to our show (we’ll throw in a free T-shirt)!

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