February 14, 2011
Introduction : In this podcast, 10 ways to get more out of indoor cycling. Can sugar in probiotics make you fat? Can caffeine help you store carbohydrates? Is a paleo diet low-carb? What are natural flavors? How to stop getting sick? Can protein decrease soreness? Is Costco healthy? What do world triathlon champions eat? Low testosterone and weight gain? Is grapeseed oil healthy? Is organic yogurt healthy? Advocare nighttime recovery products; lactose intolerance; and how to figure out what to eat.
Ben: Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here. Today’s guest is Jennifer Sage and she’s been on the podcast a few times before but she’s made some updates to her book “Keep it Real” which is a guide for indoor cycling instructors and for people who want to get more out of their indoor cycling and she’s going to tell us how to get more out of spinning, sitting on an indoor bike trainer and doing the things that you might be doing on a bike this winter, in today’s podcast. In addition, we of course have our usual jam-packed listener Q & A; we’ve got a few special announcements to kick things off, so let’s get started with today’s podcast.
Ben: First of all, you may remember the fitness nutrition and breakthroughs of 2010; hour-long live video that I did just about a month ago. Well, that video is going to be released at BenGreenfieldFitness.com in just 4 days and along with that video is going to be a transcribed PDF for you to read, full of tons of links and resources for you so, beware; that’s coming up. If you’re part of my VIP text club or part of the inner circle, you’ve already had access to that for the past couple of weeks but it’s going to be going public here in just a few days so you don’t want to miss that; it’ll be a great resource for you to go over BenGreenfieldFitness.com and download. In addition, we have bunch of new supplements over at Pacific Elite Fitness, and one of the things that is kind of unique is the new Vitamin D in fish oil super pack and, what that is, is I’ve picked the 2 supplements that would probably be most important for you to take, and the 2 supplements that are most often tainted, in terms of being low-quality; having toxins in them; being absorbed in a very low level. And so, I’ve picked the highest absorbed, highest quality Vitamin D in fish oil to kind of keep your immune system and performance going over this winter, and I’ve put them over at Pacific Elite Fitness so if you go over there to the main page, they’re on special right now for free shipping. And then, the other thing that I have, in terms of a request from you, is I know that a lot of you listen to other podcasts, other than this one, and that’s great, that’s cool! I know that many of you use podcasts for commuting, for workouts, for wandering around your house, and I am 100% behind that. I think it’s a great way to get smarter. I think it’s a lot better use of your time. A lot of the times, it’s something like music, but I’m really interested in what type of podcast you’re listening to, and I’m really interested in the type of host that are on those podcasts and here’s how you can help me: If you have a favorite podcast that you listen to on a regular basis other than this one, then what I’d like you to do if you can is e-mail that podcast, or facebook them or twitter them or whatever they like for you to get hold of them and ask them if they’d like to have me come on, as a guest, and in some cases, it maybe me coming on to debate them about their philosophy, in terms of nutrition or coaching their performance. In some cases, maybe I’d just be coming on to give a little bit of extra value to them or their audience. So, if you have a podcast that you listen to that you’d like to hear me on to hear my view points contrasting with that of the host or even, just hear me supplement what the host has to say then e-mail that podcast. Tell them about my show. Give them my e-mail address, which is easy to remember, it’s [email protected] and tell them that they should get me on the show and I would be happy to participate. So, that would be a huge favor that you could do for me, I’d truly appreciate it. Alright, let’s go ahead and have a special message and move on to this weeks listener Q & A.
Ben: Before we hop in to the questions for this week, let me give you a quick clarification. I recently had someone ask me what type of questions were appropriate to ask for the podcast in terms of content, and let me break it down for you like this: The Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast is designed for any questions about fat loss, human performance or nutrition. The other podcasts that I run can go into other realms, for example, many of you may not know that I do another Q & A, a very sports specific, sports nutrition Q & A over at EndurancePlanet.com; that’s a good place to ask very, very triathlon/marathon-focused questions and it’s a brand new podcast that’s really developing and improving, and it’s kind of in beta-phase right now. We just picked up that website and are trying to really turn it in to a smash-bang podcast but it’s a very endurance sports-focused. That’s a great place to ask endurance sports questions. My inner circle podcast which, yes it is member-protected, meaning that you need to be a member for $17 a month to get into that, that’s more focused on like holistic, healthy, family type of stuff. Helping your kids to eat better, getting your family to eat better, re-inventing your home, your pantry, your kitchen, things of that nature. So, that’s what it’s for and that podcast is all about and then the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast is pretty much anything that doesn’t really fall into those categories. So, that’s the deal with the Q & A. Alright, that being said, let’s go ahead and jump into this week’s 1st question, and the 1st question is from Sarah.
Sarah: Hi Ben, this is Sarah. I had a question about fermented foods. I drink a lot of kombucha. My main questions are about kombucha and kimchi. I don’t make my own kombucha but I drink lots of it, probably maybe 1 bottle a day, sometimes 2 depending, of course it does not replace my water. I drink the Synergy brand. I do all the flavors, and my main question was, I know there’s sugar in them but for my steady probiotics, the sugars are eaten up by the bacteria, so the bacteria will prosper and grow and the same with the kimchi, and I’ve made kimchi recently with beats and I know, beats are kind of high in sugar and although they’re not sweet because they’ve been eaten and should’ve been eaten up by the bacteria, they’re a little bit part. But my main question is, if you’re doing a lot of probiotic foods namely kombucha, or kimchi made with carrots or beats or high-sugar vegetables, can that hinder any kind of fat loss goals?
Ben: Well first of all, congratulations on making your own kombucha. That’s actually pretty cool that you’re making that at home, and for those of you who don’t know what kombucha is, it’s a sparkling drink and you make it by fermenting bacteria and yeast, typically, in a tea, and you produce the fermentation by using a sugar and it sounds like Sarah is using a beat-based sugar in hers. And what happens is the bacteria, they’re probiotics and were to yogurt and so, it’s a bacteria that lives in your stomach and the belief is that weight gain in a lot of people is because of poor digestion and an inability to process foods effectively. So, the weight loss promise of kombucha is that it can bring your digestive system into a better state of well being and help you to absorb your food better so you get a greater sense of fullness and you do more with the calories that you do consume, so you can consume fewer calories and still have a decent amount of energy. Now, probiotics themselves are very low in calories and as long as you’re not adding extra sugar into your kombucha, like they do a lot of times in a place like whole foods, you’re only getting like an 8ounce glass of kombucha, about 30-40 calories and, it is true that the probiotics in there actually need a certain amount of sugar calories in order to feed but it’s not really a significant source of sugar, especially when you compare it to soda and other sweet drinks that you could be consuming. So, you shouldn’t worry too much. The sugar in kombucha is necessary. It’s not even necessary evil because the sugars are doing a great deal of good and as long as you are accounting for those sugars in your daily carbohydrate intake, and you’re not taking in a large percentage of carbohydrates especially if people are trying to lose weight, I recommend that they only consume a total of about 40-50 percent of their daily intake from carbohydrate, then that’ll help out quite a bit. I know that those of you who are out in high protein, low-carb plan had a sharp intake of breath when I said 30-40 percent carbohydrate but I guess my assumption is that you’re also being very active, and you’re actually burning those carbohydrates and keeping your blood sugar levels stabilized with activity. So from probiotics, you’re not only going to get a healthier gut but they also promote balance of your white blood cells so specifically, they help you produce more of what are called “T cells” which help to destroy invading cells that may cause immune system damage and they also help to heal some of the unnecessary damage that occurs when you have an immune system attack, and they help to breakdown protein in the peptides. Meaning that, your protein can be broken down to be absorbed a little bit more fully and used in repair and recovery, and then, probiotics also eat pre-biotics or plant fibers as their foods, in addition to sugars so they can help you digest plant fibers and break down the plant fibers into their basic, chemical-building blocks so, you get a lot of benefits from taking in these probiotics. Now, another probiotics source that you talk about is this kimchi that you’re making and kimchi is a traditional fermented Korean dish. I love Korean barbecue by the way. If you really want to make my day, take me out to Korean barbecue. I could sit there for hours, and the way that you’d actually make a kimchi, if you were going to do it like Sarah’s doing at home as you just take cabbage, and you immerse it in a little bit of salt water and then you add a paste to it, that’s like a chilly, red pepper flake paste, and then you can add garlic, you can throw some onions in, and then the thing that it’s going to feed on, in terms of sugar for fermenting, is you put the equivalent of about a piece of fruit in there like half of an apple and half of a pair and those are all blended up with water; you mix all of that together with the kimchi and some people do add a bunch of extra sugar, which if you wanted to do a lower calorie kimchi wouldn’t need to do. But it would cause a fermentation process to be a little bit more active. You jar it and you let it sit for about a day, and it ferments and, again, you’re getting sugar with that but, if you’re not putting like 2 cups of sugar in the kimchi which some recipes can ask for, and you’re just mostly using like, the fruit-based blend that you throw in there, all of the probiotics and the nutrients and the fiber and all that other good stuff that you’re getting with the kimchi, it’s really going to balance out the 30 to 40, possibly 50 calories you’re going to get of sugar per serving. So, there are much bigger fish to fry and unless you have a large amount of carbohydrate in sugar coming in from other sources, kimchi and kombucha is not going to affect your fat loss, especially if you’re making it at home because you’re in even greater control of how much sugar is actually used in the fermentation process so, great question. Remember, if you want to ask an audio question, just call toll-free to 877-2099-439. Now next, we have a question from Chuck.
Chuck: I recently read that athletes who drink caffeine before exercise have 66% more glycogen in their muscles, giving them greater endurance. I know you’ve talked about the benefits of taking caffeine on the show before but what does this increase in glycogen in the muscles really mean? With more glycogen, will that mean that the body uses less of other fuel sources like carbohydrates or fat for energy?
Ben: This is a good question, kind of a basic physiology question and what glycogen is, and sometimes I use that word on the show quite a bit without really explaining it. It’s just storage carbohydrate. When you consume, say, a piece of bread, your salivary enzymes and your digestive enzymes in your stomach and your small intestine will break that bread into little molecules of sugar. And the sugar ends up getting absorbed in your bloodstream and some of it gets transported into your muscles where it is stored away as muscle glycogen, which is just basically long chains of those sugars and some of it ends up in the liver, getting converted into liver glycogen, which is again, just long chains of sugar; and when you start exercising, what your body’s going to do is tap into any blood sugar that may be circulating, which is essentially only the equivalent about, like a packet of sugar that you put into your coffee. And then, once it’s burnt through that, it begins to break down glycogen and use the glycogen as a fuel, and at rest, you tend to use a little bit more of your liver’s glycogen stores. But as soon as you begin to exercise, you really start to tap into your muscles’ glycogen stores. So, if you drink caffeine before exercise and it allows you, and by the way, you do need to eat a carbohydrate along with the caffeine, but if you take that carbohydrate in with the caffeine circulating the system, store up to 66% more of that carbohydrate, then absolutely, you’re going to have more energy to draw on during exercise because that caffeine has helped you to create greater levels of storage glycogen. It’s the same reason that people would do something like carbohydrate load, prior to competing in a sporting event. It’s the same reason that you can incorporate and I wrote about this in a recent post at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, same reason you can incorporate some low carbohydrate or fasted sessions into your exercise routine because that also helps you to utilize carbohydrate a little bit more efficient and efficiently to store more carbohydrate away, when you actually do eat food so, having those high levels of glycogen is a great thing and it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to alter the way that your body uses fuel. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to shift you towards burning more carbohydrate or burning more fats. It just means you’re going to have that much more energy to draw on.
Kai: During the last few months, you’ve conducted interviews on paleo and low-carb diets. These seem to be good choices for someone who needs to lose weight or jump start their weight loss, but my concern is that is a diet for a fit athlete, given the energy system under that approach, my concern is that, that is fat and not carbs, my concern is that if I start with paleo/low-carb, lose the weight, then transition to a different diet, that will completely throw my system out of whack.
Ben: Well, this is a good concern Kai, and let me clear something out first of all. A paleo diet is not necessarily a low-carb diet. A paleo diet is based on avoiding foods that have come into being since our agricultural revolution, so you’re avoiding a lot of foods that agriculture brought us like cereals, dairy products, fatty meats, high-salted foods, refined sugars, processed oils, so the paleo diet is a very holistic diet but it’s not necessarily low carbohydrate. You can still eat fruit, you can still eat potatoes. There are some people that have adaptations of the paleo diet that would say otherwise, but overall, the paleo diet doesn’t outlaw carbs, it’s not a low-carb diet. Now, if you started eating paleo, it’s likely that the amount of carbohydrates you consume is naturally going to drop but I wouldn’t say that makes it a low-carb diet that simply makes the diet that is lower in carbohydrates than the typical western diet would be. A low-carb diet is only going to allow you somewhere in the range of like, a hundred, 200 calories of carbohydrate, in any given day, some of them will get up to 400 calories of carbohydrate and that’s a very little bit, especially people that are exercising or say, competing. So, I would not classify low-carb in paleo or I would not lump them together but either way, that doesn’t answer your question. You’re asking if you do go low-carb, and then you switch to a diet higher in carbohydrate once you start exercising more, is it going to throw your system out of whack. The answer is NO, and the reason for that is that when you’re exercising, you’re going to be burning those excess carbohydrates for energy and some people may say “wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! Won’t those carbohydrates throw off your hormones a little bit once you get off that insulin release and the cortisol release and the drop in blood sugar?” The answer is YES, if you’re sedentary but the answer is NO if you’re exercising, especially if you’re stacking those carbohydrates so that you’re taking them in after an exercise session. So, I wish there was a more complex answer to your question but basically, it all comes down to, if you are in a low-carb diet and then you start exercising, and when you start exercising, you increase the amount of carbohydrates that you take in. There’s nothing magical that’s going to happen at the metabolic level that will make you gain weight, you will simply burn that fuel for energy.
Jeff: What are natural flavors in a food’s ingredient list?
Ben: Now, we talked about this a little bit before in a previous podcast but according to the US Code of Federal Regulations, a natural flavor is the essential oil, essence, or extracted protein hydrosylate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating, or enzymolysis which contains the flavoring consistence derived from a spice fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, sea food, poultry, eggs, dairy products or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutrition, and of course, we would all prefer to see natural flavors on the label because we believe that those are somehow more healthful but really, the distinction between the artificial and the natural flavors is pretty arbitrary and it’s more based on the way that the flavor was extracted, more than what the actual flavor contains. So for example, you can take like an omen flavor which is derived from an peach and apricot pits and it’s basically a chemical benzaldehyde and it contains traces of cyanide which is actually a deadly poison. You have to eat a lot of omens to actually get that or drink a lot of omen oil to actually get toxicity from it but it is really an artificial flavor that can be marketed as a completely natural product because it’s been extracted from peach and apricot pits and, we could take this to the ins degree and begin to look at natural flavors and just about everything that we consume, and assume that they’re all just really synthetic chemicals that have been masked. But what it comes down to is simply moderating the amount of foods that you eat, that contain any type of added flavoring or preservative or chemical. If you eat something in it’s natural, holistic state, then this is a concern that you’re not really going to have anyways and the way that I like to think about it is this: if you say you take an apple, and you buy an apple from the gas station and then you go buy an apple from a natural, organic health food store; if you were to take the logic applied to natural and artificial flavorings, then we would say that the apple that you bought from the gas station is artificial because its source is not a fruit stand or grocery store and the apple that you buy from the organic health food store is natural because it does come from a fruit stand or a health food store, and that’s just ludicrous. What it comes down to is that we, as consumers, really can’t control too much of these food politics with anything other than our voting and our lobbying but when we’re grabbing something off a shelf and glancing at the back of it to see whether it says “natural flavoring” versus, if it says “artificial flavoring”, there’s not going to really be a way for us to really truly know how healthy that source is, from which the natural and the artificial flavoring has been derived. And I simply stand by avoiding, for the most part, sucralose, acesulfame potassium and aspartame, and then trying to mostly eat things that don’t have labels on them in the 1st place and if you do that, this is a worry that is not going to need to be at the fore front of your mind.
Mike: Hi Ben, I’m e-mailing you because I’m finding myself with cold/flu symptoms much more often than ever before. I eat healthy, stay away from a lot of processed foods and eat around 3000 calories a day. This has been occurring over the past 3-4 months. I’ve been feeling very well for a few weeks then getting a new cold all over again. What can I do to stop getting sick so often?
Ben: Well, let’s go ahead and invert this question, and look at the things that could cause you to be getting sick more often. One would be a dietary deficiency. So, a lot of times, like having chronically low levels of storage energy, or not being able to absorb the food that you are eating, which we already talked about a little bit, could both cause immune system deficits. The fact that you’re eating 3000 calories a day, and I’m going to assume you’re a very active individual, a lot of people who have listened to the show are, then, it’s probably unlikely that you have a dietary deficiency. If you are exercising a ton, let’s say you are eating 3000 calories a day and you’re one of those Ironman tri-athletes who’s training through 3 or 4 hours a day, absolutely. You may want to bump up to 4 or 5000 calories a day, bump up your carbohydrate levels so that you’re actually not in a state of constant glycogen depletion and just see what happens. On the flipside, we talked about malabsorption and the fact that your digestive health could affect your actual absorption of the nutrients from the foods that you’re consuming, get in a digestive enzyme, get on a probiotic and see what happens. Now, the next thing that you may be looking at is some type of vitamin or mineral deficiency. I don’t know if you’re on a multi, I don’t know if you’re taking something like the Enerprime that I’ve talked about before, which is a green supplement. I don’t know if you’re taking any type of magnesium or mineral supplement. But again, if you’re a very active person, correctly choosing supplements and vitamins and minerals can help out quite a bit, as can including things like fatty acids and amino acids. So for example, you had to eat say, a 1000 calories worth of salmon a day to get the amount of fish oil that’s necessary to support your immune system versus taking 6 highly-concentrated fish oil capsules a day, then you may want to go with the ladder from simply a weight maintenance point of view, so that’s a consideration as well. Depression, stress, anxiety, these are all things to think about. I don’t know what type of stress is in your life but chronic stress from anything related to work, or marital problems or family issues or anything else that might be hanging over your head, can also decrease your immune function. Multiple studies have shown that high levels of anxiety are associated with decreased immune function. I would also look at the level of inflammation that’s in your diet. For example, if you are consuming 3000 calories a day and a high amount of that is from acidic foods like sugars and starches, pro-inflammatory chemicals can also cause that immune system deficit, and then the last thing that I would look at is the fact that chronic sleep deprivation can also lower your immune system function. And again, if you’re the type of person who’s consuming thousands of calories a day and you’re doing that because you’re exercising a ton, then you should be sleeping anywhere from 7 and a half up to 9 hours a night, and you may want to consider doing things like using a sleep mask or ear plugs, unplugging everything in your room, taking magnesium before you go to bed. Keeping your room as dark as possible, taking steps to ensure that all the sleep that you do get is high quality and is giving your immune system as much of a step up as possible. So, all of the above that I just talked about are things that I do. I train a lot, and rarely, if ever get sick. I’ve been sick once in the past 3 years so, knock on wood, but those are some of the things that I do.
Laurel: Since I started using protein, I swear it has decreased my muscle soreness by an amazing amount. Is there a science to back this up or am I enjoying the placebo effect?
Ben: Well, I have another podcast called the “Get Fit Guide” podcast and in it, I talked about muscle soreness and how you get muscle soreness. It’s a very quick 5-10 minute podcast over at QuickandDirtyTips.com but 1 of the top ways to reduce muscle soreness and to give your body the amino acids that it needs to repair muscle tissue more quickly after muscle damage, is a protein supplement, and most of the studies that have been done have utilized a weigh protein. The most recent was a study in January 2010, Journal of Science and Medicine and Sport, in which protein relieved muscle soreness brought on by repetitions during a leg extension exercise. All they did was consume 25 grams, that’s about a scoop and a half to 2 scoops of weigh protein, after exercise, and at 6 hours, the group who were given the weigh protein recovered fully, with 0 soreness and full muscle function restored. So, protein’s not the only thing that can help out with that. Fish oil, which I just talked about, that’s a huge help. They’ve done studies on fish oil, mostly recently in 2009 and 2010. That again, showed that almost complete alleviation of delayed onset muscle soreness. And believe it or not, fruit actually has some components in it that can help quite a bit in terms of decreased incidence of arthritis or cartilage-based issues after exercise. So for example, using something like fruit along with protein as your post-exercise muscle recovery blend, maybe swallowing a few fish oil capsules as well could be highly beneficial, in terms of reducing muscle soreness, so you’re not imagining things. It is true, protein can decrease muscle soreness.
Howard: My wife and I routinely shop at Costco; there are a few products we buy that appear to be nutritious but we wanted to see what you thought. In no particular order, 1st one is naked juice green machine.
Ben: Naked Juice Green Machine is a blend of a bunch of different fruits. It’s one of those bottles that Braggs has got a pound of fruit in every bottle. If you are being very active, let’s say you’ve just finished an hour-long, hard bike ride, and you want to replace your energy, go ahead and suck one of these bad boys down because you’re not only getting energy but there’s also a lot of great vitamins and greens in it. If you’re sitting at work, you will get fat if you’re drinking this. Not only will you get fat but you’ll produce a great amount of inflammation from the high levels of circulating blood sugar that are going to occur after you suck down one of these, a ton of calories in a bottle. Anytime you shove a pound of fruit into a bottle, you’re going to get a lot of calories and remember that the 130 calories listed on the label is for a half serving. Good luck opening this stuff and drinking just 4 ounces of it. Alright!
Howard: The next one is about the Kirkland Organic Carrot Juice.
Ben: The organic carrot juice, which is a Kirkland brand, which of course means you’re probably only going to find that in Costco, is about almost completely carbohydrates. It’s about 90% carbohydrates but it’s only 70 calories and that is in a full bottle. So, I wouldn’t be worrying about this stuff too much. It’s not going to pack a huge punch. If you are pre-diabetic or if you’re very sensitive to blood sugar, if you take your resting glucose and happens to run very high, this is something you’d want to be cautious with, but for the most part, if you’re an active individual, this is going to be fine. It’s going to be a much better choice than sodas and energy drinks. Clif bars, he asked about clif bars. I’m actually a fan of clif bars. Assuming you’re using them properly for exercise and you’re not sitting at your desk in the middle of the afternoon with your feet up, mauling down a clif bar. Clif bars use about 70% organic ingredients and they try to avoid the new things that’s genetically-modified or that has a lot of pesticide residues so, they do include good ingredient. They try and stick with companies for their products that practice sustainable agriculture, which creates less pollution, helps to create nutrient-rich soil, increases biodiversity so, they are supporting good farming practices and they don’t use a lot of what will be considered bio-engineered or GMO-based, genetically-modified-organism-based ingredients. So, I would say that clif bars would be up there in terms of one of the energy bars that’s doing a good job choosing good ingredients. Again, just use energy bars the way that they’re supposed to be used which is during exercise. And then, we come to the nature’s path cereal, they’re granola cereal and for the most part, you got to be really careful with granola. Granola tends to have a lot of vegetable oils in it. It tends to have a lot of wheat gluten sugar, they just pack a ton of stuff into granola and if you’re out hiking in the middle of the wilderness, it’s not going to be that bad but eating breakfast before a day of work, not the best thing on the planet but they’ve done a pretty good job with this nature’s choice cereal that they’re selling now at Costco, the ingredients are organic whole grain, cornmeal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic brown rice flour, organic yellow corn flour, organic inulin, which is a fiber, organic quinoa puffs, organic maple syrup, organic flax seeds, natural maple flavor, organic buckwheat flour, organic quinoa, sea salt, organic amaranth, organic molasses and a natural vitamin E. If you are trying to lose weight, don’t touch this stuff. It will make you fat. If you are in just a choleric maintenance mode and you want to get your hands on something healthy to eat for breakfast, and you’re looking for something that’s gluten-free and you’re an active person who is able to burn carbohydrates and use them for energy, then this is one of the healthier cereals that you could choose. But don’t get me wrong, there are definitely quite a few table spoons of the equivalent of the table sugar in this stuff so, yeah, that’s it. For the most part, Costco sells stuff those appeals to the masses, so it’s always going to be sweet. That’s just the way it is, but again, if you’re active, you can handle most of this stuff.
Justin: I was listening to an interview with Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack and during the interview, he said it is diet, with 50% protein, 30% carbs and 20% fat. This seems contradictory to everything else I’ve read, including Chris Carmichael’s “Eat Right to Train Right”…
Ben: And for those of you who don’t know Chris Carmichael, he is Lance Armstrong’s coach.
Justin: Can you describe the reason behind using this diet as well as how someone will implement this into their own life in training?
Ben: Well, it’s very likely that Chris McCormack was mistaken and that he misspoke, he probably meant 50% carbohydrates, 30% protein, 20% fat, but let’s just say that he did mean, that he was eating 5o% protein. Well, let’s say that he was eating a conservative amount for an Ironman tri-athlete. Let’s say he was eating 5000 calories a day, which would be a conservative amount and he was getting 2500 calories of that from protein, if he was eating a 50% protein intake. 2500 calories of protein is, let’s see how many grams of protein that is, that’s 625 grams of protein. Now, the upper tolerable safe limit of protein for someone to be taking in without doing any damage to their kidneys or their liver is 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. So, we take 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and he’s eating 625, that would mean that he would need to weigh 156 kilograms, so Chris McCormack, to be at 50% protein diet and be healthy, he need to weigh 343 pounds, which he doesn’t. To get away with this, I’m really guessing that he meant 50% carbohydrate, if not, he’s doing a pretty good damage to his kidney and his liver. The amount of protein that you should be taking in would be closer to about 500 calories of protein a day, assuming he’s 70 kilograms or so. So, you got to be really careful with protein. Once you’re eating 5000 calories a day, most of that will be coming from carbohydrates simply because you’re in training. So, some things to think about in terms of protein for sure, I really doubt that’s what he’s taking in.
Bryan: Hi Ben. I’ve been training and doing endurance events for 9 years, and I consistently log all my food and all my workouts. Recently, I had a physical and my doctor told me I had low testosterone and I need to see an endocrinologist. After more blood work, the endocrinologist confirmed that my testosterone was low and I need to go on a patch, gel or shot every 2 weeks. My question is, 1st of all, I’m doing 2 Ironman and 3 half Ironman events this year along with a marathon or 2. Will this testosterone injection be a problem? Number 2, my goal is to be at my high school weight of 175. Could this testosterone be why I cannot lose weight? Number 3, what would you do in this situation and should I use a patch, a gel, or a shot?
Ben: So 1st of all, if you listen to any of the previous episodes that we’ve done on low testosterone. Testosterone is one of the critical components for everything, from cellular metabolism to muscle fiber formation and by having low testosterone levels; you would certainly see an increase in weight gain or a decrease in the ability to lose weight. Second, if you go to the World Anti-Doping Association website, which is the association that lays down the rules for something like the WTC which puts on Ironman and half Ironman events, then you will see that testosterone is essentially outlawed by the WADA unless you have clinically diagnosed male hypogonadism and hypogonadism would be, if your physician has diagnosed you as being unable to produce the proper amount of testosterone, and in that is the case, then they would actually allow for the medical best practice treatment which would be intramuscularly injected testosterone and they do also allow for the use of transdermal testosterone skin patches as an alternative to consider, and they do still say that you can’t use an oral androgen like an oral testosterone replacement. The dosage that you could actually use would be 50-250 milligrams of testosterone every 2 weeks, and that’s going to be supplied to you by either an injection or by a patch. Now, if you look at the charts that show what happens in your blood when you inject a testosterone versus when you use a patch, you get a similar, overall release of the testosterone but the injection is a very quick release and then it declines fairly quickly, whereas the patch is a more stable release. There are a few people that I coach for Ironman, especially males, who have an andropause or low testosterone, and they use the androderm testosterone patch. There are of course other things you can do from a dietary standpoint that I talk about in that breakthrough talk that’s coming out on Friday, when it comes to increasing testosterone naturally. But if you do have hypogonadism or clinically diagnosed low testosterone then it’s likely that a patch or injection will be necessary. You just need to be prepared to show proof if you are tested after say, an Ironman or a half Ironman event, that your physician has prescribed you testosterone, based on a medically-diagnosed condition. Now, the last thing that you may want to consider is what’s called your testosterone to epitestosterone levels and when the WADA administers a test, they would consider anything that’s greater than a ratio of 4:1 to be outside the norms for that test. And cyclists like in the Tour de France who have failed this test, were using about 100 milligrams of an orally-administered testosterone per week, and an orally-administered testosterone is going to result in a law higher levels, in terms of the blood levels of testosterone then say, an injection or an androderm patch. So, I would definitely stay with the injection or the patch and you just need to realize that you could be drawn aside and tested, and if you are found with a high testosterone to epitestosterone ratio or higher than normal levels of synthetic testosterone circulating in your bloodstream, then you could be out of the running or disqualified in terms of like prize money or podium finishes if you’re going after either of those things. And then also remember, that the use of testosterone is associated with some electrolyte disturbances, specifically the retention of salts. So, if you were to use something like this, then you would definitely want to practice with using it in training and realize that you may need to drink a little bit of extra water or keep track of your electrolyte intake and make sure that you’re not taking in too many electrolytes so, lot of places that we can go with this, we can talk about it for a full hour, I’m sure, but go back and listen to some of the previous episodes we’ve done on testosterone. If I were in your shoes, I’d use a patch just because I don’t like shots and the patch gives you a more stable release anyways.
Debra: I’ve been making my own mayonnaise for a few months now and it’s working great, but I was wondering if grapeseed oil is good for you? I’ve used olive oil and it’s okay, but a little strong in the taste for me. I’ve also used sunflower oil but I heard that it’s only good if you don’t heat it. I would like to use grapeseed oil. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Ben: Well, grapeseed oil does have a pretty high smoke point, which is great. That means that you can cook it at a higher temperature than olive oil or say, canola oil so, it’s a pretty good choice for sautéing or stir frying in my opinion. A gentleman I had on the show a few weeks ago, Udo Erasmus, would say “don’t eat any oils or any fats because of the free radicals that can be produced, but grapeseed oil would definitely be the lesser of 2 evils if you’re going to use it versus like an olive oil, or even like flax seed oil”. So, it is a little bit more stable; higher temperatures; it’s a healthy, what would be considered a polyunsaturated fat, and as long as you’re not heating it at really high temperatures, it would be fine to use. I actually don’t make mayonnaise myself, I’m not quite sure of the type of temperatures you’d have to use to create a mayonnaise. I don’t think you have to heat it to a really high temperature but grapeseed oil would be fine to use and does have a higher smoke point than olive oil or flax seed oil so, it’s good to have around.
Ben: Next question is from Geo who asks and he asks via facebook. We do have a Ben Greenfield Fitness Facebook Page where we’ve actually been having some good discussions lately. Go to facebook and do a search for Ben Greenfield Fitness, and I do have a personal page and then I also have the Ben Greenfield Fitness page. If you try and friend me on my personal page, I cannot vouch for the content of those posts but I can say that the Ben Greenfield Fitness, the official Ben Greenfield Fitness page, will be along the lines of what you get on this podcast in that BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
Geo: I want to know what you think about organic yogurt.
Ben: My answer to you is to go back and listen to the episode that I did on “Insulin-like Growth Factor”. I believe that was last week. I talked about how it can really cause people to gain weight quickly because it was designed to turn baby animals into big animals. That being said, it’s also great as a recovery supplement, well, dairy tends to be very high in insulin-like growth factor and organic yogurt is going to be a little bit healthier for you, than the non-organic variety. Now, the other thing that you may want to consider is the source of the cows from which the yogurt was derived and you want to try and choose the type of cows that are raised in organic pastures on grass and that would be, kind of the ideal situation like a grass-fed organic yogurt and as long as you’re not lactose intolerant, which we’ll talk about in a second, then it can be a good source of probiotics. It can be a good source of that insulin-like growth factor. But again, if you’re eating it in a sedentary position at your desk during the day, it will make you get fat. Seems like I’m saying that a lot, on this show, unless you’re exercising, it will make you get fat.
Chris: I’m curious about your opinion on advocare products and particularly, their nighttime recovery.
Ben: Well, advocare is one of these nutrition supplement companies, it’s really big, globally, and they make this nighttime recovery supplement that has amino acids in it, something called maca root and something called ashwagandha extract. They put a few other extracts and herbal roots in there and it is what would be considered, something that’s high in adaptogens, which we also talked about last week. Those can help stabilize stress levels. Amino acid levels can help with stabilization of your, just certain components of your brain that are responsible for relaxing you before you go to sleep, and some of the herbs in here are traditionally used in relaxation and nighttime sleep aid. I don’t see anything in here that I would be concerned about in terms of the levels. It does have zinc in it and you do need to be careful with zinc when it comes to overdosing but most of these types of supplements are nowhere near the doses that you’d be concerned about in terms of overdosing. So, when I look at this, it looks like a solid, nighttime sleep aid so, I guess the answer to you would be, if you can afford it, you would be fine to take for nighttime recovery, there’s not any red flags in this product.
Ben: Now, the next question is from Robert and I believe that Robert, my apologies to you Robert, I’m not saying this to offend you but your question’s very difficult to interpret because the English is a little bit off but I’m going to interpret what you’re saying. You’re asking me “If you’re lactose intolerant, is it still okay for you to drink milk if you can handle the bloating?”
Ben: Well, lactose intolerance is of course, that lack of the enzyme lactase, that’s necessary for you to digest lactose which is a common milk or dairy sugar and the lining of your small intestine has all these little microscopic projections in it called microvilli, and those produce these digestive enzymes. If your intestine is damaged, so if these microvilli are damaged, that can interfere with lactase production and your digestion of dairy, and also, if you have any type of bacterial overgrowth, if you have any type of infection, if you have, for example, excessive consumption of processed foods, all of those type of things can cause inflammation as well. So a lot of times, you can give yourself lactose intolerance based on the foods that you eat or based on your diet. You can also be born, genetically, with the inability to produce ample amounts of lactase, and that would just be based on your heritage and a lot of times, there are certain populations that tend to have higher amounts of lactose intolerance, India would be 1 example. Now, if this is the case for you, you have a couple choices: 1, you could take a lactase enzyme or a digestive enzyme before you consume milk or dairy products; 2, you could just avoid milk or dairy products and 3, you could consume them and just put up with the bloating. Would they do damage if you do that? If you’re lactose intolerant and you have undigested food fragments circulating through your small intestine because you weren’t able to break down that lactose-based sugar, then YES, you could get what’s called leaky gut syndrome. You could get the presence of undigested food fragments in you bloodstream, that can cause your body to mount an allergenic reaction against those foods and give you something like chronic fatigue or immune system deficit or any of the other nasty things that can happen when you have leaky gut syndrome. So, just putting up with this red flag or signal that your body is sending you to step back on the lactose consumption, would not be such a good idea. I would instead get a lactase enzyme. If that doesn’t help, then I would make sure that you’re cleaning up your diet, getting some processed foods, potentially inflammatory foods out of your diet, and if that doesn’t help, then I would just try and choose alternatives to milk like an almond milk, a rice milk, some type of protein source like a hamper rice-based protein source, that doesn’t have those lactose sources in it. And then, our final question is from Trey.
Trey: I listen and read so much on nutrition, and I realize the importance. It’s never been the biggest priority for me, day in and day out and I know, this is why I continue to struggle, but there seems like so much information and so many things I’m supposed to be eating and taking, it can be overwhelming. Would you tell a novice where to begin with all of this?
Ben: Well Trey, our day and age, it can be annoyingly difficult to know what type of diet or what type of nutritional protocol to use, whether you’re an athlete or whether you’re just somebody who’s trying to lose weight. There’re tons of diets, there’re tons of books out there and the truth is, there’s more than 1 way to skin a cat. The best advice that I can give you is to find something that is customized to you, your genes, and your body type. For example, listen to the interview that I did with Tim Monaco from bioletics, about metabolic typing where you just, one time, for your whole life one time, you sit down and you do pay but you take this questionnaire, comprehensive questionnaire that tells you what type of foods you should or should not be eating. Next thing, one time, you only got to do this one time; go over to a website like PacificFit.net and get the GI Home test kit, where you, for lack of a better word, poop into an envelope and you send that off, and you find out everything that’s going on in your gut and everything that you should or should not be avoiding. Once you have those two pieces of crucial information, you know, for the rest of your life, the ideal foods that you should be eating. Now, if you wanted to kind of, put the icing on the cake, the very last thing you do is you go to a laboratory and you get your resting metabolic rate test done so that you know how many calories you should be eating during the day. So, now you know not only the qualitative aspect of the foods that you should be eating but the quantitative aspect as well. Now, I have done all of the above in my diet. I never have to guess for the rest of my life. When any diet book comes out, I don’t care if it’s the paleo diet or the anti-inflammatory diet or the zone or the Atkins or whatever, it doesn’t matter to me because I’m looking at things through a new eyeballs because I simply know. Okay. Check. Yes, that would work for me; check, no; that wouldn’t work for me and I just have a few PDFs on my computer that give me a snapshot of everything I need to know about my body. Now, if you do these tests and you still want something to hold your hand and walk you through it, then you do something like you grab, do like a month of nutrition consulting 0 with me. People do that all the time, its 250 bucks; they do it 1 time for 1 month, and we do a bunch of phone calls and e-mails and get everything sorted out. $17 a month, you join the inner circle and you’ve got unlimited access to my wife and I, to ask as many questions as you want about your diet, about your lifestyle, about your health, about your exercise, and not only that, we give all the research that we get on a daily basis to you as well, and do things like live webinars and handouts and PDFs and videos. So, that’s it. Another option is you just get somebody to help you out. Gold standard, you get those 3 tests that I talked about. Metabolic questionnaire, GI test, resting metabolic rate test, and then you do something like joining the inner circle and it’s $17 a month, and that’s for a complete handholding with everything you need, in terms of your diet and your nutrition. So, that is what I would do. I will put a link to the Ben Greenfield Fitness inner circle for you. You know what? Right now, I will sit down and put a link to the other 3 things that I talked about as well, and it will help you out. So, that being said, we are going to move on to this week’s interview with Jennifer Sage, and I will put a link to Jennifer and all her information, as well as her indoor cycling instructor academy and her book “Keep it Real’ in the show notes, where I put everything that you would ever need, including the Ask Ben Form, so you can ask questions. So, I’ll put those in the show notes to this episode, episode number 132.
Ben: Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield and I’m here with Jennifer Sage. Now, if you have been a fan of BenGreenfieldFitness.com for a while or visited the website, you may know Jennifer Sage from her book “Keep It Real” which is a book that’s just jam-packed with a bunch of tips and tricks and really valuable information about indoor bicycling and also some information about what many of us know as spin classes. There’ve been a few different posts with Jennifer over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, you can just go there and do a search for Jennifer Sage. If you want to listen to other interviews I’ve done with Jennifer or even check out some of the videos and some of the really popular blogposts that have appeared over there, that have to do with indoor cycling. So Jennifer herself is a master spinning instructor. She knows more about indoor cycling than anybody that I know, both from a performance and a weight loss perspective. So, Jennifer, thanks for coming on the call.
Jennifer: My pleasure. Good to be back.
Ben: Yeah! For people who haven’t really heard you before on the show, can you tell me a little bit about the book “Keep It Real” and why you wrote it?
Jennifer: Well, I worked for spinning for 12 years. Actually, for the spinning company and I traveled around the country, and certified instructors and presented at conferences and some of the things that I was seeing, that was going on in these spin classes, and not just spinning, just indoor cycling in general, it just didn’t make sense to me. And, I started asking questions and inquiring and some of the instructors that are training would ask me “what about this move? Or that move?” and I’d say “well, that’s not very effective and it’s pretty dangerous and so, why would you do it?” and they say “let all the instructors do it”. So, I started doing a little bit more research and working with, as you know, I’m an outdoor cyclist and I know a lot of these things an outdoor cyclist would never do and this is one of the reasons that some cyclists won’t go near a spin class or an indoor cycling class because of that and of aerobics on a bike mentality. So, I have spent the better part of the last 5, 6 even 7 years, interviewing cyclists, coaches, talking with bio-mechanists and looking for the most effective way to train indoors and that’s where “Keep It Real’ came from; it’s original target is cyclists so, to teach cyclists how to come to an indoor cycling class and tell them what to avoid, things that would take away from their cycling ability, from their technique, and maybe potentially be dangerous, but then I realized that it’s not just for cyclists; it’s for anybody. It’s for anybody who wants to know how to go into a indoor cycling class and make sure it’s effective training and safe, because a lot of these very popular movements are really not that safe Ben. I mean, there’s potential injuries, aches and pains, and people have a misconception of what a good workout is.
Ben: So, what type of things? Like, can you give me like, a couple examples of things that people might experience in indoor spin class that they shouldn’t be doing and why?
Jennifer: Okay, some of the more popular ones are, if you’ve ever been in a class and the instructor says to freeze or to isolate a certain part of the body like hold your shoulders still, or hold your hips really still, and what you’re doing is you’re preventing the normal, natural movement that needs to occur, all that stress goes into the joints. I mean, you start feeling it in your hips and knees, but what they think is a good workout is that the quads or the glutes start to burn a little bit, and the misconception is, that that’s an effective way to train. It doesn’t make you stronger. It’s not going to make you better; cyclist is not going to make you burn more calories. It’s not going to improve your indoor cycling, it’s going to do absolutely nothing for you, fitness wise, but it does have some potentially dangerous or uncomfortable side effects and that’s problems in the joints. So, you’d never want to hold still, well, you wouldn’t do that on a bike outside but outdoors. Your bike moves side to side and it flexes underneath you, indoors, the bike doesn’t move at all so by freezing all of that movement it needs to go somewhere, it goes right into the joints and so, often, it can even lead to back pain which would prevent people from coming back and we don’t want that. We want people to keep coming back. So, never freeze. Don’t do any isolation. Just always have subtle movement as you’re riding the bike.
Jennifer: Another really popular, very popular thing to do indoors is to pedal really, really fast. And as you know, that’ll raise your heart rate but, just because your heart rate is high does not mean, one, that you’re getting in a good workout or, two, that you’re even burning that many calories because exercise scientists, physiologists know, the principle of burning calories is really more related to your, or, how much work you’re doing, right?
Jennifer: And work indoors on a bike, we can measure with a power meter. Now, obviously, most bikes don’t have power meters but if we were to put a power meter on those bikes, I can prove to these people who are pedaling that 120, 130, 140 rpms with no resistance, that they’re actually not putting up the power and therefore, they’re not burning calories. It is much better to slow down the cadence and turn up the resistance. I think people who are unfamiliar with cycling, who take indoor cycling classes; I think they are a little bit, some of them, are a little bit afraid of resistance. They think it’s going to give them big legs or kind of, I’m not sure exactly why, but resistance indoors is good. You shouldn’t pedal faster than say, around 120 rpm, unless, there’s always exceptions Ben and I mean, nothing is ever black and white, you can do it in drills for short periods or, unless you really are a super strong, effective and efficient cyclist. So, all those class where you just, we like to say, they look like hamsters on crack with the feet run around or the roadrunner, where the feet are going around so fast but there’s no resistance, so the people are bouncing around in the saddles. Better to slow it down, turn it up, you will burn more calories.
Ben: Interesting. So, in your book “Keep It Real”, what is it that you put in there? Is it just a bunch of workouts? Or, do you talk more about what you were just outlining to me? Or, how is that book put together?
Jennifer: Well, the 1st half is devoted to what movements are safe and what movements are unsafe and or, ineffective. There’re some things that you know, maybe you’re not going to get injured doing it but they’re not very effective. You’d be better off like the example I just gave, that are better off just turning the resistance and slowing the legs down if you want to burn more calories and if you want to get stronger. So that’s the 1st half. I described the indoor cycling world, we call those, kind of ineffective moves, we call them contra-indicated moves so that I highlight a lot of the contra-indications in spinning or indoor cycling, and then I described the most effective way to ride a bike, how to do a seated flat, how to do a standing climb, how to do a proper sprint, and so the movements that are you know, what we know from cycling to be very effective in producing increase in performance and increasing power output and increasing strength, muscular endurance and aerobic endurance, all those elements of fitness that we really want. I just tell you how to do them properly, and this is not a philosophy of indoor cycling like some people say “oh Jennifer, that’s just the spinning way or that’s just your way of doing it”. No. This is not a philosophy. This is based on science and understanding the proper training principles.
Ben: That’s good.
Jennifer: My style is different, that’s how I teach, but always using the proper training principles.
Jennifer: The 2nd half of the book is a lot of workouts. It’s like “okay, now that I’ve told you how to do it, what to avoid, and how to do it properly, here’re some really great ways to improve your performance and to get more fit, so there’s a lot of interval workouts in there.
Ben: Yeah! I’ve actually tried some of them out because I used to a lot of spin instructing myself and they’re good workouts. By the way, is your cellphone on?
Jennifer; I just turned it off, sorry.
Ben: Okay, cool. Anyways, moving on, is this book something that would be for, just like a spin instructor? Or could the average person, you know, who just wants to get into indoor cycling, make it through the book?
Jennifer: Well, like I said in the beginning, my original target was cyclists, but then I realized that anybody wanting to take indoor cycling should read this, and Ben, I’ll tell your listeners you probably sold the most books for me so, people listen to you. So, a lot of your readers and listeners have actually purchased this book and I’ve got emails from some of them, that it really has helped them.
Ben: Yeah. I’ve got a tough feedback from some people. That’s why I continue to recommend it as pretty much…
Ben: Like the Bible for indoor cyclists and indoor cycling instructors.
Jennifer: Instructors as well, because that’s my, my passion is obviously indoor cycling and making it safe and effective, but I train instructors. Now, I’ve since moved on from spinning and I’ve started my own indoor cycling online indoor instructor training program and…
Ben: I noticed that and I was going to ask you about it.
Jennifer: Yeah! It’s been really exciting because I’m not associated with one program. We like to say we’re non-denominational. It doesn’t matter your certification, whether it’s spinning or Schwinn or, there’s so many out there. We will take instructors to the next level. We’re not teaching them a philosophy. We’re just teaching them proper training principles taken from the cycling world, because it works and because it’s based on science but brought indoors, so that even the non-cyclists, the non-athlete, the person who’s only interested in general fitness or weight loss or, getting stronger, they’re going to benefit too, and in this process of creating this, I’ve realized that Keep It Real is also, like you said, is the Bible for indoor cycling instructors; again, it’s not based on one program.
Ben: Right! Well, I want to put a link to that indoor cycling instructor website that you now have, I’m going to put a link to that in the show notes. If you’re listening in, go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com when you hear this, and I’ll put a link in there over to Jennifer’s new site, but I want to go back to… Oh, go ahead.
Jennifer: Yeah, it’s…
Ben: I’ll throw a link in the show notes, and…
Ben: People can just grab it.
Ben: What are your tips? If you’re going to take your book, and you’re going to give like, the top 3 tips from the book, to people who are listening in, whom, maybe they’re cycling instructors or maybe they just go to an indoor cycling class? If you were going to tell people how to get the most bang for their buck, out of a spin class or an indoor cycling class, what would be the top things that they could do? Let’s go ahead and initially say to get the most performance benefit out of an indoor cycling or spin class.
Jennifer: Okay! I have, there are so many but I have one, which I will put above all else and it’s probably the most challenging Ben. I know, for as instructors, they say “I can’t get my students to wear heart rate monitors” and one of the reasons is all those heart rate zones out there just don’t make sense because they’re based on max heart rate.
Jennifer: So my number 1 tip is to get a heart rate monitor, and to learn about threshold training. Forget the charts that say, 220 monitor rates. It’s like, you might want to put a blindfold on and throw darts, and you probably get better training zones.
Ben: Right! Because those charts don’t work. They’re really inaccurate.
Jennifer: When you learn they’re inaccurate. Now, threshold is somewhat complicated and I do described it in the book; lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold; there’s various ways to describe it, but basically in a nutshell, it’s the level where your body moves from predominantly aerobic metabolism to predominantly, much more anaerobic. You still use anaerobic metabolism above it. Some people think it’s a button. It switches on and off, but when you find out that intensity, and I’ll just take the numbers. Suppose it’s a heart rate of around 150, you can train so much more intelligently. Below it, you’re going to have to burn more fat but you don’t have to go easy to burn fat, you know, that’s kind of a myth out there.
Jennifer: You can still work all the way up to it and still burn fat and burn calories. When you work at that number, it’s challenging but it probably gives you the most bang for your buck for your workout because it really does a lot of very good things for you on a cellular and physiological level, and then you do intervals above it. So, you just mix those 3 things in, in a nice, balanced way, boom! That’s like the easiest way to get fit; balance your workouts, base it on threshold.
Ben: Awesome! So, number 1 tip…
Jennifer: That’s number 1.
Ben: Don’t use a maximum heart rate charts, use a heart rate monitor.
Ben: And use like, the threshold charts that you have in your book or the instructions you have in your book, based off of determining the threshold.
Ben: Cool. Alright, what’s number 2?
Jennifer: So, number 2. One of the things that indoor cyclists who don’t run outside, they have a hard time, and I totally understand. You don’t want to just sit in the saddle the whole time. It can get boring. You don’t have to do that. On the other hand, you want to try to avoid the constant up-down, up-down, up-down. Some instructors think they’re students are getting bored so I got to get them down. They’re constantly changing. If you’re used to changing every minute, or every 30 seconds, try to extend it. Sit in a saddle a little bit longer. See if you can try 3 minutes and then 4 minutes and 5 minutes. You know, you don’t have to go for 30 minutes seated flat. I’m not telling you that a cyclist would do that but, just try to extend the amount of time that you do each movement, and I’ll tell you what, you’re going to get stronger. You can improve on your leg speed, you’re going to work on your pedal stroke, you’re going to increase your muscular endurance and your strength, but all of that stuff is not going to happen if you’re constantly changing.
Ben: Gotcha! It’s a good point that you make that light for someone who is, say a cyclist or a tri-athlete, and they’ll think twice about just sitting on a bike for an hour and pedaling.
Ben: But yeah, it’s true that in indoor cycling, we use the up-down, up-down, up-down and that’s not necessarily the best way to be riding.
Jennifer: Now, and you know, their heart rate might be high but again, the heart rate is not always a good indication of work because there’s so many things that affect heart rate. If you’re lucky enough to go to a spin program or indoor cycling program that has bikes with power, you probably recognized that. It’s all about power output and not necessarily heart rate, but people like that up and down stuff because they get this false sensation that they’re getting such a great workout simply because their heart rate is high.
Ben: Alright. So, number 3 way that you could get the most bang for your buck out of an indoor cycling class, what would it be?
Jennifer: Keep it real. Keep it real means, the title of the book and the theme behind the book, if you think about it, if a cyclist wouldn’t do it outside, then there’s reasons for that. It’s because it’s going to make them cycle worse. They’re not going to be able to do what they’re doing very well if they’re squatting on the bike or if they’re holding their abdominals in tight or if they’re doing push-ups on the bike or if they’re doing any kind of twist or turn, or popping up and down. If a cyclist wouldn’t do it outdoors, you wouldn’t do it indoors. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t do drill indoors. We can do drills, but just leave the aerobics on a bike elsewhere, keep the weight off the bike, do them when you’re done, go in the weight room and do your bicep curls and your shoulder presses. Don’t do them while you’re cycling. Do your abdominal crunches off the bike. They don’t do anything for you when you’re sitting on the bike and pulling down towards the handle bars, it goes against everything we know about proper training.
Ben: Yeah! I learned to be an indoor cycling instructor, kind of in the typical, spin class environment. A lot of happy-clappy, up-down, get off the bike do push-ups, get back on or else, just put on 10 songs and everybody go hard when the song goes to the chorus type of thing.
Ben: After I’d instructed for about a year and a half or 2, I really started to get into triathlon and cycling, and began to use a lot of the physiological concepts that I’d learned in triathlon and cycling, and brought them into the spin class, so the class has became a lot more structured and a lot more similar to the type of workout you and do if you’re a cyclist or if you’re a tri-athlete, and even a non-cyclist and non-tri-athletes in that class just started to get results that were just through the roof, in terms of their like their, butt toning, the way their legs looked.
Ben: The amount of weight they were losing and calories they were burning, and the class was weightless only for the next 2 years until I quit instructing because…
Jennifer: Well, it’s too bad you quit because they could use you. I know you’re so busy with chores.
Ben: I know, I ran out of time.
Jennifer: Well, that reminds me of, along those lines, of an example. I was doing instructor certification done in Florida, it was in Miami years ago, in fact,. This one instance is one of the things that caught my brain thinking “Oh my God, there’s a disc connect out there” and so, I had instructors-to-be in the room and I was on the segment. We’re talking about proper cadence while seated on a flat road, and I actually had a metronome, which would, I could put it up to the microphone and it’d beat, and I was trying to get them to ride somewhere around 90 rpm, so 90 revolutions per minute were just pretty quick. She, one person, up in the front, was pedaling about 140 rpm and again, she looked like the roadrunner. Couldn’t see her legs. And so, I stood next to her and I held the metronome up so she can see light beeping and I was like “That’s one leg, come on. Let’s see, now add one resistance” so, she would add like a couple of millimeters at a time, I said “No, no. You got to add more. You never want to touch someone’s resistance, not if you want to inspire them to turn it up themselves” so finally, it took a long time but finally, she added enough that slowed her legs down to about 90 rpm and I said “There! That’s it.” and you know what she said?
Jennifer: She said “Oh, you mean a hill” and I went “No, no, no, no, that’s not a hill.” A flat road has resistance.
Jennifer: And so, non-cyclists may not understand that so, it’s always, it’s beneficial even if you don’t ride a bike. This is what I tell instructors: “Even if you don’t ride a bike, even if your students don’t ride a bike to get out and experience some of those things I’m talking about because a cyclist, pedaling at 140 rpm, you know what, they’re going to have to be in their granny gear and you and I know what a granny gear is; it’s that tiny gear that allows your feet to go fast, but if you’re on a flat road, a child on a tricycle will go faster than you.
Jennifer: So, we know outdoors, you would instinctively raise your gear so that you can pedal slower but make the bike go faster. Well, we’re missing that indoors so, they don’t have that movement or lack of forward movement on the bike to tell them that no, this 140 rpm is not very effective.
Jennifer: All of that is described in the book.
Ben: Yeah, and folks, definitely, this interview’s kind of in the winter so, you have to take an indoor cycling class or a spin class and something you’re interested getting into. I do recommend it but I recommend that before you step foot in there, you read Jennifer’s book so, I’ll put a link to the book in the show notes and for you indoor cycling instructors out there, check out the indoor cycling instructor website. I’ll put a link to that as well.
Jennifer: It’s called ICI Pro.
Ben: Yeah, ICI Pro. So, be sure to check that out as well. Jennifer, thank you so much for coming on the call today.
Jennifer: Well, it’s been my pleasure.
Ben: Awesome! Well folks, this is Ben Greenfield and Jennifer Sage, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. A well folk, that’s going to wrap up today’s podcast. Be sure to go to the show notes to get links to everything that we went over in this podcast; you do that by going to BenGreenfieldFitness.comand surfing down to podcast number 132 or using the handy search function that’s right there. By the way, all the podcasts are transcribed too. So, if you don’t like to listen to them, you can read them or if you’ve heard something that you don’t want to surf through an mp3 file to find, just go the website, do a search for the phrase that you were looking for, and you can just read that section of the podcast transcription, and typically, they’re transcribed within 2 weeks after they come out. Now, the last thing is of course, if you like the podcast, please go to Itunes, leave a ranking, leave a comment, and of course, if you haven’t subscribed yet in Itunes, be sure to subscribe because that really drives the ranking of the podcast up. Last thing, remember, if you have a podcast that you like to listen to, and you want to tell the host of that podcast to write me about having me onto their podcast, I would love to be a guest subject or interviewee. So, until next time. This is Ben Greenfield, signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com