Introduction: In this episode, 3 secrets to make you unstoppable, naked juice, microwaving peanuts, bee pollen extract, colostrum supplements, are chia seeds better than fish oil, achilles pain from bicycling, the fat burning zone, training for an ultramarathon, and a metallic taste in the mouth after exercise.
Hey folks, Ben Greenfield here from BenGreenfieldFitness.com and if you have no clue who I am and what this podcast is all about, you may want to go check out the website where I recently did a post entitled How I Went From A Two Hundred And Ten Pound Body Builder To A One Hundred And Seventy-Five Pound Iron Man Triathlete, and in that post, I give you a bunch of little fitness and nutrition tips that kind of cover quite a bit of the type of stuff that we go into on this show. Now today, we have an interview with a guy named Peter K. I’m going to keep his last name mysterious but he’s from peterkfitness.com. He’s got some awesome tips for achieving your goals and becoming unstoppable and particularly, he’s going to give us three different secrets that he uses. So he has a great interview with me later on after today’s Q and A. I have a new announcement to play for you about something I’m kind of excited about and then a few very timely announcements for this week that you’re going to want to tune in to.
Alright, first of all the most timely announcement is for you, triathletes out there. On Thursday, which is technically the day after this podcast comes out, I am teaching a triathlon lifestyle seminar for USA triathlon. It’s about how to train specifically for Ironman and generally for triathlon without neglecting your family or friends, your career. I’m going to be giving away tons of my personal tips and that seminar you can link to in the show notes to this episode, Episode #146 at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Now another cool opportunity for you if you like to make food and you have a recipe that you think is just kick butt, you can upload a photo of that recipe to your page or to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Facebook page and tag it with Ben Greenfield Fitness. Once you’ve tagged that photo, just write a few lines about how you prepared it, what goes into it, and you will be entered in to win a 1 hour consultation with me, one on one nutrition consultation. The best photo, the tastiest photo and best recipe’s going to win that consultation so this is at Facebook.com/BGFitness or you can just upload the photo to your personal Facebook page and tag it with Ben Greenfield Fitness and if you want to learn how to tag a photo, just go ask somebody who’s a ninja on Facebook, they’ll show you how, its pretty easy. Okay, also, I want you to send me photos via email, send me photos if you have a standing desk or a standing work station or a treadmill desk or any type of home made or store-bought contraption that allows you to exercise while you are working on a computer or working on a desk. I’m currently in the process of writing an article for BenGreenfieldFitness.com that is going to give away every secret you had ever need to know about how to burn more calories while you’re working and I would like to see your photos of what you have, put together, in terms of your standing workstation or treadmill desk. So if you have a photo, email it to [email protected]. So email me your photo of your standing workstation and of course if you email the photo, make sure that there’s nothing in there that you wouldn’t want appearing in public at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. So you know, if you get your tax statement out on your desk, you may want to shove that off to the side before you snap the photo. Alright aside from that, that about wraps up our special announcements, so we’re going to jump right in to this weeks listener Q and A.
Great news! Once we finish today’s Q and A, we will be totally caught up on questions. So if you submit a question, you can be ensured you’re not going to be waiting at a long time for me to answer it and if you do want to submit a question, you can use the Ask Ben form over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. You can call your question in, toll free, to 8772099439 or you could use the free iPhone app or free android app that you can get over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and just click the Ask Ben button on that phone app.
Mike asks: I just wanted to know your opinion on naked juice.
Ben answers : Now naked juice is something you see all over the place, tons of coffee shops, you know, airport stands, grocery stores, convenient stores, everybody has this naked juice and it advertises a no sugar added fruit and vegetable based smoothie. Now they have varying amounts of ingredients but the underlying theme across all of them is they advertise, really, like how many pound or how many servings of the fruit equivalent that they actually have packed in to these little bottles and you know, initially, if you are easily deceived by this type of advertising, it seems really impressive and really, really healthy. So for example, if we look at their Berry Veggie Smoothie and we turn it around and we look at the ingredient label, we see that it has sweet cherry puree, purple carrot juice from concentrate, red beet juice from concentrate, sweet potato purees, strawberry puree, plum puree, sweet corn puree, apple puree, chick pea puree, lemon juice and then a bunch of natural flavors and they inject a few vitamins into that. The actual calories advertised in the bottle are a hundred and thirty until you look closer and you see that there are actually two servings per container so it is technically two hundred and sixty calories. And interestingly, in one single serving there are 37 grams of carbohydrate or in the actual bottle because nobody on the face of the planet that I know of, drinks a half bottle of naked juice. The entire bottle has just a little over 70 grams of carbohydrate. Now, interestingly because the primary amount of the carbohydrate is derived from fruit, this is a fructose based sugar and for a long time fructose was thought to be kind of a healthier choice for sugars because it doesn’t cause your blood sugar to rise. It has what’s called a low glycemic index and for something like the American Diabetic Association would seem first glance to be a good thing. The issue is that when you eat a non-fructose based sugar like glucose, that enters into your blood stream and your pancreas releases insulin and the insulin tends to cause that sugar to primarily get stored away as carbohydrate energy in your muscles or in your liver, less likely to get converted into triglycerides, less likely to get converted into fat, compared to fructose which doesn’t cause that same insulin response. Fructose is shuttled to deliver, its processed in the liver and when a bunch of fructose enters the liver, all at one time which is very much the case when you consume one of these naked juices, the liver cannot process all of that fructose fast enough for your body to use it as any usable energy source so it makes fats from the fructose. It converts them and it sets them off in the blood stream as triglycerides and so you end up getting these high levels of circulating fat and potential for a lot of fat deposition on the waist line or wherever you tend to deposit fat and the other issue with excessive fructose consumption is, it can facilitate insulin resistance and eventually, Type II diabetes. So naked juice, while at first glance, it appears to be healthy, it is something that I would recommend you only consume in the presence of exercise or immediately post physical activity. When the fructose that you consume is a little bit less likely to get converted into fat in the liver or the triglycerides that it is converted into, are more likely to be broken down and used as energy, that’s about the only time that I would recommend you eat these huge amounts of fructose. If you wake up in the morning and you plan on exercising like, in the mid-morning or even close to the lunch hour, this would be another example where consuming something like this is like a breakfast smoothie wouldn’t be that bad assuming you really, truly are going to be exercising and using a high amount of carbohydrate based energy later on in the day fairly close to your breakfast. So otherwise be careful with naked juice.
Pam asks: I really enjoy dry roasted in the shell, unsalted peanuts, do you know if microwaving the peanuts for a couple of minutes will eliminate the afflatoxin?
Ben answers : And the afflatoxin that Pam is referring to is basically a mold or a fungus that can form in anything that grows underground but in particularly peanuts especially peanuts that are grown in less dry or less arrid climates and so because of that peanuts have potential for some mold or some fungus that can cause some damage to your metabolic process. Peanuts also happen to be one of the most pesticide contaminated crops and so, if you’re going to use peanut at all, not only do I recommend that you choose like an organic pesticide free peanut but I also recommend that you choose a peanut that’s grown in dry conditions that’s not going to cause as many problems with this afflatoxin based mold. A couple of brands that would kind of fall into that category would be aero-head mills and I believer there’s another one called Maranatha that makes a decent, kind of dry aired organic peanut. But the reason that I don’t highly recommend peanuts as your primary snack or nut source compared to something like pumpkin seeds or raw almonds, is that peanuts have a very high Omega 6 fatty acid content compared to their Omega 3 fatty acid and Omega 6 is more of the pro inflammatory fatty acid whereas the Omega 3 is more of the anti inflammatory fatty acid. And while you do need certain amounts of Omega 6s in your diet, most people get way too many of the Omega 6s which is why peanuts are really not the best snack choice. Now for something like peanut butter, you can lower the Omega 6 content by getting the type that you stir and literally pouring the oil off when you open a peanut butter jar and then stirring the peanut butter after you poured the oil off. And if that just makes it too dry for you, you could take an oil that’s lower in Omega 6 content, higher in Omega 3 content like an olive oil or a macadamia oil and you could add that in to the peanut butter after you’ve dumped out some of the peanut oil. So a little bit of management there but that would be kind of the best case scenario if you really want to have peanut butter, buy an organic version like the aero-head mills, dump off the top of the oil and put in some olive oil or some macadamia nut oil, if it’s getting too dry for your taste. The other kind of cool tip I can give you for peanut butter is you can add in more protein. You can increase the protein content of your peanut butter too and this is kind of a cool thing for vegetarians, if you take some brewers yeast and you put a little bit of brewers yeast in the peanut butter, that’ll amp up the protein content and not affect the flavor too deleteriously. But back to your question about microwaving the peanuts, if you’re going to do peanuts at all after everything that I just said, I don’t recommend that you microwave them and I’m not going to go into the reason why, instead I’m going to put a link in the show notes to a podcast that my wife and I did. It’s Inner Circle Podcast #1 and it’s called “Is Microwaving Food Bad”. You can listen to that by following the link that I’m going to put right there in the show notes underneath your question. So go to Podcast #146 show notes and it’ll be right there for you. By the way, for those of you like to read rather than listen to past podcast episodes, I now have a very handy link, right when you visit BenGreenfieldFitness.com, upper right hand corner full link to all of the podcast transcriptions where we transcribed the hundred and forty-three of them out a hundred and forty-six so you should have access to a ton of info if you want to go back and read any of the podcast or kind of pick and choose or like open it and do a word search for a certain topic that you’re looking for.
Joe says: I’ve heard you tell the benefits of pollen extract paired with zinc for increasing testosterone levels.
Ben answers: I’m going to throw this in here, it’s really not necessarily for increasing testosterone levels as much as slowing down the break down of testosterone or decreasing the breakdown of testosterone to the more estrogen like or what are called aromatisis. Anyways, that’s why I take a pollen extract.
Joe: I went to a local health food store and I couldn’t find pollen extract, I did find bee pollen, is there a presumable difference between the extract you suggest and the bee pollen more readily available?
Ben answers: Well, there definitely are differences between like flower pollen or rye pollen extract which is what I use in something called ProstElan and bee pollen. Bee pollen can be a lot higher in contaminants just because there are a ton of different contaminants that can be found in the pollen traps that they use to harvest. The bee pollen, along with things like bacteria and fungi can be contaminated with rodent feces. So there are some issues with bee pollen and they do radiate some of the bee pollen to clear away some of these contaminants but that’s not entirely effective. Bee pollen has a really hard outer layer, just hard outer husk and that’s very difficult for your body to breakdown and digest so you don’t get as many nutritional benefits from the bee honey or the bee pollen compared to flower pollen which actually tends to have the husk removed more than the bee pollen so you get better absorption from the flower pollen. A lot of people are really allergic to the bee pollen and so it tends to cause us allergenic reaction and you tend to get a lot less of that with flower pollen. And bee pollen, in terms of its collection process, is something that’s not standardized in the industry and so scientific testing with reliability of results really isn’t accessible for something like bee pollen whereas that is something that is a little bit more standardized with flower pollen. So I’m just a bigger fan all around for flower pollen. The ProstElan stuff that I take that has that flower pollen extract in it is not just for testosterone. It’s also for your prostate health, I tend to ride a bicycle a lot and spend a lot of time in the saddle so I’m concerned about soft tissue inflammation and prostate health issues so it’s got zinc and copper in it. Both of which can help with prostate health and also enhance your white blood cell function so they step up the immune function a little bit. It’s got lycopene in it which it shows very strong promise in terms of its risk reduction potential for prostate cancer and it’s got a lot of phytosterols in there too, which also are inflammatory reducing compounds. So that’s the stuff I take, I’ll put a link to it in the show notes. I’d go for flower pollen over bee pollen when you can. Very, useful for relaxing your smooth muscle, preventing things like urinary track infections, reducing prostate inflammation, getting zinc into the prostate, helping you clear DHT from the body which can be another issue when it comes to maximizing testosterone levels. And so it’s really something that I recommend. I take two every morning, more than that when I’m riding my bike a lot, so great question.
Mickey asks: Today, during the tour of California coverage, elliptical chain rings were brought up. Is there any benefit for me for my triathlon? Will it help save my legs for the run?
Ben answers: Well, elliptical chain rings are actually something I’ve used. I used something called Q rotor rings for about three years and the idea is they’re not round chain rings; they’re kind of slightly oval shaped. At first glance, they look round, if you look at them more closely, they’re definitely oval shaped and the reason that they’re oval shaped is they’re theoretically supposed to minimize the dead spot in your pedal stroke so the top and then the bottom of the pedal stroke. If you’re riding with the circular chain ring, then usually you wouldn’t be able to produce any power at the top and at the bottom of the pedal stroke and you avoid both those weak phases when you use an oval based or elliptical based chain ring. And a lot of people really swear by them. However, there have been studies that have been done on elliptical chain rings versus round chain rings and absolutely no difference was found in performance variables when using the elliptical chain rings. That being said, I really haven’t seen much done in terms of having people do a long bike event like say the equivalent of a 50 mile bike ride and then get off and run and compare the performance with elliptical chain rings versus non-elliptical chain rings. So it’s tough to say but I can tell you, they worked very well for me. The main reason that I don’t use them anymore is because I got rid of the bike that had my elliptical chain rings installed and in the process of getting rid of that bike and picking up another bike, I got a very good deal on a type of crank that measures your power and so I’m using that crank now rather than using this elliptical chain ring and I can definitely feel a little bit of a difference in my pedal stroke but I haven’t noticed that it negatively affects my running capability. There are several pro-cyclist though that use these elliptical chain rings so Q rotor ring is the company that’s probably most popular for making these elliptical chain rings.
Jeremy asks: I heard the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast recently about colostrum, so I ended up looking at the colostrum and my question is, can you tell me why the product you mentioned is better than say the swanson vitamins brand? The one that you recommend is from goat and most others seem to be from cows.
Ben answers: Well, that’s a great question, if you want to go back and listen to that colostrum podcast, it was really interesting, it was Podcast #144 and I take colostrum everyday now for my immune function, for my gut health, I’m really enjoying it. It made a big difference in the way that my gut feels especially during exercise when I’m eating. So the reasons that I would choose the Mount Capra goat milk colostrum that I recommend versus a generic brand cow-based colostrum aside from the fact that the cow-based colostrum is more expensive, is that goat milk is a better match for human consumption versus cow milk. Goat milk protein, goat milk colostrum, anything from a goat because a goat and a goat’s protein are closer biologically to those of the human are going to be better than cow milk and I did a whole podcast on this once called goats milk versus cows milk that you can go listen to. If you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com, the search function that I have on the website is really good. If you type in goat’’ milk, you’ll find that podcast almost right off the bat, it’ll be one of the top hits. So the next reason that I really like to use this colostrum that I recommend is it’s from this small business, tiny little family farm, out in Central Washington. You get complete quality assurance there’s no hormones, no antibiotics, no dangerous chemicals, that’s another reason that I like this form of colostrum. Another reason is that they really use a very gentle processing for this colostrum and so all of the active components like the lactoferrin and the immuno-globulins, and all the things that were discussed in the podcast, those haven’t been tampered with by invasive processing techniques and you can’t say that for a lot of the bigger companies that are using bovine cow-based colostrum, you’re just not going to get the same type of quality. So that’s why I would choose the Mount Capra colostrum over any of the other cow-based colostrums that you’re going to find out there, you know, floating around the health food store. You know, its just like fish oil, you really kind of get what you pay for and in this case, you still get three times as much colostrum in one of the Capra colostrum capsules and it’s far less pricey than many of the other colostrum compounds you’re going to find out there. So I will make sure that I will put a link to that in the show notes for you, Jeremy.
Jackie asks: I heard chia seeds have all the essential Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids, is this true and are they in the correct ratio? Can chia seeds replace fish oil as a vegetarian option and are they better than flax seed?
Ben answers : Well, I’ve talked about chia seeds before on this show and I do like them better. If you were just to straight up compare them to flax seeds, they do have a better Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acid ratio. They do have a higher amounts of ALA or what’s called alpha linoleic acid in them which is that essential fatty acid that ends up getting transformed by the human body into the EPA and the DHA which are the two forms of fat that are highly beneficial for multiple reasons. And chia seeds also have good antioxidant activity. They got a bunch of B Vitamins in them, they’re pretty mineral packed and they’re fairly digestible. Their outer layer is basically like a soluble fiber. It absorbs a ton of water so when it’s mixed with water, when its mixed with say like stomach juice, the seeds form this gel that creates a barrier between carbohydrates and digestive enzymes and so the carbohydrates are digested a lot easier, they get converted into blood glucose very slowly. Really good for like, slow endurance activity, you can grind up chia seeds, put them in water, keep them over night, they turn into a gel, you can put that in a flask and take out with you on like an easy run or a long slow bike ride, you know. It still is going to take a longer time to digest. I don’t recommend you use it during you know, fast work out or anything where you need fast carbohydrates or don’t want to be digesting food in your stomach, but chia seeds are definitely better than flax seeds when it comes to overall nutritional profile. Now unfortunately, they don’t really hold a candle to fish oil and I’m going to put kind of a little graphic that shows you why in the show notes but what happens is when you consume flax seed oil or ground chia seed or anything else, you get this alpha linoleic acid and there is a process that takes place in your body. There’s different enzymes like delta six saturates and conversion to stearidonic acid then eicosatrienoic acid and then you get another enzyme called delta five d saturates and all the stuff acts on the alpha linoleic acid and eventually turns it into EPA and DHA which act in your body as these potent kind of anti inflammatory compounds. However, when you consume fish oil, you get a ton of EPA and DHA without needing to engage in that alpha linoleic acid breakdown and so you don’t go through this long process and you get way more EPA and DHA than you’re ever going to get from a ton of chia seed in that ALA form. So in my opinion, best case scenario is you take your fish oil. That’s going to be jam packed with these concentrated sources of your EPA and DHA and then you use chia seeds as basically like nutrition, like something that you have kind of on the side. You take them out on a run; you use them as a calorie source, the type of things that I just mention a little bit ago. If you are vegan, if you are not wanting to consume any animal based products, if you are concerned about purity, having metals in fish oil, things of that nature, then that would be the reason to just only stick with like a flax seed oil or a chia seed but if you go for a real pure fish oil like a Pharmax based fish oil, it’s typically not an issue, so good question. And there’s been a few interviews with Richard Cohen from bioletics that I’ve done on this podcast. Great listening, if you go back and listen to the fatty acid interview that we did with him. If you’re head was just spinning with that ALA-EPA-DHA talk that I was giving, he does a really good job breaking it down. We spend a good thirty, forty-five minutes talking about it so go back and listen to any of the interviews with Dr. Cohen on BenGreenfieldFitness.com.
Mark says: I just bought a new stationary bike trainer to aid my cross training for my marathon. I love the bike and the additional training at odd hours and bad weather is great but the problem I’m having is with the toe clips, I believe they’re causing Achilles pain that I feel when I run. The pain is really close to the heel. I switched shoes but that didn’t make a difference, I lowered the saddle but that didn’t make a difference, I decided to remove the toe clips next, any ideas that might help?
Ben answers: Well, I have one recommendation to make to you, Mark, and that would be that anytime you’re getting calf pain, heel pain, Achilles pain, anything like that, what you would ideally do on your bike is reduce the amount to which you are actually using the cavs or specifically reduce the amount of loading that’s taking place out on your toe because the more loading that takes place out around your toe or the front of your foot and the closer to the front of the foot that loading takes place, the more torque is going to be required to be generated by the muscles in the back of the leg that are responsible for plantar flexions, or for pointing of the toe and so from a pure biomechanical standpoint, the best thing you can do would be to have your foot centered over the pedal. Unfortunately, toe clips keep you from doing that. Now what I do on my bike and what I actually recommend to most long distance triathletes don’t need to be using a ton of calf muscles while they are bicycling just because that’s really necessary from you’re sprinting a lot or changing positions a lot, is I move my cleats very, very far back on my bike shoe and that allows me to pedal with more of the middle of my foot than the front of my foot and prevents over utilization of the calfs. Now if you remove the toe clips from your bike, it’s going to achieve that same effect although what happens if you remove the toe clips, is you also lose that ability to kind of pull up over the top of the stroke. So best case scenario is you simply replace the pedals on the stationary bike with the type of cleats that you can clip into with bike shoes and you position the cleats on your bike shoes about half way down the shoe so that you’re not pedaling with the front of the foot and you’re pedaling more with the middle of the foot. That would be the best case scenario and if you can’t switch out the pedals on your stationary bike then, yes, removing the toe clips would also work, so I hope that helps.
H.K. Sparky says: As I’ve learned, we trained at the top of the fat burning zone in order to teach our bodies how to burn fat.
Ben: And yes, what H.K Sparky says is correct, I love that name H.K. Sparky. What they say is correct that you do want to do lots of training in your fat burning zone to get your body to be more efficient at burning fat. Not for weight loss, I don’t really recommend that for weight loss, I recommend it more for competitive events where you need to be burning fat efficiently. For just pure weight loss, you usually get better results just doing quick fast interval training because you end up burning calories and boosting your metabolism to a greater extent. But H.K. Sparky says, as I’ve learned, we train at the top of the fat burning zone in order to teach our bodies how to burn fat and they he kind of breaks it into three parts. He says, number one: why bother teaching our bodies how to burn fat more efficiently when we race well into our carb burning zone? And H.K Sparky, I’m assuming he’s talking about like, triathlons, marathons, things of that nature. I know a lot of people that do those type of things listening to this show and the answer to that is when you train to teach your body how to burn fat more efficiently at any given pace, your body burns just the slightly greater percentage of fat, meaning that there’s a carbohydrate sparing effect and when there’s a carbohydrate sparing effect, you have that much more carbohydrate that you can dip into during exercise and so you can go that much more time before becoming exhausted. So what you’re doing is when you teach your body to burn more fat or train in the fat burning zone, you’re not doing that because you plan on competing in the same kind of low fat burning zone. You’re doing it because you’re teaching your body how to skew that percentage of fat and carbohydrates that it burns at higher intensities more towards the fat side. So the second part of H.K Sparky’s question is he says, is it possible to train my body so that the top of my fat burning heart rate zone allows me to run at my race pace?
The top of your fat burning heart rate zone or the point at which your body is utilizing the greatest amount of fat as a percentage of the total calories that it’s burning is an intensity that for most people is the equivalent of kind like about a, depending on how much fat burning training you’ve done, anywhere from about 55 to 70 % intensity. So if you’re competing in some type of event where you really don’t need to go faster than about 70% intensity, then yes, you can absolutely train your body to get up to, you know close to that 70% mark, that’d be for example, you hear about this Bob Seebohar guy, a nutritionist who recently wrote a book called Metabolic Efficiency. The whole idea behind his book is he tell us, it will do lots of training where you’re teaching your body how to burn fat more efficiently because its been proven in research that what happens is when you do that you can go harder at a higher fat burning percentage. So whereas if you are untrained, rolling off your couch, you go out and try and train at your peak fat burning zone, maybe you could cover a mile in fourteen minutes by walking or jogging or running your peak fat burning zone but if you’re really in shape, you can go faster in your peak fat burning zone and your peak fat burning zone occurs at higher intensities so you might be able to run you know, let say an eight minute mile in your peak fat burning zone. So to a certain extent, training to or racing or competing at your peak fat burning zone will allow you to operate at race pace but only for anything about a slow as say like an Ironman triathlon. So for example, just to give you an idea of how this practically is laid out, I went to a Lab. I did what is called an indirect calorimetry test, which is also basically like a VO2 max test, it tracks how much carb and how much fat I’m burning at every different heart rate from me just at a complete stand still on my bicycle all the way up to me going as hard as I can on my bicycle. And at a certain point between completely easy and completely hard, there is a point where my total amount of fat that I’m utilizing peaks and there is a heart rate associated with that peak and there is a power associated with that peak. Now if I can take that heart rate and that power and be right at that intensity during something like a Century bike ride or an Ironman triathlon bike ride, that is the money zone and for 99% of people, you will have the performance of your life if you’re in that zone. Now for the athletes that I work with who maybe don’t have that type of testing available to them or who are doing more like an approximation of the fat burning zone, they’re using a method to determine that fat burning zone that is a little bit different than going to a lab and putting a mask on. What they’re doing is doing what’s called a lactate threshold test. I take the results from that test. I plug it into an equation and I breakdown their training into five zones. So one, two, three, four and five and then we shoot for Zone 3 during Ironman and Zone 3 correlates very well to that fat burning zone.
So finally, H.K. Sparky third part of the question says, when you run your 1 hour and 30 minute half marathon in a Half Ironman, are you burning predominantly fat?
Assuming this question is directed directly to me because I recently just did the Wildflower triathlon and my run time there was about 130, the answer is definitively no. There is no way I am burning predominantly fat. I am in the pain cave, my muscles are burning. I am breathing hard. I am sucking air especially for the last 5K of that half marathon. I am trying to picture my happy place in my head because it hurts so bad and there is no way that I’m burning predominantly fat anytime that your experiencing all those symptoms, it’s a sign that you have a ton of lactic acid on board and anytime you have a ton of lactic acid on board, that’s a sign that you’re burning primarily, carbohydrate. I would say base off the test that I’ve seen, of myself in a lab, I’m close to about 80 to 85% carbohydrate utilization at that pace and 15 to 20 % fat so, good question. There’s your physiology 101 for the day, I hope that helps.
Paul says: I’m planning on running a 50 mile ultra-marathon. My question is, what type of training would you recommend?
Ben answers: Also with running mileage, I assume that cross training would be minimal. Well ultra running, when we’re talking about ultra running, we’re talking about running you know, anywhere from basically a marathon mileage on up or something greater than marathon mileage on up so you know, a 100K, a 54 miles. Those are the type of distances that you’re doing for ultra-marathon. Now there is one key session that if you didn’t do anything else during the entire week that you’d want to be doing for an ultra-marathon and that would be spending lots of time on your feet, running slow, running long. And most ultra-marathon running plans will have you progressing from running 10 miles on the weekend to 12 miles on the weekend to 20 miles on the weekend. Depending on the plan that you do and the distance that you’re training for, you could be getting up to 30 to 40 miles as a single run on a weekend or you know, could be in a mid week, it just kind of depends. Most people based on their jobs have to do their main ultra-running training session on the weekend. That session, even though it’s slow, it will break you. You will take a while to recover from training runs of that magnitude. And for that reason, you can’t run a ton while you’re ultra-marathon training. You can’t do a ton of two a days and in some cases, not even a ton of one a days. Kind of the bare minimum would be, you do that one long run on the weekend and then you do after you’ve recovered like say, Wednesday or Thursday. You do more of a pace run so you do a tempo run or you do some speed work or you do some hill repeats and in between that long run and that mid week pace run, you can do cross training, you can do swimming, elliptical trainer, cycling, things that aren’t going to over use those running muscles but that are still going to train your lungs and your cardiovascular system for performance. Now, if you look at something like Hal Higdon, Hal Higdon is a pretty famous running coach. He’s been around for a long time, not that that makes you a good running coach but he has proven himself. He’s got some good athletes that he coaches, some good programs, his ultra-marathon program if you look at, I could see he’s got kind of some sample schedules on the internet. He basically has cross training on Monday and then kind of some mid distance runs and anywhere from like the 4 to 8 mile range on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, rest day Friday. Tempo or kind of speed work on Saturday and then a really, really long run on Sunday. That in my opinion is a fairly aggressive program and I don’t want to be presumptive here but if I could rearrange that program, I would take that speed session that he’s got the day before you go out and do your really long run and I would instead put that speed session mid week and either have a really easy run the day before the long run or even a cross training session or a rest day. So, if you were to kick me out my front door right now and tell me to go train for an ultra-marathon, based on the coaching that I’ve done with athletes and my understanding of human physiology, I would be doing speed work once a week, preferably mid week. I would be doing a long, long slow run on the weekends and I would start at just that with cross training all the other days. After about four weeks, I’d add in a third day of running, probably like an easier recovery day, a little bit more time on the feet and I would correlate that again mid week like a Tuesday or a Thursday and then maximum number of days running per week if I were to be training for an ultra-marathon would be 4 days of running per week and that fourth day, I would throw in, would be addressing a fitness limitation and for me that’s typically some type of strength work like out in the hills doing hill repeats or doing like a rolling hills run where you’re attacking some of the hills and everything else from that, swimming, elliptical trainers, cycling. So ultimately though, start everything from that one big long run, add in one mid week kind of speed work type of run and then from there, fill in the holes to pay in your experience, your limitations, the amount of time you have trained.
Alright, one more question before I move on to our interview with Peter K. And by the way you, guys, if you enjoy this type of advice and this podcast mean something to you, please go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com, hit the donate button and all I ask for is a $1 donation. It’s a monthly $1 and it helps me, basically, what’s that doing is it covers my cost for all of the downloads of this podcast because I have to pay every time everybody downloads. I have to pay for that space, for that bandwidth space that occurs and it’s costing more money as the podcast gets more popular and that’s why in the past couple of months, I’ve kind of stepped up, asking for donations just because it really started to dig kind of deep into my own pocket book and so, if everybody that listens donated a dollar, we’d be awesome, we’d be good to go, it would cover those expenses.
Paul says: I have had something really strange happened to me after a race recently. After completing a 14 mile trail run, I sat down and when I stood back up and reached for my water, I got this crazy taste in my mouth that tasted like fillings and my hands started to tingle. This lasted about a minute or two. I was a bit under trained and probably a bit dehydrated but this never happened before, any clue?
Ben answers: Alright, here is the most likely reason for why this happened. So when you are exercising hard, what happens is, in everybody, the heart becomes somewhat unable to keep up with the physical demands that you’re placing on it and this can also happen when you sit down or become prone or lay down after a long event and your heart has to play a bunch of catch up trying to pump all this blood that’s pulling in your muscle. So both of those scenarios, both of those exercise and sitting down or lying dead after an exercise, can put extra strain on your heart and so what happens during exercise or in those situations is you get this kind of light form of heart failure or poor heart performance and what happens is usually your heart pumps out just as much blood as it’s kind of pulling or pumping in. Now, if one part of that pump is not performing as well as it could, then you get fluid, blood fluid accumulating where it shouldn’t be accumulating. So for example, the left ventricle is the part of your heart that’s responsible for pumping all that blood out into the rest of the body and if the left ventricle doesn’t pump all the blood out because the heart is over worked or its got a bunch of pressure to pump against, or there’s too much blood pulling in the extremities, what happens is the right ventricle of your heart can actually cause the pumping of that blood into the lungs, just a little bit of it, so you get a little bit of fluid accumulation, you get a little bit of edema in the lungs and that edema or that fluid accumulation includes red blood cells. So red blood cells are the units in your blood that carry hemoglobin which is the molecule that carries oxygen and one of the key components of hemoglobin is iron and so you get this back flow of blood and fluid from the heart back into the lungs. You get this iron that’s in that blood flow or that fluid and when you’re breathing in and out, some of that is basically vaporized or tasted in your taste buds because there is definitely a direct connection between your lungs and your mouth. So you’re tasting iron, you’re getting that kind of metallic signal sent to your brain because your tongue has receptors on it that can definitely sense iron. So what happens is that if you’re well trained, your ventricle is able to kind of step up its game and meet all of its demands and the right ventricle doesn’t have the back flow of blood, it doesn’t have the ability to pump blood out into your lungs or that excess blood out into your lungs. You get the fluid cleared out. You don’t get red blood cells accumulating in your lungs and by you saying that you’re under trained, a little bit of dehydration, a little bit of blood volume going along with that, this is most likely what happened. So everybody experiences this to some extent especially when they’re exercising very hard but its nothing to necessarily worry about unless its happening to you all the time and in that case you may want to actually go and have your heart looked at. I’m not a doctor, this is not medical advice but that would be my recommendation if it were me and I was just getting this metallic taste all the time after every session, I’d go get my heart checked out. So I hope that helps and I hope all of these questions helped you out. We’re going to have a quick special announcement and then we’ll move on to this week’s interview with Peter K.
Ben: Hey folks, this is Ben Greenfield and with me today is a fitness and lifestyle expert named Peter K. Peter is a world renowned speaker; he is an author, health and success coach, nutritionist, physical therapist. He’s been on ABC, FOX, MSN, TLC, fitness magazine. He’s created a program called 5 minutes to fitness and in addition to his extensive educational background and experience on the fitness scene, he’s got some interesting philosophies and theories on how you can achieve success both professionally and personally. So Peter, thank you for coming on the call today.
Peter: My pleasure Ben, thank you!
Ben: You know, I was looking over some of the things that you actually talk about and I wanted to ask you some questions about some things that I thought were unique about what you have over at peterkfitness.com and the first that you say over there that I noticed was, you say food is for energy not emotions, what does that mean?
Peter: Right. Well, we all know and if we don’t know, we should know that this and I’m telling you now, we eat for emotional reasons and it’s very often we aren’t aware of that. That’s where comfort foods come in and that’s okay once in a while, and if it is once in a while. The challenge becomes when people are eating to fulfill emotional response. They’re overwhelmed, they’re stressed, they’re not feeling good about themselves, they’ve got something they’ve got to do and they’re procrastinating and they go to the food to make themselves feel better. The reason that food makes them feel better, Ben, and you know this, is because of the chemistry that comes with it. It’s about chemistry. Fat, sugar and salt taste really good for a reason. It’s a survival technique because we need those calories and it also sets up a cascade of a chemical wash in the brain that releases all these feel good chemicals. Like serotonin and dopamine, and so we become addicted to them and we start eating foods to feel better. The problem is that if we eat too much fat, sugars, and salt, guess what happens, we’re overweight, we become unhealthy, we develop these diseases that so many of us are suffering with.
Ben: Gotcha. Now, you know, when it comes to emotional eating, if food causes this release of dopamine and serotonin and kind of has this feel good effect, if we’re only eating food for energy or only food for fuel, isn’t there kind of a chance that we just turn into robots when it comes to food?
Peter: Great question. That’s not going to happen. In my experience, I mean anything is possible, Ben, but it’s not going to happen because there are still a pleasure and an enjoyment around food and it’s more of the people you’re socializing with. It’s the events, you know, whether it’s a birthday party, anniversary, a celebration, you could still enjoy those things but we’re just not going to obsess about the food that’s going to be there and we’re trying not to say “well, I’m not going to eat this, I’m not going to eat that” and when you do that, all you focus on is what you’re actually going to eat and foods that you don’t want to eat too much of. So we don’t have to be robots, we don’t have to take all of the pleasure out of foods. We can still enjoy the texture, the aromas, the taste, certainly. What I’m saying is, let’s not look at food to make us feel better. Let’s feel better doing other things like you know, training our bodies and being with people that we love and let’s just use food for the energy and let’s enjoy the components of food, not for making us feel better, yeah?
Ben: Gotcha. And you know, my last question about this particular topic, do you have certain strategies, tricks, supplements, anything along those lines that helps people who find that they are emotional eaters?
Peter: Absolutely! First and foremost, identify the emotion, identify when you’re anxious, when you’re stressed, when you’re overwhelmed, and just take a few seconds to acknowledge it and say “hey, I’m stressed, I’m overwhelmed, I’m feeling really down” and figure out why you feel that way. And what that’ll do is it’ll help you step away from the situation for a second and really determine what is going on and it also helps you stop reacting emotionally. And one of the ways we do that is by over eating and looking and searching for those foods. So it just gives you a moment of clarity and say “okay!” you know, every time my in-law calls or my boss looks into the room or this happens, I get stressed and I usually react by eating a brownie or eating that bag of chips and so a strategy is acknowledge the stress, acknowledge that you’re feeling it and then come up with different strategies to feel better besides eating food like making a phone call, talking to that person that might be causing some of the stress, you know, having a conversation with a really close friend, a mentor, a coach, those are strategies that will help you get pass this and you’ll deal with the stress better than overeating.
Ben: Gotcha. Okay, cool! The other thing I noticed that you said, the second thing was you say, exercise is for stamina and strength, not for punishment. Now why would you say something like that?
Peter: Right, cause we all know the people that, and they’re well intentioned, they’re trying to do the right thing but they tell themselves all week long, let’s say they’re doing cardiovascular because most people think in order to lose weight, they’ve got to kill themselves on that treadmill or they got to get on the run, or get on the Stairmaster, elliptical, whatever it is, for that hour, hour and a half, and really beat themselves up and one of the reasons is, again, so they can lose weight or they’re doing it because of the guilt of eating the brownies or the cake last night or falling off the wagon or drinking too much and the way they’re going to solve that problem is by punishing themselves on the treadmill and whatever their exercise is, and what happens is, and think about this how powerful this is, we learn to associate exercise with pain or guilt or frustration or something bad, you know, we were bad so we have to exercise to make ourselves better and it just creates this negative experience. Is it any wonder why when it comes to do your next work out, you get up off the couch, you get up early in the morning and you don’t want to because in your brain, you’re thinking negative, pain. So instead, Ben, I tell my clients to do, whether they’re athletes, an athlete or just a regular person, an everyday person, focus on what you want most in your life and then train your body to get it. Get stronger, increase your endurance, and prove your self esteem. When you can’t fit in to your pants in the morning and you’re wearing clothes that you feel good in, you’re going to feel better, you’re going to have more confidence. Use exercise or training to get those things, not to beating yourself up for being bad.
Ben: Gotcha. Now, in terms of people exercising for stamina, for strength,that makes sense, what do you think about people exercising for accomplishment? Because you know, in my experience, I’ve been a personal trainer and a fitness coach, I found that when people sign up to accomplish something like a 5k or a triathlon of something of that nature, they also seem to stray away from that simple exercise to burn calories approach. Have you found that to be the case with your clients?
Peter: Yeah, I agree with you a thousand percent about that because there’s purpose there. There’s an outcome, there’s an end goal and there’s accountability. So if they hire you to coach them, to train them, then they’re accountable to you. The amazing thing about this is we are more likely to do something so we don’t let someone else down, than doing it for ourselves, you know what I mean. So I hire you as my trainer and I’m accountable to you, you give me a great training plan, a great eating plan, and guess what, I don’t want to let you down so I’m going to be more likely to follow through because I know at the end of the week, you’re going to say “well, how did you do with your training?” and you know, what’s going on, how can we make this a better experience and then ultimately, if there is an end goal, whether it’s a 5k or a triathlon, whatever it is, that’s an incredible accomplishment and doing that is frightening for a lot of us but when we have someone like you, Ben, who’s guiding us, who’s saying, hey, here’s how you do it, you’re going to be fine, we’re going to do it step by step, its an incredible sense of empowerment and at the end of the day, you’re not just losing weight and being healthy. You’ve accomplished something that you could be proud of, tell your kids about it, tell your wife or your girlfriend or whoever it is and say, hey, I did this myself with the help of my coach, my trainers, and I feel great about this, I’m empowered.
Ben: Interesting! Now, when you’re looking at somebody who has been exercising for punishment and maybe has turned themselves into kind of like a mouse on a wheel where they just go to the gym because it’s almost like they’re addicted to exercise and they’re exercising because they almost feel like they have to because of punishment or burning calories or they ate too much or whatever. How does somebody get off that wheel?
Peter: That’s a great question because you know, Ben, you probably met people like this. A lot of people do this to themselves. They’re that mouse on that wheel, and they’re stuck on that treadmill, on that rollercoaster, I call it, and every Monday morning they’re saying, “Well back to the routine! I got to beat myself up again to do this thing”, and one way that really focuses people, it’s a simple question and I ask all my clients this, what do you love most? If it was going to come true, if you’re going to walk out of your front door and someone is going to give it to you, whether it was going to be a person in your life or there’s something you want to accomplish, what is it? And most people will figure something out and really something personal and maybe it’s being a great role model for the kids, maybe it is accomplishing a marathon, maybe it’s being, not dying of heart disease like their father did, God forbid. Once you get an emotional reason, now we’re using emotions to drive us to be healthier instead of really reacting to emotions and eating bad foods. So that helps, while we say it’s got to be a revolution, it’s got to be a mind shift, you got to do something different than you’re doing today, otherwise you’ll get the same results and that’s Einstein’s definition of insanity. You do the same thing over and over, the same work out, you eat the same food, you’re going to get the same results, if you don’t like those results, you’ve got to have a huge mind shift, you got to have a revolution within your brain and figure out why you’re doing this and come up with better reasons.
Ben: Gotcha. The other thing that you say in your website is that our thoughts sabotage us, what do you mean by that?
Peter: Most of us, unfortunately, and I’ve interviewed a lot of therapists, psycho therapists, social workers, because I’m very curious about the people that they work with and why these people have gone to see them and I recommend therapy for everyone, just to talk to someone who is not judgmental, not biased. I’ve used therapist and coaches myself for my personal improvement and when we’re having these thoughts, most of these thoughts unfortunately, when we’re trying to get fit are, “I’m too fat”, “it’s too hard, I’m really lazy”, “I hate to exercise, I’ll do it tomorrow”, “you know what, let me go crazy this weekend, I’ll start on Monday”, “I was already bad”, and some of them are you know, deep rooted issues and some clients are like, “I am a fat girl”, “ I’m a fat boy”, that’s how they feed themselves. I’m the fat person in the room, I’m the unsuccessful person, I’m the not attractive person, and the more, Ben, you know this, the more that we have thoughts like that, the more we believe them unfortunately because we’re telling them to ourselves. And I always say this to people, would you ever tell an innocent child that they’re too fat, they’re too stupid, they’re too lazy, they don’t deserve to be healthy, they can’t run a marathon, and they can’t accomplish that. And the answer is always no. You’d never tell a kid that, you just help them succeed in some way, you know. So how can we tell ourselves? How can we have those thoughts everyday and not suffer from them, you know and if you tell yourself something everyday, over and over, you’re going to believe it. It’s going to be part of who you are and that’s how I see most of my clients that sabotage themselves over the years because they have these destructive, harmful thoughts and it’s an unfortunate thing to continue to do.
Ben: You know, I’ve heard that described before is training your subconscious to believe something new. From what you found, you know, when your doing something like that kind of thinking a new way to say, you know, train your subconscious or however you want to describe it, how long does it take somebody to convince themselves, you know, inside that they really are not that person they’ve been telling themselves for years that they are?
Peter: Yeah, that’s a great question, Ben, and in my personal experience, it takes each of us a unique amount of time. It depends on who we’re working with, if we got a great trainer, or coach, like you or if they’re working with someone like me who has experience with it. We know the challenge that our clients come to us with. It’s hard to do on your own, is what I’m trying to say, it will happen sooner and faster if you’re working with someone whether it’s a trainer or coach or therapist, someone non-biased, non-judgmental, to help you look in the mirror and see who is really there and then you’re job as the client is to start believing it and start to take in the evidence as real. What you said about subconscious, I agree with too a hundred percent. We have to train our subconscious to have different thoughts, to have different internal dialogues and instead of saying, “its’ too hard”, “I’m too stupid”, “I’m too lazy”, saying, I can do a few minutes today, I’m going be accountable to Ben, I want to change my life, I’m going to listen to what he’s telling me to do, because I trust him. It’s a different dialogue and everyone’s going to get there in a different time, the point is, every single day, just take a step forward, another step forward and you’ll get there eventually.
Ben: Cool, cool! Hey, I noticed on your website, I’m over here at peterkfitness.com, looks like you’re kind of running out to the water in a wet suite, did you do a triathlon?
Peter: Yeah, that was one of the first triathlons I did, many years ago and it was a life changing experience.
Ben: Cool! And we have a lot of triathletes that listen to the show, where are you going to be next? Are you going to triathlon this year?
Peter: I’m doing a bunch of marathons and half marathons, mostly half marathons in the New York, New Jersey area and I do a bunch of smaller triathlons with clients through my website in the tri-state area so there’s a couple coming up and I definitely recommend, you know, I know you do this Ben, tell clients, do a triathlon, start really small and sprint distances, they’re perfect, most of us can do them, they’re an incredible accomplishment, and you’ll learn so much about cross training and seeing what you’re capable of and there’s a real sense of accomplishment and they’re doable. You don’t have to do those you know, Ironmans which are really challenging, if you want to do it, go ahead but start small start simple.
Ben: Yeah, great advice! Alright, cool! So he’s website is peterkfitness.com, go check that out. He’s got his 5 minutes to fitness program on there. It’s one of the pretty cool things and he really does a great job at motivating you and helping you to achieve and I love what you’re doing Peter. Peter thank you for coming on the call today.
Peter: Ben, my pleasure. Keep doing the great work that you’re doing.
Ben: Well folks, that’s going to wrap up this weeks podcast. Be sure to go to Facebook. Facebook.com/BGFitness and upload your favorite photo recipe and include a few lines about that recipe. You can also upload it to your own Facebook page. Either way, make sure that you tag it with Ben Greenfield Fitness. Also, if you are listening to this podcast and you have time, go check out the May 19, 3 p.m, pst, 5 p.m est, triathlon lifestyle seminar that I’m teaching. Of course, remember to go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com donate to the show if you’re able to, to help keep this show going and the new Wildfire Club, check out the Wildfire Club at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/wildfire and until next time, this is Ben Greenfield signing out.
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