Episode #214 – Full Transcript

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Podcast Episode #214 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2012/10/how-fit-can-you-get-if-you-start-training-when-you're-over-40/


Introduction:   In today’s podcast, how fit can you get if you start training when you’re over 40? Also: should hot and cold adaptation be seasonal, which gelatin is the healthiest, ZMA effects and side effects,  ski workouts that double as off-season triathlon workout,  can improved running form lower your heart rate, and is oxygen therapy while exercising beneficial?

Welcome to the BenGreenfieldFitness.com podcast. We provide you with free exercise, nutrition, weight loss, triathlon and wellness advice from the top fitness experts in the nation. So whether you’re an Ironman triathlete or you’re just trying to shed a few pounds, get ready for non run of the mill cutting edge content from BenGreenfieldFitness.com.

Brock:  Welcome everybody! to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  I’m Brock, your sidekick here for the day and of course, Ben Greenfield is here as well.

Ben:  Just for the day and you can get fired after that.

Brock:  Yeah.  Sorry everybody, I’m done.

Ben:  We’re gonna can Brock and replace him with a hot female.

Brock:  That’s my biggest worry in life in general, I was just getting replaced by a hot female.

Ben:  Really any female.  I’m just looking for someone with a fantastic voice (good listening voice).  No, I’m just kidding.  Brock is not going anywhere, folks.

Brock:  Whew!

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s getting cold out here, man.

Brock:  Yeah. It’s getting cold everywhere, ran into a blizzard the other day.  I hate it.

Ben:  Nice.  I went on a mountain bike ride on a hail.  I’ve actually been liking it.  I have this giant mountain bike XTR that I picked up and I got this super duper bright light like a 1200 lumen LED bike light that you normally, it’s got this battery packs set and totally portable, you normally pay like 200, 300 bucks for one of these things. On Deal Extreme, this website, I picked it up for $40 and just lights up the path and I can mow down anything.  So, it’s pretty sweet.

Brock:  That’s pretty awesome!  That sounds like fun but I hate…mostly, I’m hating this time of the year because we’re going to Thailand really soon and heat acclimation is hard to do when it’s freezing cold outside.

Ben:  Cry me a freaking river, dude.

Brock:  We have a question about that later.   This is kinda timely.

Ben:  Awesome!  Let’s jump in.

News Flashes:

Brock:  Okay.  To get these and other interesting news flashes everyday and every week, make sure to follow Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfield and also at  google+ where you can find all those things at bengreenfieldfitness.com.  So, what have we got first this week?

Ben:  An awesome video by my friend who’s been in this podcast before.  He’s a genius – Dr. Peter Attia.

Brock:  Oh… Dr. Ketosis.

Ben:  Yes.  Exactly! Yeah.  He goes on 6-hour bike rides after 24-hour fast

Brock:  That’s crazy!

Ben:  The most fat-adapted dude I’ve ever run into.  Anyways, he did a really good video on carb utilization during exercise and basically why we bonk, what we can do about it and he lays down comparisons of all these different fuels from potato-based starch to the general fructose-glucose melted action paste gels.  I think it’s a fantastic video.  I actually ended up listening to it more that watching it ‘cause I kinda had it playing as I was doing some other things.  I will embed the video in the show notes to this podcast episode #214 over at bengreenfieldfitness.com. I highly recommend you watch that video or else do what I do with most videos and that is, download them and then convert them to mp3 and listen to them while you’re on a bike ride or something but I highly recommend that video. So, check that out.   Another tweet that I put out was a stack that I recommend for anybody who’s going vegetarian/vegan and who’s also pretty physically active and want some of the power packed nutrients that you’d normally find in meat.  I put out a tweet where I recommended 4 different supplements for folks who are vegetarian or vegan.  And these are supplements that really you’d get in fairly high quantities from meat but that are fairly difficult to get in vegetable form and then one of them, spirulina, in particular, is not necessarily something you’ll find in high quantity in meat but is still something that covers a lot of your bases that you tend to miss as a vegetarian or as a vegan.  So, the 4 nutrients that I recommend you add to a stack for vegetarian or vegan especially athletes are creatinel-carnitinespirulina and beta alanine.


I’ll put a link to these in the show notes but the idea behind this is that creatine is pretty much found exclusively in your skeletal muscle or in your organ tissue.  Your body can only synthesize about half of your daily levels of what you need but it you test creatine, vegetarians and vegans, most of them are gonna be in a pretty deficient state in terms of creatine .  You’d opt to load further or anything but generally, 2-5 grams per day of creatine is a good way to go.  The other one is carnitine.  That’s also a pretty meat- exclusive nutrient and it is something that you can be in a deficient state in.  So, around 400-500 mg of l-carnitine a day is a good idea for a vegetarian as well.  Beta alanine – that’s pretty prominent in meat products. It’s also fairly localized to your skeletal muscle tissue, so, if you exclude meat, you generally exclude your dietarian take of beta alanine.  It’s not something that’s crucial if you’re just sitting around the house like lying on the couch but it’s a good idea if you’re an athlete and you’re vegetarian/vegan. To throw that into the mix. And then, the last one is spirulina, which is just a totally complete protein source from micro algae – really good source of a lots of B vitamins. And the last one that I’d recommend for vegetarian/vegan…that was the idea behind that tweet – I was trying to come up with a good stack that vegetarian or vegan athletes could use.

Brock:  Cool!  I’m not a vegetarian but I have been fooling around with having a little more nori in my diet and I’ve also been trying those energy bits.  Would that cover the sort of spirulina end of things, maybe a little bit more?

Ben:  Yeah.  I like energy bits as a source of chlorella or spirulina and these are the little tiny energy spirulina-based algae capsules you can swallow or chew.  They gave us a discount code for listeners.  I don’t remember what it is.

Brock:  Yeah. It’s “ben”.

Ben:  It’s “ben”.  Okay, would you wanna throw that in the show notes too?

Brock:  I will… sure!

Ben:  I was gonna put a link to some of my favorite sources of spirulina but toss that one in there too, so folks can try that one out.  It’s a good one. And then, the last thing was that I came across an interesting study and I tweeted about how you could burn as many as 200 extra free calories in as little as 2.5 minutes of concentrated effort a day. And this was based off of a new study in which researchers, this was in Colorado State University, they had people do a 2.5 minute sprint effort and just based off of that 2.5 minutes effort, the post exercise metabolic rate gave an uptake in the amount of calories burned during the rest of the day of about 200 calories which is fairly significant. We talked about post exercise metabolic rate as being elevated from what we would consider to be traditional 30 or 45 or even 60-minute workouts.  But this was just 2.5 minutes but it was put in the 5 intense 30-second bouts in which we folks are going at about 100% effort.  Now, don’t think that this would just be a 2.5-minute long workout session because each of those 30-second periods were separated by 4 minutes of recovery.  But either way, it’s pretty significant. You turn lots of extra calories.  That’s a full extra cookie that you could eat.

Brock:  Or a can of coke.

Ben:  For 5 separate 30-second bouts of pain.  I guess we could frame it like that but that doesn’t sound as impressive.

Brock:  But it kinda does.  If you were to skip a can of coke and do this workout, then you g0 400 calories.

Ben:  That’s right.  What’s like amount to 1400 calories per week?  So, it adds up.  So that’s it for the news flashes.

Special Announcements:

Brock:  Okay.  Today’s podcast is sponsored by Audible – fine purveyor of audio books for quite a number of years now and to claim your own free copy of audio book, make sure you go to audiblepodcast.com/ben and I was taking a little look around there and actually found Chrissie Wellington’s book,  A Life Without Limits: A World Champion’s Journey in there.  It’s actually read partially by her too.  It’s just kinda cool because she has that awesome sort of Northern UK accent.  So it’s even more fun.

Ben:  Right.  You wanna do that accent for us, Sir?

Brock:  No.  I don’t think I can. Oh that’s terrible as I’ll sound like a “lucky charms” person.

Ben:  Or like a skinny fat bastard.   Yeah.  audiblepodcast.com/ben. I read that book.  I didn’t listen to it but I read it – fantastic! Fantastic book.


Brock:  Did good motivation I wrote on some sort of long runner long ride.

Ben:  Absolutely!  And this podcast is also brought to you by Pacific Elite Fitness or at pacificfit.net. You guys hear me talk about things like supplements and even gear and some books on the show.  At pacificfit.net, you can get the highest quality nutrition supplements that are handpicked by me. I pretty much tried out everything that’s on that site.  I’ll vouch for it.  If you’re a podcast listener, I’m happy to offer you a 100% money back guarantee if you try anything on that site and you don’t like it, just ping me.  Let me know and I’ll take care of you.  And of course, that site is all completely secure payment processing, very personal customer service many times by yours truly.  And a great place to go if you wanna make sure that you’re getting stuff that is not sitting in a bargain bin at super supplements and getting sprayed with ethylene oxide (you know, in China).  So, good spot for your supplements. And then, another thing is that, for those of you who live in Coeur D’ Alene area, Thursday, November 1 at 6:30 PM and I’ll put a link to this in the show notes, I’m gonna be telling you how to maximize your workout for fat loss – what works and what kinda doesn’t when it comes to exercise and fat loss. That will be recorded and when recording is ready, I’ll be sure and put it up for free to those of you who are not wanting to pick up a plane ticket to Coeur D’ Alene this weekend.

Brock:  Make sure you over to bengreenfieldfitness.com also and take a look at the interview that you did with Kevin Moats about his getting Ben from the world championships a couple of weeks ago.

Ben:  Yeah. Even if you’re not a triathlete, super interesting to listen about what goes on when you’re older and you’re wanting to replace testosterone but still wanting to compete and something like a sanctioned event like a triathlon. There’s a lot of stuff taken to consideration.  This guy, he got popped, he got banned for his use of testosterone and kinda not having the proper documentation and we had a really interesting chat.  So, that’s a good one to check out and also while you’re over there, I talked to my naturopathic physician.  We had some audio podcast, by the way, coming out.  That’s not intentional, just the way things happened to be.  But I had a good chat with my personal physician about cell to cell communication and we talked about a test that you can get to find out whether or not you’re kind a set up biologically for your cellular communication to be working as well as it should.  I put a good video on that episode.  That kinda shows you how your cells talk to each other.  There’s also a, speaking of supplement, supplement that he recommended that I guess he had a big hand at designing called Life Shotz.

Brock:  Oh yeah.  I was gonna ask you about that.  Have been taking that stuff?

Ben:  Yeah.  He sent me a few boxes of it.  In a full disclosure, I got it for free.  I’ve kinda just been popping one of those in the afternoon.  It’s kinda cool stuff.  It’s got like vitamin D and resveratrol.  I’m working on an article right now about good alternatives to energy drinks and it’s certainly at the top of the list.  That’s a good one as well.  So, listen in to that podcast with my doctor.  He’s a super smart guy – Dr. Todd Schlapfer.  And then, as soon as Brock and I finish up this call, I’m getting Chris McCormack (Macca).  We’re gonna be chatting about his top workouts and stuff like that and I may even release that workout probably this Saturday or potentially on Monday not only for you endurance athletes out there but he’s got some core cut ideas which is for everybody in general.  So, listen to that podcast when it gets released.  That’s about it.

Listener Q & A:

Brock:  All right.  So, we’ve got a bunch of audio questions.  Let’s jump right into them.

Bostjan:    Hi Ben and Brock!  This is Bostjan.  May question is can you gain speed if you start training at age 40 and before that you weren’t that active.  I’m doing triathlons now and would like to gain some more speed in cycling and running especially.  Thank you. Bye.


Ben:  Yeah.  You know, when I think about starting exercise when you’re older, one of the first people that comes to mind is a guy named Joe Bonness.  Have you heard of Joe Bonness before?

Brock:  I haven’t known.

Ben:  Joe Bonness, I think he was about 43, little older than 40.  He was just this guy down in Florida and he decided he needed to get serious about his health and he started training for ironman.  And now, I think he’s in his mid 50’s and he’s a total legend in ironman.  I mean, he’s one of the top finishers in Ironman Hawaii, he did Ironman Florida in 9 hours and 12 minutes and he’s just a complete animal.  When you step back and look at what happens as you age, especially if you’re somebody who’s just getting started as you’re older, you are fighting an uphill battle.  Your heart stroke volume – the amount of blood that pumps per beat and also the ability of your muscles to extract that oxygen as it rushes past in the blood stream, none of that changes too much with age.  What changes is your maximum heart rate,  the amount of times that your heart can actually beat per minute,  that’s what tends to decrease based off of basically sympathetic nervous system stimulation.  The neurons supplying your muscles just start to die and you begin to lose muscle mass and you begin to lose that ability to get into your maximum heart rate.  And so, you are fighting that uphill battle.  When you think about losing muscle mass, the other thing of course, is you begin to lose a lot of your storage carbohydrate and so, for endurance performance, there’re certainly implications there as well. We actually interviewed Joe Bonness over at enduranceplanet.com and he talked about a lot of the stuff that he did in his training to get himself start again in his mid 40’s, to be literally  ironman champion later on. I don’t think he was speaking of the podcast with Kevin Moats.  I don’t think he was thinking testosterone but he talked about some of that stuff.  And so, I’ll link to that podcast in the show notes.  If you’ll look at what a lot of these folks were doing not only ironman but for example, in New York City Marathon, they’re getting faster and they did a study on this in the past 30 years, the average time it takes top runners to complete the New York City Marathon, and it hasn’t really changed that significantly except among older competitors and the average tie for the top 10 male finishers between 65 and 69 has dropped by 15-20 minutes.  Can you see that somewhere way with female runners?  And of course, it’s a good idea. Aerobic activity is gonna strengthen your brain cells, it’s gonna make you smarter, it’s gonna stave off Alzheimer’s, it’s great for reversing a lot of the age-related loss in the hippocampus which is the area where you’re gonna have a lot of your memory in your learning. Even compared to something like strength or power, you do tend to be a lot better with endurance as you age.  Now, there haven’t really been any studies that have looked at people who have started in their mid 40’s or whatever and kinda seen what happens in terms of how quickly they’re able to gain fitness vs. somebody who starts in their 20’s but there’s enough case studies out there like this guy, Joe Bonness, that shows that you can get dang fast even if you start when you’re “old”.  So, I’d go after I can’t throw any hard numbers at you but I’ll certainly link to the podcast with Joe Bonness and take heart in the fact that, again, your vo3max isn’t gonna go down, the ability of your muscles to grab oxygen isn’t gonna go down, yeah, your maximum heart rate isn’t gonna be as high when you’re older, and you guys, you are fighting an uphill battle when it comes to loss of neurons in the muscle and loss of muscle mass but with proper training, you can fight all that.

Brock:  And proper nutrition.  A lot of it comes down to just getting filling you body correctly and then doing the workouts in the right manner and you’re…I’m 41 and I’m still getting faster.

Ben:  That’s right.  Lots of apple sauce and mashed potatoes.

Brock:  Yes.  Blend everything.

Craig:   Hey Ben and Brock!  This is Craig from Burmingham.  And I was thinking this morning you talked about cold thermogenesis or cold adaptation and heat adaptation and I was wondering if it might be beneficial to do colder in the winter and then maybe to do heat during the summer.  Wanna know your thoughts on that.  Thanks.


Brock:  Okay.  Which Craig had actually told us what his goal was and what he was looking for as far as like the adaptation, whether it was like if you’re used to doing the cold thermogenesis for fat loss or if it was really just to be more comfortable but what do you think about this?

Ben:  I was thinking that too because it’s kind of the opposite actually compared to what Craig was proposing if you’re say, preparing for a race like you and I, Brock, for example, we’re living in cold environments and we’re getting ready to go race in Thailand.  And so, for us, we’re having to do lots of kinda heat acclimation as you alluded to in the winter and having to do like riding indoors with the heat or set up next to out bike or going and sitting and reading magazines in sauna or the spa until out eyeballs are popping out.  And so, you tend to…I tend because I almost always do a race somewhere like a triathlon in a hot area in the winter, I tend to do more heat acclimation in the winter and then, because when I’m working out in the summer my body temperature tends to run higher, I tend to do more cold thermogenesis and more attempts to shut down heat-based inflammation in the summer.  Yeah, it does kinda depend on what your goals are but when you step back and look at this, you’re going to get benefits from something like cold thermogenesis no matter what season that you’re training in because it enhances cardiovascular efficiency.  When I interviewed Jack Cruse on this podcast, this is something that he alluded to and that is that when you’re exposed to cold, what happens is you get a greater expression of something called VEGF, which is vascular endothelial growth factor.  That’s something that has to be very very high in your brown fat tissue and when your brown fat tissue expresses this vascular endothelial growth factor, what happens is you get higher levels of vascularization in your tissue.  And the reason that that occurs is so that your body can counter balance the development of something like frostbite or be able to fight off cold better.  You essentially improve your ability to deliver blood to your skin surface so you combine that with the fact that you get a little bit more stimulation of a lot of your endorphins, a lot of your norepinephrine, a lot of your pain fighting chemicals and it can kinda train you into that – a cardiovascular machine, whether you’re doing it in the winter or in the summer.  The other cool thing is that in brown adipose tissue, which is again, the type of tissue is gonna stimulated when you’re covering yourself with cold water or even honestly doing what I’m doing right now – I’m sitting here and I’ve got my compression pants on filled with ice.  My legs felt a little heavy when I got up this morning and so my body is literally kinda in recovery mode as I’m sitting here recording this podcast.  But you get activation of what’s called the endothelial nitric oxide synthase and that’s another very very powerful cardiovascular stimulus responsible for essentially opening up your blood vessels and increasing the diameter of your blood vessels and improving your cardiovascular capacity.  So, whether you’re in a cold or hot condition, it’s something that can help.  And then, of course, you also get the ability to reduce the inflammatory process,  you decrease what’s called cytokine production, you decrease a lot of the pro inflammatory activity, you increase a lot of the production of these anti inflammatory compounds, what are called anti inflammatory cytokines and no matter what season you’re in, it’s got some cool effect.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter that much.  I would just be doing it year round if I were you.

Brock:  Yeah. I find the tap water actually comes right out of the tap at a temperature that’s a lot more beneficial for cold thermogenesis too in the middle of winter so it actually takes a whole step of making a crap load of ice out of the process if you’re doing the ice bath.

Ben:  Yeah.  Have you heard of whole body crow therapy?

Brock:  Oh yeah…With the sleeves and the legs and the pumping.

Ben:  Well, it’s a curl sauna.  You literally go into a sauna and it’s cooled with nitrogen gas and a lot of special like pro endurance athletes are using this thing but it massively cools your skin surface temperature and you go in there wearing like a bathing suit or your underwear or whatever else but you got as much of your skin exposed as possible except you wear socks to protect your feet ‘cause you’re standing on the ground.  You wear gloves ‘cause the hands tend to be the most sensitive, and then of course, mouth and ear protection to keep yourself from getting frostbite.  But it’s kind of the extreme…well, this called thermogenesis and so you’re going in there, you’re literally freezing yourself to decrease your cellular metabolism, to decrease inflammation, to promote a lot of those vasoconstriction I was talking about.  And then you get this huge release of endorphins when you step out of the sauna and so it can decrease muscle pain and decrease inflammation or is supposed to for literally like days and days after you step out of that thing.  And I’ve never really used one but pretty interesting stuff, the extent to which you can take this.


Brock:  That’s crazy.  Why don’t you just move to Canada?

Ben:  That’s another option.  Canada is just a giant whole body crow therapy.

Brock:  Eight months in a year.

Gelatin:   I’ve been hearing a lot about the health benefits of gelatin and was wondering if commercially produced gelatin like Knox has the same benefits as something else and what you’d recommend for use of gelatin?

Ben:  Well, I’m a big fan of gelatin.  As a matter of fact, I had a nice couple of bowls of homemade chicken bone broth last night.  And bone broth is a fantastic source of gelatin.  My wife caught about a 12-pound steelhead and an 8-pound steelhead last week down in Leusden and she made a really nice little bit of bone broth like fish bone broth out of that which is another source of gelatin.  Then a couple of days ago, I bagged a deer and when I brought the deer into the butcher after I shot it, I mentioned to them that I wanted all the bones.  Again, so I could make bone broth out of that.  And gelatin is what I’m getting when I eat that bone broth because it’s literally like the bones and the cartilage that it is made as you get this homemade slow-simmered bone broth and you heat this stuff up, you get a lot of the gelatin extracted from the bone.  And gelatin is just a structure protein like collagen that makes up a ton of the protein in your bodies as big fibrous molecule and it makes your skin and your bones and your tendon really strong and also gives them some of their elasticity.  And when you get older, your body makes less collagen and a lot of your collagen fibers get cross linked and you get stiff joints or you get wrinkles and gelatin actually fights a lot of these stuff.  And one of the best sources of it is bone broth which is really a traditional food in many cultures but we don’t eat as much of it now especially in a typical western diet ‘cause it takes so freaking long to make.

Brock:  So, is it coming from the marrow of the bone?

Ben:  Yeah. It’s literally coming from inside of the bone so you are reaching from the bone.  Depending on the type of the bone you’re using, you’re gonna boil it and heat those bones or slow-simmer them for a certain period of time.  Typically, bigger bones are a little bit longer but super easy to make stock out of any number of bones and get your gelatin from that source and you get a detoxification effect to get a lot of the glycine and gelatin helps to normalize your liver function.  The thing that you have to be aware of though related to this question about Knox gelatin is that if you do decide that you’re not gonna make a bone broth and that if you’re just gonna buy gelatin in powdered form (but you can do), you’d need to be aware that not all gelatin is created equal and there are some quality sources and then some sources that are literally made up from the nasty parts of ground up chicken.  The other issue is because it is a protein, you have to be careful if it’s made from cows because there is that risk of the bovine spongiform stuff – mad cow disease.  That’s another kind of issue you wanna be careful of when you’re considering a concentrated powdered protein source like this.  MSG is another issue that you wanna be careful with depending on the type of gelatin that you buy.  There are 2 forms of gelatin that I will vouch for.  If you’re not gonna make your own bone broth (which I think is the best way to do it), you can actually buy bone broth that’s made from grass-fed cows.  I’ll put a link in the show notes but there’s 2 different manufacturers  that I’m aware of that make a really good high quality bone broth if it’s something that you wanna use.  Bernard Jensen is one of the vendors and then Great Lake’s Gelatin is the other one.  And they’re made from grass-fed cows, they’re minimally processed, they don’t have MSG or any other glutamic acids in them, they don’t add sugars to it, and it is totally flavorless, I mean, you can stir this stuff into coffee, you can stir into tea, you can blend it with smoothies or shakes.  And if you don’t have the time to make homemade slow simmered bone broth, it’s a good alternative.  The Knox stuff that the listener asks about, I don’t know about that.  It is similarly an unflavored gelatin, it doesn’t have sugar in it, but I don’t know the source of that stuff.  I’m pretty sure, it’s from chickens, I know it’s a larger company that kinda makes it in a little bit larger batches.  Typically (I don’t wanna say in every case, but in many cases), when you’re going something like that, you’re gonna get lower quality but I can vouch for this Bernard Jensen Gelatin or Great Lake’s Gelatin .  I’m not in their pockets, they don’t pay me  to say that or anything, I just know that those are made from grass-fed cows and minimally processed so, those are the forms I’d recommend if you are gonna go with gelatin.


Brock:  I remember watching my Babba, my grandmother when I was kid, whenever we’d have a roast chicken, she’d actually break the bones in half and then suck out the marrow.  Would that be a good source of that kind of thing as well?

Ben:  You know, to my understanding the glycine in the gelatin is more bio-available if the stuff has been heated and slow-simmered so, I think you’re gonna get better absorption if you get it from a bone broth or something like that.

Brock:  Gotcha.

Ben:  But I mean if you wanna go chase a chicken down the street and grab it and suck the marrow out of its bones, then you’re pretty bad ass and more power to you.

Brock:  That’s my Babba.

James:           Hi Ben!  I have a question about this ZMA.  I ordered some and I’ve taken it sporadically but do notice that I sleep much better and feel much better the next day.  I do take the 30-450-15 blend which I think was the original formulation and was curious if there is any adverse effects that can occur from taking this product.  I probably should take it more often.  I run 50-80 miles a week and occasionally do weight lifting so, I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

Ben:  ZMA is something that’s been around for a while.  It stands for zinc, magnesium and aspartate.  Aspartate is basically, it’s not the aspartic acid but the salt of magnesium.  I don’t know who formulated it but it’s typically touted to increase testosterone levels.  Interestingly, there is not really much evidence that it does necessarily increase testosterone levels but the idea behind that comes from the fact that it’s got zinc in it and there is some evidence that zinc deficiencies are associated with kind of impairments of testicular function and thus, a drop in testosterone levels but again, there’s no evidence that ZMA actually is efficacious at increasing testosterone levels.  However, for a lot of people, the stuff does seem to actually help with sleep levels and I actually have some ZMK in my pantry.  It’s made by company called Millenium Sports and I’ve recommended some of the Millenium Sports stuff before.  But ZMK is fairly similar to ZMA – same philosophy.  It’s zinc and magnesium and some aspartate.  The unique part about that is they throw in some other what are called krebs cycle intermediates which is the ______[0:33:19.3] with some of the bio-availability of the stuff.  I’ve used it before, before bed.  You take 4 tablets of ZMK and I think it can help you sleep similarly to taking something like natural calm magnesium which I tend to use more just because….how many supplements can you take?  That’s something this comes down to as well.  A lot of strength, a lot of power athletes swear by the anabolic nature of throwing this zinc into the mix along with the magnesium and the aspartate but again, I really have seen no compelling evidence that taking a bunch of zinc is really gonna help you too much from the testosterone level.  The other thing you got to be aware of is if you’re taking antibiotics, zinc can reduce the effectiveness of those, not that I recommend that you’d be popping antibiotics everyday.  But if you do happen to be on them, you shouldn’t necessarily be on this ZMA ‘cause it’s gonna inhibit the ability of those antibiotics to work.  Too much zinc can also result in leeching of bone marrows and that has to do with its interaction with copper.  So, you wanna be careful if you’re using other zinc supplements, if you’re using testosterone-enhancing supplement or anything else that has zinc in it, make sure you look at other supplements that you’re taking to ensure that you’re not getting too much zinc.  I wouldn’t take more than 100 mg. of zinc per day just because of that bone leeching issue. As a matter of fact, it has been suggested or shown by the National Institute of Health that more than 100 mg. of zinc a day may increase your risk for prostate cancer as well.  So, there is definitely a law of diminishing returns with this stuff.


I just remembered the guy who made this ‘cause I listened to an interview with him.  Victor Conte, the dude who is busted by Balco Laboratories.  That’s how he made all his money.  He invented ZMA.  I heard him on the Joe Rogan podcast and he was talking about that.  He invented ZMA and a bunch of companies now formulated or uses patented formulation but again, I wouldn’t put too much credence in it for testosterone levels but it could definitely help you to sleep.  And some people suggested that may help you with like deep lucid dreaming which again, I’ve messed around for a little bit.  I’ve noticed 30 or 60 minutes prior to bed, it’ll help you sleep.  I don’t know about the dreaming issue and definitely wouldn’t recommend it for increasing testosterone but it’s not gonna hurt you.  Just be careful especially with too much zinc consumption.

Jim:   Hi guys!  It’s Jim here, a big fan of your podcast.  Just wondering as the triathlon season is winding up if you’ve got some ideas for good ski workouts to get us ready for the upcoming ski season and particularly stuff that’s useful for triathlon off-season training as well.  I’ll look for tuning into, thanks. Bye.

Brock:  I like this question.  Way to double dip, Jim.  I like this thought.

Ben:  Are you a skier, Brock?

Brock:  I am a skier, I have snow boarder as well but yes, skier.  Since I moved out East, there are not too many hills.  I’ve been a little deficient in my skiing but I do love it.

Ben:  I didn’t know you snowboard.  That’s what I do. I’m a boarder.  I do get out there, yeah.  And I guess you could just make swimming motions as you go down the slopes – triathlon/ski workout.  Actually, I’m gonna be spending a lot of time on the slopes myself this winter ‘cause my kids literally are signed up for ski lessons like junior ski lessons every weekend from January through March.  So, my wife and I plan on just dropping them off and either spending the day doing down hilling or else going out and doing skate skiing.  And skate skiing is, of course, a fantastic, the best cross-training ever you’ve seen in the highest vo2max levels among any athlete on the planet in cross-country skiers and skate skiers and compared to spending time on an indoor bicycle trainor or a treadmill, it beats the heck out of that.  So, that’s not a straight up ski workout per se as much as it is just skiing.  And of course, one of the things that you can do is as you’re out there on the slope, you’re making sure that you’re staying active and you’re taking as few beer breaks and large breaks as you can but I assume that Jim is asking more about actual workouts that he can do.

Brock:  I think so.

Ben:  Yeah.  When you’re looking at ski training that could have like a cross-over to triathlon training, there’s absolutely ability to do that.  Because when you’re doing ski training, you’re gonna be including balance exercises, a ton of single leg stuff – single leg squats, T-layout lunges where laying out on one leg, hip hikes, even things like overhead presses on one leg, single leg hops, onto a box single leg hops, off of the box and tons of unilateral motion type of exercises.   Core stability, super important along with the special rotational core movements so, you wanna train your rotational stability, you wanna train your rotational power.  And again, that stuff is gonna help you with triathlon as well.  Multi joint exercises, I’d definitely be going after those, squatting, lunging, lifting, horse on one vertical pushing, horse on one vertical pulling vs. doing bicep curls and like extensions.  That stuff will help you in both skiing and in triathlon.  With skiing especially, a lot of strength exercises that are performed explosively are gonna help develop power in your legs along with high intensity interval training to get you used to that short burst of energy that you have followed by long recovery periods sitting on a chairlift.  And of course, we’ve seen and talked about before in this podcast that high intensity interval training has a really good cross-over effect for aerobic events like triathlon as well.  As far as actual programs that are out there were a couple I’ll recommend to you.  One would be my book over at thestrongtriathlete.com – Top 12 Resistance Training Routines for Triathletes.  Any of those workouts are going to be fantastic for getting you ready for both skiing and triathlon.  Those would be really good.  There’s also a program out there and I’ll link to it in the show notes for you.  It’s called Total Skiing Fitness and that’s just functional fitness training workouts for skiers and it covers a lot of those bases that I talked about.  It’d teach you how to do a dynamic warm-up, it gives you a balance core stability, rotational core exercises, multi joint exercises, power exercises, mix it with some high intensity interval training. That’s a good program as well.  It’ just like a book and a video that teaches you how to do all this stuff and it’s again, more ski-specific but that would have good cross over to triathlon and then my Top 12 triathlete book would also be a good cross over to skiing so, either one or more but that’s where I’d start. Of course, in addition to making your swimming motions with your hands as you’re skiing down the slopes.


Brock:  That’ll keep you, keep people away from you too.  I guess if you’re swinging your arms madly, which is always…

Ben:  You will.  It will.  That’s always a good thing.

Brock:  Had you ever find when you’re boarding too much that you get kinda lopsided? Do you ever feel like you’re just ….I’m goofy foot.  My left leg always feels way more tired than my right.

Ben:  Yeah.  I have board standard but the same thing for me.  My right leg will finish the day and there’s been a couple of times where I‘ve tried to throw down a triathlon workout like hop on the trainor or the treadmill after a day’s snowboarding and yeah my right leg is kinda dragging along behind me.

Brock:  Yeah.  Do you do anything to compensate for that like switch to the other foot for a while and grab a rental board or something.

Ben:  No. My solution now is I just don’t do any triathlon training when I’m snowboarding.

Brock:  That’s fair enough.

Jorge:   Hi! I will appreciate if you could clarify this point to me.  During the last days and after many years of running including marathons, I realized that my running posture was awful, completely inadequate.  So, youtube videos helped me learn that I had to lean forward while running plus other refinements like higher than 180 strikes per minute to nowhere, adequate arm swing, etc.  Now, when I started to run according to the new patterns, I realized that I was running much faster but at the same time, the pulse rate seems to went down.  Then I wondered that I might have a higher pulse rate in the past because of wrong foot landing, mostly, heel striking that probably makes you waste more energy.  Thus, urging the heart to pump more frequently.  Is that a silly theory? I would like to clarify it because during 25 years of running, I always waste the 160 and 165 heart rate pulse very easily with very few meters run. That always prevented me from trying to run faster.  I always feared I’ll collapse and heat the brakes all the time. Thanks for your support and guidance in this doubt. I would appreciate your insights. Thanks.

Ben:  Well, to answer Jorge’s question, absolutely, heel strike can completely break you and completely result in running inefficiency. And that’s why the tendency to more efficient better runners on the planet doing it amidst to a forefoot strikes in many cases.  Now, the drills that Jorge is alluding to are the drills that Graham Turner showed us when we interviewed him about why running rolls are bad for you.  I’ll put a link to that audio interview and also his drills in the show notes.  But they’re simple.  It’s just the toe up drill where you practice on kinda picking your toe up off the ground after each strike, the leaning drill where you practice leaning forward before your running and then while you’re running and then the dog poo drill where you practice kinda scraping the ground with the front of your foot as if you’re scraping dog poo off the bottom of your foot.  And those 3 drills, I believe, are the ones that Jorge is alluding to.  Absolutely, if you get into that forward leaning, mid or forefoot strike, kinda scraping the ground after your foot strikes the ground,  you’re gonna vastly improve your economy and your efficiency and that’s gonna have a direct effect on your heart rate.  I don’t know how to get into any more detail from that question.  It’s just super physics.  A heel strike is going to result in that.  And a ground reaction force that pushes you straight back in the opposite direction, it can put the brakes on you.

Brock:  Jorge has definitely achieved exactly what those exercises were meant to do.

Ben:  Yeah.  So, I’ll link to those in the show notes so you can go check them out.

Kelcey:   Hi Ben!  I’m curious about exercise with oxygen therapy.  I’ve been reading about it. I don’t remember you ever talking about that on the podcast so, I just thought I’d ask you what your opinion is of that – exercising with oxygen therapy.  Thanks.

Ben:  Exercise with oxygen therapy.

Brock:  I don’t know what is oxygen therapy?  Is that when you go to one of those bars in California and they hook you up to an oxygen tank and you just sit there and breathe for a while?

Ben:  Yeah.  That’s one form of oxygen therapy.  It’s oxidative medicine.  The whole thing sparked from this idea that there are a number of different therapies that use what are called oxidants and it’s called oxidation medicine and Chemistry 101 oxidants are electron receptors.  So, oxygen when you’ve got electrons circulating around in your body, is going to be the receptor of many of those electrons.  And so when you’re trying to combat free radicals or even in some cases, break down bacterial cell walls and stuff like that, you tend to see in oxidative medicine, the use of ozone therapy.  here’s another type of therapy called ultraviolet blood irradiation therapy, intravenous hydrogen peroxide therapy, all these stuff that kinda uses “more natural methods” to fight against disease.


There’s a guy I’ve had on this podcast named Dr. Mark Sircus, who’s big time into this stuff and into oxidation therapy and stimulating circulation and better immune system through this kind of stuff but trying to enhance mitochondrial production. And there’s a bunch of websites that are devoted to this stuff.  The International Colleges of Integrative Medicine is one big one.  And then, in addition to Dr. Sircus, who’s been in the show, there’s another guy who’s called Dr. Roland, who’s really into this stuff.  I will put a link to it full on video ‘cause this is stuff that is kinda tough to explain and I’ll get into the exercise with the oxygen therapy and with that in a second but I’ll put a video on the show notes if you wanna geek out on oxidative medicine, I’m learning about what it is, there’s a really good video interview about how oxidative medicine and oxidation therapies are used for viral infections and fungal infections and stuff like that.  But when it comes to sports performance, the idea here is that you literally have this little oxygen generator and it’s a tiny little portable device that plugs into the wall and it produces about 95% oxygen.  And then you’ve got a cannula or an oxygen mask or a headset that connects to that machine and it goes over your ears and it goes over your nose and then you ride an exercise bike or you ride an electrical trainor or you run on a treadmill or in many cases, a lot of folks do this, there’s a whole body vibration trainor and  just stand on the vibration trainor and you breathe levels of oxygen that are 15-20% higher than what the oxygen levels would be at the normal if you’re breathing normal air.  So, you’re essentially doubling your oxygen intake.  And the idea is that even though red blood cells are supposed to be saturated at no more than about 97% oxygen, the argument here is that you can somehow get additional oxygen absorbed by your plasma and then pushed to deep tissues without the aid of your red blood cells.  So, that’s how the people who are pushing exercise with oxygen therapy kind of circumvent the fact by that you can only saturate your red blood cells to a certain extent before it doesn’t matter how high the oxygen concentration in the air that you breathe is. That’s pretty soft science saying that you can somehow get more oxygen into the body by bypassing the red blood cells. And I’m not entirely convinced that you actually can.  However, they do link to a study on their website – one study.  And by the way, the website is ewot.com – exercise with oxygen therapy.  In the study, what they go over is how hyperoxia or increasing the inspired oxygen concentration may actually help with things like exercise tolerance and buffering of lactic acid and the vo2max or the maximum oxygen consumption which you can exercise.  But if you look at it carefully, it’s not a study.  It’s a review of a bunch of investigations into hyperoxia and basically, they’re kind of extrapolating that review to suggest that exercise with oxygen therapy would actually work.  It’s essentially just a search criteria on the pub med website and then put the other, there’s a paper based on it.  So, there haven’t actually been any direct studies with this device per se –  cooking your cannula up and breathing extra oxygen.  That maybe works for some people but I’ve had a company, I think it’s called Oxy Shots.  They sent me a bunch of their oxygen that you spray into your mouth as you’re exercising, I didn’t lost anything.  And there’s no long term studies on the training effect.  Let’s say that, yeah, you can achieve a higher intensity by breathing more oxygen during the workout, I haven’t seen anything to show that that’s gonna help you, whatever three months down the road when you’re racing or when you’re competing.  The other thing, of course, is you gotta wear a mask or a cannula or whatever and that could be super annoying.  It also means that you would be limited to indoor training.  And then, of course, the other thing that had to remember is that use of oxygen does result in free radical formation, so the more oxygen that you use this is why exercise in of itself tend to be inflammatory, just because you’re breathing more oxygen, you’re using more oxygen, you’re producing more free radicals, you could potentially, by using even more oxygen during your workout produce more inflammation and more free radical formation than you normally would.


If somebody wants to send Brock a cannula and an oxygen mask and an oxygen tank, I’m sure he would stay indoors on winter and stand on a vibration machine.

Brock:  I want the vibration machine.  I was always going to say that’s the magic key for me.

Ben:  Yeah.  It’s kinda funny ‘cause you see a lot of these therapies are done by people who wanna get results without actually doing the extra work and standing on a vibration trainor wearing oxygen mask to make yourself a better athlete to me, that’s just like classic kind of example of trying to get good results without actually going out and doing the hard work.

Brock:  That’s worst than our skiing while doing the swimming motion for sure.

Ben:  Yeah. Exactly. If you listen in, you’ve tried this stuff, leave a comment on the show notes and let us know but I personally have an eyebrow raised on this one for sure.

Brock:  I’ve got 2 eyebrows raised.

Ben:  We’ll put a link on the show notes for those of you who wanna watch the video on oxidative medicine because there’s a few therapies for which you may come in handy or a few conditions for you to make them handy but I don’t think turning yourself to superhuman athlete is one of them.

Brock:  Yeah.  Certainly, if you’ve got to compromise cardiovascular system or somehow breathing compromise then, that would certainly help.  But that’s a very specific case.

Ben:  Yeah.  Exactly. Well man, was it all the questions?

Brock:  That was all the questions.  We are through.

Ben:  We’re good.  Well, I was actually gonna be headed down tomorrow morning to do a triathlon down at the Bahamas. I got an e-mail though like before the start of this podcast, there’s a hurricane rolling into the Caribbean.  So, I’m gonna stay up here in the Pacific Northwest and probably go to a cycle cross race or in Idaho instead.

Brock:  That’s almost as fun, I guess.

Ben:  Yeah. But it’ll be a different ball game.

Brock:  Better than getting smashed by a hurricane, I suppose.

Ben:  Exactly.  So, if you listened to this podcast #214, everything that we talked about will be sure and put a link to over at bengreenfieldfitness.com and of course, as usual, there will be a MyList for this episode and MyList is basically call it Pinterest for facebook but it what’s you go in and like I talked about like the vegetarian/vegan supplement stack that I recommend and we mentioned some of the gelatin supplements, the total skiing fitness program, what we try to do is make a list for you guys if you’re listening in the podcast and you’re out biking or running or skiing or swimming or something like that, you don’t have to stop and write down with the magic marker and try to remember everything we said.  You can just go to facebook.com/BGFitness and check out the MyList for Episode #214.  I think that wraps it up, Brock. What do you think?

Brock:  I believe it does.

Ben:  All right. Well, this is Ben and Brock, signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com.  Have a great week.

 For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield,

please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net

Oct 24, 2012 free podcast: How Fit Can You Get If You Start Training When You're Over 40? Also: should hot and cold adaptation be seasonal, which gelatine is the healthiest, ZMA effects and side effects, ski workouts that double as off-season triathlon workouts, can improved running form lower your heart rate, and is oxygen therapy while exercising beneficial?

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Listener Q&A:

As compiled and read by Brock, the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast “sidekick”.

Audio Question from Boštjan @ 00:14:50
Can you gain speed (cycling and running) if you start training at 40 years old and haven't been training before that?

~ In my response, I mention the Joe Bonness interview at Endurance Planet.

Audio Question from Craig @ 00:19:40
Would it be beneficial to do cold and hot adaptation in a particular corresponding season (cold in winter and hot in summer)?

Audio Question from Gelatine @ 025:36
What are the health benefits of gelatine and does a commercially produced gelatine (such as Knox) have the same benefits?

~ In my response, I recommend Bernard Jensen gelatin  and Great Lakes gelatin.

Audio Question from James @ 00:31:23
He has been taking ZMA sporadically and has noticed that he is sleeping better. Can there be any adverse side effects from taking this product?

~ In my response I mention ZMK from millenniumsport.net, and use code MSTBG09 to get free samples of it.

Audio Question from Jim @ 00:36:01
Do you have any good ski workouts that would also double as good off-season triathlon workouts?

~ In my response, I mention my high-intensity circuit training for triathletes book and also this Total Skiing Fitness program.

Audio Question from Jorge @ 00:41:30
He recently learned to improve his running form and posture from youtube videos (forward lean and higher cadence) and noticed that he is now running faster with a lower heart rate. Could the changes he has made have lowered his heart rate?

~ In my response, I mention the running drills videos in the post Why Running Drills Are Bad For You.

Audio Question from Kelcey @ 00:44:16
What is your opinion of exercising with oxygen therapy?

~ In my response to Kelcey, I reference this video on oxidative therapy.



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