September 10, 2014
Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast: 5 Ways To Have More Energy At Work, Can Cigarettes Enhance Performance, Can Dehydration Cause Arthritis, Eyes Watering During Exercise, The Best Ways To Increase Grip Strength, and much more.
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.
Ben: Sorry I’m late, dude. I had to run outside and shout at some landscapers. They…
Brock: You shout at them for breaking in to your shed.
Ben: My home gym of old tires and some big river rocks, they decided were trash and they’re pounding it to the garbage can to take them away.
Brock: Oh no! That’s your gymnasium!
Ben: Would’ve completely lost my fitness. So, yeah, and had to go and set them straight and let them know that there are some weird folks out there like myself, were actually use those kind of things for fitness and not just trash.
Brock: Yeah. So, you – how did the races go? You’ve been training pretty hard.
Ben: Oh yeah. This was my last weekend before the…
Brock: Before the World Championships.
Ben: Spartan World Championships. Well, actually if you watched the movie Spartan, they all speak, I believe in Scottish accent. So we should be “Spartan, World Championships”. ‘Cause we all know that the ancient Greeks spoke with Scottish accent. Anyways though, yeah! I raced a triathlon and a mountain – it was about a 15 mile mountain race, a running race over the weekend, and…
Brock: You do running races very often.
Ben: I don’t…
Brock: But you’re tucked on to a swim and a bike.
Ben: Exactly, yup. I’m trying to turn myself into a runner though. That race actually went well. I had – I won the triathlon and then – which felt really weird. It was the second time I’ve been on a bicycle racing all year and swimming…
Brock: And the last time was like April or May, or something, wasn’t it?
Ben: Swimming is not something I’ve been doing much of either unless you can’t lie in the ocean during SealFit. So, it was painful but I pulled off at W and then the next day, I was 20 seconds off the leader in at mile 14 and a half of this mountain race, and came around the corner, and I knew I could catch him but the finish line was like right there, and I didn’t have what it took to – reel him for a sprint finish. And that’s one of those deals where you always kicking yourself wonder were you could made up time. Like, could I have maybe, I don’t know, push myself off of that tree and take in a short cut on the trail right there, and got that 20 seconds and, perhaps…
Brock: Is that allowed?
Ben: I don’t know but maybe I would have won it slightly larger pint glass than the glass I won. So, yeah. Anyway though, I’m a little sore but now in taper mode so.
Brock: Awesome. You know, the most exciting thing I’ve done recently was impress my physiotherapist with my ability to move my shoulder. Almost 360 degrees.
Ben: Touch your shoulder to your nipple. Touch your shoulder to your hip.
Brock: Speaking of touching your shoulder to your nipple, I hear you have 5 tricks of ways to make your body more awesome.
Brock: What’s the other one called? Face something…
Ben: Zuckerbergville. So, anyways though, I link to some really interesting article called 5 Ways to Trick Your Body Into Being More Awesome, and this was actually pretty interesting article. And it went over 5 ways to trick your body into being more awesome in case the title didn’t give that away.
Brock: It was a little bit obvious, and we got that.
Ben: So, drum roll please. Here are the five: one is to drink a cup of coffee before you take a nap because when you wake up from the nap you’ll feel better, and this for a while was perceived as being absolute myth but in fact the way that caffeine actually works or interacts with the special molecule in your brain called adenosine means that, when you sleep, you clear a little bit of that adenosine from your brain but if you go for too long with that adenosine cleared from your brain, you can wake up feeling groggy, it can be more difficult to wake up.
So, what happens is, if you drink a cup of coffee and then you take a nap, that short sleep of right around 20 minutes or so, clears the adenosine from your brain but the caffeine keeps that from occurring for too long so you don’t get that groggy feeling when you wake up, and it’s called a coffee nap. So, of course the article goes into it in more detail. I’ve barely done justice to the caffeine adenosine dealio. But drink a cup of coffee before you take an afternoon nap. I actually tried this yesterday. I drank a cup of coffee and I took a nap and I actually stayed asleep for closer to 40 minutes, maybe because I – I don’t know, I have a caffeine intolerance from the massive amounts of coffee I drink every morning, which I don’t actually, just have a little cup of coffee but you know what, drink a cup of coffee before you take a nap. There you go.
Brock: I used to do that when I was cheering with the band, we’d stop and get a coffee and you’d be sitting there for hours in the bus, so you’ve fall asleep and then wake up and feel refresh but really have to pee.
Ben: Uhmm, yeah, and it’s all the better ways like the styrofoam cup of coffee from the gas station which is the type of place is the best husky station. That’s what they call them from Canada, the husky stations.
Brock: Yeah! Do you have husky stations down there?
Ben: No! That means something completely different in the United States. So, there you go. Okay, so number four, is don’t stretch before a workout. This is one is kinda common knowledge to all of our podcast listeners.
Brock: Yeah, we’ve known that since the 80’s.
Ben: Yeah, will skip over that one. Okay, here’s the next one – eavesdrop with your right ear, pick out music with your left ear. So, what this is referring to is the fact that when you listen to things to your right ear, it interacts with the left hemisphere of your brain which is responsible for deciphering verbal information like speech and so if you’re going to listen to something important or listen to someone saying something important, tweaking your head so you’re kind of listening more of the right side of your head or your right ear, can help. And vise-versa with music, you would listen to music in your left ear. I’ve no clue how practical this is in an era of headphones that pumped music to both ears, but it turns out if you absolutely have to eavesdrop on someone, you do so through your left ear. So, I thought that was interesting. Here’s another one that I think is a little more relevant – hurt your back? Keep moving. So, you wind up crippling yourself if you don’t rest that back after you hurt it is myth, and in fact the New England Journal of Medicine and other researches come to the conclusion that, as little as two days of rest can lead to a slower recovery of a messed up back or a back strain compared to simply moving through it. And this actually is relevant to me about one week ago. I was out training. I built up like an obstacle course on my land, in these 10 acres I’m surrounded by – I’ve got like cinder blocks with chains attached to them and tires for flipping that the landscaper just almost threw away, and I’ve got ropes hanging from the trees and hay bales attached to the trees for sphere throws. All sorts of fun stuff and…
Brock: And bodies buried in the swamps.
Ben: Bodies buried in the swamp.
Brock: Sounds like some serial killer with a weird… I don’t know, what’s it called? The maze like the corn maze in the backyard?
Ben: (laughs) I do have some monkey bars though upon this old wooden beam that I apparently didn’t hang very well because I was doing pulls from the entire beam, fell on top of me and pin me to the ground. My kids and mom are inside making tacos and I’m outside like shouting at the top of my lungs for someone to come and take me out from underneath this beam that I’m pinned under. And eventually I got it off of me and my entire lower back was blue and black and bruised on the lower right side, and I thought, okay, I can go inside and I can put some magnesium oil and a heating pad on this and maybe my Mark Pro electrical muscle stimulation device or I can just try to finish this damn workout. So, I just kept going and I still felt really crappy afterwards. But the moral of this story is, that you should at least try to keep going if you hurt your back because most research shows that it’s supposed to help your back heal better, if you keep moving.
Brock: And now, Ben is in a wheelchair.
Ben: That’s right. And the last one is – reset your sleep cycle with the hunger strike. This one is pretty cool. So, the main way that your body regulate its biological clock and its circadian rhythm is through light, but scientists have recently found this second clock that shows that you also have a food-based circadian rhythm regulator.
And so if you’ve been doing a lot of airline travel, if you are jet lagged, if you’ve gone through finals week at school, and your biological clock is all out of whack. One of the best things that you can do to push the reboot button is to go on about a 12 to 16 hour fast. And what happens is you – basically if we’re looking at this from an ancestral standpoint, if you are a predator out hunting for food, you’d spend the entire day looking for food, and maybe find nothing. And so, the way that they described it is, after about 12-16 hours your brain starts and this is, how the scientific term “freaking out” because it knows that you can’t find food and the jig is gonna be up. So at this point your brain doesn’t really give a darn about sunlight or sleep cycles, it just wants you to find something to eat fast and so you’ll stay up into the night until you find some nocturnal prey to devour and then eventually after that your brain declares it to be the new biological morning. So, that’s the argument for how this ancestral food clock or why this ancestral food clock is built in, but ultimately what it comes down to is, if you’ve arrived home from a bunch of travelling until you’re jet-lag, maybe you should just try for the next day, for the next 16 hours, drink a lot of water, some green tea, maybe some kombucha if you wanna get all whole food fancy pants, and basically just go through the day without eating much and you might be able to reset that biological clock, so just saying. Yeah. So, speaking of kombucha and drinking whole foods weird and hippy drinks, let’s talk about red wine because I kinda upset a lot of people last week on Twitter. When I tweeted an article about the negative effects of red wine. And what I actually tweeted to was an article that went into the fact that there are some people that are sensitive to lectins. And lectins are a type of protein that are found in things like night shade vegetables and soybeans and dairy, and they can irritate the lining of the digestive tract, they can withstand digestive enzymes and stomach acid, and they can – especially in a lot of people cause a variety of issues like allergies and leaky gut, etc. and they’re actually found in grape seeds and they can wind up in wine and if you’re sensitive to lectins then red wine can be one of those things that causes gastric distress. And I went into this in this article and got a bunch of blowback on Twitter like you know, Oh Ben, you’re confusing me, you know, first you said red wine was healthy and now you’re saying it’s not healthy. All I’m saying, if you got like a leaky gut or a broken gut, maybe red wine might be something to think about not drinking for like 30 days. And actually, I just recorded a podcast with the guy that I’m releasing in a couple of weeks who hasn’t had alcohol in four years, and he goes into how he did and why he did it. But anyways, the reason that I brought this up is because I’m going to shed myself in good light now, and point out a recent article that showed that wine actually is good for you but in this study, they compared wine drinkers who are exercising vs. wine drinkers who were not exercising. What they found was that, all the polyphenols and the resveratrol, and the antioxidants in red wine and all this stuff, it only has a positive effect on your cardiovascular status if you’re exercising. And, I don’t really think that this is news that’s going to cause all of our sedentary listeners to out and start exercising because I don’t think we have any sedentary listeners. If we do, they feel really bad now. But basically, what this means is that, as long as you’re exercising and especially as long as this is a daily exercise, red wine is good for you and on a sedentary day maybe you’d wanna avoid red wine. So, truly interesting. I’ll link to the article but it’s interesting that wine is only good for you if you are physically active. Isn’t that interesting?
Brock: So, is that just because you need some oxidative stress in place in order to need those polyphenols, and stuff and toxins?
Ben: What the researcher said that, “There may be some synergy between the low dose of ethyl alcohol in wine and exercise which is protective against cardiovascular disease”, so, it may be a little bit, you know, like how exercise has a hormetic effect. It could be, which I think we’re going to talk about later on when we talk about cigarettes by the way. It may be that alcohol has a hormetic effect that compliments that of exercise. So, there you go. If you’re gonna drink wine, do it on the days that you exercise and on your off days, your sedentary days, maybe just don’t or yeah, drink beer.
Brock: That’s how biologic works.
Ben: The last thing when it comes to cardiovascular health and anti-aging, and here’s something interesting, is a new anti-aging technique has been found to shorten or to keep your telomeres from shortening.
When your telomeres shorten, your telomeres are the protective caps that sit on the end of your chromosomes and short telomeres are linked to things like premature aging and disease, and early death. And they found this new strategy that literally keeps telomeres from shortening and keeps these chromosomes from fraying and clamping together and kinda scrambling your genetic code, all of things which can cause you to age faster. And you know what it was that they found that kept telomeres from shortening?
Brock: Ah, was it like those little things you put on the end of your shoe laces to keep them from fraying?
Ben: Uhmm, exactly. Yup, you put those on your hair, on your skin, like the lock laces you mean?
Brock: No, I can’t remember what they’re called.do it on the days that you exercise and on your off days, your sedentary days, maybe just don'aybe you'cuas
Ben: I know what you’re talking about.
Brock: What’s the name for it.
Ben: Well, that wasn’t it.
Brock: No, I didn’t think so.
Ben: Good guess, yeah, good guess.
Ben: No, it was actually…
Brock: It’s just like being back in grade school.
Ben: Standing. Standing up, spending the day on your feet is one of the best anti-aging techniques that you can utilize.
Brock: Well, it’s fantastic!
Ben: Just as it falls like exercise and eating healthy. Isn’t that amazing?
Brock: I love it! I’m standing right now.
Ben: Yeah! And I’ll link to the article in the show notes but I’ll also link to – I was recently at the Ancestral Health Symposium at Berkeley and I presented a poster there. The poster was titled Biohacking The Hazards of Sitting and in that poster, I go into all the different ways that you can kinda hack your office to stand more and we’ll talk more about hacking your office later on the podcast but yeah, definitely do that, definitely go – I don’t think it’s any secret to anybody listening last week. I use this thing called The Rebel Desk to make sure that I live to be 200 years old. And…
Brock: Two hundred years old…
Ben: All of our listeners get a discount. So, you get $40 off at Rebel Desk if you go to rebeldesk.com and you use code “Ben”. It’s really cool ‘cause it’s also got a hand crank on it. So, not only do you stand and live longer but you also get big guns, which means that as you live longer, you also look really good in those 80 year old t-shirts that you’re wearing. So, use code “Ben” at rebeldesk.com.
Brock: Do you know anywhere where I could find out how to make a green cappuccino? I’m dying for one.
Ben: Hmm, how about a hemp ball?
Brock: Uhmm, yeah, hemp ball is good beautifully with green cappuccinos.
Ben: That’s right. We mentioned this last week. We’ll mention it again. There’s this brand-new cookbook that we’re promoting right now. Shamelessly promoting and the reason we’re promoting it is because I don’t promote everything that comes my way, but this cookbook is A. free, and B. unique. So, it’s pretty cool. You can get it at bengreenfieldfitness.com/aded as in all day energy diet. If you go there and you get the free cookbook, and you take part in any of the shameless upsales that they try and sell you like – extra books, or anything like that, anything you buy help support our podcast. So, there you go.
Brock: I though you’re gonna say, it’s your own damn fault.
Ben: It’s your own damn fault. So, learn how to make hemp balls, learn how to make natural Gatorade, learn how to make green cappuccinos, and also support the podcast when you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/aded as in all day energy diets. So, a few other things I wanted to mention. First of all, I am headed over to Vermont to race in Spartan World Championships, but while I am there, I will be speaking on childhood obesity and overweight and what we can do about it, and how to grow super human kids, and all that kid stuff, that’s at The 431 Project. And if you happen to be in Vermont, or you want to go to Vermont, September 21st to the 23rd, go to the431project.com to check that out. I even hear based off of their sales page that astronauts will be there. So…
Brock: I always wanted to meet.
Ben: An astronaut. There you go. There’s also, while I’m in Vermont, the next weekend I’m going to be teaching or presenting at The Vermont Traditional Foods and Health Symposium which takes place at a farm, which should be pretty cool, and we’ll put a link to that in the show notes for this episode, and this is episode number… drumroll…
Ben: Drumroll number 2 please. Episode number 293, bengreenfieldfitness.com/293. Check that out. I’m giving you all sorts of excuses to go to Vermont, and then you can turn around and go to Pasadena where I’ll be September 27th in the evening. Actually, it’s September 28th, Sunday evening, I’ll be presenting at Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof Biohacking Conference, which you can check out again in the show notes, at bengreenfieldfitness.com/293 or if you can remember how to spell it, go to bulletproofconference.com.
And then of course, Brock and I are also going to both be at The Ironman World Championships in Kona. So, come meet us there and if you happen to be a physician or a chiropractic doc or anyone who does anything in Medicine, or you simply want to be a poser in that respect, I will be speaking at the Ironman Sports Medicine Conference. And we’ll put a link to the Ironman Sports Medicine Conference in the show notes too, but it’s a great way if you are a doc to go hit the big island and get some CEUs or CECs or whatever they call them these days. And I’ll be presenting on Nutritional Myths in Endurance Sports down there. So, check all of that out. Oh! And the very last thing that I should mention, is if you’re a hunter and you listen to the recent podcast I did on bowhunting, do you such… I’m talking quietly now that I’m talking bowhunting.
Brock: So the vegetarians don’t hear you? Be very, very quiet.
Ben: So, if you listen to the recent podcast on bowhunting or you read the article that I just published at bengreenfieldfitness.com. It’s actually a pretty good article if I don’t say so myself on how hunting can get you ripped. Then, you can visit gothunts.com. This is the same organization I’m hooking up with. We’re gonna go on a bowhunting trip for elk down in Southern Idaho next year. They’ve got everything from like trips to Africa, to trips in Montana, firearms, bowhunting, whatever, if that’s your thing, or even if it’s not your thing and you wanna guide to help make it your thing, visit gothunts.com and they’ve actually generously agreed that if you join in on one of their hunts, they will also help support the Ben Greenfield podcast. So, there you go. Two different ways to support the Ben Greenfield podcast today.
Ben: You can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/aded and learn how to make hemp balls to support the podcast or you can visit gothunts.com and kill a big horn sheep to support the podcast. So, whatever…
Brock: As long as you make me some sausage from it.
Ben: Whatever floats your boat – hemp balls and big horn sheep…
Listener Q & A:
Jack: Hi Ben, this is Jack from Tennessee. I’ve been a long time podcast listener, uses the products and concepts, promoter on Ben Greenfield fitness. Last several years I’ve used both triathlon dominator and tri-ripped plans and had pretty good results. This year, I started off using tri-ripped which is the second year using this plan. As a way to prepare for early season races and waiting for Beyond Training plans to come out, I switched to those plan in Beyond Training Ancestral Plan twelve weeks out for my yearly half Ironman race. I had more energy doing training than ever before. I used the tools and protocols in the book alongside the plan. I adapted the race nutrition protocol to fit my sensitive stomach. Last year’s half I had a GI meltdown and during the run. Well, this year I raced the book I challenged, again, Labor Day weekend. In a downpour most of the race, I was able to achieve a PR in each leg and an overall PR by 28 minutes for my first sub 5:30 half ironman distance race. I felt great all day, I probably could push even harder. Right now, recovery is going great. I loved the Beyond Training concepts where I could train without cheating my family or my work or destroying my body and still race fast. I really appreciate what you provide on Ben Greenfield fitness and I look forward to the future and what you have to offer. Thanks. Bye.
Ben: Those are nice testimonial from Jack.
Brock: Yeah, yeah. We put a picture of Jack up on the facebook.
Ben: Go Jack!
Brock: He looks good. You can tell he’s been doing something that has ripped in the title.
Ben: Jack’s jacked. I should have called it “try jacked”. Seeking Jack that out to tri-ripped.com.
Darren: Hey Ben! Hey Brock! This is Darren from Atlanta. I have a question. I have been working 8 hour work days for the past 7 or 8 years and I’m about to transfer into a new career where 12 hour work days are common. So, I was wondering if you had any tips for improving stamina for the work day to be working long hours or energy management during the work days. I love to hear what you have to say. So, thank you very much and I love the podcast. Bye.
Ben: Wow! So, 12 hour work days. Holy cow. It doesn’t sound fun.
Brock: It doesn’t sound fun but it’s amazing how many careers or jobs out there do those 12 hour work days, and I guess you just get used to it. So, just suck it up, Darren.
Ben: That’s right. Suck it up. Get used to it.
Brock: My girlfriend is a nurse and she does always does 12 hour days.
Ben: Drink more kombucha! That’s what they do in Russia. You’re good little girl, your 12 hours is nothing. Drink more kombucha. Little girl. Now, Darren…
Brock: Do Russians drink kombucha?
Ben: I think those where kombucha comes from. It’s like Russia, I don’t know, Russian fighters or athletes, or something like that.
Ben: That’s, yeah, honestly, I’m not making that up. That’s originally… Anyways though, I have 5 ways Darren that you can have more energy at work too. And I’ll give them to you right now. So first, I have a video on YouTube, in which I go over all of the different ways that I reduce electrical pollution in my office. And the reason that this is important is, your cell is normally operate at about 70 millivolts, okay. That’s like the ideal electric chemical gradient in order for cellular metabolism to occur and if that’s not occurring, not only do you get some neural deficit and brain fog but you also decrease metabolism, you decrease digestive activity, you decrease recovery, muscular contraction, all of these things that are supposed to work ideally when your muscles are at the proper electrical chemical gradient. So, the thing that can throw that gradient out of whack is constant exposure to ionic fields that are technically what are called positive ionic fields. So, we’re talking about taking an electric chemical gradient of say like, 70 millivolts and changing that to 30 or 40 millivolts because of constant exposure to things that generate positive ions. So, we’re talking about wifi routers, cell phones, computer monitors, all of these things that you might be surrounded by in an office. So, you’ve got…
Brock: Actually, I think I forgot to mention that Darren works at the power station.
Ben: Uhmm, okay.
Brock: No, I’m just kidding. I don’t know where he works.
Ben: Darren, you are screwed.
Brock: He works at a server farm.
Ben: I actually, I have a client and I know he listens in so, but he not only works in a power station but he works shift at the power station. Like of all the jobs you could have that are gonna mess up your circadian rhythm and cellular metabolism, it’s working shift at power station. Anyways though, so a couples of strategies Darren if you want to increase your exposure to negative ions, which are gonna offset that positive ion exposure and you also wanna decrease your exposure to positive ions. So some of the ways that you can do this that I go over on this video. And I’ll link to this video on the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/293. One is, you can in anything around your desk that you’re able to plug EMF filters into, or what are called electrical pollution filters into, plug them in. So you can buy these things are made in a company called GreenWave makes them. I got them in most areas in my home and they just filter out power surges, that come through the power station. So, you can plug those in underneath your desk, around your desk, wherever lights are plugged into it, etc. Another thing that you can do is, you can plug a negative ion generator. So like, waterfalls, bodies of water, the ocean, being outdoors, the trees, sunshine, etc. All that stuff generates negative ions that offsets a lot of these positive ion exposure but if you’re not able to have sunshine and a waterfall in your office, you can plug in one of these negative ion generators and they can help out a little bit. And I have one in my office as well, one of these negative ion generators. If you’re working on a laptop or a computer that is not grounded, you can use a grounding cable to ground it. These are like $3 cables. There’s a website called Less EMF at lessemf.com that sells them and you just plug it in one end of your usb port of a laptop or a computer, the other end plugs into the wall and it grounds your computer and all the better if you plug it into one if these electrical pollution filters. So, you basically got the cable extending from the usb port of your computer into the electrical filter that you have plugged in into the electrical outlet. So you’re trying to reduce as many power surges as possible from giving you big fluxes of that positive ion exposure.
Brock: So really it’s the surges that are the problem not the constant nice flowing energy?
Ben: Well, all of it is a little bit of a problem but the surges are the big problem. Alright, so, another few things that you do, you may have seen this before and they seem kinda woowoo but they’re like these Himalayan rock salt lamps that you can get off of like Amazon for example.
Brock: Uhmm, those are delicious.
Ben: Those, yeah, there you lick them during the day.
So, you maybe unhealthy but at least you won’t have any electrolyte deficiencies. And it may attract wild animals to your office. Deer, bunnies, everybody needs more bunnies in their office.
Brock: Actually I think they give off negative ions from their fur.
Ben: That’s right. Just hold the bunny and hug it close. No, but these negative ions, they’re generated by things like geological formations, rocks, etc. and Himalayan rock salt formations are no exception and these lamps are kinda pretty, they’re conversation pieces you can put in your office. They also, what I have – I don’t have a rock salts lamp, I have what’s called a harmonizer, same thing, it’s a bunch of minerals that are in this cylindrical device, and I actually placed that on my desk, okay. So, it’s just sitting there on my desk, you could put it – ideally you‘d wanna put it between you and a wifi router, or between you and the major area of positive ion exposure in your office. That can help out big.
Brock: What’s it called again?
Ben: This one is called the harmonizer.
Brock: (echoing) Harmonizer, harmonizer, harmonizer.
Ben: (singing) Harmonizer. That’s beautiful.
Brock: Get it.
Ben: And I’ll put a link to that in the show notes. To that and the negative ion generators, all these other things that can help you out. Couple other things I would definitely use – blue light blocking glasses, and these are like gaming glasses like Gunnars are perfect example. And these are cool because they slightly magnify screens that you’re looking at so there’s less eye strain but they also block some of the glare and they can block the blue light. So, as you get closer to the afternoon or in your case closer to midnight on your 12 hour work day, you’re experiencing less melatonin disruption. So, that’s another thing that you can do. So, that’s only number one. Number one, I suggest to pay attention to electricity, electrical pollution, and use some of the links and the tips that I’ve got in the show notes, watch the video I have in the show notes. The next thing is standing. I’ll go over that very briefly because we already touched on it but go read that article Biohacking the Hazards of Sitting. If you can stand – even if it means that you’re gonna need a couple of freakin’ milk crates, at your office, you know, if it’s not an office conducive to standing, I mean, hack it. Get a couple of milk crates, get your computer higher, stand or at least like go to a company like Focal Upright, is really good company. They got this thing called a Mogo, which is just like this reclining stool that you can lean back into. It opens up your hip flexors, I pull back at sometimes when my luggage would take in my hotel rooms for example, just ‘cause everybody needs a Mogo in their hotel room. And I can turn my hotel room into a standing work station. Usually by placing my laptop somewhere near the TV, sometimes up on – I freakin’ put my laptop up on the coffee maker and like all hack anything in the stand wire.
Brock: It sounds dangerous.
Ben: It is, it is a little bit. It’s living life on the edge. The laptop on top of the coffee maker. But, you know, I like to think of myself as being like James Bond or MacGyver in that respect.
Brock: You just have no respect for your technology.
Ben: That’s right. So, standing work station that would be number two. So, stand if you stand, if you can stay and get up and take as many breaks as you can. Get away with, without getting fired. And then, if you are going to stand, let’s say that you’re able to have your 12-hour work day, let’s say, you could stand all day, or most of the day. You are definitely going to feel the effects of that and if I stand all day, my legs are heavy by the end of the day. And you also increase your risk for things like varicose veins and overuse syndrome in your feet. So, not only do you wanna shift positions a lot but I recommend you use compression socks or compression leggings which help to get blood flow back up to your heart if you’re spending a lot of time in the standing position. And also use inversion poses, you know, like every couple of hours, go find a wall and sit up against that wall and get your legs up against the wall like a yoga inversion pose which is great for draining the feet and draining the legs, or you know, I have an inversion table that I’ve talked about before in the podcast, it’s in my garage which is sometimes my office, and I’ll hang from that inversion table and just hang in there for like 5 or 10 minutes at the end of the day. But I really like compression, and I really like inversion for negating some of the potential deleterious effects of spending all day long standing. So, that’s another thing. So, that’ll be number three, would be compression and inversion.
Ben: And then, number four would be, better living through science. I mean, start to use smart drugs. Caffeine is the most common example and of course, I’m a big fan of hacking coffee to not just get the caffeine but also get what are called the terpenes in the coffee beans to cross the blood brain barrier. They do so when they’re enveloped in fats and that’s the way that things like these fatty coffee and bulletproof coffee recipes work is like for your morning or even if you got a long work day like your lunch cup of coffee, blend it with butter, with MCT oil, this stuff is just not a fad, it’s not just a way for Dave Asprey to make money.
It actually works! Like, I don’t care what brand you use, if you use upgraded MCT oil or upgraded coffee, or some other type of coffee, whatever. But blend fats with coffee and that actually is a pretty good affordable and sustainable biohack that you can use. Another couple that I like are – there’s a company called Peak Nootropics which sells bulk powders of smart drugs like aniracetam, piracetam, alpha gpc. I’ve got a – if you go to youtube.com/bengreenfieldfitness, I’ve got a video of me and my kitchen like hacking together a little self-made compound of piracetam, aniracetam, and alpha gpc. I’ll show you how to do it in the right ratio using a cheap little digital spoon. You don’t need an encapsulation machine or anything like that. I’m not a fan of that stuff like using it everyday, but on your tougher more cognitively demanding days, that kinda mix, that’s another good way to go. Another thing I like is, something else I’ve talked about before. This is probably the most natural of all the different smart drug compounds that are out there, but it’s called the Tianchi. Actually had some before we started podcasting. I mixed it, no joke, I know, I’m kicking a horse to death but I mix it in the kombucha, and had some Tianchi stirred into some kombucha, it’s like a hyposine which is a dirt of club moss extract, it’s citicoline, it’s got astragalus, it’s got a bunch of different compounds in it that increase blood flow to the brain and also enhance cognition, and decrease stress. So, it’s called Tianchi. That’s another good one. Obviously, everything from like siltaf to caffeine, to theanine, to even freakin’ creatine, you know, these are all smart drugs but ultimately, start to look in to that stuff. I’ve got some articles out there on it, there are good websites like this Peak Nootropics website that has some good articles on different blends and mixes, there’s biohack blog at biohacksblog.com. Has some good stuff. There’s a podcast out there called The Smart Drug, Smart’s Podcast. But basically, start to look in to using that stuff because it actually compared to just drinking water all day long, can have a pretty good effect. But, that leads me to number five – and that is the fact that a lot of people spend all day long at work dehydrated. So, make sure that you drink lots and lots of good water. We talked about what kind of water is good water in a podcast recently. I’ll link to it in the show notes. But we’re talking about like, and again this is not myth, this stuff actually has better mineral composition, better taste, it’s better filtered, it’s better for you. Things like Evian, Gerald Steiner, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Mountain Valley Spring water, some of these slightly more expensive bottled waters that you get from the grocery store, they really are better for you. They hydrate you better. They’ve got higher mineral contents. If you get them in glass rather than plastic, all the better. But making sure that you’re drinking good water or even if you have like a glass or a BPA-free water bottle that you drink water from at work, that’s really good stuff. And incidentally, kind of on that same vein, now that I live in my new house, I’m drinking water from a well. So it’s a well, I go from the well into my house, it passes through another structured water filter which restructures the water after it comes out of the well. This is really weird but my dog wouldn’t drink water at my old house that was off at me at the municipal supply, and our dog drinks our water now. It’s really weird. I don’t know if it’s just like this natural thing where he knows that it’s healthier water coming from the well, or maybe he’s just thirstier ‘cause he’s running around more. I don’t know. But either way, total segue. But lots – good water is important and we’re actually gonna talk about water again later on in the podcast. I think somebody asked about dehydration and arthritis. We’ll jump into that but those are my five tips for you, Darren. Block wifi and electrical pollution. Stand and move. Use compression socks or tights and inversion poses. Tap into the use of smart drugs and then drink lots and lots of good water. If I were working at an office for 12 hours a day, those would be the first 5 things I’d do to have more energy at work.
Matt: Hey, guys! This is Matt from Baltimore. I’m a regular listener and have a strange question for you. I used to be a smoker years and years and years ago and quit like I said a long time ago.
But recently I have had a couple special occasions where I have lapsed back into having one or two cigarettes here and there. Nothing crazy, we’re talking one or two every couple weeks to every couple months. The question I have is – Is there any remote possibility that low dosing of things like cigarettes could have a hormetic response on training? I’m actually training for my third Ironman and while I don’t necessarily think I will be adopting smoking cigarettes as a training protocol, I have noticed a decrease in my resting heart rate as well as an increase in my ability to do things like heavy sprinting especially in the pool. I know it’s a strange one but thought I’d ask. Keep up the good work. Thanks!
Brock: You can tell that Matt used to smoke. He’s got that smoky (raspy sounds) ring to him. You can hear the rattle in his lungs. (raspy sounds) Exactly!
Ben: I’m sorry. What? Uhm, cigarettes enhancing performance. Well, yeah, let’s get into that. By the way, speaking of cigarettes enhancing performance, total segue here. But we’ve talked about marijuana before in the podcast and how that can actually decrease performance, but we’ve also talked about CBD extract and how that can actually act as a pretty potent anti-inflammatory and sleep aid. And since buying weed is now legal here in the state of Washington and I can literally go 2 miles from my house and buy weed, I’ve a vaporizer now. I can vaporize off all the THC and I’m just left with the CBD and I can literally just vaporize CBD into my lungs. It’s pretty cool!
Ben: And get the same effects as using one of these CBD-based tin foils or any of these CBD extracts that are super duper expensive. It’s not like weed is cheap here but I can – I can actually smoke weed, get none of the –what some might be considered deleterious effects, some might be, some might consider them to be mind-altering or sinful effects, I can just basically get just the CBD and be as healthy as a horse. So, there you go.
Brock: So what are you doing with the THC?
Ben: The THC vaporizes off at lower temperatures.
Brock: Can you capture that and mail it to me?
Ben: (laughs) Yes! I will be sending you balloons, a box full of balloons shortly just hold the balloons up to your mouth and untie them.
Brock: Don’t listen, border guards.
Ben: Okay, so, anyways though, low dosing with cigarettes having a hormetic effect on training. This is a really interesting question because hormesis or certain kinds of stress actually can be good for you. We mentioned exercise earlier. That’s a perfect example of something that causes inflammation and oxidative stress and cortisol formation and tiny little tears in your muscle and lots of physical damage but then you rest, you eat, you sleep, you recover and the next day you’re stronger and faster and fitter.
Ben: That’s a perfect example of a hormetic stressor that’s actually good. Caloric restriction is another perfect example. And we touched on this earlier about how you could reboot your system by fasting for 16 hours but skipping meals or limiting calorie intake or pushing yourself away from the table when you’re 80% full, that stuff doesn’t just restrict calories in a sense that it might promote leanness but it also triggers what’s called autophagy which is the process via which cells clean themselves up and recycle all the junk that’s been accumulating within them. So that’s another example…
Brock: I think it’s pronounced autophagy.
Ben: Autophagy! Something that causes stress, and I don’t care how you pronounce it up there in Canada, but that actually can clean up junk.
Ben: Plants! This is another one that was in the news recently about how plants can kill you, right? How the phytochemicals in plants can kill you and how…
Brock: Oh, geez! We’re not safe anywhere!
Ben: Well, plants have their own natural pesticides and their own toxins they produce to keep bugs and other pests away but when you eat those, they cause a slight irritation in your digestive tract that causes this compensatory adaptive response that allows your gut to become healthier or allows you to produce more of your own endogenous antioxidants. So that’s another example of a healthy hormetic stress. Other things like cold, we’ve talked about cold thermogenesis a lot. That causes a mild amount of stress followed by a big up regulation of nitric oxide and antioxidants. Sunlight. Same thing. If you are constantly wearing your sunscreen lotion, then you’re never getting that slight amount of radiation from the sun that technically does damage to your skin but that cause your skin to regenerate, bounce back, tan and produce vitamin D and all of the other good things that happen when you’re exposed to the sun.
And there’s other hormetic stresses that fly under the radar. There’s some evidence that mild amounts of radiation can cause you to live longer and I’m totally not joking, like actual radiation that you get from say like a nuclear – a nuclear explosion. What do you call ‘em?
Brock: Like gamma rays?
Ben: Yeah, exactly! That kind of stuff can actually potentially cause some protection against cancer and there’s actually this guy I know of who sells radiated rocks as an anti-cancer protective effect and you sleep with them next to your bed stand. Really interesting! He actually sent me one and I slept with it next to my bed for a little while.
Brock: You just have to be careful. If you get too angry, you turn green and enormous.
Ben: I actually started producing Spidey spider webs from my Spidey hands.
Brock: Oh, yeah, there’s that, too.
Ben: Yeah, I thought that was pretty cool. But it got annoying during things like making meals and sex. So the Spidey hands had to go. But ultimately, yeah, hormetic stressors can indeed be helpful but smoking, uhm, here’s the deal, nicotine is an erogenic performance aid. Okay, nicotine can do some pretty dang cool things. It is what is called an alkaloid, meaning it actually is structurally a little bit similar to some of those plant phytochemicals that I talked about. It can cross your blood brain barrier. And when it does that, it stimulates things like your sympathetic nervous system. It causes vasodilation of your blood vessels, not vasoconstriction which cigarette smoking causes but actual vasodilation, increased blood flow. There can be an increase in your cardiac volume or your stroke volume when you’re using nicotine. There can be an increase in pain tolerance, increase in focus, some enhancement of cognitive performance. Nicotine actually has some pretty cool effects and it also assists with lipolysis, your mobilization of fatty acids. So you get enhanced fat burning when you’re using something like nicotine. Now if you’re to just go buy nicotine, let’s say you weren’t gonna smoke it.
Brock: Like a patch, or gum.
Ben: It generally works really well in combination with caffeine, okay. So the approximate ratios here would be 100 mg of caffeine which is pretty close to what you get in a cup of coffee with a milligram of nicotine. Okay, so if you were gonna go use a nicotine patch or nicotine sublingual spray or powder or something like that, you can buy 1 mg of nicotine with 100 mg of caffeine, and your performance actually can blow up a little bit. That can be a pretty good ergogenic aid. Now unfortunately, the chemical cocktail that you’re going to find in a cigarette can do some things that are going to counteract the effects of the nicotine. For example, cigarettes have carbon monoxide in them and that binds the haemoglobin in your blood more effectively than oxygen does and that means your muscles can’t get the oxygen that they require during exercise. So there – you simply cannot get around the fact that carbon monoxide is gonna bind, that’s not a hormetic effect, and I’ve seen no evidence that would somehow cause you to produce more haemoglobin because you’ve got carbon monoxide in your bloodstream, it’s cool to think about – blue sky, but I’ve never seen evidence that that could work. Same thing with blood vessels. It causes vasoconstriction of blood vessels. That means your heart has to work harder in order to supply your body with the blood oxygen needs to function. Theoretically that might cause an increase in heart muscle tissue growth or in your heart strength but that – none of that’s been proven. And then the other thing that happens when you smoke is you actually have an increased resting heart rate and any time you think about increased resting heart rate, you’re talking about longevity because you do indeed on a certain level operate like a battery, right? You have x number of heart beats over the course of a lifetime. And that’s why exercise in moderation can be protective because even though your heart’s beating really heavily or high during exercise, the rest of the time when you’re not exercising, it’s beating less than it would normally. And 23 hours of the day with a heart rate that’s 50 instead of 70 followed by one hour of the day where your heart rate’s at 150, causes you to have fewer heart beats over the course of a lifetime if you do the math. And if your heart rate is always at 70 with no exercise. And the last thing that happens with cigarettes is you get tar build up, you get inflamed mucus membrane, you get reduced air capacity. So essentially you’ve got another blockage in your ability to utilize oxygen. And so, again you can’t hormetically stress yourself out of a tarred up mucous membrane. I mean, theoretically, you might produce more mucous, I suppose you could potentially even grow a bigger throat and lungs that produce more membrane.
But that’s all blue sky. None of it has been proven. And frankly, if I were going to experiment with cigarettes as a hormetic stressor, first of all I would – I would for sure go after one of these newer companies. It’s the – what’s that company with the Indian? The picture of the Indian on the label?
Brock: Oh, yeah, the natural cigarettes. American Spirit or something.
Ben: Are we racist by using that term native American on the cover? Be it American Spirit. And they’ve got a lot lower levels of chemicals when it comes to tobacco and nicotine. That would be an example of something you could experiment with to see if you’re somehow getting some type of hormetic effect. I mean, if you’re gonna smoke you’d kinda want the lesser of the evils. Ultimately, what I would do though if you wanted to get all of the potential performance enhancing effects of any of the compounds that are in cigarettes, I would just combine again 1mg of nicotine with 100mg of caffeine and that’s a pretty powerful ergogenic head. So, that’s the way that I would go and I can’t say at this point that I in any way would endure smoking cigarettes period and especially smoking them to enhance performance although I could potentially, or I would stand behind something like the use of nicotine for performance enhancement. Know that the World Anti-Doping Association does has some standards against that, though, so not for competition. So…
Richard: Hi, Ben! Hi, Brock! This is Richard from Melbourne, Australia. I’m in my early forties and I’ve been on low carb/paleo diet for a couple years. I’ve also got severe arthritis – osteoarthritis on both hips and I’m having full total hip replacement surgery in the new year. Wondering what your thoughts are on Dr. Jack Kruse’s suggestion that osteoarthritis may be caused by dehydration. In Robb Wolfe’s recent podcast with Paul Jaminet, they also mentioned that utterly restricting carbohydrates can cause dehydration impacting mucus production, cartilage, synovial fluid, etc. I really appreciate your thoughts. Thanks! Keep up the work. Love the podcast.
Brock: Well, all the people that Richard mentions are all pretty darn smart.
Ben: Yeah! But you know what really gives you osteoarthritis in your hips from eating low carbs is all of the very long distances you have to cover tracking down your meat. Deer. Dragging it home. Making sure it doesn’t have any potatoes hiding inside it. So, that’s really the cause.
Brock: Who’s been hiding potatoes in your deer?
Ben: Seriously, so, one of the things that can happen with no carb or very, very low carb is there are several pounds of glucose that are used in your body for what are called glycoproteins. So we’re talking about mucus in your digestive tract in your airways. That can be as much as 80% sugar by dry weight and that’s not – that doesn’t mean that you would have to eat several Snickers bars per day to make enough mucus but it does mean that if you’re in a zero glucose state, you’re gonna get dry eyes, you’re gonna get a dry digestive tract and not form enough mucus. You’ve got this protective coat around your cells that’s made up of polysaccharides. That’s also primarily composed of sugars. So in the same way that like that EMF that we talked about earlier can disrupt cellular metabolism, so can not having enough of polysaccharide coating around your cells. So that’d be another issue. And then of course there’s this issue that Richard is going after which is the fact that things like the hyaluronic acid, the glucosamine, a lot of components that line your joints to move freely, a lot of them are comprised of glycoproteins. In a very low glucose or glycogen – deprived states, not enough muscle glycogen or liver glycogen, you’d theoretically have low amounts of mucus, dysfunctional cellular membranes and dysfunctional joints. Now the important thing to understand here is that in inactive person, we’re talking about getting that effect once you’re dropping in your levels of glucose down below about 30-40 grams a day, very low carbohydrate diet, in an active person we’re talking about dropping below about 75-100 grams a day in a very active person below about 150 grams sometimes if we’re talking about an Ironman triathlete in heavy training, 200 grams of carbohydrate. So what I’m saying here is that, I mean you could do something like have a piece of fruit, some seeds and nuts, a little bit of yoghurt, and maybe half a sweet potato with dinner and you’d have all the carbohydrates that you need for healthy joints. So, it’s all relative here, the idea of low carb, right?
So you’d have to eat very, very low carb and extremely active at the same time, or almost zero carb and sedentary to put yourself into a state where you do not have enough glycoproteins on board. So, yes, sugars are a primary components of joints but no, not in the amount that you might think. Not unlike the Gatorade Sports Science Institute amount of carbohydrates. Now…
Brock: That’s interesting! I’d like to hear what Dr. Noakes has to say about that. Last time I talked to him, he was only eating 25 grams of carbs per day and he’s a pretty active guy.
Ben: Yeah, in my opinion and from what I’ve found in terms of hormonal dysfunction in athletes as well as energy levels, tears, digestion, things of that nature, that’s not enough. I’d be curious how his digestion is holding up with that amount considering he’s also a runner.
Brock: Yeah! That’s right. Ultra runner.
Ben: Yeah! And low carb diets can reduce your water weight by anything from 5-10 lbs since glycogen can carry up to 4 times its weight in water. So when you switch to a low carb diet, you can certainly shed water and you can dump water as well which is why when you’re getting ready for some type of an event where you’re going to need more hydration, you can kinda sort of go into camel mode by eating a little bit of extra carbohydrate because that’s going to store extra water. Another way to do it would be for example to use something like glycerol which is a special kind of sports supplement that allows you to store more water but that’s actually banned by the World Anti-Doping Association. So, last I checked bananas and potatoes weren’t. Anyways though, so yes, you could potentially by going very low carb cause not enough glycoproteins to help out with joint inflammation and the other thing that happens is the cartilage in your body including your joints is comprised mainly of water. So as cartilage surfaces glide over each other, some of the exposed cells can become worn and peel away and usually new cartilage would be produced to replace those damaged cells, and that would occur like after a run. But if you don’t have water, that process doesn’t take place. You get more abrasive damage and ultimately that can result in osteoarthritis. So dehydration from any source not just low carbohydrate can also cause some joint issues. I personally stand by the recommendations that I’ve made for a few years now when it comes to carbohydrate intake. I’m a fan of a cyclic ketogenic diet in which you spend most of your day eating primarily fats with a moderate amount of proteins and a low amount of carbohydrates when you workout in that insulin sensitive post workout window, you eat carbohydrates and for most active people, that’s somewhere between 100-200 grams of carbohydrates and if you’re going to use ketosis or one of these very low carbohydrate diets, it’s better to hack your way into ketosis using a sane amount of carbohydrates combined with sources of triglycerides like coconut oil or MCT oil or caprylic acids, things of that nature, rather than just achieving that ketosis through severe carbohydrate restriction. So that’s my 30-second overview that I’ve certainly gone into great – I’ve gone into greater detail on that in other podcast and things of that nature but, the one thing I know people point out is that I personally did ketosis for a year for Ironman but even when I was in ketosis I was eating 150-200 grams some days of carbohydrates, more than enough to go around for glucose and glycoprotein, etc, with my levels of activity and my levels of fat intake, I was still in ketosis. But I wasn’t getting this damage that a lot of people generate because – especially for active people, cross fitters, triathletes, etc. Don’t try to accomplish an unnatural end like swimming 2.4miles, biking 112, and running 26.2 miles without expecting that you may have to dig into an unnatural means like eating some extra quinoa or something. You know what I’m saying?
Brock: I know what you’re saying.
Ben: You know what I’m saying?
Ellie: Hi, Ben! This is Ellie. Sometimes on my runs, I – my – one of my eyes would start tearing up continuously just throughout the run, like I would have a steady tear in just one eye and not on every run. Why do you think this is? And how do you think I can stop it? Thanks! Love the podcast. Oh, and I’m the one that helped you organize your research citations. The book is awesome! Have a good day! Bye!
Ben: Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Hold on! Hold on! Oh! Oh! Oh! Crap! Are you playing this? Ahh.
Brock: You okay?
Ben: Oh! Cramp. Cramp.
Ben: I shifted into a kneeling position and cramped. I think I did too many sandbag carries yesterday after that marathon. Oh, okay, hold up. I’ll just workout this cramp. Hold it up. Very gently.
Brock: You got a – you got a foam roller nearby?
Ben: Drink some pickle juice. No, I’m good. I just…yeah.
Brock: Swish and spit. Swish and spit.
Ben: A little bit too much hammie there. Okay, I’m back! First of all…
Brock: Sorry about that, Ellie.
Ben: Sorry, Ellie. It wasn’t you, honestly. So Ellie actually did help with organizing the citation. She’s a student at Cornell and helped with organizing the citations for my Beyond Training book. So Ellie, what is up? Anyways, yeah, one tear in just one eye. Honestly the number one reason that something like that could be caused because – let’s face it, eyes tearing in water and during exercise is pretty common. You run in through pollen. You are getting exposed to outside allergens. There’s this little immune system response from your body. Maybe you get stung by a bee and you’re crying. Or maybe you’re running because you are going through a period of extreme violence in your neighborhood and you’re running away from the tanks that are over running and just ran through your house. And you’re crying because of that.
Brock: I heard that happens a lot in Cornell.
Ben: It does! Actually if you have pink eye, it could happen, too. But if it’s just tearing in one eye, it’s probably not tanks or allergens or pink eye. It’s probably a corneal abrasion ‘cause they’re pretty common. You get this little scratch on the sensitive front layer of your eye. And that scratch can cause that eye to tear. Not a tear but a – well it’s a tear that causes a tear, right? So, sometimes that can happen when you have a foreign body in your eye like an alien or dirt or plant matter and sometimes that can be something that’s been in your eye for a long time. My dad gets tearing in that one eye and that’s because when he’s a little kid he was playing with this little toy metal cannon, because when he was a kid toys were made out of metal and could explode. And it exploded and he got a little sliver of metal in his eye. It’s just there and it abrased his cornea permanently and he tears in that one eye. And if you’re having this issue, you can try to keep the abrasion lubricated, that’s one thing that can work and actually any pharmacy or Amazon, they sell this product called Artificial Tears that you can use. You can put it in your eyes and it lubricates that abrasion and it can keep your eye from watering or tearing when you’re out there. You can also – you can go to an eye doctor and check and see if you actually have some kind of a foreign object permanently lodged in the eye. Wow! I don’t know, like a gerbil or something. Maybe something smaller than that. Brock!
Brock: Always gerbils.
Ben: It’s always gerbils. Foreign objects that wind up inside your body.
Brock: Damn gerbils!
Ben: Anyways though, I would definitely look into this being a corneal abrasion. So if you have one eye that’s watering during exercise, usually it’s because of that tear. And corneal abrasions actually in triathletes are really common because you get kicked in the face during a race. And that’s actually one of the number one causes of people dropping out of a race. I shared an office with a sports medicine doc who was the – who was the doc for Ironman for four years. And this shocked me when he told me this, but one of the number one reasons people drop out of a race is he gets kicked on the face during a swim, and their goggles fall off and they get an corneal abrasion or a corneal tear. Is that weird?
Brock: Sort of surprising!
Ben: Yeah, it is. I would have thought….
Brock: I have been kicked in the face many times in triathlons so it’s not that surprising.
Ben: Yeah, after you told me that, though, I was always a little bit overly cautious of swimming too close to the feet of the person in front of me. There you go! Corneal abrasion, Ellie. Look into it and get that fixed.
Wilmer: Hey Ben and Brock! This is Wilmer Gerav from Gresham, Oregon. Thank you for all you guys’ contribution to this world. You have really changed my life. On to the question, I‘ve been lifting progressively heavy these past months but I can’t seem to hold the grip on the weights. What devices or exercises do you recommend to improve grip and wrist strength. Thank you in advance.
Ben: You know, Brock, grip strength is actually more important than you think. Did you know they’ve done some studies where grip strength is directly correlated to testosterone? So if you have a weak grip, you probably have a weak, well…
Brock: Pituitary gland?
Ben: Yeah, a weak pituitary gland. So…
Brock: So does that relate directly to your hand shake?
Ben: Uh-hm, yeah, so it could affect your income or your success in life because you have bad grip strength it might give you one of those fishy handshakes that nobody likes.
But your gripping muscles are not just as some people think like your fingers. We’re talking forearms, wrist, hands, fingers, thumbs, the front of your forearms, the back of your forearms. So if you wanna train your grip, you really have to do a lot of different type of exercises. It goes way above and beyond. One of the things that I personally do, I keep one of those little grip strengtheners in my handbag that I carry my laptop around in and I’ll pull that out when I’m sitting on an airplane or when I’m driving and just do as many as I can with one hand and as many as I can with the other hand. You know what I’m talking about?
Brock: Yeah, like those ones that look like little springs with handles.
Ben: Uh-hm. They’re called grippers. And they actually sell – someone called a Crush Grip, it’s actually really good. Those grippers that have really high amount of tension on them, those actually can work pretty well for some of the squeezing muscles in your fingers. But you’re still not training all of the things that you need to get a better grip. And I personally have been focusing more on my grip because of obstacle racing and the fact that you spend so much time holding onto walls. I actually have this little wall that’s on my yard. And it’s got little two by fours screwed into it. And I’ll hold onto those and just traverse around the wall until my hands are so tired I gotta drop off. That’s a great way to grip train. I also have some stairs in my house that I do pull ups on now rather than the pull up bar at the door of my office. Since I moved in to this new house, I just do pull ups on the stairs. That requires a lot more grip strength than doing pull ups holding on to a bar.
Brock: Yeah, you train your hand holding around.
Ben: Holding onto a bar unless it’s super duper thick is actually not a great way to train your grip. But if it is a thick bar, that’s certainly one of the ways that you can train your grip. So, as far as ways that I would recommend improving strength, some of the best ways to improve grip strength, so the first thing that I like is in addition to that crush grip that I talked about – plate pinching. Plate pinching works really well. So you – this is where you take a couple of 25 or 35 or 45 lb plates at the gym, preferably not the rubber ones ‘cause those stick together pretty well, like metal plates, old school metal plates, and you just lift them off the ground in a pinch grip. If you’re really good, you can walk with them. But it’s just called the plate pinch. You just hold the plates together and you pinch them. That can work really, really well. Another good one is a farmer’s walk but you wanna choose a thick object that you can do the farmer’s walk with. So dumb bells work okay but I don’t know if you noticed this, sometimes your shoulders get tired before your grip does when you’re just walking doing a farmer’s walk with dumb bells ‘cause it’s so easy to hold those short little bars. So you can make the dumb bells more thick by wrapping towels around the handles, so that they’re – so it’s a little bit harder to hold them. They actually make things like fat grips or grip force that you can add to dumb bells to make them thicker but just grabbing a sweat towel at the gym and wrapping that around the dumb bell handle to make the dumb bell handle more thick and then carrying that around and doing your farmer’s walk, that in addition to a plate pinch is really good. The other thing is also related to a towel and that’s towel hangs. So you take a towel – and you can do this in between an ab exercise or a leg exercise or something else that’s not using your hands or your upper arms and rather than just recovering or resting during an ab exercise or a leg exercise, you hang, right? So your core and your legs are still kinda getting that little bit of a break but your hands are working hard, right? You just – you wrap a towel around a pull up bar or you wrap a towel on anything you can, that’s above you and you just hang from that towel. That’s actually…
Brock: Oh, so you’re holding on to the towel. I get it.
Ben: Yeah, you’re holding on to the towel as you hang. And that one’s really, really good. So you can not only just attach a towel to any handle from a cable pull down to a pull up bar to a dumb bell to make that handle thicker to train your grip better but you can also just hang from the towel. So, I’m not done yet though. I got a couple more for you.
Brock: Keep going!
Ben: Here’s another one – curls. You know how to do dumb bell curls? Well, curls are for girls.
Brock: I’m doing some right now. Oh, dang!
Ben: Yeah. But curl plates like curling plates, those actually work really well. So you hold on to a plate instead of a dumb bell, like a 25 ton plate.
Brock: Like a dinner plate?
Ben: No, like a weight plate. And you curl the plate trying to keep that plate parallel as you do the curl trying to do your curls with the plate like holding on gripping the plate rather than holding on to dumb bell, and that’s a really good grip training method that will get you strong fast. And then the last thing that I personally do, and I do this one to two times a week, I simply have a great big river rock at the bottom of my driveway and I pick it up and I carry it up to the top of the driveway. And I’m about to drop that thing on my toes by the time I get to the top of my driveway.
Ben: My driveway’s about a quarter of a mile long. So it’s a long driveway. But – now I’ll pick it up and do it again. And when your hands get tired if you wanna still get a metabolic response, just shove the rock up over your head, do some overhead walking and once your grip has recovered, bring it back down, continue to walk with it. But carrying a rock around or a asymmetrical object, that certainly can give your grip a little bit of a curve ball and it just forces you to hold on to that rock in all sorts of different positions. So, those are some of the good one, hold on to those grip crushers, do some plate pinches, plate curls, towel hangs, wrap a towel around the bar, and then walking around with asymmetrical objects, sandbags work well if you get your hands underneath them. River rocks work well. River rocks work well. Dead animals also.
Brock: How about children?
Ben: Children that are alive preferably.
Brock: Alive children, yes.
Ben: All of those things work well. So, yes, for grip strength that’s definitely what I would do. I wouldn’t mess around with the sage advice that you’ll get from most folks which is two more dead lifts. You could technically wrap a towel around a dead lift bar and that’ll work okay. But ultimately some of these other methods are more fun and will increase your grip far more dramatically and might I say, exponentially just because I wanted to say the word exponentially at some point in this podcast.
Brock: It’s a good word.
Ben: And since that was our last question I had to say it, right?
Brock: Sneak it in now before it’s too late.
Ben: But that – since that is our last question and it’s time to give away…
Brock: Speaking of sneaking things in, let’s give away some swag, shall we? Do it!
Ben: Alright! So anytime that you leave an iTunes review, meaning that you go to iTunes, you do a search for Ben Greenfield Fitness or Ben Greenfield or what is the best podcast, then you go to our podcast and you leave us a review. And if we read your review on the show and you hear it and you write to Ben @bengreenfieldfitness.com with your t-shirt size and your mailing address and we send you a sweet Tech t-shirt, a beanie, which are really cool Ben Greenfield beanie…
Brock: With a propeller on top.
Ben: … with a propeller on top, and also a BPA-free water bottle. And you can also if you go to bengreenfield…
Brock: No propeller on top.
Ben: If you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear, you could buy that stuff which helps to support the show in the same way that buying the hemp ball, cookbook, or killing big horn cheap helps support the show.
Brock: But you’re not required to do it.
Ben: That’s right! But you can also go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/gear or you can leave an iTunes review and Brock is going to read this week’s iTunes review.
Brock: Does anybody ever not claim their free gear?
Ben: Hmm. I don’t pay attention, honestly. But it seems like I send something out every week. So…
Brock: I figured people would be pretty on top of that. Alright! Let’s see if Maggsmaggs is on top of it. Maggsmaggs. I like it! It goes like this – “Ben provides copious amounts of new research to help in your endurance endeavours. While Ben does have that slightly arrogant attitude, it seems to me more to be part of his schtick than his real personality.” (Whispering) No, it’s his personality.
Ben: No, I actually am an arrogant male.
Brock: He’s totally an arrogant evil. “While there’s a great deal of hard serious science in each episode, Ben doesn’t take himself too seriously and makes plenty of jokes oftentimes at his own expense.”
Ben: Hey, look at me, I’m ugly!
Brock: That’s a good joke. Actually I make more jokes at your expense. But, anyway – “Finally, the show notes are awesome. I usually take a – I usually listen to the podcast as I’m running so there are no opportunities to take notes but it’s so easy to go back into the show notes to find anything I want. Great podcast, Ben!”
Ben: Thanks! I kind of …
Brock: Thank yah…. well, I think you’re not – while you are slightly arrogant but it’s a schtick.
Ben: Well, I was raised by a British family, fed by silver spoons thus the arrogance is built in diplomatic…
Brock: It’s well-deserved.
Ben: European. Yeah! You know what, I’ll just say that. I’m European. I’m European, it’s natural. So, there you go! Awesome! Well, Maggs if you heard your podcast read, write to Ben at bengreenfieldfitness.com, Maggsmaggs, and we’ll send you some swag. And in the meantime, if you’re listening in, this weekend on the Ben Greenfield fitness show, we have coming straight to you. What do we have coming straight to people, Brock?
Brock: Can it be bone broth?
So, in the meantime…
Brock: (singing) You’ll make friends with bone broth. You’ll make friends with bone broth.
Ben: Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/293 for all of the links and helpful show notes for today’s episode. Thanks for listening and have a healthy weekend.
Visit bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness, nutrition, and performance advice.
Sep 10, 2014 Podcast: 5 Ways To Have More Energy At Work, Can Cigarettes Enhance Performance, Can Dehydration Cause Arthritis, Eyes Watering During Exercise, and The Best Ways To Increase Grip Strength.
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right, use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form… but be prepared to wait – we prioritize audio questions over text questions.
- Nice – 5 ways to trick your body into being more awesome.
- Red wine is only good for you if you are physically active (I drink a glass a day).
- Standing may be the best anti-aging technique.
Visit BenGreenfieldFitness.com/aded – to get Yuri Elkaim’s new All Day Energy Diet cookbook for free (with recipes like hemp balls, natural gatorade and green cappuccino)!
September 21-23: Ben will be speaking at The 431 Project – where astronauts, technologists, screenwriters, CEO’s, educators and more, will assemble in the picturesque Green Mountains of Vermont to take up a crucial call to action to end inactivity and obesity in the U.S.. Imagine Ted Talks meetsDavos meets the National Geographic Channel. Vibrant fall foliage, fresh farm to table cuisine and world-class sommelier-curated wine lists are a bonus of this exclusive summit. If you want to connect, share, learn, have the time of your life AND change the world… get invited by requesting an invitation in the efforts to lead 300 million Americans towards positive choices, healthy living, and simple, sustained changes that will change their lives.
September 25-27: Ben will be presenting at The Vermont Traditional Foods and Health Symposium at Shelburne Farms. Inspired by the teachings of the Weston A. Price Foundation, this event explores the core principals of how traditional diets can contribute to health, wellness, and longevity.
September 26-28: Ben will be speaking at 2014 Bulletproof Biohacking Conference in Pasadena – Dave Asprey has decided to extend the pre-sale ticket price of $400 until this Friday, August 1st. Dave is stacking this year’s event with an all-star speaker lineup of bestselling authors… entrepreneurs… Olympic athletes… nutritionists… world-class biohackers… and more… Plus, an interactive expo of the latest biohacking ‘tech’ – including cutting-edge gear designed to get you into hyper-productive “flow” state, courtesy of the Flow Genome Project. And YES, that means Dave is making sure all the best ‘toys’ are on display in one place – and you get to play with them… click here to get in now.
October 8-13: Ben will be speaking at the Ironman Sports Medicine conference in October during Ironman Hawaii. He will be presenting on nutrition myths and alternative methods of fueling Ironman (and Brock will be there too).
Go ask your burning Obstacle Racing questions at ObstacleDominator.com for the brand new Obstacle Dominator podcast.
Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.
Testimonial from Jack:
Started off the year using Tri-Ripped (second year on this plan) to prepare for early season races. Switched to the Beyond Training Ancestral plan 12 weeks out from my yearly half. Used the tools and protocols in the book alongside the plan and adapted the race nutrition protocol to fit my sensitive stomach (GI meltdown the last time). In a downpour most of the race, last Sunday I had a PR in each leg and an overall PR by 28 min for my first sub 5:30 half. Felt great all day (probably could have pushed even harder) and now enjoying a smooth recovery. Love the Beyond Training concepts – can race fast while not cheating family and work or destroy the body.
5 Ways To Have More Energy At Work
Darren asks: He has been working 8 hour work days for years now and is about to start a job where 12 hour work days are common. Do you have any tips on how to improve stamina and endurance at work or energy management during the work day?
In my response I recommend:
1) Block WiFi (watch my electrical pollution video), which includes:
–Biohacking Healthy Home book
–GreenWave EMF Filter
–Negative Ion Generator
–Laptop Grounding Cable
–Harmonizer (use code BG15 for discount)
–Blue Light Blocking Glasses2) Standing Workstation (read this article on Biohacking the Hazards of Sitting)3) Compression socks or tights and inversion poses4) Smart drugs such as TianChi, Bulletproof Coffee, or Peak Nootropics
5) Lots and lots of good water, including the brands we talk about in this podcast.
Can Cigarettes Enhance Performance?
Matt asks: He is an ex-smoker (quit years and years ago) but recently he has been having the occasional cigarette (1 or 2 here every couple weeks/month). Is it possible that low dosing with cigarettes could have an hormetic effect on training? He is not planning to use cigarettes as a training protocol for his upcoming Ironman but he has noticed a decrease in his resting heart rate and an increase in his sprinting ability (especially in the pool).
Can Dehydration Cause Arthritis?
Richard asks: He is in his early 40s, follows a low carb/paleo diet and has osteoarthritis in both hips (is heading in for total hip replacement surgery in 2015). He is wondering what you think of Dr Jack Kruse’s idea that arthritis is caused by dehydration? In Robb Wolfe’s last podcast he and Paul Jaminet suggested that restricting carbs could lead to dehydration; impacting mucus production, cartilage, synovial fluid, etc… what do you think?
Eyes Watering During Exercise
Ellie asks: Sometimes while she runs, one of her eyes will water and tear continuously. One steady tear, just in one eye. What could be causing that?
In my response I recommend:
The Best Ways To Increase Grip Strength
Wilmer asks: He has been lifting progressively heavier and heavier weights over the last few months but he can’t seem to hold a grip on the weights. What devices and exercises do you recommend to improve grip and wrist strength?