Episode #227 – Full Transcript

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Introduction:  In today’s episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast:  How to grow your own superfoods.  Also:  the benefits of training in heat, does a minimalist training schedule work, the best way to treat IBS and constipation, how to stay fit and feel good while pregnant, and are plyometrics more effective after lifting weights?

Brock:  Okay Ben, before we start, I gotta ask:  are you wearing a shirt right now?

Ben:  I’m wearing like 3 shirts right now.

Brock:  What! You’re making up for all those of the times you weren’t wearing a shirt.

Ben:  Usually, we record in the morning.  I don’t know about other people but I burn hot in the morning like my body is hot in the morning and then as the day goes on ‘cause we keep our house a little cool, my body kinda cools off a little bit so by the time it’s the afternoon (we usually don’t record this in the afternoon we are), not only am I wearing a hoody and a shirt and some pajama bottoms (my lucky charms pajama bottoms) but I’ve got a nice piping hot cup of coffee which I rarely drink in the afternoon.

Brock:  Yeah.  It’s like 3, 4:00 in the afternoon, you’re drinking coffee.  Is that gonna spell disaster for bedtime?

Ben:  Possibly but I got this new Aeropress coffee maker and it’s just little tiny almost like a espresso-like cups of coffee and we’re talking about caffeine a little bit in today’s episode so I figure I better celebrate and make myself a cup.

Brock:  Just channel the caffeine…sounds good.

Ben:  Channel the caffeine.  I’ve got some cinnamon in there to regulate my blood sugar and yeah, I’m ready to rumble, dude.

Brock:  Well, let’s rumble then.

News Flashes:

Brock:  All right. To get these and other interesting news flashes every week and sometimes, even everyday, make sure to follow Ben on Twitter at twitter.com/bengreenfield and also make sure to go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and find out how you can follow the Facebook page and the Google+ page and get all of this stuff hot off the presses.

Ben:  Wow!  Somebody ought to hire you.

Brock:  Yeah.  I’m working on my FM radio voice, dude.

Ben:  I figure at MyList, we’ll lead off with this since I recently just got done getting the hell shocked down at my abs down at the Bio Hacking Conference the day  I spree head to  San Francisco. But there is a timely study that came out in the National Journal of Strength Conditioning Association that looked into electrical stimulation.  And what this study actually looked into is whether or not these electro stimulation units (the Compex electro stim is the perfect example – one that’s kinda popular)

Brock:  Yeah.  We talked about that a lot on the show.

Ben:  Yeah. Whether or not they can elicit an aerobic response when you use them.  So they took all these participants – it was a ton of folks – 8 men, 8 women.  And they put them through what’s called an NMES – stands for neuromuscular electrical stimulation.  And they did this for 9 separate sessions and these are  pretty significant protocols.  It was one hour long – each session was.  (I think I said 9 sessions but it was 12 – 3 times per week over a 4-week period of time).  And they had the actual electrodes placed on their legs and their primary muscle groups.  And they found that the following things: oxygen uptake, blood lactate and subjective discomfort (of course), all went up when they were utilizing this protocol even though the discomfort was low enough to where people did not claim that it was something that would have like caused them to consider this as an exercise modality they wouldn’t try. But basically, there was an aerobic training response to this. And this was something we actually talked about when I was down at the Bio Hacking Conference, how when you use something like electro stimulation, you actually produce lactic acid and you can literally train your body how to produce a bunch of extra lactic acid which you can then shuttle via what’s called the cori cycle back up to the liver where the lactic acid can get reconverted into glucose and be shuttled back down to the muscle to be utilized as a fuel.


The units we were using down at that conference were like $13000 artwave electro stimulation units. But since I got back from there, I’ve actually been using my Compex electro stim.  It comes with preset sessions so I literally did a 30-minute workout for my abs yesterday just hooked up to electrical stimulation.  And what I plan on doing is one workout a week with it on my legs to improve my running and my side swipe with the electrodes and my quadriceps and my hamstrings and basically train my legs that way, not necessarily because I think that’s the best way to train now but just to do something new and “fun”.

Brock:  So to get an aerobic response, don’t you need to have and elevated heart rate?

Ben:  No.  Not necessarily.  Even though heart rate was elevated in these individuals, remember that aerobic fitness is a combination of different things like your lactate buffering capacity, your ability to regulate your blood vessel diameter so your blood pressure, meaning that if you can increase blood pressure by doing something other than running or biking or swimming.  We talked about this in the interview with Doug McGuff, the super slow training where you’re moving a weight really, really slow, can actually elicit an aerobic training response.  Part of it is a slight increase in heart rate but it’s also all that lactic acid that’s being produced and also the actual blood pressure that’s being produced itself.  There you go.

Brock:  I do those super slow workouts and I often get a little out of breath when I’m doing them and I also get a couple of beads of sweat dropping on to my yoga mat.  So is that sort of the same idea?

Ben:  Yeah.  And that’s another thing.  Another study that came up this was in the Journal of Aging and Physiology and I tweeted about this.  How basically, moving a lighter weight slower cannot only give you this aerobic training response but in this study, they looked at doing it not with heavy weights, like we talked about with Doug McGuff protocol when we had him on for the Body by Science podcast.  But you can do it with your own body weight or with a light weight.  And in this study which just came out this month, they studied that older people, 59-76 years old, (my apologies to anyone in that age range who I just called “old”).

Brock:  You said “older”.

Ben:  Yeah. Anyways, they had them do low intensity movements or low weight movements, either super, super slow (in this case wasn’t really extremely slow – it’s 3 seconds up, 3 seconds down vs. one second up, one second down).  And what they found was that there was a significant muscle gain response even in the absence of using a heavy weight when they used just a lighter weight but moved slowly. And so there’s something to be said here not only for super slow training even if you don’t use heavy weights but also (this was another thing we talked about down at Bio Hacking Conference) what’s called the extreme isometrics where you would do one single squat or push-up but you literally take 5 minutes to do it, meaning you’re moving inch by inch your whole body in this contraction. And actually (and now we’re gonna get a little bit geeky and this stuff, we don’t have to expound too much on right now but) you can combine something like that with electro stimulation for an even added better training effect so for example, you could put the electro stimulation patches in your quads and your hamstrings and do it super duper slow squat on the body weight or for more advanced protocol, under a barbell and getting even more enhanced training response.  We’re getting into the extremes here but those are just a couple of examples like electro stimulation and isometric or super slow training as ways that you can get more done in a shorter period of time basically.

Brock:  I hope you could mix that with being hypoxic as well.  That would be even better.

Ben:  Yeah.  So you could hold your breath.

Brock:  Just don’t hold your breath for the entire 5 minutes.

Ben:  You could breathe through a straw. Actually, that’s something they do in physical therapy – occlusion training – where you literally tie a tourniquet above the joint to cut off blood flow to it to enhance the training effect.  If listeners start losing limbs, my apologies but if you wanna try it out, knock yourself out (not literally).

Brock:  Don’t put the tourniquet around your neck.

Ben:  All right.  Let’s talk about cold thermogenesis and enhancement of fat loss. There’s a study in the Journal of Nutrition where they looked at the effects of green tea extracts in non-shivering thermogenesis during cold exposure.  So what they did was they took the epigallocatechin gallate, the EGCG compound that you see in green coffee. That’s a little bit different than caffeine but it has some of the similar effects.


And they had folks ingest that along with caffeinated green tea and looked at what happened in a group exposed to the cold that used that protocol vs. a group that just got exposed to the cold.  And they found that acute energy expenditure, meaning your metabolic rate in response to cold was 10% higher in the group that used the green tea extract in conjunction with being exposed to the cold vs. the group that didn’t.

Brock:              That’s significant.

Ben:  Yeah. For people out there who are using the vest from coolfatburner.com or people who are maybe doing ice pads or cold showers or stuff like that, if you’re doing this in the morning, get up, have a cup of coffee or have a cup of green tea before you go into that kind of protocol. After we finish this podcast, this really isn’t why I’m drinking caffeine. I’m more of drinking caffeine just so I can kick butt but I’ll be putting my 12oo lumen headlight on my mountain bike and hitting the trails in the dark in the snow and the ice out here for about 60-90 minutes for workout this afternoon and sure, I’ll be shivering a little bit during that workout and I guarantee that the caffeine I’m drinking right now is going to enhance that thermogenic fat-burning effect even more.  So there you go.

Brock:  Awesome!

Ben:  Here’s a related study if you wanna take this one step further:  caffeinated gum.  And this study also came out in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research. (Actually, I’ll tell you some brands of caffeinated gum here in a second.)  They took a group of cyclist and they gave them caffeinated chewing gum either 5 minutes before they started riding, 60 minutes before they started riding or 2 hours before they started riding.  And then they had them do a time trial. And the folks who got the gum 5 minutes before they started riding performed significantly better in the time trial than people who didn’t get gum, the people who got 60 minutes prior and the people who got it 120 minutes prior.  And in this case, they were getting 300 mg worth of caffeine in the gum that they’re drinking so it’s some pretty caffeinated gum.

Brock:  Little more than just a regular cup of coffee.

Ben:  It’s like twice that. There are a ton of gums out there that have caffeine in them. The most popular one is used by the military.  It’s called Stay Alert. It comes in like this camel package and it’s a caffeinated chewing gum. There’s another one like if people wanna google this or they wanna try them out during a workout, there’s another one called Go Fast gum. Those are the 2 that are highest in caffeine. They have 100 mg in one piece. So if you chomp 3 of these before you went out for workout, literally, you’d wanna do it if you’re going to do it based off what they didn’t  study:  5 minutes before you workout.  You’re looking at an amped up training response.

Brock:  The idea is that by chewing the gum instead of having a caffeinated beverage is actually getting the response faster.

Ben:  Yeah.  And I think what’s interesting is that you could continue to get that caffeine as you’re riding whereas I have a hard time putting my coffee mug on my handle bars. How about you, Brock?

Brock:  I’ve got pretty good at that back in the college days.

Ben:  Nice. I do remember that riding to some classes holding my coffee mug in one hand.  A couple other studies and we’ve got a lot of them today, actually. Boron is interesting.  And there was a study in the Journal of Toxicology that looked at the effects of dietary boron on hormone activity and biochemical parameters.  And in this case, they studied in rats. It was still pretty significant which is why I wanted to bring it up. This one kinda turn my head.  They noted that when rats were supplemented or their diets were supplemented with boron which you’ll find in some multivitamins, typically in very trace amounts (not very high amounts).  It decreased their leptin.  It decreased their insulin and it decreased their glucose levels. What that means is that all of these parameters that are associated with body weight and body fat can actually be affected through supplementation with boron.  And they did find that the body weight of the rats was found to be much lower in the rats that got boron at the end of just 4 weeks.  Those who haven’t heard yet, I’ll be bringing a multivitamin type of thing to market here in about May/June is the target. One of the items that will be in there, in addition to higher doses of vitamin D and EPA, DHA, just a bunch of stuff so you don’t have to keep a bunch of pill bottles in your fridge and you can just take one thing.  I’m ensuring that that has boron in it to take care of some of these metabolic parameters in hormones. There you go.

Brock:  Sad that if you take too much boron, you get really, really stupid.


Ben:  You get really, really stupid?

Brock:  That’s moron. Sorry, that’s terrible joke.

Ben:  Moving on…speaking of morons, let’s talk about smart kids – vitamins for kids. You wanna make your kids’ vitamins and not go out and buy vitamins?  You can actually do it.  I’m gonna link in the show notes to recipe I came across in wellnessmama.com.  What you do is you need some gelatin powder and this is the same stuff that you can use if you don’t have time to make bone broth.  And we’ve recommended a few different gelatin powders on the show before as far as being like healthy gelatin powders. Great Lakes is an example, like a good gelatin powder. That’s just unflavored gelatin. It doesn’t have a bunch of nasty compounds added to it.  But it’s basically collagen.  It’s the same stuff you’d get if you made bone broth but it also gelatinizes things.  So you get gelatin powder, you get some fresh natural juice. You could use whatever flavor you want.  You could use carrot pomegranate, whatever.  Just make sure its juice is not high fructose corn syrup.  And then you can add some raw honey to get some of those amino acids and preferably something local so you’re helping out with your kid’s immune system as well. And then you can add some vitamins to it like a good whole food source vitamin C.  You could do some probiotics. You could do a little bit of magnesium but basically, what you do is, in a little saucepan over low heat, you mix the juice, the gelatin and the honey and you stir that altogether.  You heat it until the gelatin is dissolved and then you remove it from the heat. Let it cool just a little bit. You whisk in vitamins if you’re gonna use vitamins. You don’t have to.  You could just use this as like a fruity bone broth for your kids.  And then you can pour into moulds like popsicle moulds or a little glass dish.  Put it in the freezer for a while to harden and then you take it out and it’s like these chewable gummy bear-like vitamins that you can give your kids as their vitamins.

Brock:  It’s like good for you jello.

Ben:  Yeah. Basically, I mean, you still don’t wanna overdose on it if you add a bunch of vitamins to it.  Kind of a cool idea, I thought (I don’t know if I’ll go out of my way to do it ‘cause I give my kids the liquid stuff.  Sometimes I take it ‘cause it tastes really good), the kid’s Calm Multivitamin. My kids have been taking that since they were literally one year old. It’s magnesium and amino acids, DHA, EPA, just basically everything a kid needs to get smart and have improved mental focus. When they were first born, we were rubbing fish oil or flax oil on their feet and then as soon as they’re old enough to take a vitamin, we started to give them that kids’ Calm.

Brock:  They’re both 7 feet tall and attending university.

Ben:  Yeah. And I don’t even write any of the articles that you see on bengreenfieldfitness.com.

Brock:  That’s all them.

Ben:  Yeah. Their ankle is chained to a desk and they just do all the writing and research for me.   So, for having smart kids.  Just keep them away from moron.

Brock:  Yes.

Special Announcements:

Brock:  I’m excited about our recommendation this week for our Audible pick and for those of you who don’t know, you need to go to audiblepodcast.com/ben. And when you go there, you can sign up for a free trial. Basically, you sign up and you get a free book.  And I would suggest that you download this book.  It’s called Stiff and it’s by Mary Roach and I like it.

Ben:  Like a sex help book.

Brock:  Yeah.  that’s what I’m gonna say if you get  concerned, it’s not called Stiffy.  It’s called Stiff.  And it’s actually a boat. Everything that they’ve done historically and even today for over the last few centuries and right up to the present times, what people have done with cadavers in terms or figuring out what happens to the human body as it decomposes, like the decay rate of a human body laying in the sun and in the fridge and all these other places. It’s very odd but it’s also very interesting so that’s my suggestion for you all.  It’s called Stiff by Mary Roach.

Ben:  Wow!  You know I dissected cadavers for 2 years in college.  I was the TA for Anatomy and Physiology class.

Brock:  How do you feel about that?

Ben:  Human cadavers are unpleasant.  I’ve got one nasty story.  I was dissecting one and it was one of my first months in the lab and I had my big lab coat on and my glasses and my scalpel and I was sitting there, I was working on an arm exposing all the arm muscles.  And as you work on fresh cadavers, you not only get a lot of formaldehyde that builds up around them and basically it’s more or less like a tarp that they’re laying on, on top of the stretcher.  But they use a lot of fat globules and just human fluids that tend to build up in this tarp along with the formaldehyde.


And I wasn’t paying attention, I’m working on this arm, I’m concentrating on exposing the pronator and the supinator and you gotta kinda label them as you through so that the lab students can come in and learn each of the muscles.  And all this fluid and human fat was building up in the tarp and I was wearing flip flops underneath my lab coat and it all came splashing down onto my feet like a liter of human fat and formaldehyde. And I think I washed my feet for a good hour after that.  It was just nasty stuff.

Brock:  So yeah.  If you like that story, you’ll love this book.

Ben:  Yeah.  So if you like stuff like that, go to audiblepodcast.com./ben and we’ll take a break now for I have to go and throw up for more stories. There was of course, a bonus episode that came out yesterday in which I listened to a bunch of special announcements. We won’t spend a long time today on other special announcements but a couple of quick things:  first of all, I picked a listener for next week for our bonus MyList episodes.  We’re gonna be geeking out with Craig about the list of things he uses to travel with.  He’s a traveling lawyer and he’s got a ton of cool little travel tricks and tips that he uses.  We’re gonna feature him as the bonus at the end of next week’s episode ‘cause he’s got a MyList going and you can check that out over at MyList.com/bengreenfield.  And we also make MyLists for each of these podcast episodes.  You can get links to our caffeinated gum choices and electro stimulation units and cadavers and a lot of good stuff.  And then the other couple of quick things I wanted to mention:  One was Vietnam is coming up soon and I know there’s some listeners out there that like to travel the world, that like to see new things, that like to do triathlons and adventures, and you can join me for a trip to Vietnam this  April 10th through the 16th.  We’ll be doing a triathlon over in Vietnam, hanging out, eating good food, doing some excursions and adventures over there.  I heard it’s beautiful even though I haven’t been yet.  And if you wanna join me, go to the show notes and you can get all the details.  I’ve got a link to the itinerary in the show notes for this episode which is 227.  Right, Brock?

Brock:  Yes.  That’s right.

Ben:  Cool. And then the last thing is Become Superhuman and really the way I like to explain this is, if you wanna transform your body, lose fat, gain muscle and learn how to squeeze every drop of potential out of you and your mind and your body.  Then, what we’re doing is basically, going into the cutting edge techniques that get you results as fast as possible cutting through all the ball, so to speak, the stuff that doesn’t work – the stuff that you see people doing on The Biggest Loser and Dr. Oz and all this pop culture stuff and instead, cutting straight to the chase.  Kind of the stuff that flies unto the radar, the real true ways for you to get what you want out of transforming your body and your life.  And it’s gonna be 2 life transforming days.  Become Superhuman, the conference, the live event is March 8th and 9th.  It’s coming up soon. You need to register right now. There’s 9 days left to register as of the time this is being recorded so you gotta get in basically by the end of first week in February.  But you need to get in soon.  Get you plane ticket out to Spokane and come on out for a couple of days at Superhuman Live and we’ll play you right now a couple of things about that and then we’ll meet you on the other side for the Q and A.

Wanna get personal access to all of Ben Greenfield’s secrets life? This March in Spokane, Washington. Ben is bringing the world’s best speakers straight to you. You’re gonna get step by step blueprints for performance, fat loss, recovery, digestion, brain, sleep, and hormone optimization and get inside or access to private parties special sessions for podcast listeners only. And of course, delicious locally grown organic meals. The conference is called Become Super Human and it’s already filling up fast. But you can get in now at bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman. You’ll come away from this live 2 day event completely set for life  to achieve everything you want for your body, mind and performance. Whether you want to maximize fat loss, achieve an ironman triathlon, or push your body and mind to the absolutely limits of human performance. So visit bengreenfieldfitness.com/superhuman and we’ll see you live and in person March 8th and 9th, 2013.


Listener Q & A:

Adam:   Hey Ben!  This is Adam from down under.  How are you going?  I thought I’d throw something on you for the podcast and record while I’m out running the trials with my dog, Chester.  By the way, he loves the podcast.  I’m at 42 degrees at the moment and so it’s already hot and I’m sweating it out.  I’m just going to question whether it’s smarter to actually train in the morning when it’s not so hot or go out and train in the heat of the day, just try and get some of that added benefit.  I’m just recalling a study that you did.  You write that actually no longer regarding training in the heat and the similarities or some of the same training benefits you get as if you’re training at altitude.  It’s just a question.  I’m a better off kid not doing my runs in the morning or better off doing it in the heat whether on bike training or whether I’m doing another work or whatever I’m doing.  Thanks for your help mate.

Brock:  Okay.  Well, thank you, Adam for letting us know that Chester is a big fan of the podcast.  I appreciate a dog being interested in the show.  It’s good news.

Ben:  Chester enjoyed that discussion about dead human bodies.

Brock:  Yes.  That would be his favorite.

Ben:  That’s right. Adam, this is a great question – whether the risk outweighs the reward basically of training in the heat, of running in the heat of the day vs. doing your training maybe when it’s cooler out. And this is something I’ve always thought about.  When I’m out there maybe training for Ironman and getting my long run in, for example, for Ironman or something of that nature, getting ready for Ironman, Hawaii, do I go out and wait until it’s 2:00 in the afternoon and train in 100 degrees or do I not put that stress on my body so I could recover faster and do my training session in the cool of the day.  Of course, there’s risk when you are training in the heat. There are things that happen when you’re training in the heat that you’ve gotta be aware of.  So let’s start there.  There was a study that was done that looked into the inflammatory response to exercise-induced heat stress in relatively trained males who are running in the heat.  And what they looked at was hot running vs. cool running.  These were fairly difficult sessions that were done at a decent aerobic pace – about 60% VO2max and they’re only 30 minutes long.  They had what’s called the thermoneutral condition and then a heat stress condition.  (I believe I said runners, these are actually cyclists training aerobically.) What they found was that in the thermoneutral condition, there wasn’t really that significant change in terms of inflammation but when you look to exercise-induced heat stress, there was an increase in what’s called coagulation activity which means you have enhanced clotting activity during exercise in the heat which could put you at risk for cardiovascular event and inhibit recovery because the higher amount of clotting factors that you have in your bloodstream the more decreased your ability is to do things like remove inflammatory byproducts after the session. You’ll think about your blood just being more sludgy, so to speak, after a hot exercise session.  It’s a combination of the heat but also production of what are called heat shot factors as well as production of what are called cell adhesion molecules.

Brock:  There’ll be a little bit of dehydration as well adding to that?

Ben:  Exactly.  Your blood gets thicker as well.  The other thing that they noted in the people who are exercising in the heat was a decreased production of fibrinolysis. Fibrinogens are one of the markers that you would test like you’re gonna get a biomarker test to look at your levels of inflammation.  They are also really high in people who’ve just had surgery, people who have broken down muscle and when fibrinolysis decreases, that means your levels of fibrinogen are going to be higher which can also inhibit your ability to recover. Interestingly, markers of inflammation like creatine kinase and what’s called interleukin did not go up significantly as primarily the fibrinolysis that decreased and there was the  enhanced clotting activity that occurred in the heat.  What this tells you is that when you’re out there running in the heat, if you’re going to take advantage of the enhanced acclimation to heat (the enhanced cooling capacity of your body that’s going to occur when you’re out there training in the heat) you should come at recovery after that hot training session from a standpoint of addressing some of these parameters that you know are going to be affected by your training in that heat.


One thing that I would consider, in addition to doing your usual things that I’d recommend after a long hard run in the heat like getting exposure to ice or a cold bath, getting some compression, getting your feet up and getting some elevation in, I’d consider, for example, particular supplementation with things that are going to assist with clotting factors or things that are going to assist with breaking down fibrinogen.  For example, fish oil is a perfect example, something that can essentially, thin the blood and enhance your ability to not clot but enhance your ability to decrease some of these clotting factors like a good triglyceride-based fish oil or keeping your omega 3 fatty acid intake up throughout the week. And if you’re vegan or vegetarian, get things like your algae, your spirulina, your chlorella sources, walnuts, stuff like that.  If you’re not, supplement with Fish Oil.  The other thing I’d look into is something that can break down fibrinogen – proteolytic enzymes are the top thing I’d recommend for that on an empty stomach at some point later in the day after your workout.  Recoverease is the one that I’ve recommended in the past.  Wolbenzymes are another.  I’ll make sure you’ve got that stuff in your body. I would also make sure that you attend to rehydration with a full mineral spectrum – trace minerals, not just sodium, table salt which is basically, just a bunch of kicked up aluminum with sodium but a full mineral spectrum.  It’s used like a Himalayan sea salt.  Use Trace Liquid Minerals.  Use something that’s replacing all of your minerals after that workout to address the dehydration component because while you don’t necessarily need electrolytes to avoid cramping, they’re involved in a lot of other metabolic activity that  you’re gonna want to keep your body engaged throughout the rest of the day after that hot workout so I’d recommend a trace mineral. And then, the other thing to consider here is the fact that if you don’t wanna beat your body up in the heat, let’s say you do decide that you don’t like the way you feel – you feel like your body’s taken a way longer to recover after those hot afternoon runs (which is true, you’re gonna take longer to recover), you can do what’s called passive heat acclimation rather than active heat acclimation. You could probably guess what passive heat acclimation would be.  Right, Brock?

Brock:   Just laying there in the sun.

Ben:  Yup! Exactly. So, steam room, sauna. The difference between passive acclimation and active heat acclimation (and this is something I’ll be talking about in the webinar I’m doing on January 31st with USA Triathlon.  We’ll put a link to that in the show notes.) is you wanna heat acclimate for an event.  You can get away with just doing 45-60 minute sessions for 7-10 days in a row with active heat acclimation.  Exercising in the heat continued for about 4-6 days prior to your event but with passive heat acclimation, you need closer 4-8 weeks and minimum of 10 days where you’re not gonna much response where you’re doing anywhere from 30-60 minutes sauna sessions every 1-3 days.  So understand that if you’re using passive, it’s not quite as powerful as active heat acclimation but you recover faster. For example, what I’ll do, I’ve got this one workout that I do where I just wanna make sure that I’m not gonna get injured so I’ve got some easy external rotation with elastic tubing for my shoulder and doing side lying leg raises from my hip and doing a little bit of planking from my deep abdominals and I’ll just go into a sauna and do that boring workout that would otherwise be relatively non-stressful.  You wanna bring a magazine in there and finish up that 20-minute session with reading the magazine for 20 minutes and before you know it, you got your passive acclimation session in it.  So that’s an easier way to do it.

Brock:  He did ask about doing speed workout vs. base training.  Does it really matter what kind of intensity you’re working out at?

Ben:  Yeah.  This is interesting and Tim Noakes gets into this in his book Water Log which is an excellent book but your core temperature (really, what they measure is your rectal temperature during exercise which is going to be an indicator of how high risk for heat stroke is).  It’s not based off of your hydration status.  It’s not based off of how long you’re exercising anything like that.  It’s based off of how hard you’re exercising.  And people who run a 10k are just as high risk of heat stroke as people who do an Ironman triathlon because again, it doesn’t have to do with dehydration or electrolyte loss.  It simply has to do with total core temperature which is going to be higher the harder the workout that you do.  So understand that the more speed training that you do in extreme heat, the higher your risk of heat stroke is going to be.  So if you wanna do a heat acclimation session and you’re worried, maybe you’re out there running alone, you don’t wanna take risks with pushing your body too hard.


I would keep things relatively aerobic for a session like that and understand that your heart rate’s gonna be higher that it would normally be anyways. You may not have much of a need for speed, so to speak, when you’re out there in extreme heat.

Dee:   Hey Ben and Brock! This is Dee. I heard you talk about this minimalist training (I think it’s what it’s called) as well as some different marathon training programs that don’t require as much running as what I’ve done in the past and historically what I’ve been instructed to do. Maybe you can explain a little bit more about the benefits of minimalistic running and not needing to run as much mileage and training because I am really not sold on that idea at all.  I PRed on every marathon I’ve done and I’ve actually increased my mileage for each race that I prepare for. Just curious, wondering if others have the same question.  Love the podcast.  Thanks for all the help. Bye.

Brock:  I don’t know if everybody’s listened to it and then I don’t mean to point people away to a different podcast but you went into this quite thoroughly on the Rich Roll Podcast  a couple of weeks ago.

Ben:  Yeah. We should link to that in the show notes.  Of course, we link to everything that we talk about but yeah, let’s put a link to that in the show notes if people wanna geek out on this for a couple of hours.  But I’ll give you the cliff notes here.  I don’t think that minimalist running training is the only way to go.  There are 2 different ways really to get the most bang for your buck out of training for marathon. You either use the 80-20 rule, meaning you do 80% of your training at a very low aerobic intensity like the kenyans running to school everyday and then you throw in every once in a while (this is the 20%) high intensity intervals and you do very, very  little  of your training in the moderate zone – the moderate “junk mile” zone.  So that’s one way that you can do things.  And when I go to halhigdon.com and look over the Hal Higdon running protocols, that’s one of the first things I look for is to follow this 80-20 rule.  The answer is not necessarily…when I look at it, there are runs everyday of the week except Friday, so it’s a 6-day a week running protocol and you’ve got your combination of hills and tempo runs and just like mid-distance training runs.  There’s lots of tempo.  There’s lots of work done in that 50% range rather than being aerobic or else high intensity.  I don’t know if it’s the best way to go vs. just doing, for example, aerobic runs even up to twice a day which is a way that a lot of this aerobic training protocol works with a few high intensity interval days thrown in.  The issue I have with this whole approach though is that it just takes a ton of time and unless this is your job, this is your career or unless you just have lots of time to burn, my whole thing is, I like to play the guitar, I like to cook, I like to drink wine, I like to play with my kids, I like to play tennis.  I’ve got all these other things that I do and I don’t have time for this 80-20 approach.  Unless you consider my 80-2o approach to be like the 80% being standing at my work station and staying physically active throughout the day, and then the 20% being the fact that just about every workout that I do is high intensity to make up for the fact that I’m not working out that much.  That’s the first thing is that there’s one way to do is the 80-20 approach.  The other way is like in my Marathon Dominator program at marathondominator.com, you run through your 4 days a week, most of it is high intensity intervals.  You include weight training, you take care of your body from a recovery and a nutritional standpoint and you just run less and that’s kind of the other way to do things. The answer is, yeah, you can still PR while increasing your running mileage. You can still do find a higher mileage plan but you just gotta have that crazy amount of time in order to have that work better than a minimalist approach with just high intensity efforts and good recovery.

Brock:  You know what, Dee?  I’m trying this minimalist training for the first time this year and I’ll let you know in October if it worked for me ‘cause I’m with you.  Traditionally, I’ve done those like the 80-20 – the much more higher volume like 15o km week kind of training so, I’ll let you know in October how it works out.

Ben:  Although you’re doing the finer coach who knows what they’re doing.

Brock:  That’s my biggest problem.  My coach just doesn’t notice.


Johnny:   Hi Ben!  This is Johnny Clements. I want to ask your advice on gardening.  This year, I plan to grow a garden and I am trying to decide what to grow to give me the most bang for my buck.  I have a small section. I want the most superhuman fit garden as possible.  Blueberries really grow well here.  Maybe I should use that space for all blueberries.  Thank you.

Ben:  Wow! We love to garden here at the Greenfield household although our garden is covered with about 2 feet of snow right now.

Brock:  Mine too.

Ben:  But in this summer and the spring and some of the fall, we have a huge garden pretty much dug up in our entire backyard and it’s all just garden.  In terms of creating like a superhuman garden, some of the things that I would recommend and my wife would probably be even better with this ‘cause she’s real green thumb and she’s back there for literally 2 or 3 hours with the kids during the spring and the summer just planting and cultivating and hanging out in the garden.  But the first thing to understand is your soil is gonna be super important.  You wanna make sure that you’ve got adequate organic matter in your soil.  And one of the things that we do is we go up to a local goat farm and we get a bunch of black gold composted soil.  And what you wanna do is ideally test your soil ph first because if the ph is really high, you’re gonna have to add sulfurous compounds and if it’s really low, what you add is actually lime. If you add too much manure, you’re going to get very acidic for your low ph soil so you wanna be careful. About a third of organic matter like a really good manure for every meter or so of soil is a good way to go.  So a 30 meter of organic matter for every meter of soil.  So think about that like if you just eyeball it, one third of it should be like organic stuff and it can be manure.  Some of that can be grass and straws, some of it can be bark mulch compound or coma (whatever you call it) compost.  So you wanna make sure that you’ve got that.  The other thing that’s really, really important and this is something that gets neglected, I think, and that’s minerals.  A good garden soil that’s gonna go a long way for you should have minerals added to it.  And the whole idea behind minerals is that minerals and a lot of these trace elements like boron and silicon and calcium and magnesium and potassium and a lot of those stuff.  These days we’re trying to for multivitamins because over fertilization of soil has essentially depleted mineral content of a lot of the fruits and vegetables we buy from the grocery store or even sometimes from organic farms and stuff like that.  But a lot of these stuff, you can add to your own soil and because you’re adding it to your own garden and to a smaller square foot, just than what a commercial farmer would have to use, you can actually do it for not a ton of money.  You can get your hands on stuff like sea minerals.  Another good source is volcanic rock dust and you can add this stuff to your garden to restore mineral balance whereas a commercial farmer would literally have to use tons of this stuff.  You can get away with relatively little when it comes to mineral restoration.  But when you add minerals in the form of these trace minerals you can buy in a bag and literally just sprinkle across the soil that you’ve added the compost to as well.  You’re adding a bunch of trace elements that all of sudden are taking foods that are already good for you and turning them into real superfoods. And especially for athletes, this is super important because of perspiration and sweat loss that you add minerals to your soil.  I’ll link to it in the show notes but there is one company called Azomite and there are source for minerals and trace elements that you can buy and add to your soil and they’ll have a list on that website.  They’re only in the states so my apologies to international listeners although you could probably find something similar if you google for your area like “trace minerals”, “trace elements”, “gardening products”, stuff like that, a stuff that you can add to your garden to mineralize the soil.  So you go and get this stuff.  You add about one third of compost to your soil and then you add in the minerals as well and it’s gonna depend on what brands you get, how many minerals you use.  Be sure it’s a bag that you’re spreading across your garden.  And so you’ve got your mineral restoration going on, you’ve got your organic material going on, and then as far as what I would actually plant in a garden like this, main things you’d wanna do and these are some of the things that we would do:  Sweet potatoes is super nutritious vegetable and you’ve got your carotenoids and pigments and lot of your natural antioxidants is also great carb source that you can go and grab and frap when you cook or bake or whatever to support your workouts.


Blueberries, definitely.  If you’re in an area that can support them, those are definitely known superfoods because they’re antioxidants and the flavonoids and all that jazz that’s in the blueberry.  Kale, we always have a ton of kale.  If you wanna get really, really hearty kale, there’s a brand called Siberian kale.  That’s really good.  It’s one of the heartiest and kale doesn’t require much care.  Just make sure if you have dogs that you wash them well because dogs seem like to pee on the kale.  Keep it surrounded by a little fence.  Kale is super useful. I’d include that.  I’d include cabbage.  Again, cabbage is pretty easy to grow.  It does tend to attract a lot of worms and things like that but as long as you wanna put with that, cabbage is another one that I would definitely include just because the amount of anti inflammatory nutrients in cabbage and its extreme versatility for cooking.  Carrots, again, are great beta carotene source and if you got a juicer, great thing that you can juice as well, so I’d do carrots.  Another thing that we do is brussel sprouts so you can do brussel sprouts.  Those tend to not be super hearty with the cold but it’s another thing that I would include. It’s some good anti carcinogenic effect with the brussel sprouts.  They’re good detox as well. Cilantro, by the way, is another really, really good detox to plant so cilantro and brussel sprouts to support your liver and your detox.  Sunflowers, you can easily harvest sunflower seeds from some of the big sunflowers.  Those are easy to grow in your garden.  And then the other thing, we do a lot of radishes.  You can do like daikon radishes, red radishes, black radishes, whatever, but you can slice them, you can grow them, you can juice them, you can sauté them, put a little salt on there and radishes are also super easy to grow.  Those are some of the things that I would do. Your dream garden are at least something to start off so get your organic matter going, mineralize the soil and then throw some of that stuff in there and if you got a bare garden, throw in some free range chicken and get a couple of goats and who needs to go to the grocery store.

Brock:  Yeah.  I’d add fresh oregano and fresh basil.  You just can’t beat it so throw that in there, too.

Ben:  Yeah. Definitely, as far as the herbs go, yeah.  When you own a garden, you can do herbs in your kitchen counter by the window so, yeah, absolutely.

Bob:   Hi Ben! This is Bob. I read your information on your website about The Fiber Menace.  I just wanna let you know that I think that’s really misleading because it sounds like all fibers not really a worthwhile thing which in my experience is absolutely contrary to what I’ve experienced.  I suffer from irritable bowel syndrome in addition to constipation and I take the psyllium husk powder as a fiber supplement and it just works wonders – it has for many years. I understand what the author here is trying to get at in terms of vegetable source for fiber.  That has not worked for me.  And also, I would encourage you to take a look at Dr. Park’s article and he did a study with the National Cancer Institute in conjunction with ______[0:48:36.0] and they found that fiber did have a link as an anti-cancer supplement and some other benefits.  I don’t think this author is on this.  Thank you.

Brock:  You certainly aren’t the only one who took exceptions with “The Fiber Menace” post.

Ben:  Yeah.  The “comment” section kinda blew up on that.  For those of you who have no clue of what Bob is referring to, go read that post and I read the book.  I read The Fiber Menace book and it goes in a way more detailed in the post.  I don’t think the post did justice to the true argument which is why I think a lot of people have comments but didn’t read the book because you get to know a lot more detail in the book. To address Bob’s question and by the way, I’m getting the guy that wrote that post – the 12 Myths about Fiber post on the podcast so we can delve into this in more detail when I get him on…I think I’m interviewing him in a week and a half, so that will come out in a couple of weeks.  He’s not saying there’s anything wrong with consuming minor quantities of fiber from natural unprocessed food.  So small amounts of dietary fiber is not saying are gonna be an issue with obstructing your intestines or causing diarrhea especially if it’s mostly soluble fibers not a lot of psyllium husk and psyllium seeds and overdosing on flax seeds but just like basic soluble fiber.  And a lot of that will get fermented in the large intestine and create a lot of these short chain fatty acids that your body can turn around use as a fuel.


And you’re not going to bulk up the volume of your stool high enough to cause a bunch of damage from roughage when you’re just getting basic quantities of fiber that you’d naturally get from eating a few servings of fruits and vegetables and eating some seeds and some nuts but not using a high fiber source – that type of thing.  So that’s one thing is they’re not saying go on a low fruit low vegetable diet so mostly, what Konstantin is saying in that post is that a lot of these like meta mussel supplements, psyllium husk supplements, a lot of this stuff that they sell to people for constipation may actually make issues worse.  Bob says that it’s worked wonders for him for many years and when he quits taking psyllium husk powder, he gets symptoms of constipation stuff that reappears and what Konstantin outlines in this is book is that this stuff can work sometimes for up to a couple of decades but they’re masking an underlying problem which is typically what’s called dysbacteriosis, meaning you’ve got an imbalance in your gut flora that’s contributing to the constipation and irritable bowel syndrome and that fiber is masking that but if it isn’t fixed and it’s left untreated and you’re just basically trying to bandaid it with fiber, there’s a lot of issues that go on like eventually, it can create neurological disorders as your gut becomes barren and you aren’t creating the neurotransmitters that you need, you can create immunity issues through the leaky gut syndrome and undigested food particles ending up in the bloodstream causing damage to blood vessels and blood glucose fluctuations.  So ultimately, you wanna address what he’s saying underlying issues that dysbacteriosis in the gut flora rather than just covering stuff up by taking in a bunch of fiber instead. Konstantin propose you’d be more taking good probiotic, get yourself on some bone broth, maybe take some digestive enzyme, stuff like that. Go after that stuff rather than just nuking everything with a bunch of fiber.  That’s another thing here. And then as far as this study with the National Cancer Institute that fiber had a link with some anti cancer properties, one of the things that occur in The Fiber Menace book is there’s a whole chapter that’s devoted to the fiber and cancer connection.  And it’s got a ton of studies in there that point out really the complete opposite that high intake of fiber is not found to protect against colorectal cancer or to protect you from colon cancer risk.  And particularly, there was a Harvard study that followed 700,000 men and women, some of them for up to 20 years and they did not find that high fiber intake or use of fiber supplements especially high intake like dietary soluble fiber was really assisting with decreasing risk of colon cancer. You can knock yourself out by going through those studies but what it comes down to is that you’re gonna do yourself a bigger favor by engaging in sane amounts of fiber intake and then making sure that you take care of your gut using a lot of these other gut-fixing methods that we talked about on this podcast – bone broth, probiotics, digestive enzymes.  When the case is necessary, fixing stomach acid by using a little bit of HDL with pepsin until you stabilize and restore your stomach acid levels.  Staying adequately hydrated…basically, all these little things that people kinda leave on the table when it comes to gut health and instead try to nuke with high fiber supplement.  I’m not necessarily expert on fiber but we’ll definitely get the doctor on to talk about this stuff and those are just some of my thoughts in terms of Bob’s question.  Bob, I hope that helps and points you in the right direction in terms of maybe looking into some other fixes that you can look into for IBS and constipation.

Frances:   Hi Ben and Brock!  This is Frances in Brooklyn.  I am 35 years old and 9 weeks pregnant with my second baby.  Though I know it is generally advised that pregnant women can remain at the same activity level they’re at before pregnancy, I’m having a very hard time in this first trimester.  Two months ago, I was in the best shape of my life as I was preparing to run the New York City Marathon and now I can barely lift my head off the couch.  Assuming I feel better soon, what can I do to get in and stay in the best shape possible so I can continue training right after I have the baby to run another marathon.  Also, if you have any idea about any mood boosters that are safe for pregnancy, like I said, I’m feeling pretty depressed and anxious and I also have some insomnia.  Thanks so much for your help.  I appreciate everything that you guys do.  Okay. Thanks. Bye.

Brock:  I know being pregnant is always difficult there.  It sounds like Frances is having extra tough time here.


Ben:  Yeah. In a lot of times, you get a combination of the lack of physical activity that someone might be used to depleting them of a lot of the endorphins (the happy brain chemicals) that they’re used to producing through exercise ‘cause they can’t do it as much especially with endurance athletes who get pregnant.  But you also get increased depletion of nutrients that should shuttle stuff towards making a human body inside your body and that also can affect your brain neurotransmitters.  You can combat this from both an activity and a supplementation standpoint.  First of all, we had a great interview with Cassandra Forsythe.  It was Episode 141 and we’d be sure to link that in the show notes where she outlines a good pregnancy exercise routine that’s primarily comprised of strength training exercises. I think that that’s a really, really good recommendation is to focus a lot on strength and even some of the core exercises that I go into in another article that I wrote about good ab exercises and we’ll link to that in the show notes as well.  The reason that I’m a bigger fan of that vs. the endurance exercise is the endurance exercise can cause a lot of bouncing up and down and impact and a lot of that jogging is hard on the body especially the joints because your body produces this hormone called relaxin after you get pregnant and that makes your ligaments really stretchy which can make it pretty uncomfortable when you’re out pounding on the pavement.  The other issue is that endurance exercise is basically catabolic and can break down muscle whereas some light swimming which is very therapeutic for the baby and they like that environment when you’re moving in the water, doing yoga and especially relaxing types of yoga poses and yoga exercises that don’t put you in a recumbent position that can put a little bit of stress on the blood vessels that lead into the placenta, and then breathing exercises, just literally deep, deep breathing exercises that train your body how to relax and fill you with oxygen that can give you that same type of high that you get from exercise.  Those are some of the better things to focus on if you’re looking at stuff that goes above and beyond strength training. And for this strength training stuff, I would point you to the podcast that we did.  It’s just basic stuff like doing some basic barbell and dumbbell exercises but if you’re having a really hard time just moving, swimming, breathing exercises and yoga would be kind of the 3 top things I would recommend to at least get you moving.  And you’ll find that when you get through the first couple of minutes of that stuff, it can become a little bit easier to do.  At the same time, it may still be pretty tough to get into if you’ve got some neurotransmitter issues going on with your brain.  So a few things I would look into:  One, I would make sure that you get yourself adequate levels of choline.  And choline is gonna be critical for your brain function but it’s also really critical for fetal brain development.  And choline is basically something that all of us use for our brains but it’s especially important for pregnant women and for growing babies. Eggs are really good source of choline especially eggs with the yolk.  You gotta make sure that you take the yolk in because that’s got choline in it. Poached eggs, fried eggs, scrambled eggs, stuff like that, I’d be including a lot of that in your diet.  There’s also a supplement called Alpha-GPC and GPC stands for glyceryl phosphoryl choline and that’s the choline compound that’s found naturally in your brain and it works in conjunction with your body’s own growth hormone releasing hormone to stimulate the production of growth hormone.  And it can be really, really good for enhancing your mood but also enhancing the brain development of the fetus.  One thing I would look into would be Alpha-GPC which is a supplement that you can take.  Another one that’s really super abundant amino acid in your body really, really important in supporting physical activity during pregnancy but also something that can cross your blood brain barrier and help you with producing adequate amounts of neurotransmitters and literally help you out a lot of times with chemical changes in your brain is glutamine.  And glutamine is another type of amino acid you can get your hands on in powder form or capsule form.  That’s a supplement I would think about.  Just a couple more:  One would be Acetyl L-Carnitine and Acetyl L-Carnitine is something that helps to keep your cells functioning by supporting your mitochondria.  But specifically, the acetyl part of Acetyl L-Carnitine is used to produce a neurotransmitter called acetyl choline in your brain. And that’s another really, really important mood chemical and so that’s something else that you could consider supplementing with because it’s able to cross the blood brain barrier and helps you to produce acetyl choline in the brain along with that choline that I talked about earlier.  It’s gonna help you and it can also help with your fetal brain development and not your fetal brain development but your fetus’.  I don’t think you can go back in time and affect your fetal development.


Brock:  Oh that’d be great.

Ben:  Phosphatidylserine is the last one I would recommend.  It helps memory, helps cognition. You can supplement it while you’re pregnant.  It’s not like a lot of these herbs. You’ve heard me recommend Tianchi for helping with brain function but that’s got a lot of herbs in it and you gotta be careful with that stuff when you’re pregnant because different herbs like Huperzine A is an example of something that’s in Tianchi and that’s something that you’d wanna be careful with if you’re pregnant.  Gingko Biloba would be another.  Some of these are great for brain function if you’re not pregnant but not handled very well by the fetus.

Brock:  What are the risks if you that and you’re pregnant?

Ben:  I’m not quite sure of the mechanism of action of what goes on with a lot of these herbs that can affect fetal health but I do know that there are contraindications to taking a lot of different herbs during pregnancy and stuff like Gingko Biloba and Huperzine A which could help with brain function when you’re not pregnant are something that may not be helpful when you are pregnant.  These may be deleterious to the fetus.  So be careful with those but PhophatidylserineAcetyl L-CarnitineGlutamine and Alpha-GPC along with including eggs and a lot of fats in your diet, I’d highly recommend. I’d also be careful with lots of artificial light exposure just because the light spectrum that’s in a lot of basic fluorescent lights that we tend to keep around our houses.  It can contribute to a drop off in melatonin later on in the day.  It can contribute to seasonal affective disorder.  You could go to a website like lowbluelights.com and I’ll link to that in the show notes and you can replace some of the bulbs in the rooms that you’re spending a lot of time in with these more mellow low blue lights that don’t have these harsh amounts of the blue lightwave spectrum and that a lot of times can significantly affect your mental function if you install those in the rooms that you’re spending a lot of time in.  Last thing that I’d highly recommend, I’m getting this guy in the podcast to talk about his book but there’s a book called the Better Baby book.  It’s a new one.  It’s written by Dave Asprey who actually did that at Bio Hacking Conference that I was at and I actually have read his book.  He gave it to me and I read it on the plane which is why all this baby stuff is still fresh in my mind. Not that I personally plan on having more kids at this point but I wanted to be able to give out some good advice to other folks.  Excellent book! Highly recommended.  I’ll link to the Amazon version of that in the show notes for you as well.  It’s called the Better Baby book and anybody who’s thinking of having a baby should definitely read that in my opinion.

Isaac:   Hi Ben!  My name is Isaac and my question is about plyometrics and speed training. Would plyometrics, speed and quickness workout, would that be even more effective if done after a hard lower body weight lifting session?  It seems possible that if the strong slow twitch muscle fibers are fatigued from the lifting, then your fast twitch fibers would have to work that much harder for you to jump and do the other explosive movements. That’s my thought process but I don’t know of that’s actually true.  I know you’ve talked about the benefits of doing an explosive exercise immediately after a lift like doing barbell squats followed by body weight squat jumps but I’m wondering more about an entire plyometrics workout following a weight lifting session.  Like any athlete, I’m always looking for ways to maximize the effect of this on my workout.  Thanks guys.

Brock:  This is the second week in a row we had a very smart question.

Ben:  Smart, smart listeners.

Brock:  Somebody who’s reading their books.

Ben:  That’s right. And we also have a smart dog, too.  Chester and Isaac are our podcast champions this week.

Brock:  Congratulations!

Ben:  Doing an explosive exercise immediately after lifting vs. doing an entire plyometric power set after an entire weight session – kinda defer.  We may recall an episode, I think it was few months back where we talked about something called Post Activation Potentiation.  For those of you who use P9oX.  I think P90X has a whole workout devoted to post activation potentiation.  It’s a phenomenon that’s been around for a while in terms of something we’ve been aware of but essentially, what it is, is it means that after you’ve done a heavy resistance exercise, your body is better equipped to do an explosive exercise, essentially because the prior heavy loading induces a higher degree of central nervous system stimulation so you get greater what’s called motor unit recruitment and force production.


That can last for anywhere from 5 minutes up to 30 minutes after you’ve done a heavy weight training session so I’ll be talking about doing a set of heavy squats before you go and do a 100 meter sprint or doing a set of heavy bench press before you do some explosive like clapping push-ups. So you’re activating more muscles and creating a faster contraction rate and faster rate of tension development in the post heavy lifting power set.  That’s the idea behind this and so an example of a way that you could use this concept would be your workout might be you’re gonna do a set of bench press and then follow that up with a set of explosive medicine ball throws and then you’re gonna do a set of squats and follow that up with a set of explosive vertical jumps, then maybe a set of heavy lunges, follow that up a set of explosive lunge jumps and then maybe a set of overhead presses and follow that up with a set of explosive medicine ball throws to the sky.  That’s an example of using the benefits of post activation potentiation to be able to produce more beneficial explosive power movements.  Now, one of the issues here is that plyometrics require good biomechanics so that (a) you don’t hurt yourself and (b) you can move at high rate of speed.  The idea behind plyometrics is you wanna minimize the actual time that it takes to complete the reps so if I am doing a plyometric box jump, when I step off that box, as soon as my feet hit the ground, I wanna reverse direction and jump as high as possible minimizing ground contacts time.  And when I ‘m doing an exercise like that, the practical aspect of that is that when I go out and do a run, I’m training my feet to spend less time in contact with the ground.  So, for any given run, I have less ground contact time, meaning that I’m able to transfer more of my force and to getting from point A to point B.  You’re basically improving your muscle tension everytime the foot strikes the ground.  Now, if you exhaust yourself during a hard lower body weight training session prior to doing your plyo set, not only are you affecting your ability to have good biomechanics, meaning if your quads are just balmed from all the squats or lunges that you’ve done, you’re not gonna be able to perform a good vertical jump or a good lateral sprint or whatever else it is you’re doing for your plyometrics but you’re also increasing your risk of being able to just do them with good form and produce enough explosiveness.  I’m a bigger fan of either doing your power sets or your plyometric sets as your own separate workout if you’re gonna do them also on separate workout or else doing them in the way that I just described.  That complex set is what that’s called where you do a strength set and then immediately do a power set.  You’re banging out all your complex sets for one muscle group or one body area or one movement and then you move on to the next.  I would not recommend exhausting yourself for the full strength session and then going into the power set.  As an aside, over at the Ben Greenfield Fitness recommends page which you can get to…if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com, you click the “start here” button, there’s a link to everything that I’ve ever recommended. There are things that can help with enhanced neuro function and enhanced reaction time.  Interestingly, a lot of them are the similar things that are recommended for enhancing brain fetal development.  A lot of this stuff is just nervous system support.  Choline, for example, fantastic supplement before you go do a plyometric workout or power workout, a good triglyceride-based fish oil, another good healthy fat that can help to enhance nerve function. A couple other things that I’ve come up before in this podcast:  EGCG – that’s that green tea extract that helps you to enhance your fat burning in the cold.  That can also enhance power.  So that’s another one and then the last thing I’d look into as far as a good thing that help you with power and nerve transmission and speed of nerve transmission would be a good vitamin B complex like Lifeshotz is one, Delta-E is another but something that has good high amounts of vitamin B in it because that can really help you with nerve transmission.  And so especially before a power workout, you can use some of that kind of stuff.  If you wanna go try one of these complex sets and just get full benefit out of it, enhance your neuro recruitment with something like smart supplementation and that’s another good way to go.

Brock:  Awesome!  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com and click on the “start here” button and check all that stuff out and also go to Episode 227 to see everything that we talked about linked to all of the interesting stuff. Make sure you check out the Special Announcements so you can find all about the  Superhuman event happening in March and trip to Vietnam and a bunch of other cool events and camps that Ben’s putting on (what the hell am I talking about).


And make sure to go to iTunes and leave a review and a comment in there and help us out a little bit as well and what else, Ben?

Ben:  I’ve got cinnamon stuck in my teeth ‘cause I’m digging it out of the bottom of my coffee cup right now.

Brock:  Delicious!  Make sure you go to the website and let us know how you feel about that.

Ben:  I’m one of those guys that if I get a coffee at Starbucks, I’d dump half their cinnamon shake right into my coffee and then eat the cinnamon out of the bottom that’s been saturated with the coffee.  Is it gross?

Brock:  I actually got in trouble once they’re putting cinnamon on my cappuccino at one of those hipster coffee shops because apparently, putting cinnamon in your coffee was supposed to cover up the bitter crappiness of the coffee.

Ben:  It’s probably ‘cause you masked the beautiful flower that they made in the foam on the top.

Brock:  I did.  They made a beautiful heart.

Ben:  All right, folks.  Well, we’ll see you next week.  Like Brock said, leave a rating, leave a review. Remember everything is transcribed.  You can get everything at MyList.com/bengreenfield if you  wanna see a list of any of the cool things we talked about in the show.  Leave a ranking, leave a review in iTunes and….

Brock:  Got to audiblepodcast.com/ben and get your cadaver book.

Ben:  That is gross.  But if you do read it, leave a comment.  Let us know how you like that and we’ll catch you up later.



Jan 23, 2013 free podcast: How To Grow Your Own Superfoods. Also: the benefits of training in the heat, does a minimalist training schedule work, the best way to treat IBS and constipation, how to stay fit and feel good while pregnant, and are plyometrics more effective after lifting weights?

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2013 training camps:


Listener Q&A:

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

Audio Question from Adam @ 00:25:16
Wants to know if it is smart to train in the morning when it is cooler or to train in the heat of the day (thinking back to a study that showed heat training had similar benefits to training at altitude). Also, would it differ depending on the type of workout (speed vs. base training). The marathon he is training for is not in any extreme heat.

~ In my response to Adam I mention: Proteolytic EnzymesTrace Liquid Mineral, and Fish Oil.

Audio Question from Dee @ 00:35:14
Has heard Ben talk about minimalist run training that doesn’t require you to run as much mileage as traditional training programs do. She has completed 4 marathons following the Hal Higdon plan. Would like to know more about the minimalistic training idea because she is not sold on it and thinks she would do better on the higher mileage plans. She has PRed at every race while actually increasing her training mileage.

~ In my response, I mention www.marathondominator.com and the interview I did on theRich Roll Podcast.

Audio Question from Johnny @ 00:40:01
He is looking for advice on what to grow in his garden to give him the most bang for his buck. He wants the “most superhuman fit garden as possible”. Blueberries grow well where he lives – should he use the entire space (40 x 20 feet) for blueberries?

~ In my response to Johnny, I mention “Azomite“.

Audio Question from Bob @ 00:47:44
He read the article on the website “The Fibre Menace” and finds it very misleading and contrary to what he has experienced. He has IBS and Constipation and gets a lot of relief from psyllium husk powder but not from vegetables. He would like to get your opinion on the paper written Yikyung Park about fibre as a treatment for cancer among other benefits.

Audio Question from Frances @ 00:54:07
She is 35 years old and currently 9 weeks pregnant with her second baby. She has heard that she should be able to remain at the same activity level as she was before the pregnancy but she is currently having trouble lifting her head off the couch. What can she do to try stay in the best condition possible so she doesn’t lose all the endurance she built training for last year’s NYC Marathon (she was in the best shape of her life). Also, she would like to know about any natural mood boosters that are safe for pregnancy. She is depressed and anxious and has insomnia.

~ In my response to Frances I reference this interview with Cassandra Forsythe. Also this article on core exercises for pregnancy. For mental function, I recommend: Alpha-GPC,GlutamineAcetyl L CarnitinePhosphatidylserineLow Blue Lights, and Better Baby book.

Audio Question from Isaac @ 01:03:01
Would a plyometrics, speed and quickness workout be even more effective if done after a hard lower body weight lifting session? You’ve talked about doing an explosive exercise immediately after lifting but he is wondering about and entire plyo set after a an entire weight session.

~ In my response to Isaac I mention:

  • Triglyeride based fish oil for enhanced nerve function, 2-4g/day. Recommend SuperEssentials and TwinLab Cod Liver Oil.
  • Choline – 250-500mg daily – Recommend TwinLabs.
  • L-Tyrosine – 0.5-2g, 20-45 minutes prior – Recommend NOW Foods.
  • Green Tea Extract – 400-500mg EGCG equivalent per day. Recommend delta-E.
  • Vitamin B Complex. Recommend delta-E.


Ask Ben a Podcast Question

4 thoughts on “Episode #227 – Full Transcript

  1. melheide says:

    Thanks Ben. I just joined. I will post the question there.

  2. Mel Heide says:

    I am moderately allergic to eggs and my throat swells up a little if I eat them more than 1x per week so I have been thinking of supplementing with Choline. I do eat about 3/4 lbs – 1 lbs of bison liver (US Wellness meats) over a 4 or 5 day period every other week (I only cook it once every 2 weeks and then eat over a 4 or 5 day period) but I have been reading the importance of Choline in the Perfect Health Diet and on your website. First, would you recommend supplementing and if so, can I just take the Now Alpha-GPC or do I need to take both the Alpha-GPC and Twinlabs Choline? Also would you recommend Acetyl L-carnitine too or is that overkill? I am looking for bang for my buck so I am trying to understand which one or combinations I will get the most value out of.

    Many thanks!


    1. Mel Heide says:

      Could you also suggest how many mg's of each I should take per day and if I should take it all in the morning or spread out throughout the day and on an empty stomach or with food.

      1. Mel, I'd highly recommend you join the https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/InnerCircle for this kind of detailed support Q&A!Ben

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