January 4, 2012
Introduction: In this episode, how to eat fruit without getting fat. Also, returning to running, the thrifty gene, short quads from cycling, healthy beans, phytoestrogen, crank lengths, is periodization dead, recovering from a 2-day relay, ancient wheats and grains, and advice for a beginner tri-athlete.
Brock: Hey, everybody! Welcome to the BenGreenfieldFitness.com Podcast. This is Brock and we're back in the brand new year and hey Ben, I want to take this opportunity, wish you a happy 2012. How are you?
Ben: I'm good Brock, happy New Year to you!
Brock: Thank you.
Ben: I've been getting up a little bit earlier and really dialing in everything this New Year doing my exercise sessions now. My first official day of “hardcore exercise” to prepare for the 2012 triathlon season.
Brock: Wait a second! You were always dialed in. What are you talking about you're dialing it in and going hardcore?
Ben: I usually wait until the last possible minute, sometimes seven, eight pm to work out and I actually I’m flipping that. I'm working out in the morning since it's nice, I'm doing some swimming sessions from the good folks over at Swim Smooth which I think I've blogged about them before over on the website. And then cycling, I'm doing really short, sweet and incredibly difficult efforts, the Suffer Fest cycling videos. I don't know if everybody has ever seen this Suffer Fest cycling videos. The one I did yesterday was called a very dark place and all I did is a really cool footage of pro cycling put to music that kind matches the cadence, the intensity that you're going for and they just ride and there's something kind of like old school and just really like raw and it's got this motivating feel and I didn’t describe that well but whenever I do a Suffer Fest video, I push myself really hard. So I'm doing a couple of those a week now.
Brock: The Suffer Fest stuff, it sounds really scary and it's not scary but it's pretty hardcore. You can hear and you can tell by the name, too.
Ben: I'll put a link in the show notes if people want to get the Suffer Fest videos. There's like eight, nine of them something like that. I haven't even made it through all of them but I didn't go to a very dark place yesterday.
Brock: And so are you doing this in response to your being named on to the Timex Team?
Ben: No! That's certainly motivating. There are a lot of really good folks on that team. I'll put up a blog post later on about all that, and what team Timex is, and why I'm on the team but no I'm doing this just because I do really well when I kind have that all-or-nothing approach, and Monday, January second, all the round and I started into the all part of all or nothing so it's going well, made it 48 hours through so far. And I'm logging everything as you know because I coach you over on the private athletes form. So, for all the people who are inner circle members of the BenGreenfieldFitness.com Inner Circle and all the athletes I coach, I'm logging all my exercise sessions, all my diet, pretty much everything just to kind of generate some new ideas for folks who wants to kind see the meals I'm eating and more than do it for workouts.
Brock: He’s just trying to make the rest for us feel really bad about for ourselves.
Ben: No, just trying to set a good example. And speaking of setting a good example, I also bought a toothpaste today and I mention that because I don't use regular toothpaste, I don't use crass or anything like that, because it’s full of fluoride and nasty sweeteners in fillers. I use charcoal toothpaste.
Brock: That's pretty. I didn't hear you buy that kind of thing.
Ben: You can, it's really quite easy stuff. It's sweetened with stevia and xylitol, and scada like a natural pepperoni extract in it, and it's got aloe vera in it, it's got like clove root in it, and an activated charcoal. So you just get your toothbrush wet and you dip it in the charcoal, and your teeth are like black while you’re brushing them but it keeps food from sinking in to your teeth and your teeth are incredibly white after you finish. And considering I haven't been into the dentist in over a decade but really this stuff works pretty well.
Brock: I've got to try that. I drink so much coffee. I've got some really nasty stains. That might be just the thing for me.
Ben: It should. Just remember, don't freak out when your teeth turn black. What do you think, should we jump in to the announcements and quit bantering?
Brock: My thoughts exactly.
Brock: Okay. So, we've got a bunch of stuff you've had tons of stuff going on at BenGreenfieldFitness.com. What do you want to highlight first?
Ben: A couple paradoxical posts over there, I posted about how to make healthy cocktails, The Ultimate Guide to Making Healthy Cocktails on New Year's Eve and it make come in handy for folks a few months down the road but I think just about everybody sworn off drinking from next pool, a little bit. But it is a good guide, you've got a bunch of healthy cocktails on there kind of what I drink when I'm trying to spend a few dials on my brain but also be healthy or just be social.
Brock: I'm going to keep that sort of push that aside since I didn't get to celebrate on New Year's Eve. I'm going to use that post when I'm celebrating after any races I do.
Ben: Double-marathon this weekend or half marathon-marathon. Brock's going down to do the goofy marathon, for those of you who don't know. So, And then I posted on New Year's, the day after New Year's, How to detox, and how to do it without actually going to some expensive resort on mountain top just to kind work a detox into your day-to-day life and you can also check that out over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com if you kind of want to clean your body out for the New Year, I'll tell you how. So that's what’s going on over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com and whoever was asking me about the BenGreenfieldFitness food pyramid, we'll be happy to know that I started into it a hardcore after that podcast and the food pyramid is coming along nicely and it will probably go out to the graphic designer by the end of this week and get turned into a pyramid. So I've been, kind of getting up early in the morning, perform my workouts and put in about a half hour or so each morning into the BenGreenfieldFitness food pyramid so that will come along.
Brock: I've never thought the day would come. You seem very reluctant and resistant to the pyramid. I'm glad to hear that you're working on it.
Ben: I've figured out a way how to do it and make it work. So speaking of food, Thursday, January 12 that's next week, for those of you who are listening to this podcast when it comes out on Wednesday, Eating for Endurance, I'm going to talk about endurance nutrition for pretty much any distance event, fueling before, during, after. Going to talk a little bit about physiology, educate you on why you're doing, what you're doing, should be good webinar. That one's forUSAtriathlon, I'll put a link through the show notes. I think you do have to pay a few bucks for that webinar but it's the forum webinar, Q & A everything like that, and it’s really geared towards endurance athletes. So, it’s called Eating for Endurance, and that is not meant to be endurance in the sense of like hotdog eating contest, watermelon contest. Eating for Endurance Sports, not Endurance Eating.
Brock: Why? Eating competitions are not sports? Come on.
Ben: They are in a way. Actually those are pretty impressive, for those of you who haven't seen them. And then Saturday, this Saturday is going to be the featured topic that usually comes out during this podcast, it is pretty scary. We're going to be talking about how cell phones basically gamble with your brain. I've read the book, interviewing the person who wrote the book and we're releasing that this Saturday. I would highly recommend you listen in. I'm just going to kind stop right there, and I know there's people that’s kind of scoff at this. I did until I read the book, I was a scoffer and this is pretty scary stuff so listen in on Saturday and you won’t be sorry.
Brock: That's something! You hear so much conflicting evidence or at least conflicting reports about. It would be nice to have somebody who actually like looks at all the information, gives you the definitive guide or ideas and that.
Ben: Pretty big scandal behind the whole cell phone-health issue, we're going to talk about it. Last thing I wanted to mention was that we are working on some technology to actually have anybody who wants to listen in Wednesday mornings when we record this podcast, be able to listen in live. Maybe even comment, add some chat, maybe ask some questions while we're going through the Q & A, and want to give a big shout out to Ron, for Ron's donation for the technology that we needed to do that. So thanks, Ron. And anybody else who wants to donate to the podcast, you can do so by going to BenGreenfieldFitness.com and click in the donate button, and keeping this thing going. So, we better get going, let's do the news flashes.
Brock: Let's do it.
Brock: Okay! www.Twitter.com/BenGreenfield, what is going on there Ben?
Ben: Kind of a fun, series of news flashes this week Brock. I, on the day before New Year's, tweeted ten different workouts that you could do for fun or for a really intense challenge to kind kick off the new year or maybe do before you head off to your New Year's parties and I thought “wow, what the heck these are great workouts, we should just put these up on the website and make them available to folks.” So what I did was I tweeted ten workouts, and some of them were really simple, simple but hard like an example of a hard one would be, you do 100 push-ups or 100 squats per hour from 8am until you go to bed and that's a tough routine. That means for about probably anywhere from like five, it’ll take you about five to eight minutes to do 100 push-ups or 100 squats per hour so by the end of the day you’d have worked out an hour and a half or two hours. So, that was an example of a simple work out and then I also put links to really complex workouts, like a full-body, what I call full-body slightly insane workout in which you're doing a full-on, upper body circuit and then a bunch of metabolism-boosting cardio, and then a full-on a lower body circuit and you've got core after each one of those blocks and it's like a two, two and a half hour workout. And the reason that I put these in the news flashes for the show notes for this episode, episode number 177, is because they're great when you need a quick workout idea or you're not motivated to workout and you just want to kind split your workout throughout the day. A lot of really good workouts on there so, check that out in the News Flashes Section.
Brock: Cool. So those workouts are actually crazier than doing 1400 squats in a day?
Ben: Yeah! There's a few crazy ones and by the way I have done that, I have done that when you can't make it to the gym, you don't have access to a gym, whatever you're at a family reunion, maybe at a camp, out in the woods whatever, you've got nothing except your own body and no chance like get away for a full-on like hour-long workout or whatever, you just sneak away at the end of every hour and do either a hundred push-ups or 100 squats and you're going to feel like you've accomplished quite a bit by the end of the day and also the following morning.
Brock: I'm not going to sneak away in the next family reunion. I'm just going to stand right in the middle of the room and do a hundred squats every hour and just not explain myself.
Ben: Make you popular.
Brock: So what else is going on?
Ben: You know what, that’s it for the news flashes. We've got a bunch of really good questions so I think we should launch right in.
Brock: Let's do it!
LISTENER Q & A:
Brock: Alright! Our first question comes from Katie.
Katie: I recently found your blog because I was researching information on Tim Ferris’ diet “The Four-Hour Body”. My main interest is in his opinion on eating fruit. I saw that you mentioned it a few times in different articles, you said that you shouldn’t eat fruit in the morning if you’re trying to lose fat and I’m wondering what your entire take on fruit is? I feel like fruit could really be a food for me that’s a tipping factor – meaning I eat it, eat too much and it completely destroys my fat loss attempts. I’d hate to completely cut it out if that leads to a lack of nutrients that are impossible to gain from any other foods.
Ben: I don't remember ever saying you shouldn't eat fruit in the morning if you're trying to lose fat but let's talk about it. So Tim Ferris, she mentioned his “Four Hour Body” book and he does really kind of get down on fruit and he says that you shouldn't eat it. His logic is that our European ancestors 500 years ago wouldn't have eaten fruit and so our body is really unadopted to eat fruit either and I'll go into what some of the arguments of, perhaps the more scientific folks are but as far as Tim's arguments, let me say that the main idea behind his argument is that fructose in the fruit would be an issue that our bodies aren't used to that maybe because if we come from European ancestry. I guess for anybody who's listening in, it is of European ancestry that fruit might be an issue. But there is a ton of evidence that way back in the 1400’s or 1500’s medieval time, I mean one of their most common food staples was honey which is basically just like pair of fructose. They ate apples, pears, and plums, and peaches by the 1400’s, the Portuguese and the Spanish down on Africa exporting citrus fruits and bananas and you find all over medieval literature and in the records of their diets, figs and dates and raisins, and pomegranates. So, the argument that we shouldn't eat fruit because our recent ancestors didn't have access to it so our bodies might respond to it by getting fat is to me, ridiculous. But there are more scientific arguments I guess you could say, I guess fructose consumption and probably the most famous person who has vilified fruit is Dr. Robert Lastic and he even put out a video called “The Bitter Truth about Fructose” or something like that and it got hundreds and thousands of views on Youtube and he points out some things during that video that I just think watching the video are plain wrong. So, the first thing that he says is that there's been this discriminal BC, the epidemic proportions over the past 30 or so years and that is true. And he also points out that things like soda consumption and size of coca cola bottles and possibly fructose consumption has gone up quite a bit during that same time and he blames carbohydrates as being the issue for that. But there are some issues with his data that he uses, so the study that he cites was basically done between like the late 80’s and the early 90’s and it was done on kids about two years old up to 17 years old. So, that's painting a pretty broad brush or painting with the pretty broad brush to extrapolate that out to the entire adult population. And then if you look at the actual data in terms of the way that people have eaten in the past 30 years and there is data that’s available, the USTA has what’s called an economic research service that tracks the percentage of daily calories of different food groups and you look at it in the past 30 years, the consumption of meat in eggs certainly did decrease a little bit, the consumption of dairy decrease a little bit, the amount of fruit that people ate stayed about exactly the same, the amount of vegetables that people ate stayed about exactly the same, carbohydrates from like flour and cereal and stuff like that did go up. It went up about three percent but calories from fat went up seven percent and total energy intake went way up, it went out, it went up from an average of about 2100 calories up to an average of about 2700 calories so about 600 extra calories per day. So, you can’t blame an increase in carbohydrate consumption for the rise in obesity, if you look at the rise of obesity in America which is what Dr. Lastic is talking about in that video, so it's because we're just eating more, not because we're eating more carbohydrates, we're just eating more. So that part of the study where he talks about the carbohydrates being the reason for increase in obesity is just basically wrong if you look at the data. So the next thing that he kind goes through in that video is that when you look at fructose that it doesn't cause an insulin response from people who eat it and so it doesn't make your appetite satisfied or it doesn't satisfy food cravings and so fructose then leads he says, to overeating and to obesity. But fructose, when you look at it in studies, has actually been shown to not only cause an insulin response causes half of it is glucose, half of fructose is glucose the same as like basically sugar. So, of course you have an insulin response when you consume fructose but it's also been shown to have a suppressive effect on your appetite, in studies. And so, you can certainly say that it causes less insulin response thus, it could lead to overeating and obesity but the study show that it has a suppressive effect on your actual appetite. And in terms of how much you eat after you've had a meal that has fructose in it versus after you've had a meal that has glucose in it, studies show no difference in terms of how much you'd eat after say, having a fructose-containing snack versus having a glucose-containing snack. So, that part of demonizing fructose is also wrong and then in the one human study, there is one study done in humans that found that fructose cause an increase in appetite the next day and Lastic quotes the study. What he doesn't say is how much fructose they actually consume in the study and it was about 135 grams of fructose. That’s 30% of your daily energy intake from fructose. And that's the equivalent of about 6 to 7 big sodas, big soft drinks, like not diet soda, like regular soda which is as you know Brock, a lot of soda.
Brock: That's a lot of soda, that's more than I have in a year, I think.
Ben: Right! Nobody drinks that, I mean, I should say nobody. Some people do drink that much soda but they are in to more problems. So, Dr. Lastic is pretty much wrong about fructose causing an increase in appetite unless we're talking about eating insanely large amount of fructose. And then, he goes on to quote about the Japanese and how healthy they are, and how low their rates of heart disease are and he says that the one thing that is responsible for that is the absence of fructose in the Japanese diet and I don't know if you've ever been to Tokyo, Brock or spent much time in Japan but there's fruit all over the place over there, like oranges and apples and grapes and pears and peaches…
Brock: Mangoes and papayas.
Ben: Everything like those are staples in the Japanese diet and you could find studies that support that so, I'm not sure if Dr. Lastic is just like never been to Japan but they do eat fructose and you can't quote the Japanese rate of heart disease or lower rate of heart disease as being due to low consumption of fructose when in fact its staple on their diet.
Brock: They also eat like 30% more fish than North Americans do.
Ben: Exactly, there are other things they do that helps out. And then towards the end of that video he talks about fruit consumption actually being okay because fruit has fiber in it. And the fructose is kind of like neutralized by the fiber content and that's true, but he says he goes on to kind to continue vilify fructose by saying that fruit has way more fiber on it than fructose and that's just not true. I mean what he says in the video is he says wherever there is fructose in nature there is way more fiber. If you look at a banana, it’s got like 27 grams of carbs and three grams of fiber so a ton of fructose and a little bit of fiber. An apple has got 25 grams of carbs and four grams of fiber. If you take like a serving of strawberry, that’s got 24 grams of carb and six grams of fiber. So fruit, you can't say, is healthy because it's low in fructose. It’s actually very high in fructose and it's got decent amounts of fiber in it but certainly not more fiber than fructose as Dr. Lastic would have us to believe. So, that whole video that kind got a lot of people up and arms about fructose is simply not true. So when you actually consume fructose you can look at what happens. If you look at the physiology of fructose it’s very straight-forward, there's basically four different things that can happen when you eat fructose and I don’t want to get way off the deep end here in terms of science speak but when you first consume fructose, what happens is something very similar to what happens when you consume glucose. Fructose gets broken down, it’s a process called fructolysis and there's a few different enzymes that breakdown fructose and what it breaks it down into, are a couple of compounds that can either be put into basically what’s called glycolysis which is the same way that you use sugar to make energy or enter into what's called the gluconeogenic pathway which means that it's used to create glucose or to create storage carbohydrate. So, that would be what happens with fructose when you're actually exercising and fructose can be used quite efficiently during exercise. It's the reason that when you look at like the back of like a power bar, it’s got a blend of fructose and maltodextrin, you're using glucose transporters, you're using fructose transporters, you're kind maximizing your ability to use that fuel and the fructose isn't making you fat or anything like that, it's getting burnt as energy via the same pathways that glucose gets burnt as energy. So, the issue that a lot of other people or a lot of folks kind of get up and arms about is that fructose can also get metabolized through other things. It can get metabolized via liver into fatty acids and triglycerides and it's done so fructose is metabolized in the fatty acids and triglycerides a little bit more readily than something like glucose. So technically, if you're eating a ton of fructose, you're going to get a ton of triglycerides and fatty acids which are basically precursors to body fat in your diet and you're going to get fat but that's not going to happen if you're consuming fructose in the presence of exercise or you're consuming fructose in moderation. It's only if you consume fructose over and above your basic calorie needs. So, the interesting thing is that the same folks who vilify fructose like you hear a lot of like Paleo folks talk about how you really got to limit fructose to very low amounts and you'll hear a lot of folks vilify fructose then turn around and talk about all the benefits of meat and meat consumption. Well, the saturated fats in meat are broken down into the same components as what the liver's making out of fruit, triglycerides and fatty acids. And so, you can't really vilify fructose but also saying that if you eat too much meat you're going to get fat which is also true. So what this comes down to is basically moderation in everything, not to over simplify the issue, but if you eat too much fruit you're going to get fat, just like you eat too much table sugar you're going to get fat, if you eat too much meat you're going to get fat, so that's the issue. So, when we look at this on like in the trenches practical level, what my recommendation would be is that whenever you're consuming any type of sugar, whether sugar-like fructose that may not cause much of an insulin release but could get converted into fats in the liver especially if you're not exercising or if you're consuming carbohydrate like a grain or a potato-based carbohydrate, that you try as much as possible to time those carbohydrates before, during or after exercise. And during the rest of the day you are careful with your carbohydrate intake just because it burns like kindling. It's a fast-burning fuel and it's not quite as necessary and not quite as good for you as proteins and fats when you are kind of sedentary. And so, I mentioned the food pyramid this was my whole issue with creating the food pyramid is how do you create a food pyramid that allows for increased carbohydrate consumption on your heavily exercising days and lower carbohydrate consumption when you're not moving around quite as much and I'm overcoming that issue. You just have to wait until the food pyramid comes out to see it but basically you look at your levels of activity and you inject carbohydrate wisely where it make sense to do so and if the carbohydrate is from fruit, that's okay there's nothing magic about fructose that is going to make you fat. The only issue with fructose is that some of it can enter into the liver and get converted into fatty acids and triglycerides. A little bit more easily than other sugars but you'll burn those fatty acids and triglycerides as long as you're an active healthy individual.
Brock: So, it almost sounds like in Katie's question she said, that she remembered you saying that you shouldn't eat fruit in the mornings if you're trying to lose fat but it almost sounds like that would be the perfect time to eat the fruit because you're generally going to be more active earlier in the day and you get to exercise, you can get some like walking to work or whatever you're doing that would be a perfect time.
Ben: Yeah, and what she probably heard me say was if you're doing fasted exercise sessions you shouldn't have like a little piece of fruit beforehand or something like that and that's certainly true because if you're creating a bunch of circulating free fatty acids and triglycerides from the fructose that you consume, or you are maybe a metabolizing fructose via that fructolysis pathway so the fructose is entering into the what’s called the carb cycle and getting burnt like other carbohydrates you're basically not burning your storage energy because you're burning what you got from the fructose instead, and for that reason, don't have a banana before morning workout if the goal of the morning workout is just to be like an aerobic fat-burning session. So that's the time when I'll be careful with fruits and then if you are eating a low carbohydrate diet, if you are trying to be in a state of basically ketosis, burning your own storage energy as much as possible for fuel, then I do recommend limiting total carbohydrate consumption whether from fruits or potatoes or any other form of carbohydrate. It's just an effective fat loss method for folks who have issues with eating too many carbohydrates than having that excessive carbohydrate consumption causing them to gain weight or not lose weight.
Brock: Cool! That was a good eye-opening discussion about fruit. Actually, it made me think of the Mico-Poland author of In Defense of Food. I saw him tweet him one day, I'm not sure if this is his quote or not but he said “If you’re not hungry enough to eat an apple, you're probably not that hungry.” It was like that, that’s what I thought.
Ben: And I personally, I’ll have him quote about two pieces of raw fruit per day whether it’s made up of bananas, raisins, apples and that type of thing.
Brock: Let's move along to the next question which comes from Tina.
Tina: A year ago I joined a “learn to run clinic” and achieved the “ten minutes run with a one minute walk break” but as the distance progressed I found myself getting injured on my foot and hip. I took time to rest and strengthen my IT band as you had suggested in my previous question that was clicking in my hip. So, I stopped running and just did some cycling and strength training. Then, when I felt I was ready to run again after about a month off, I started from the beginning at two’s and one’s, so running two minutes, walking one minute and then progressed to seven and one and did a 5k race and that went well but I hurt my foot again. So I sort of went through this and basically what I’m asking is now that I’ve taken some time off, my foot’s feeling better, my hip’s feeling better. Should I start right back in at the beginning doing two minutes running, one minute walking or can I jump back in to where I left off with the sevens and ones?
Ben: The short answer is don’t jump right back in, start gradually. Anytime you're coming back from an injury that's the most common way that people re-injure themselves is they jump right back in where they were used to working out. For the same reason I almost passed out on the bike yesterday as I tried to go through about it. So, almost a 70-minute long Suffer Fest workout and that was my first time running my bike since I got back from that race in Thailand or since I dropped out of that race in Thailand half way through. And, I tried to jump right back in to where I remember that I was able to do but I certainly wasn't able to base on my fitness levels. So, whenever you're coming back from an injury start conservatively and I'll put a link to my original response to Tina about hip clicking that she had in the show notes that was back in podcast episode number 164. But whenever you’re getting frequently injured, you need to step back and look at your bio-mechanics so your running gate, the shoes that you're using or the orthotics, they inserts in your shoes and you also need to look at things from a biological perspective. Do you have hormone deficits? Are you depleted of a certain nutrient or mineral or something that is inhibiting your body's ability to properly heal your soft tissues, ability to properly heal? When you're getting frequently injured that's a sign that something's wrong. Either your train protocol or your training gear or your biology, so I would step back and take a really good hard look at whether or not your body is actually optimized for exercise before you jump back in to exercise. It's probably the reason that I personally was injured at the end of the year. I push myself all year and went for a run in some iffy conditions on snow, on ice and I slipped and hurt myself but if I hadn't been pushing myself really hard for the previous eight months, I probably wouldn't have hurt myself when I slipped but you get to a certain point when your body does need a break and I would use this as a time, Tina, to actually inspect your gear, your gate and your biology. So, kind of a short answer but that is what I would do.
Brock: I think that really shows the strength of character in Tina that even though she gets injured she keeps coming back and she's working on things like doing the swimming, doing the cycling, trying to build up the strengths. I know a lot of people who, if they get injured even once and they'll let along twice or three times, they just give up and stop exercising. So kudos to you for keep on going.
Ben: Absolutely! It's a fine line between jumping back into exercise and being stupid about things and jumping back into exercise and structuring so that you're able to stay fit through injury.
Brock: That's it! Be dedicated, don't be stupid. Okay, next question comes fromLivingston.
Livingston: I have been cycling for approximately two years and have made some significant gains using a structured periodization-based plan. I train a lot on the road for Cross Country Mountain Biking and I’ve recently taken up the challenge of jogging a bit for cross training as well as a quick morning session to trim my body fat down a bit. The problem I have is that my quads keep cramping. Not like explosive, violent calf cramp but more of a consistent tightening of the muscles which make up the front of my leg muscles, I guess with the quads. I get so sore that I actually have to stop jogging and then it actually gets even tighter after I stop. Aerobically, I feel great and just want to break out into a fast jog but my legs say NO! Can the quads muscles on cyclists get shorter from cycling? What could be the cause of the problem and can you suggest a plan to fix it?
Ben: Yes! When you cycle, in short answer, your quads can get shorter. Your hip flexors get shorter. When you're sitting on a bike you are leaning forward and you're hip flexors which are responsible for flexing your hip and a little bit for extending the leg at the knee joint can actually get into a shorten cramped position. It’s the same reason that people who sit at a desk all day long are more likely to have hip or quad cramps because you have a shortened muscle and when you're exercising a shortened muscle, often it can go into that cramped, spasmic state. So, the question is why you would be cramping because there are multiple causes for cramps electrolytes hydration, etc. Well, if you look at that study that they did and I’ve mentioned this on the podcast before on pickled juice and how pickled juice can stop muscle cramps. What they've found was that simply tasting something incredibly salty can act on your neural reflexes. So, that study proposed that cramps were due to neuromuscular fatigue and that what happened was you had this basically over signaling what’s called an alpha motor neuron into your muscle causing over excitation of that muscle and when you taste something salty it inhibits that alpha motor neuron reflex and alleviates the cramp. The issue here is that if Livingston is not exercising to extreme fatigue, it’s unlikely that his cramps are due to the neuromuscular fatigue and it's unlikely that tasting something really salty would help him in a case like that if it's really not like over excitation via this alpha motor neuron. The other thing that can happen with cramps and one of the main reasons cramps occur is when muscles are basically unable to relax and that’s due to these fibers called myosin fibers not fully detaching from the actin fibers so you have these myosin-actin fibers that kind of slide up against one another during exercise and what happens is after they are attached to one another, ATP which is basically energy is what has to attach to myosin, for myosin to detach from actin and for the muscle to relax. So, if you don’t have enough ATP then the myosin heads remain attached to the actin and that is why someone who is dead would go in a rigor mortis because of the absence of ATP. It's also the reason that someone who doesn't have enough energy on board to make ATP whether or not having enough water or not having enough sugar on board could also has a muscle cramp during intense exercise. So it can also be due to nutritional deficiency not just like an electrolyte deficiency or fatigue and that can also be an issue. However in this case, I’m pretty certain that this cramp is simply due to influx of all quadriceps or shortened hip flexors due to spending time in the bike and if you just throw in some hip openers, some lunging flexor exercises, some standing quadriceps exercises, do some full mulling on the front of the legs to lengthen those muscles that should do a pretty good job alleviating those cramps and taking care of these muscles that have become larger and more shortened due to the cycling.
Brock: I think last week you went into some great detail answering a question about cramping too, so if you go back to episode 176, there was a question from Charles. You can hear more about all the different ways that you can alleviate cramps.
Ben: Yeah, there you go.
Brock: Okay, so next question comes from Dylan.
Dylan: Is the so-called “starvation gene” or a “thrifty” gene, a myth? I’d like to start this year getting into competitive bodybuilding, but since no matter what I try I seem to be stuck around 15% body fat. I was thinking of going on a very low-calorie diet but you sometimes hear about the “thrifty” gene kicking in on starvation diets, making fat loss even more difficult. Is there really such a thing? What is the fastest way to go from 15% body fat to 5% body fat?
Ben: How quickly. I could probably sell that 15 – 5 in just three days. Thrifty gene hypothesis, that's an interesting hypothesis actually is some people misunderstand it and think that it basically is your body becoming fat because you have been put in a situation where you don't have enough food so your body wants to store food. But actually, that originally was proposed as a hypothesis for the origin of diabetes because in diabetes you'd become insulin insensitive and you'd basically tend to store things like sugar and convert things like sugar into fat a lot more readily and of course obesity and being overweight could ride along with that. But the thrifty gene hypothesis basically proposes that some people have this thrifty gene that would have been advantageous if you were say like in a hunt or gather a population because it will allow you to get fat when there is a lot of food around and then fatty individuals who had this thrifty genes would better survive if food was in abundant or in a time of famine or starvation and so, you'd have basically diabetes as a way for to keep people alive and help these people who have the thrifty gene actually stay alive. So, it’s interesting hypothesis and it certainly is just that hypothesis and I don't believe in actual genetic marker, a genetic thrifty gene has been identified per say but there was a really interesting article about this in the New York times, this week actually came out last week that basically researchers and the researchers are looking into metabolic and hormonal changes that happen when someone is losing weight. And what happen was they looked at these folks who were basically obese men and women and they put them on a very low calorie diet just about 500 calories a day for I believe it was around 10 weeks, a pretty long time of a very low calorie intake. And what they found was that despite the weight that was lost during that period of very low calorie intake, almost all of these folks regain a lot of the weight that they lost and they also reported feeling a lot more hungry and a lot more pre-occupied with food than they did before they went through the study, before they lost the weight. And one of the reasons for that is that your body remains in this biologically altered state after you've gone through a period of very low calorie intake. So, for example you've got a hormone called ghrelin which is the hormone that can spark your appetite and make you hungry and they've found out that in these folks that was about 20% higher than it was at the start of their period of very low calorie intake and then there's another hormone that helps to suppress appetite it's called Peptide YY and that was found to be really low in these folks after they've gone through period of very low calorie intake. Leptin which is kind of the opposite of ghrelin, leptin suppresses hunger and it suppresses appetite and it increases your metabolism that remained significantly lower than it was before. So, what happened was post very low calorie diet, these folks metabolisms had actually kind of lowered and its possible that there is a genetic mechanism that causes some people to have more of a response than others to such a very low calorie diet but ultimately, what’s very important to realize here is that these people are not calorie cycling meaning they weren't going on like low calorie from Monday to Friday and kind of refilling the energy tank a little bit on Saturday or Sunday which I recommend by the way, and instead they were just like going through this period of just very low calorie intake the entire time and whereas a day of skipping meals of low calorie intake is not going to put your body into “starvation mode” which a lot of dieticians and nutritionists would vie up to believe. If you go through that 10 weeks of very low calorie intake, 500 calories that's not much at all and yeah, you can certainly spark a change in your metabolism and in your hormones that can make your body want to stay fat and want to put on weight and have these appetite cravings that you normally wouldn't have had prior to the very low calorie diet. So, if you want to get into competitive body building and if no matter what you seem to be stuck around 15% body fat, you should try what I tried in college to dump a lot of body fat. That was I just completely cut out processed sugar and alcohol, just completely cut it out and it sounds really simple but it’s actually kind of hard to do, especially when you're a junior in college and there are lots of parties, lots of carbs and you have a lot of money to buy food and carbs are cheap. But I was on a high protein diet with no processed sugar and no alcohol. Now if I could go back and do it over again, I would balance out those proteins with healthy fats so that I didn't get into the hormonal deficit that I got into from doing a very high protein diet with very low fat but what I would do is include healthy fats in your diet, avocados and coconut type of foods, coconut oil, coconut meat, olive oil, olives and a lot of these healthy Mediterranean fats, cold-water fish, omega3 fatty acids, fish oil, things of that nature and I would be eating adequate amounts of protein and then I would cut out processed sugar and cut out alcohol completely. And you should be able to lose right around in the range depending in your weight, really does depend on your starting weight but being in your starting weight in where from a little under a pounds to almost two pounds of fat per week doing that for me it was over the course of about, it was about five months for me to drop from 10% down to just under 3% body fat using that approach to get into competitive body-building shape. But simple, processed sugar, alcohol probably two biggest culprits when it comes to keeping your body fat a little bit in.
Brock: Wow! Under three percent body fat, that's low.
Ben: Yeah, I was basically just like a big piece of muscle that lay around in the couch and went to the gym sometimes.
Brock: Nice! Okay our next question comes from Bill.
Bill: My sister-in-law is taking Cross Fit classes and doing their diet. They tell her not to eat beans because it irritates the digestive track. Do you have any thoughts on this? I‘ve always thought that beans are very healthy.
Ben: It’s kind of funny because we were talking about Tim Ferris' Four- Hour Body earlier and now he vilifies fruit but he recommends the whole slow carb diet which includes quite a few beans and legumes in that. So, it’s also interesting that I in the same book he talks a lot about like some of the folks associated with Cross Fit and how cool they are. So it’s very interesting that beans are something that are actually not recommended by a lot of the Cross Fit folks and Paleo people like Lauren Cordain and Rob Wolf and some of these people. Then, there are multiple reasons that beans are not recommended, probably the biggest one is that beans are tough on the digestive system and they can aggravate auto-immune diseases. So basically, beans have lectins in them and I don't think I'm going to get into lectins too much because I've talked about them before in other shows but they're just sugar-binding proteins. So, what that means is that lectins can bind to and attach to cell membranes in your body and they can kind of disrupt metabolism and cause some issues especially when it comes to digestion and especially when it comes to the health of your immune system and production of antibodies and so if you have autoimmune condition, anything from irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease to arthritis to Hashimoto's to the hypothyroid issue to like allergies like tough allergies, diabetes. Beans and especially beans that aren't soaked or sprouted are going to have a lot of lectins in them and could cause issues especially some of the beans like tofu and soy beans, peas, lentils and peanuts a few of the other big ones, so that is certainly true especially if you're going to eat the beans out of the can or if you're not soaking or sprouting your beans. The other argument is that beans are tough to digest and that is true. Beans that aren't properly soaked, and drained and boiled and preferably drained again and then slow cooked can cause some pretty big digestive distress or gas and even when you do treat beans through all those methods, beans are still going cause a little bit more gas than the usual. Beans are very starchy, they're very high in carbohydrates so a lot of the low carb people aren't big fans of beans and that certainly is true. It’s a slow-burning carbohydrate. It’s not going to cause quite a high rise in blood sugar. So I actually do recommend that there is a slightly more stable form of energy than say like fruit or grains but yeah, they mean they are starchy food, they are carbohydrate food. Some beans like soy beans, fava beans are another example they have phytoestrogens in them and phytoestrogens are estrogens that you’re going to find in plant products in nature but they can interfere with hormone function because they do simulate estrogens somewhat in the human body and especially for females that can be an issue because the whole reason that the phytoestrogens evolved in plants was as a defense mechanism. It was to disrupt the reproductive status of predators that were eating those plants and so it makes sense that you wouldn't if you are trying to maintain your reproductive status or optimize your hormones especially for females that phytoestrogens may not be the best thing in the world for you to be consuming in like a high amount in food. There have been studies that have shown that beans can have an effect in your brain, and this was tofu and soy in particular that were given to people in the study and they've found that those people had a higher chance of getting Alzheimer's disease and they also have a lower brain length and a smaller brain size and the reason for that is that specifically, soy beans they are just chalk full of phytic acid especially if it’s not fermented soy. Fermented soy would be like miso or Tempe or nato and that phytic acid interferes with vitamin B12 absorption. And when you don't get enough vitamin B 12 that is directly associated with your brain shrinking and dementia. So, when you take a bean and you soak it and you drain it and you boil it, you can get rid a lot of phytic acids but soy beans are still going to have a lot of phytic acids in them, so I'm not a huge fan of the soy beans. And then of course a lot of beans have BPA in them because you buy them canned so if you aren't buying your beans dried, you don't have the time to properly soak beans and drain them and boil them and drain them and slow cook them. You're going to buy canned beans and canned beans are going to have this phenol-A in them which is a big issue. It's an under can disruptor, it can have a very stark effect, deleterious effect done on your hormonal levels and BPA consumptions associated with a lot of issues including like prostate cancer and breast cancer and erectile dysfunction and not fun stuff. So canned foods and plastic bottles and cups are the primary sources of BPA and you want to be careful at eating canned beans even though Trader Joe's, I think has BPA-free canned beans. So, beans that are properly treated, that are soaked or sprouted, they get a lot of protein in them, they've got a lot of fiber in them as I mention they have kind of this slow burning form of glucose in them so a lot more friendly to the blood sugar levels, really high in folate, really high in iron, high in a lot of minerals that you need and of course the fiber in beans means you’re reducing your risk of colon cancer. Beans do have a lot of positive properties and if you have the time to properly cook beans and to do all the proper soaking and the draining and then blowing them and then slow-cooking them, that would be how to properly prepare a bean. Then yeah, it's a great carb, a lot better than like bread and a lot better especially in the middle of the day when you’re exercising, a lot better than something like fruit. But if you have an autoimmune disease, I'd stay away from beans because of the lectin issue and I would especially stay away from, because of the phytic acid content even when they are treated properly, in a soy bean or soy derivative and probably the only other one that you don’t see quite as common that you stay away from is fava beans. So, that's the deal with beans, not all beans are bad, some of them are. If you are going to eat beans, eat them properly. Treat them right.
Brock: Alright! So this next question comes from Deborah and I apologize. Somebody is actually jack hammering just outside what it would be my office here at home. So, if you hear some crazy noises in the background, sorry about that, hope that you can ignore it. Deborah, I'm sorry people are jack hammering through your question.
Deborah: I’m confused about phytoestrogens. Should I be avoiding them or seeking them out? I’m a 44-year old woman with a history of fibroids and atypical ductal hyperplasia in both breasts, so I’m quite concerned about managing estrogen. I would appreciate your views.
Ben: I can hear the jackhammer. We need to feed this through like the jackhammer reducer. It’s not a feature on most computers, the jack hammer reduction.
Brock: I’m going to engage it right now.
Ben: Okay, engaging the jack hammer reduction. So, what’d you do? Shoot the guy jack hammering? I don’t hear it anymore.
Brock: I muted my microphone.
Ben: Oh, nice! Okay, so phytoestrogens which I just got than talking about, Yeah, they can be an issue. They can be a reproductive disruptor because plants that are getting eaten want to make sure that whatever animal is eating them maybe doesn't reproduce. So that animal doesn't win out in the whole plant-animal battle against who's going to end up surviving on the phase of the planet. Sounds silly but a lot of biology is based off these type of mechanisms, these types of survival mechanisms. So, when it comes to phytoestrogens, yeah they've done a lot of studies on them. And it gets confusing because there's been some epidemiological studies that show a protective effect when you consume phytic or phytoestrogens against breast cancer. And there've also been studies that show that there could be a potential for tumor growth with larger concentrations of the same types of phytoestrogens. So it’s almost like this, this diminishing benefit once you get to a certain point of phytoestrogen consumption. There are some studies that show that isoflavones, I have these mechanisms in them which can help to inhibit tumor growth which is interesting because a lot of foods that have phytoestrogens in them also have isoflavones. So, it’s interesting to know that it's possible that the same type of cancers that could be caused by phytoestrogens if phytoestrogens are consumed in nature may also have some isoflavones that help to inhibit that same risk. There were some recent studies that showed that consumption of soy estrogens were safe for patients with breast cancer and could decrease mortality and decrease recurrence rates. And so, those fly in the face of other studies that suggest larger concentrations of phytoestrogens could actually increase risk of cancer. So, my whole take on this is I would just be really careful with large amounts of phytoestrogen intake and you're going to get you're highest amount of phytoestrogens from soy beans as I mention, a lot of whole grain cereals – a really high in phytoestrogens, so I wouldn't be putting down the special K too significantly. And you're going to find some seeds, particularly sesame seeds and flax seeds are also fairly high in phytoestrogens so I what would do if you want to cover your bases is just don't eat like soy beans, tofu, like soy milk, really limit intake like flax seeds and sesames or flaxseed oil and sesame seed oil and I wouldn't worry too much past that point when it comes to phytoestrogens so it’s kind of like get any of the big sources out of your diet and then after that point I wouldn't worry about it too much. It's the folks were having tofu on their salad and a couple of soymilk lattes and maybe a bunch of flax oil. Those are folks who are getting a lot of phytoestrogens. With minimal phytoestrogen intake naturally you're going to get from things like yams and rice and an apples and carrots and pomegranates and some of these other things that naturally contains some phytoestrogens, I wouldn't worry too much about that. I would just be careful with basically like soy would be the main one.
Brock: Cool! That seems to be a common theme on the show, it seems, that soy and the canola oils and things like that just to avoid them or at least minimize them and you'll be in good stead.
Ben: Let's just name this podcast die soy. No seriously, just like anything else soy, I have soy in my diet quite a bit. I have miso and nato andtempe, you just make sure that's a fermented form of soy which can reduce a lot of these phytic acids and make them not really an issue unless you do have as I mentioned earlier some type of autoimmune disease.
Brock: Sounds good. On to the next question, from Jeffrey.
Jeffrey: I just want to know your thoughts on crank lengths for triathlon. Currently I ride 175mm and I’m considering dropping down to 172.5mm. What are the benefits of doing this? Should I do this? And I think I’m overcooking my quads with the 175mm cranks.
Ben: Yeah, and anytime you have a longer crank you are increasing the amount of muscle tension than the amount of force that must be applied to the pedal in order to make your bicycle go. So, when you switch to short cranks, you naturally are going to increase your RPM or your cadence and you’re going to pedal around more times per minute which means you’re going to apply less force to the pedal with each pedal stroke you have less muscle tension and you'll have kind of a natural propensity travel but of a higher turnover when you run after you finish biking. I personally switch from 175mm cranks to a 172.5mm cranks last year and it’s kind of a fad in triathlon right now to go with the slightly shorter crank than would be recommended by a typical crank length calculator. So yes, my opinion is that if you have me paying, if you need to work on increasing your cadence, if you tend to be a gear masher like I tended to be when you switch to shorter cranks it’s going to help with some of those issues. So, I would certainly encourage you to look into shorter cranks to find out kind of a baseline if you're listening in and you want to know like approximately how long your cranks should be, there are crank length calculators out there. I'll put a link to one in the show notes to kind of find your optimum bicycle crank length. So you take whatever crank length is recommended based off of a typical crank length calculator like that and you just go down one size and that would be about the size that you'd go for if you wanted to kind of have this shorter crank length philosophy that actually worked pretty well if you’re doing triathlon and you want to run off the bike.
Brock: That's crazy. Like being, I'm a child of the metric system and 2.5mm isn’t very much, that's a tiny little difference in the length. It really makes that much of a difference.
Ben: Sure! You’re looking at 2.5mm over an entire circular motion, so you're multiplying that by every single point you arrive at in the circular motion times thousands of circular motions per hour and yeah, it becomes quite significant. It's like running, if you were to have 2.5 extra mm of vertical travel from bouncing up and down while you're running, it doesn't seem that much by the end of the marathon you've travelled up and down like probably an extra half mile or so.
Brock: Yeah, that makes sense. So it’s the incremental difference, not the actual difference in like one stroke over the hours you're on the bike. Cool, interesting. Alright, our next question is from Gram.
Gram: Is periodization dead? With the traditional view being build a base, focusing on aerobic, long, slow, fat burning then focus on more intervals, muscular endurance then on a short pre-race peak phase. With the evidence pointing to High Intensity Interval Training being applicable for building aerobic base and also building VO2 and raising Lactate Threshold, can you just train with variations to the interval training all year? Would that work? Are hard aerobic or Lactate Threshold intervals a good way to build a base aerobic foundation?
Ben: Periodization is basically very simply put simply making sure that you're doing more race specific workouts the closer you get to a race or the closer you get to an event. And because of that, it makes sense that you would be doing less high-intensity, race-paced efforts when you're farther away from the event and instead using the fact that you don’t have to focus on that intensity then to do things like skill work and work on your basic fitness, your base, your ability to go for long periods of time or your ability to generally maintain aerobic efforts. When you're first getting into exercise, when you're first getting into something like triathlon or marathoning, that's very important. If you can't run more than 10 minutes without stopping, it makes a great deal of sense for getting ready for say a marathon to first focus on maybe being able to build up, to being able to run slowly for 60 minutes or 90 minutes before you head over to the track and start doing 100, 400, and 800 meter intervals because you simply have to be able to last. Once you've been in the sport a while and you've got that base built up and you've put in the time you've been doing in a few years and you know that you’ve got the endurance. For example me, I know that I have the endurance to be able to do an Iron Man so now I just want to be able to do one fast, well that's where you shift focus and you're spending a lot more time doing intervals, doing track work, doing speed work. And so it really depends on where you're at with your training, so if you're looking at say like a pro triathlete who's been training for 10 years and competing in a very high level, you're going to see them doing a lot less aerobic base sessions just because they've got the base. I've been in this sport long enough to where I have that base engine and so now all they need to do is work on speed and skill and economy and efficiency. But if you're just getting in to the sport, you are going to find that you're doing a lot more kind of slow aerobic sessions. So if you are just getting into the sport, I would not recommend that you use high intensity intervals, track work, hard and aerobic sessions to build your base because you're going to do two things: you're going to develop bad form and you're going to get injured. That's very easy to go hard and have bad form when you go hard and it's very easy to get injured when you don't have the endurance to lay that going hard on top of, especially if you're training to go for long distances. So we're just getting to the sport. Work on your aerobic base by doing long, slow, aerobic workouts and then once you're actually confident that you're able to go the distance and you've done multiple times in many races then you worry less about that and you actually can simulate that same type of aerobic base building with hard efforts like VO2 max effort and Lactic Threshold efforts on these hard anaerobic intervals but it really depends on your level of experience the answer is yes and no to Graeme’s question depending on how experienced you are. And remember, that there are also recovery implications when it comes to building you're base via doing hard anaerobic sessions or like for example, I’m using the strategy of like doing the Suffer Fest workouts that I talked about really hard but fairly short cycling efforts to kind of get my base back up. I can do that because I've been in this sport for a while and I know I've got the basic endurance but it's going to take me a lot longer to recover from doing a very dark place workout like my legs are sore today. If I have just gone like an easy two-hour base ride yesterday, yeah I would’ve spent more time doing it but I certainly would've recovered a lot faster. So when you're doing the easy aerobic efforts through base training you are able to recover faster and kind of bounce back and do the workout the next day, whereas the doing all the hard stuff, you certainly need to pay a lot closer attention to recovery.
Brock: Very cool! Alright, our next question comes from Susan.
Susan: I am a triathlete currently training for my second Half Iron Man race in April. I got talked into doing the Ragnar Relay in Arizona at the end of February with my husband’s team. This will include running three times over the course of 48 hours, anywhere from four to eight miles each time. How do I work this into my training plan and how do I fuel so that I have enough energy for each of the runs? I try to follow a Paleo-ish diet due to stomach issues with gluten, so all that you can eat bagels and Gatorade would be my recipe for disaster. Sleeping will also be an issue, as some of the runs are in the middle of the night and we only stop to sleep either in the van or at a hotel for three to four hours. Any advice as how to maximize my recovery so I’m not trashed for the following week of triathlon training and still able to put forth a good effort for the team?
Ben: Yeah, sure! This is similar to the question that I got over on the Endurance Planet podcast when I interviewed a guy named Christian Isaacson who's doing the racing Conover’s, five Ironman triathlons in five days on each of the five islands in Hawaii and we’re kind of talking about a what you should be eating and this is not quite as intense in that as that but it certainly is kind of the similar concept, like you're exercising and then you're stopping and recovering and then exercising again and just kind of go on over and over again over the course of a couple of days. So what I would recommend, I may go over 4 things, first of all what you do before and during in a run so immediately before and during, you can do things like the simple shockers. So you could do like a gel or a little bit of fruit right before you head out on that 4 to 8-miler and take in right around 200 to 250 calories per hour of simple carbohydrates whether from juice or coke or gels or whatever else during and that's what you do immediately before and during is easily digesting simple carbohydrates. Now once you've walked into the door of your van or whatever it is you guys are driving around on as you're doing Ragnar. After that then you switch from the simple carbs to complex carbohydrates mix with protein, so for example, you could do, let me think of something that would be easy for you to take into the road, you could do something like whey protein powder or rice or pea protein powder, with nuts or a nut butter and a little bit of omen milk or rice milk in there and you could have something like that as an example of a complex carbohydrate mixed with protein right after you finished, okay. About twice as much or three times as much carbohydrate as protein. Alright, so that's going to help to refill you're muscles’ glycogen stores and it works even better if you kind of split that into a few doses. So you like have a small meal right when you finish and another small meal like an hour or after another one about two hours after, rather that eating it all at once. Okay, the rest of the time when you're not immediately before doing a run or you are not immediately after a run, you're basically eating primarily healthy fats, healthy slow-burning energy, seeds, nuts, olives, avocados, coconut milk, that type of thing. So that's basically your slow-burning energy so that you are not over doing it on the carbs in getting the GI distress and in kind of the hit on your hormones that will come with too many carbs so you're basically doing fats when you're not immediately before, doing or after your work out. Most fats can come with a little bit of protein but the problem with protein is it takes a lot of energy to digest and it stays in your digestive system for a long period of time and burn quite as easy as the fuel as if as the fats will, so that’s what I would be doing. So these are the first three things, would be easily digesting simple carbohydrates immediately before or during, complex carbohydrates mixed with protein right after. Fats mostly rest of the time. And then lastly, look into supplements so that you bounce back more quickly after you each effort. So for example, I would do, if this were me, I know exactly what I’d do, I’d do 3 things. I would take a whole amino acid supplement like master amino pattern capsules, I'll link to those in the show notes. What I take is master amino pattern capsules, 5 or 10 of those about 30 minutes before you head out. So that's going to spare you breaking down your body's own muscle for fuel. Next for what you eat during, you have a gel with amino acids in it, like gu roctane that's an example of a gel with amino acids in it. Okay, that again will help to decrease soreness, help you to recover more quickly once you finished. And then the last thing you do is along with that post workout, complex carbohydrates mixed with protein or at some other point during the day in between your runs, you take in proteolytic enzymes, okay. These will help to decrease inflammation and help your muscles to repair more quickly that would be something like Recovery Ease. I'll link to that in the show notes as well but that's what I take for my proteolytic enzymes and that would be it. So that's what I would do from a supplementation standpoint is the amino acids, the gel with the amino acids and then like a proteolytic enzyme immediately after.
Brock: That's some good recovery. Let’s move on to the next question, it comes from Sam.
Sam: What is your take on wheat grass and other grasses plus other sprouted grains? It seemed that Dr. Davis was tearing it all down, so I’m curious on what your take and if you talked with him more and know more on his take.
Ben: Well, of course Sam is referring to the interview with Dr. William Davis in the book Wheat Belly, where we talked a lot about a ton of the issues with modern wheat and then of course scared me silly. I didn't know a lot of the things that we spoke about, in terms of wheat even though I eat wheat that is soaked and sprouted. I didn't realize that a lot of the modern wheat is just completely different wheat especially in terms of the way that it was created. It’s basically cultivated in a different way than like the ancient grains like what would be called like the einkorn or the emmer form of grains. And what has happened in the process of actually increasing food supply by changing the type of wheat that we're consuming, one of the primary things is that the amount of gluten and the amount of wheat germ agglutinin abbreviated WGA gone through the roof. So, these are the proteins in wheat that can cause like leaky gut syndrome, that can cause autoimmune systems that can cause an increase in gliatin which directly stimulates your appetite through the roof and causes a lot of these issues that Dr. Davis was talking about. And so my initial thought about this was (a) can we find grains that are lower in this gluten and the wheat germ agglutinin and it certainly can and then (b) can we find forms of wheat that are closer to kind of like the ancient grains, the basically alternative wheat cereals. So, there's five kinds of alternative wheat cereals that our out there, there’re einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut and one called the triticale and these are spoken about in detail in great detail in terms of their agronomy, their production, where you can get them, how they’re made etc. in an article that I will link to in the show notes, a very comprehensive article about alternative wheat cereals and any of these alternative wheat cereals are going to be lower in this wheat germ agglutinin and lower in gluten and would be a better choice. The problem is that if you get them in their flower form they're typically old. So they're more prone to mold, they are going to be less fresh. A lot of the nutrients are going to be degraded. So if you're planning on using any of these types of more ancient grains you got to buy a mill. Okay, you got to buy a home mill and mill it yourself. So you're looking at spending a few hundred dollars on something like that. So just, FYI, this is going to be an increase in the amount of work on your part if you do want to have your wheat needed too. But there certainly are studies that have shown that there can be a complete lack of toxicity in these types of grains like in this einkorn grain and in the gliatin einkorn grain, there was a study done on folks who actually had celiac disease and they ate this einkorn grain with absolutely no issues. Total lack of what’s called intestinal mucosal toxicity in these folks who had that form of grains. So yeah, you can certainly eat grains other than wheat and really lower the WGA in the agglutinin. And you do that by for example we're talking about einkorn, you have to buy whole grain einkorn berries and mill them yourself and make your own flour and make your own bread, doing something like this. But it certainly doable, just comes down to not buying your bread from the grocery store. So, when you do that you get a lot more of this WGA and the whole problem with the wheat germ agglutinin basically it's a lectin like I talked about in the soy beans earlier is it’s extremely tough. It's got what are called disulfide bonds in it and that's basically the same type of bonds you have in your hair. Everything about eating the hair, it's pretty tough for your digestive system to break it down. And those were kind of the issues with the wheat germ agglutinin is it’s just incredibly hard for you to digest.
Brock: Somebody wanted to make a million dollars that could just start making some bread out of that those ancient grains and sell it to the Celiac population. I'm sure they'd be very grateful for that.
Ben: Yeah! I don't know what would go into all that but I think that as people realize how bad wheat actually is for you are going to see more and more of these “ancient grains” being marketed in food products. Just a question of whether or not they retain a lot of their high nutrient status and stay away from mold and everything and if they're actually milled in places that aren't milling wheat which is the problem right now is you just kind find anything that's milled in any sign of it yet on a mill that is an also processing other modern forms of wheat so you’d have to. I'm a fan of just doing stuff yourself. Buy your einkorn wheat berries or you kamut or whatever else in its regular whole wheat berry form and mill it and there's obviously in your learning curve you're going to feel, learn how to make your own bread and learn how to make your own flour if you want to move forward with something like this.
Brock: Yeah, alright. I was just thinking while we’re doing this episode that if we ever wanted to have the BenGreenfieldFitness drinking game. I think that the key word would be Gluten. Take a drink every time Ben says Gluten.
Ben: Just not beer.
Brock: Yeah. No I've figured out that would be wheat grass.
Brock: Okay! Alright, hey, our last question. Last question comes from Cheek. She’s very excited about this.
Cheek: I am 48, female and trying to train for a sprint triathlon. I cannot find any books or information on how to start from scratch. I can run 5K. I have trained in the past and ran a 10K but I have no biking knowledge and I am now just taking swimming lessons but I’m a long way from being able to do 750M. Do you have any books or can you recommend one that would put me on the right track without wasting time doing things the wrong way?
Ben: Oh, it's too easy of a question I answer because I mean this, I don't know if a lot of listeners know about this, but I spent much of my time creating triathlon training materials inside what is called theRockstar Triathlete Academy. You could, like if you joined over, there's a bronze member which is seven bucks a month. You would get access to all of our learning modules which are designed to take someone who is just getting started in this sport of triathlon and move them forward. So we start off with, these are all seminars, videos and articles but how to start training for triathlon moves into essentials, swim gear, essential run gear, essential bike gear or how to sign-up for your triathlon, how to start your first triathlon training week, how to lift weights for triathlon, what to do in the last few weeks before your triathlon, beginner open-water swim tips, how to set-up your transition area, how to actually race the triathlon, what to eat during your triathlon, how to recover after your triathlon, and then we move in to like more intermediate topics like how to eat your triathlon diet, more advanced swim gear that helps you go faster, how to use the swim-clock by the pool, how to use like power meter on a bike, how to choose an indoor trainer for the bike, wheels and equipment modifications that make you faster, more advanced running equipment like orthotics, how to climb hills when you're running, how to climb hills when you're cycling, how to do the most common swim drills, how to travel through triathlon, how to taper, how to do a carbohydrate load, and then we even get in to things like how to get into the pane cave during the race, and how to legally draft during the triathlon. We've got a couple coming up like on how to get your pro-carb for triathlon, little mental tactics you can use to kind of get yourself way deep into the pane cave during a triathlon. So I mean, I'll cut it short there because I don't want this to turn into big long commercial but, I mean, its seven bucks a month. Just go join theRockstarTriathleteAcademyand you’d pretty much have everything you needed. I'll put a link to that in the show notes but that's what I do. I wouldn’t read a book. I just go join the academy that's why I created it.
Brock: Having been in the academy, you probably recommend a few books as well. I'm a gold wings member over at theRockstarTriathleteAcademyand there's tons of stuff there that will lead you to direction.
Ben: Yeah. You actually, you can get I think about half my books for free just as bonuses for joining. They're all right there in the members' area so there's a bunch of books there to get you going as well.
Brock: Usually this is where we would go into our featured topic but because we're actually splitting the podcast up. That's it!
Ben: Yeah! So I really encourage folks though, go tune in to the podcast that will come out this Saturday about cell phones and the effect that they have on your brains. I understand that this podcast, I was really timing it but it seems like we went for about maybe an hour and a half or so. We're going to try and shave our Q & A down to a very palatable hour or so just so you know for future reference and that will happen but of course we're still just a huge stage of experimentation and you the listener are the guinea pig, so congratulations.
Brock: We also just continue to keep getting such great questions all the time and it's really hard to limit it like right now, I think my back log is over 20 questions like not including what we went through today. So, if you are asking questions, if you're sending questions in to Ben and then you don't hear your question right away, don't despair like just know that there is a backlog. We likely will get to the question. Just give us a little bit of a time.
Ben: There is hope. So thanks for listening in folks! Remember that an Eating for an Endurance Seminar next week. Remember to tune in to the podcast this Saturday and remember to visit the show notes for this episode, episode # 177 because Brock and I put links to everything that gets talked about in there and often if I mention a book or if I mention a product I'll try as much as possible to make it so that if you go to the show notes to purchase or look into what I talked about, it does help to support the show cause I'll try and use some type of a link that will help to give us a little bit of commission that always helps to keep the podcast going as well. So if you hear us talk about something, go to the show notes to buy it if you get the chance that also supports the show. So thank you for listening in folks and hopefully that podcast didn’t create more questions that answered but Brock, I guess I'll talk to you next week.
Brock: Absolutely we'll be back in a week.
Ben: Alright. See you then folks!
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net