Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: How To Burn Fat And Build Muscle At The Same Time, What’s The Best Time Of Day To Drink Coffee, Is Warming Up Overrated, Climbing Stairs vs. The Stairmaster vs. The Elliptical, and much more!
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that for natural movement, get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest effort to see…” All the information you need in one place right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: Brock, sorry, I’m a little bit late for recording this morning’s podcast, I was online shopping for duck fat.
Ben: No, I really was! I realized that…
Brock: (laughs) It’s not you from this… “No honey, I was just shopping for duck fat!” I wasn’t looking at…
Ben: That’s right. Just duck fat – nudge, nudge, wink, wink – no, actually…
Ben: I’m making this recipe which is a lot of people may be familiar with like a duck – I don’t even know how it’s pronounced – Duck Confit?
Brock: Yeah, Duck Confit.
Ben: That was the argument my wife and I had yesterday, whether it was confi, confey or confit, but it’s duck that’s been preserved in duck fat that you can cook and you get all nice and crispy – the wings and the legs and I’ve been having a heck of a time finding a nice, organically raised whole duck here locally. For some reasons Spokane has a dearth of ducks…
Ben: So I ordered this morning from the U.S. Wellness Meats website, so I’ll be making Duck Confit as part of – it’s actually something I’m doing a.) because I like to eat tasty food and b.) for the video that we’re doing for the Inner Circle. So all of our members are going to learn how to make tasty, tasty Duck Confit. So, yeah!
Brock: That’s awesome. That’s like you’re double win there. You’re making a video and you get a delicious meal out of it.
Ben: How are you feeling?
Brock: I’m… fine. No, I’m not gonna lie. I’m super hang-over today.
Ben: Like why is that?
Brock: I… well.
Ben: You briefly mentioned it to me before we started recording…
Ben: …and I told you to wait for the episode and tell me why, so why is it that you are?
Brock: Well we’re – my partner and I were moving from Toronto to Vancouver very soon, and last night was her Going Away Party – bunch of people she worked with threw her Going Away Party and it started off very nice with some like some espresso, chicken, sandwiches and some nice local IPAs and then it escalated really quickly (chuckles). Well there was like 20 people there so it wasn’t so romantic but yeah, then it escalated quickly after the tequila shots.
Ben: Mmm. Mmm.
Brock: Yeah. It’s always nothing – nothing good happens after the tequila shots.
Ben: Mmm. So this podcast is brought to you by tequila IPA and duck fat.
Brock: While you’re enjoying your IPAs and duck fat, Ben has been tweeting it up like crazy over at Twitter.com/bengreenfield and we’re gonna delve into those now.
Ben: That’s right and I’ve got a few, few little interesting things that I came across this week and the first is about the best time to consume caffeine.
Ben: Now of course for me the best time to consume caffeine is my piping hot cup of coffee in the morning – a.) because I’m a creature of habit…
Brock: Me too.
Ben: …and I love the taste of coffee.
Ben: And b.) because I have glorious dump…
Ben: …about twenty minutes after.
Brock: If you didn’t say that, I was going to say that.
Ben: It’s the cup of coffee.
Brock: that exactly.
Ben: You know there’s nothing like a cup of coffee to get things moving. As a matter of fact that it’s my 1-2 combo these days as a – you wake up, you do a little bit of lemon juice and water, and then you have your cup of coffee, and then you allow the dump to commence, so. Anyways though…
Brock: Does the lemon juice actually help or is that’s just what you like?
Ben: Well, I like lemon juice as an alkalinizing substance to start off the day but it does have a – what’s called the peristaltic effect on the digestive tract as well, so.
Brock: Oh, does it?
Ben: Yeah, very similar to coffee, so I like that 1-2 combo. Anyways though…
Ben: The article that I will link to over on the show notes at bengreenfieldfitness.com/328 is an article that appeared on SuppVersity about the best time to consume caffeine before a workout. And it turns out that – I won’t go to the entire article but the main take away for me in going through it is that it depends on the source of your caffeine.
Ben: So different forms of caffeine from coffee to caffeinated chewing gum which I guess is all the rage these days…
Ben: …to cola to caffeine capsules or pills if you just decide to take the shortcut and completely forego that tasty cup of coffee – whatever your poison is, it turns out that there are specific timing scenarios that work better depending on what form of caffeine that you’ve chosen.
Ben: So take chewing gum for example and studies that they’ve done on caffeinated chewing gum, the best time to take that if you want to get the ergogenic effects of caffeine in terms of like its glycogen sparing and fatty acids and increased epinephrine and adrenaline and decrease rating of perceived exertion and all these cool things caffeine can do for you when you’re working out. You take caffeinated chewing gum about 20 minutes before your workout – that’s the timing for the gum…
Ben: And I really personally cannot say that I have a gum brand of choice – I guess most of my experience with caffeinated chewing gum has been seeing it on the counters at 7 eleven is something marketed to truckers, I have yet to experiment much with caffeinated chewing gum myself.
Brock: Me, neither. And I don’t anticipate either of us are going to rush out and try it either.
Ben: Not until the make it taste like a cup of really good coffee.
Brock: That’s a million dollar idea right there.
Ben: Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Starbucks, if you’re listening in. Coffee, cola, energy drinks, any beverage or liquid that has caffeine in it – the magic timing window is 35 minutes – 35 minutes prior to a workout is when it’s going to do you the best good if you’re going to have coffee before workout.
Brock: So not 36?
Ben: Not 36.
Brock: Not 34.
Ben: Not 34.
Brock: Is it really? Did they specify that it had to be like this is the exact moment? Or did they give a sort of range?
Ben: Hmm, well, whenever you’re looking at a study you obviously – what you’re looking at is an average, so…
Ben: Yeah. I’m sure there are outliers because as many folks who have done DNA testing for example know, some people have genetic snips associated with fast caffeine metabolizing, some were slow caffeine metabolizing – well we’re talking about the average person, not the weirdos.
Ben: And then finally, if you rely on capsules or pills for your caffeine – if you’re one of those people…
Brock: I’m one of those people.
Ben: Capsules and pills in general you know, they bypass the stomach in many cases and have like a time release factor associated with them. They generally do take a longer period of time unless you – as I am prone to do with some capsules, break them open and dissolve them sublingually. If you rely in capsules or pills, you’re talking about 60 minutes prior so, there you have it: gum – 20minutes before, coffee or cola or energy drink – 35 minutes before, capsules or pills – 60 minutes before and if you want all the nitty-gritty details, then follow the link that we’ll put in the show notes if you want to delve in to the propeller hat inside of things.
Brock: Delve away, folks.
Ben: Delve away. So a very interesting PDF that I came across that doesn’t have a lot to do with coffee but has to do with something I also do quite a bit of and that is airline travel. And the title of this particular article is called ‘A darker side of hyper mobility’.
Ben: The article is actually quite long. It goes into the fact that we’ve – we almost have like this infatuation with travel now because we live in this hyper mobile age of high speed trains and airlines and the ability to travel great distances and this is a relatively new phenomenon in human you know, evolution or however you want to describe it. In that we have the speed and power of transportation that allows us to get around the globe and potentially leave behind many of the aspects of like community and neighborhood and local interactions that we’ve been used to for so many thousands of years.
And it goes into the consequences – not just the biological and physiological consequences or hyper mobility, but also the social consequences, and the emotional consequences of being able to just leave and fly around the world and perhaps not be as rooted locally. So some of the physiological consequences that it goes into when it comes to hyper mobility are for example frequent jet travel. There are few things in there I wasn’t aware of. Frequent jet travel can switch off genes that are linked to the immune system and it’s been shown in clinical research that there’s a direct correlation between frequent jet travel and the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Ben: Long term chronic jetlags such as you might find among like pilots or airline cabin crew or frequent travelers is also associated with cognitive deficits including memory impairment.
Ben: Six days of flying, six days of travel here and there and I’m not sure exactly how they conducted this study but it deleteriously affected mood, judgment and the ability to concentrate. And you know of course there are other health effects that we’re probably all aware everything from risk of deep vein thrombosis to exposure to germs inside the petri dish that is in airplane to dry ice and dehydrated skin and all the other issues that can occur. But frankly, as we’ve talked about before on podcast and as I’ve written about before on blog post you know, if you breakout the blue light, and the inner light, and the glutathione, and the activated charcoal, lots of really good water and grounding and cold thermogenesis – there’s all sorts of things that you can do to combat many of these biological effects of jetlag. Now let’s say that you do that and so you’re good to go. You’re at least kind of like you know, combating a lot of the physiological effects, the deleterious physiological effects of jetlag. What I thought was quite interesting was the psychological, emotional and social consequences that they go into. For example, one of the things that they talk about is how people who frequently travel tend to volunteer less and be less charitable and potentially participate less regularly in local cultural activities and organizations, team sports and community work because they’re able to – and I’ve – the reason this article appealed to me so much is because I travel a lot, right? Like I’m on the road, on an airplane traveling 12 to 15 days out of the month and I thought, you know, it really is true – you know, since my job has progressed more from being like the local personal trainer to like you know, a guy who’s travelling around the world speaking at fitness and health event, etc. – my ties to the local community seem to have decreased a little bit. They also go into the fact that there is a higher rate of familiar breakup and a lower amount of domestic responsibilities fulfilled in people who are engage in hyper mobility and I certainly am on board and understand that as well…
Ben: It’s a lot harder when you’re traveling so much not only to combat again a lot of these physiological consequences and a lot of the consequences of not being connected to your community but also to your family. I thought it was an interesting article, I think it’s one that anybody out there – I know a lot of our listeners do travel a lot – I think it’s something that you should read and that you should be aware of and if anything, for me, it’s given me even more pause about deciding when I’m invited to speak somewhere or when I have a you know, a “opportunity to go”, “travel somewhere” you know, “see some cool place” you know – is it really worth it versus staying in my local community and being present there and being present for my family? So.
Brock: Yeah, it’s interesting. I actually – I totally follow the – like not being disengaged with your partner and your family and stuff like that but I do – it’s probably just a matter of semantics but I see the not being engaged with your local neighborhood, it’s not so much that you’re not engaged with your local neighborhood, say that your neighborhood has expanded.
Ben: Yes, exactly.
Brock: So I don’t see that as a necessarily bad thing, it’s just that you’re neighborhood or your life is larger than it once was.
Ben: Yeah, it is true to a certain extent. You could say the same thing about like Facebook, right?
Ben: But at the same time you know, as the abstract of the article finishes with, it says “the paper concludes that whilst aspects of glamorization in regards to mobility are omnipresent in our lives.” And…
Brock: I like that. That was a good, good sentence.
Ben: There exist in ominous silence with regard to its darker side, so.
Ben: I just thought it was interesting how a lot of the things that I’ve always kind of thought about in the back of my mind when it comes to frequent airline travel, they actually manage to put into a scientific paper.
Brock: Yeah, then definite is the glamorization about this there’s no doubt about that and I traveled a lot from my job for years and people always like “Oh, you’re lucky!”, I’m like “Actually, not really!” You don’t see a lot when you’re traveling for work, it’s not you’re like kicking back by the pool all the time you know.
Brock: Often getting off the plane rushing to a meeting or something else and being locked in a basement somewhere with too much air-conditioning than in the back of the plane.
Ben: Yup. Yeah. Our apologies to anyone who tuned into today’s podcast to learn how to look good naked because we’re just instead made you depressed why we’re getting on an airplane.
Brock: No, travelling sucks.
Ben: So we shall move on.
Ben: The last thing I wanted to mention for today’s news flashes was a great article about HRV and how a high HRV isn’t always good and a low HRV isn’t always bad.
Brock: Wait, an HRV – that’s the new truck by Toyota, right?
Ben: (laughs) Exactly.
Brock: We should probably explain if not everybody would know what that is – Heart Rate Variability
Ben: With all wheel drive.
Brock: All wheel drive.
Ben: Heart Rate Variability obviously, in becoming an increasingly popular method of self-quantification in competitive athletes and recreational athletes you know, among people who are engaged in like biohacking and anti-aging and longevity because it allows you to see the strength of your nervous system. And in many cases we’ve kind of been led to believe that the way that you interpret HRV is a high HRV is good and a low HRV is bad, and that is not necessarily the case in this article goes into why that is. So for example, if your heart rate variability is constantly high and never seems to fluctuate at all that can actually be indicative of aerobic over-training…
Ben: …and there are some for example like Iron Man triathletes and marathoners and people who constantly have an extremely high heart rate variability but it turns out that high heart rate variability is accompanied by a decrease strength of the parasympathetic nervous system.
Ben: And unless you actually look at not just your HRV score but also that parasympathetic nervous system score, you might think your high HRV is a good thing when in fact is this article goes into much more detail on in terms of like numbers on what to look for and everything, it’s not. Another thing that you’ll tend to see often is that lower like moderate amounts of aerobic training can increase HRV as well but when you’re not doing that type of training like the low to moderate amount of aerobic training and you’re just doing like CrossFit wods and high intensity interval training. And in that type of training like the wods and the high intensity interval training and all that, that actually does a pretty good job at doing things like increasing your mitochondrial density and increasing your VO2 max and giving you a lot of these aerobic adaptations somewhere what like you know, going out for a long run would give you. But when you go about trying to increase your cardiovascular fitness using more of like the high intensity interval training approach, right? Like the minimal effect of those approach, you do tend to have a lower HRV but again, that is a case where it’s not necessarily because you are over-trained. It’s simply because you aren’t doing as much aerobic type of activity and that form of a low HRV is again not necessarily a bad thing in this article goes into the reasons of why. Anyways, it’s a fantastic analysis of why if you’re just looking at heart rate variability but you’re not also looking at sympathetic nervous system score and parasympathetic nervous system score then you’re not getting the full picture.
And then finally they go into the fact that sometimes you’ve want your HRV low and sometimes you want it low because sometimes you do want to do what’s called the over-reaching. And when you over-reach which is a common strategy used by professional athletes for example preparing for a competition and then your taper, right? You do what’s called super compensation, you actually wind up fitter and so you wanna have some weeks of the year where your HRV is low and you follow it with a de-load week or a taper week and then you bounce back even stronger with phenomenal cosmic powers.
Ben: I just had to…
Brock: I knew that was coming (chuckles).
Ben: I just add phrase into the podcast (mimics sound) Anyways, reference to the old Aladdin cartoon.
Brock: Big fans of Disney around here apparently.
Ben: That’s right. That’s right. Anyways though, go read the article – it’s fantastic and yes, I cannot finish talking about this article without the shameless plug. Yes, the Greenfield Nature Beat HRV app does indeed allow you to look at your sympathetic and your parasympathetic nervous system score and not just your HRV. So if you’re not using the Greenfield Nature Beat app either a.) you have an android not an iPhone…
Brock: Yeah, what the hell?
Ben: we’re working on that, or b.) just suck.
Ben: So, there you have it.
Ben: Well Brock, one of my workouts this week consisted of taking a sandbag, hoisting the sandbag over my head and then walking for as long as possible with the sandbag held over head- generally takes about anywhere from 60 to 90 seconds for holding that sandbag over your head to become impossible.
Ben: And then once you get to the point where you can’t hold the sandbag over your head anymore, you drop the sandbag down to your shoulders, right? So it’s sitting on the back of your shoulders like a barbell and then you just run for as long as you were able to last with the sandbag held overhead.
Ben: So basically let’s say you can hold it overhead for 60 seconds while you’re walking and you’re timing that and you look down and you’re like “okay, I made a 60seconds” then you put it on your back and your goal is to run for 60seconds. It’s an interesting workout.
Brock: Yeah, it’s sound kinda fun!
Ben: Yeah, you get an upper body workout as you’re walking, right? And then finally when you’re upper body is completely fatigued, you drop the sandbag to your back and then your lower body gets a workout while you’re sprinting.
Brock: And I assume you’re doing this on even ground too like on a trail or a…
Brock: grass or something.
Ben: Well, yeah I do it on a trail by my house. Ten to finish things off for your rest period you can basically just walk on your sandbag on your back for you know, for again the equivalent period of time so – like 60 seconds, 60 seconds, 60 seconds – anyways, fun little workout.
Brock: It’s really worth saying what I’ve been doing lately. I’ve been doing a lot of kettlebell swings.
Brock: I’m loving the kettlebell swings but it’s yeah, yours is a little more interesting.
Ben: That’s right. Mine is far more sexy and if you want to do a workout like that but you don’t want to be embarrassed and have your neighbors give you funny looks ‘cause you’re carrying your already crappy sandbag that you bought for $4 at the hardware store.
Brock: Aw, how gross.
Ben: You can get an Onnit sandbag and I like the Onnit sandbags ‘cause they have handles on the top and handles on the side so you can do more than just put them on your shoulders. You can do like dead lifts and clean and jerks and power lifting and snatches and pretty much anything with the good old Onnit sandbag. And Onnit is a sponsor for this episode what that means, lucky you, is that you get 5% of all the Onnit fitness gear including their sandbags…
Brock: And their kettlebells.
Ben: …sound like punch but once you knock 5% off something, you’re pretty much getting free shipping…
Brock: Mmm. That’s good.
Ben: …and 10% off of supplements like nut butters and Alpha Brain and all that jazz. And I happen to be right now, stacked up with Alpha Brain and CBD…
Ben: And I combine about three capsules of Alpha Brain with one capsule of CBD and that would be post-caffeinated large dump and you just feel like a million bucks so…
Brock: What if that will work on my hangover? I was afraid to take in the Alpha Brain this morning ‘cause I don’t know how it will react with my hangover state – I might just short circuit.
Ben: In a moment I will tell you what you can do about that hangover…
Okay, hangover – the strategy that I’ve been using is one that I wanted to mention because it came up recently on the Ben Greenfield Fitness blog/podcast. You may have noticed if you are subscribed to the podcast that Brock read to you – just like a bedtime story…
Ben: He read to you this week’s blog post which was about how to biohack you sauna experience by utilizing high dose niacin and an infrared sauna, and this is a new addition to my house – I’ve built an infrared sauna and I have insulated that sauna and I’ve been doing a high dose niacin prior to my sauna inn. And what that means is the high dose niacin makes you sweat like I don’t know – what’s an animal or that sweats a lot?
Brock: I don’t think that most animals don’t sweat, they just pant…
Brock: …and drool.
Ben: Yes. What’s the good metaphor analogy for sweating?
Ben: Apparently, I didn’t take enough Alpha Brain and CBD. It’s a sweat like…
Brock: Yeah, I have no creativity.
Ben: Makes you sweat like a leaky garden hose.
Ben: Yeah, how you like that? So anyways though, the other thing that – that an infrared sauna with niacin pre-infrared sauna experience is good for is – if you are hangover and you wanna detox that alcohol and acetaldehyde and ammonia out of your system as quickly as possible – that followed by a called shower, is the bee’s knees when it comes to a little hangover remedy. So, there you have it.
Brock: If only I had a sauna… and some niacin.
Ben: Well I…
Brock: I failed on both departments.
Ben: I highly recommend if you’re listening in and you are one of those folks who has some money to spend, go read that blog post – you go you find it on bengreenfieldfitness.com or you can go – what’s the short link, Brock? It’s like bengreenfieldfitness.com/biohacks…
Brock: Biohacksauna – biohacksaunaaudio.
Ben: Biohacksaunaaudio – geez, well anyways, you can go to that blog post and read it and hook yourself up with the sauna and some high dose niacin – it’s, you really do feel amazing afterwards – during, it’s kinda torturous but…
Brock: That’s not what I want.
Ben: And one more thing, Brock…
Brock: One more.
Ben: …for our special announcements. That’s right! We’ve got one more for you. I just finished recording the very final chapter of the book “Beyond Training” so, my New York Times bestseller (clears throat) – humble break…
Ben: Has all now been recorded and it is soon, once we get it uploaded, going to be available as an Audible audio book. But in the meantime, we’re gonna throw you a bone and give you Chapter 25 at the end of this podcast episode. So if you stay tuned for the very end, you get to listen to the concluding Chapter 25 – kinda short but it’s gonna be there for ya’ and if you enjoy it…
Brock: It’s very inspirational.
Ben: Inspirational. Yes, it’s preachy so if you listen to it and you want to listen to the full “Beyond Training” book, you get two options: stay tuned because it will soon be available on Audible and we’ll let you know when that happens or it’s also available on our Premium channel which is where we release like special episodes and stuff like that and that’s all over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium. And if you don’t know how to spell premium you need to go buy a dictionary, so there you have it.
Listener Q & A:
Bill: Hi Ben. Got a question for you about this Stairmasters. You said on your recent recording, you talked about the elliptical being bad for people long term. I use a stationary stair Stairmaster, the old kind with the pedals don’t go back and forth through the ring like that. And I’ve been using it for 20 years so I just wanna know how bad it is. I only go by half-hour a day or so anyway, curious if there’s still problems with that as well? Thanks so much. Oh and my name is Bill Montgomery.
Brock: I remember the old Stairmasters.
Brock: I mean all the gym was all of a sudden were just jampacked with Stairmasters and you just stand there and basically like make your feet go up and down, and up and down, and up and down, and there’s no crazy elliptical movement or arm handles or anything you just climb the stairs to nowhere.
Ben: Mmm, yeah. It’s good to be reminiscing about the good old days.
Brock: The good old days.
Ben: Not to be confused with the stair climber also known as the Stairway to Nowhere, also known as the “blow my brains out on the most boring cardio machine on the face of the planet”.
Brock: That’s one that’s like an escalator that you just sort of stand on and keep moving?
Ben: Exactly. And it’s actually a very tough workout, to be honest with you. So…
Brock: It is yeah, boring.
Ben: Yeah. So climbing stairs versus the Stairmaster versus the elliptical…
Brock: Actually did you recall back in the day we use to call it the Buttmaster not the Stairmaster?
Ben: Yes, the Buttmaster’s also a term that it’s known by and there is of course the all 2 famous move that you see people doing at the gym these days which involves putting on your tighty-tight pants, getting on the stair climber, not the Stairmaster, and doing very, very slow stair climber while kicking out behind you in between each step up the stairs.
Ben: You see people doing this?
Brock: I haven’t. No.
Ben: It’s like the new awesome butt move.
Ben: Yeah. I won’t go down that rabbit hole but I will briefly tell you that it doesn’t actually work…
Ben: …biomechanically, just there are better ways to build your butt like getting in the barbell and doing heavy squats. Anyways though, let’s start with the Stairmaster before I get into the elliptical – they’ve actually done a comparison, a biomechanical comparison of climbing stairs a.k.a. the stair climber or just say climbing stairs of that stadium or whatever versus climbing on a Stairmaster. And they’ve compared what happens using a – what’s called angular kinematics and linear kinematics when it comes to a comparison of these two. Now it turns out that what happens when you use a Stairmaster not a stair climber is that the Stairmaster involves only a vertical translation of your body. It does not include what stair climbing include which is called a horizontal and a vertical translation of the body. Now, what this means from a muscular utilization standpoint is that the ground reaction forces are gonna be different with Stairmastering versus stair climbing. And even though the Stairmaster turns out to be a good exercise machine, if you have a high risk of injury particularly if you have a high risk of injury for your knees, for your ankles or for your hips because there is less of what’s called the sheering horizontal translation or horizontal force. You burn far more calories, you utilize an enormously more – that’s just…
Brock: Enormously more.
Ben: that’s just grammatically crappy – an enormously more amount.
Ben: I’m just gonna roll with it.
Ben: Using enormously more amount of your butt muscles when you’re using the stair climber versus the Stairmaster, and you get a greater range of motion in particularly the hip joints, significantly greater range of motion in the hip joint. So it turns out that climbing stairs from a biomechanical standpoint, just basically kicks the butt of doing something like the Stairmaster in which you’re simply moving your feet up and down against resistance and the only thing that’s occurring really is a vertical translation.
Brock: So would you call people who use those Stairmasterbators then?
Ben: Stairmasterbators. So unless you are injured right? Unless you have a hip injury and knee injury or some kind of ankle injury, the Stairmaster is not for you – it’s not gonna give you the most bang for your buck plus it’s just silly, and stupid – so there’s that, too.
Brock: (laughs) Sorry, Bill.
Ben: You heard it here first. However, when we look at the elliptical trainers, those are kinda like a whole different can of worms – you find a lot of people scoffing (scoffs)…
Ben: …scoffing like that (scoffing continues) at the elliptical trainer – saying that it whatever – it’s dumb or it’s you know, it’s a fad or whatever. But there are actually some very interesting studies on elliptical trainers like there’s one study at the University of Missouri and they measured oxygen utilization, lactic acid formation, heart rate and rating of perceived exertion on an elliptical trainer compared to a treadmill. And they found that the elliptical trainer was nearly identical to the treadmill and every respect with the only exception being at the elliptical trainer created far less joint impact.
Ben: And what that means is that compared to running, you can stay just as fit on an elliptical trainer but you recover much faster due to lower joint impact and is also of course, something that could be used if you let’s say have an IT band injury or hip injury or an injury that is not able to handle the pounding of treadmill – the elliptical can work for that. And not just the elliptical but if you would like and I actually rode one yesterday to go get a haircut – you can get one of these outdoor elliptical trainers – they actually make one called an Elliptigo and this is an elliptical trainer on wheels and you look like a complete exercise dork.
Ben: It’s pretty much right up there with rollerblading…
Ben: …these days but it’s actually quite effective as a way to get all the benefits of running without actually getting the joint impact of running. They did another study that compared muscle activity patterns of the quadriceps and the hamstring, and what they looked at was walking on the ground, walking on a treadmill, bicycling and the elliptical trainer. And the elliptical trainer produced significantly greater quadriceps utilization and greater what’s called quadriceps hamstring coordination than any of those other modes of exercise including bicycling. So…
Ben: that’s another…
Brock: That’s weird!
Ben: …interesting effect when it comes to using your muscles you know, if your goal is to just incorporate as many muscles as possible with low impact, the elliptical beats up the bike if you were…
Brock: Yeah, that’s surprising.
Ben: …hitting there at the gym and scratching your head trying to decide whether to get on the bike to watch a movie or get on the elliptical trainer to watch a movie so, there’s that.
Brock: (laughs) Why are you watching movies?
Brock: What’s going on here?
Ben: Just because…
Brock: I think they read some magazines, come on!
Ben: I’m just – I’m totally dis-infatuated with the idea of getting on a cardio machine at the gym.
Brock: Yeah. I don’t have a gym membership in coming up on a year maybe even more now.
Ben: Yeah. But if you had to, the elliptical trainer is looking quite promising and I’m not even done yet – the results of the study that compared to elliptical training to walking, and they found greater muscle activation during the elliptical training for the glute max and the vastus lateralis which is your external hip muscles. So if you wanna build stronger butt or hip muscles then the elliptical trainer can do that and interestingly, it does that without straining the hamstring, so if you have a hamstring injury, you can also workout.
Brock: I feel like that would be dependent on what kind of angle the elliptical machine will set at.
Ben: A very, very long stride length is going to incorporate the hamstrings more, yeah.
Ben: Exactly. So they also found with an elliptical trainer in another study that was interestingly done at the University of Idaho – my alma mater.
Ben: Go Vandals! They found that as the stride length increases on our elliptical trainer because some do allow you to increase the stride length, you burn more calories without actually increasing your rating of perceived exertion and that’s kinda cool.
Brock: That is cool.
Ben: That’s like free calories I thought even feel like you’re working harder so…
Ben: there’s that, too but that would – that would be if you use one of the ones that has like the long stride length or the ability to like basically stride as long as you are striding which is which some of the machines of the gym will do too. They – like a smart stride where you know, the longer the steps that you take, the longer will kinda move with you.
Brock: Yeah, it’s just got a longer track so to speak.
Ben: Exactly. And then finally, there’s a fact that when you’re on elliptical training you get the arm motion, the shoulder mostly on the chest, the biceps, the triceps – you get more upper body and coordination than you would when you are on a bicycle so you get a little bit more of a full body workout.
Brock: So is there…
Ben: Especially if you do as I do and when you go get a haircut on your Elliptigo, you wear 20lbs. weighted vest and an elevation training mask.
Ben: S0, yes.
Brock: So now you’ve – it’s like rollerblading crossed with a segue way riding…
Brock: …mixed with the Batman villain mixed with a glutton for punishment?
Ben: Yeah, I was that guy. If you happen to be in Spokane yesterday and you saw someone riding on Argon wearing a weighted vest and elevation training mask on an Elliptigo on their way to get a haircut that was me.
Brock: (laughs) Or to join the other people through doing that at the same time.
Ben: (laughs) We’ll link to everything, Bill in the show notes if you care to check a good article on elliptical trainers, that outdoor Elliptigo elliptical trainer I was talking about, the study on climbing stairs versus a Stairmaster.
And ultimately my reply to you would be if you had to choose anything – Stairmaster, the stair climber or the Elliptigo? The order that I would choose would be Elliptigo first, next the stair climber, and then finally the Stairmasterbator.
Philip: Hey Ben and Brock, Philip here. I’m a multisport athlete and I have been doing a lot of yoga lately. My instructor puts a big emphasis on warming-up muscles before deep stretches and pauses to prevent injury – going as far as to put the thermostat up to boiling lava hot in the room. I think most of us have heard the analogy of a rubber band as a muscle – take a cold rubber band and stretch it nor resist and possibly even tear or break. Use a warm rubber band and it’s flexible and pliable but I’m not a rubber band – my muscles almost always at a total of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius for the metric listeners. So am I really warming up my muscles or is there a chemical or physiological process going on in my skeletal muscle fibers? Heck, do I even need to warm up my muscles? Thanks for creating the best podcast in the world.
Brock: I like how Philip points out that his muscles are nice toasty 98.6.
Ben: Toasting. Yes.
Ben: Yes, yes. Exactly, toasty is a good way to describe it…
Ben: I believe.
Brock: Mine or – I think of mine more like cozy.
Ben: Yes. Well, the fact is that your muscle temperature can change and your muscle temperature changes based on the amount of blood flow to that muscle and when you are relaxed – when you’re like sitting in your chair reading Martha Stewart’s ‘Living’ or reading about perhaps how to make Duck Confit, you’re pretty seeing a relatively low 15 to 20% of blood flow to your skeletal muscles – so that means most of the small blood vessels, little capillaries within those muscles are closed. And in most studies it takes about 10 to 15 minutes of movement for the blood flow to those same skeletal muscles to increase and for those capillaries to open and when that happens, that blood flow jumps from 15 to 20% just during the warm-up up to 70 to 75%, and when that blood flow occurs, the muscles which contrary to popular belief are not always at that set 98.6 degrees. They increase in muscle temperature and when that happens, biochemically, the hemoglobin in your blood basically dissociates from oxygen more readily so it’s just a basic temperature chemical equation – hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at a higher temperature so more blood going to the muscles along with more oxygen available to those muscles because the temperature of those muscles has increased – of course translates to better performance as you would expect. You get a faster muscle contraction; you get a faster muscle relaxation after that contraction; you get an improvement in nerve transmission speed and you get an improvement in mitochondrial activity so…
Brock: To a certain point that is. Once you reach a certain temperature you actually get a diminishing return.
Ben: Well, once you reach a certain temperature, you are by definition producing higher amounts of lactic acid, you’re getting more hydrogen ions dissociated from that process and you’re increasing the acidity in the muscle which eventually causes what’s called central fatigue or you know, the central governor of your brain begins to shut down the muscle from contracting to limit the amount of acidity present. But that’s – and that has less to do with temperature – that it has to do with pH.
Brock: Mmm. Really?
Ben: So, yeah. And ultimately the idea here is that you do want to warm-up.
Ben: And they’ve also found that there – in addition to increasing the speed and the contraction, the relaxation of muscles because they’re warmer – there are a lot of other things that the warm-up does. For example, you get a lower amount of what’s called viscous resistance within warmed muscles and that essentially is very, very similar if you want to think about it to having muscles that are better oiled so you get better economy and movement. You…
Brock: So is that the synovial fluid?
Ben: Mmm-hmm. Exactly.
Brock: Become more squishy.
Ben: Exactly, the synovial fluid dumps into the joints more readily and becomes more runny at higher temperatures just like an egg.
Ben: So, yeah. You get better oxygen utilization again like I mentioned because hemoglobin releases oxygen more readily at a higher muscle temperatures.
You get the facilitated nerve transmission that I mentioned meaning that you get – what that means is that the warmer muscle is the greater the number of motor units that can be recruited by nerves…
Ben: and so you’re able to just grab more muscle fibers. And then the other thing that can happen as your total body temperature increases is the stroke volume of your heart increases and you get a faster feeling in releasing of blood by the left and the right ventricles of your heart so yeah, I mean the warm-up is definitely not overrated. Now few other interesting things that were found in terms of the warm-up in some studies are, in one study they look at electrocardiographic activity, so the potential for things like para-ventricular contractions or abnormal or skipped heartbeats in the heart or anything that would show like an abnormal ECG tracing you know, the little – you know the “blep, blep, blep”…
Brock: (laughs) The blep, blep…
Ben: Yeah, you know, the one for the movies…
Brock: (makes ECG sound)
Ben: that goes flat…
Ben: at a certain point, right?
Brock: “Oh my god, grandpa’s gone!”
Ben: In the soap opera (laughs). “He’s gone. No, no, he’s here – it’s back!” Anyways, they found that the warm-up basically increase the stabilization of ECG activity in 22 men.
Ben: So there was that. And then a few other things that they found with warm-ups – they’re enhanced if you include dynamic stretching – arm swings, leg swings, etc. in an ideal warm-up you get the muscles warm, and then you follow that up with swings like arm swings, leg swings, squats, side to side steps to all those things that would normally be included in a dynamic warm-up and that’s been shown to enhance the efficacy of the warm-up even more. So you should definitely do not just the warm-up but also dynamic stretching. So, in terms of length of the warm-up like I mentioned, research shows that it is 10 to 15 minutes to get that increased temperature and viscosity and everything else. So try to think if there’s anything else that I wanna tell you about the warm-up I mean, ultimately not, no I mean it’s absolutely not how’s this – it’s not non efficacious. (murmurs)
Brock: It’s definitely not.
Ben: My grammar is on fire today.
Brock: Yeah, maybe you’re the hangover one.
Ben: That’s right but yes, you do need to warm-up, I highly recommend it. I generally when I’m warming up, I will do everything from jumping jacks to skipping, lounging, side lounging, arm swings, leg swings, and if for me it’s usually somewhere between 10, 15 minutes that I’m doing all of that before I actually start the official workout. And theoretically you could probably speed up the process you know, speaking of things like saunas, etc. You could do something like a sauna or you know a hot tub or something to increase the muscle temperature more quickly, but if you don’t happen to have an infrared sauna or hot tub to dip into prior to hopping in your Stairmaster for your butt exercise; you could just basically warm the freaking up. So there you have it.
Brock: There you go Phillip “you are not a rubber band but you should still do your warm-ups”.
Ben: And I avoided turning this episode explicit. Did you notice that – by instead of using the freaking f – I did – you know…
Brock: You didn’t dropped that bomb? That was nice.
Ben: Yeah, it’s that. Okay.
Brock: Good work.
Ben: Let’s move on.
Bryan: Hi Ben and Brock. I have a question regarding muscle gain and fat loss. Is it true that to gain 1lb of muscle say over a week, I have to consume an additional 3400 calories and then I have to burn that 3400 calories in resistance training say like I said, over a week? If this is true and that’s what I’ve read, can I avoid consuming the additional 3400 calories and lose a pound of fat but gain 1lb of muscle? Or what I lose of 2lbs. of fat and gain 1 lb of muscle? Thanks. Love the podcast.
Brock: This question makes my head hurt a little bit.
Ben: Mmm. Yeah.
Brock: Sort of like of those saying “if two trains leave Chicago travelling at the same speed” kind of questions.
Ben: Oh, that’s easy. The answer is Minneapolis.
Ben: Yeah. There you go. You never have to close your eyes on that one again. A lot of people do thing it’s impossible to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously and then some people will say “oh yes, you can build muscle and lose fat simultaneously just fine” – frankly, both of those camps are wrong (laughs) in a way and not to make your head hurt even more – but I’ll explain why.
So gaining muscle while losing fat the actual term for that if you wanna impress people at your next cocktail party is called body recomposition – body recomposition is like the holy grail: gain muscle, lose fat you know, burn fat, gain muscle – however you want to define it. If you can achieve both of those seem things simultaneously then that’s what most people want. So let us start with an understanding of the basic physiology here and there’s a reason why a lot of people think building muscle and losing fat at the same time is impossible, and it has to do with something called protein synthesis. So what this means is that as you’re standing around everyday you’re muscles are going through maintenance work, so they’re taking damage and degraded cells and they’re eliminating them and new cells are created to take their place, and the term given for that is protein synthesis, it’s also known as protein biosynthesis. And in a normal circumstances, normal dietary circumstances, muscle tissue is pretty stable and that cycle of cellular degradation and cellular regeneration is pretty balanced. So you generally are going to lose or gain muscle at any significant rate – your lean mass is just gonna remain pretty level on a day to day basis, but when you train your muscles when you’re doing weight training, you damage the cells and the muscle fibers and that increases the rate of protein synthesis to repair those damaged cells. So when that happens, your body doesn’t want to just repair the damage it wants to somehow make you less resistant to further damage in the future and to do that…
Brock: More resis – or more…
Ben: Did I say ‘less resistant’?
Ben: Yeah, more resistant.
Brock: That would be a terrible evolutionary trait.
Ben: I’m glad you’re listening carefully and not just doing your hair.
Brock: How did you know? (laughs)
Ben: I just know what you’re doing.
Brock: My hair looks fantastic.
Ben: So what your muscles do to make you more resistance to further damages, they add cells to the muscle fibers so that’s also known as hypertrophy it tends to make a muscle fibers bigger, it tends to make them stronger and so what you tend to think of as muscle growth is basically a rate of protein synthesis in which the protein synthesis rate exceeds the protein breakdown rate. So if you take any given 24 hour period, if your body synthesizes more muscle proteins, then it breaks down then you will gain muscle and if you – if you have a lower rate of protein synthesis than protein breakdown, then you lose muscle and if both are equal then t stays the same.
Brock: That makes sense.
Ben: So basically if your goal is to gain muscle, you have to have a higher rate of protein synthesis than degradation, if you have a higher rate of protein synthesis than degradation you will gain muscle. So when we look at the other side of the equation losing fat is most people realize you have to give your body less energy than it burns overtime to lose fat, and yes there are all those books out there like ‘Good Calories, Bad calories’ – there is of course you know, the whole argument that yeah, a snack pack of a hundred calories of Oreos is different than a 100 calories of like spinach and Goji Berries but ultimately you know, when you step back and you look at things from a big picture from like an 80/20 standpoint and we look at, at what is long term truly effective for fat loss and at certain point you could be a calorie deficit. If you are not a calorie deficit you aren’t going to lose fat, period.
Ben: It’s just not going to happen. So yes, there are other factors that need to be present like an absence of inflammation and proper hormonal balance and all these other things that are affected by the quality and the nutrient density of the food but ultimately what it comes down to is that at some point you know, a calorie deficit needs to be present. So there are a couple things that happen however, when you are at a calorie deficit: number one, you get reduced levels of anabolic hormones – okay? When you’re eating fewer calories than you’re burning you get reduced level of anabolic hormones…
Ben: …your growth hormones. You also get impaired protein synthesis, right? So a calorie deficit causes changes in your hormone profile that makes you more catabolic which is a state where muscle breakdown would be higher and it lowers protein synthesis –
so that is why it is so hard to build muscle while you are in a calorie deficit because you decrease that rate of protein synthesis, so you’re fighting an uphill battle. However, the interesting thing is that you can actually be responsive to resistance training even when you are at a calorie deficit and there’s something about resistance trainings specifically weight training that’s been shown in studies even in people who are at a calorie deficit to maintain or even increase the rate of protein synthesis even in the state of calorie restriction. So for example, there was one study that was done in which they took folks and they split them into two different groups: one group had a daily calorie deficit of 300 calories –okay, 300 calories lower than what they were actually taking in. And another group had a daily calorie deficit of 750 calories – incidentally both groups are getting adequate protein – it’s just that the one group had a deficit of 300 calories; one group had a deficit of 750 calories. Now the group that had the 300 calorie deficit, they lost a little bit of fat, and they lost a little bit of muscle and the group who had the 750 calorie deficit also lost a very, very little bit of muscle but they lost a huge amount of fat and so this mild calorie deficits it turns out did not really work quite as well as like a larger calorie deficit in the presence of resistance training and adequate protein, okay?
Ben: So let’s tie all these together – what all these comes down to is that if your goal is to burn fat and build muscle at the same time: a.) you need to be in a calorie deficit and it looks like that calorie deficit should fall somewhere between 500 and 1,000 calories more than what you’re actually eating, okay? So if you find out that your total body’s daily needs are 3,000 calories per day to sustain everything that you’re doing, you’d undercut that and you’ll eat some over between 2,000 and 2500 calories per day. And you would combine that with the one thing that seems to somehow cause your body even in the state of calorie deficits to increase protein synthesis or to at least maintain protein synthesis – and that is resistance training, that’s weight training.
Ben: Okay, so the other very, very important things that you’re not be at a protein deficiency, and if you want to not be at a protein deficiency, anyone easily do this without risking not being a calorie deficit you would include things like amino acid capsules or amino acid powders which are a low or no calorie sources of protein that can enhance or maintain the rate of protein synthesis without dumping extra calories into your body. Now, I know that this seems to defy the laws of thermodynamics that you would somehow be able to have a maintain rate of protein synthesis in the absence of adequate calories or in what would seem to be a catabolic state but the fact is that there are multiple studies out there that show that the combination of adequate protein resistance training and a calorie deficit allows you to indeed burn fat and build muscle simultaneously. So the last thing, the last recommendation that I would have for you so that you don’t risk thyroid issues or like the starvation mode, long term of potential down regulation of your metabolism while doing something like resistance training with the calorie deficit, I would have at least one week – a one day per week or potentially depending on your level of physical activity, one meal per day that’s more of a refeed either carbohydrate refeed or a calorie refeed. So let’s say, let’s choose the calorie refeed – that’s gonna be the simplest example of how to do this from Monday thru Saturday, you would eat let’s say, 2500 calories if you know that you actually need 300 calories. You’d get adequate protein meaning you would never want if you want a number, you would never wanna undercut protein by more than 0. – you need to get at least 0.55 g of protein per lb. of body weight, okay? That’s the minimum amount of protein that you need to maintain muscles 0.55g of protein per lb. of body weight. And then on a Sunday, you would eat 3500 calories, right? An ad libitum calorie day to ensure that you don’t down regulate your metabolism because within about 4 weeks of consistent calorie deficits combined with physical activity, you’ll tend to see a down regulation of thyroid hormones.
So that’s why you wanna ensure that you work in those refeeds so, does that makes sense?
Brock: It does, it was a – I think I may need to go back and listen to that twice but I believe I got it.
Ben: Mmm. Fantastic.
Brock: I hope Bryan got it as well.
Ben: Fantastic. Alright Bryan well send in a photo of you completely ripped, standing on stage in a speedo covered in gold flakes flexing with the giant bodybuilding trophy that you just won and we’ll post it on Facebook page or something. Okay, moving on.
Rusty: Hey Ben, my name is Rusty. I’m from Lewisburg, Virginia – I have a question: I recently did Ironman Lake Placid and I met a pretty established marathon runner just got into triathlon in the last few years – I finished at 70.3 and that was pretty successful but the Lake Placid full Ironman I had a little trouble. Halfway through the run I had a really good swim, really good bike and the – I took on as much nutrition as I possibly could on a bike and halfway through the run I started violently vomiting uncontrollably and became very light-headed and it continue to do so, weren’t enabled me to finish the race which is a first for me and I’ve been trying to analyze why this happened. And if you have any insight on or in this situation or any advice for the next one, I would really appreciate anything you would offer. Thank you for listening.
Ben: ‘Puking during Placid’ that’s what we should call the name of this episode.
Ben: ‘The great placid puke’.
Ben: Yeah, I mean – have you ever vomited during your race?
Brock: I know you had some serious hard pooping issues but…
Ben: I’ve crapped in my pants a few times during the race – like during the race in Thailand where I had poisoning or food poison or that was yeah, I had some pretty serious crapage going on. I have – I’ve thrown up a little but during races before like during some Ironman races where specifically in Hawaii during the open waters time – the salty churning open waters when I’m in Hawaii – not because of nutrition mistakes but just because you’re freaking battling in the water for an hour and you come and you got a bunch of salt water that you swallowed and your body just kinda gets rid of it. And there’s like “Hey, puking up the ocean”, so.
Brock: (chuckles) Puking up the ocean.
Ben: Puking up the ocean. There are a few recommendations that I can give anybody out there who is doing something like a long endurance event and outruns it – runs into a point where it’s you know, it’s kind like that “oh, craps, sounds messed up with my stomach” moment. I would give – let me give you five recommendations – the first is a little bit sciency since we just talked about burning fat and building muscle, we might as well stay on that bandwagon and that cerebral process of number and of oxidation rates…
Ben: Thinking, that’s right. So, let’s keep thinking.
Brock: Alright, so number one.
Ben: Number one is understanding oxidation rates, okay? So when you look at oxidation and gastric emptying rates of exogenous calories taking in during exercise – what research has shown is that when you look at carbohydrate oxidation rates of exogenous carbohydrates meaning how many you can actually absorb and utilize. The values are about 1g per minute when you’re taking in just one form of carbohydrate like glucose or malt extract or fructose, or something like that. The jump up to about 1.75g per minute when you are combining carbohydrates which is why many of these sports drinks since sports gels and things that out there – they’re combined like maltodextrin and fructose or some kind of lactose source with a maltodextrin source or you know, some kind of double carbohydrates because once you start to utilize multiple carbohydrate transporters in your gut, you’re able to absorb more fuel without the risk of gastric distress.
Now what this comes out to for you on a practical level is that when you are exercising in a prolonged endurance event and by prolonged what research usually considers prolonged is 2 plus hours, and so when you’re competing in an endurance events of 2 plus hours, it looks like you can actually take on about 90g of carbohydrates per hour from multiple sources, right? Like it needs to be in most cases like a blend of like maltodextrin and fructose that is considering that there are four calories per gram of carbohydrates about 360 calories per hour max. Okay, so if you are stuffing your face on say like a bike during an Ironman triathlon, you simply cannot take from a carbohydrate standpoint, more than 360 calories per hour, period.
Ben: Okay, now that is not expressed relative to body mass and there is a reason for that: body mass or body size being a small women or large man or whatever – that appears to play no major role and your ability to oxidize external sources of calories.
Ben: So there is no excuse that says that “Oh I’m Clydesdale Ironman triathlete at 200 you know, plus pounds therefore I need to eat twice as much as that dainty little girl riding the bike beside me.”
Brock: Yeah. Well you may need to eat more but you can’t, you can’t.
Ben: Yes, exactly. And it turns out that contrary of what seems logical, it’s actually pretty much the same from body size to body size. So I realize that there are probably some people screaming through the radio waves and say “Huh? What about those of us who are fat adapted? What about those of us you know, who are doing like the low carb thing?” Well the idea behind being fat adapted or following a low carb diet so that you can somehow spare glycogen, right? And not have to tap in to or not have to rely on these many sources of exogenous carbohydrates is that you’re mostly tapping into your body’s own fat source, right?
Ben: Your own fatty acids and so that’s one thing is that you’re relying upon that as an extra source of calories and so that’s going to allow you to go for longer periods of time without bonking. But the other consideration here is that you can biohack these recommendations that you not exceed 360 calories per hour and you can put things into your body that bypass that digestive process. The two main ones are: a.) something that I talked about just a little bit ago when I was responding to the question about burning fat and building muscle and that is amino acids that are predigested.
Ben: So either branched chain amino acids or essential amino acids, so you could take the 360 calories of carbohydrates per hour and you can add in another 10g of amino acids per hour and have that be another source of energy that is not going to disrupt gut function and not going to overload your gut because it doesn’t really put much strain on your digestive system. It’s just absorbed and it’s already ready to be burnt or utilize as a fuel. The other is a form of fat called medium chain triglycerides – medium chain triglycerides also bypass for the most part that digestive process and allow you to in same amounts, you don’t want to exceed about 80 calories per hour of a medium chain triglyceride course but theoretically you could bump up your total intake from 360 calories per hour to 440 calories per hour by adding a medium chain triglycerides. And that’s about where you’d top off is 440 calories per hour, 360 that from carbs, 80 of that from medium chain triglycerides plus an extra 10g of protein and that would be the maximum that you want to take on. You exceed that, you will probably gonna get digestive distress and so you know, you want to take in to account numbers when you are as Rusty said taking on as much nutrition as you can on the bike. You can’t just take on as much nutrition as you can like if you are eating two energy bars per hour – if those energy bars like the bonk breakers that they hand out on an Ironman triathlon course – those bar are 250 calories, right? So all of a sudden you’re at 500 calories and yeah, gastric distress within a couple of hours is gonna set in if you’re doing that.
Ben: So understand the number of calories that you take on. Okay, few other things, a recent study came out and showed that ginger, no surprises here, can decrease gastric distress during exercise in the heat, okay? So how can you actually implement this effectively? Well, a lot of sports compound you know, like on Hammer Nutrition I think is one company that’s now utilizing like ginger extracts and some of their gels and things like that.
You can also use like these little ginger chews that you can get at the like you know, CVS or Walgreens or you know, wherever they’ll sell like these ginger chews. You can even just boil ginger root and that very easily goes into a Ziplock or wraps up in aluminum foil and once you boil it, it’s pretty soft, pretty easy to chew on and that’s something that I’ll do quite often if I get any type of gastric distress just here in my house – I’ll always have ginger root on my counter, and not only because it’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory but also because if anything happens with your gut it settles you down pretty quickly.
Ben: And they’ve shown that to be the case even during exercise so, ginger is one. Another one that works very, very well is peppermint, and I’ve found that even though of course there’s peppermint chewing gum and peppermint essential oils and all sorts of ways to get peppermint into your stomach to reduce the effects of gastric distress during exercise, peppermint TUMS work quite well. They actually have – the company TUMS they make a peppermint flavored TUMS and that has a peppermint oil extract in it and that is a very, very good job at shutting down gastric distress during exercise in a pinch so…
Brock: Hmm. They also have chockfull of calcium so that would be helpful for muscle cramping.
Ben: Right, exactly. So you can carry those in like a Ziplock bag or you can put them in like a film canister…
Brock: Mmm. Fancy!
Ben: …and put those like in a – like a jersey pocket and that’s an easy way to carry TUMS and also ruin some film, so…
Brock: Yes. Where are you getting these film canisters from these days?
Ben: Yeah, exactly.
Brock: Do you have a film…
Ben: You can also use the like a lot of like effervescent electrolyte tablets will come in like these tubes and you can empty those out and put them in a bag and fill that up with peppermint TUMS instead. So another thing that can help out quite a bit especially if you’re in a race that happens to have something like and again, I don’t endorse the consumption of soda and high fructose syrup containing beverages often but if there’s anything carbonated on a course, carbonation helps you to burp up a lot of the stomach bubbles – the gas, the bloating, etc. and having access to a carbonated source of water. You know water would be preferable so you’re not dumping unnecessarily all the fructose and everything into your body. But during an Ironman like you know, when I go race Ironman Hawaii for example, you get to a certain point during that race where you’re so freaking hot and so freaking beat up – usually it happens about mile 13th of the marathon, where about all you can handle is the Coke that they’re handing out in the 8 stations. And I – for me, it’s not just the fact that it’s like caffeine and sugar all at once – it’s the carbonation, right? Like it kinda helps you burp up and reduce some of the bloating and the gas that builds up over a long day so, something carbonated can help out quite a bit as well. And then finally, if you are – if you vomited, if you have pukes during the race and normally in a situation like that, you would want to get on an IV, you would want to actually replenish food as quickly as possible because otherwise like that dehydration is gonna catch up to you really fast and you may be a DNFer. But there is something I’ve been experimenting with recently – I’m trying to get these folks on a podcast to talk with them more about it and the way that it works but it’s basically it’s water, it’s a shot of structured water with electrolytes in it that it is a very, very fast way to rehydrate your body. We interviewed the guy named Dr. Gerald Pollack on the show couple of years ago who is a researcher at University of Washington and he researches water. And he specifically found that there is a form of water called structured water, and it’s not H2O, it’s H – I believe it’s H3O2 and this exclusions on water actually finds its way into a cell far more readily than non-structured water and I actually you know, at my house I have a structured water unit. So all the water in my house comes out of the well, passes through an iron filter and a manganese filter and then it structured that goes around in my water structure of unit and then the water that I drink is structured in that H3O2 format. But when I’m out running in Ironman I don’t have my nice little water tap and my fancy water filter carrying you know, toying on a trailer on my bicycle.
Brock: Actually I shuddered to think where the water came from in when you’re doing Ironman in Thailand (laughs).
Ben: Yeah. (laughs)
Brock: You just had big buckets of water dipping these cups into and you’re like, “Oh god, should I be drinking this?”
Ben: Sponsored by your local sewage municipality. Anyways, this stuff – they’ve taken the same water that Dr. Pollack researched at the University of Washington they put in this little shot – it’s called Oral IV, and you would like these tiny little shots so you can take it with you. And again, I’m still researching this stuff, I’ve been experimenting with it a little bit, I’m hoping to get the one of the physicians who designed this stuff on the show, but that would be another option if you have puked and you have vomited and you’re like, “oh crap, now I gotta get rehydrated or else I won’t finish” that would be a potential remedy for you – so that’s what’s called Oral IV. Those are my top 5 though: so understand the total amount of oxidation and gastric emptying, right? So you know the fact that they got that 360 calorie per hour or 440 tops. Care some ginger or peppermint or both? Experiment if it works for you, get your hands on a carbonated beverage and then look into this Oral IV stuff. I will put a links to some of these stuff in the show notes if you just need a list at bengreenfieldfitness.com/328 – that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/328 and hopefully that helps you out, Rusty and in the meantime – oh, last thing: bring in napkin to wipe the – wipe the puke off the corners of your mouth…
Ben: …so you look nice when you cross the finish line for the photos.
Michiel: Hi Ben and Brock this is Michiel from the Netherlands. I’m 5’10, I’m 198lbs., I’ve been doing a lot of interval training lately, I quit smoking, I eat organic as much as possible, pretty fair face but I still don’t have a girlfriend. Can you guys help me out here?
Ben: Well, I mean I’m – I’m not a good guy to go to for advice on how to get a girlfriend because I’ve kinds forgotten how.
Brock: How long have you been married now?
Ben: I’ve been married for 13 years.
Brock: Oh, so you beat me. I’ve – my partner and I’ve been together for 12 years.
Ben: Yeah. No, I don’t know how to get a girlfriend.
Ben: I would say maybe…
Brock: Back in my day we used to take the Box Social.
Ben: I would get rollerblades and tight pants and take your shirt off and go rollerblading through the city and just see what kind of women chase you. That’s just my go to and I’m only saying that because I don’t know if you have an Elliptigo…
Ben: but yeah, that’s the direction that I would go. You know I have a friend who is kind of a ninja at this type of thing – he’s name is Jordan Harbinger and he has a podcast called ‘Art of Charm’ and it’s at artofcharm.com. I decided to – because I am – I’m so out of the ability to get a girlfriend, it’s just you know, it’s not something I do a lot being married – getting a girlfriend. So I turn to him for advice and this is what Jordan had to say:
Jordan: Hey Michiel! Ben Greenfield doesn’t know anything about women; he’s married so he came to me. I’m supposed to be an expert on this but you know, we’ll see. Here’s what actually happen according to what I’m hearing – I’m reading between the lines of what you said. So you’ve done a lot of good stuff: props to you, you quit smoking, you’re into the fitness thing, you said you have a fair face – I think it’s really funny and it’s totally fine but here’s where the mistake gets me thinking. First of all, wanna give you adequate props for working on yourself, doing a lot to move forward and doing a lot to clean up your physicality – that’s supremely important but there’s one fatal flaw on the rationale here: you’re making a mistake of being human – I know, it’s really tough. We humans we think that other people think like us and we can’t really identify with people that don’t so the way that men think we look at things like youth and fertility when we’re selecting a mate – so you’re looking at looks, body type, health, indicators of nurturing habits and things like that. So the problem arises when you think that women think those same things and look at those same channels and those same factors when it comes to mate selection for men – they do but they are with so much less. So you could become a super model or just a model maybe with a six pack and a great tan and great hair and a perfect face – Brad Pitt-like-face but you will still lose out the girls that you’re looking for the women, the girlfriends that you’re looking for to a guy who has confidence, has other areas of his life together. So I wanna say this: you’re doing the right thing, you’re on the right track but don’t turn the physicality, attractiveness, healthing up to eleven and ignore the other aspects of personality, charisma and magnetism that are really gonna be a bigger indicator and a bigger help to you in finding a girlfriend – you know, working on your personality and all those things – those are much more important not the physicality and the health stuff – isn’t, but it’s one channel that weighs significantly less in mate selection than us men weigh it when it comes to women.
If a girl works on her body and becomes really pretty, she can have rocks in her head, and guys will be trippin’ over each other to get to her. With women and men it’s usually 99% of the time, just not the same case, so you’re doing everything right, you just need to focus on other areas to succeed as well. I hope that makes sense. Obviously this is what we teach at the Art of Charm, I’m not asking you to buy anything but since you’re listening to Ben Greenfield’s podcast already, check out the Art of Charm – start at the artofcharm.com/toolbox – with the toolbox, that would give you a lot of tools to work with when it comes to charisma and personal magnetism. Again it’s free, so enjoy and keep us all posted on your progress.
Ben: Wow, that’s – that’s quite comprehensive.
Brock: (laughs) That was crazy.
Ben: I – you know, I don’t really know if I have anything else to add to that. I guess the last thing is if you take this advice to heart and you wind up with two or three or six girlfriends, write us a quick thank you note or leave us or Jordan’s podcast a review in iTunes…
Ben: …and preferably upload photos of your many girlfriends.
Ben: I don’t know if you can do that on iTunes review, but you can try either way, yeah, either way. And I really don’t think the accent is gonna hurt you either, Michiel, right?
Ben: The accent…
Brock: Pretty hot.
Ben: …the good training, you’re not smoking, you’re eating organic and you have a pretty fair face – so there you go. Hopefully you will now have a girlfriend. We can now say that the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast will get you a girlfriend – you will burn fat, you will build muscle and you will get girlfriends.
Ben: And that being said, we had someone leave us a very, very long review this week.
Brock: Oh, goodness.
Ben: And Brock, I will volunteer to read this one if you would like – I can take this.
Brock: I think that might be best given my current mental state (laughs). It might take me an hour to read this paragraph.
Ben: I can do it.
Ben: I took my CBD, I took my Alpha Brain, I went for a swim this morning…
Ben: I researched duck fat – I can handle this. So here’s the deal, I’m gonna read this review that was left by Illumiloti – it was a good review, it’s entertaining, I encourage you to stick around for it. And if you leave a review and you hear your review read on the show by me or usually by Brock when he’s not drunk.
Brock: (makes drunk sound)
Ben: You can write to [email protected] and when you write to [email protected] just include your t-shirt size, and we’ll send you a t-shirt, and Ben Greenfield Fitness water bottle, and a Ben Greenfield Fitness beanie. So that being said, we have 5-star review over on iTunes and the 5-star review is titled “Can’t Help But Love Him”.
Ben: Can’t Help But Love Him.
Ben: Here is what they have to say: “Oh I know for years, every time the podcast female announcer came on we thought we had actually been pass through to the world’s cheesiest phone sex line.”
Ben: “And now finally, after enough harassment, the guys at last made the change but alas, it only got worse as Tifanny’s replacement has to be the worst James Earl…”
Brock: Her name was Kelly.
Ben: Yeah, her name was Kelly not Tifanny. But I like Tifanny, it’s a good trailer trash name. “But alas, it got only worse as Tifanny’s replacement has to be the worst James Earl Jones impressionist…”
Ben: …to ever grace a power room Nevada Casino Lounge…”
Brock: (laughs out loud)
Ben: (laughs) “And sure, we’re turning over our bodies and our brain’s health to a man who doesn’t know how to pronounce segue way or nootrophics – _________ [1:24:04.7] Ben has pronounced ‘neutrophics’ not nootrophics. Hey sure, it stings when I leave a recorded question after playing it on the air, they make fun of my name for two minutes before answering my simple query…”
Ben: “(my name is Randy which means horny in Britain and apparently certain parts of the backwoods of Canada – I’m looking at you, Brock.)”
Ben: “But you know what, when it comes to health and fitness, nowhere where you hear more comprehensive, clear, powerful and life-changing advice anywhere on the planet.”
Ben: Just redeemed himself. Randy. “If you listen to him, Ben Greenfield transformed the way you exercise, takes supplements, eat, sleep and yes even poop.”
Brock: That’s true!
Ben: Yeah, we did that, yeah. “This podcast is one stop-shopping for everything you need to living more vibrant, healthy and self- actualized life…”
Ben: I don’t know what self-actualize means.
Brock: I get some woo-woo crap.
Ben: Yeah. “So Ben and Brock make fun of my name all you want higher ex-strippers and ventriloquist to do your linens and wrap arounds…”
Ben: “let U.S. figure what segue way’s supposed to mean ‘cause as they say, “if it works, don’t fix it” and boys, it works.”
Brock: It goes let us figure what segue way means.
Ben: Whatever. I think it’s a great review.
Brock: It was! That was – I laughed out loud several times.
Ben: Honestly, we’ve covered girlfriends, dumps, James Earl Jones, trailer trash names, being Randy, and of course, burning fat and building muscle at the same time as well as puking.
Ben: I think we should call it a day.
Brock: I think well, I think we should call it a day after we play the chapter of “Beyond Training” audio book.
Ben: Oh, yeah. That’ll come soon but in the meantime, we done good – check out bengreenfieldfitness.com/328 for the show notes for today’s show, stay tuned for this weekend’s show with the great Wim Hof the Iceman – it’s epic, stay tuned for that. Have a healthy week.
Brock: I might go and take some Tylenol.
Ben: You’re out.
Welcome to Beyond Training Chapter 25: Closing Thoughts and Additional Resources.
Whether due to our innate pursuit of perfection, our constant quest to achieve the next milestone or our lofty aspirations to ascend our own personal Mount Everest, it is incredibly easy to develop a passion for extreme exercise and sports that keeps drawing us into training session after training session, WOD after WOD, race after race, month after month, year after year and that’s part of the thrill of competition. The chance to satisfy our thirst for battle, for conquest, for adventure, and for the thrill of the chase but at some point, every athlete and exercise enthusiast has a “come to Jesus” moment, when we realize that the sport we love can be capable of harming our bodies. When that moment happens, you have two choices – you can keep doing what you’re doing until you completely explode in a burst of inflammatory flame and injury or you can move on to the next chapter in your life. Some very good endurance athletes like Mark Sisson, author of MarksDailyApple.com and a respected wealth of knowledge on health and fitness and nutrition, simply moved on to the next chapter and went from a life as a pro-triathlete to foregoing endurance sports altogether. Other countless individuals – many named in the opening chapter of this book – have continued to push and punish forward until forced to quit at the mercy of heart attacks, hip replacements or pure biological burnout, but what if there was another choice – a third choice? The choice to actually defy the status quo, commonly accepted, orthodox methods of training; the choice to stop throwing ourselves like an egg at a wall until we finally crack; the choice to pursue the ultimate combination of health and performance and longevity while continuing to participate in the sport and the exercise that we love. All the existence of that third choice was my goal in writing and recording this entire book – to show you how to intelligently make the right choice. To show you that you don’t have to throw up your hands in despair at the newspaper headlines that tell you that extreme exercise and endurance sports and marathoning are bad for your heart, or the blog posts that tell you that CrossFit and triathlon will destroy your body. To show you that if you do things the right way, you can keep competing in the sport that you love without completely destroying your body. Now, take a deep breath before you keep listening. Notice that I said without ‘completely’ destroying your body. Deep down inside, I don’t think that any of us would argue that a daily battle with the hot pavement, the muggy gym, a joint-crushing barbell or thrashing waves is truly healthy or ancestral. I don’t think any of us would argue that puking into a garbage can bleary-eyed at 5a.m. at the CrossFit box is really the way that our ancestors might live or running from a bear for 12 hours during an Ironman triathlon is truly healthy. But discomfort, aging, illness, injury and death are part of who we are. Life includes significant doses of sickness, sore joints, injury, suffering and pain – our short existence on this planet is a package deal that includes both good times and bad times and we must embrace that reality in its entirety. You must accept the fact that you’re not always going to feel good, and you’re not going to ever be perfectly healthy if you toss your hat into the ring of something like say an Ironman triathlon. However, while your goal should not be to fool yourself into thinking you can somehow neuorotically biohack and pill-pop your way to immortality, you can at least take small steps to mitigate the damage you’re doing to your body. You can start by using this book – you can review the 10 Rules For Becoming An Ancestral Athlete in the previous chapter and implement those rules to find a sane balance between achieving lofty physical performance goals, being healthy, enjoying life, and accepting the reality that you’ll never completely insulate yourself from the damage. After all, life is short – you can play hard, you can use your body but you need to play smart too – your heart, muscles, joints, skin, mind and grandkids will thank you. So, I also want to thank you for joining me on this journey of discovery in this book and for taking the deep dive into finding out what your body is truly capable of when you care for it properly – all while pursuing goals that the average individual might consider to be insane and slightly masochistic. Remember, you and I share a secret – it’s not the insanity or the masochism that draws us into this act of buffeting our bodies daily – it’s the adventure, the escape, the chance to be a superhero even if just for a fleeting day. And that’s what keeps us coming back, workout after workout, race after race, month after month and year after year – let’s just do it the right way, shall we? Let’s think beyond training. Now finally, in closing I do have even more resources for you. For this short chapter over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter25 and when you go there you’ll be able to access triathlon and marathon training plans that are based on both the high intensity interval style training as well as the polarized training that you’ve discovered in the chapters of this book – you’ll find detox and adrenal reboot plans, you’ll find the beyond training meal plan and many more little bonuses and insider tips. Now I’ll also put a link to a day in a lifestyle video that I shot of myself as well as many other bonuses, scientific resources, etc. for this book. And finally if you want to learn how to coach others, and train others using the type of concepts that you learn about in the past 450 plus pages – you go to superhumancoach.com and at superhumancoach.com you will find my mentorship and mastermind program for personal trainers, nutritionists, physicians and other health care professionals and exercise professionals who want to learn my method. And links to all of that are available over at beyondtrainingbook.com/chapter25. Thanks for listening and now, go beyond training.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
Aug 12, 2015 Podcast: Climbing Stairs vs. The Stairmaster vs. The Elliptical, Is Warming Up Overrated, How To Burn Fat and Build Muscle At The Same Time, What to Do About Gut Issues During A Triathlon, and How To Get A Girlfriend.
Have a podcast question for Ben? Click the tab on the right (or go to SpeakPipe), use the Contact button on the app, click Ask a Podcast Question at the bottom of this page, Skype “pacificfit” or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.
- Great article on the “ideal” pre-workout/pre-race timing of caffeine intake.
- The dark side of frequent travel and “hyper mobility”.
- Why a high HRV isn’t always a good thing.
This podcast is brought to you by Onnit. Go to Onnit.com and instantly get 5% off fitness gear and 10% off supplements. Ben recommends getting an Onnit sandbag for your nice relaxing sandbag walks on the beach.
Sep 23-24, 2015. Ben is speaking at the Biohackers Summit in Helsinki, Finland. Discover the latest in wearables, internet of things, digital health, and mobile apps to increase performance, be healthier, stay fit, and get more done. Learn about taking food, preparation, cooking, and eating to the next level with the latest science and kitchen chemistry. Even delve into implanted chips, gene therapy, bionic arms, biometric shirts, robotic assistants, and virtual reality. Two days with an amazing crowd and a closing party with upgraded DJs to talk about. Click here to get in now.
New Greenfield Longevity Panels. Working closely with WellnessFX, America’s top laboratory for concierge blood testing and online access to all your blood testing results, Ben has developed the “Greenfield Longevity Blood Testing Package”, which is the most complete blood testing package that money can buy. There is one package specifically designed for men, and one for women. This is by far the most comprehensive blood testing package that exists, and Ben created it for the health enthusiast, biohacker and anti-aging individual who wants access to the same type of executive health panel and screening that would normally cost tens of thousands of dollars at a longevity institute. Virtually all hormones and all biomarkers are covered in this panel.
Ben Greenfield has officially launched his first work of fiction: “The Forest”. Twin brothers River and Terran discover a portal to a hidden forested world attacked by parasitic fungi, dark shamans, and serpents. Along with an assembled band of unlikely misfits that includes coyotes, whitetail deer, wood thrushes, and fox squirrels, they must unlock their unique powers to control the elements of earth, air, fire and water, and save the forest before the evil they’ve uncovered can spill back into their own world. Click here to read it now! New chapters released every 7-14 days.
The BenGreenfieldFitness Quarterly box has officially launched! When you sign-up, you’ll get a Quarterly handpicked box jam-packed with Ben’s favorite fitness gear, supplements, nutrients and research-proven biohacks.
Grab this Official Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear package that comes with a tech shirt, a beanie and a water bottle.
And of course, this week’s top iTunes review – gets some BG Fitness swag straight from Ben – click here to leave your review for a chance to win some!
As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Brock Skywalker Armstrong, the Podcast Sidekick and Audio Ninja.
Climbing Stairs vs. The Stairmaster vs. The Elliptical
Bill says: He has one of the old Stairmasters where the pedals don’t go back and forth. He has heard you say that the elliptical is bad for people, long term. Would that problem be the same for the stationary Stairmaster? He only does about a half hour per day – for the last 20 years.
Is Warming Up Overrated?
Phillip says: He is a multisport athlete who has been doing a lot of yoga lately. His instructor puts a lot of emphasis on warming-up the muscles before they start stretching them (using the old “cold rubber band” analogy to explain why) using movement and by turning up the thermostat. But he is not a rubber band, and his muscles are always at a toasty 98.6°F. Do muscle actually get warmed up? Or is there another physiological process in play? Does he actually need to warm up?
How To Burn Fat and Build Muscle At The Same Time
Bryan says: He has read that in order to gain 1lb of muscle over a week, you need to consume an additional 3400 calories and then burn those calories in resistance training. If this is true, can he avoid consuming the 3400 calories and burn a pound of fat and gain a pound of muscle – or – would he lose 2lbs of fat and gain one pound of muscle? Can you explain how this works?
What to Do About Gut Issues During A Triathlon
Rusty says: He is a very well established marathoner who just did Lake Placid Ironman. He has one 70.3 under his belt, that went very well. In Lake Placid, he had a good swim and bike but started vomiting violently half way through the run. He took on as much nutrition as he could on the bike. But during the run he got very light headed and was not able to finish the race. He is looking for an explanation and advice on how to avoid that in the future.
How To Get A Girlfriend
Michiel says: He is 5 foot 10 and 198lbs. He has been doing HIIT training. He quit smoking, is eating organic as much as possible and has a “pretty fair face”… but still doesn’t have a girlfriend. Can you help him out?
In my response, I recommend:
–The ArtOfCharm website & podcast