Episode #343 – Full Transcript

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Podcast #343 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/343/


Introduction: (song “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” playing)

In this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness show: How To Burn More Fat At Work, How To Fix Adrenal Fatigue, How To Naturally Repel Insects, What To Do About Exercise-Induced Headaches, 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.

Rachel:   Ben.

Ben:   Yo.

Rachel:   I think I heard the voice of an angel.

Ben:   You know, I really can’t play that song without thinking about ‘Bad Grandpa’, the movie with Johnny Knoxville…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   … with little kids sing that.

Rachel:   Oh my gosh, you were so good!

Ben:   Have you seen that movie?

Rachel:   Um, yes, I have.

Ben:   I hope I could sing it and breaks into a stripper routine.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   For those of you who actually made it through the intro, which it could have been quite painful for you, you may recall that a few weeks ago, Rachel and I announced that we both got ukuleles or as they say, u-kelele for our Christmas.  And I finally took mine out last night, and began strumming and that was the song, the beginner song in my little Hal Leonard ‘How to play the Baritone Ukulele’ book. So…

Rachel:   That sounds incredible, and now I’m worried about being in the same band as you.

Ben:   Hmm, but that’s alright.  At some point for our listeners, we’ll get a little duet going on and obviously, it has nothing to do with fitness but it has a whole lot to do with health as we’ve talked about.  You know music is good for like autonomic nervous system and for your dopamine, intelligence, all sorts of stuffs, so folks, go out and get yourself a ukulele.  Oh by the way, Rachel, speaking of autonomic nervous system, do you remember 2 weeks ago in the podcast, when we talked about how something called jaw realignment can help with your parasympathetic nervous system activation? Like your vagus nerve town and all these cool stuff when it comes to heart rate variability?

Rachel:   I do remember, yup!

Ben:   I just got a jaw realignment.

Rachel:   Oh, you did?

Ben:   Like an hour ago, yeah.

Rachel:   And how did it go?  How are you feeling?

Ben:   I feel great. My jaw is moving okay, it popped a few times.  If my voice fades into the distance during this podcast, it means that I’ve got like a locked jaw or something going on.

Rachel:   Is it kind of confronting the way that they do it?

Ben:   It’s a little bit – there’s like this trust relationship you have to have with the practitioner, ‘cause they’re literally like pulling on your neck and your jaw and it hurts.  And you’ve got like, like they’ll put pressure on your jaw and you slowly open it like a deep tissue release for the jaw, so it’s painful but stuff popped in there hasn’t popped in a lot, like I haven’t done twice, so this morning and then also last week.  And for those of you who measure your heart rate variability, who measure like the strength of your nervous system, you’ll be very interested to know that after I got my jaw realignment – I did it on an evening.  The next morning, I measured my heart rate variability, and the number – we’re just gonna jump straight into the propeller hot stuff.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   But the low frequency, which is a measurement – I’m sorry, the high frequency, which is a measurement of your parasympathetic nervous system strength, that measurement was at 13,500 for power which is higher than it is ever been like sex, cold water, you know, wax in the sunshine – all that stuff, you know, we’ll talk about it more in this podcast about how to increase the strength through your nervous system but nothing compared to the jaw realignment – isn’t that interesting?

Rachel:   That’s fascinating.

Ben:   So for those of you out there who wanna go out and get your jaws popped, just go do it. 


News Flashes:

Ben:   Rachel, I know it’s super-duper early over there for ya.

Rachel:   Yeah.  It’s 6:07a.m.  Super flattered about it.

Ben:   So…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   When you roll out of bed in Australia and I would imagine slightly earlier than 6:07 a.m. to actually be…

Rachel:   5:50, 5:58 a.m.?

Ben:   5:58, there you go.  Do you have like a tea or coffee, or some kind of like a heavily caffeinated pill that you swallow or do you just like wander your way over to the microphone and flip on the computer?

Rachel:   This morning I had a cold shower and there’s no caffeine, I’m staying with my brother and there’s no caffeine in his house so I had a tea!

Ben:   There’s no caffeine in your brother’s house.

Rachel:   There’s no coffee… in his house.

Ben:   Is that intentional?  Is that like a health choice for him… or?

Rachel:   It is.  His wife is pregnant right now…

Ben:   Uh-huh.

Rachel:   … and so they’re… yeah, they rid off coffee.

Ben:   So he’s like supporting her.

Rachel:   He is.  Isn’t that lovely?

Ben:   He’s a better man than I because my attitude was more coffee for me…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   She’s not drinking any so I gave more.  Anyways, so yeah, so when my wife was pregnant it wound up turning into a caffeine addiction for me because I had a giant pot of coffee to drink every morning all by myself.  Anyways though, it’s very interesting because one of our news flashes this week or actually the first couple of news flashes that I wanted to talk about have to do with sleep and sleep deprivation.  So I think we can jump right in.

Rachel:   We’re gonna do it.  Yeah.

Ben:   Alright.  This was at the study that came out in the American Journal of Physiology and Endocrinology, and it’s a mouthful: it’s called ‘Short-term sleep deprivation with nocturnal light exposure alters time-dependent glucagon-like peptide-1 and insulin secretion in male volunteers.’

Rachel:   That is a mouthful.

Ben:   If you don’t read it slowly enough, it sounds like they were just doing something horrible to a group of male volunteers.

Rachel:   (laughs) On what?

Ben:   To their secretion.

Rachel:   (chuckles)

Ben:  But basically, what it comes down to is they took these folks and they sleep deprived them, and they looked at what happens to the bad stuff that can occur when you eat a big meal, right? Like this, in this case, an 850 calorie-meal which is a decent size meal that’s enough to fill the average person up I’d say.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   And what they found was a very deleterious response in terms of like the blood glucose spike, the insulin release, what’s called the glucagon-like peptide release.  All of these things that would make a meal a little bit more metabolically damaging, all the things like over-eating, snacking, etc. more metabolically damaging, everything that would influence for example, your ability to regulate your appetite.  They found that in sleep deprived people – no surprises here, all of those hormones were disregulated.  But in this particular study, they looked at people who were sleep deprived under light conditions versus people who were sleep deprived under dark conditions, right? Like people who maybe weren’t sleeping enough but were lying in bed during the night, you know, unable to sleep.  Or who may be were giving it a good going to sleep a lot and then the people who were just like bathed in the light as you might get a fewer clubbing or working in the night shift or engage in some other form of sleep deprivation that involved exposure to light.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:  What they found was that the people who were sleep deprived and who were sleep deprived because of light exposure, having much bigger deleterious effect of that meal.

Rachel:   Hmm.

Ben:   And so it turns out that one of the worse things you can do if you’re sleep deprived is to like lay in bed, looking at your iPhone, having the light on, you know, having that Kindle on, etc.  And this is – it’s really interesting, it’s something that I actually – a while ago I interviewed a guy who wrote a book about like this ninety plus year old track star named Olga.  It was called “Why Does Olga Run?”, and he went into how she would wake up in the middle of the night, which is normal.  Honestly, it’s normal to wake up in the night – we talked about this a little bit last week.  She would do like deep tissue work, she actually kept a wine bottle her bed stand… an empty wine bottle, don’t get any miss there.

Rachel:   (chuckles)

Ben:   She kept an empty wine and she would do deep tissue work, right? Like foam rolling stuff and then eventually, after breathing and a little bit of tissue work, she would slowly fall back to sleep, so.

Rachel:   Interesting.

Ben:   Yeah.  The take away message is if you’re having trouble sleeping or if you’re sleep deprived or if you’re working a night shift, it behooves you to really limit light and especially to limit the blue…

Rachel:   Light, yeah.

Ben:   … light wave spectrum – the blue light wave spectrum.

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   And this actually kinda segue ways into the other study that I wanted to bring up that was kinda related to this, and this was this whole idea behind wearing colored lenses ‘cause you’ve seen no doubt like these blue light blockers before?

Rachel:   Yes.  Yup.  Swannies?

Ben:   Like these amber colored lenses.  Yeah, the ones that – yeah, Swannies has one, you know I wear one called Irlen, others one called Gunnar.  There’s a whole bunch of glasses that you can wear that block blue light, and also make you look like a creepy stalker.


Rachel:   (chuckles) They are kinda creepy.

Ben:   They are creepy.  I haven’t yet found a brand that just doesn’t make you look like yeah, a creepy stalker or psychotic author or maybe just somebody who lives in the mom’s basement.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   But they did a study in a Journal Sports Medicine in Physical Fitness in which they looked in the effect of this colored lenses on muscular performance.

Rachel:   Huh? And what did they find?

Ben:   Well they looked into and I actually have a full article I wrote about this a couple of years ago, but this study is new, so this is new research on the matter.  They took a bunch of guys and they had them do 25 rep maxes weight training.  In this case they had them doing leg presses and  they compared blue, they compared red and then like a clear – you know, like a control group – those wearing clear, colored lens.  What they found was that the ‘which lens performed best?’  I believe it was the blue lens, the blue improved the performance of a muscular endurance based task which would make sense ‘cause blue light kinda like wakes you up and concentrates light.  Red light also improved the muscular endurance so both of them had an effect, but compared to the control group, it turns out that colored lenses can increase muscular performance.  And I’ve always wondered this you know, ‘cause I spent an ungodly amount of time like 5 hours getting fitted from my lenses doing like reading charts and speed reading and visual perception and equity and all these things to allow me to get like my own custom set of lenses created for my eyes.

Rachel:   (chuckles)

Ben:   It was really interesting, it’s called an Irlen Lens, and I’ll link to this in the show notes by the way, for those of you listening in and want like this studies of the show notes or anything, they’re over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/343.  But the final product is like this purple stocker-ish set of glasses that I’ve got in like a Ray Ban frame, and I only typically wear them at night but it turns out that based on the results of the study, maybe I should be wearing it during workouts too.

Rachel:   Yeah, ‘cause you can increase your muscular endurance and look like a creep.

Ben:   Exactly.

Rachel:   Yey!

Ben:   A creepy leg presser.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   So a couple of other things I wanted to bring up, in terms of studies, there was a study that came out about carb timing– about a carb timing, and specifically a form of carbohydrate timing that would increase your performance.  In this case, it was with the group of triathletes.  They took 21 highly trained male triathletes and they started to mess around with their carbohydrate intake and specifically, what they did was they restricted their carbohydrates at the end of the day following like an intense training session.  So they were like carbohydrate depleting them, right? Almost the opposite of what we talked about on the show before, how you should kinda eat most of your carbohydrates at night after a really difficult training session but no, they didn’t do that.  They didn’t give them any carbohydrates, these poor male triathletes, after that hard training session, and then to put fuel on the fire or no fuel on the fire, really.  They have them get up in the morning and do like a fasted exercise session, again with no carbohydrates, they’re just like draining their carbohydrate storage.  Now in the morning, they were doing like a low intensity session, and in the evening they were doing the high intensity session.  And then what they did was they monitored the ability of these folks after they went through this whole phase.  They monitored their ability to be able to store glycogen.  They monitored some of these things that are responsible for improved endurance pathways, right? Like an increases in mitochondrial density and increases in – you know, the ability to be able to utilize fuel to create energy.  And what they found was that in this group of triathletes who went through like this carbohydrate depletion phase and especially even training in what’s called the glycogen depleted state, they found that they had a significantly improved response, and specifically what they found and they described it as game changing performance games in the article that I linked to…

Rachel:   Wow.

Ben:   … in the notes.  But they found an increase in their time to exhaustion as specifically their race pace like their lactate threshold pace, so it’s really interesting that when you restrict carbohydrates, this happens.  Now in this study I don’t think they used a protocol that would be sustainable for most folks, right? Like do a hard training session at night, don’t eat any carbs, sleep all night, get up in the morning, train again without any carbs you know, and have a hard session night and easy session in the morning.  But I have another method in doing it, and I’ll talk about in a second, but there’s a way that this works and I’ve spoken about it quite a bit in my book “Beyond Training”.  But the idea here is that when you deliberately restrict your carbohydrate intake during certain phases of your training, it changes your preferred fuel utilization from carb to fat, and it also causes the transcription of a few different genes and enzymes as responsible for fat oxidation and for glycogen storage, and for the creation of new mitochondria to increase.


Specifically, there’s this master regulator of mitochondrial adaptation – it’s called PGC-1Alpha, and PGC-1Alpha which is a great name for a robot or a child in the 23rd century, PGC-1Alpha actually enhances endurance performance, and so it turns out that by having certain periods of time when you train in a state of low glycogen availability, you can really boost your endurance performance and this was a cool study to show that happens.

Rachel:   Fascinating.

Ben:   Now like I mentioned, I’m not gonna quit eating carbohydrates after my hard training session because I think that a better scenario, more sustainable scenario, scenarios that’s less likely to produce like adrenal fatigue, and all these issues that’s just being like starved and glycogen depleted post-workout, I think a better scenario is what I personally do.  So you go all day restricting your carbohydrates, right? Like not eating a lot of carbs, at the very end of the day, preferably after an intense training session, then you eat some carbs, and then you go into intermittent fasting where after you’ve eating dinner and you’ve had like sweet potatoes or yams or rice or fruit or red wine or dark chocolate or all of the above…

Rachel:   All the good stuff.

Ben:   Oh why not? Why not do all of it, right?

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   Sweet potato mashed or some yams in there, dip some dark chocolate in your glass of red wine, polish it off with some sushi.  Basically, you fast after that, and I fast for 12 to 16 hours and I fast almost every day of the year for 12 t0 16 hours.  It’s just – it’s easy once you start to do it – to sleep after you eat dinner and to not snack a whole bunch after dinner and to wake up and to not eat breakfast right away.  It’s pretty easy once you start to do it.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   And at some point during that window, I do like an easy morning exercise session, exactly as they did in the study, really, like a low intensity 15 to 30 minute session.  And by doing that, I really am simulating kinda like what they’re doing in study, but I’m doing it without necessarily making my body else stress out ‘cause it’s not getting fuel after a hard evening workout.

Rachel:   So the difference is you’re just eating carbs in the evening.

Ben:  Exactly.  You eat your carbs in the evening, that’s called like a carb-timing approach, it’s also known as carb back loading.  There’s a guy named John Kiefer who’s written a book about this, we’ve interviewed him on show called “Carb Nite”, but basically that’s the idea because my concern would be like long term if you take like a hard charging triathlete, just like you never gave them carbs like constantly had them training in glycogen depleted state.  That could be difficult versus you know, the approached I’ve just described really have that brief window of time where you give yourself a bunch of carbs, and then you’re like fasting your low carb the rest of the time.  It’s very simple and believe it or not, it doesn’t require you to be – to a – no with your diet, right? It’s just like “Hey, I’m done eating dinner.  I’m not gonna eat again until breakfast and most of my meals up until dinner the next night are not gonna have like a lot of carbs in them’.

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   That’s pretty easy to do.

Rachel:   It is, yeah.

Ben:   So there you have it.

Rachel:   Exciting!

Ben:   Yeah, really interesting.  It’s called the sleep low strategy – sleep low.  So the one other thing that I wanted to mention was a really good article that came out on our buddy Mark Sisson’s website, the Mark’s Daily Apple website.  Now this went into how different things that go on in your genes, right? Like you have all these little triggers in your genes.  It’s called the field of epigenetics where everybody’s born with the propensity to like you know, produce insulin in different ways and oxidize fats in different ways.  He went into some of the major genetic issues that would make you respond to a diet differently, and it’s really a great illustration on why some diets work for some people and some diets don’t work for others.  Like you know, why some people do great on a plant-based vegan or vegetarian diet, another people fail like crap and just like go nuts for bacon after 2 days on a diet like that.

Rachel:   Yeah.  And what are some of the things you look into?

Ben:   So one was called the MTHFR mutation, also known affectionately by many people as the (curse word) mutation.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   So the MTHFR mutation affects your ability to be able to methylate and especially when your folate intake is low; remember you get folate from like plants and vegetables and stuff like that.  You really are unable to produce this methylation pathway that affects a whole bunch of different energy producing pathways in your body.  And so if you have this MTHFR mutation which is very easy a test for, you got 23 amine you do a salivary test for example.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   If you have this MTHFR mutation, there could be a really good reason that you feel like crap eating it like a vegan or vegetarian diet whereas your neighbor who doesn’t have the MTHFR mutation and who is able to methylate even when you know, there are folic acid intake is low, they may actually do just fine unlike a vegan or vegetarian-based diet.


So, basically it turns out that let’s say your ancestors ate a very folate rich diet, high in plants, high in vegetables, it’s unlikely that you carry the mutation that would allow you to not make energy on a diet like that.

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   And I’m really giving – I know there’s a bunch of like genetic people listening who wanna leap through the microphone and rip my head off because I’m explaining this in kinda basic terms, but the idea here is you can test for this mutation, and if you have the MTHFR mutation, you may need to prioritize you know, eating.  You know, meats and things like that – whereas if you don’t have it, you may do just fine with a lot of dietary folate from like plants and stuff so that’s one interesting one.

Rachel:   Fascinating.

Ben:   Another one was salivary amylase.  So I’ve talked before about how like can new marathoners for example, can do really well with like bananas and white rice, they have a lower insulin on genetic response to that, they digest those carbs more easily and a lot of other people have this gene that’s responsible for producing a lot of salivary amylase as well.  Salivary amylase is what starts to breakdown carbohydrate even as early as in your mouth, and you’ll find in some people like for example, there’s a group of populations called the Yakut, there’s this foraging society called the Mbuti pygmies, there’s another one called the Biaka which are foragers in the Congo, etc., etc.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   They found that some of these folks have higher numbers of starch digesting enzymes than others.  One example of a group of foragers is the Hadza tribe and they have a high amount of salivary amylase – they’re able to do well on a high carb diet…

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   Whereas if from like a Northern European population is not able to, so it’s really interesting.

Rachel:   It’s a good place to start when thinking about what you should eat.  Not salivary amylase, but the diet.

Ben:   Exactly.  It’ll influence your decision about whether or not you’re gonna slam that Coke.

Rachel:   Or, be a vegetarian.

Ben:   Or be a vegetarian.  There’s another final that I wanna wanted to mention real quick and that’s lactase persistence, that there’s another gene for lactase persistence and some people when they finished breast-feeding, their ability to digest lactose disappears really quickly.  And then some people, the ability to digest lactose, it goes on for a long period of time, like you can do it into adulthood, and that’s based on the gene – it’s called the lactase persistence gene as the name we imply.  And what that means is that like if you’re Northern European, like Scandinavian or British or from France or Germany or something like that where your ancestors were, you’re probably lactose tolerant and there are a lot of people where the lactose, lactase persistent gene does not appear.  For example like, Eastern Asian or Native American like almost none of them have the lactase persistence gene.  So again, it’s really interesting, and it’s why when you walk in the Barnes and Noble and there’s this super popular diet book with all the testimonials in the front of it – so this is the end or the new miracle diet – well guess what? It may have worked for the author of that diet who is say like you know, from a whatever – a French Jewish (chuckles)…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   … Western-Asian population or whatever, and they’ve got the lactase persistence gene and they’ve maybe knocked out the MTHFR gene, and they’ve got the salivary amylase gene, and great.  It helped them strip a bunch of fat off their bodies and go from morbidly obese to rip in no time flat.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   And that same diet may make you go from rips to more than the obese.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   There you have it!  Really good article, and I’ll link to that along with the bunch of other goodies in the show notes if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/343.  Again, my apologies to all of you nerdy folks who know that I really did not do a complete treats of genes and diet, but this was just – it was to whet your appetite.

Rachel:   And if you would like to receive these news flashes and more, every single day, make sure that you’re following Ben on Twitter.com/BenGreenfieldInstagram.com/BenGreenfieldFitness, and all of the good stuff happens at Facebook.com/BGFitness.

Special Announcements:

Ben:   Rachel, put down that cup of tea because I have a new recipe for you.

Rachel:   Ooh, good, tell me.

Ben:   Yeah.  It’s called the ‘High Altitude Smoothie’.  So I found this one on the website of today’s sponsor, Kimera Koffee.  They say, “Try this loaded smoothie for a quick on the go breakfast that will keep you running all morning long”.


I check out the ingredients and actually is – it’s pretty good – it’s not like you know, 18 bananas in a cup of beet juice.  It’s actually quite friendly to your blood sugar levels and here’s how it goes: you start off with 1 ½ cups of brewed Kimera Koffee.  By the way, for those of you who are listening in, let me know if you try this in the comment section, 1 ½ cups of brewed Kimera Koffee, ¾ cups of some kind of a milk, right? It could be coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, you know, organic raw milk – whatever, like some form of like healthy milk, right? So basically about twice as much coffee as milk; 1 scoop of raw, organic protein powder – super important that that protein be raw as long as it’s not chicken.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:   1 tablespoon of organic almond butter…

Rachel:   This is something good.

Ben:  I know.  1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil, 1 small piece of raw, organic cocoa butter and 1 dash of cinnamon, then you blend all of that in the blender until smoothie; pour over ice for a filling morning pick me up.

Rachel:  That sounds delicious.  I wouldn’t have thought of making a smoothie with coffee but it makes sort of sense!

Ben:  But actually I’m going to try this, and I will put on my results but folks, if you wanna try and get your Kimera Koffee, that’s coffee with a smart drugs added to it at k-i-m-e-r-a k-o-f-f-e-e if I can spell coffee this morning.  Go to kimerakoffee.com, my jaw realignment is affecting my ability to speak apparently.

Rachel:   It’s not gonna feel really good.

Ben:  You use 10% discount code ‘BEN’, so there you have it, try that recipe the ‘High Altitude Smoothie’.  This podcast is also brought to you by something very intriguing, a new sponsor.  So, if you go to MyUSATrainer.com, what you gonna find there is the National Academy of Sports Medicine.  Now I know we have a lot of people listening in, who may want to look into a career in the fitness industry and this is one way to do it: I’ve talked before about how stupid it is that you can get a weekend certification to become a personal trainer, and rep count for people will potentially damaging their bodies with faddy exercises.  Faddy? Is that even a word? F-a-d? Faddy?

Rachel:  It is now.  Yes.

Ben:  Let’s do it.  With fad exercises and it’s a big issue.  There are a lot of like fly by night personal training certifications out there that really produce some dangerous people walking around saying they have a personal training cert. but we had a podcast on this about 2 years back, and we have a big discussion like which personal training certifications are best? And I came up with a list of them, the NSCA which is the one I have, an ACE certification is good, ACSM especially if you’re working in a clinical setting is good, and if you’re working in more of like a sports medicine or an orthopedic setting, or you really wanna work with like athletes or folks who need to fix their bodies from like biomechanical standpoint, the NASM – the National Academy of Sports Medicine was another that I recommended.

Rachel:   Ha! Good.

Ben:   And so, they’re a sponsor of today’s show.  So if you’re looking being a personal trainer, you can actually save money, they’ll give you a 14-day free trial of their program and to get in on that, you go to myUSATrainer.com and the cool guarantee that they have is that you land a job as a personal trainer within 60 days of earning their certification or they give you your money back, guaranteed.

Rachel:   That is awesome.  That is a great money back guarantee.

Ben:  And that is what we call bulletproof offer.  So there you go, NASM – myUSATrainer.com, you don’t need a discount code or anything.  Finally, this podcast is brought to you by Harry’s at harrys.com.  Now get this: they have a new set they call the ‘Winter Winston’ set.

Rachel:  Hmm, sounds fancy.

Ben:   And you can get the ergonomically designed Harry’s razor – that means you’re not gonna get carpal tunnel syndrome from shaving, but you can get this razor with your letters engraved on it – so it’s, and it’s really beautiful.  It’s like, “this is my freaking razor”, so if you’re loved one tends to take your razor into the shower to save their crotch the same razor you use to shave your face, I know it happens.

Rachel:   Oooh.

Ben:  I know that happens.  I even gone to get my razor from the shower and when I’m shaving 5 minutes later, I wondered if like how much she used it on her pubes…

Rachel:   On how much pubic hair is in there?

Ben:   Yeah, yeah.  But it…

Rachel:  Get your own razor, moral of the story, get those letters engraved in there.

Ben:  Let’s face it.  It goes both ways when I was doing a lot of cycling and triathlon, there were times when I would shave my legs, I would use her razor, so I’m sure that she’s just paying me back.  But you can now make it personal, you can engrave your Harry’s razor and even if you don’t want an engraved razor, they’ve got a lot of really cool razors, but I do like this Winter Winston set.  It’s a limited edition, copper handle and coppers are anti-bacterial by the way, so there is that too that you can get engraved so you can check them out at harrys.com.


When you go to harrys.com, you can use discount code ‘BEN’ at harrys.com, so check them out.  Now few other special announcements before we delve into today’s glees on the Q & A, first of all, we still have a few surprise gift boxes available.  This is where I handpicked and curate biohacking gear, nutrient, smart drugs, books, etc. – I put them in a box and I ship them to you.  I pick $300 plus worth of gear, we knock 50% off that so we send it to you for $150 anywhere and that’s it just arrives, it’s like Christmas when it comes.

Rachel:  It is like Christmas, definitely.

Ben:  So I’m gonna put a link in the show notes for you to get that Greenfield Fitness Systems gift box, or you can go to greenfieldfitnesssystems.com and pick one up, I believe that the time of this recording, we have 4 available if you want a surprise gift box.  Now, a few other things: first of all, we had a podcast released over the weekend with this guy who is one of the oldest cyclists in the Tour de France, he’s known for being tenacious, tough, aggressive for having these very interesting methods like barefoot running to following a ketogenic diet, and as we occasionally do with some of our more like enchanting and mysterious episodes, we release this on the Ben Greenfield Fitness premium channel.

Rachel:  Ahh!

Ben:  So if you’re a podcast junkie and you’re running out of content to listen to, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/premium, and you can get access to that like 300 other hidden episodes that don’t get released on iTunes, so.

Rachel:  And how many – so how many episodes do we do before premium happens? Is it 10?

Ben:  We release… well we release a premium episode with a special guest about once a month…

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:   … and then, any episode that’s older than 10 episodes, that’s older than the most recent 10 episodes of the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast, the one you’re listening to right now, those also you get full access to.  So literally, you can fill your podcast bucket to the hilt if you so choose, you could probably walk across the entire country just listening to Rachel and I chat.

Rachel:  Is it $10 a month? Or $10 a year?

Ben:  $9… $9.99 per year, so there you go.

Rachel:  Wow!

Ben:  Yeah.  Wow.  And thank you for making your ‘wow’ sounds so much better than mine.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  So few other things for those of you who live in New York City, I am going to be speaking at an event out in New York City, and this is a private breakfast with me and my fellow podcaster the Nutrition Diva, you may recognize as one of the top diet podcast on iTunes.  You get to come hang out with us, and it’s a private breakfast followed by a full day of talks and Q & A’s with me and the nutrition Diva.  You get VIP tote bag for books and goodies and gifts, complimentary breakfast, lunch, refreshments, parking pass, everything is all done for you.  So you can check that out, I think it’s only open like 200 folks but you get it on that at bengreenfieldfitness.com/wholelife – that’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/wholelife for those of you who are gonna be in New York city on March 12th – whole day, March 12th.  Jam-packed with you listening to the Nutrition Diva, and having to put up with me and get to watch me eat breakfast which is a very, very messy process as my wife will tell you when I finish my morning green smoothie. My face is usually caked with like spirulina literally; I get it on my forehead.

Rachel:  Hmm.

Ben:  I don’t know how I did that.

Rachel:  Good role modeling for the kids.

Ben:  I do it.  It goes all over the place.  I think it’s ‘cause my mug is so big, my forehead kinda dips into the mug when I sit down to…

Rachel:  It just tastes so good, just wanna rub your face on it.

Ben:  So good.  I just wanna lick my own forehead.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  So in addition to that, for those of you around Austin, Texas.  May 27th to the 29th, we’ve talked in the past couple episodes, how one of the best conferences of the year, PaleoFX is on that weekend.  You go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleo16 to get in, to get your early bird ticket for that.  But they’ve just announced that for those of you out there who are like health entrepreneurs, personal trainers, doctors, chiropractic docs, nutritionists or anybody who’s interested in getting involved in like the health world as an entrepreneur.  They’ve added an extra day, the day before it starts and guys like Mark Sisson, Rob Wolfe, Sarah Ballantyne, Melissa Hartwig, Mike Bledsoe, Abel James – I’m just gonna start to make up names that sounds impressive now.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  Bob Steel – Steely, John – John Ferondas, now I quit throwing names out there.  Anyways, they’re all gonna be there and this is like a special health entrepreneurship you can tack on.  So anyways, I’m gonna put all the information for this over on the show notes.  If you wanna get it on that or on any of these other events that I’ve talked about.  And you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/343 to check that out, check Kimera Koffee out.


I know I just covered a ton of stuff, but we’re gonna put it all right there for you along with a bunch of other goodies at bengreefieldfitness.com/343, so check it out.

Listener Q & A:

Katie:  Hey Ben, my name is Katie Joe.  I’m calling from Austin, Texas, I love you and Rachel and all the good things that you’re doing.  I have a question about standing desk, and cold thermogenesis, and heart rate variability altogether.  So, I have a standing desk and based on my heart rate variability, it shows that I need to recover and I will use some ice packs on my standing desk, but on the days that my heart rate variability shows that I’m strong, my nervous system’s doing fine, I will wear 30 lbs. weighted vest while I’m at my standing desk, and have over that for at least an hour sometimes 2, depending on how long I can tolerate it.  My question is, is if I could do both at the same time?  If it work, ice packs can do the cold thermogenesis and wear the 30 lb. weighted vest at the same time?  I believe that would cost too much inputting information to my nervous system at the same time, or if it would be like a 3 for 1 what do you say, double punch and get two benefits at the same time?  I’d appreciate and thanks a lot, bye.

Ben:  So Rachel, in addition to perhaps like wearing some giant springy Tiger boots, perhaps like an overcoat that she could put rolled up quarters in the pockets of.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  Can’t think of anything else Katie could do to geek out her work station even more.

Rachel:  She can throw on a training mask, but I think she’s doing pretty well.

Ben:   It’s true, it’s true.  She can put on elevation training mask, it’s a good idea.       So Katie, this is actually really good question you know, when you wake up in the morning and you’re testing your heart rate variability, and it says you’re beat up and should you recover like can you still do this whole concept of like you know, greasing and groove and having like a standing work station and staying active all day long.  And the short answer is: yes, most of the like the light activity that you do during the day, it mostly activate your parasympathetic nervous system.  But we could also – we could look at this right? I’ve got a few ideas Katie for you to burn more fat at work without like stressing your body out with too much sympathetic nervous system activity.  So I won’t recommend 100 burpees for the hour… some other masochistic pas de deux technique.  But I also want to address your question about like you know, cold for example, I’ve gotten this question from a lot of people like if my nervous system is beat up, can I do cold showers? Can I wear cold vest? Can I do these kind of stuff? So it turns out that they’ve actually looked into this.  So there was one study that was done in Aviation Journal of Environmental Medicine and they looked at your autonomic nervous system function during the whole body cold exposure.  So we’re talking about the kind of cold exposure you get from being underwater or like from cryotherapy, or something like that.  So even more hardcore than say like wearing some kind of like a cooling vest or something like that while you’re working.

Rachel:  Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  And what they found was pretty interesting: they found that there was actually a drop in what are called catecholamines, and a drop in cytokines which should be responsible for like inflammation and adrenal stress, and things like that.  And they found a significant increase in what’s called your high frequency power or the strength of your parasympathetic nervous system activity, and so basically what happened was that the nervous system was enhanced after a cold acclamation.  Now I should mention that in the first few minutes of cold exposure in this study, they did find increased sympathetic nervous system activation and so what that means is whereas like cold water or cold shower like putting on a cold vest might feel like it stresses you out for the first couple of minutes, and you may if you like if you’re measuring your heart rate variability, you might notice that your sympathetic nervous system goes up.  It turns out that after a little while, you’ve taken a few deep breaths, your body starts to get used to it, you actually see the complete opposite response and shift towards increased parasympathetic nervous system activity, so.

Rachel:   It’s fascinating.  I actually remember doing a cold plunge in a Russian spa for the first time, and it was a freezing cold pool and you know, you jump in and at first it’s like that (gasping sound) and you can’t breathe, but then when you breathe through it and all of the sudden it’s like you get out and you’ve had a massive massage and you feel like a million dollars, so makes sense.

Ben:   (mimics Russian accent) Those Russians, they know what this up, you need to be in a cold water like a polar bear.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:                   Yeah, I’m a fan.  I’m a fan.  I like the whole Russian approach to thermal stress, but they’ve also tested heat versus cold.  There’s another study that they did called radio pressure pulse, and heart rate variability, and heat and cold stressed humans.


And what they found in this study was similar to what they found in the other study.  The exposure to cold primarily activates the parasympathetic nervous system but interestingly, they found that heat stress and thermal stress – perhaps not what you would experience in like you know, a nice, relaxing sauna session.  But you know when your heart rate’s really going up, so you’re  exercising in the sauna hard you know, like doing – like dragging an exercise bike into a sauna like someone might do while preparing for Ironman Hawaii or something like that.  They found that there’s actually a pretty significant increase in sympathetic nervous system in response to heat stress, and I should emphasize not heat but heat stress like some pretty significant amounts of heat.  I would say you know, there’s a fine line between for example, like the sauna session that I recently described in my blog or I’m doing like Bikram style yoga and you know like sun salutations and stuff like that.  I’m not doing burpees in my sauna…

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm, yeah.

Ben:   But it turns out that enough heat stress can cause a pretty significant sympathetic nervous system activation.

Rachel:   Could enough cold stress get the same thing?

Ben:  Well, if you get to the point where you get into what’s called intense cold thermogenesis where you’re shivering quite heavily, it’s likely.  And most of us know when cold is starting to stress us out versus when we’re just like passively cold.  So to try next time you kinda get to trust your body too.  But yes, you can do something like for example, the vest that I personally use in a summer, not in the winter ‘cause my house is nice and cool in the winter.  I use this vest called the Fat Burner Vest.  You can check it out at coolfatburner.com, they sell both the vest as well as the waist pack, and you can put this on to burn more fat while you’re at work and then shift your body from white adipose tissue to convert that into brown adipose tissues.  That’s one option and yes, you could do that even if your heart rate variability is low.  The same could be said for a weighted vest as long as it is not excessively heavy, the reason I say that is because I’ve measured my heart rate variability and my nervous system response while weight training.  Most every exercise you do in the weight room especially if heavy, suppresses your heart rate variability and puts a great deal of stress on your body.  That’s a good thing, that’s where you get like a growth hormone and a testosterone like a hormetic response to hard and heavy weight lifting.  And by the way, the exercise that most decreases your heart rate variability is the back squat – there’s something about having a barbell on your back that just stresses your body out.  It’s probably why the squat is so effective to those as something to build strength and resilience, but you can’t certainly overdo it.  I’d be curious to see the nervous systems of these people who follow like this squat every day protocol which some people do.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  But as far as wearing your weighted vest, yes.  I would say if the weight is distributed evenly and is not something where you’re like buckling under the load of the vest you know, like a half squat as you’re working because of things so freaking heavy and it feels like getting pressed into the ground while you’re on a conference call.  But if it’s something a little bit more passive you know, like a 20 or a 30lbs. vest or you know, even like a 10lbs. vest is gonna increase the amount of calories that you burn.  Yes, there’s a brand that I like that does a good job evenly distributing the weight and doesn’t put a lot of stress in your body.  I like the brand called the HyperWear for that – you could Google them or I’ll put a link in the show notes but HyperWear makes a good way to vest that kinda evenly distributes weight on your body so that’s one to look into.  I have some other ideas though, too.  And they’re not as stupid as Rachel’s training mask idea, just saying.

Rachel:  Whatever!

Ben:   You can’t podcast or make phone calls when you’re wearing your training mask but…

Rachel:   Well you can just take it off.

Ben:  For those of you who are listening it, have a photo of yourself using a training mask at work, please do send it in, we’ll post them in the show notes.

Rachel:   Please do.

Ben:   Anyways though…

Rachel:  We’ll post it on Facebook ‘cause we’d be so proud of you.

Ben:   Yeah and so right now, you know, I am standing while we’re recording but I’m not walking on my treadmill.  I do have a manual treadmill that I walk on, it’s quite quiet but it also forces you to use proper biomechanics when you both walk and run.  Now the treadmill that I use for this is called a TrueForm treadmill – a TrueForm treadmill that’s T-r-u-e-F-o-r-m.  And I’ve got a video that I’ve shot that shows my whole work station set-up but I use this TrueForm treadmill, and I put it in front of one of these hand cranking desk that goes up and down as you need it to.  And then beside the treadmill, I have this mat called the kyBounder and the kyBounder is a mat that’s like springy foam that kinda makes you make micro adjustments in your tiny feet and hip, and core muscles as you’re standing, and I’ll alternate between the treadmill and that, and I’ll use a seat sometimes, lunging, kneeling, etc., but I’ll put a video of my own work station set-up. But I use primarily you know, I would say, 70% of my work day is spent either on the treadmill or on this mat.


So, that’s of course one pretty obvious way to burn more calories.

Rachel:   Right.  Yup, definitely.

Ben:   A few other things though, there are these new devices that are like balance devices, I know one called the FluidStance.  You may be familiar with this idea of like wobbly boards and balance boards, and those of who who’ve been on them like – say like a physical therapist or something like that on the gym, they can be really hard to balance on.  I mean, they a great deal of cognitive focus to be able to balance on and most people wouldn’t use one at work for that reason, it’s just like almost too hard.  But some of these and again, the one I use is the FluidStance, I’ll link to a few other good ones on Amazon, but it’s like kinda more passive balance, right? You’re not working too hard to stay balanced on the thing, but you’re having to make like these little micro shifts so I’ve got one of those shoved up underneath the couch in the living room, and when I’m working from the kitchen table, I will use that combined with this more portable stand up desk called the Varidesk which you put the laptop on it just like automatically goes up and down so I could kinda tuck a FluidStance in my little Varidesk under my arm and wander anywhere in the house and work while balancing and put my laptop upon that platform.  So that’s another idea for you.

Rachel:   Was it an awesome set-up for you?

Ben:   I like it.

Rachel:   Mmm.

Ben:   There’s also this concept and I’ve written a few articles about this.  It’s not bunk, it’s not some made for TV scam, but this idea of using electrostimulation to keep muscles activated while you’re in a sedentary position like watching a movie, talking on the phone, typing, etc.  You can have your quad muscles or your thigh muscles literally simulating a 100 plus lbs. squat or dead lift or whatever you want while you are sitting.  And every time that the muscle stimulation occurs, it can affect your voice a little bit you know…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   … when you’re talking to somebody and they’re taking the crap, you always know ‘cause they start (grunts) like this?

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   I’ve done that.  I’ve made conference calls from the bathroom before and you like put the phone on mute just to (chuckles)…

Rachel:   That is terrible.

Ben:   Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, sometimes somebody calls you while on…

Rachel:   Do you pee in the sink?

Ben:   I… not regularly.

Rachel:   Have you peed on the sink before?

Ben:   But I have done that when sharing.

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:   So I’ve shared suites with people on hotels before, when they’re in the bathroom you just like, “Dude, I gotta pee.” Or they’re in the master bedroom of the suite which has the bathroom in it, you don’t wanna wake up them up, but your side of the suite has like the same, so you pee in the sink, yeah.

Rachel:  Ooh, god.

Ben:   Been there, done that.  I cleaned the sink and pee as hell.  Anyways though, we digress…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   So this electrostimulation, you might make you voice sound (grunts) a little funny if you’re making a phone call when the stim goes off.  But if you’re just working, typing, whatever, you can actually keep muscles and blood flow pretty dang active by using electrostim, so that’s another idea for you.  There’s a really good device – one device is more for recovery, one is more for muscle training – the device is more for muscle training is called the Compex, C-o-m-p-e-x – that would be one that I’d recommend for something like electrostim.  Those are the few other ways that you could burn more calories or burn more fat while at work, and then a couple other things I might throw in there for you, for those of you who wants to kinda start into some of the benefits of cold stress without necessarily putting on like a fat Burner Vest or jumping into a cold pool, read the article that I just published this Monday, and I’ll link to that in the show notes about how to use cold and specifically this new wearable called the Quantlet.  You wear this device on your wrist, and it cools your blood as your blood passes – pass your wrist and when that happens, the blood returns to your body cold as you get this mild effect that’s both – it activates we’re talking about earlier, your vagus nerve, but you also get a lot of these benefits of like cold thermogenesis without shivering.  So that would be one kinda interesting thing and what I like about it is a lot of these things are designed to like cool blood going into your hands that are designed for athletes to like hold while they’re running, right?

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm, yup.

Ben: But you can’t type and work and be productive at work when you’re holding something frozen, when your hand is shoved into like this cooling glove, so this is like a wrist wearable.  So that’s one to check out if you want to kinda stay cold at work without wearing the freaking vest.  So there’s that and then the other thing that I wanted to mention for folks who are interested is that there are few other ways to increase your heart rate variability if your heart rate variability is low, and not to kick this horse to death too much ‘cause I know I already mentioned his website earlier but again, my friend Mark Sisson has a really good article with 16 different ways to increase your heart rate variability.


And we’ve talked about it a lot of them before in the show, right? Like be grateful and you know, don’t drink too much coffee, blah, blah, blah – but a few other tips he has in here, and I’ll link to this article on the show notes as well that if I find were interesting that we haven’t talked about too too much on the show, one is that alternate nostril breathing can increase your heart rate variability.  Have you done this before, Rachel?

Rachel:   I have, it’s pretty ______[0:50:32.8].  It’s a year ago.  Yup!

Ben:   Yeah, yeah, and so it’s very easy, you could even do this while listening to the show unless you’re driving – keep both hands in the steering wheel or at least one hand, but you put a finger on your left nostril, the plug of the leg nostril and you breathe in through right nostril, and then after you breathe in, you place a finger on your right nostril and you breathe out through your left nostril.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm, yeah.

Ben:   Does not work if you’re congested by the way, you may need to blow a snot rocket before you do this.

Rachel:  (laughs) It actually uncongest you pretty quickly as well.

Ben:  Yeah and then of course, you block the right nostril and breathe into the left nostril, and then exhale through the right nostril and yeah.  So alternate nostril breathing, they need to make some of like some piece of like head gear that will automatically like plug one nostril for you, and then plug the other and alternate.  There’s my idea for those of you out there who wanted to do the next big kick starter, come up with an alternate nostril breathing helmet. Another one is to eat seafood – it turns out that Omega 3 supplementation, high intake of Omega 3 about 3 to 4g. per day can increase your heart rate variability.  Three to 4 grams per day like a fish oil.  So Omega 3 is gonna increase your heart rate variability as well.  That’s another one that we haven’t talked about too much on the podcast.  One other from this article that I wanted to mention was that if you can go back in time, you can actually tell your pregnant mother to begin taking DHA supplements or eating foods that are high in DHA like fish or I suppose if you have a fetus hanging around…

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   that’s uncool… if you’re with child as they would say in the scriptures…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   Basically, if you take DHA or if you eat foods high in DHA, you can improve the heart rate variability of a child that is growing in the womb.  So you can actually give your child a step up on life.  And I remember even my kids were born, and when little River and Terrain were born, Jessa and I would rub Omega 3 fatty acids into their feet and open up Omega 3 fatty acid capsules and rub them into the boys feet so they could absorb DHA and Omega 3’s to their feet, so.

Rachel:   What would be some good foods – DHA’s foods?

Ben:   Oh, walnuts are decent, chlorella, spirulina, you know a lot of these seeds and nuts that you don’t get conversion of the ALA and the EPA and the DHA very well, but algae based sources are really good, fish of course is good – fish and fish oil.  Fish is the biggie but you know, I’m a big fan of fish with seaweed and with some form of algae you know, like some chlorella or spirulina ‘cause you get a double whammy of DHA.  But interestingly, DHA is kinda hard to come by, there’s not a huge number of foods in the plant to have DHA but chlorella, spirulina, fish, fish oil – those are the biggies.

Rachel:   Good.  Thank you.

James:   Hey Ben and Rachel, this is James here in Newport Beach, California.  I love the show, thanks for what you do.  So recently, I’ve been diagnosed with adrenal fatigue, and I know you’ve covered the very aspects that how to mitigate adrenal fatigue on your show and also on your book.  But I was hoping you could do sort of more comprehensive overview of what your exact protocol would be to mitigate and completely eliminate adrenal fatigue if you happen to be diagnosed with it, so yeah, that’s pretty much it.  Thanks again and love the show.

Ben:   This is a pretty big issue for a lot of people, Rachel.

Rachel:   It is and it’s good I think about time that we do some sort of comprehensive adrenal fatigue plan.

Ben:   Yeah, well I didn’t really know like what adrenal fatigue was, I didn’t know what can happen until I had this body builder friend, and this was when I was in high school and he dropped off the face the map for like 6 months – just disappeared, quit showing up at parties and social functions and like dinners we would have in my house, he just like dropped off the face of the map.  And eventually he re-emerged, he looked different, he was smaller, his hair was cut differently which has nothing to do with adrenal fatigue…

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   I just remembered his hair was cut differently, and he was bed ridden for 6 months just like – that’s how deep of a hole he dug himself into.  And some people will you know, some people deal that with training, sometimes it can happen if you have Epstein- Barr or Lyme disease or you know, there’s a lot of other things that can happen from both of the immune standpoint as well as the training standpoint that can put large amounts of stress on your adrenals, and eventually get you to the point where you get into a state of adrenal fatigue, right?  Where you’ve jacked up your cortisol levels and your immune system, and you know, your adrenal glands, adrenal epinephrine, etc. for so long that you adrenal glands become exhausted.


They become depleted of minerals, they become depleted of Vitamin C, your negative feedback loop that would normally shut down cortisol in what’s called your HPA access – your hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis that quits operating properly, and so what happen is your body just turns out massive amounts of cortisol.  And then eventually just like poops out on cortisol production because you need like more and more cortisol receptors to interact with this cortisol eventually cortisol just quits doing its job – it’s a really, really nasty cluster of factors.  I go into it hardcore, there’s this guy who wrote a book called the “Cortisol Connection”, his name is Shawn Talbott, and I have a series of interviews that I did that I kind of packaged up, and one of them was with Shawn, and we go into the how adrenal fatigue happens thoroughly in that.  But ultimately you know, I wanna focus more on what to do about it than the mechanism on how it happens, and some of my basic recommendations.  I am currently working with over a dozen of people on adrenal fatigue.

Rachel:   Wow.

Ben:   So I d0 consultations and got clients who have it, and it’s amazing how many of these folks come from like training hotspots, right? Like Boulder, Colorado, and San Diego, and places where you’ve got like groups of triathletes and marathoners and cyclists and people who were like exercising a lot…

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   They get adrenal fatigue ‘cause it’s like you roll out of bed, you’re supposed to go easy, your friend calls you up on the phone, there’s a group bike ride going on, somebody at the group bike ride start to hammer at the front, you start hammering to keep up with them.  Before you know it, you easy day becomes a hard day and this happens over and over again…

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   … and a lot of people get fatigue from that.  A couple of these people are – they’re basically running companies and their adrenal fatigue is more from kind of a combination of work stress, relationships stress, travel on airlines stress, like we talked about last week, and then also just electrical pollution, right? Like tons of Wi-Fi and cellphones and computers just like up to wazzu which can also put stress on your body.

Rachel:   So you have people that you work with on adrenal fatigue that aren’t athletes?

Ben:   Most of my clients and this kind of a myth, a Ben Greenfield Fitness myth – most of my clients are not athletes.  They are people running companies, they are people going for anti-aging, longevity, and they are trying to optimize their health.

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   I’ve got some people who have just hired me to help them biohack, right? Like organize all these supplements and gear and tools into an actual program, so yeah, most of people I coach used to be mostly Ironman triathletes, and now it’s kind of changed quite a bit.  It’s mostly CEOs, executives, people who are into like biohacking in health and anti-aging, and then a small handful of obstacle racers, triathletes, marathoners, cyclists, and a couple of team sport athletes – so right now, a tennis player and a soccer player. (chuckles)  So, yeah.  So, anyways, as far as the type of things that I do with some of these folks, there are some specific things that you should look at: first of all, you want to shift your diet, you want to shift your diet and you wanna preferably shift your diet towards a high amount of nutrient-dense foods, a problem that I see a lot of people making when or an error whenever adrenal fatigue is like, “I’m gonna clean up my diet and I’m just gonna detox.  I’m gonna drink like whatever, you know cayenne, pepper and beet juice for 12 weeks to give my body a break.”

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   When you are in the state of adrenal fatigue, wanna tell people you know, in a nutshell is you almost have to to a certain extent, unless your adrenal fatigue is completely related to gut stress and you would know this, right? Like if you’ve got, if you done a gut panel and you’ve got high levels of what’s called calmodulin and lactoferrin: 2 inflammatory gut compounds.  And you’ve got like bacterial imbalances and whatever, you know, you have fungus and it’s like all due to the gut.  Yeah, sometimes you do have to go on like kind of a more of like a fasting liquid based diet to give your gut a break, because just imagine like if you’re a Achilles’ tendon was injured, right? And you kept running out over and over again, right?

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   Like, eventually, it is not gonna heal – the same can be said for the gut.

Rachel:  Yeah. Totally, yeah.

Ben:   However, in most cases, adrenal fatigue is not caused by gut issues, other things are caused by gut issues like constipation, digestive issues and nutrient malabsorption issues. With adrenal fatigue, I tell people, “You need to get fat.”

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  “You need to like eat a lot of calories from really nutrient dense foods and so if open your refrigerator, you know if have adrenal fatigue and you’re walking in your pantry, you should be seeing things like eggs like whole eggs with the yolk, and sea vegetables – high in iodine and selenium and organ meats, right? Like liver and head cheese and kidney and heart.”


My kids are eating in the car the other day…

Rachel:  Yummy.

Ben:   I was driving them back from tennis, and they’re like eating these sausages that I gave them and my one of my boys like, “Is this liver?” And I told him it’s not – it’s liver, it’s brain, it’s heart, it’s kidney, it’s liver so…

Rachel:  (laughs)

Ben:  I ordered these sausages from the US Wellness Meats that a lot of this stuff in them, so those are good bone broth, shellfish is really good, natto is another really, really good – more of like you know, a plant-based source or a bean-based source of a lot of nutrients, dark fruits, dark vegetables, right? Like pomegranates and blueberries and dark, leafy greens.  Kale, bokchoy, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, turmeric and currys, cold water fish, grass fed beef – all of these really nutrient dense compounds you need to add to your diets.  That’s the first thing, some people make the mistake of just like going on a diet and not eating enough, in fact, if you are recovering from adrenal fatigue, I would like for your body fat to go up a few percentage points as with the high amounts of these really nutrient dense like ancestral foods, so that’s one thing, that’s one thing.  So get these some head cheese.  The next thing that you want to do is you get – we wanna get rid of foods that tend to aggravate the adrenal glands and make fatigue worse, and this is really like a kind of pretty easy to wrap your head around.  Heated oils and fats like especially vegetables oils, you know, adrenal stimulants like coffee and tea, and colas and chocolates, refined flour products like pasta and white rice, spread, pastry, baked-goods, fruit juice and pretty much anything sugary.  You really have to lower those, because basically, you want to train your body how to release cortisol again because cortisol can help you to mobilize your liver’s glycogen levels to naturally raise your blood glucose.  And if you continue to pour exogenous sources of glucose and starchy carbohydrates, and sugary carbohydrates and refined carbohydrates down the hatch, that’s not gonna happen, and so that’s another thing that you need to do.  You know, that’s a little bit easier if people wrap heads around just like you know, don’t drink a lot of coffee and eat a lot of candy.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   So the next thing that you wanna do, is you wanna avoid anything that would put stress on your body from a dietary standpoint.  And this would mean extremely long periods of times spent fasting, you could still do intermittent fasting, but like doing things like 24 hours fast or like long fasted workouts or long periods of time with choleric depletion, etc. for the reasons that I just outlined.  You know, again, unless that you’ve got some really serious gut issues; you actually want to like feed your body frequently with good amounts of nutrient dense foods when you have adrenal fatigue.  So again, you just basically have to let yourself get fat, give you’re a little bit of tummy, so give yourself a muffin top.

Rachel:   Yeah.  Suppose that’s every athlete’s was not mirrored as well having to do that after working so hard to get it down.

Ben:   That’s the issue, though, is unfortunately not to sound too harsh, but if you have adrenal fatigue, you made some mistake and sometimes you do have to – silly as it sounds, you gotta eat your way out of all that choleric depletion and over training.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   There you go.  And that’s why a lot of these methods work to for a menorrhagia and like female athlete triathlon and all that stuff.  It just comes down to train less and eating more, so.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:  You do about 2 to 4 weeks typically unless it’s really, really serious adrenal fatigue. You wound about 2 to 4 weeks of mostly easy aerobic workouts, it’s not lot a of hard weight training, not a lot of high intensity interval training, but like yoga, meditation, tai-chi, Ki Gong – a lot of this easy, easy movements.  I’ve had a few people who I have worked with for 6 to 12 months full year to really get the cortisol back in order, get the DHA backup, so we’ll do monthly adrenal, salivary in disease, where you test your  salivary hormone levels, and you wanna see a return to normal cortisol levels and normal DHA levels.  And some people, and this is happens most with triathletes, there’s this one CrossFitter, but it seems to happen more with people with who have dug themselves into an overtraining hole via or into an adrenal fatigue hole via overtraining rather than with that like you know, some other forms of stress, like relationship stress or work – these folks can sometimes take much longer time to bounce back.  And so, you know sometimes we’ll have a good half of a year or it’s just like we’re doing Bikram yoga and easy walks in the sunshine and you know, a little bit of super-duper slow, relax, deep nasal breathing, weight training or body weight training, a little bit of isometric work, meditation, yoga, tai-chi, that kind of stuff.  So basically become a hippie for a while, as far as the world’s gets a go.


Rachel:   … or as in monk.

Ben:   That’s right, as in monk.  And then finally, in this I say for last because this is thing most people do first ‘cause I’m like I think I can pop, I can poopop my way out adrenal fatigue, not true.  This would be the icing on the cake, okay?  Everything I just talked about is the important stuff.  This is the icing on the cake but this stuff can help.  Number one would be some kind of adaptogenic herb complex, which can help you to begin producing cortisol again.  That would be tian­­chi is really good one, there’s another one called Inner Peace, these just help you to fine tune your adrenals and begin producing cortisol and adrenalin again.  So that would be one daily supplement to add into the mix.  Another one because like I mentioned the adrenals are the store house of minerals, you would want to start into like a daily shot or a couple daily shot of trace liquid minerals and liberal use like a really good salt, right? Like an Aztec salt or Himalayan salt or something that helps to restore the minerals that your body tends to lose when you’re low on cortisol.  So there’d be another one, another supplement that I’m a big fan of again because your adrenal glands are a huge store house of Vitamin C is about 4 to 5 grams of Vitamin C per day, like a really good absorbable,  like vitamin C powder.  And there are few that I recommend, I’ll link to a little article that I have on adrenal fatigue that has a list of some of these  strategies that I’m talking about to that should be helpful for you.  So go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/343 for that.

Rachel:   And so Ben, have you put this into some sort of plan?

Ben:   I do have a like a – I don’t really have a diet and supplement plan because I recommend testing you know, before just like throwing a bunch of different foods and supplements at the bay, but this is an overview.  You know I have an article, and I have a plan that I sell but I have an article that I let people in too.  I do have an exercise plan however, I do have an exercise plan…

Rachel:   Okay!

Ben:   … about 12 weeks plan and all – I’ll link to that in the show notes.  So I have a 12 week plan, it’s called the ‘Over-training and adrenal fatigue recovery plan’, not as customized as like you know, you’re working with me to customize something to do with the testing. but it lays out at least all the different exercises and workouts to do each day if wanna stay fit while you have adrenal fatigue.  But you can’t go to your cross and wads, and you know, your runs and stuff like that.  So I do have that planned out.

Rachel:   So is it possible when you’re recovering from adrenal fatigue to still exercise, to stay fit?

Ben:   Mmm-hmm.  Using some of the strategies that I’ve just outlined, you can stay fit from more of like a longevity standpoint.

Rachel:  Yup.

Ben:  You aren’t going to be able to go to like an Ironman or you know, get the top numbers on your wad…

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   You know, I have to do more just to describe, but you can at least to keep your blood flow going, just satisfy that itch that a lot of people get when they’re lying around, you know, do something, so.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   Yeah, you can absolutely keep your body fit from like a blood flow and a limp standpoint, etc. for sure and maintain some amounts of strength as well.  So I mentioned minerals, I mentioned adaptogenic herbs, I mentioned Vitamin C, a couple of other things that I should mention: number 1 would be a really good Omega 3 fatty acid source, again, because it will improve heart rate variability which I talked about earlier but it can really help with restoring the health of the nervous system and reducing the inflammation that tends to go hand in hand with adrenal fatigue.  So like 4 to 6 grams per day of a good fish oil – that’s 2 to 3 times the amount most people would take, but you know, a little bit of a step up in terms of the fish oil.  Another one that I really recommend for very similar reasons for the necessary building blocks to restore hormones is a good complex of Vitamin D and Vitamin K – 2 very important fat soluble compounds and for people who have adrenal fatigue, I have a pretty high recommendations, I typically recommend about 35 international units per pound of body weight of Vitamin D, and so that means that some people are gonna take you know, up around 8,000 to 10,000 units of Vitamin D and so as long as that’s accompanied with Vitamin K, you don’t get a lot of calcification with that but that’s the recommendation that I make.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   And then finally, there are two compounds, one that can stimulate your body to begin producing cortisol again, and one that can reduce the rate that which cortisol breaks down, so it hangs around a little bit longer.  Obviously, if you’re producing a bunch of cortisol and you’re like stressed out all the time, you wouldn’t want to take these, that’s why you gotta be careful, that’s why any of these stuff requires testing as you go, right? To make sure to – so you know when you can stop using certain things, to start introducing certain things.  But the one that helps your body to begin producing cortisol again and these dosages is based off the studies that have been done on it.  Probably red ginseng, red ginseng – she can find an organic red ginseng powder or capsule and you want a pretty high amount – about 5 to 6 grams per day of red ginseng.

Rachel:   Wow.

Ben:   Most people – most capsules contain like 600 mg, and so a lot of people don’t get close to the dosage they need to start producing cortisol again, but there are some decent forms of ginseng, and I’ll link to a few other of them in the article that have a pretty high amount of ginseng.


And then licorice root extract in about 200 to 400 mg a day, licorice reduces the half-life of cortisol and allows it to be broken down in the slower rate by your body, so that would be another one to look into, would be licorice root extract.

Rachel:   Alright.  So there you have it James.  There’s your comprehensive guide for how to fix adrenal fatigue.

Ben:  There you go.  You make me sound so smart when you say words like comprehensive guide.

Rachel:  (chuckles) You are smart, Ben.  We love you.

Ben:  That’s – it all has to do with my job realignment and my ukulele playing.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  We do have a couple more important questions.  So, shall we jump in?

Rachel:  Let’s do it.

Robyn:  Hi Ben.  My name is Robyn and I’m from Canada and currently training in Phuket, Thailand.  My question is, why do some people seem to be more susceptible to mosquito bites than others, and have larger reactions than others? Also, is deet dangerous for you and is there anything that can be done and are there any natural remedies of changing of the diet that can reduce mosquito bites frequency? Thanks!

Ben:  Believe it or not, Rachel, some people actually are more susceptible to mosquito bites.

Rachel:  I am not surprised, ‘cause I was born in tropical far North Queensland, and I took my husband up there whose born in Ohio, and he just got eaten alive by mosquitoes and they don’t even care about me.

Ben:  Take away message here for folks who’s in, if you’re from Ohio, be very careful gallivanting about the wilderness of Australia.

Rachel:  Yes, do so.

Ben:  You don’t want to get eaten alive.

Rachel:  You won’t.

Ben:  They actually – they’ve shown that larger people who produce more carbon dioxides, so just like people who have a high BMI, people who are overweight, obese and even athletes who produce more carbon dioxide, mosquitoes have a higher preference for that population.

Rachel:  That is fascinating.  That answers so many questions.

Ben:  Also, beer drinkers…

Rachel:  But wait, there’s more?

Ben:  Again, due to the type of gasses produced, but wait, there’s more.

Rachel:  (chuckles)

Ben:  Pregnant women, which is really interesting, and also in the most recent study, your genes can influence your propensity to be bitten or not bitten by insects.  There was this new study in which they found that certain genes can like the salivary amylases and the empty MTHFR and the lactase genes we’re talking about earlier, certain genes will either attract or repel mosquitoes.  And this was a study done with twins, this is really interesting, I’ll link to it in the show notes.  What they found was that certain genes will produce certain body odors that either attract or repel insects, and a big part of this is because our genes influence the type of gut bacteria and the type of skin bacteria that we express, and it turns out that your microbiome can affect whether or not an insect will actually bite you.  And there’s specific bacterial species that are found on your skin, in your arm pits, etc. that will attract the mosquito or repel a mosquito.

Rachel:  What interest me about that is I understand the repelling of mosquitoes ‘cause that makes sense if you look from an evolutionary standpoint, you don’t wanna be bitten by mosquitoes for the rest of your lives so your skin starts to do this you know, but why would your skin ever want to attract mosquitoes?

Ben:   Well, it’s a really good question.  You know, it’s probably a matter of some people having genes that come from a more like a warm environment or moist environment or a humid environment where mosquitoes might breed more.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   And so those people have developed specific gut microbiome or skin microbiome to protect them…

Rachel:   Yes.

Ben:  Whereas people whose ancestors didn’t come from mosquito heavy areas, but might be unlucky be enough to have moved or visited to that area, those people are kinda screwed.

Rachel:  Yeah.  That make sense, makes perfect sense.

Ben:  Yeah, so it’s really interesting.  The question is: what do you do when you’re screwed?

Rachel:   Totally.  Yup.

Ben:   So this whole idea behind d-e-e-t, d-e-e-t is bad news bears.

Rachel:   Damn.  So good though.

Ben:   So they’ve done a pretty significant study, so between 1961 and 2-002 the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported 8 deaths related to d-e-e-t exposure…

Rachel:   Oh no.

Ben:   which is not huge but they did another study of a bunch of park service employees – National Park Service employees and 25% had some pretty serious health effects in response to d-e-e-t.  Like mucus membrane irritation, nausea, numb and burning lips, rashes, etc. and…

Rachel:   Is this in…  is this in the context of being insect repellant…

Ben:   Mmm-hmm.

Rachel:   Or something different?

Ben:   Yeah, this is in…

Rachel:   An insect repellant killed 8 people?

Ben:   Or pesticide. Duke University Medical Center actually spent 30 years researching the effects of pesticides and they found that prolonged exposure to d-e-e-t actually impairs cell function in parts of the brain that can lead to neuronal cell death.


Rachel:   Wow.

Ben:   And so not only is it damaging to your skin and to your lungs but it’s actually damaging to your nerves and to your brain health.  So I’m personally not a big fan of d-e-e-t, and I run from it like the plague when I see people squirting it around my kids or spraying it around me at a campsite.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:   The question is, what can you take as an alternative to deet?  So one thing that can work out quite well, and these are things that have been studied in terms of their ability to protect you from mosquitoes: one thing is cinnamon leaf oil which is like an essential oil that you can purchase from any essential oil site that has been shown to be more effective like killing mosquitoes than d-e-e-t.

Rachel:   Fascinating!

Ben:   One natural insect repellant.  Another is to take some vanilla extract which once people have in their kitchen, and you simply take olive oil and you can put that it a little cup, you stir the vanilla extract in it and this vanilla compound is actually natural insect repellant as well, and it stays on your skin a little bit better when you mix it with olive oil, so that’s another one that you can use.  There are a variety of different natural insect repellant that you can find on Amazon and many of them use citronella essential oil.

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   And citronella is considered to be a very good insect repellant as well, and many of these will combine in the citronella with other really, really good forms of insect repellant like lemon grass oil, peppermint oil and vanilla.  Now the interesting thing, and this is something that a lot of naturalists will like, and that is that many areas like around me there is a plant called yarrow – it grows quite readily in areas in the northwest where there are lots of insects and mosquitoes like in damp areas of the forests.  You can take yarrow, rub it between your fingertips and smear it on your skin, and it keeps mosquitoes away and also helps reduce the itch from mosquito bites.  It’s very interesting that nature has given us specific plants and specific areas where mosquitoes tend to be high, they can do these lemon grasses and another one when I’m in Thailand, if I’ve got lemon grass, I’ll just and I don’t have an good insect repellant, I will literally just rob the lemon grass on my body or rub it between my fingertips, and then roll my fingertips around of my body to get some of that natural plant based compound that grows in specific areas.  So you’ll find that in many cases, something that will keep mosquitoes away are already growing or is present in your area.

Rachel:   Mmm.  Wow.

Ben:   It is true, by the way, this whole vampire myth or vampire legend that consuming garlic can actually help with protecting against mosquito bite.  So if you eat garlic, lots of garlic like when you’re in a mosquito-rich area that can help as well.

Rachel:  What would you consider a lot of garlic?

Ben:   A lot of garlic would be either using a cup of capsules of a really, really good garlic extract like Allimax for example – it’s really, really potent.  A lot of people use that for like yeast and fungus infections in their digestive tract ‘cause it will do a really good job at that.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben:  But then, for example, like taking an entire what would you call – the head of garlic?  Not a glove but the whole head, and you can like take a head, you chop one end off, you chop the other end off, you dump bunch of olive oil and sea salt on that and you boil that in the oven for like 20 minutes and then just heat it all, so.

Rachel:   That actually sounds so good.

Ben:   It actually is really, really good.  Have you gotten that in the restaurants before?

Rachel:   I love rose garlic.  Yeah.

Ben:   Yeah, rose garlic, so good.  I love it, you smell like just horrible afterwards unless you have to make sure that if you’re gonna have a meal like that, everybody else in the table is eating it too.

Rachel:   I feel like it naturally repels the world just like it naturally repels mosquitoes.

Ben:   Mmm-hmm.  Yeah.  It actually repels, it repels mosquitoes and everything else.

Rachel:   People and animals and bats (laughs).

Ben:   That’s right.  Oh and by the way, if you get bitten and you itch, there are few things I found to just be like almost instantly get rid of the itch.  And again, this is stuff that tends to fly into the radar, but if you take a lavender essential oil which can help you to your – to sleep and relax and you just take a dab of straight up lavender essential oil, it works wonders on itching.

Rachel:   It does.

Ben:   And if got like a bunch of bites like you get after a hike, you can just make yourself a bath and put some drops of lavender essential oil under a bath to get a full body effect – that is an awesome anti-age remedy.

Rachel:  We had this really bizarre old wives tales as kids ‘cause I grew up with mosquitoes, and it would be the – as soon as you got a bite, you would grab your thumbnail and you would put a cross in the bite with your thumbnail, and then you would put spit on the bite…

Ben:   Hmmm.

Rachel:   … and that would stop the itching.

Ben:   That sounds like a very affordable and budget friendly way to fix a mosquito bite.

Rachel:   I don’t think it worked but…

Ben:   Not as relaxing as lavender essential oil though, spitting on oneself.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   But it’s a good idea, Rachel.

Rachel:   Thanks, Ben.

Ben:   So I’ll throw in that one in their spit.


It’s kinda like peeing on yourself after you’ve been bitten by or if you’ve been stung by a jellyfish.

Rachel:   Oooh.  We do get tell that too which I’m not sure on how true that is, but…

Ben:  And I’ve got a few others that can help out quite a bit: peppermint, essential oil works not quite as well but it can work similarly to lavender essential oil and because baking soda can help draw some of the itch-inducing compounds out of the bite if you have like peppermint toothpaste, you just use like a dab of peppermint toothpaste which you can find in a lot of places, right? That works pretty well also, obviously, there are big variety of other compounds that you can find, I’m a big fan of lavender and peppermint and then one other is tea tree oil…

Rachel:   Yes.

Ben:  Can help but quite a bit as well.  I use a form of oil made by a company called Young Living Essential Oils are really, really good like potent quality oils.  I’ve had the folks with me on leading a podcast before, like they really make good stuff so I will link to that in the show notes if you wanna get yourself some lavender, some peppermint, and then lemon grass oil is really good.  And then like I mentioned the cinnamon oil is super-duper effective – that one flies into the radar but it’s really effective.  So go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/343, and I’ll link to this for you in the notes.

Sharon:  Hey Ben, thanks for listening to my question.  My daughter who is 17 years old has exercised induced headaches, and she’s had this since she was 8 or 9 years old.  She gets them after she works out and works up a sweat, maybe runs a mile or play soccer, something like that.  So we were hoping she would grow out of them but she’s 17 now and she’s had them for 10 years or so, and the doctor seem to have no really good answer for us.  So we’re hoping you could help us out a little bit?  And thanks for doing what you do, keep it up!

Ben:   Well you know, some people get a headache just thinking about exercise.

Rachel:   That’s kinda me.  No, just kidding.

Ben:   Yeah.  That is not qualified as an exercised induced headache if that thought of working out makes your head hurt.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   That’s a different problem.

Rachel:   Uh-huh.

Ben:   It’s a motivation problem, but exercise induced headaches are also called exertion headaches.  I’ve actually talked about this on the show before, and I’ve brought up how you can have things like sinus infections, and you can have obstruction of fluid and blood to the brain because of like the type of hypoperfusion issues that we talked about in a couple of podcast episodes ago, right, the one on cognitive performance and Alzheimer's.  There’s all sorts of different theories as to what can cause this exercise induced headaches, but one tends to be most prevalent and tends to be the biggest issue, and that is exertion headaches caused by biomechanical issues.  Quite an issue that’s near and dear to my heart right now after my jaw realignment…

Rachel:   Yup.

Ben:   … because that can be a one issue here but there’s – there is this theory, it’s really not a theory, something that they’ve tested and they found to be a significant cause of exertion based headaches.  But it’s this idea that cervical spine alignment and specifically once you start hyper extending your cervical spine, such as you might do while reading or working on the computer or sitting with poor posture doing anything that kinda hunches your head and your neck forward.  If you do that, and especially if you do it under a load, right? Like what you might experience when doing a back squat or an overhead press, what happens is that puts a bunch of pressure on your cervical vertebrae, and that can cause nerve irritation. When that occurs, you get a sympathetic nervous system response…

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben  That sympathetic nervous system response triggers a vasodilation of the blood vessels in your head and can make you feel while you’re working out like someone’s beating you over the head with the kettle bell.

Rachel:   Okay.

Ben:   So that’s kinda how it works, now obviously, you would’ve guessed there are bunch of other things that are causing sympathetic nervous system activation at play like say, you’re eating foods that you’re allergic to, you being stressed out, the music being too loud, blah, blah, blah – like all these stuff can be a cluster of factors.  But the biggest one is poor cervical spine alignment and even kids can have poor cervical spine alignment, even kids can get stuff like this.  It’s adjusted and do specific mobility protocols to help to mobilize and strengthen those areas that tend to play a significant role in this process.  So there’s 3 different areas that would tend to cause this issue, one is called your scalenes, one is your upper trapezius and one is, I love this one, your sternocleidomastoid.

Rachel:   Mmm.

Ben:   Yes, have you heard that one before? 


Rachel:   I haven’t, no.

Ben:   Okay.  I just like to say that sounds like a dinosaur.

Rachel:   (laughs)

Ben:   Sternocleidomastoid.  Anyways though, so what you want to do is mobilize these muscle groups, and there are varieties of different protocols that you can do.  I’m gonna link to some videos for you in the show notes, but one would be a Trap Smash with like a lacrosse ball where you reach back behind you, you have somebody to do this and it just roll the ball all up and down and through your traps – that can be a really, really good one deep tissue work on your trapezius.  Another really, really good one is what’s called thoracic spine mobility where you’ll duct tape a couple of lacrosse balls together, and then roll your thoracic spine like your mid-spine up and down over those balls to help to mobilize some of the areas of the scalene and where you get some of the sternocleidomastoid attaching sets under area that you’d wanna work.  There are some exercises too that can really help to bring the cervical spine back into alignment like really, really good dead lifts with perfect posture, focusing on squeezing your shoulders back at the top of the dead lift.  Seated rows can help out quite a bit as well as like a single arm rose where you’re really pulling the shoulders back.  Like a lot of the things you’d use to fix poor posture, and kinda like a bent over upper spine are the same things that can help with this type of exertional headache and the fact that sometimes the upper spine is just jotting too far forward causing that sympathetic activation as the nerves get compressed and the subsequent vasodilation.  So I would really, really recommend that you watch some of the videos that I’ll link to in the show notes.  I’m not saying 100% that that’s the issue with Sharon’s daughter, but it’s most likely playing a role.  I’d be curious to see her like from the side, like a photo of her from the side to see if she has this type of cervical malalignment.

Rachel:   And would that be something that she’d go and see her chiropractor first instead of get some scanned stone to see if that is the issue?

Ben:   You could.  You could almost tell by looking you know, from the side if you got like hunched over her shoulders and a forward neck, sometimes it’s not a rocket science.  There’s a really, really good book too that will teach you a lot of this self-deep tissue work, and it holds a special place in my living room, ‘cause I’ve got like my little box full of medieval torture tools like the lacrosse balls and the spikey balls, and the rollers and I’ve got something called the ‘Battlestar’ which is like a really, really hard like coiled device to do deep tissue work.  I’ve got all these stuff up in the living room, but I have this book that shows you how to use it all – it’s called “Becoming a Supple Leopard” written by Kelly Starrett, and he’s been on the show before.  Really, really good deep tissue work guy and that would be – that would give you some ideas for how to work on your scalene and your upper traps and of course our favorite dinosaur, the sternocleidomastoid.  So check all that stuff out, and that being said, yet another marathon podcast for y’all, but I should mention that after last week’s announcement that we were getting a little bit short on iTunes reviews, boy, did we have a doozy come through.

Rachel:   Yey!

Ben:   We had a great, great iTunes review that TheCJThomas left, he left this one called ‘The Nitty Gritty in Health and Fitness.’  So a couple things, CJ and those of you listening in, before Rachel reads this one: it’s first of all, thank you so much, many of you lept in and left some great iTunes reviews and 5 stars that helps our show so much.  It helps to spread the word, it helps with our iTunes ranking, it helps iTunes, the mysterious folks sitting in their thrones at Apple to know that we really are the real deal – people do really listen to us.  So if you haven’t yet left an iTunes review to spread the good karma, then I’ve got a link in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/343, or you can just go find the show on iTunes, leave a review.  If we read your review on the show, cool things happen, don’t they, Rachel?

Rachel:   Very cool things happen.

Ben:   Yes.

Rachel:   You get an awesome gear pack with an awesome water bottle, and a beanie, and a shirt and it arrives in a mail, it’s a present, it’s super exciting, then you take a photo and send it to us, we can post it on Facebook.

Ben:   Cluster of awesomeness.

Rachel:   Mmm-hmm.

Ben: So all you gotta do is if you hear your review read, email [email protected] and when you email [email protected], be sure to let us know your t-shirt size, 0r else we will probably send you an XXL because that’s what we have the most of.  Anyways though, so that being said, Rachel, you wanna take this lovely review away?

Rachel:   Yes.  So, ‘The Nitty Gritty in Health and Fitness’ is the title, 5 stars by TheCJThomas.  “Ben!” – that was an exclamation mark, “Sorry I haven’t gotten to this sooner.  I kinda gotta blame you though for putting out so much amazing flipping content.


Seriously!  It seem like I never have enough time to consume all.  As a personal trainer in St. Louis, and an avid athlete myself, this podcast is one of my secret weapons by helping me to uplift my game, and add value to the lives I directly influence every day.  I’m not sure how does you seem to know everything about everything…” – me either – “but I’ll keep studying your learnings so that I can someday be half the expert you are.”

Ben:   Mmm.

Rachel:   “I’ve heard many success gurus saying that you should never write reviews, saying that it’s a waste of time, but I’m breaking that rule here because I think you deserve it.  Anybody who delivers as much value as you do deserves all the prosperity, abundance and 5 star reviews that this world has to offer.  I give you 20 stars if I could.  To be honest, the first time I tuned in, the contents seemed too far off my head, but I’m glad I came back and I’d certainly encourage any serious health practitioners, trainers and dedicated athletes to do the same.  You are the bench mark that everybody else should be aspiring, too. I got my training mask for Christmas on your recommendation and I look forward to try olive oregano to fix my splotchy skin, had been looking for a remedy for that for years.  Seriously, do you know everything? Anyway, love the show my friend, you inspired me and I look forward to meeting you someday.  Prayers and best wishes, CJ.”

Ben:   (curse word)

Rachel:   That was incredible.

Ben:  Wow. First of all, CJ has a lot of time on his hands.  CJ that was an incredible review, I almost feel bad that you spent so much time writing that and it’s great.  I also apologize by the way that Rachel, did you say, St. Louie?

Rachel:   I don’t know how to say it. (laughs)

Ben:   Like the song? Like the Louie, Louie?

Rachel:   How do you say it? I don’t know.

Ben:   I think it’s at St. Louis, Missouri.

Rachel:  Ooooh.

Ben:   I could be wrong.  Maybe it’s St. Louie.  I just never, I think I’ve always heard the St. ‘Louis’.  So our apologies to everyone in good old St. Louie, and a big ‘thank you’ to CJ – CJ, that was an awesome review.

Rachel:   That was.

Ben:   Awesome review.

Rachel:   Yeah.

Ben:   So yes, gave me a big head, made my day – that and the jaw realignment put together and my chance to show off my ukulele skills.

Rachel:   Incredible.

Ben:   I promised my ukulele will get better but for those of you listening in, you need to now rib Rachel to get on top of her ukulele game and play us a little song at some point in the future.

Rachel:   Yeah.  I’ll play but we should get a request for a song we should learn.

Ben:   And we’ll hold her to it.  So that being said, let’s go ahead and end this thing, and let the song request roll in.  So you can leave your song requests, access the show notes, and oh so, so much more.  Just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/343, check it all out, thanks everyone for listening in.  Rachel, have a lovely day over there in Australia.

Rachel:   Thanks Ben, you too.

Ben:   And for everybody listening in, bengreenfieldfitness.com is where you can access all the goodies, have a healthy week.

You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.  Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.

[1:34:01.5]     END



January 14, 2016 Podcast: How To Burn More Fat At Work, Fixing Adrenal Fatigue, How Your Genes Affect Your Diet & More!

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, or use the “Ask Ben” form at the bottom of this page.


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No time for breakfast? Try this loaded smoothie for a quick on the go breakfast that will keep you running all morning long.

  • 1 1/2 cups of brewed Kimera Koffee
  • 3/4 cup of organic milk or substitute
  • 1 scoop of raw organic protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon of organic almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon of organic coconut oil
  • 1 small piece of raw organic cocoa butter
  • 1 dash of cinnamon

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth; pour over ice or take in a thermos for a filling morning pick me up.

Harrys – Get $5 at Harrys.com with discount code “ben”. Why pay $32 for an 8-pack of blades when you can get them for ½ the price at Harrys.com? The Harry’s starter set is an amazing deal. For just $15 dollars you get a razor, moisturizing shave cream, and 3 razor blades. (recently taught my kids how to shave!)

GreenfieldFitnessSystems “surprise gift box” – 50% discount on instant access to a box shipped to your front doorstep and full of the latest cutting-edge biohacking gear, nutrients, smart drugs and more, handpicked and curated by Ben.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Devin Burke? It was a must-listen – titled “How To Quit Obsessing About Health, Eating & Exercise: Dodging The Silver Bullet Of Orthorexia And Body Dysmorphic Disorder.” Click here to listen now or download for later! We also released a premium episode “The Training & Nutrition Secrets Of Tenacious, Tough, Aggressive Professional Cyclist Svein Tuft“.

New course from Ben! The 7 Day Full Body Reboot Program To Get Strong And Fit. Optimal fitness and health are closer than you think. In just one week, you can set yourself up for a strong, long, lean and healthy body.

March 12, 2016: Ben is speaking at Wholelife360 in New York City. It’s a private breakfast, followed by a full day of talks and Q&A’s with me (and the Nutrition Diva)! You get priority seating, a VIP tote bag featuring full of books, goodies and gifts (a $200 value), along with complimentary one-year membership to Thrive Marketplace (a $59.95 value), complimentary full breakfast, lunch and refreshments and a complimentary parking pass. Sound pretty good? Go here to get in now or to get more details: BenGreenfieldFitness.com/WholeLife

May 27-29, 2016: Ben is speaking at PaleoFX 2016 in Austin, Texas. This is the The Who’s Who gathering of the Paleo movement, with world-class speakers including New York Times bestselling authors, leading physicians, scientists, health entrepreneurs, professional athletes, fitness professionals, activists, bloggers, biohackers, and more. And you DON’T need to be Paleo to be able to get a ton of benefit and fun out of this one! Also, one day prior, on May 26 is Health Entrepreneurs f(x) –  a full day of deep discussion on marketing, business development, and entrepreneurship for health and wellness people, featuring Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Melissa Hartwig, Sarah Ballantyne, Mike Bledsoe, Abel James, and a bunch of other speakers in small group coaching sessions.

Nov 17-18, 2016: Ben is speaking at the Biohacker’s 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 at a 40% discount.

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!



Listener Q&A:

As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.

How To Burn More Fat At Work

Katie says: She has a question on CT, HRV and standing desks. She has a standing desk on the days her HRV says she needs to recover she uses ice packs at her desk. On days where she has good HRV and a strong nervous system, she wears 30 pound weighted vest for an hour. Can she do both at the same time? Can she use ice packs for CT, and wear the weight vest while at her standing desk?

In my response, I recommend:
CoolFatBurner vest
HyperWear weighted vest
NatureBeat for tracking HRV
My standing workstation/treadmill workstation setup
Compex electrostimulation
A few other ways to increase HRV

How To Fix Adrenal Fatigue

James says: He was recently diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue and he’s wondering if you can do a comprehensive guide for exactly what your protocol would be for how to mitigate and eliminate adrenal fatigue?

In my response, I recommend:
This 12 Week Overtraining & Adrenal Fatigue Recovery Plan
This article on what to do about adrenal fatigue

How To Naturally Repel Insects

Robyn says: She’s from Canada but currently training in Thailand. Her question is why are some people more susceptible to mosquito bites than others,  and why do some have worse reaction? Also,  is deet dangerous? And is there anything that can be done or any natural remedies that can reduce mosquito bites?

In my response, I recommend:
These natural insect repellants
These essential oils

What To Do About Exercise Induced Headaches

Sharon says: Her daughter, who’s 17, has exercise induced headaches, and has had them since 8 or 9 years old. She gets them after working up a sweat, running mile, playing soccer etc.  They were hoping she’d just grow out of them but she’s had them for 10 years, and  no doctor has a good answer for them. What are your thoughts?

In my response, I recommend:
–This three part series at Guerilla Crossfit
Becoming A Supple Leopard book

Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/343/

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