March 30, 2016
Podcast #349 from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/03/349/
Introduction: In this episode of the Ben Greenfield fitness show: Why Athletes Get Sick, How to Biohack Survival, Box Breathing 101, How Often Do You Need To Work Out, Can You Eat A Kombucha SCOBY, 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’s the natural movement, get out there! When you’re working all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: Rachel, are you ready to talk about morning routines?
Rachel: Let’s do it. What have you got?
Ben: Alright. Cool. I got a good one for you this morning. Uhm, so I’ve been getting into this thing called Kundalini Yoga.
Ben: Heard of Kundalini Yoga before?
Rachel: I have! Yeah! How’s it going? How do you like it?
Ben: Well, it's very cool! It’s this idea that you have all this energy kinda coiled up at the base of your spine and travelling through your body, almost like through your spinal cord, you know, up in to your head and out through your fingertips and by doing the right type of breathing and the right type of movements, you can actually activate this energy to start your day and you can also, in the same way like in acupuncture and stuff like that, works in certain chakras of your body, you know, like your liver or your heart or your kidney, certain, movement patterns combined with certain breathing patterns in Kundalini allow you to pretty much just like open up every organ that you wanna open up to start your day.
Rachel: Nice! And how’s it going?
Ben: It’s really cool!
Rachel: How’s it feeling?
Ben: So I discovered this when one of my friends taught it to me down in Kauai, Hawaii where I was at a couple weeks ago, you know you may recall that was where I recorded the podcast with Larry Hamilton that we released a few weeks ago with Larry and Gabby and that was where, uhm, you know, I met the guy who I’m getting on the podcast to talk about the use of medicinal mushrooms and cannabidiol. Anyways though, his girlfriend, uhm, basically is a Kundalini yoga expert, a Kundalini yoga guru and both he and she taught me some cool routines that I’ve been doing, so that is one of my favorite – twice a week now – go-to morning routines on Wednesdays, which happen to be the day we record this podcast, and Sundays, I’ve been doing Kundalini yoga. So I do the whole Kundalini yoga and then, of course, just because I’m Mr. Greenfield, I finish up my Kundalini with 30 burpees and my quintessential five minute cold soak/cold shower.
Rachel: I just love that you have to suffer. You just have to make yourself suffer.
Ben: It’s, well, it’s not about suffering as much as it’s frankly, well, it’s two things: it is fitness, right? It’s the fact that, you know, I’m still travelling around the globe doing these masochistic things, and by the way, for those of you listening in at the time this podcast comes out, I’m heading down to Miami tomorrow to do the South Beach triathlon, right. I can’t just do Kundalini. I gotta jump around, run, and stuff like that, and then the other thing, Rachel, uhm, and don’t laugh folks, if you’re listening in, but, uhm, I love to eat. My wife makes delicious food and I’m a foodie and I love to cook and frankly I always have to throw in a little bit of extra calorie burning as well to keep up with my palette, if you know what I mean.
Rachel: Yes. I do know. It’s totally fair enough. I love food too, and it’s worth every burpee.
Ben: Yeah! Oh! Oh! And by the way, the Kundalini yoga routine that I do, it was custom designed for me. So, what this gal does is she has a 15 minute phone appointment with you and then custom designed a Kundalini yoga routine based on a.) the amount of time that you have available and b.) which kinda like chakras you wanna open up and how, invigorating versus relaxing you want the yoga to be.
So I’m actually, I’m creating a page, it should be up by the time this podcast gets released or shortly thereafter, but I’m creating a page at bengreenfieldfitness.com/customyoga. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/customyoga, and it’s a little page where you can hook-up with her to create your own customized Kundalini yoga routine, if you so desire and if you wanna get all woo-woo like me, but you just have to promise that you’re going to, if you are a Ben Greenfield Fitness listener, do your 30 burpees and do your cold soak after.
Ben: Oh Rachel, today’s news flashes start off with a really, really important note for all the sickos out there.
Rachel: The sickos? Oh no!
Ben: All the sickos, all the people who get sick a lot, athletes! Athletes specifically! They just came out with a study that looked at why athletes get sick.
Ben: Yeah, and they actually, they went all the way to the top. They looked at Olympic medalists and in this case, elite Norwegian cross-country skiers, and so they looked at all these skiers, these elite athletes, and what kind of things influence them getting sick. So are you ready to hear one of the main reasons that athletes get sick?
Rachel: Yes! Hit me!
Ben: Alright. So number one, over and above everything else was air travel.
Rachel: Oh wow!
Ben: Because of like the packed airplanes and the dry air, the stress of travel, the disruption of the circadian rhythm, et cetera. That was number one, over and above everything. And, so, takeaway message for that would be: if you are an athlete or anybody, right, who cares about not getting sick, who travels a lot, and you get sick, pay attention to, you know, the previous podcast that we’ve done on things you can do about jetlag. You know, like some of the biggies are too, for example, use a light therapy, right? Like blue light therapy when you get to where you’re going and use, uhm, this concept of sulfur-based antioxidants which are the kind of antioxidants that work really well when you travel. We’re talking about things like broccoli and cruciferous vegetables, and if you wanna even, you know, just mainline, you know, supplements like glutathione and acetylcysteine, but, you know, a lot of these anti-jetlag strategies can work really well but that’s one thing that they found was air travel was a big one.
Rachel: That’s crazy!
Ben: Another one that they found and we’ll link to the full article if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/349 will link to this news flash and everything else that we talked about in the episode. But another one that I thought really leapt out at me was the fact that the athletes who had a lower risk of illness had what they referred to as a high-training monotony. What that means is that they had a lot of like consistency in terms of working out very similarly day after day, like having like these tried and true routines that they followed rather than, say, I hope you’re listening in all you crossfitters, uhm, throwing some, like, random crazy workout at your body every single day that just consistently throws your nervous system and potentially your immune system a curveball, uhm, you know, it looks like having some form of consistency or habitual routines in your exercise regimen appears to be, uh, better for you if immune system and, perhaps, getting sick tends to be a weak spot for you, tends to be your Kryptonite. So, stay off airplanes and also engage in boring training is kind of the going message.
Rachel: So far it doesn’t sound so fun, but let’s keep going.
Ben: Yeah. Well those are actually the really main two things that I wanted to point it out. There’s a lot of other things, uh, well, here, I’ll bring up one more since you’re pressing, Rachel.
Rachel: Since I asked. (chuckles)
Ben: Uh, vitamin D levels, that was another biggie. That was another real biggie. And again when I look at the blood in the biomarkers in a lot of the athletes that I work with, or, uh, a lot of folks know that I’m a consultant for Wellness FX, which is a company in the US that allows you to test your blood and they have like this dashboard for you and they connect you with a practitioner, and I’m one of their practitioners and I tend to look at the blood and biomarkers of a lot of the crossfitters and triathletes and what you wanna look for with vitamin D is a level between 40 and 80.
Once you get above 80, there is actually an increased risk of mortality with vitamin D and once you drop below 40, there’s also an increase risked of mortality and, you know, immune system deficiencies. But, what I find is that, in, in many, many athletes, I tend to see scores which are right around 25 to 35, around in that range and one big, big reason for that, not to get too geeked out.
Rachel: Which means we’re gonna get too geeked out. (laughs)
Ben: Yeah. Really, it is. Yeah, to get too geeked out. What am, who am I fooling. We love to get geeked out. Uh, the idea here is the idea of the pregnanalone steal. So what that means is that a lot of the precursors for hormones, like testosterone and progesterone and a lot of these anabolic hormones that you’d want to have, what happens is that vitamin D gets shuttled towards cortisol formation rather than towards the formation of a lot of these more anabolic hormones, and so I tend to see this one-two combo of hypercortisolism and low vitamin D levels, and of course one of the things that you can do, in addition to putting out the fire by lowering stress and by, you know, engaging in a lot of cortisol lowering strategies is to, uh, you know, just dump a little bit more fuel into the equation by getting your hands on vitamin D or getting more sunshine or even – here’s a little-known way to get vitamin, you probably know about this one since you’re a vegetarian, Rachel – uhm, mushrooms. Mushrooms are a really, really good source of vitamin D.
Rachel: Did not know that. Hashtag bad vegetarian.
Ben: Really? Mushrooms soak up vitamin D. You can leave mushrooms in the sunshine, and shame on you as a vegetarian for not knowing this, and they soak up vitamin D and you can actually eat mushrooms. Mushrooms are like a vitamin D collector if you leave them in the sunlight.
Rachel: That is so crazy!
Ben: Yeah. It’s pretty cool.
Rachel: But only the ones that actually been soaking vitamin D so I should grow them at home, let them soak up the vitamin D and then eat them? Not just the ones from the store?
Ben: Uh huh, and then give them little chairs out in the patio and bikinis and hats and let them just sit out there and soak up their sunshine.
Rachel: (Laughs) We’re joking about it and I will totally do it!
Ben: Okay. So another interesting article that I came across, that I wanted to highlight was something in, uh, The Atlantic. It was an article in The Atlantic called – great title here – The Quantified Whelp. The Quantified Whelp, and what this goes into is this whole obsession with, you know, everything from sleep quality measuring apps to every other form of self-quantification out there and what they looked into was what effect that actually had on people, you know, people who’re wearing things like pedometers and self-quantification devices during exercise and what they found was that in many cases, the people who were tracking steps and the people who were tracking sleep, they actually tended to find these activities less enjoyable. It seemed to actually turn exercise, in some cases, and even sleep in some cases into an experience that stressed people out.
Rachel: It’s interesting because this post created quite an uproar on Facebook between people who said that quantifying actually enhanced their life and others who said “I can totally see how that’s the case.”
Ben: Mhmm. Yeah, well, well, I have begun quantifying sleep and perhaps I’m not one of those people for whom, uh, you know, consistent biometric scanning creates issues, but I’ve actually enjoyed it quite a bit. I know you and I talked about in our previous podcast how your husband wakes up and one of the first things he does is rolls over and looks at how he slept that night.
Rachel: Right! (laughs)
Ben: Right? And, uh, because I’m now using this new ring, it’s a special ring with an internal computer on it and it’s called the Aura. I’m working on a big blog post right now about sleep quantification and what I’ve been experimenting with from everything from heart rate variability to this ring. I’ve actually been enjoying the process of rolling over in the morning and looking at sleep latency, and sleep quality and sleep efficiency, and readiness to tackle the day based on sleep. So, for me, I like it. But at the same time, I find, for example, just yesterday, experienced this on a bicycle ride, when I am looking at cadence and wattage and speed, I lose track of the beauty of the trees, and the sunshine, and the grass, and, you know, for me, during exercise, I still like to exercise naked.
Not literally, although sometimes literally, uh, but I like to unplug and this is quite relevant actually because I, you probably know this, Rachel, but we have a podcast coming this Saturday about the man who quantifies everything.
Ben: He is a guy who literally tests every self-quantification device on the face of the planet. He and I had a very interesting discussion that I’m gonna release this Saturday, but I think it’s interesting that it looks like, for most people, metrics obsession more sucks the enjoyment out of life than increases enjoyment of life.
Rachel: Yeah, and I’m curious, Ben, with your sleep tracking. Do you, uh, find that, if you don’t have a good night’s sleep and you read it in the data that, it then causes you any sort of anxiety for the day?
Ben: Yes. It does.
Ben: It does. It’s, it’s, it’s, well, even with heart rate variability, right, which is a measurement of your nervous system, so I wake up and for five minutes I measure the strength of my sympathetic and my parasympathetic nervous system, if it’s weak, always in the back of my head, even if I feel really good, right, I, I second guess whether or not I should be doing my, uh, my 30 burpees after Kundalini. But the idea is, uh, I mean, there is some, some credence to that. I find that if I push through and I ignore the data, even if I feel good, injury or illness, some kind of nagging acher pain does set in within two or three days, so there is something to be said for the fact that sometimes listening to your body is not enough, and sometimes you do actually have to engage in better living through science and pay attention to the data as, uhm, as annoying or unnatural or ancestral as that may seem. There is something to be said for some of this data, I think we just have to walk a fine line between making sure that we’re mindful of our environment and we’re, we’re soaking in the sunshine and the fresh air and the trees and everything like that, enjoying that, uh, and also not exposing ourselves too much to like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and all the radiation that comes along with these devices. But then also, you know, taking advantage of what science gives us in terms of being able to make smart, educated decisions about things like training and sleep.
Rachel: Mmm. Totally. Love it.
Ben: Yeah. So there you go. Uhm, a couple other interesting news flashes, and I’m gonna even throw in one extra since we, uh, we didn’t have a Q&A last week, so, uh, one was a really interesting study on the effect of DHA, docosahexaenoic acids. So this is what you’d find in like, uh, well, primarily fish and fish oil, uhm, also in algae, right? Like spirulina and chlorella, those little bits of energy that you can eat that turn your mouth completely green, and, uh – have you actually ever eaten algae, by the way, Rachel?
Rachel: I haven’t. No. I don’t think so.
Ben: Well, I have guests at my house right now. I have guests staying at my house right now and, and I was munching on some energy bits last night. These are like the little chlorella bits. I munch ‘em like popcorn in the evening cause they’re actually a really good source of DHA and, and frankly compared to gnawing on a piece of fish in the evening, uhm, more pleasant for me if I’m sitting around. But they do, they, they dye your mouth completely green so you have to do a mouth rinse.
Rachel: Do they dye your teeth green too?
Ben: They dye your teeth green and my wife will not kiss me, or really engage in any other evening activity with me, if I’ve been eating algae so I needed, so I have to choose my battles wisely. It’s one of those things where you have to predict? You’re like, “Well, we’re probably not gonna get it on anyway so I’m just gonna eat my algae. Let’s just go with it.” Anyways though, we digress.
Rachel: As usual.
Ben: There was this study that they did on, uh, head trauma in American Football, also known as the NFL, and what they found – I take it back. This one was actually the NCAA Division 1 college football players. Uhm, however of course, we know that in both the NCAA as well as in the NFL, there are some serious issues with traumatic brain injury, uh, a topic near and dear to my heart right now because, I don’t know if I mentioned this on the podcast of late, but I, I have a broken eye right now. I, uh, I got hit really hard sparring in preparation for kickboxing fight and right now, if I blow my nose, my entire right eye swells up with fluid.
Ben: Yeah. I have what is called an orbital fracture. And so I, I myself have had, uh, a pretty serious brush with traumatic brain injury in the past couple of weeks.
Uhm, anyways though, so this study looked at the use of DHA and they, they fed these, these football players basically high-dosed DHA, so about 6 grams. So, in a typical fish oil capsule, you’re gonna find about a gram of DHA. So this would mean, for example, taking like six of those fish oil capsules that you take, even though the label says take just one or two, you know, we’re talking about a lot more than that. And what they found was that supplemental DHA, especially in higher amounts, attenuated what is called Serum Neurofilament Light.
Ben: Which is an, a Serum Neurofilament Light is a biomarker of axomal injury, okay? Traumatic brain injury, basically. Injury to the axons in the, in the neurons, in the neuronal cells of the brain, and they found that DHA could be used, uh, prophylactically to help to decrease the amount of build-up of this Neurofilament Light in response to getting hit in the head or tackling or concussions or things like that. So takeaway for me is that, in the same way that I’ve mentioned before in podcast that one of the best things you can do, going into something like a soccer game or football game or a fight is to ensure that you’re really adequately hydrated because your brain needs this cushion of hydration around to help protect it. It looks like DHA, and especially high-dosed DHA, could be another really potent strategy if you’re about to engage in anything that risks head damage.
Rachel: Is there any, is there any kind of issues with taking it high-dosed?
Ben: Liquid poo. (Laughs)
No, seriously. I remember once someone sent me a bottle of this stuff, it was EPA, DHA supplement. It was made, I think it was made by a company called Stronger, Harder, Faster, uh, I think that was the name of the company, and they sent this to me, it was a bottle, right? And I just thought it was like a, you know, like a little five hour energy drink type of thing? I figured it was like a drink that was spiked with a little bit of DHA and EPA, but the entire drink was just oil. It was designed to be consumed over the course of like 10 days, and I just, you know, I sucked it down and I drank it. Within an hour, I was evacuating my bowels, uh, quite, in quite an invigorating manner.
Rachel: Which wouldn’t be a good idea if you were on a football field.
Ben: Yeah. Anyways though, 6 grams of DHA is nowhere near that amount. You know, taking six fish oil capsules is not gonna give anybody the runs. You’ll have to take a lot more than that. So there you have it. Get your hands on some fish oil, or some algae, spirulina, chlorella, stuff like that. Good form of DHA as well. Flax seeds, chia seeds, they argue that, you know, that’s a good source of these type of things, but really it’s not. The Alpha Linoleic Acid in those type of sources doesn’t get converted to DHA very much at all, so if you’re vegetarian or vegan, you need to use an algae source, uhm, and if you’re omnivorous, then use, just use fish oil and, or algae.
Rachel: Good to know. Thank you!
Ben: Yes. And then, finally, uhm, kinda related to neuronal health, because this is definitely something that can help out with traumatic brain injury, as well as a variety of other really cool positive physiological adaptations, cold exposure. So, you know, we’ve talked about cold thermogenesis and cold showers quite a bit and we’ll even have a special announcement coming up soon about cold showers, here in about five minutes or so for those of you listening in, but what a recent study looked at was whether there was a way to enhance the anti-obesity, like the fat-burning benefits of cold exposure, right. Cause people are doing like cryotherapy chambers and cold showers and cold soaks now for, of course, fat loss, and I’ve talked before on the podcast about how there are certain things that can enhance the, uh, the utilization of fatty acids or the burning of fatty acids when you’re cold. Caffeine and/or green tea, are two perfect examples. Bitter melon extract is another example of something you can take in supplemental form prior to a cold soak or a cold shower to enhance the fat burning effects of it. Uhm, you know, when you’re looking at heat or sauna, a niacin, high-dose niacin can increase the, what’s called the lipolitic, or the fat lysing effects of a sauna session. Uh, and so there are a lot of things you can take prior to cold exposure or prior to heat exposure to enhance the, the fat loss effect of something like that. Well this recent study, uh, looked at the combination of cold exposure and, uh, the supplementation with capsinoids.
Capsinoids are a component of, uh, hot peppers – capsaicin, cayenne pepper, things like that – and what they found was a significant conversion of white adipose tissue, right, like storage adipose tissue – the bad stuff – into a metabolically active brown fat, which is the stuff that take calories and just converts calories into heat. That’s something that occurs anyways when you do something like regular cold showers or cold soaks, but it turns out that the use of this combined with something cayenne-y, with like capsinoids, actually enhance the effect.
Ben: So, yeah. And you know what’s really interesting about this is, uhm, there are recipes out there where people will make something like a cup of, like anti-inflammatory coffee or tea, and I’ve talked before about putting turmeric or curcumin in coffee is like a really good neural anti-inflammatory. Like you wake-up and have a hangover and you put some, some turmeric or curcumin in your coffee, it can help out tremendously. Well you could also, you know, for example, if you wanted a really, kind of a pants-kicking cup of coffee that could also help you burn more fat during a cold shower, you could make a cup of coffee and then you can put whatever superfoods you want in there, you know, let’s say you’re maybe gonna put some chaga in there or some chocolate stevia or maybe some turmeric or some cayenne, and you just use one of these little latte frothers, right, or, you know, you could blend it or merge and blutter or something like that, but a lot, one of these little hand-held latter frothers is so easy to just stick in the mug and froth it up and you can add cayenne for like a spicy cup of coffee and it turns out that that may assist, or does assist, with the conversion of white fat into brown fat. So there you have it.
Rachel: And so we drink it before we get in the shower, not while we’re in the shower.
Ben: If you wanted to replicate the study, yeah, you’d have it before, but I would, I would hazard a guess that if you put it into your body at any point that you’re cold, because in many cases you stay cold, right, for a while, if you were taking a 5 minute cold shower, sometimes you’ll be cold for a good 30, 45 minutes. You’re getting all those effects for a long time after you’ve had the shower, uh, you could, you could take it afterwards too, so there you have it.
Ben: Aloha, Rachel.
Rachel: Aloha, Ben.
Ben: Aloha. The reason I’m saying aloha is because this podcast is actually brought to you by a company called Aloha. Have you heard of ‘em?
Rachel: Ahh! I thought you were just being nice.
Ben: No. I was not just trying to greet you in a different language.
Rachel: I haven’t heard of them. No.
Ben: Uhm, Aloha. So, you can go to this website, Aloha, actually what you wanna do is if you wanna get a good discount, you wanna go to aloha.com/ben. Now here’s the deal with Aloha. Tons of stuff on their website, like teas and superfoods and protein powders, but they are a brand that makes these really delicious, convenient, real whole foods, but they don’t use anything artificial. Anything artificial is just banned from their website.
Ben: So there’s no fillers, no additives, no chemicals, no fake flavors, no colors. If it doesn’t exist in nature, it’s not in there.
Ben: And their most popular, their number one product is this protein, and it’s a plant-based, uh, organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, GMO-free protein that you can get in vanilla, you can get it in chocolate, comes in these little individual pouches so you can just toss in your purse or whatever for being on-the-go or your man bag, as the case may be. It’s got about 18 grams of protein in it, which is great because it’s, research shows it’s about 15 to 30 grams of protein that you can actually absorb in a single setting and, uh, it’s about a 150 calories in a pouch, and, uh, what you get if you’re listening in is they’ll actually send you a free trial of this protein powder if you go to aloha.com/ben and, like I mentioned, there’s a lot of other stuff on the website too if you just, if, if you’re just a free protein powder person and you like freebies, go to aloha.com/ben and you can get yourself some free protein powder.
Rachel: Nice. I’m totally gonna do that.
Ben: So, there you have it.
Rachel: Thanks, Aloha!
Ben: Totally. Yeah. Why not?
Ben: Who doesn’t like free stuff? Uhm, another thing that I wanted to mention, speaking of coffee, is this podcast is also brought to you by our favorite little coffee out there, Kimera, Kimera Koffee.
Rachel: I knew you were gonna say that. We love Kimera.
Ben: K-i-m-e-r-a K-o-f-f-e-e.com. So I have a recipe for you.
Ben: I have a recipe for you and I’ve actually modified this recipe from the Kimera Koffee website.
So first of all…
Rachel: So this is a Ben recipe!
Ben: …before I jump in to this recipe. This is a Ben recipe.
Ben: So, before I jump into this recipe, make sure you go to kimerakoffee.com and use 10% discount code “Ben” if you actually want to save on your cup of coffee. So here’s a nice, loaded smoothie that’s gonna keep you going all morning long and we’ll pair quite nicely with that cold shower, or all that alcohol you had the night before, or any other thing that you need to do to enhance neuronal function, and to increase fat burning. So you take your coffee, and you brew it as you would normally make sure that you don’t use a paper filter because paper filters will remove the cafestol and kahweol that you would normally find in coffee. And those are two that what are called terpenes that can cross your blood brain barrier that you don’t get if you use a paper filter.
Ben: Paper filters actually – so you wanna use like a French press or an aero press or something like that. So you brew your coffee, and then what you do – and this counts as breakfast by the way for those of you listening in. You can’t do this and then have eggs and bacon unless you just wanna get swole or fat, but you take the coffee and you put it in the blender, and you wanna blend it up with about a tablespoon of like a really good raw nut butter, like cashew butter or almond butter, you wanna put about a scoop of protein powder in there, or you could use that Aloha stuff that you just got for free.
Ben: Thanks to us.
Rachel: You guys are winning.
Ben: Okay? So you got your protein powder, you got your nut butter, you want to put one little tiny piece of raw, organic cacao butter in there. Not hard to find raw, organic cacao butter, you can get off Amazon, you can get off all over the place, but raw, organic cacao butter. And then you want to put the following: a dash of cinnamon, a dash of turmeric, and a dash of cayenne.
Rachel: Oh wow!
Ben: Okay? A dash of cinnamon, a dash of turmeric, and a dash of cayenne, and then blend that. Just blend it all, just blend, and I’ll put this recipe in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/349. If you wanna go, check it out but you get your cinnamon, your turmeric, your cayenne. There is not yet a name for this particular beverage that I’ve just described to you, but if you’re listening in and you would like to come up for a name for it then let us know in the show notes, and we’ll name it after you. We’ll make you famous, but that’s it; coffee, protein, nut butter, some kind of raw organic cacao, and then you got your cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, blend – boom!
Rachel: I just can’t make up my mind as to whether coffee would taste good with cayenne.
Ben: It’s actually not bad.
Rachel: Okay. Alright, I’m doin’ it!
Rachel: You convinced me.
Ben: Don’t overdo it, but here’s the deal, it’s the cacao mix with the cayenne.
Rachel: Oh, it’s like (crosstalk)
Ben: I think spicy chocolate is.. yeah, yeah.
Rachel: It’s like chochili martini, so something like that.
Ben: Exactly, exactly. Yeah. So kimerakoffee.com/ and use code Ben. This podcast is also brought to you by Onnit, and you can get 10% off on any of Onnit stuff when you get onnit.com/bengreenfield. Now, as we know because we’ve talked about this on the show before, this huge fun, amazing conference that both Rachel and I are going to be at called PaleoFX – is coming up. And there’s actually even a special announcement about PaleoFX. I don’t know if you knew this Rachel but my kids are presenting at PaleoFX.
Ben: River and Terran are doing the first ever children’s pre – their great – they have a top secret recipe and it’s actually recipe that’s gonna shock people. It is not – it’s not kids making paleo buys and burgers. This is a recipe I’ve been watching them perfect it, and it’s gonna knock your socks off…
Rachel: Oh my god!
Ben: … in terms of the uniqueness and also the – let’s say the environmental sustainability and also the paleo-ness of this recipe. So, if you have no other reason to go to Austin, May 25th through May 27th, or actually no, it’s May 27th through May 29th.
Rachel: That’s it, yup.
Ben: You’re gonna want to go to Austin to go to PaleoFX. We’ll put a link in the show notes, you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/paleo16, if you wanna sign up. So, not only will Rachel and I will be there, my children: River and Terran will be there presenting an amazing cooking demo that you have to see. I’m serious. I’m not just sayin’ that ‘cause they’re my kids. It’s actually gonna pretty cool. But then, the other thing is in Austin, Texas is Onnit. They’re base in Austin, Texas. They have an amazing gym. They have a gym, they’ve got like a smoothie bar where they serve all their hemp proteins, and their functional foods, and everything. All the goodness that you can get at Onnit.
And again, it’s onnit.com/bengreenfield if you wanna go, check them out. But the other thing that they have there at onnit in addition to a sauna is a cryotherapy chamber.
Ben: Cryotherapy chamber. Yeah, and these are the chambers – technically you’re only supposed to stay inside the cryotherapy chamber for 3 minutes, but I’ve got a hack for those of you listening in who like cryo and you wanna get even more benefits out of cryo, you step into your cryotherapy chamber…
Rachel: ‘Cause you have one at home…
Ben: … this fancy, liquid nitrogen chambers, now they’re like – some people have ‘em at home, by I mean that usually gotta go you know, they’re almost like tanning salons where you just go get cold instead of getting tanned. But you what you do is you can step in, you stay in there for 3 minutes and this is perfectly safe if you follow my instructions carefully, then you wanna get something that can measure your skin temperature, and in many cases whoever is running the cryotherapy chambers has this so they can measure whether or not people are getting too cold, but if you step in for 3 minutes and then you step out, and you take a few minutes to get your skin temperature to get back to 80. Eighty is the magic number, 80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can actually step back into the cold chamber for around to get a double whammy effect of cold.
Ben: So if you’ve done cryotherapy before and not really noticed that it affects you much, try it double whammy just make – and the reason that you do this skin back temp up to 80 is you get frost by then on your skin…
Ben: … if not. So you wanna make sure you know, that you don’t – that you don’t lose any skin.
Rachel: Yeah, nobody wants frost bite.
Ben: Yeah, so anyways though, so that’s it. Just check out onnit.com/bengreenfield, and if you go to Austin for PaleoFX also be sure to swing by onnit and try out their cryotherapy chamber but it’s actually great that we’re talking so much about cold because there’s something very special that starts if you’re listening to this podcast at the time that it comes out tomorrow.
Ben: And it is…. Drumroll please because Rachel is actually the mastermind behind this. It was her idea, she came to me with. I loved it. And now we’re raising a ton of money for the traumatic brain injury foundation.
Rachel: That’s it.
Ben: It’s called “The 21 Day Cold Shower Challenge”.
Rachel: Boom! Yes!
Ben: Rachel, take it away.
Rachel: So, from April 1st to 21st, we’re gonna be doing a cold shower challenge where you have to, have a 5 minute cold shower every morning…
Ben: You don’t have to, you get to.
Rachel: Well, you get to, but nobody really wants to do that unless they have to which the only reason you…
Ben: I do.
Rachel: Well, it’s true Ben, that’s true but we all not like you. Let me rephrase. I don’t wanna do that unless I have to, and I don’t wanna really do that unless I’m raising money for charity which is why we’re doing! See, finally have an excuse.
Ben: Brain Trauma Foundation. She – she said it (chuckles) You heard it first from Rachel. So, there’s like some rules you got like: tag at Ben Greenfield, you got use the #coldshowerchallenge, you go, you join in it said, you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/coldshower, and try it 21 days – 5 minute cold shower. I guarantee I know it’ll change your life but we’ve already raised a bunch of money for the traumatic brain injury foundation, brain trauma foundation.
Rachel: We got Fifty two- 52 people already signed up and we’re 30% of the way to our target. So if we can get a 150 more people, which sounds like a lot but I think you’re out there. I think you’re out there.
Ben: Yeah. And by the way, earmuffs on the kids please. I’m turning in to a sex machine you…
Ben: You know why?
Rachel: From the cold showers?
Ben: Because, okay, well no, Kundalini yoga concentrates a bunch of energy like part of it is based on your sex organs, very related to like tantric sexuality and driving energy from your sex organs kinda like up your spine back down so you create like this circle of energy as you’re doing your kundalini yoga routine, but then cold soaks or cold showers create a bunch of nitric oxide. They cause your body to produce a bunch of this endothelial nitric oxide synthase which is like a Viagra for your whole body. So now I’m gaining all this like control over my sex organs along with this punch of Viagra every morning. I’m telling you, like that it sticks with you into the evening.
Ben: So I’m just saying, I’m just saying for you ladies and gentlemen out there who really want to enhance your sex life. Here’s another reason I do it – don’t just do the kundalini yoga and again, you can get a custom routine if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/customyoga, and by the way if you go there and it’s a dead page, it’s because I’m literally having that page set up over the next couple of days. So if you just like jumpin’ the gun, you get on this right away, it might be a dead page.
Rachel: And one more thing on the cold shower challenge is – this is a really great opportunity for us to build a bit of community. Like we know you are all out there but we never really get to talk to you. So we actually having a private Facebook group where we can like talk through the challenge and all of the benefits, and all those sort of stuff. So, we wanna get to know you. So join!
Ben: Yes! All of our listeners – my mom, Rachel’s mom, ahh…
Rachel: (Chuckles) My husband…
Ben: There might be 5 or 6 others.
Rachel: Jessa, River, and Terran…
Ben: My wife doesn’t listen so she’s out. River and Terran don’t listen either, but for those of our 5 or 6 listeners out there, uhm, there you have it.
So a couple other quick things before we jump in to this week’s Q and A, ‘cause I know this special announcement is drowning on but I do have a few other quick things for ya’. First of all, I’ve got 4 surprise gift boxes. This is where I take all my favorite biohacking gear, everything from nutrients, to smart drugs, to personal care products, that you name it and I put it on in a box, I take 300 bucks worth of stuff. Put it in a box, I ship it to your house. This is literally put together by me and ship from me. This is not from some nameless faceless corporation, it’s not from quarterly, it’s straight from me and you get that not for 300 bucks but it’s 50% off. So I put 300 bucks with the gear in there, you get a 450 bucks and free shipping anywhere in the US, and all you gotta do is go to the show notes where there’s a link that you’ll find there to get the greenfieldfitnesssystems surprise gift box. So go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/349, if you wanna get your hands on bunch of goodies, and then also just a few other things, London. London mate! Uh… (chuckles)
Rachel: Uh! People are now loving your accent.
Ben: Did I just mix two cultures? Uh, the Biohacker’s Summit in London. This Biohacker’s Summit, they’re freaking amazing. I’m gonna be speakin’ there. I believe Dr. Jack Kruse will be there, my friend physician and Ironman UK champion – Tamsyn Lewis is gonna be there, the creator of this Quantlet ice cold bracelet – Ruben Salinas is gonna be there, bunch of people you probably heard on the podcast, uhm, this is worth jumpin’ ‘across the pond’, I like to say that ‘cause it makes me sound like a cultural jetsetter…
Ben: … or it’s just worth going to London for, and you get a 10% discount code if you use code “Ben” when you register. We’ll put a link over to the London Biohacker’s Summit, but it’s coming up soon, it’s May 21st and 22nd.
Ben: You could even 1:2 combo if you wanted to like I’m doin’.
Ben: Go to the Biohacker’s Summit then jump back ‘across the pond’ mate and go to PaleoFX in Austin, Texas.
Rachel: A busy week you go.
Ben: So there you go. There’s 2 things for you to go to, but wait, I’m not done yet. I’ve got another thing that you could go to. For those of you like to really plan out far in advance, this is the last one I wanted to mention – it’s called Runga, Runga. R-u-n-g-a. It’s in Costa Rica, this is an 8-day epic conference with like spa services, running clinics, kettlebell seminars, nutritions like a combination of biohacking and natural living, and like obstacle course racing, and it’s put on by my friend Joe DiStefano. Joe is the director of the Spartan coaching program, and he puts on this like full like, it’s almost like this full digital detox combined with just like the best stuff of Costa Rica. He came back from it last year and told me I had to go so I’m in. I’m gonna go and anybody who uses code “Ben” when they register for this Runga, you go to rungalife.com, use code “Ben”, Joe’s gonna throw in 75 bucks worth of free gifts for you, just a bunch of cool stuff. But runga2016, that’s a little ways off, it’s December 3rd through the 10th 2016 but if you’re plannin’ a little winter vacation, it’s gonna be fun. I’m gonna go…
Rachel: Right time to go to Costa Rica.
Ben: Oh yeah, of course it’s got like you know, zip lining and white water rafting and all the fun stuff. (crosstalking and whispering) So many activities, uhm, what’s the movie where the two – have you seen that movie with Will Ferrell?
Rachel: Yeah, brother – Step Brother.
Ben: Yes, Step Brother.
Rachel: Yeah, love it.
Ben: Yeah, two fully grown men jumpin’ on the bed.
Ben: So many activities to do! So, yes we do have so many activities for you. I’ll link to all these stuff and oh, so much more at bengreenfieldfitness.com/349. What do you think Rachel, time for some Q and A?
Rachel: Time for some Q and A.
Ben: Let’s do this.
Listener Q & A:
Sebastian: Hi Ben and Rachel, it’s Sebas from the Great White North. I had a question. I have an interest in bush craft and survival, tech skills, I was wondering – are there any biohacks say, you had nothing on you just a clothes on your back, you got lost in the woods.
What kind of tips and tricks would you have for somebody who got in a situation like that? Any kind of biohacks that would help you out in that situation be it you know, getting a fire going and using the charcoal as a – to clean your water or to clean your system out after drinking bad water, uh something like that. It’ll be cool to hear what you have to say about that and be especially cool in the future you can get someone like bear girls or a survival man or just ah – I mean, a survivalist on a podcast as a special guest into a whole show on survival and bush craft. Alright well, would love to hear your opinions on that. Thanks! Awesome podcast. Hope to hear a lot more from you. Thanks! Bye.
Ben: I actually you know, it’s kinda funny I was having a conversation at breakfast this morning. I have a visitor for – I have a visitor to my house. Did you listen to the podcast – it’s at bengreenfieldfitness.com/deepsleep?
Rachel: I did.
Ben: About this new device that you put on your collar bone to like knockout migraines or to help you like it hack your way into your delta sleep, your deep sleep brainwaves far more quickly?
Rachel: Yeah, yup.
Ben: This guy who I interviewed and way out in the back woods of BC in the middle of nowhere. He actually – he had to come to the US with his family because they’re still US citizens. They can only stay in Canada for X amount of time and they have to come back over the border. He just happened to come to Spokane, so he and his family stayed at my house last night.
Ben: And we were sitting at the breakfast table talking and we came to the conclusion that I think that we have a lot of listeners throughout the podcast who are what we would call redneck biohackers.
Ben: Which is kinda like what he and I are, right? We lived out in the middle of forest, we hunt, we fish, we’re kind of off grid, we have Social Security numbers but wish we didn’t, like we’re like redneck survivalist biohackers.
Rachel: And it’s not in a derogatory way. It’s in a loving way, yeah.
Ben: That’s right. So this podcast – maybe we just change instead of redneck biohacking podcast.
Rachel: That would be sick…
Ben: This podcast is for all of you redneck biohackers out there. And yeah, I love this question from Sebastian and honestly, you know, like creating a fire and using charcoal to clean your system afterwards, I wouldn’t say that that something I would recommend. You could try it. Now, I have used charcoal before to filter water, but I do have a few tips I could throw in there. Now I’m gonna start by saying that there are a ton of survivalist tips that you can use, and I’m just gonna give you a few, a few cool ones that I like as well as a couple extra resources for yah’. So the first one, is something that we’ve mentioned before on the show and that’s knowing how to take the piss out of yourself, literally. So, this was an idea presented by the fastest person to have ever run around the world. The guy named Kevin Carr who circumnavigated the entire globe in 621 days running 16,300 miles through 26 countries around the world. And one of the things that he found was that he had to figure out a way to cut his water usage down but still allow his body to stay cool. Well, it turns out that while drinking your own urine is highly not recommended. That’s actually a good way to dehydrate yourself or to give yourself ammonia toxicity. What you can do is you can carry a little spray bottle with you, or analogy or whatever else suit your fancy, and you can take your urine on a hot day and you can use your urine to cool your body by covering your torso and your legs with urine throughout the day by spraying it on your body, and especially if you are running for long periods of time removing for long periods of time in the heat, this can be a useful biohack to stay cool and to use your urine in a very creative and sustainable manner. So, that would be the first thing that come to mind.
Rachel: (chuckles) Kevin Carr’s – way have to go. You have some balls to run around spraying yourself with urine. (laughs)
Ben: Urine recycling, so give yourself a spray bottle. That would be number 1, take notes people, take notes.
Rachel: Very important.
Ben: Okay so, urine recycling, okay. The next one that I’m going to give to you would be… you’ll love this ‘cause I’m sure you have a few of this lying around Rachel, tampon survival.
Rachel: Tampon survival! That’s a thing.
Ben: You would be surprise at the number of survival uses for tampons.
Rachel: You’re welcome, Ben. Welcome.
Ben: I actually have what’s called a bug-out bag. Have you heard of a bug-out bag?
Ben: Okay. So this is a bag I keep in a special place in my house, I’m not gonna tell you where so that no stalkers come and steal my bug-out bag so that they can’t screw me in the event of a zombie apocalypse.
Ben: But the idea is that you have this bag in your house in which you keep your most crucial survival items so that if – if, crap hits the fan you can actually take that bag and have everything that you need to survive. You just got to run out your backdoor and out into the wilderness.
Rachel: And it’s that bag just full of tampons?
Ben: (chuckles) Yeah, it’s just a bag full of tampons.
Ben: It’s all it is.
Rachel: Well, I’m kinda curious what it’s supposed…
Ben: Uh no I mean, it’s got like a fire starting kit, and you know, knives and magnifying glasses, and everything like that, and some dehydrated meals and you know, water filter and all that stuff, but tampons. So, for example, tampon in the wilderness can be used as a medical bandage, okay, and accounts of that date back to World War 1 where they actually used tampons quite a bit to tape over wounds and even to shove to ball the holes, right, as improvised dressings. But it can also be used as a water filter.
Ben: So, a tampon can actually be placed over the mouth of a water bottle, right, and use to filter out large particulates that would come from drinking water. So you push them into the neck of an empty water bottle, and then you poke a hole in the cap and then you put water in the other side of the water bottle, and the water filter should the tampon, and then out into whatever container that you want to store that water in and it can be used to make crystal clear water.
Rachel: That is genius. Absolutely genius!
Ben: Yes, yes.
Rachel: … except all tampons are full of really bad chemicals. Not as bad as drinking the water?
Ben: Hmm, I’m not sure. I’m hoping that most of our listeners use organic tampons that are chemical-free.
Rachel: Right, uhmm.
Ben: But I mean, if you had to choose between whatever you’d find in tampon and say Giardia, I’d honestly go with the tampon.
Ben: Tampons make excellent fire tinder. I mean like you can get some of the best fire starter on the face of the planet, it doesn’t hold the candle (pun intended) to tampons. So, tampons actually work quite well as some of the best fire starting tinder on the face of the planet. So, what you can do with this – this whole tampon using as a survival straw filter is to hold that up next to like a mud paddle and it over move a lot of like the sediments and the particulates if you wanted to suck water through the tampon although I, just for the record, I owned something called a Life Straw that works probably much better than a tampon, but should I not have that Life Straw available, I would use a tampon. And then finally…
Rachel: Is the Life Straw in your zombie apocalypse?
Ben: Is in my zombie apocalypse? Yes, I’ve 2 on my zombie apocalypse kit actually.
Rachel: I love it.
Ben: And then finally, the string attached to a tampon is a cut and twisted cord. And that’s usually about 4-6 inches of twine and you can use that cordage to make a deadfall trap. I don’t know if you’ve ever made a deadfall trap before, but it’s where you prop-up a log and then you tie a couple of sticks together, and what happens is if you place a little bit of food kinda down by that string and a small animal comes along and you can crush the animal with the log, and actually have yourself a little mousy to eat that you caught with a tampon, so.
Ben: The list goes on and on, I’m actually gonna link to an article in the show notes. Chockfull of about 5 or 6 other uses that you can use for everything from fishing and using it as a bobber to using a tampon as a waterproof match and fire tinder case, but check out the link that I put in the show notes because there’s an excellent article over at the Art of Manliness, of all places, about how to use a tampon for survival. So that’ll be number 2 in addition to cycling your own urine.
Ben: Okay, but you know, we’ve talked about piss, we’ve talked about tampons, we might as well move right along and perhaps talk a little bit about the use of a condom for survival. Are you familiar with this? About how to use a condom?
Rachel: I am not familiar with how to use condoms for survival.
Ben: Yeah. Well, if you have enough condoms, you can survive in the wilderness for years. This is a well-known fact among survivals. (chuckles)
Ben: … or at least among our listeners now.
Rachel: Is it really well-known?
Ben: Well, condoms can provide you with food, with water, with fire, and with shelter.
Rachel: That’s all we need to live.
Ben: Hear me out. So, first of all condom makes a very decent water storage container. You would be surprised at how much water that you actually store in a condom.
Two or three, four condoms can give you enough water to last a week, yeah.
Ben: You’d be surprised how big a condom can get especially a magnum. So, condoms can be used for water, condoms can also burn – a latex condom kinda like a tampon would light up instantly making it excellent fire tinder in case you got fire from your condom, you got water. Condoms are also water tight by nature very similar to the wrapping around the tampon so you can use a condom to safely carry dry tinder or like a red sitter or little sticks or things that you wanna burn later on. And in a pinch you can even use condoms as a rope to tie up shelters. You can tie condoms together, you can kinda wrap them a little bit and they actually can – are surprisingly strong assuming that you’re not springing for the cheapo generic brand drugstore condoms but getting the good stuff like Trojan man, and you can actually even (don’t laugh) you can make a sling shot out of a condom.
Ben: And I will put a link in the show notes to teach you how to do that, but you just need 2 condoms and a couple of sticks, and you can make a sling shot capable of wounding or killing a small animal, so.
Rachel: (chuckles) Pssss. This is an epic combination. I’m sorry.
Ben: This is something, okay? So we’ve got piss, we’ve got tampons, we’ve condoms, we’ve got all of the parents who are listening with their children having to make a lot of explanations to their kids right now. But I’ve got another cool one for yah’, I will strain out into the land of the appropriateness, and that would be ice fire, okay? So this would be if you’re stuck in a really cold place, and this is something that I studied up on a little bit when I went into that Spartan Agoge ‘cause I wasn’t sure what they’d have us to do but I knew it was gonna be cold, and I knew there was gonna be ice. You can actually get an ice lens, so basically you get a chunk of ice and you twist the chunk of ice basically around the edge of a pipe, and the circular pipe edge carves away all the chunks and the irregularity of that chunk of ice, and you can use the edge of that pipe to create this perfect little ice sphere, okay? So it’s like a circle of ice that you’ve created by using a pipe to like chip away that ice. That ice sphere works just like a magnifying glass and can be used to start a fire. It captures the sun’s light and focuses the sun’s light under one point just like a magnifying glass, and as we know if you’ve got some tinder, and you focus it on under one point and it’s a dry inflammable, you got a flame, and you can start a fire, okay?
Ben: So, ice, urine, tampons, condoms, ice! Okay, I’ve got a – I’ve got one more for yah’, okay? And then I’m gonna delve back into the potentially effects of category if combined with some of these other things, and that would be spit. Okay. Surprising how much that we use in the bedroom can also be used to survive the wilderness, but have you ever heard of spit fishing?
Rachel: I haven’t but I’m already imagining.
Ben: Okay, so here’s the deal. If you need a fish but you don’t have any fishing gear, all you need is your shirt and enough saliva in your mouth to be able to spit. So spit fishing can allow you to catch minnows and small fish, and then of course you could use your condom or your tampon or whatever to cook them, or your ice. As you wade out into the water, and you lift the front of your shirt, the front of your shirt is gonna be like a net under the water surface, and then you spit. Now, minnows and very small fish get attracted to spit. I think its food, and then they cluster in front of you and you can jerk your shirt up out of the water, and your shirt will have this tiny, little fish in it.
Rachel: Wow! Have you tried that?
Ben: No, no. This is just something that I know about in the back of my head should I ever have any to catch small fish. I’m one of those guys who’s more likely to find a throwing stick and throw it at a squirrel before I’m gonna wait out in the pond and try to catch a fish.
Rachel: Yeah, ‘cause you could use your little fishes as bait in a trap to catch, a squirrel as well.
Ben: Uhm, yup, yup, exactly. So, there you have it. And finally, a couple of resources like I promised. My friend, the Neil Strauss – he’s preps most well-known for the book that he just wrote called The Truth which is chockfull of his strange sexual escapades and his search for love. But he also has a little bit more practical book called “Emergency”. The name of the book is Emergency: This book may save your life, and in the book he trains with like an American-Indian tracking skills, he learns how to like train with the special forces, he learns like urban escape innovation, really cool book.
I’ll link to it in the show notes. And he’s an excellent author, so it’s actually really fun to read, but it’s called Emergency by Neil Strauss. Good book. Neil is a friend of mine and I love how he goes. He really, really engages in very intensive, immersive journalism, and so his books are fun to read, and this one is kind of a white knuckle journey through America’s heart of darkness because he’s pretty much as like scrambling to survive and all these strange situations. So, that’s a good one, read that one. And then also, I just interviewed the one guy I know who is probably the best wilderness survival/badass who I am acquainted with. His name is Aron Snyder and I have a podcast coming up with him in 2 weeks, so stay tuned for that episode ‘cause we talked about what he puts in his quintessential pack for surviving in the wilderness, and he’s got some stuff in there that I’d never heard of, but that I plan on adding to my repertoire. So I may keep that a secret for now, but listen to the upcoming episode with Aron Synder in which we cover not just wilderness survival techniques but also Aron’s journey into the realm of illegal performance enhancing steroids and what he discovered along the way. So it’s actually a pretty entertaining episode. So, that being said, I may have in my response to Sebastian said enough to – me to mark this particular podcast episode as explicit.
Ben: My apologies to children listening with parents who have now to explain the wonderful worlds of tampons and condoms, but enjoy that and in the meantime, I suppose we can move on.
Mark: Hey Ben, this is Mark from Chicago who appreciate the podcast and what you do for us. Quick question for you on box breathing. First you talked about it before and I’ve been experimenting with it at work during stressful meetings, things like that even when I’m doing my – I’m wired t0 Heart Math training device, and I want to elaborate the protocols for box breathing when you wanna use it. How often you’d wanna use it and any more information on that you could provide would be great! Thanks!
Ben: Wow this question seems so pleasant. Nice.
Rachel: Can we head to the last one? (laughs)
Ben: (laughs) So, box breathing – well, first of all just to put this in context. This was the very first form of meditative breathing that I taught to my children, and whether it’s box breathing and whether it’s the type of intensive breathing that you do in something like Kundalini Yoga where you’re doing lots of fire breathing and you know, almost like this Iceman guy Wim Hof. He does this type of breathing where he heats his body and shuts down inflammatory cytokines, and there’s even some really cool research on breathing. Deep breathing specifically the type of breathing you would use in box breathing, it can change your genes. So, there’s this concept of epigenetic. The ability to express certain genes and specifically with box breathing and deep breathing for relaxation, they’ve shown that it changes the genes related to inflammation, related to oxidative stress, and related to cellular metabolism. And so, what this means is that you can actually change the expression of certain genes to allow yourself to do things, like shutdown inflammation, to shutdown oxidative stress, to increase cellular metabolism. So we talked about earlier why athletes get sick and one of the reasons being jetlag. One of the reasons jetlag makes you sick is because of the amount of oxidative stress you experience when you hurdling above the earth, you know, 40,000 ft. high in a small metal tube. Now a small metal tube with a bunch of Wifi signals bouncing around inside it, and people trying to get their cellphones to work when they have 1 bar, when you’re 10,000 ft. high. And all those other issues that happen on an airplane, well, the idea is that meditation and deep breathing has been proven – this is science, to actually decrease a lot of that oxidative stress.
Ben: And to actually change your genes that you’re not just doing it while you breathe but you’re also doing it, you know, just the other times of the day when you’re not doing this deep breathing.
Rachel: So, can you do too much?
Rachel: Say, Pranayama, say, box breathing. Yeah.
Ben: Oh yeah, I mean like, well, Pranayama no. Like Kundalini Yoga like this morning, there was a period of like for the particular routine that this gal has designed for me, her name is Summer by the way, what Summer designed for me was a routine, and I told her – I was like, I really wanna be hyper changed in the morning. You know, I just don’t want to sit cross legged and stare off into the trees breathing for a half hour.
I wanted – and so, it’s intensive like I work up a big sweat similar to what I get in a sauna when I’m standing outside doing this routine. I’m twisting and arms go up and down, I’m doing like this (breathing sound) but there’s one period where for almost 4 minutes, it’s just this fire breathing, right? Like the Wim Hof style fire breathing and yeah, if I were to do that all day, that’s activating the sympathetic nervous system a little bit. So yeah, you can totally fight and flight your way with breathing a little bit too much. But parasympathetic nervous system activity is enhanced through this practice of box breathing. Box breathing is something you could just settle yourself down before you go to sleep at night to get into deep sleep more quickly. It is something that you could do when you’re stressed out. It’s something that I will do when my heart rate is high right before I shoot when I’m preparing for like the trained hunt competitions that I do. Where you’re shooting a bow and arrow and trying to get your heart rate down after your heart rate is elevated. It’s something that I learned from Mark Divine who teaches this Seal Fit courses. He works with Buds Canada to Navy Seals and some of the most badass folks on the face of the planet to teach them how to relax in combat situations, and box breathing is his go-to form of breathing to learn how to survive when the going gets tough. When I’m immerse in very cold water, I do box breathing, and that’s one of the things that I teach to my kids when they go out and do the cold pool soak with me. And again that’s something that I like, is it’s very easy to teach to adults or kids. And box breathing is very, very whether you’re using it for pre-cold thermogenesis, pre-cold shower, (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) combat situations, stressful situations, traffic, etc., and it’s called box because you imagine that there’s a box. You close your eyes, you imagine there’s a box, and you breathe up one side of that box, right, so usually it’s about a 4 count but there’s some free diverse to enhance their breath holding that will do like a 20 count, but 4 counts you could play as a start. So you go 4 count at one side of the box, one (sound) that’s a 4 count and then you hold for a 4 count hold (two, three, four), and then you breathe out for a 4 count down the other side of the box (two, three, four), and then you hold for 4 count across the bottom of the box (two, three, four). And so, what you do once you’ve done that over and over, and over again. I do generally box breathing for about 3-5 minutes. I find that’s kinda the sweet spot. I found that it increases heart rate variability when I use the app to measure my heart rate variability as I’m doing it. It can enhance oxygenation, like I mentioned it can decrease cellular inflammation, if you just throw in a quick cycle, right, like I am. I’ve just crested a hill and uhm, I know you’re not a hunter Rachel, but this would be an example, and I’m hunting honey, and it came my heart rate down fast because there is an animal that I’m tracking that’s right there. I can just really quickly go, okay, here we go. (silently – one, two, three, four) and hooo! Haw! Then heart rate will drop like 10 beats during that period of time. It’s crazy.
Ben: Yeah, it’s pretty crazy. So, it’s box breathing, I mean, it’s not rocket science, right, it’s pretty straight forward. Now what I use to teach my kids that and also to give myself like a little chime that will – it will make a chime for up the box, then a chime for the top of the box, then a chime as you go down the box, then a chime across the bottom of the box, is there’s this app called Pranayama. I’ll link to it in the show notes. It’s free, I believe they have like a paid upgrade to where you can customize, so you could have like if you wanted to set it for uh, whatever, 2 seconds up, 6 seconds hold, 2 seconds down, 6 seconds hold or like play around with different holds you could. Suppose that would be more like a rectangle and a box.
Ben: But yeah, I mean, the idea is it’s very simple to learn. All I use is that Pranayama app, it works just fine. You don’t need an app to do it obviously. It’s again, not rocket science but yeah, primarily I’ll use it for very stressful situations where I need to get my heart rate down quickly, I will use it to activate my parasympathetic nervous system when I am cold or when I am hot incidentally like in the sauna when it’s getting really, really hot. And then I will also use it prior to bed or like if I wake up in the night and I wanna use some type of a breathing technique to help myself sleep, I ‘ll do that. And yeah! Those are the primary situations in which I’ll use box breathing.
And pretty straight forward really, I wish there was more to say, I supposed if I we’re gonna say one other thing the biggest mistake I see people make when they do it is when they get to the top, to the hold I kept to hear (sound) they’ll just hold, but you were supposed to like let your breath float, right?
Ben: So you breathe in, and let the breath just kinda float in that hold. And then same thing when you exhale over the 4 count, you hold the exhale, the breath just kinda floats in that exhale. Does that make sense?
Rachel: That is and it – they does, and it’s a really beautiful visualization as well.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So that’s how you do it! There you go! Easy-peasy.
Kyle: Hey Ben and Rachel! A huge fan of the show. I actually got really inspired to do more endurance type activity based on your show. You guys have just been absolutely amazing, and I love listening to your podcast on my class, on my way to work during long enduring workouts, so keep it up! Thank you so much. I just wanna ask your opinion though, Uh Ben, you know, I’ve often seeing these little like I guess daily things to do where it involves you know, something will do like 300 burpees a day, some people squat everyday with the barbell, I’ve even see some people do like lengthy jump roping sessions like upwards of over 30 minutes. I just want to get your opinion on kinda if there’s any detriments to doing those sorts of things or are they really that good? Uhm, so just your overall thoughts on things of that sort, and if you have any others please, please share. Thanks guys! Love the podcast, keep up the good work.
Ben: Well, this is kinda relevant of what we’ve talked about with athletes getting sick.
Rachel: It is! Yeah!
Ben: Yeah, yeah, ‘cause I mean, based on that study yeah, if you’re using the same routine everyday or some semblance of the same routine, you’ve less ability to get sick.
Rachel: Oh that’s an upside. Is there any sort of downside of like the repetitive motion?
Ben: Getting bored to death? Yeah! (chuckles)
Rachel: Yeah. Big downside.
I mean like, I’m a fan of habit, right. There’s a really good book called The Power of Habits, you know, blah, blah, blah, everybody knows that habits are good. So like I do 30 burpees a day, I actually just posted to Instagram ‘cause my kids doing it now. So if you go to instagram.com/bengreenfieldfitness, where I am always posting crazy stuff. My kids and I do 30 burpees a day, and they only count if we all clap together, right. So you got to do it perfectly. You know, 1 person counts as one down, two out, three pushup down, four pushup up, five stand, six jump and clap, right? So we do 30 burpees a day. Another example would be every single morning when I get out of bed, I do the same 10 minutes stretch routine while the coffee is on. Just like I have it every single day. But then my workouts, right, like my main workouts like the hard workout I’m doing in the afternoon or the evening, that changes, that fluctuates, you know, significantly from day to day.
Rachel: Uhmm. Yup.
Ben: And so, yeah, it does kind of vary a bit. So the idea here is this, I say why not have the best of both worlds, right? So have those little habits like every time I go to the bathroom, I get to do 25 body weight squats or every morning I’m gonna do 30 burpees on my little 10 minute yoga routine, or everyday (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) between April 1st and April 21st, I’m gonna take cold shower, but basically you have these little things that you do everyday, but then your main workouts – I – needs to introduce some amount of it already because different parts of your physiology are going to respond to different routines.
Ben: Now, I wrote an article about this but for example, when you are working out, there are certain activities that you can engage in that are going to target specific physiological parameters, okay. So, for example, VO2 max – the maximum amount of oxygen that you can utilize. Well, based on research one of the best ways to activate and maximize VO2 max are high intensity efforts that are approximately 4 minutes long with 4 recovery after each of those efforts. And so, if your only workout everyday is say like a 30 second effort, you’re not targeting your VO2 max system.
Ben: So, in my opinion and based on research at least once every 1 to 2 weeks you should have a session that is comprised of a series of 4 minute very hard intervals with 4 recoveries between each. Okay, so that would be one example. Another example would be increasing muscular endurance, the amount of a lactic acid that your muscles can tolerate and the amount of lactic acid that your muscles can buffer.
Well for this it’s a completely different series of scenarios. For this, you generally exercise for somewhere in the range of 30 seconds to 2 minutes, okay, ‘cause it’s gonna take about 30 seconds to begin to produce lactic acid and anything longer than 2 minutes generally drops you to a low enough intensity to where you’re aren’t producing much lactic acid and for this you’d use a 2:1 work to rest ratio. So an example of this would for example you’ve got a series of 10 minute long sprints that you’re doing with 30 seconds of recovery after each. And same thing, you would do something like that once every 1 week to once every 2 weeks. And that would target a different system, right? But if you were to only do that lactic acid effort, you wouldn’t be targeting say that 4 minute system that’s gonna target more VO2 max adaptations. Okay? And then of course, you have your muscular strength and your muscular strength is not gonna be targeted by either of those sessions that I just described and in this case, from muscular strength you would wanna have say, one day per week or 2 days per week where you’re doing series of heavy squats, heavy deadlifts, heavy clings, and heavy overhead push press, right? Let’s say 5 sets of 5 repetitions of each of those and that would be a session that again, you wouldn’t wanna do everyday because there’s some pretty significant recovery implications, both muscular skeletal which typically takes about 48 hours or so minimum, and then neuro-muscular which takes even longer, you know, 72 hours to a week to recover from neuro-muscular standpoint from something like that. But basically the idea is that you would also want to include something like that. And by the way, little bit of a rabbit hole here, but when we’re talking about muscular skeletal vs. neuro-muscular recovery, you’ll know when muscular skeletal recovery has occurred because you’re not sore anymore. Neuro-muscular, that’s where it returns to like remember when I was saying like you know, your heart rate variability, you measure that and sometimes even though you feel good, it’s low…
Ben: … and then you go out, and you push through it and you get injured, that’s because in many cases your muscular skeletal system is recovered, so it’s like your body still need to push, but if you don’t measure your nervous system, it’s not recovered and it takes longer to recover than the muscular skeletal system, you can often dig yourself into an overtraining or injury or illness hole quite easily. So that’s the idea behind that, you know, muscular skeletal is different than neuro-muscular. Couple other systems – mitochondrial density, so mitochondrial the power plants of your cells, you can create new mitochondria. It’s called mitochondrial biogenesis and that’s very, very cool adaptation to be able to get from training but you don’t get it from any of the sessions that I’ve just described to any significant extent. What research has shown is that to induce mitochondrial biogenesis, you need a series of about a half a dozen or so very, very short intense sprints, right, 10 to 30 seconds in duration, and so that would be another session to include in your training, once every week or once every 2 weeks but again, you’re heading a different physiological system by targeting mitochondrial biogenesis with the shorter 10 to 30 second all out sprints. And then finally, you’ve got like your stamina and your ability to enhance fat burning efficiency. Your ability to be able to move aerobically for long periods of time without exhaustion, and that would be more of like the longer session, right? Like that would be your morning-fasted 45 minute walk or your afternoon Sunday 3-hour hike, right? Or maybe a Saturday long bike ride and that would be a completely different system, and again, you get some people and this is a thing you see a lot among triathletes and marathoners a lot where they’re just doing like their hour and a half long bike ride or run, or swim everyday and that’s the only system that they’re working. So the idea here is that if you’re doing the same workout everyday, it’s very unlikely you’re targeting each of these physiological systems. So, I am a fan again of having habit each day like yeah, you do your 30 burpees every morning or you do your cold shower everyday, or you do your 10 minutes of yoga each morning, but then you also hit each of these other physiological systems in a systematized manner throughout the rest of the week. Now, I have a full article about how you would string all of these different components, right? Like mitochondrial density, VO2 max, lactic acid, stamina, fat burning efficiency, etc. how you would link all those together.
I will link to that article in the show notes for you Kyle, for anybody else listening in. So if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/349. I have a link to that and it’s called “How to Look Good Naked and Live a Long Time”, and it’s both an article as well as a link to like a full 12 week training plan that kinda links all these together ‘cause it’s one thing to understand and it’s another thing that actually as you know implement. So, ‘cause the last thing you wanna do is be a smart cookie who is fat-eating doritos in your mom’s basement, so. Understand that’s just not about understanding, it’s about implementation but that’s the resource I would point you towards, so hopefully that’s helpful, and uh, now you don’t have to do 300 burpees a day anymore.
Rick: Hi Ben! Hi Rachel! This is Rick from Oregon. My call is about SCOBY’s. I wonder if SCOBY’s are good to put in your green drinks or your protein drinks, and also if you can chop ‘em and put them on a salad or such. Thanks for the call. I appreciate it. Thank you.
Ben: Did you listen to my interview with the kombucha mama?
Rachel: I did… I like the song.
Ben: That just got released and she makes dried fruit rollups out of the little SCOBY’s for her kids, and for those of you who’s listening in who don’t know what a SCOBY is. First, go listen to that podcast episode. It was very recent, that’s the one I did on kombucha. Go to the Ben Greenfield website, do a search for kombucha or for kombucha mama, but SCOBY, SCOBY actually stands for something. Did you know that? It’s like just a like a word like booger.
Rachel: I did but I always forget what it is.
Ben: No, I don’t. It’s called Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.
Ben: Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast, ‘cause that’s all it is. It’s just like a bunch of really, really healthy bacterial species, it’s like a – it’s like a giant booger shaped probiotic. It’s what it is.
Rachel: It looks so much like a booger!
Ben: I mean, and it has so many different forms of bacteria and it do everything from like kill candida to repopulate your gut. I mean, there’s a reason it’s a freakin’ like Eastern European/Russian super food and then of course as you know, once you combine it with tea and with sugar or any fermented for a couple of weeks, you get…
Ben: Aha! Kombucha! But then you still have this SCOBY leftover, and it keeps on…
Rachel: And they keep growing!
Ben: And growing!
Rachel: And it gets to a point where you’re like – what am I gonna do with all of this?
Ben: And my wife gives it away to friends to start their own kombucha, and then it keeps growing. It’s like somethin’ in an alien movie.
Rachel: Do you think that they will just would eventually take over the world?
Ben: I think they will. I think they will fight the…
Rachel: I think you should write that into your podcast.
Ben: They’re gonna fight the apple, nano robots…
Rachel: You should make River and Terran fight them in the forest.
Ben: I should write a book about the SCOBY’s vs. the dark robots. (chuckles) Uh, wow!
Rachel: I just gave you gold material.
Ben: And weren’t high or anything just so you know. We just have a cup of coffee and…
Rachel: It’s Kimera Koffee though.
Ben: Yeah, Kimera Koffee. Okay, so the symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast – it’s a biofilm, it’s a living species of yeast and bacteria, and again for those of you who have like yeast infections and fungal infections, and candida, yes! You can still drink kombucha and yes! You can still eat the SCOBY because it’s actually, it helps to fight a lot of these bacteria. It’s extremely alkalinic, like Hannah the Kombucha Mom and I talked about in that podcast, you can use it like as a band-aid ‘cause it’s almost like a living skin so you can use it to heal the skin from burns and wounds, and the other thing that you can of course do with it is you can eat it. You can eat it. Now, I recommend that you can actually make a recipe out of it rather than just chomping on it. And because I know this podcast is getting a little bit long, what I’m recommend, I mean, I cup out on you a little bit here Rick but dude, you need to get the big book on kombucha and you need to listen to that kombucha podcast that I did with the kombucha momma in which she gives her recipe for turning a SCOBY into a dry fruit. Do I? Or a dried fruit that roll up. Do I eat the SCOBY? I eat a little bits and particles that are like at the bottom of the kombucha bottles that my wife makes. I don’t mind eating those slimy bits but no, I don’t grab the whole freakin’ frisbee size ‘cause they get big. I don’t get the whole Frisbee size SCOBY and just like munch on it. I don’t do that, but you could and it would not kill you, and it would actually be quite good if you need to repopulate your gut bacteria. Uhm, hit me, I don’t know what it would do to your poo, okay?
Rachel: Uhm, that could be a fun experiment for you.
Ben: They could – let us know how that goes for you, Rick. But anyways, yes you could blend it, you could chop it up, you could put it in a salad, go ape nuts with your SCOBY dude!
And by the way folks, if you’re listening in and you have your own SCOBY eating tips to add, feel free to leave them in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/349, where you can access oh! So many more links and goodies.
Uh, that being said, I think it’s time to give something away Rachel. What do you think?
Rachel: Yey! Yes! My favorite time.
Ben: Let’s do this. So this is the part of the show… I was feelin’ that I should talk like Mr. Rogers, and we should play a piano. Can we do this? This is the part of the show where I take off my cardigan and my shoes and toss them over my shoulders and we get into today’s iTunes review. So, if you like the podcast, go to iTunes. Leave us a review, say something nice. Leave us 5 stars. Spread the love, spread the karma, and if you hear your review read on the show, all you need to do is email [email protected], that’s [email protected] and we will send you a gift pack full of goodies like a Ben Greenfield fitness tech t-shirt and a water bottle, and a beanie, and everything else that makes your life better, makes your life meaningful, makes your life not suck anymore. So, that being said, we have a review left by Akindzia, Akindzia. Rachel, do you want to take this one away?
Rachel: I do. Alright, it’s titled: Can’t wait to get alone in my car with Ben.
Ben: I hear that a lot.
Rachel: (chuckles) “I listen to Ben in my car and I feel like I’m 16 when I first got my driver’s license making excuses to go somewhere…. anywhere. I’ve learned so much on nutrition, sleep, crazy biohacking things, workouts, fasting, and so much more. I just started putting the avocado seed in my smoothies but I haven’t been able to stomach eating chicken bones yet. You rock Ben and I am beyond grateful for the time you spend delivering us fantastic content. I have your book but I really enjoy listening to you and your discussions with other though leaders. I have listened to other podcasts but not one can compare to you. Thank you for making a difference in my life.”
Ben: Those like a love song!
Rachel: It was, and I think it’s ‘cause of the way that I read it though. I really put heart into that one.
Ben: And she’s putting avocado seed in her smoothies. That’s hardcore.
Rachel: Well, we’re assuming it’s a girl but it could be a guy.
Ben: Yeah. Well, Akindzia I can’t wait to get alone in the car with you.
Ben: But in the meantime, (chuckles) if you or anyone else listening in wants to access today’s show notes, or learn more about getting alone in cars with me or Rachel, this is getting weird.
Rachel: Whoever you prefer… (chuckles)
Ben: Uhm, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/349. A couple other things, I am headed off to Florida to write a story on spear fishing, I’m going to be hanging out with the editor’s spearing magazine and working on a really cool article for those of you who are interested in like free diving and breath holding, and eating tasty fish, so stay tuned for that, and that means in lieu of next week’s normal Q and A, I’ve got a fantastic episode comin’ with – got another redneck biohacker on a transcendental meditation. And finally, for those of you who live in Miami and if you’re listening to this episode close when it comes out, drop me a line because I’m coming down to try and dominate the South Beach Triathlon. So I’ll be down in Sobe as the cool people say.
And that being said, I think that about wraps things up Rachel. Am I correct? Am I forgetting anything?
Rachel: Only sign up to the Cold Shower Challenge, that’s on the 1st of April, bengreenfieldfitness.com/coldshower.
Ben: That’s right! Get some, later.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield fitness podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
March 30, 2016 Podcast: 349: Why Athletes Get Sick, How To Biohack Survival, How Often Do You Need To Workout & More!
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- Why athletes get sick.
- Good reason NOT to quantify every step, calorie and heartbeat…
- And this, my friends, is why ANY football player or MMA athlete needs to be “megadosing” on at least 6g of DHA from fish oil or algae/ day.
- Cold thermogenesis + CHILI PEPPERS for fat loss? Cool.
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As compiled, deciphered, edited and sometimes read by Rachel Browne, the NEW Podcast Sidekick.
How To Biohack Survival
Sebastian says: He’s from the Great White North and has an interest in bush craft and survival. He’s wondering if you have any biohacks for survival, say you have nothing on your back but a backpack, what would some biohacks be? Ie. Creating a fire and using the charcoal to clean your system afterwards? It would be cool to hear what you have to say about this and would be great if you got a survivalist on the podcast in future!
In my response, I recommend:
–Kevin Carr’s running tips
–Book: Emergency by Neil Strauss
-Mention upcoming podcast with Aron Snyder
How To Box Breathe
Mark says: He’s been experimenting with box breathing at work during stressful meetings etc and when he’s doing Heart Math. Can you elaborate on the protocols for box breathing, when and how often can you use it etc?
In my response, I recommend:
How Often Do You Need To Workout?
Kyle says: He’s a huge fan of the show and loves listening to it. He wants your opinion Ben on daily workouts. He’s seen people who do 300 burpees/day, barbell squats every day, 30 min jump rope sessions every day. What’s your opinion on doing these kinds of workouts? Are they really that good for you?
In my response, I recommend:
–How To Look Good Naked & Live A Long Time article
Can You Eat A Kombucha Scoby?
Rick says: He loves the podcast, his question is about SCOBY’s. He’s wondering if you can blend them or chop them up and put them in a salad?
In my response, I recommend:
Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/03/349/
One thought on “Episode #349 – Full Transcript”
I do not agree, read: