Episode #363 – Full Transcript

Affiliate Disclosure


Podcast from https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2017/01/363-best-time-day-exercise-fittest-old-person-top-5-cheap-ways-train-altitude/

[0:00] Introduction

[7:27] News Flashes

[31:17] Special Announcements/PaleoValley

[33:55] Nutritional Therapy Association Conference

[35:39] Audible

[38:00] MVMT Watches

[40:03] Joov Giveaway

[41:12] Listener Q&A/New Ways To Increase HRV

[54:48] How To Be The Fittest Old Person

[1:10:31] Cheap Ways To Train For Altitude

[1:26:42] Glutamine for Vegans

[1:39:05] End of Podcast

In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:  The Best Time Of Day To Exercise, How To Be The Fittest Old Person, The Top Five Cheap Ways To Train For Altitude, Glutamine For Vegans, and much more.

Ben:  Well, this is awkward.  Potentially.

Rachel:  It's been a little while.

Ben:  I think I may have forgotten how to actually have a sidekick on the podcast versus some nerd in a lab coat that I'm interviewing.

Rachel:  There you go.  And I think I've forgotten, sorry, what was your name again?

Ben:  My name is Ben.  By the way, do you think you could perhaps go out and get a degree or like a white lab coat with a pocket protector?

Rachel:  I think those days are over, my friend.

Ben:  And some thick rimmed glasses?  Just so that I can, again, feel as though I'm interviewing a scientist and not just my good old sidekick who disappeared for months.  Where'd you go anyways?

Rachel:  I went lots of places, actually.  I did a Vipassana, that I went to Peru, and that's it, really.

Ben:  Vipassana kind of sounds like something fancy you do in a bathroom.  You're talking about the 10-day meditation?

Rachel:  Yes.  10-day meditation retreat.  Silent.

Ben:  I guess I would be a Vipissima.  Sorry.  Bad joke.  You went to South America too?

Rachel:  I did, yeah.  We went to Peru for 10 days and it was fascinating.  We did San Pedro, and we stayed in Cusco for a week, we did Machu Piccu.  It was incredible.  Peru was insane.

Ben:  What do you mean you did San Pedro?

Rachel:  We did a San Pedro Ceremony.

Ben:  What is that?

Rachel:  San Pedro is, the two major plants they use down there and Ayahuasca and San Pedro.  And so San Pedro is more of like a grandfather energy and Ayahuasca is the grandmother energy, and San Pedro is more body, Ayahuasca is more mind.  So it's a full day ceremony, you go and, we took it as a powder reconstituted with water, you drink just one cup, you spend an hour and a half being sick, and then you go off into the world for a walk and ponder life's questions.

Ben:  What happened?

Rachel:  It was an insane experience to me.  I haven't experimented much with plants or drugs in general.  I had to wait 'til I was almost 30 to feel comfortable doing it, and it was a really expansive experience.

Ben:  That's 'cause you're from Australia and all you guys know is beer and Vegemite as your drugs of choice.

Rachel:  Yes, exactly.  That's all we do, is eat beer and Vegemite.  No, but it was powerful, and I am certainly not in any place to be thinking about doing Ayahuasca, but San Pedro feels like a safe experimental opening plant to use.

Ben:  What kind of sick are you talking about?  Were you like puking?

Rachel:  Yeah.  It's disgusting.  I couldn't even look at the, it's a cactus.  I couldn't even look at it.  They had it actually growing…

Ben:  You mean after you got sick, you couldn't look at it?

Rachel:  Yeah.  I mean for 48 hours, I would see it in places and I would just shrivel and look away because it was just so, like it was weird power that those things have over you.  So, yeah, it was a cactus made as a powder, but you can make it as a tea as well.  And so, yeah, I was vomiting and Jake, my partner, he, sillyly, he's a silly man sometimes, we had one cup of it and he was like, “I can't feel anything.”  He was feeling very, very sick, but nothing was happening, so he had another cup of it, and then he spent the whole journey just really ill.  Whereas I actually had a really nice experience.

Ben:  That happened to me the first time that I did mushrooms.  And again, not to make everybody think, if you're new to this podcast, that we sit around and talk mind altering drugs, but I took two grams and didn't feel anything for like an hour and a half.  So then I take another two grams.  I didn't feel anything for like an hour, so then I take another two grams and then I was just tripping on the beach.

But by the way, speaking of powders, I actually, last night, had an amazing night of sleep.  I slept nine hours.  You know I track my sleep cycles and I had massive amounts of REM sleep, and non-REM sleep, and like perfect sleep cycles, and I feel asleep in three minutes.  And I took this powder that the government actually tried to classify as a Schedule 1 controlled substance.  Earlier in 2016, the DEA tried to kind of ban this stuff from being available, but it's called Kratom.  I don't know if you've heard of it or used it…

Rachel:  I have, yes.  Yes, I have heard of it.

Ben:  I injured my back doing gymnastics training, so I was looking for a safe opiod-like painkiller that one could take because my back's kind of been bugging me when I try to sleep at night.  So this Kratom, it's related to, I believe, the coffee fruit plant, and it has a bunch of alkaloids in it that have these pretty intense painkilling effects, but it also induces euphoria, and kind of similar to marijuana, how there's like different strains, I used a strain that was appropriate for night time.  It was called a white maeng da powder, or, I'm sorry.  Not a white maeng da, that's the euphoric daytime one.  It was, I believe, called a red dragon, or a red Borneo, and this stuff comes from like Indonesia, but I just got here locally at a shop that sells like cigars, and tobacco, and stuff like that.  So I heated it up with some turmeric to increase absorption, and a little bit of ghee, and just heated it in water for about 15 minutes, and then drank it last night.  And I was like Sleeping Beauty.

Rachel:  What do they use it for?  Is it like a broad spectrum use?

Ben:  Mhmm.  Yeah.  It's used in folk medicine as a stimulant at low doses and as a sedative at high doses.  But then it's also used as a treatment for opiate addiction because it has that painkilling effect without getting you hooked on opiates 'cause it's not addictive, it can be used as a medicine for irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia.  But the thing that I noticed the most was I was incredibly happy and euphoric.  I've used it four times now, but it also, once it really kicks in, about an hour or two after using it, and I [0:07:10] ______ at about three teaspoons or so, in that tea, you just curl like a baby and fall asleep with a big smile on your face.

Rachel:  Sounds divine.

Ben:  So there you go kids, drugs!  Drugs are fun!

Rachel:  (laughs)

News Flashes:

Ben:  Rachel, I think I've forgotten how to do the news flashes.

Rachel:  Do you want some help, Ben?

Ben:  Can you remind me how this goes?

Rachel:  Well, you give us really incredible information on your social media platforms, InstagramTwitterFacebook, of all of the latest research and fun things you've found on the interwebs.

Ben:  Fun things from the interwebs?  Fun, incredible, and in this case, crazy and wacky.  So do you know what CES is?

Rachel:  I think we talked about this last year.  It's the technology conference?

Ben:  Yeah.  The Consumer Electronics Show.  It's the internet of things, really.  A lot of it.  And you get Samsung, and Sony, and LG, and Panasonic, and they all show up with their latest and greatest gadgets and devices, but, and as we do with everything, I'll link to this over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/363, which is the number of today's show, bengreenfieldfitness.com/363.  There are always some interesting things that pop up when it comes to health and fitness.  And so, this was kind of an interesting article that was in the website Pocket-lint, and there were a few things that I thought were quite intriguing, perhaps for our audience, or perhaps not for our audience, because the first one that turned my head was this SmartCane.  Did you see this?

Rachel:  I did.  Yeah. (chuckles)

Ben:  It's a cane that detects any unusual situation, like whether you're going to fall over, or like lower amounts of activity, I suppose, if you had fallen and weren't able to get up, and then automatically alerts your family, or anybody else that needs to be alerted, if the cane detects that you're having issues, so to speak.  It's called a SmartCane.

Rachel:  I feel like that's very functional.

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah, it's somewhat functional.

Rachel:  Here's another one that might be a little bit more relevant, speaking of sleep and taking drugs.  If you have a smart bed, you might not need to take San Pedro, or Kratom, or any of those crazy things.  This is made by Sleep Number, it's the Sleep Number 360 smart bed.  It warms your feet to help you fall asleep faster, it detects when you're snoring and adjusts the mattress to create the ideal position while you sleep to make you stop snoring, and it will adjust the hardness of the mattress as you toss and turn, so it detects whether you're tossing and turning, and also wakes you up when you're sleeping at your lightest sleep stage.  It's called the Sleep Number 360 smart bed.  What do you think?  Would you get one?

Rachel:  I would get one.  I think that would be very helpful because Jake snores and it's terrible, and I also like the idea of being woken up when my sleeping is at my lightest.  It's a very intelligent bed.

Ben:  You know, Jake needs to listen to the upcoming podcast I have on taping your mouth shut when you sleep and training yourself how to sleep through your nostrils.

Rachel:  Yeah.  I'm seconds away from doing that to him anyways.

Ben:  There's a lot of stuff, like jaw realignment therapy, and a lot of these like custom mouth devices that you can get.  But you know what?  I don't think I'd get this bed, and I'll tell you why.  There's no freaking way on the planet that it can do all that and not be just bombarding me with WiFi and Bluetooth all night long while I'm asleep.  Here's one.  The scent-powdered sleep aid, speaking of sleep.  This one's called the Oria, O-R-I-A.  It's a box that improves sleep through the power of scent.  So it's kind of like the essential oil diffuser that, I personally diffuse lavender while I'm asleep at night, and it helps tremendously.  But this one, you just like with the press of a button, it'll deliver powdered rose, peach, pear, talc, musk, if you want to smell musk while you're asleep.  There's another one.

Rachel:  That sounds lovely.

Ben:  Yeah.  So I can get into that.

Rachel:  Yeah.  Are you saving the best for last for this?  Are you saving the Selfie Mirror, the Selfie Smart Mirror for last?

Ben:  Wait.  The Selfie Smart Mirror…

Rachel:  Did you not see this one?

Ben:  Oh, yeah. Yeah.  The mirror that helps you beautify yourself or snap the perfect selfie.  You can…

Rachel:  It does, and it allows you to scroll through different real-world scenes to simulate what your face will look like in those different locations before you even leave the house.

Ben:  Oh, no.  Oh, gosh.  Yeah.

Rachel:  Can you even imagine?

Ben:  You know, what I like better is that idea of the 360 degree mirror that calculates your body fat and your body shape as your body changes while you're working out.  We did a story on that a few weeks ago, and I think that's far more, I think that one's made by Withings.

Rachel:  Right.  It is.

Ben:  I find that a little bit more intriguing than the selfie-friendly mirror.

Rachel:  Well this is, I mean it's a hilarious idea.  Who has time doing that?

Ben:  Here's one more that I thought was interesting and relevant, Smart trainers.  So there's this company called Digitsole, and they've made trainers, a.k.a. shoes, that have adaptive cushioning to take care of the force from a hard run.  So it'll adjust the cushioning as you run.  And then they even have a women's high heel shoe version with a smart phone operated telescopic heel so you could increase your height with the click of a button.

Rachel:  That's hilarious as well. Man, it's like…

Ben:  And that could be good, because I've interviewed Katy Bowman before about the dangers of high heels.  They make your ass look good in shoes, but they also completely deactivate your gluts, and so they kind of screw your hip flexors at the same time.  But what if you could have the shoes and you could keep yourself in a state of proper biomechanical form, and then when you step out of your limo, with a press of a button, you could all of a sudden go into high heel mode.

Rachel:  I feel like women do that right now anyway.  They just keep flats in their bag, but this is a very technologically friendlyway to do it.  It's awesome.

Ben:  Yeah.  So if you want to explore of these crazy and wacky gadgets of CES 2017, we'll link to them in the show notes.  But let's go ahead and delve into stuff that's a little bit more nitty gritty when it comes to physical fitness, and exercise, and the things we talk about on this show.

A new study in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research that looked into the effect of time of day of exercise on a whole bunch of different biochemical markers that happen in response to physical exercise.  So this is kind of an article that delves into circadian rhythmicity.  What that means is that you'll have different chemicals produced at different times of day that can make exercising at certain times of day either better or worse for you, and it looked into what’s called diurnal variation, so like how inflammatory markers and how things like the markers responsible for protein synthesis after exercise, how these kind of all fluctuate throughout the day and how it should influence when you choose to exercise.

Rachel:  Does it fluctuate based, is it an individual thing or is it everybody's fluctuates at the same time?

Ben:  So everything fluctuates in a rhythm, but that rhythm is going to be shifted forward or shifted backwards based on what's called your chronobiology.  When I interviewed Dr. Michael Breus who wrote the book “The Power of When”, which would be a good podcast episode for folks to listen into if you're interested in this kind of thing, he goes into the fact that we have, like I'm a lion and then other people are bears, and you have dolphins, and nighttime people who are wolves.  And so everybody's going to have this variation in terms of when hormones peak and when inflammatory markers peak, it's just that I might be, my cycle might be 5 AM 'til 9 PM, and another person's cycle might be 7 PM to an 11, or a 7 AM to an 11 PM.  But everybody's fluctuates.  You want some of the biggest takeaways that I've learned from exercise and sleep?

Rachel: Yes, please.

Ben:  So first of all, exercise helps you sleep.  No big surprises there, right?  But I'll talk in a little bit about when you should exercise.

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  So exercise is very, very similar to bright light in terms of its ability, very similar to blasting yourself with sunlight, or using like my little crazy biohacky gadgets like the ear phototherapy or the eye phototherapy that I use during the winter, and I've talked about on the show before, exercise has the ability to induce what's called circadian phase shifting, and it looks like it's just as potent as bright light.  So even if you can't get out in the sun, even if you can do a hard exercise session to send your body the message that it is daytime, it can be helpful.  So there's that…

Rachel:  When is the best time to do that?

Ben:  I will tell you.  I'm getting there.  Okay.  So first of all, it is crucial that you avoid extremely vigorous, or hard, voluminous/draining exercise early in the morning.  They've been shown that that causes sleep restriction and sleep disturbances later on in the day.  Very interesting.  Or later on in the evening.  So what that means is that if you're doing your Crossfit WOD in the morning, it's going to affect your sleep deleteriously in the evening.

Now what they have found is that the best time of day to do your hard exercise session is between the hours of 1400 and 1800, that's for those of you who don't speak military speak, that's 2 and 6 PM.  So between 2 and 6 PM, exercise sessions of anywhere from up to, or 80 minutes up to 150 minutes, which seems kind of long, by the time you warm up, cool down, do a hard workout, et cetera, that's been shown to vastly improve sleep marker.  So a hard, long workout sometime between 2 and 6 PM appears to be the sweet spot if you are going to do something hard.  And ideally you should finish that up within three to four hours prior to bedtime.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  So don't start the workout right at 6 if you're going to do one of those hard voluminous workouts.  You should start closer to like 4 or 5.  It kind of depends on when you're going to plan to go to sleep, but time it so that you're finished up about three to four hours prior to bedtime.  And so you do the easy exercise in the morning, the harder stuff later on in the day.  And by the way, in terms of the easy exercise in the morning, I'm not just saying it.  They actually have found that about 30 minutes of kind of like easier aerobic exercise in the morning seems to be very beneficial for sleep later on in the day, whereas that afternoon exercise finished up three to four hours prior to bedtime, and a little bit more intense and exhausting, helps to positively affect sleep later on.

Rachel:  And every day, is it suggested every day?

Ben:  Well, that gets into like, you could lift weights one day, you could do high intensity exercise one day.  You want to make sure you periodize and not just blast your body with the same exercise routine every day.

Rachel:  Over and over again, yeah.

Ben:  But ultimately, yes.  You'd have some kind of movement, easy movement in the morning every day, harder movement in the afternoon or the evening just about every day.  I like to throw in one recovery day as well, just one full recovery day.  But a few other things that they found was that if you are sleepy because you didn't get enough sleep, then exercise sessions help to alleviate the sleepiness, and that is most pronounced when you do exercise that is of a long aerobic duration.  So that means if you're extremely sleepy and you had a crappy night of sleep, kind of the best exercise session to choose would actually be going on like a long bike ride, or a long hike, or something like that, it appears that that can help the most in terms of sleep deprivation.  And the other thing that they found for sleep deprivation is just the opposite.  If you do short bouts, like 10 minutes of exercise frequently throughout the day on a sleep deprived day, it appears to help with alertness and help to alleviate some of the effects of sleepiness.  So if you're poor on sleep, your two options are kind of like brief 10 minute sessions spread throughout the day, or just like one big long, kind of easy session.

Rachel:  And is there a time for that one big long easy session?

Ben:  That one, it doesn't look like they, actually, no.  They did study it.  So for that one, that would be at some point while the sun is shining, so at some point in the daytime. So, yeah.

Rachel:  Very cool.

Ben:  So a lot of really interesting takeaways.  I'll link to the study, but I find this kind of stuff fascinating, how our bodies respond to diurnal variations, or circadian rhythm variations, when it comes to when and how we choose to exercise.  Speaking of timing of exercise, there was another study that came out that kind of defied a lot of what we've been taught about post-workout nutrition.  So Rachel, I know you're really into heading to the gym with…

Rachel:  Building my guns.

Ben:  With your protein mixer shake to build your guns.

Rachel:  Yes.

Ben:  Yeah.  Your preacher curls.

Rachel:  Love it.

Ben:  Do you do a lot of preacher curls, by the way?

Rachel:  No.  But you know what?  We're making a big joke about this, but I actually started going to CrossFit.

Ben:  Really?

Rachel:  Yeah.  Once a week.

Ben:  What'd you think?

Rachel:  I love it.  Oh, my god!  I'm one of those CrossFit people now.

Ben:  Did you do the initial test that's like the 500 meter row, and then 50, whatever.

Rachel:  Yes.  I did.  I had to do all that stuff.

Ben:  It's like 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, something like that?

Rachel:  Yeah.  I had to do all that stuff, but I don't remember it, and I'm not getting involved in the competitive nature of it.

Ben:  Oh.  So you don't…

Rachel:  I'm just going.  No.  I'm just going to go and I'm just going to enjoy it.

Ben:  You will.  Just you wait.  Soon you'll have the knee-high compression socks.

Rachel:  Oh no.

Ben:  And you'll be headed down to California…

Rachel:  It's addictive.  I see why it's addictive.  It's pretty awesome.

Ben:  For the CrossFit games.  You mark my words, we'll all see Rachel at the CrossFit games snatching and running around the track with her abs popping.  This study actually looked at muscle strength, and hypertrophy, muscle growth, and body composition, and fat loss changes in response to protein intake.  And we've all been taught to suck down our whey protein shake within that magical post-workout window if we want size and if we want gains, but what this study found was that a resistance training protocol in which people were doing three times a week, working out for 10 weeks, and then they measured pre and post-workout protein consumption.  What they found was that it doesn't freaking matter whether you go into a workout having had some protein prior to the workout, or whether you take protein after the workout.  Pre or post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on skeletal muscle adaptations.

It turns out that all that really matters is that at some point before or after the workout you get protein into your system, and it appears that the most important thing to look into if you're trying to build strength, or if you're trying to build size, or if you're trying to recover adequately is that you simply have periods of time during the day in which you're consuming 20 to 30 grams of protein kind of throughout the day.  And if you do that, you'll maintain blood levels of amino acids that make it, so it doesn't matter if you have pre-exercise or post-exercise protein ingestion.  There is absolutely no evidence that you have that magical anabolic window of opportunity where you have to like rush out from your weight training session to suck down your protein shake.  All you have to do is just get protein in throughout the day and you're going to be good to go.

Rachel:  That's awesome.  That makes it a lot easier.

Ben:  Oh, so much easier for all those people that carry the little plastic cup.

Rachel:  Right.  Little bottles.

Ben:  You know, with the springy thing, that annoying little springy thing that gets the protein that clumps on it?

Rachel:  They do the shake.  Shake, shake, shake, shake, shake.  Yup.

Ben:  Right.  Exactly.  No more need to do that, or at least now you can do it in the comfort of your own home before you go to the gym.  And then kind of related to that, when it comes to post-workout recovery, here's a really cool little hack based on a recent study entitled “Vitamin C-enriched gelatin supplementation before activity augments collagen synthesis”.  So this one was kind of interesting.  Collagen, or gelatin, literally what you'd find in Jell-O, or also in things like bone marrow, and bone broth, and a lot of these kind of like the ancestral pieces of the animals that we might eat, we know that it can help with recovery from exercise, particularly because of the high amounts of amino acids like glycine and proline that's in it.

But what this study found was that you can kind of like a biohack your gelatin if you take vitamin C at the same time.  They found an incredibly significant increase in collagen content and in collagen synthesis when people took about 15 grams of gelatin, but then combined it with vitamin C.  And in this case, they used about 200 to 300 milligrams of vitamin C, which is not that much.  It's actually not even enough to, so you know how there's this talk out there about how antioxidants could potentially impair your adaptation to exercise.  The idea is that if you dump a bunch of vitamin C, and vitamin E, and glutathione, and all these other antioxidants into your body, it can blunt your body's own endogenous antioxidant production.  It can blunt the hormetic response to exercise.

Rachel:  Okay.  Yeah.

Ben:  We've talked about that before on the show.  Well, 200 to 300 milligrams of vitamin C isn't even close enough to achieve that, but it is enough to make the collagen that you consume far more available.  So you could even do something like get like a nice powdered vitamin C, for example, one company I've talked about before, it's American Nutraceuticals, they make a nice like vitamin C powder that you can like just like get off of Amazon, and you could put about 200 to 300 milligrams of vitamin C, even into bone broth.  Or you could like buy some gelatin, like some Great Lakes Gelatin, or Bernard Jensen is another company that makes gelatin, and you can basically mix that, mix about 15 grams of that with vitamin C and just drink that in a glass of water before you work out, or at any other time that you want to increase collagen synthesis.

The American Nutraceuticals Vitamin C, the cool thing about that is one scoop of that is about 200 milligrams.  So I'll link to that in the show notes.  I'm writing a note to myself right now that I recommend the American Nutraceuticals Vitamin C.  That's the one that's in my cupboard.  And again, don't take too much because it can blunt that hormetic response to exercise.

Rachel:  And collagen synthesis is good for a lot of other things outside of recovery, right?

Ben:  Beauty, hair, skin, nails.  It's like natural botox.  Just eat your Jell-O and your vitamin C. So last one that I wanted to touch on, this is really interesting, this article called “What Causes Heart Disease?”  And it's over on a really good web site of this Scottish physician, Scottish, that means he eats haggis, Malcolm Kendrick.  That's even a very Scottish name, isn't it?

Rachel:  It is.  Yeah.

Ben:  Malcolm Kendrick.  Malcolm Kendrick.  Anyways though, so what he goes into in this article is that, of course, there is this current dogma that saturated fat in the diet raises cholesterol levels and leads to heart disease, and he goes into how that has all been disproven.  What I mean by that is that there was this study called the Minnesota Coronary Experiment in which they substituted saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat, and the diet that was substituted with saturated fat was actually more effective at lowering cholesterol levels and had absolutely no effect on deaths for heart disease, and it involved, 9,000, more than 9,000 women and men across a wide variety of age ranges, 20 to 97 years old.  So the low saturated fat group did indeed have a significant reduction in their cholesterol, but there was absolutely no evidence of benefit for things like reducing coronary atherosclerosis, or what are called myocardial infarcts.

As a matter of fact, for every about 0.78 millimolar per liter reduction in cholesterol, so that's about a 20% reduction in cholesterol, there is a 22% higher risk of death.  Meaning that as you lower your cholesterol, your risk of death increases.  Does not decrease.  This is the largest controlled trial that was there was ever done of its kind, substituting saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat and seeing what happened.  It was not published or talked about when the dietary recommendations actually came out, and so it was completely ignored, this huge study that completely disproved that the diet heart cholesterol hypothesis.  He gets into this, go ahead.

Rachel:  It ran from 1968 to 1973, and it said the guidelines, hearings for the guidelines took place in 1977, which is four years later.  Did they actually suppress this study?

Ben:  This study was suppressed.  I just interviewed Nina Teicholz, the author of the book The Big Fat, I think it's called “The Big Fat Lie”, something like that, I should know, I just interviewed her a few days ago.  I'll release that soon, and we take a deep dive into why some of the stuff was suppressed, some of the studies were suppressed.  But more interestingly to me, in this article by this Scottish guy, what he says is if you're going to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, you must do at least one of three things.

Number one, protect the endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels.  Number two, reduce the risk of blood clots forming, especially over areas that might have endothelial damage in your vessels.  And number three, reduce the size and the tenacity, which is also called the difficulty of being broken down, of blood clots that can develop.  And he says if you can do all three of those things, you'll reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack or a stroke to virtually zero.  Protect the endothelium, reduce the risk of blood clots forming, and reduce the size and tenacity of blood clots that develop.  So he says the number one agent that can pull this off is nitric oxide.  He says anything that stimulates nitric oxide synthesis will be protective against cardiovascular disease.

Rachel:  Wow.

Ben:  Now, Rachel, drum roll please.  Perhaps this is asking you to cheat since I think you've read this article, but do you know the number one way to stimulate nitric oxide synthesis?  And it doesn't involve buying a $60 canister of the red nitric oxide jar from GNC.

Rachel:  No.  I'm going to say, no.  I don't know.

Ben:  Okay.  Sunlight.

Rachel:  What?

Ben:  Sunlight on the skin directly stimulates nitric oxide synthesis, and that's been shown to reduce blood pressure, improve arterial elasticity, and give you a whole host of beneficial things for your cardiovascular system, and reduce blood clot formation, and create vitamin D, which causes your own endothelial cells to produce their own nitric oxide, and so there's kind of a double benefit there.  Now there are other things that you can do.  I mean, infrared sauna, and consuming arugula and beets, and I suppose you could take viagra in a pinch.  But anything that massively produces nitric oxide, most importantly, sunshine on your skin.

Rachel:  And it's absolutely free as well.

Ben:  Well, kind of.  It depends.

Rachel:  Where you live?

Ben:  Yeah.  It depends on where you live.  Like for me, right now this time of year, I have to go on like a 10 minute hike to actually get out of the trench in the forest that I live in to see sunshine.  But of course, that's why I do things, like the infrared sauna, and exercise, and other things to help to stimulate nitric oxide production.  But a very interesting article, very interesting take, and this guy even has a book, it's called “Doctoring Data” by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick.  Check out his website, and we'll link to it in the show notes over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/363.

Special Announcements:

Ben:  So this is the part of the show where we tell you about cool stuff that we've discovered that go above and beyond just nerdy studies.  First of all, Rachel, you're probably not even interested in this, so you could probably go take a pee while I tell folks about this but it’s… because, Newsflash, Rachel is vegetarian.

Rachel:  It's true.

Ben:  You're still vegetarian, right?

Rachel:  Do you know what?  I'm actually dabbling in fish now.

Ben:  Oh, drum roll please.

Rachel:  Oh my god.

Ben:  Aww.  Cute little fish?  You're eating them?

Rachel:  I know.  No, I am.  I'm thinking about pescatarian.

Ben:  Aww, those cute little…

Rachel:  I'm moving over to the Dark Side.

Ben:  Oh my gosh.  Killing fish.  Anyways, this company called PaleoValley, so I found these fermented beef sticks.  So when you ferment beef, it actually concentrates the probiotics in beef.  That's why a lot of like our ancestors would've like buried the meat.  Or another thing a lot of hunters will do is like they'll, and I have one of these in my garage, a humidity and temperature controlled fridge where I can ferment, or what's also known as dry age, the meat that I eat, but it yields one billion naturally occurring probiotics, which of course cultivate gut health when you ferment beef.  And it also allows you to avoid the use of any artificial preservatives.

And what I mean by is most beef jerky use a citric acid, or lactic acid, and often get this from GMO corn coated in hydrogenated oil to get their beef sticks to actually last in your pantry.  But you can also just ferment the beef, and so this company PaleoValley, they use completely organic cows, so you've got a really high level of omega-3 fatty acids, 'cause that's one of the primary differences between like grain-fed cows, and what are called grass-fed and grass-finished cows, meaning these cows, it's not like they’re grass-fed their whole lives and they get grains for the last six months before they kill 'em off, these are grass-fed and grass-finished cows.

And so this company makes this jerky that is gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, non-GMO, and it's fermented, and it has some really good flavors.  I like the garlic summer sausage flavor myself, but they've got like jalapeno, and original, and, if Rachel, if you ever decide you're going to go above and beyond fish, this would be a good place to start.  They're called PaleoValley.  Here is how you get a discount on 'em: go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/PaleoValley and use code BEN10 to get 10% off.  We'll put that in the show notes too, but bengreenfieldfitness.com/PaleoValley.  You have to try these beef sticks.  They are amazing.

Also, I am headed down your way, Rachel.  I'm headed in the direction of Vancouver, Washington, very close to Portland, Oregon, right across the border.

Rachel:  I hope you're going to come and visit me.

Ben:  Well, no.  You'll have to come visit me at the NTA Conference.  I'm speaking at this Nutritional Therapy Association Conference, and this is a company that gives like nutritional therapy practitioner and consultant certifications.  I mean if you want to be a nutritionist, these are the folks to go through 'cause they have this really bio-individual ancestral approach to healing the body or nourishing the body with really nutrient-dense whole food.  So it's a very unique way to get a nutrition certification.  You're not going to learn about the USDA Food Pyramid from these folks.  This is like the frickin' like bone broth, kale nutrition certification.  So not only do they offer certifications, but then they also have this conference, and I'm going to be speaking at.  It goes March 3rd through the 5th, and so we'll put links in the show notes for you to register, but also if you just want to get the certification, you go to NutritionalTherapy.comNutritionalTherapy.com.  And a whole bunch of folks you may have heard of before are going to be speaking at the conference, Natasha Campbell McBride, Nora Gedgaudas, Allison Siebecker, who is kind of like the world's leading authority on small intestine bacterial overgrowth, pleasant thought.

Rachel:  Sounds fascinating.

Ben:  Terry Wahls.  As a matter of fact, I think all the speakers are female expect except me.

Rachel:  Oh, I love that.  I am definitely going.

Ben:  Yeah.  So there you go.  Yeah.  So check that out.  We'll link to that one in the show, or you could go to NutritionalTherapy.com.

I was talking about vegetable oils earlier, and I've talked a few times already about a new book that I just read.  It's kind of a redo of a book that I read a long time ago in 2008, but in 2016, the whole book just got rewritten.  So it looks at diets that are around the world to help people live longer and healthier lives, and this book delves into four different nutrition habits that have been shown to do things like produce symmetry, like make strong, and not just strong, but beautiful and intelligent children, and to cause like elders to live a really long time.  The four things it goes into are fresh food, fermented and sprouted foods, meats that have been cooked specifically on the bone, and organ meats, what they call The Human Diet.

It's a fascinating book, it also goes into how sugar isn't as big of a deal in our diets when it comes to health as vegetable oils are, in terms of being extremely destructive, which kind of harkens back to that saturated versus polyunsaturated fat article I was just talking about earlier.  But this book is called “Deep Nutrition”, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food”.  One of the best diet books that I think I've ever read.  You shouldn't read it, Rachel, because you'll probably want to start eating meat off the bone if you do.  I'm just saying.  I mean you're a Crossfitter now.

Rachel:  I know.

Ben:  You don't run into many…

Rachel:  Oh, they gave me a big nutritional talk about eating meat as well.

Ben: Yeah.  You don't run into many live vegetarian Crossfitters.  You gotta eat meat if you're going to snatch.  Everybody knows that.  That should be a meme.

Rachel:  So you didn't read the book, you listened to it.

Ben:  Yes, and it is over it Audible, and everybody who is listening to this show, you can get this book for free, 30-day trial.  You go to audible.com/Benaudible.com/Ben, and that lets you download the [0:37:25] ______ for free, and start listening, and it will allow you to like have Whispersync, which lets you switch back and forth between reading and listening on Kindle, you can share audio excerpts from your favorite listens with anyone, you can listen fast if you want to listen to it really fast, or you can listen to it slow.  But anyways, audible.com/Ben, and that's the book I'd recommend you check out.  Honestly.  It's on Audible, it's got a high, high rating as well.  So check that one out, “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food”.

And then finally this podcast is brought to you by something that is on my wrist right now, the Denali.  Have you seen the Denali?

Rachel:  I haven't seen the Denali.

Ben:  Okay.  So the Denali is a watch and it's made by this super cool company called MVMT Watches.  It's called a sport series watch, and it is this beautiful, beautiful watch, it's got like black and rose gold hands, the case is made out of stainless steel, it's got like this flexible, kind of steely type of band that moves as you go on it.  Anyways, but it looks good.  It looks like a frickin' $500 watch, and these watches run anywhere from 100 to a 150 bucks.  They've got some that are just 95 bucks.  So beautiful watches, like they cut out the middleman to give you a really good price, but then they have like for men and women, these minimalist styles, quality construction.

Rachel:  Wow!  They're incredible.

Ben:  Did you go to their website?

Rachel:  Yes!  Oh my god, there's a gunmetal gray one there.  That looks awesome.

Ben:  I have a white one too with a leather strap.  It's amazing.  I put that on when I wear my white pants a lot…

Rachel:  I love a good watch.

Ben:  And my adjustable high heels.  Anyways though, so this company, they're providing all of our listeners with a discount.  You get a 15% discount when you go to MVMTwatches.com/Ben.  That's MVMTwatches.com/Ben, and you can step up your watch game.  So there you have it.

Rachel:  Beautiful.

Ben:  Yes.  And I believe those are the majority of our news flashes.  There's probably one other thing we should mention, or a couple of other things we should mention.  We'll put these in the show notes, but I'm teaching at the Brain Optimization Summit, January 20th through the 22nd, and that's an online summit in which a whole bunch of biohackers, and nootropic professionals, and scientists reveal things that specifically improve mental performance.  So we'll put a link to that one in the show notes over a bengreenfieldfitness.com/363.  And then I think, what else?

Rachel:  And finally, we are giving away a Joov light if you go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/JoovGiveaway, there's three days left to enter, and there are multiple ways to enter to increase your chances of winning.

Ben:  So Joov Light, real quick, what that is, for those of you who are curious, is the Joov light is the light that I shine on my balls for about 5 to 20 minutes.

Rachel:  Right on the knackers.

Ben:  And it can be used in both men and women for vascularity, and for increasing drive, et cetera, but it can also be used to do things like induce nitric oxide production and to basically give you a lot of the benefits that you get from something like infrared therapy.  So it's called the Joov Light, I'll flip mine on right now.  See?  Flipping it on, pulling my pants down, naked, shining red light on my balls.  But it works.  Seriously.  Within five minutes, I'm going to be so fertile.  My sperm will be coming through the, this is getting gross.  We should probably move on to…

Rachel:  Moving on.

Ben:  Moving on.

Listener Q&A:

Joe:  Hi, it's Joe Deduro calling from Phoenix.  I'm just wondering if you could explain how to train your heart rate variability with mental exercises or breathing exercises for your Fitbit HRV program.  How can we train our HRV, much less monitor it?  Thanks a bunch.

Ben:  Heart rate variability.  We've talked about it a lot before on the show.  Do you measure heart rate variability, by the way?

Rachel:  I went through a phase of doing it, but honestly I know we have talked about it a lot of on the show, but I still don't really get it.

Ben:  Very, very simple.  It's the variation and the time interval between your heartbeats.

Rachel:  I get that part.  I don't get the training it and the, like understanding all the different metrics and all that sort of stuff.

Ben:  Yeah.  Well, we've got some podcasts on it, so I'm not going to kick the horse to death when it comes like beginner HRV, but the idea is that you measure the variation in the beat to be intervals.  So not your heart rate per minute, but the amount of time in between each heartbeat, and that reflects a whole bunch of different physiological factors that modulate the normal rhythm of the heart.  So it allows you to look at the interplay between your sympathetic, or your fight and flight, and your parasympathetic, or your rest and digest, branches of your nervous systems.

So what they've shown is that this can do everything from help to predict impending cardiac disease, to help to predict like overtraining, injury, help you to know if something you did the day before affected your nervous system, help you to know whether you're ready, Rachel, for another Crossfit WOD, just tells you a lot about your readiness to train.  ‘Cause your heartbeat varies from beat to beat, and that's your heart rate variability.  And counterintuitively, you would think that the higher your heart rate variability, the healthier you are, but sometimes that's not necessarily the case.

You want some amount of variability, but that variability means that the time in between one heartbeat might be .93 seconds, and then the next one might be .98 seconds, and then 1.3 seconds, and then .95 seconds.  So it's kind of like little, tiny responses, or little, tiny variations in between each heartbeat as you go through it.  Now there are certain ways that we can increase, HRV, and some of them, we've talked about before, just getting good sleep, and properly programming or training so you're not overtraining, et cetera.  But then there are some other things that you can do that we haven't talked about on the show before, like new ways that you could increase your HRV.  And I'll get into those in just a second, but before I do, I want to throw a caveat in here, because you having your HRV high isn't necessarily always good.

Rachel:  See, this is where it gets confusing for me.

Ben:  Okay.  So I'll…

Rachel:  So break it down for me, Ben.  C'mon.  Layman me.

Ben:  I'll break this down.  So we found that acute decreases in heart rate variability can occur following intense bouts of endurance training, intense bouts of resistance training, and intense bouts of competition.  And so low HRV is commonly thought to provide a reflection of acute fatigue from training, or from competing, and sure enough, we see decreased HRV, especially in athletes before competition due to heightened levels of excitement, or heightened levels of anxiety, or training really hard going into the competition.  But that doesn't necessarily forecast that there is going to be a reduction in performance, and in some cases, we'll see athletes who are kind of nervous going into a race, or excited, and aren't necessarily overtrained actually having improved performance with a low heart rate variability.

In some cases, you can purposefully train yourself, and train really, really hard, get your HRV kind of low, and then throw in a few recovery days, and you super compensate, you bounce back even stronger than you were before.  So sometimes, you actually want to train yourself into a state of low heart rate variability to induce this hormetic response in which you bounce back even stronger than ever.

And then in other cases, you should know that, and this is, for example, a study that they did in tennis players, and they also did another study on soccer players, and they found that these folks leading into their competition had a low HRV on the day of the competition, but it was due to excitement and nervousness, not necessarily overtraining.  And sure, you can improve that with things like meditation, and mindfulness, and visualization, and things along those lines, but it doesn't necessarily mean your performance is going to go to crap or you shouldn't workout at all if the HRV is low.  Sometimes it just means that you are excited, you're anxious, and you can acutely fix that with something as simple as meditation, or a nap, or visualization, or something like that.  You don't have to like say, “Okay, I'm going to go take two days off and I'm not going to compete.”

Rachel:  But is it true that a consistently low HRV is bad?

Ben:  Consistently low for a long period of time, yes.  That's unfavorable, and typically if it's staying low for about three to five days in a row, there is going to be some type of injury or illness that follows.

Rachel:  Interesting.

Ben:  But at the same time, having it always high, extremely high, if you are an endurance athlete in particular, can be concerning.  So what they've found in research on endurance athletes is that in many cases, if you are an endurance athlete doing a lot of training of the parasympathetic nervous system, meaning long aerobic exercise, which tends to have a stimulatory effect on parasympathetic modulation, that's going to increase HRV.  But that increased HRV is essentially due to a parasympathetic nervous system that's being constantly stimulated with very little bouts of high intensity interval training and very little bouts of high intensity training.

So what this means is that if you're not doing strength training, and you're not doing intense interval training, and you're an aerobic athlete like a marathoner, or a cyclist, or a swimmer, or a triathlete, and your heart rate variability is always high, but you're feeling kind of beat up and you can't figure it out, you're like, “My HRV is high, but I am still struggling with my training sessions.”  It could be because you're simply doing way too damn much parasympathetic nervous system work.  And in those type of cases, HRV stays high, and it's not a good thing.

Rachel:  And you would be able to notice that in your, is it LF and, what's the other one?

Ben:  Aye. Wow.  Nice.  You've been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show.  If you use, so I developed an app for measuring heart rate variability, it's called NatureBeat.  You can find it if you just do a search for NatureBeat, but it will show what's called your low frequency power and your high frequency power.  High frequency will correspond to your parasympathetic nervous system and low frequency to your sympathetic nervous system.  So if you have a very, very high high frequency power, but a very low low frequency power, and your HRV is high, then that would mean you fall directly into that category that I just talked about in which a high HRV is not necessarily a good thing.  Makes sense?

Rachel:  Yes!  It makes sense, but it's just so, I guess, it's complex and it seems like it's an individualized thing.  You can't just like, it's not general.

Ben:  It is kind of general, actually.  It's individualized in that, let's say if you're in aerobic athlete, then things are going to change versus if you're, say, a Crossfitter.  So if you're a Crossfitter and you're doing a wide range of different activities and your HRV is high, you're probably recovered.  You're an aerobic athlete and you're doing a ton of aerobic training and your HRV is high, you might actually be overtrained.  Specifically your parasympathetic nervous system…

Rachel:  So you're not always looking at just the HRV metric, but you're looking at the balance of that LF and the HF.

Ben:  Yeah.  Exactly.  Now…

Rachel:  And if you have all three of them, then you're doing really well.

Ben:  Yup, yup.  You got it.  And we've done a lot of podcast before on how to increase your heart rate variability, like we've got one podcast called “How To Hack Your Nervous System”, and another one called “How To Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve”, and we go into a ton of different ways that you could increase heart rate variability in those episodes.  Like I talk about using Chinese adaptogenic herbs.  So that's things like ashwagandha, and rhodiola, and there's this little packet of Chinese adaptogenic herbs I'll occasionally take if my heart rate's really suppressed, or my heart rate variability is supressed, it's TianChi.  Cannabidiol has been shown to have a favorable effect on heart rate variability, as can neurofeedback, and also a form of heart rate variability training called quick coherence training.  And so I'll link to that podcast episode called “How To Hack Your Nervous System” in which I go into some of those methods for increasing heart rate variability.

I also interviewed a guy named Dr. Joseph Cohen in which we talked about 32 different ways that one could stimulate their vagus nerve, and the reason I'm bringing that up is because the vagus nerve, if you are increasing the tone of your vagus nerve, then what you're doing is actually stimulating the nerve that's most responsible for allowing you to increase your heart rate variability.  And in that particular episode, we talk about some other kind of more fringe ways to increase vagus nerve tone, and we're talking about things like massages, and fasting, and even like gargling, and chanting, and singing.

We also get into some other things that increase it, that perhaps fly under the radar a little bit more.  For example, large amounts of exposure to sunshine, speak of the devil.  It's really good for stimulation of the vagus nerve, paying attention to your thyroid hormone status, and especially making sure that your free T3 is high, your active thyroid hormone is high, that also would be a way to check up on the status of your vagus nerve, or to increase the health of your vagus nerve.  We even talk about little things during that episode, like chewing gum, because chewing gum releases something called cholecystokinin, in which is like a digestive stimulant, and that can actually cause a stimulation of the vagus nerve, 'cause the vagus nerve travels from your brain to your gut.  Coffee enemas, coffee enemas can actually stimulate the vagus nerves as well, as can acupuncture.

So there's a whole bunch of different ways to do this, but one thing that we talk about that I think a lot of people don't do enough of is exposure to electromagnetic fields, and specifically not the type that come from your cell phone, okay?  So don't start holding your cell phone up to your ear and telling everybody you heard about that in the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show as a good way to make your nerves healthy.  It's actually the use of either grounding, or earthing, like getting outside in your bare feet, grounding by like laying down a grounding mat, or laying down the Earth.

But then also one really interesting, kind of n=1 experiment, and there was a great article over on the SweetBeat website, and SweetBeat, they're folks who do a lot of research on heart rate variability, and they talk about this little device, and I sleep with this device, it's called a DeltaSleeper, a DeltaSleeper.  It's a pulsed electromagnetic field therapy device that emits a very, very low power signal.  So we're not talking about something like sleeping with a cell phone on you, but you put on your collarbone, directly over your brachial plexus, which is a nerve bundle right near your shoulder that causes a delta brain wave signal to be sent to your brain, so it enhances sleep.  You put this thing on, you press the little button, and you fall asleep like a baby.  But the idea is that that also stimulates the vagus nerve, and so you can put this whole device over the brachial plexus, sleep with it while wearing it, and that's a really, really good way to increase heart rate variability.

I haven't talked about its effect on heart rate variability before on the show, but you'll notice if you measure a distinct increase in heart rate variability when you wake up, after having put this thing on either the collarbone, or the other place that you can put it, oddly enough, is over your third eye chakra, that center right in between your eyes, and when you do that, it not only stimulates your vagus nerve, but it also assist with lucid dreaming.  So that's kind of a lesser-known way to increase HRV, but one that I'd definitely throw in there is a pretty potent way to do it.

Rachel:  And in your other articles, do you talk specifically about breathing exercises?

Ben:  Yeah.  Breathing is a big one, especially like deep nasal breathing.  And one of the best ways is alternate nostril breathing where you breathe in through your left nose with your right nose plugged up with the finger, and then you breathe out through your right nose as you plug your right nostril as you plug your left nostril.  Alternate nostril breathing is really good.  Other things that we talk about are high intake of seafood, like EPA and DHA, that's really really good for the vagus nerve, oxytocin which you, I have some in my freezer that I can inject, but believe it or not, you can also get it from having sex, or hugging, or…

Rachel:  Sounds way more fun to do it that way.

Ben:  You don't want a freezer full of oxytocin?

Rachel:  No, or needles.

Ben:  A lot of different ways that you can do this.  But I'll link to, because we have 32 different ways you can stimulate the vagus nerve and increase heart rate variability, I'll link to that podcast, as well as the one on how to hack your nervous system, as well as the one on this PEMF device I just talked about if you just go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/363.  But that's where I would start.

Andrea:  Hey, Ben Greenfield!  It's Andrea Bowden, and I am an almost 52-year old athlete who intends to win a Spartan Sprint.  And what I would like to know is if you have any Ben Greenfield sage advice for a 52-year old athlete that you might not give a 20-something, or a 30-something year old athlete, something that would be different other than the normal training things and recovery things, something that would give me an edge that I might not have already thought of.  Thanks so much, and I look forward to hearing your answer.

Ben:  Well, the good news is, Rachel, is that they have done research and they've shown that you don't just have to crawl into a grave as soon as you turn 50.

Rachel:  Good stuff.  You don't just have to roll over and die.

Ben:  Yeah.  Now I actually wrote an article on this study a little while ago, it was last year that a study came out in which they took young men, and they took old men, and they had them do 10 weeks of pretty high volume weight training.  And they did a whole bunch of different weight training exercises for 10 weeks in a row, and what they found was that while the young men actually did have higher amounts of mass, higher amounts of hypertrophy in terms of developing muscle, both groups experienced very similar increases in strength.  The young men were, on average, 29 nine years old, the old men were on average, 64 years old, but they both had similar increases in strength between the younger and the older men.

And so it turns out that, yeah, if you want to get swole, you might not be able to do it quite as easily when you're old, unless you're doing things like testosterone injections, and growth hormone injections, and all these things that would help you to maintain muscle mass as you age.  But when it comes to strength, it turns out that by just continuing on a strength training program, you can maintain strength, or increase strength just as well as you did when you were younger.  At least we know this up to the age of 64 years old, and in that study, it was 64 plus or minus eight.  So the oldest person in that study was 72 years old.

So that's kind of promising, that we know that you can maintain strength.  And when we look at the studies that have been done on how seniors should train, we can see some of the things that they tend to respond best to.  So for example, motor neuron recruitment, or stimulation of the neuromuscular system, that's something that becomes extremely important as you age.  That means improving things like postural control, and adding what are called sensorimotor components to strength training.  So this means the things that perturbate the brain, meaning exercising on an unstable surface, including things like slacklining, including things like a balance board that you could stand on while you're working, including things like single leg training, I don't want you to be the idiot at the gym standing on the BOSU ball, pressing 50-pound dumbbells, or doing like barbell squats on a stability ball.  But at the same time, if you're a senior, every single exercise session that you do should include some kind of a balance component because it appears that when we look at the response of, especially seniors, and when I'm saying seniors, the ages vary, but usually we're looking at 60 plus years.  I realize that Andrea is saying she's 52, but a lot of this stuff, these are things that are important as you approach that age of 60 to become all the more important.

So focusing on balance appears to be very important, strength training of course is important, but strength training with balance worked in, that's crucial.  Another thing that they found, two other things I would like to mention before we delve into the training protocols that I'd recommend for something like Spartan Training, one that they found to work really well, especially in older trainees, because it allows for you to be able to, without putting a lot of stress on the joints, get a large amount of skeletal muscle hypertrophy and a growth hormone release even when exercising at very low intensities is something called blood flow restricted exercise.  This is also known as occlusion training, and also known as Kaatsu training.  Have you heard of this before, Rachel?

Rachel:  Yes.  You did a post on that on Facebook recently.

Ben:  Yeah.  I have some now.  My friend gave a few of these, what they're called BFR bands, blood flow restricted bands to mean, and what you do for example is you'll strap them around the legs and you'll do a set of 30 squats, and then rest for 20 seconds, then a set of 20 squats, then rest for twenty seconds, then a set of 10 squats, and rest for 20 seconds.  Or you'll put them around your arms and do a 30, 20, 10 push-up routine.  A lot of different ways to do it, but the idea is that you're using a modified blood pressure cuff, or more or less a tourniquet, or some other type of wrapping device to cut off blood flow to the muscle while you're training.

When you do that, you get a huge flux of lactic acid building up in the muscle tissue.  They've shown that you stimulate the protein synthesis pathway, mammalian target of rapamycin, also known as the mTOR pathway, and you get a big growth hormone response.  In one study, they found a growth hormone response 290 times above baseline when you use occlusion training, or blood flow restricted training, during your strength training sessions rather than leaving your muscles untourniqueted, and able to breathe, and have blood flow as normal thing.

Rachel:  That's insane.  So you can…

Ben:  That's much higher than you would even see with like a traditional high intensity exercise, like sprint routine.

Rachel:  Can you just add the bands to your already established strength routine?  You don't have to change it?

Ben:  Yup.

Rachel:  So could you just add the bands in a CrossFit class?

Ben:  You could just add the bands in a CrossFit class, although because blood flow is restricted, you need to make sure that the complexity of exercises is taken into account.  And the whole idea behind doing this, and the studies that have been done in seniors, and the elderly in particular, used strength training that was kind of lower intensity, slightly higher rep, and a little bit more of what you would consider to be like a circuit-based machine workout at the gym versus extremely complex exercises, which can be tough to do when your fingernails are turning blue.  And by the way, don't put these things on so tight that your fingernails turn blue.  You can actually do a blood flow check.  You put 'em on, and then you press down on your fingernail, and if the blood returns, they're not too tight.  And if the blood doesn't return and your fingernail stays white, that's bad news bears.  So you need to loosen up the tourniquet a little bit.

But occlusion training is certainly something that, as I age, I'm going to be doing more of, based on these studies that have been done in seniors.  The other thing that has been found is that the need for small frequent feedings of about 20 to 25 grams of protein, as we already kind of touched on interestingly enough, appears to be extremely beneficial to maximize and stimulate protein synthesis, especially as you age, if you want to maintain muscle mass.  And so, whereas this whole concept of like the Warrior Diet, have you heard of the Warrior Diet before, Rachel?

Rachel:  Yep.

Ben:  Yeah.  So you like go a long period of time between eating, you eat like maybe your hunter-gatherer ancestors would have where you might find a deer, or shoot a deer every three days and have massive amounts of protein, and then you've got protein-restricted diet for several days following that.  Well in seniors, that's not a good idea.  And even me.  Like I'll have a big ol' rib eye steak, like once every few days, and then I'll do trace amounts of seeds, and nuts, and eggs, and fish in between.  But as you age, it appears that small frequent protein feedings become very important because your body has a reduced ability in terms of its hydrochloric acid and its digestive enzyme production to be able to break down proteins.  And so, getting small frequent bits of protein throughout the day is really important if you're a senior.  So that, along with occlusion training, along with balance training, are probably the three most important things that you should focus on as you age.

Rachel:  You're probably about to answer this question, but I want to ask anyway.  So she's 52 and she wants to win a Spartan Sprint, and she's going to be going up against people who are all different ages.  How could get an edge over them?

Ben:  Yeah.  So one of my friends, Matt Novakovich, he's also known as “The Bear”, he's one of the top senior, he's like 40, like early 40's, but he's like a Masters supposed I’ve seen him, but a Masters.  You know one of his secrets to training is, and I started doing this last year because the guy who was coaching him at the time, Yancy Culp, made this recommendation to me.  Probably one of the best investments I ever made, and it's sitting out in my garage, and it allows me to get the same metabolic benefits of running with none of the joint impact of running, and Matt's able to run an extremely fast 5K, an extremely fast per mile pace, and everything from Spartan Sprints up to Spartan Beast, and this is the single part of his training that he does most often.  And you know what it is?

Rachel:  What?

Ben:  It's an incline treadmill.

Rachel:  Really?

Ben:  Most treadmills at the gym will go up to 15%.  This one goes up to 40%.  It's an incline treadmill.  You can carry sandbags on it, but I mean I can walk it three and a half miles per hour in a 30% incline and feel as though I'm running at a steady, very hard cliff, but with almost no joint impact, which is really important, especially as you age and especially when you take into account that a lot of these Spartan races do have pretty significant amounts of incline.  So your ankle is in the same type of dorsiflexion as you're going to experience on some of these steep slopes in a Spartan, 'cause god knows they like to choose courses that have these big, steep, hilly routes that go through them.  But it's the incline treadmill, and you can hit an incline treadmill almost every day, and bounce back, and be ready for the next session.  Whereas when you run, it's a good 48 hours, especially as you age, before your joints kind of feel normal again.

Rachel:  Yup.

Ben:  So that's probably one of the most potent things that you can do is to get your hands on an incline treadmill and start to use that thing quite frequently for walking, for interval walking, for carrying sand bags, et cetera.  That would be one thing that I would do a lot of.  The other thing I know Matt does quite a bit of is hanging.  He'll spend long periods of time hanging.  One really effective grip workout that Yancy Culp will give to me, and I know Matt Novakovich will do this, and it's called the 10-100 training protocol where you do one pull-up, and then you drop out of that pull-up and you hang for 10 seconds, and then you do another pull-up, and you drop out of that pull-up and you hang for 10 seconds.  And you can even put an interval timer on your phone to help you keep track, where it beeps or vibrates every 10 seconds.  And every time it beeps or vibrate, you just do another pull-up, and you see how many pull-ups you can get up to.  And a pretty respectable number is 10.  So if you can do 10 pull-ups with a 10 second hang in between each one, that's a pretty good sign that your grip strength is going up, and I think that's a good number to shoot for, especially as you age.  So that's another thing to focus on.

What I tell people is if you want to be good at Spartan, it's mostly being a good, efficient, economical runner, and having really, really good grip strength.  Like if you were just going to focus on two things that would be it.  Probably the third most important thing would be able to move after you've done an obstacle to be able to get back to running or moving very quickly.  You'll see a lot of people will walk for a hundred yards after an obstacle, or stop with their hands on their knees, taking their breath between an obstacle.  And if you can include workouts that force you to run right after you've done a set of pull-ups, or run right after you've done a set of bear crawls or mountain climbers, or run right after you've done a bunch of med ball squat thrusters, that's a really, really good way to train your body how to just get used to clearing lactic acid while you're still moving.  And that's something else I'll do is I'll use that incline treadmill in the garage, but then I'll have like a heavy bucket, and a pull-up bar, and like a sandbag, and I'll hop off the treadmill every four minutes or so, and do a really quick weight training circuit, and then get back on the treadmill while my heart rate's still high from the weight training, and start moving again.  Just to train the body to move, lift, move, lift, move, lift.

Rachel:  And is that a common training technique in Spartan training?  Does every know that, or is that like a little secret?

Ben:  People know that, but a lot of people, they'll just say, “Oh, I'm going to go do CrossFit and go on a run once a week.”  Whereas sometimes, you have to get a little bit more sport specific to be good at Spartan.  I will put a link in bengreenfieldfitness.com/363 to two other helpful articles for you, Andrea.  One is called “The Anti-Aging Secrets of the World's Fittest Old People”.  And in that, I go into the training protocols of folks like Charles Eugster, who's one of the top old sprinters in the world, and some of the things that he does, Laird Hamilton, Mark Sisson, Don Wildman.  I get into a whole bunch of their specific training protocols and some little secrets that I took away from studying what they do.  So I would definitely check out that article.

And then the other one that I would read is my article on how to naturally keep growth hormone levels elevated as you age because blood flow restricted training, which I just talked about, is, as you probably know, a potent way to increase growth hormone, as is sleep.  But a few things that I talk about in that article are things like colostrum, things like raw milk, whey protein, all these little things that, especially as you age, you should definitely include in your diet as natural sources of what's called IGF-1 and growth hormone.  So if you're going to spread little protein feedings throughout the day, you should also, as you age, use a little bit of colostrum every day, and try and get some raw dairy into your diet, even if it's just a few times a day.  I mean you could even do like little raw cubes of cheese, or butter.  It doesn't necessarily have to be a goat that you adopt and name Myrtle who travels around with you everywhere you go on a leash.

Rachel:  I would be down with Myrtle.  I would like to have a Myrtle.

Ben:  Little Myrtle.  Little dwarf goat named Myrtle that you keep in your purse, like Paris Hilton.

Rachel:  What are your goats' names?

Ben:  Our goats' names are Toffee and Caramel.

Rachel:  Toffee and Caramel.

Ben:  They're Nigerian dwarf goats, but they're pretty damn big fat goats.  They're not like these tiny, little petite dolls that you carry around with you.  They're still pretty big.

Rachel:  Goats are hilarious.  Have you seen goat yoga's taking off?  Yoga?

Ben:  I did see that goat yoga.  How does goat yoga work exactly?

Rachel:  You just do yoga in a goat pen, and it's incredible.  They come and like jump all over you, and they like give you little kisses on the face.  Then you downward dog, they like climb on you.

Ben:  That sounds incredibly annoying.

Rachel:  Oh my god.  I can't wait.

Ben:  Have a goat in your face.  I can't even do yoga with my dogs around 'cause they get in my face, and they lick me, and they get really clingy.  You're doing down dog, and you look up, and there's some dog's (censored) right there in your face as they're just kind of like chilling, or they'll like sit on your hand.

Rachel:  Yup!

Ben:  Yeah.  I don't know.

Rachel:  I'm down for goat yoga.

Ben:  Goat yoga, dog yoga, baby yoga.  I just, I want to do yoga.  I want to just be out by myself, just be a complete (censored), lock myself away, do my yoga, get my meditation on.

Rachel:  Well, you can do that too.  I'm going to hang out with the goats.

Ben:  No goats.  I don't want any goats.  No, thank you.  But goats are good to drink the milk of.

Rachel:  They are.

Ben:  So there you go.  Alright.  So hopefully that helps, Andrea.  Best of luck, and I'll put links to this stuff over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/363.

Mark:  Hey, Ben.  This is Mark.  My question is about training to climb Denali.  I signed up for a trip there in about seven months, and I have a good amount of climbing experience, but nothing quite like this.  This is definitely the next step.  So a few questions.  One is what you'd recommend for training strategies, strength versus endurance, certain exercises you would definitely include to train for this.  Also, how you would prepare the body for the cold that we'd see up on the mountain.  Also, what you'd recommend for dealing with the high altitude, any strategies for training.  I live in New England, so we have some mountains, but nothing high altitude.  So how to prepare the body for altitude, and then even on the mountain, any strategies or supplements you'd recommend to deal with high altitude.  And then finally, nutrition for a trip like this.  It's about two to three weeks of climbing.  And in the past, on trips like this, I've definitely lost a lot of weight.  So any ideas or strategies for that as well?  Thanks so much!  Love the podcast.  Take care.

Ben:  You ever been to Denali, Rachel?

Rachel:  I haven't, Ben.  Have you been to Denali?

Ben:  Well, like I mentioned, I've got a watch on called the Denali watch.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  Yeah.  No.  Isn't that where Mt. McKinley is?

Rachel:  I don't know.

Ben:  I'm pretty sure it's in Alaska.

Rachel:  It is.  Yeah.

Ben:  And I thought Mt. McKinley was in Alaska.  I think.  I don't know.  Yeah, it's in Alaska.  Mt. McKinley, Denali, Alaska.  20,000 feet high.  So, yeah.  There's some definite things that you can do if you're going to climb.  He's got a lot of questions here.

Rachel:  There's a lot.

Ben:  So let's kind of take these on one at a time.  First of all, training strategies and recommendations for doing with high altitude, like in terms of strategies, supplements, et cetera.  That's the biggest piece of this question, so let's respond to that first.  I want to give you, let's say my top five ways to train for altitude that don't necessarily involve moving to the Himalayas or sleeping in an altitude tent.  Okay?

Rachel:  Right.

Ben:  So let's say you're just like the average person and you need to get ready for altitude.  One would be static apnea tables.  Free divers use these a lot to increase their tolerance to low amounts of O2, or high amounts of CO2.  And what that means is, and you've taken a free diving course, right Rachel?

Rachel:  I have, yes.

Ben:  Yeah.  So it's a carbon dioxide, or what's called the CO2 static apnea table basically has you hold your breath for a certain amount of time, like let's say two minutes, with decreasing intervals of recovery between each hold.  You can do these while you're freakin' watching Game of Thrones, or driving, well, don't do it while you're driving your car.

Rachel:  Probably not a good idea.

Ben:  Maybe while somebody else is driving your car.  Or you're on an airplane.  But you hold your breath for two minutes, and then you recover for two, then you hold your breath for two minutes, you recover for a minute and half, then you hold the breath for two minutes, you recover for a minute, and then you hold your breath for two minutes, and you recover for thirty seconds.  And there apps, if you go to the iTunes App Store, or any other app store, you can find apps that literally just like ding every time you're supposed to hold your breath, and then every time you're supposed to recover and breathe.

And an O2 table, whereas a CO2 table increases your tolerance to build-up of CO2, an O2 table is, it's kind of the opposite where you'll hold your breath for two minutes, and then recover for two minutes, then hold your breath for two and a half minutes, then recover for two minutes, then hold your breath for three minutes, and recover for two minutes.  And so it's kind of the opposite.  The breath hold time gets increasingly longer, rather than the rest intervals getting increasingly shorter.  But you can easily go through a couple of static apnea tables a few times a week while you're doing other activities.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  So that's a really cool way…

Rachel:  Quick and easy…

Ben:  Yeah.  Yeah there's like this book called “The Oxygen Advantage” in which, and I'm interviewing this guy and releasing a podcast with him soon where they talk about like how Bear Grylls, when he was training for, he did a big climb somewhere, I think it was Everest, he did a ton of, because he didn't have access to altitude, he would do like breath restricted swim training, which is very similar to these static apnea tables where you go for a long swim, and you hold your breath, and only breathe every six strokes, for example.  But these type of things can actually help significantly with your ability to be able to tolerate high amounts of CO2 and also your ability to be able to produce blood cell precursors, specifically erythropoietin, or EPO.  So that's one thing that I would do.

The next one would be sauna, and there's been some really interesting studies that have found that training in the heat increases plasma volumes, so blood plasma volume and this eythropoietin, very similar to the apnea tables, but that can also elicit physiological adaptations that allow you to replicate much of what you would get if you were going to do altitude acclimation.  So there's this odd crossover between exercising in a hot environment, like pulling an exercise bike or a treadmill into a sauna, or even just exercising really hard, and then going in, and doing some yoga or stretching for a while in the sauna afterwards.  But it turns out that even the studies that they've done where they've taken groups of folks, and they've had them do altitude training, and then they've had another group of folks do sauna training and brought them both to altitude, it appears at the sauna training is just as efficacious as altitude training, with the caveat that the effects don't stick with you as long as they stick with you when you're doing altitude training.  But still, very, very cool way to be able to train for altitude even if you don't have access to altitude.

Rachel:  Right.  Exactly.

Ben:  Yeah.

Rachel:  So sauna and static apnea tables.

Ben:  Yep.  So we've got the sauna, we've got static apnea tables.  The next one that I would look into as a strategy would be echinacea.  So I actually interviewed this fella named Craig Dinkel, and I link to my podcast interview with him, but in that podcast, he goes into the use of echinacea to improve oxygen transport capacity, and also to stimulate erythropoiesis production, and also the activity levels of T-cells, which causes you to produce your own growth factors also responsible for increasing EPO production.  And so, they've shown massive increases in oxygen availability and a huge boost in eryhthropoietin, very similar to if you were blood doping with the use of echinacea.  And this guy actually makes, based on this, full disclosure, he sells a supplement that has like echinacea and a bunch of other things that assist with, specifically altitude performance.  He's a climber, so it's got like desiccated liver fat, or desiccated liver powder, and chlorella, and beetroot, and all these things have been shown to help with altitude.  But then also echinacea, which kind of flies under the radar.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  And we talk in that interview about the mechanism of action, via which erythropoietin can be stimulated with the consumption of echinacea.  But it's really interesting, you can use echinacea as a way to increase your blood cell count and increase erythropoietin production.  And that's a relatively inexpensive little supplement hack that you can use.

Rachel:  I would love to see these all done, and then I would love for Mark to come back and tell us if it worked.

Ben:  Uhuh.  Yeah, exactly.  Because all these little things do add up quite a bit.  And granted there are other compounds in addition to erythropoietin that work really well that you'll see like a lot of Sherpas who guide people up Mount Everest using, like rhodiola, and cordyceps, although cordyceps is actually in that supplement that I just mentioned, that Bio Tropic Supplement.  And I'll link to the interview that I did with those guys in the show notes.  But, yeah.  Echinacea, if you're just going to choose one, appears to be one of the most potent and one of the lesser known for performance at altitude.  A couple of other things that I would do, so I've given you three so far, right?

Rachel:  Yup!

Ben:  The sauna, the static apnea tables, and echinacea.  Another one would be, and a lot of people laugh at this, but it actually does work.  So this particular device will increase the amount of CO2 that's right in front of your mouth when you breathe.  So you increase your tolerance to carbon dioxide and what's called metabolic acidosis, but it also puts a relatively large strain on your intercostal muscles around your ribs, your serratus muscles, and your diaphragm, and your inspiratory and expiratory muscles.  It's a form of resisted breath training.  Whereas a static apnea table would be a form of restricted breath training, this be a form of resisted breath training.  Does not decrease the partial pressure of oxygen in the air that you are breathing, but it does have a really potent effect on improving your ability to be able to withstand lower amounts of oxygen availability, or specifically higher amounts of CO2.  And they've shown, in clinical studies, that this can increase aerobic capacity, improve lung function, and even increase what are called some of the hematological variables, meaning some of the same blood variables such as hematocrit, or hemoglobin, that are involved in altitude training.  And if this is the…

Rachel:  What is this?

Ben:  This is the training mask, just the basic training mask that a lot of people laugh 'cause the Crossfitters in their knee-high compression socks go running down the streets with their barbells over their shoulders wearing their training mask.  But this thing actually does work, especially if you don't have access to a $4,000 hypoxic training device.  But it's literally just restricting breath flow.  You can wear it when you're driving in your car, or doing a workout, or doing yoga, or whatever, and it's just kind of a relatively cheap way to train for altitude.  So I'm going to throw that in there, I mean I know a lot of people laugh at it, but I personally use a training mask a few times a week just because it's cheap and easy.  You just strap it on and do what you were going to do anyways.  So the one exception is that you want to be careful that you're not doing extremely complex, heavy-loaded exercises in it 'cause sometimes you get so blue in the face wearing it that your form suffers.  So kind of be careful when you decide to use it.  But that's another one that's not too bad.

And then the last one that I would recommend for training, for climbing, or anything like that would be something I already mentioned, that freaking incline treadmill.  I mean it just, it works.  I mean if you really wanted to, you could make your own hypoxic air generator.  I interviewed a guy about how to do that.  I'll put a link in the show notes.  It's actually not that expensive if you can get your hands on one of these, it's like a hypoxic generator machine that you can purchase from, typically, a lot of local like health outlets, like stores that sell health equipment.  Usually they're located close to hospitals, they're called oxygen concentrators.  Or you can look for an oxygen concentrator repair shop in your area and you can actually create your own hypoxic air generator using one of these.  And you can do what's called intermittent hypoxic training where you'll go like five minutes of walking on the treadmill with the hypoxic air generator on, then five minutes with it off, and do that three times through for a 30-minute session.  I have one in my garage.  And honestly, they're not that expensive to build, and I'll put the full link.  I don't have time to go into it in a lot of detail right now, but I'll put the link in the show notes.  But it's really interesting.  You can actually build your own altitude training device you could keep next to an incline treadmill like this, and it doesn't cost as much as you'd think if you follow the instructions I have.

Rachel:  What kind of cost?  What's the ballpark?

Ben:  By the time that you've put everything into it, we're talking about like 600 to 800 bucks with usually about probably 5 to 10 hours of your time driving around, buying everything, and building it.

Rachel:  Yeah.  That's not bad at all.

Ben:  But compared to like thousands and thousands, I mean just to rent one would cost you that much per month.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  So there's some ideas for you.  And then finally, a few other things I'm going to throw out there for you.  First of all, I did a podcast with the folks from Obstacle Order in which we talked about a whole bunch of these altitude hacks for like an hour.  So if you want to listen to that, that's an obstacle training podcast, I'll put a link to that in the show notes.  It's called the Obstacle Order Podcast.

Another couple of recommendations that I would give to you, just to quickly cover some of your other questions, how to repair your body for the cold, that's not rocket science.  Cold, I mean I still do cold showers.  Morning.  Evening.  Every day.  As cold as you can get 'em.  That doesn't get much more complex than that.  Or you can use like one of these cool fat burner-type of vests, or gut devices, but honestly just cold showers, that's one of the biggies.  That and just getting out in the cold.  When I prepared for the 38 degrees below zero Agoge race in Vermont, I would actually, and I was preparing for it in the winter, I would just go on shiver walks where you got your shorts, it's a really sexy look, your shorts, some mittens, some shoes, and something to cover your head.

Rachel:  Yeah.

Ben:  So you cover up all the vital parts, leave everything else exposed, and you go for a walk.  And my neighbor, at one point, when my boys and I went up to her house, up the hill aways to offer to help her with yard work or anything else she needed done, she's just this single widow who lives up there, as we were talking with her, she asked me if I had seen any suspicious activity in the area.  And I said, “Well, what do you mean?”  She said, “Well I think there's, he might be a druggie, or a crazy person, or something, but at about 6 AM in the morning in the dead of winter the past few nights, this person's run by my house without wearing anything except their underwear, and then they disappear into the forest, and they kind of seemed to be like headed down into the forest, like kind of down in the direction of your house.  So I just wanted to warn you about this person that seems to be running around our neighborhood.”

Rachel:  Did you tell her it was you?

Ben:  No.  I just nodded.  I nodded and I said, and I kind of switched my course up from that point quick kind of across her yard.  But I mean they do work, those shiver walks.  They're really good for burning fat too.

Rachel:  Really good for entertaining your neighbors as well.

Ben:  It's a Wim Hof technique.  Okay.  And then finally, as far as nutrition goes, I'll link to you to two podcasts in which one podcast I did on want to do during a long boy scout trip, another podcast I did on what to do for about two weeks of training in Mongolia.  And I cover all these different foods that I think are really, really good for long periods of exercise, or trips where you got to have a lot of caloric density without a lot of weight.  And I go specifically into things like pemmican as one, macadamia nuts as another really good one, amino acid capsules, and also spirulina and chlorella capsules as another really good option, and then like a really dense meal replacement powder.  We're talking about something like whether there's one that I like called SuperGreens, there's another one called SuperBerry.  I talk about all of these in both of those podcasts, but I mean if I could choose just one food, Rachel, and you were to just shove me out the door and say, “Walk,” whatever, Portland, like 30 miles from here, and then I walk to Coeur d'Alene, you know what I would grab?

Rachel:  What?

Ben:  Macadamia nuts.  Because of their extremely high caloric and saturated fat density with a relatively low load when it comes to overall weight.  And probably my second choice would be pemmican, which is like a rendered fat.  It's like an old Native American recipe.  Pemmican.  So those would be my top two, but there's plenty of others, and I'll link to some previous podcast that I've done on those in the show notes for you.  So you can go to town on those, Mark, and those will be at bengreenfieldfitness.com/363.

Monique:  Hi, Ben and Rachel.  This is Monique from Victoria, BC, just a hop, skip, and a ferry boat ride away from Spokane, Washington.  I have a question for you today about glutamine.  I am a whole foods plant-based vegan trying to get everything that I need in my normal diet without supplementation.  I was recently having a really great conversation with a good friend of mine who is my local health, and fitness, and nutrition resource here in Victoria, and I respect him a lot.  He is not super on board with the vegan lifestyle, but he supports me and always has great suggestions for ways that I can maximize the nutrition in my day to day life.  His primary concern is glutamine right now, because I am focusing on fitness in a big way right now.  And as one of the conditional essential fatty acids, this is apparently something that I don't get in my normal whole foods plant- based eating plan.  So I would just really like to know your take on the situation, whether or not plant foods can be a sustainable source of glutamine, and if I can get enough that way, or if this is something that I will need to supplement on.  Any other advice that you might have would also be welcome.  I love your podcast, I can't wait to hear your response, and I really appreciate you taking the time to answer.  Thanks in advance.

Ben:  This one's going to be near and dear to your heart, Miss I'm-just-thinking-about-eating-fish-girl.

Rachel:  I know. I feel like I'm letting you down, Monique.

Ben:  Yeah.  Fish don't have a lot of glutamine in them, they have some glutamine in them, but glutamine, it's what's called a conditionally essential amino acid.  What that means is it only appears to benefit the body if you have a deficiency in it.  And if you don't have a deficiency in it, it doesn't really seem to give you much of a step up in life.

Rachel:  Well, that's good to know.

Ben:  That is specifically with regards to exercise, especially endurance exercise.  However, in some people who have got dysfunction, or what's called leaky gut, two compounds that have actually been shown to be extremely effective for that, one is colostrum, which I talked about a little bit earlier, as a good thing for seniors to take for maintaining growth hormone and IGF levels.  But another is glutamine.  It appears to be very, very good for healing the lining of the gut as well.  And so if you have intestinal issues, or immune system issues, because those are typically related to leaky gut issues, glutamine can also be useful to take even if you're not deficient in it.  Systemically, it can help with your stomach health.  Now it's usually found in pretty high amounts in a.) meats, b.) egg, and c.) a whey protein.  Whey protein or casein protein.  Either one.

Rachel:  Why is it important?  Why is her friend saying it's important for her to have glutamine if she is exercising as a vegan?

Ben:  Okay.  So glutamine is an extremely prevalent amino acid. It's the most prevalent amino acid you're going to find in your bloodstream, and you'll find it in really high concentrations in skeletal muscle, and skeletal muscle actually has the highest, what's called, intracellular concentration of glutamine.  Up to about 60% of your total glutamine stores in your whole body are in skeletal muscle because muscle is responsible for exporting it to other tissues, and it's the primary storage depot of it, and it's extremely beneficial for recovery, like post-exercise recovery, or recovery from metabolic stress.  For example, when you're exercising hard, glutamine actually gets released from your skeletal muscles into your bloodstream.  And that can assist with everything from injury, to infection, to malnutrition, et cetera.  So it's not only necessary for muscle function and muscle growth, but also for the rest of the body in terms of being able to provide the body with what it needs to mount immune system reactions, and to have proper gut function to be able to respond to trauma and stress.  And so glutamine is extremely important, not just for the muscles, but also for overall health, and especially gastrointestinal health and immune health.

Rachel:  Okay.

Ben:  So that's why it would be something to kind of be looking into.  So the idea is that, of course, because eggs, and meat, and whey protein are three of the primary sources of glutamine, that it can be tough for vegans and vegetarians to actually get.  In a situation like that, you can supplement with glutamine, and it can be a good idea to supplement with glutamine.  The actual dosage for supplementation tends to be about five grams or so.  Five grams.  Now once you get into very high doses, once you exceed about 10 grams or so, you're going to produce a lot of ammonia because that's one of the breakdown byproducts of glutamine.  So it's not like more is better, but around five grams, very similar to the recommended dose for creatine for vegans and vegetarians, which would be five grams per day, five grams per day of glutamine would also be extremely beneficial and recommended for anybody who's not eating meat and eggs because there are not a lot of plant foods that are very sustainable sources of glutamine, or that are going to come very close to what you'd find in, for example, meat or eggs.  Cabbage has a little bit, some nuts have a little bit, beans and legumes have a little bit, but nothing comes close to meat, eggs, whey protein, et cetera.

Rachel:  And it's something that you'd want to supplement with every day going forward?

Ben:  Yeah.  You can just use that five grams a day as kind of like a daily tonic.  As far as where to get it, I'm a fan of, here's one called L-Glutamine made by Thorne.  I like it because it's available in a capsule.  It's also available in a powder.  That's the one that I tend to recommend most often, unless you're just going to use like a basic whey protein.  And you could use, well, obviously if you're vegan or vegetarian, you're not going to use a whey protein.  So kind of a moot point.  You can get a little bit, here's a little biohack for you.  You can get a little bit extra glutamine availability from a vegan-based protein source if you consume a digestive enzymes complex prior to consuming your vegan protein.  Like if it's a rice, or a pea, or a hemp-based protein and you take a digestive enzyme along with it, you get similar amino acid bioavailability as you would get from something like whey protein.  So that would be another little hack that you can use.  But if I were vegan or vegetarian, glutamine would be you know, in addition to some of these other things like creatine, and amino acids, and some form of DHA, like a chlorella, for example, or an algae, glutamine would definitely be pretty high up there in terms of one of the supplements that I would take.  So absolutely, I would use it and I would be at about five grams per day.  So, Rachel, does that mean you're going to rush out…

Rachel:  Buy some glutamine?  Pretty sure I got some in my cupboard already from an awesome Ben Greenfield Fitness surprise gift box that I got.

Ben:  Boom.  There you go.

Rachel:  So I'm sorted.

Ben:  Which you, too can find greenfieldfitnesssystems.com.  That's a mouthful.  By the way, for those of you who want a little bit of excitement coming down the pipeline, I am basically rebranding the entire business.  So there will be no Ben Greenfield Fitness, there will be no Greenfield Fitness Systems.  We're basically rebranding everything that I do to become a more globally recognizable brand, more like the Coca-Cola of fitness.  The Nike of fitness would probably be more appropriate.

Rachel:  Yes.  The Nike of fitness.

Ben:  That's right.

Rachel:  That's what you can expect coming up from us.

Ben:  The Sony of fitness.  Anyways though, by the way, if that's something, if you're sitting back, listening in, you love the podcast, and you're interested in learning more about that, or supporting what I'm up to, you can always e-mail us, the colloquial massive global us, at [email protected].  And if you e-mail [email protected] and you want to kind of be a part of that and support what we're doing, then we can fill you in.

But in the meantime, you're just going to have to sit back and wait with bated breath.  And you can also, however, support the podcast by leaving a review on iTunes.  We've been getting lots of really good reviews on iTunes which is great.  If you go in and leave a five star review, it's one of the best ways for this podcast to grow, and for people to find out about it, and also to make sure that you don't lay awake at night feeling bad about yourself 'cause you've never done anything good for the world and you've spend zero amount of karma.

Rachel:  Yeah.  We get really good karma.  Exactly.

Ben:  Yeah.  So.  It's karma time.  If you hear your review read on the show that means we're going to sell, we're going to sell?  No, we're not going to sell you.

Rachel:  We’re gonna send you.

Ben:  We're just going to send you a Ben Greenfield Fitness Gear Pack, jam-packed with goodies.  Beanie, a BPA-free water bottle with the Ben Greenfield Fitness goodness on it, and also a really cool tech t-shirt.  It's actually sexy.  Makes you look good with your newfound guns.  So we've got a review left by jarheads.  So jarhead, e-mail [email protected], include your t-shirt size, and we'll send you a cool little pack.  It's called “A man among men in the fitness industry”, and it's five stars.  Rachel, you wanna take this one away while I sit back and let my head get big?

Rachel:  As long as you can fit through the door on the way out.  Alright.  It's by Workout jarhead, just to be clear.  “I've been listening to Ben for about a year now and I love every podcast.  His interviewing skills are top notch and he squeezes so much info out of every guest.  I've been on a quest to improve my fitness and nutrition profile ever since I've turned 40.  With Ben's help I've pretty much gotten in the best shape of my life, including my time in the Marine Corps.”

Ben:  Corps.

Rachel:  Corps.  I always get that wrong!  “If I had any complaints, it would be that I don't get enough of my down under fix.  More Rachel!!”  That's so sweet of you.

Ben:  Hey, hey, hey!  And he'll be happy…

Rachel:  You're definitely getting something free.

Ben:  Rachel's like, “Oh, yeah.  You're definitely getting something, dude.”  You just made Rachel's day.

Rachel:  Yes.

Ben:  And by the way, in terms of my interviewing skills being top notch, you know what my secret is?

Rachel:  What is your secret?

Ben:  Larry King.  I have posters of him everywhere, all over my office.  I own the suspenders and the glasses.

Rachel:  I hope you can take a photo of yourself wearing them.

Ben:  I can. Maybe I'll upload it for you.

Rachel:  I'd love that.

Ben:  Me in my Larry King suspenders, my Larry King poster.

Rachel:  And then we should do a caption contest.

Ben:  That's right.  Studied the heck out of Larry King.  That's how it's done.  If you want to get podcast, it all comes down to Larry King, baby.

Rachel:  That's good to know.

Ben:  So that's the final tip I'm going to leave you with.  And all of the goodies are over at bengreenfieldfitness.com/363.  Rachel, thanks for joining me on the show.

Rachel:  Thanks for having me, Ben!  I love this show.

Ben:  That's right.  I love it too.  Alright, everybody.  Thanks for listening in. We'll catch you next week.


January 25, 2017 Podcast: 363: The Best Time Of Day To Exercise, How To Be The Fittest Old Person, Top 5 Cheap Ways To Train For Altitude & More!

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar of events.

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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Click here to follow Ben on Snapchat, and get ready for some epic stories on his morning, daily and evening routine! What did you miss this week? A clay mask, a park workout, a morning routine change-up, an epic post-race salad and more.

NEW! Click here for the official BenGreenfieldFitness calendar.

January 20th-22nd: Brain Optimization Summit. 31 doctors, scientists, biohackers and nootropics professionals reveal lifestyle habits and supplements that improve mental performance. Check it out by clicking here!

March 3-5, 2017: Nutritional Therapy Association Conference in Vancouver, WA: Nutritional Therapy Association (NTA) offers Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and Consultant certifications that teach how to use nutrient dense foods as the key to restoring balance and enhancing the body’s ability to heal. I’ll be speaking at the conference! Tickets are on sale now. Go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/NTA to register and tell them I sent you if you want to get their VIP treatment.

Did you miss the weekend podcast episode with Elle Russ? It was a must-listen – “The Key To Deciphering The Mysteries Of Your Thyroid And Fixing Your Thyroid Hormones Forever.” Click here to listen now or download for later!

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 Podcast Sidekick.

New Ways To Increase Your Heart Rate Variability (HRV)

Joe says: He’s from Phoenix. He’s wondering if you can explain how to train your HRV with mental exercises or breathing exercises for your NatureBeat program. How can we train our HRV, much less monitor it?

In my response, I recommend:
How to hack your nervous system
How to stimulate your vagus nerve
My DeltaSleeper podcast

How To Be The Fittest Old Person Alive

Andrea says: She’s an almost 52 year old athlete who intends to win a Spartan Sprint. She wants to know if you have any sage advice for a 52 year old athlete that you might not give a 20 or 30 year old athlete. Something different than standard training and recovery techniques, something that would give her an edge?

In my response, I recommend:
Occlusion Training with BFR Bands
My article on how seniors get stronger
Nordic incline treadmill
My article on IGF-I
Secrets of the fittest old people

Top 5 Cheap Ways To Train For Altitude

Mark says: He signed up for a trip to Denali in 7 months and although he has a good amount of climbing experience, he’s never done anything like this. A few questions: 1) What would you recommend in terms of training strategies – strength V endurance, and certain exercise you would definitely include? 2) How does he prepare the body for the cold that they’ll see up on the mountain; 3) What you recommend for dealing with high altitude, what are the best strategies and supplements? 4) Nutrition for a trip like this with 2-3 weeks of climbing. In the past he has lost lots of weight so what are you ideas/strategies for this? Thanks so much, and he loves the podcast.

In my response, I recommend:
Static Apnea Tables
Training Mask (use 20% code GREEN1)
Echinacea (BioTropic Blood Oxygenating supplement (use code ben to get 20% discount and free shipping)
Read more https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/2016/11/shattering-world-swim-records-on-25-piece-fried-chicken-buckets-climbing-mountains-while-eating-defatted-vegan-grass-fed-argentinian-liver-anhydrate-much-more/
Incline Treadmill
What Doesn’t Kill Us podcast
Obstacle Order altitude hacks podcast
How to make your own hypoxic air generator
Podcast on the boy scout trip
Podcast on Mongolia training

Glutamine For Vegans

Monique says: She’s from Victoria, BC. She has a question about Glutamine. She’s a whole-foods, plant-based vegan trying to get everything she needs in her normal diet without supplementation. She was recently having a good conversation with a friend of hers who is her local health, fitness and nutrition resource. He’s not super on board with the vegan lifestyle, but he supports her and always has great suggestions for how she can maximize nutrition in day to day life. His primary concern is Glutamine because she is focusing on fitness in a big way. As a conditionally essential amino acid this is something she doesn’t get in a normal whole-foods, plant-based eating plan. She’d love to know your take on the situation, whether plant foods can be a sustainable source or Glutamine or whether she will need to supplement, and any other advice you have. She absolutely loves the show and is grateful in advance for you advice.

In my response, I recommend:
Thorne Glutamine capsules
Thorne Glutamine powder



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