Introduction: In this podcast episode: good carbohydrates, using a weight vest and ankle weights for calorie burning, skiing for triathlon training, vitamin D, too much urination during exercise, exercise and Hashimoto’s disease, and how to stay fit when you’re partying.
Ben: Hey podcast listeners, this is Ben Greenfield and I am coming to you today from Austin, Texas where I am actually teaching an 8 day triathlon training camp. If you want to see some video and some footage of what we’re up to down here with our swimming, cycling, running and playing around then surf over to YouTube and go to youtube.com/bengreenfieldfitness. On www.youtube.com/bengreenfieldfitness, you can check that out. Speaking of triathlons, I know that many of you are interested in what the Rock Star Triathlete Academy is all about. That’s going to be opening at the end of this month and that is pretty much completely planned out now and if you want to find out more of what it’s about, then you can head over to www.rockstartriathtlete.com and sign up if you haven’t yet for the free teleseminars with triathlon coaches and experts. You can also go over to www.youtube.com/rockstartriathlete where there’s about a three minute video of me explaining what that’s all about. For listeners to this podcast, I do have some great interviews lined up with some health and wellness experts. We’re actually not going to get to those interviews until the end of January, during which time we are doing Listener Q and A. So as we go through listener questions today, remember if you have a question email [email protected], call 8772099439 or Skype pacificfit. And we’re going to go right ahead and jump right into today’s fabulous questions.
First of all, I had a couple of people write into me this week and they were anonymous listeners. It was very mysterious and a little bit scary to answer your questions, but hey I’m telling you that you can write in and you can give me your name and if you don’t want me to say your name on air, then I won’t even though I only say first names anyway. But it just seems more personable than what I’m about to say and that is that Listener Anonymous asks…
Anonymous asks: Hi there Ben, I have a question on what is considered the safest least injury free running form? Heel to toe or midfoot to forefoot? Also any thought on Newton Running shoes? I run in a new pair of Asics pronation support shoes. I roll my foot inwards. I’ve had trouble with hip and knee and physical therapy said hip is rotated and my gluteus medius is weak. He also suggested midfoot to forefoot running is better on the body and he wears Newtons. I looked up proper running form and it seems more people run midfoot to forefoot as well. Any thoughts or advice on this? Thanks.
Ben answers: Well, the Journal of Strength and Conditioning research as well as several other studies have noticed that the faster runners on the planet try to or naturally do strike more with the front of their foots than the heel to toe gait that you see most people run with. But you also have to remember, they are running fast. They’re typically very light and their form is perfect. So a mid foot to forefoot running gait can be more economical and more efficient for you and you can be faster and more comfortable running that way if you’ve practiced a lot running that way. And also if you’re not overweight. I find that people who are overweight have a very hard time running in a forward leaning position. So you do have to have the right type of body for that mid foot to forefoot striking pattern. If you’re comfortable with that pattern, that shoe that you talked about – the Newton running shoe – that’s a great one. If you can run that way because that shoe has a little – what’s called a camber towards the front of it that rolls you from your midfoot to your forefoot and keeps you on the balls of your feet much easier. But if you’re not prepared to run in that shoe and you’re not used to running with that heel to toe or non heel to toe running gait, you can risk injuring specifically the second metatarsal or really any of the metatarsals that run through your foot, you can risk a stress fracture on those. So you want to be careful and if you do switch to a different running style or a different running shoe to ease your yourself into that shoe with about a 10% addition in running volume per week. When you asked me about the safest, least injury free running form – I recommend two different types of running. One is called pose running and one is called key running. Although there are subtle differences in what some might consider to be significant differences between the key and the pose, the idea behind both is relaxation and economy and efficiency in running. If you go to YouTube, there’s lots of videos there on key running and pose running drills. That’d be a great place to start. Or you could go out and find any of the DVDs or the books that are out there on it and it would help tremendously. I personally have adopted a few of the running drills that I found via some of the pose and the key methods just right there on YouTube. So that’s a great resource and I hope that answers your question. I’m just going to move straight on to my other question from an anonymous listener.
Anonymous asks: Hi there, Ben I have a question about the pros and cons to white rice? I eat quinoa on occasion and had a couple bodybuilding friends tell me to eat white rice and chicken pre-workout to help increase energy levels. I’m a triathlete and very clean eater and am anti-white rice. I am struggling with getting enough good carbohydrates in. I rarely eat pastas or rice or potatoes. usually two days out to a race is the only time I eat them. I’m struggling with energy levels and recovering and my friends suggested it was due to no substantial carbs. I eat quinoa and oats in the morning on a swim and bike day and on weightlifting or running days I go with egg whites in the morning. Any helpful advice? Thanks
Ben answers: Yeah, it tends to be a problem. People who are super wary of carbohydrate intake will often avoid carbohydrates to a fault, and sometimes they’ll choose something like you’re doing. Quinoa, which is a great carbohydrate. One of the highest amino acid containing whole grains on the face of the planet but if all you’re doing is a scoop of quinoa in the morning, you’re likely depriving your muscles of their glycogen or storage carbohydrate and depriving yourself of the energy that you need for your activity levels. What I recommend that you do is if you’re going to reduce carbohydrate intake and be strict about your carbohydrate levels in your diet, that you do so when you aren’t exercising. But when you are exercising, take very good care of your body. Follow the advice, partially, of your bodybuilding friends and realize that it’s okay to eat some of those sweeter carbohydrates especially before exercise or during or after because they’re not really going to have a deleterious effect on your body if that is when they are consumed. Your body digests and processes and responds much differently to something like white rice when you’re eating it at 10 pm while you’re watching a movie versus if you’re eating 200 calories of white rice right before you go ride your bike. When they tell you to eat chicken pre-workout, tough to digest those proteins. They bring a lot of blood into your stomach and water, and it can actually decrease the intensity of your workout, especially when you’re doing endurance exercise. I wouldn’t recommend the chicken, but you can take in white rice and realize there’s a lot of other good carbohydrates that you can take in. Sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, parsnips, beets, nuts, seeds, if you can tolerate some of the organic fat free dairy – lots of stuff – sprouted grains are another one that are just great – that you can take in and they’re carbohydrates and they’re okay for your body. They’re high in fiber and they’re good energy. So don’t be afraid of carbohydrates. They’re good. They help you. You don’t want to be miserable your whole life especially during exercise because you aren’t eating enough of them. Listener Sal asks… (finally someone with a name.)
Sal asks: Hey Ben, I have a question regarding weight vests and ankle weights. I am a student, and I spend much of my time in the library or in class sitting down. However, since I do walk quite a bit to and from class, going up lots of stairs during the day, I was wondering how beneficial it would be to throw on some ankle weights or even a weight vest underneath my clothes. Since it is winter, and I am wearing pants or a sweatshirt anyways, I doubt anyone would notice. Would this extra weight cause any substantial calorie burn throughout the day? Would it build leg and general body strength? Also, what are the downsides to having this stress on the body for such a long period of time. I am not expecting much from this idea, but thought that positive effects might be worth it since it would take up no additional time in my day. I would appreciate any suggestions or comments on this topic.
Ben answers: That is a great question, Sal. If you take somebody into a metabolic laboratory and you compare an overweight person to a normal weight person, the overweight person will sometimes have a higher metabolic rate and they’ll burn more calories during both movement and at rest because they are having to deal with moving more mass around. Of course, the downside to that is that A, there’s all the negative cardiovascular effects of having the extra fat on your body, but also there are some obvious joint issues specifically cartilage and joint degeneration that can occur which causes pain. People who weigh extra or are carrying around extra weight can require forces that are two to three times – and when moving like running or jumping, up to four to five times – greater than what somebody at normal weight would have to put up with in order to move. So, you have to be careful with the joints. That’s why people who are obese have difficulty with joint pain. If right away, you put on all these ankle weights and weight vests and start walking around and you don’t take into account the excess stress on your joints and you start to get joint pain, I would definitely back off. But at the same time, yes you’re going to burn more calories and a lot of those are going to be free calories. If you’re wearing a weight vest when you’re walking up the stairs you’re going to walk up anyways, you will burn more calories. You will build bone density, you will build stress and as long as you can remain pain free and ease yourself into doing that, then it’s actually a great idea. It’s a little bit weird and could be logistically inconvenient and uncomfortable but it would be an option when you know that you’re not going to be able to burn many calories to actually wear a weight vest or wear ankle weights. It’s a great question, you just have to be careful with the joints the same way an overweight person would need to be careful with their joints. So make sure you wash that vest too, it could get a little stinky.
Lance asks: How can alpine skiing fit into an off season base building for a triathlete? I am an avid skier who lives four hours away from the hill, but still manage 30 days a year from school vacations and weekends to ski. In the past, I just skied until the snow ran out, then went mountain biking until it snowed again. This year I want to participate in a long triathlon season, so endurance training is the priority. Unfortunately, skiing is an anaerobic sport, and in the past it kept me unfit for the bike. I am unsure about how to balance the sports. There are two points of conflicts. Weekends: Usually my only available time either to ski or do long rides or runs. Spring: There is often quite an overlap between spring skiing and training that needs to be done for spring races. How can I fit together my disparate interests so I can enjoy the ski season, but still have reasonable fitness for spring races?
Ben answers: You know I’m surprised that you asked this question Lance, because I know a lot of people who ski for fitness quite a bit and get into something like triathlon season and have absolutely wonderful fitness. But most of those people are cross country skiers or skate skiers and you’re right, downhill skiing is definitely a little bit different. You’re just essentially in a hold and contract mode a lot of the time, getting the heart rate really high and then sitting down and doing it again. You’re training a little bit different physiology than what you’re wanting to compete in for triathlon. Best case scenario – what I would recommend looking into for your situation is to actually do high intensity intervals that are very short and you can fit them into your weekdays and then on the weekends, continue your downhill skiing and rely on the fitness that the high intensity intervals are giving you during the week to get you ready for your sport. I used to do quite a bit of snowboarding and when I knew I was going to be sacrificing triathlon training on the weekends to go snowboarding, I would actually make sure that I got a couple of high intensity short but very effective sessions in during the weekdays. So I would recommend that you incorporate high intensity training if you’re not yet, and then look into skate skiing or cross country skiing as another way that you can still enjoy snow sports but get some of that more specific training that you’re looking for. So I hope that helps, Lance. Next I’m going to move on to a question from Diane. Very interesting question from Diane.
Diane asks: Ben, I don’t know if you have ever come across anything like this but I am getting desperate. My docs are stumped. For the last few years during stressful exercise I start urinating every 10-15 minutes, copious amounts. (That’s a very descriptive word.) I am very competitive and successful and this is negatively impacting my times as you can imagine. (She puts in parenthesis, “Won my age group in Kona this year.” That’s pretty impressive.) If it starts during a triathlon it usually doesn’t start until the bike portion. If a marathon, usually after first hour. It is rare for it to happen during training unless I’m out very hard for long time. I don’t feel bad, just very wet. My primary doctor thought maybe diabetes insipidus and gave me DDAVP to take during the race. This worked maybe twice. He then sent me to urologist who didn’t feel they could help. I take electrolytes and have tried different ones and it doesn’t change anything. During a recent Ironman event in November at mile 20 on the bike it started every 15 min and then on the run, the port-a-potty every mile. This is an example of how it usually goes. If you have any suggestions I would be very appreciative. I have not found anyone else with this problem.
Ben answers: Well Diane, this definitely sounds like a pretty serious issue. I’m not a doctor. The last time I checked I definitely wasn’t a urologist. And although your doctor suggested that it may be diabetes or some blood sugar related condition, which is possible, if they have ruled that out and some of the things that you’re taking for that condition were not helping, you need to understand that there are some other things that can cause what you’ve been experiencing. Let’s assume that you are hydrating properly, that you’re not drinking way too much water which would typically be over about 30 ounces of water an hour and let’s assume that you are using a correct formulation of electrolytes. So you’re not taking in too little salt or too much salt. So some possibilities that could cause some of the symptoms that you’re describing would be UTI, so I don’t know if you’ve been screened for urinary tract infection. There’s all sorts of things that you can do for that. Among the top two that I recommend would be unsweetened cranberry juice and then there’s also something called prostalon. I personally take that, and that can help out quite a bit. You could have a bladder condition. There’s one called interstitial cystitis that you could talk to your physician about. Kidney conditions – I would potentially look at going in and talking to a nephrologist. You could have some type of kidney infection and in males, prostate conditions could be an issue, could be at play but obviously that’s not going to be the case with you. I would not stop at diabetes though. I would look at some of the other things that I’ve discussed and I know that this might sound frustrating to you, that you’ll have to go back and maybe speak to some more medical professionals and dig a little bit deeper but that may be what you need to do in this case, if you truly aren’t drinking too much and you’re consuming proper electrolytes. So look into a little bit more and do some more diagnoses. Don’t stop at diabetes.
Chuck asks: I have a trip to Las Vegas planned for April 16 to 19th. I plan to have a good time, not kill myself, but probably drink a fair bit each night. Of course, I’ll try to get in as many good workouts as I can, but how will this affect me for the half Ironman I’m competing in on May 8th? And what can I do maintain as best as possible on the trip?
Ben answers: Well here are a few of the things that I do Chuck to stay fit and stay healthy when I’m partying. So the first is that when I’m consuming alcoholic drinks, I stay away from any that are loaded down with sugar because sugar has an inflammatory effect on the body. The typical drink that I’ll consume will usually be a little bit of cranberry or a pomegranate juice mixed with sparkling water or club soda with a little shot of vodka. Okay? For every drink that I take in, I’ll consume anywhere from about four to eight ounces of water and I will usually use electrolytes in that water. What I use is an effervescent tablet made by a company called Noon. I use one called U Hydration made by that company and I will put that in every glass of water that I take in, in between the alcohol drinks. You will want to make sure that since you will probably be consuming empty calories during your evening partying that you take in nutrient vitamin and mineral laden calories during the day. So you don’t want to be cheating during the day, having a cookie here, biscotti or scone here, cereal in the morning – you want to be eating lots of vegetables, lots of proteins, lots of healthy fats because you’re probably going to have excess carbohydrate intake during the evening. Don’t get me wrong, alcohol is toxic to your body and I do not endorse heavy consumption of it, especially when you’re getting ready for a big triathlon. It can suppress testosterone levels, elevate cortisol levels and cause a decrease in your body’s ability to recover from exercise. But by putting into practice the electrolyte intake, the water intake, not consuming too much sugar as you want to protect yourself – and then the final thing that you can do, because alcohol will cause a heck of a lot of free radicals to build up in your body – is you can take a high antioxidant blend. You hear a lot about these things like goji berry juice and acai berry and everything from Mona Vie – a lot of multi-level marketing companies have high density antioxidant blends. You can get a lot of the stuff at GNC or supplements outlet, but if you can pick up a high antioxidant blend and essentially you think about that as a bunch of dark skinned fruits, either powdered or extracted, pressed together and put into a higher density blend of antioxidants, that would help you out quite a bit as well. So you’re going to damage to your body either way, but by implementing some of those protocols, that’ll help you out a little bit.
Carmen asks: What do you know about exercise and Hashimoto’s thyroid disease and how it affects adrenal health?
Ben answers: The Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease is going to affect your metabolism, and we’re not going to talk about thyroid on this show too much but I would recommend that you listen to an excellent podcast that I put out on that issue. It’s called eight ways to instantly increase your metabolic rate. And you can find that by doing a search at www.bengreenfieldfitness.com. I believe that it was actually one of the top downloaded podcasts of 2009. I just published the top downloaded podcasts of 2009, to the www.bengreenfieldfitness.com blog that comes right before this podcast. Podcast episode number 78. So scroll down and you’ll see that. Hashimoto’s – that’s an autoimmune disease. It’s a kind of cycle, typically fluctuates depending on the season. It’s especially bad in the cold season when your body temperature naturally decreases but there are some things that you can do to naturally increase your metabolic rate. Realize that you need to speak with a physician about any type of medical issues or the implementation of supplements in your protocol, but since exercise is one of the things that will increase your metabolic rate, it will help you quite a bit in thriving with what you’re struggling with. So, I’m going to go on to a question here from Listener Dave.
Dave asks: I have been following your podcasts on the benefits of goat milk. I have an acquaintance that has a friend that raises goats. The milk is raw, unpasteurized straight from the goat. He has offered to let me have some. Would you have any concerns about this milk and implementing it into a diet?
Ben answers: Well in the past, Dave, when I’ve talked about goat’s milk, I’m actually getting powdered goat’s milk that comes from a company called Mt. Capra, so it’s very clean and comes in a canister to my house and I mix it and obviously it’s not quite as fresh as, for example, the raw milk that I could get on a farm. But it is a little bit cleaner. In addition, I do have a farm that I visit that I get raw milk from and my wife makes goat’s cheese and we’ll use that goat’s milk in some recipes and it is raw milk and raw milk does have some components in it that you don’t get from milk that has been pasteurized. You’ll get some components that actually can naturally kill some of the pathogens in that milk that everybody’s concerned about. There are other components in raw milk that can prevent pathogen absorption across your intestinal wall and strengthen your immune system. Lots of hormones and growth factors and antibodies and many things that actually protect you against the harmful things that you can find in raw milk. What people say about raw milk and the advantages of it is that the pasteurization process can completely destroy a lot of those immune enhancing effects of raw milk. They’ll say that the dangers are exaggerated in terms of how raw milk could actually be for you, because that is something that people don’t report – is the fact that there’s a lot of stuff in raw milk that protects you from some of the other bacteria you can find. It’s like eggs. Yeah eggs are high in cholesterol but they also have a high amount of cholesterol digesting enzymes in them that help you deal with that cholesterol. So think about raw milk a little bit like that as well. Compared to raw milk – and this is according to USDA and FDA reports – there’s over 500 times more illnesses from deli meats than there are illnesses related to raw milk consumption. As far as farms and getting your raw milk, the main thing that I would warn you is that you want to go look at wherever your milk is coming from and this is what I did and make sure that it’s a clean farm, that it’s not full of a bunch of animals that have diseases like lysteria and ensure that there is actually a very, very clean feel to the place that you’re getting any type of raw milk from. We could go into the benefits of raw milk in depth here but the basic idea is that it can be superior to pasteurized milk when it comes to some of the immune system benefits. You just have to be very, very careful where you get it from. It’s also a little bit better for the farmers. Farmers make a little bit more money off of raw milk sales. I’m about supporting my local farming community. That’s one of the reasons that we chose to drive up to a farm about 20 minutes from my house and get raw milk from there.
Todd asks: Ben, I’ve been reading a lot about vitamin D3 sources, and that the tablet form is not very well absorbed by the body. Because D3 is oil soluble, should we be taking it in oil form like a gel cap? Any thoughts on this?
Ben answers: I believe Todd actually asked this same question over at a podcast that we had over at the Rock Star Triathlete Academy. And I had a couple of things that I went over in my response to him. One was that yes, any fat soluble vitamin is going to be better absorbed by the body if it’s consumed in the presence of an oil or a fat. And so if you can find vitamin D in a gel cap which is very hard to do, then that would be ideal. Or if you can consume it with a higher fat meal. Now, the other thing that you want to do with vitamin D or any fat soluble vitamin is you want to be careful consuming it with a lot of fiber because fiber wraps around fat globules and can decrease their absorption. This is why people who are on high fiber diets tend to have a little bit less difficulty with weight gain and deposition of adipose tissue and fat compared to people on low fiber diets because the fiber does decrease some of that fat absorption. But in the case of fat soluble vitamins, you wouldn’t want to take a high fiber supplement with vitamin D. So for example, one of the supplements that I take every day, that I encourage everyone to take is called EnerPrime. And I used to take EnerPrime and vitamin D at the same time but now I split those two up because EnerPrime has a lot of high fiber – things like inulin and Jerusalem artichoke and 30 different other things – a lot of which contain high fiber and that would actually technically decrease the absorption of the vitamin D. So you want to be careful with that. That is a great question.
I got a ton of questions this week. A few will spill over into next week so if you didn’t hear your question get answered. That’s okay. It will be answered in future podcasts. I’d like everybody who’s listening in to please go to iTunes and leave us a ranking in the Shownotes. It especially helps the show quite a bit when you go in there and you leave us a star ranking and leave a comment about what you liked about the show and that’s what I really enjoy, is helping you out and hearing your questions and giving you some direction. So, until next time from the triathlon training camp down in Austin, Texas, this is Ben Greenfield signing out from www.bengreenfieldfitness.com.
For personal nutrition, fitness or triathlon consulting, supplements, books or DVD’s from Ben Greenfield, please visit Pacific Elite Fitness at http://www.pacificfit.net