October 12, 2023
From podcast: https://bengreenfieldlife.com/podcast/anthony-kunkel-podcast/
[00:01:03] Who is Anthony Kunkel?
[00:03:53] The Faster Study at the University of Connecticut
[00:09:19] Anthony's food and training strategies
[00:19:56] Anthony's pre-race routine
[00:33:41] Anthony's nootropic stack
[00:41:54] Anthony's morning routine
[00:49:24] Anthony's sleeping protocols
[00:53:31] Pushback from sponsors
[00:59:50] Thinking or listening to stuff during the race
[01:03:54] Strategies for injuries
[01:06:09] Tracking and testing results
[01:15:27] Doping and the advantages of sports gear
[01:19:43] What drives Anthony?
[01:23:24] Closing the Podcast
[01:24:10] End of Podcast
[01:24:42] Legal Disclaimer
Ben: My name is Ben Greenfield. And, on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life podcast.
Anthony: Since the realization that most of your melanin is not in your skin but is in your mitochondria, instantly it totally changed my relationship to things like chaga where they're talking about melanin and all this stuff that kind of seemed too abstract or too woo-woo or too much of a stretch for me.
Ben: The dark blacks and the dark blues of the plant kingdom tend to increase melanin production. Chaga is one of them, shilajit, methylene blue, and chlorella or spirulina. Any of those massively increase mitochondria activity of cytochrome C oxidase, especially if you're in the infrared sauna or under sunlight.
Anthony: Faith, family, fitness, health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking and a whole lot more. Welcome to the show.
Alright. So, usually, I record the bio for my guests all by my lonesome but my guest and I just finished recording a fantastic podcast for you. And, he's right beside me so I figured I'd let him tell you who he is before you dive into his weird far-reaching brain on all things biohacking, endurance, and beyond.
Anthony, you're on an elevator for 30 seconds. Who are you?
Anthony: Well, I think someone else would use race results and things like that to establish me as some kind of expert, but I think all the value that I would add to whoever wants to listens life, I think it's in there. So, at this point, instead of a summary of race results, I feel like I'm just a curious seeker of some kind and scratch the itch with biohacking and whatever sacred sexuality and psychedelics, and diving down all this stuff just I'm a flow junkie.
Ben: Anthony Kunkel is a flow junkie. You heard it here first and he also, as you'll hear later on in this episode, has unlocked how to feed your brain chocolate cake. Enjoy this show, folks. All the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Kunkel, K-U-N-K-E-L.
So, Anthony Kunkel, first thing I told people when I put out the word that we were going to be recording the podcast was that you were just going to run to my house from the airport. Actually, you made it.
Anthony: Yeah. Yeah, smooth sailing. It's like 18.5 total and ran the 14 to your local grocer at the bottom of the hill.
Ben: 18.5 miles.
Ben: We have some listeners who might think kilometers, so yeah.
So, do you do that a lot? You just like flying somewhere and just kind of jog almost a marathon to where you're going?
Anthony: If I can. I mean, it seems kind of wasteful to not if I'm building all this endurance and all this ability to travel through time and space. It seems silly to get here and hop in an Uber or something.
Ben: I know.
Anthony: I think you had a really good feel for the place as well like I ran through downtown Spokane.
Ben: It's a good point.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, I definitely felt I kind of communed with it a little bit right off the bat.
Ben: Yeah. I tell people when I'm traveling and I get to my hotel, especially if I don't have time to hit the gym or whatever, I'll look up whatever the nearest good grocery store is. And, as long as it's within three miles or less, I'll walk or run or walk and lunge or stop and do burpees or whatever to the grocery store, buy all my groceries, and do a farmer's walk back with all my avocados and sardines and pomegranates and whatnot. And, it's a great workout.
I do have an employee. His name is Joe Hashy. Shoutout to Joe. A lot of times when he travels, if his hotel is any closer than a marathon distance from the airport, he walks, he rocks with all of his luggage to his hotel.
Anthony: Nice. Yeah, it is the one thing is I was limited. I was like, “Alright, I'm not going to bring the micro-USB charger, I'm going to bring that short iPhone cable.”
Ben: Yeah, yeah, and not buy any watermelons at the grocery store on your way up to here.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, I did buy a rotisserie chicken.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. And, speaking of nutrition, I think I originally knew your name because, gosh, I forget how many years ago, probably six or seven years ago or whatever. I was part of this study at University of Connecticut called The Faster Study where they took a group of athletes and they fat-adapted them, fed them a high-fat diet, anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Very high fat like 80 to 90% fat, very low carb, strict ketogenic, and then did muscle biopsies, took blood and biomarkers, did gut analyzes, and had us do a VO2 max and run on a treadmill for three hours.
Anthony: Three hours.
Ben: And, you were part of that study too.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. I was in that cohort of people. I think all of us that knew what a ketone was, whenever that was, 2012 or something.
Ben: Yeah, early. It was early. Yeah.
Anthony: Yeah. I think they pretty much got all of us in there. So, it was pretty easy to find one person and then ask them about their friends.
Anthony: And so, yeah, a few of us in the Denver area were already playing around with the low-carb stuff and kind of trying to figure that all out. And so, yeah, it was pretty smooth. And then, yeah, it is kind of funny looking back at it just how that study actually stood for something. That gets referenced all the time, The Faster Study, the fat-adaptation substrate utilization and train elite runners.
Ben: What's your take on this? You've talked about before, in your own mind, what was the best takeaway from that study or your experience with it?
Anthony: Our VO2 max weren't stifled. I mean, that's pretty cool.
Ben: Meaning compared to people who read in traditional higher carbohydrate or carbohydrate loaded diet, we were able to achieve the same intensity at high intensities.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, I guess we wouldn't really know because I was one of the people that was already doing the thing when they found me. So, it's not like I had VO2 max data before that, but yeah, I mean, I was I don't know 70 or something at the study. And, that was after flying all day. I think the implications for people, it opened the conversation, made people start thinking, “Okay, this is viable.” The number of calories you can burn per minute out of fat is faster than you'd ever want to have to run for the hours and hours and hours you'd be able to do it than on fat. And, it's been really cool for me. I did participate in a different one recently enough out of Phoenix that I was on 300 to 350 grams. I just storied a little thing on or [00:06:16] _____.
Ben: 300 and 350 grams of?
Anthony: Of net carbs a day.
Ben: Net carbs a day. That's not super low.
Anthony: I was crushing. No, it's high.
Anthony: And, I still went in and still had very comparable data where I was burning gram and a half a minute, which is 50% more of fat, which is 50% more than is physiologically possible. They say you can burn 1 gram a minute of fat.
Ben: That's what they said all the way up to the Volek study. The max amount of fat and all my college courses is 1.0 grams of fat per minute someone can burn. And, this study that showed by eating a high-fat diet and engaging in carbohydrate restriction, it rewrote the textbooks by showing 1.5 plus grams of fat per minute could be burnt during exercise if you change your diet.
Anthony: Yeah, which I think even has bigger implications when you see even if I'm 1.3 or 1.4 or 1.5 and there's people doing 1.8. If I'm 135 pounds or 130 pounds in the treadmill, that's a whole lot of calories to move my body around with. And so, yeah, that changed the dialogue quite a bit, I think, but it's been really cool to see that I could do 300 grams, 350 grams really feel like I'm fueling the work of the day or fueling marathon training as the case was and still be just torch and body fat.
Ben: Now, is the way that you're able to burn 1.5 plus grams of fat per minute, even on a day where you're eating or a period where you're eating 300, 350 grams of carbohydrates, net carbs because you have such a history of carbohydrate mitigation that your body has learned how to burn fats very efficiently.
Anthony: That's my thought. It's years and years and years of doing this and dipping in and out of really deep honest ketosis. And then, at the beginning of the season, I'll do a real, real low-carb reset for things where I'm doing, whatever, 20 or 30 grams net a day, basically zero, right?
Anthony: And, while doing 100 or 120 miles a week or more. And, I don't feel it really cost me anything, it doesn't really ruin the whole week but there will be three to five days in there where I feel like a zombie as far as energy and maybe even sleep in libido and all that stuff.
Ben: Yeah, pure glycogen depletion.
Anthony: Yeah, it definitely sucks a little bit, but I usually go until it's horrible and then I'll keep going until it's not horrible again. And then, I can start juggling the carbs back in and then it's lit.
Ben: Yeah. And, part of that is you get a huge upregulation and expression of what's called the glycogen synthase, meaning the ability of the body to take that glucose and suck it away into muscle and liver glycogen for the workout. It goes through the roof. We actually did that. When I used to do bodybuilding, we go low carb as a trick for the muscles because by going low carb for one to two weeks out from the competition and then leading up to the competition, we're getting to introduce a ton of carbs, the body stores more carbs than would normally so you get bigger and fuller than you normally would if you hadn't restricted carbohydrates.
Anthony: You can suck some fluid out of skin with the same thing, right?
Ben: Yeah, exactly. You combine that with dandelion root extract for peeing out excess water. So, you got a whole bunch of carbs not much water and you look freaking huge and ripped. There's your tip for going to the beach two weeks out from the beach day.
So, as far as the diet goes, I mean I don't know about you, but I mean freaking one strawberry a day for your carbohydrate allotment during that Volek study was pretty horrific, but did you settle upon or do you still have in your own diet certain things that you rely upon to keep you in a high fat or ketosis-like state for these periods when you're not doing the bigger carb loads?
Anthony: Like food staples or what?
Ben: What are your top tricks to get enough calories in and stay in ketosis? Do you use certain supplements or certain food strategies?
Anthony: I don't eat carbs outside of dinner very, very rarely. So, that then shrinks the carb even if the eating window is 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., which is typical for me. The eating window for carbs is maybe 6:30 until 8:30 or 9:00.
Anthony: So, I think that helps even when I am bringing carbs back in. I mean, that would mean that I would run twice in the day then before I refeed, if you will, which might be 20 grams, might 200 grams–
Ben: Right. So, you're pretty depleted by the time you do that second workout of carbohydrates?
Anthony: Yeah, certainly in theory.
Anthony: I mean, my training is so gentle. I do a lot of nine-minute pace or whatever it is, nine-minute mile pace.
Anthony: So, I'm not in any kind of rush unless I'm doing something on purpose. And then, I'll hit the speed work come hell or high water. I don't grade things for altitude. I don't give myself a whole lot of leniency with the hard work.
Over the years, I've met myself where I am, so it's not as harsh as it sounds because I kind of know exactly what I'm capable of doing and what I need to do to prep for the next push.
Ben: Yeah. would you say it's more like a polarized training approach so you see a lot of the world's elite endurance athletes do where it's about 80% aerobic, long slow distance, extremely easy nearly a conversational pace, and then 20% is balls to the wall no matter what way above like a zone 4 lactate threshold heart rate?
Anthony: It's certainly 80% very, very easy like as easy as I can possibly make myself go. And then, probably about 20% of it is any kind of intent. But, I might do a workout that's at 100k pace. So, six-hour race pace. That's still not very vigorous at all, it's just mechanically it's hard because I've spent so much time training so gently that even at–see that guy? That's a really cool bug right back.
Ben: That was a praying mantis.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah, it's a real solid praying mantis.
But yeah, so I think that 20%-ish is spread over still very aerobic paces and then a little bit of strides where it's all open or 20 seconds on, 40 seconds moderate where the 40 seconds is the hard part because you can lie to 20 seconds. I can go as hard as I possibly want and I'll do this uphill on gravel where it's unbroken uphill. And, the 20 seconds are as fast as I can mechanically make myself move. So, it'll be just watts through the roof. I'll use a power meter and I'll be 500 watts. It's just blasting watts.
Anthony: And then, the 40 seconds, I'll just try to maintain that I'm running confidently that I'm still mechanically open and looking good not shuffling. And, that's then the hard part, but yeah, I mean, the hard stuff is hard or very, very intentional where it's right now I want the trial standard in the marathon. So, 510 to 515-ish pace.
Anthony: And, I'll hit that. If it kills me, I'll hit that. If I'm feeling great, I'll hit that whatever it takes. I'll hit the splits.
Ben: For someone who want to mess around with power training for running because obviously it's pretty simple on the bike, you get attachment to the crank of the bike for the bike power. But, for running, is it like a shoe-based power meter attachment?
Anthony: It is. I'm using Stryd. They're boulder-based.
Ben: That's the name of the company, Stryd.
Anthony: Yeah, with a Y.
Anthony: They're pretty cool. And, I can't speak to the accuracy. I would have no way of knowing. I don't really care to even find out how accurate it is but it's precise. So, it's definitely iterable. I can go in there and know exactly what kind of shape I'm in. and, it's cool then because I can look at form tweaks with different form activation and I can look at form power versus output. And, I can compare different shoes to see which one's more efficient for watts per beats a minute. And, you can really get in there if you want to. And, I kind of try to play around with all that stuff when I'm two months out, three months out from race day. By the time that I get to the last month, I really like it because I can just say, “Okay, I need 315 watts.” That's what I'm capable of. And, not only that but coming at it with the angle that I do, because it's so precise and so controllable, I can know that, okay, if I hit 310 watts for this many hours that I'm going to meet God, right?
Anthony: It's like, that's really what I'm after with my endurance. The PRs are what they are, but having something that is so hard that you have to have some crazy transcendental experience to even get it done, that's really, really kind of where science meets–
Ben: Yeah. Talk more about the esoteric parts of fitness and finding God during a run a little bit later on.
Anthony: Yeah, for sure.
Ben: Also, I've heard some people describe he's one of the biohackers of ultra running and I want to hear about perhaps some of the technology that you use in addition to a power meter. But, back to the nutrition real quick, what about some of these things like ketone esters, ketone-infused, what's that, the Keto Brick. I think I gave you one at the party last night, the thousand-calorie Keto Brick. Do you use any of those type of weird engineered fuels?
Anthony: I do. When I'm training heavy, I mean, I love Keto Brick as a nice blanket.
Ben: Thousand calories.
Anthony: A thousand calories, 30 some grams of protein.
Ben: Don't eat it on an airplane. I had diarrhea at the end of the flight.
Ben: All thousand calories? Yeah, it didn't work out too well in an airplane.
Anthony: I think I did half of one before I took off running here, so yeah.
But, yeah. Then, I've been doing two different protocols; one of which I call the EPO protocol, which is erythropoietin like cycling drugs as everybody knows it.
Ben: You're about to share your illegal performance and some drug utilization on a podcast. Nobody's listening except you and me and your mom.
Anthony: We're going to make it juicier. So, the idea was that they had big bumps in EPO with sauna use after exercising.
Anthony: I use Sauna Space, the infrared–
Ben: Yeah, post-exercise, by the way. That's important to note. You always say that should increase EPOs when you went and already heated up and a little bit fatigued.
Anthony: And dehydrated.
Ben: Yup, yup.
Anthony: If I were betting, I would say we're in the era where people are going to realize that dehydration is a freaking superpower. I mean, it's a stressor–
Ben: Yeah, just like carbohydrate depletion can be.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, you want to get the flexibility in your body and so you have to kind of stretch these systems by getting them as low and as high as they can. And so, there's a rule for pre-cooling and a role for heating, but I'll get in there with a little sip of Ke4.
Ben: Into the sauna.
Anthony: Yeah, some ketone aids, so I'll take some straight ketone esters or maybe an R1,3 just because, I don't know, like the pina colada ones if you have those are so good.
Ben: Yeah, those are the ketone ester drinks that have the R1,3 butanediol, less expensive, arguably less potent than the Ke1 that you were talking about, right?
Anthony: Yeah, the 4.
Ben: Or, or the Ke4. Ke4 is the fancier one, right?
Anthony: Yeah, it's a little more dense.
Anthony: It's a gram of ketone ester for every 2 milliliters.
Ben: Yeah. First time I got it, I shot a whole bottle of 16 servings a bottle.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. I mean, the same. Same, man, all the time. Really, that's kind of the thing if you don't have to worry about low blood sugar for your physiology if you've stretched it to where that's not a concern, it seems the more the better in this Tour de France protocols. So, I'll take 10 mLs or maybe 15 milliliters and hop in the sauna post-exercise and then I'll wait until I'm real, real woozy and dizzy in there. And, my thought is I'm stressing the system as much as I can, giving it the ketones and probably putting EPO through the roof. I'd love to do a little bit of blood work for that, but it seems promising since both of those things separately seem to boost [00:17:09] _____.
Ben: I mean, if you were to test hematocrit, hemoglobin, mean corpuscular volume, and just a basic blood panel like a complete blood count and all those values or the ones related to increased red blood cell production were elevated, it's a pretty decent sign. I don't know if there's a direct measure of erythropoietin that's readily available.
Anthony: I think I have to have one.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Anthony: Because that's otherwise I would worry I had a good workout or a bad workout or if something like that, especially undulating altitude because I live it pretty seriously altitude.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, I've been doing that EPO protocol in the peaking phase, which I think has paid off. I'm pretty certain.
Ben: So, your EPO protocol is finish workout, ketones, get in the sauna until your eyes are bugging at your head.
Anthony: Yeah. It usually takes about 20 minutes.
Ben: Yeah. Let's move over this is a little bit.
Anthony: It's nothing crazy.
Ben: Yeah, okay. But, was that dry sauna or infrared?
Anthony: That's near-infrared.
Ben: Okay, alright. Yeah. So, you preheat it before you go on your run then probably?
Anthony: I'll throw it on while I'm getting whatever together or taking the ketones or what have you.
Anthony: Yeah, that seems like a really good use of ketones. And then, the other one I've been doing, I kind of call it the Tour de France protocol, which is just to kind of trickle them in for recovery purposes. So, it's not that I'm using them before a workout, I'm using them afterwards. So, I'll sip a hard ketone seltzer drink with my protein at 1:00 p.m., right, when I break the fast.
Anthony: And, that seems to have really paid off. I mean, I'm having a really, really breakout block right now. And, that's one of the things that I haven't really incorporated as liberally as I have been this time. So, I'll have semesters with my lunch. I'll regularly have semesters with my dinner, some sort of ketone exogenous supplement with my dinner. Dinner, again, being that Fitbit is most likely to have some carbohydrate content into it. So, it just–
Ben: It's pretty crazy how good you can feel. I mean, even if somebody's listening they're not an elite endurance athlete and I should note, I'll put all the shownotes at BenGreenfieldLife.com/Kunkel, K-U-N-K-E-L if you guys want to go visit the shownotes and dig into Anthony's stuff a little bit more.
But, it's pretty, pretty crazy how by slow bleeding ketones in all day long which I've been doing ever since the HVMN guys came to my house because we were there and they're just like, “Take a shot. Hey, it's lunch, take a shot. Hey, it's 2:00, take a shot. 5:00p.m., take a shot.” So, when I did that, I felt great all day. Since then, I'll just put a little bit of ketones into everything and it's amazing.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah, it's impressive. And, I think the recovery literature on it's interesting.
Ben: Anti-inflammatory, DNA repair, longevity benefits. Yeah, they're pretty incredible. I mean, the only damage to your pocketbook. They're not cheap.
Anthony: That's for sure.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Anthony: It seems the only thing that matters is recovery is recovery. In the end of the day, scientific literature doesn't make you faster. But, when you see that it's working in the real world like this, very, very encouraging.
Ben: Yeah. Yeah, what about your pre-race routine? I mean, a guy like you thinks as much about this stuff as you do. It's got to have some kind of an elaborate pre-race routine.
Anthony: Yeah. It kind of starts a week out. I'll have my last somewhat long run a week out. And, I like to have a race mixed into there. So, a 5k, maybe a 10k, but typically a 5k in there, a week out from pretty much anything, a marathon or certainly before an ultra I'll have a 20-mile morning with a 5k race mixed in them —
Ben: Yeah, that's funny. By the way, whenever I race Iron Man, I tried to find a sprint triathlon seven to ten days out because it kind of just puts you in that competition mindset. You get to practice your transitions. You get to practice the nerves before the race.
Anthony: I mean, if you're peaking, it doesn't take anything out of you.
Ben: Yeah, exactly.
Anthony: Yeah. So, that usually feels good. And, since I don't regularly train those all-out paces, I can't really hurt myself with a 5k anyway. I might be 5, 15 a mile marathon shape the next weekend and I might do 505 for a 5k.
Anthony: And, maybe even at altitude, but yeah, it's nothing too crazy just because I'm not specifically trained for it. But, having that one week out that last long run, I think people over-taper. I'll do a two-week taper and that's plenty.
Ben: You'll do a two-week taper for what distance?
Anthony: Yeah, I think I feel off my game if I taper any longer than that.
Anthony: And, even with that, the second week out, the week before race week might still be 100 miles. So, if I'm coming off of 160 or 140 miles a week, then 100 miles, that's part of the table.
Ben: Yeah. So, part of that's obviously genetic in terms of the high volume responder and even the faster tendon and ligament repair that you see with some genetics.
Anthony: Yeah, my body loves training.
Ben: When you do you do that DNA fit, it'll tell you, “Hey, you should train consistency every single day because you recover extremely quickly but don't do super big, big hard workouts all at once versus consistent daily is better for you if you're that fast recoverer.”
Anthony: Yeah, yeah, that definitely seems to be the case.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, that's kind of where it starts, and then I'll have something short and spicy during the week, maybe Tuesday or Wednesday, have something that's confidently over speed. So, kind of like that uphill session I was describing maybe 20 seconds real fast like as fast as I can mechanically move, and then 40 seconds moderate and do that 10 times or 15 times or 20 times. I might have that within the last seven days. And then, the final session before race day will be something at race pace just to build confidence. It might be 5 miles, a 100k pace, or 3 miles at marathon pace or something like that.
Anthony: And so, then we're 72-ish hours out. And, at that point, I'll just crush fiber. So, this is something that has–
Anthony: Fiber. This is something that's gone wrong to me before–
Ben: That seems counterintuitive.
Anthony: Yeah. But, 72-ish hours out, I can just start crushing like coconut flour, pancakes, or something. And then, somewhere around that 60-ish hour, maybe 48 hours out, I'll completely take fiber out of my diet. So then, I'm just like totally cleansing it–
Ben: So, does the high fiber kind of just clean you out, and then you move to a low fiber diet because you've already been cleaned out enough to where you're not going to have a bunch of bowel movement urges during the race?
Anthony: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: That's interesting.
Anthony: I've got it right, I don't know, three dozen times or something now. So, I have a lot of confidence. It involves some timers on my phone since I'm not [00:23:06] _____ type A to begin with. I'm kind of okay with just being fair about whatever. But, when I get it just right, man, I'll have one little nervous poop before the race and then I won't poop during, I won't poop after, I won't poop until the entire next day and it's just–
Ben: Wow. So, you really get cleaned up.
Anthony: It's not bubble guts when I do, it's just one quick little thing and then get right back at it. And so, I'll do that for a prep race and yeah, it's done me a lot of good because my whole GI track feels lighter. I mean, I feel better about eating calories while I'm running hard from that. And, I've wondered now about butyrate production, things like that. I'm thinking maybe because I'm crushing real food, I'm getting all this fiber in here. I wonder if I'm not just getting some [00:23:45] _____.
Ben: Yeah. If you look at the bacteria profile of the elite athletes, and these are studies that they've done with the high levels of akkermansia, which is a probiotic that has a side effect of increasing short-chain fatty acids and things like butyrate in the gut, arguably, you're probably enhancing your akkermansia production and your short-chain fatty acid production to the extent to where you might be getting the gut metabolism effect that you see either naturally present or induced via diet in a lot of these high performing individuals.
Anthony: Yeah, I'd be shocked if there wasn't something good in there. And, I've also considered that would be a perfect time to sell my poo, fecal microbiome.
Ben: Will be. Yup, yup, thinking like an entrepreneur.
Anthony: We've done a few of them in the house.
Anthony: Keep friends that are sick that tell their friends, “Hey, I could really use somebody and I don't want to spend tens of thousands of dollars.” It's like, “Come on over, we'll bust out the food processor that we don't use”–
Ben: Come on over where?
Anthony: To the house.
Ben: You mean your house in Colorado?
Anthony: Someone straight up has turkey bastered multiple folks a few times right in the house and just yeah, sieved it all out and [00:24:46] _____.
Ben: What's the house like one big frat party full of ultra-endurance athletes sharing their poop or what?
Anthony: Basically, yeah. I mean, Ultrahouse Durango where it's a 13–
Ben: Called Ultrahouse Durango?
Anthony: Yeah, it's a 1,300 square foot, three bed, two bath, just trailer mobile home in Durango that I own. And, since I have made ends meet without having to rent out rooms, I've just offered it up to anybody that wants to come there for peanuts or free or whatever it needs to be.
Ben: No kidding? Just athletes?
Anthony: I've had nature photographers and I had one guy that just came out just to lose some weight ended up running as fast as 10 miler ever afterward. But, the reality was he just came out, went to the grocery store with me, bought everything that I bought, and then ate like I did for, whatever it was, 45 days and lost 30 pounds.
Ben: Do you guys have sponsors filling the place up with recovery boots and gravity chairs and stuff like that?
Anthony: Yeah, that's definitely the idea.
Ben: Kind of rough around the edges still.
Anthony: Yeah, it's definitely shoestring still. And, I'm not sure where it's going to go from here, but yeah, I think if we had the sponsors, we'd have an easier time assembling a proper elite team to live there all the time and then we'd have more appeal for camps. But, right now, it's really just me offering my own personal–
Ben: Take some notes while you're in my house. Put a Zen den up there and [00:25:59] _____.
Anthony: Oh, exactly.
Ben: You've seen the setup at my place.
Anthony: Yeah. I've been enjoying it.
Ben: Yeah. It's kind of funny like sometimes about my house, I'm like, “Gosh, I wish I were still competing heavily in sports because I know I've got all the stuff I didn't have when I was competing a whole bunch.”
Anthony: You do. I was walking over to the little guest house in the back today and I was thinking, “I wonder if I envy him more or if he envies me more,” because I'm broke as it gets and I have basically nothing. But, I'm like, on that up and up rising like, man, if I could just get an extra 1,500 bucks and I could go race [00:26:30] _____.
Ben: Trust me, there are sometimes, I think–gosh, if I go back and do bodybuilding, I go back and do triathlon or go back and do obstacle course racing with the knowledge or I guess the means I have now. But, I mean, obviously, by not racing, I've put more time into the business. By putting more time into the business, I have higher income. And, of course, if you're pouring your heart in the racing, it's pretty hard to be a full-time CEO too. So, yeah, you can't really have the best of both worlds unless you have some very generous benefactors.
Anthony: Yeah. I have a million good ideas. We both know Mark Bell fairly well.
Ben: Yeah, Mark's great.
Anthony: I have a million good ideas and I think I'm just on the Mark Bell trajectory.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Anthony: I'll just keep living a life where I don't actually need money. And then, when I need it, I'll manifest more of it because I'm such a freak.
Ben: Great book. You probably heard me and my son's talking about it in the car last night on our way to that dinner party the book called “Early Retirement Extreme.” I recommend that to you and anybody else on the show who wants to live within your means. I'm taking my sons through right now because we're very, very careful about not giving them silver spoon mentality.
Anthony: I love hearing the conversation.
Ben: We have all Greenfield Family Foundation where they've got to totally take care of themselves once they turn 16. They're in charge of their car, their cell phone bill, contributing to the household income, everything. But, as a part of that, I'm taking them to this “Early Retirement Extreme” book that goes into things as little as don't buy a whisk, use a rubber band in two forks. So, it's a good book.
But, anyways, back to the pre-race routine. Is that it? That's just like the fiber and the poop and boom you're done?
Anthony: So then, that whole week will be maybe trickling in carbs, maybe not. That's a little more race dependent. If it's a marathon or a half, I'll probably leave it at 125 grams net a day or so. And, after so many years of defaulting to most of my foods being functionally zero carbohydrate, it's really easy to just inject that. I'll just instead of doing 90% dark chocolate, I can do 50% with a friend or whatever it is. I can have a sweet potato with dinner instead of not. And so, it's pretty easy and it feels decadent to have 125 grams of net carb after having 20 for a few weeks.
Anthony: And so, I might leave it there. If it's before a real, real long event, I might have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday real low carb. But then, somewhere around that, Thursday, certainly Friday before a Saturday race, I will crush. I mean, I'll have my normal like a can of sardines. Since I'm avoiding the fiber, I won't supremify them with all the nuts and seeds and everything that I add nutritional yeast. But, I'll have what I categorize as gluten-free junk food. I'll get something hyper-palatable with no fiber.
Ben: The night before you're carb-loading with clean burning carbs.
Anthony: Yes. And so, I'll usually aim at about half starch half sugar. That's easy to find. That's any number of cereals or gluten-free donuts, the freezer aisle, or whatever it is and stuff that I know won't leave me pooping on the side of the road.
Anthony: And then, I like that nice rush of insulin coma to just knock me out.
Ben: It's true. You sleep like a baby if you've been restricting carbs. The only way to get that is you got to inject insulin-like growth factor. If you're going low carbs, you want that same type of sleep, you get the peptide like ipamorelin or whatever.
But, the interesting thing is I used to do the same, I'd carb load it the night before my races, but then, and I learned this from the nutritionist Steve, I forget his last name, over at Hammer Nutrition, he said, well, in the morning then, eat a higher fat breakfast or a bulletproof style coffee or whatever. So, by the time I would get to the swim for Ironman and out of the water, that's when I would take my first gel or dose of carbohydrate. So, you're essentially keeping your body from going hypoglycemic leading up to the race, shifting your body into high-fat-burning mode because you've had a high-fat breakfast. You still have all the liver and the muscle glycogen because you loaded with carbs the night before. And, it's actually a really, really cool way to not be standing at the start line of the race and feel like you're going hypoglycemic because you had a bunch of carbs for breakfast.
Anthony: Yeah. That makes sense to me. I've just been skipping breakfast or I'll leverage some ketones. Just take a whatever quarter, a half of Ke4, just take some ketone.
Ben: Yeah, that's what I would have done. If I would have had ketones back then, that's what I would have done. But, in my case, I was literally just filling a blender with coffee and some butter and MCT oil and doing the high-fat coffee thing.
Anthony: Yeah. I don't typically do calories of really any significance until that 1:00 p.m. mark. And, that goes for 100% of my training. But, I would say I don't count ketones and that I will let ketones go outside of that both later and earlier if I want.
Anthony: I'll have ketones of pretty much any variety as long as they don't have significant calories from something else in that window.
Ben: Anything else crazy is part of the pre-race routines you're doing funky hokey pokey dances, stretches, breathwork, anything like that?
Anthony: I've been doing a little bit of CO2 tolerance stuff where I'll have maybe a three-second or a four-second inhale totally through the nose. And then, I'll have maybe a 30-second exhale as gentle as I can. And really, the last three seconds, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, brace. And then, I think I'm up to a 12-second hold on a negative breath hold there.
Ben: Yeah. So, you're doing a self-alkalizing type of protocol.
Anthony: Yup, maybe.
Ben: Yeah, interesting.
Anthony: I've been referring to it as CO2 tolerance because I think growing up without a wind instrument or something because it's kind of murder doing that because I'll do that seven times or eight times.
Anthony: One after the next. So then, you have that long slow exhale. And then, I'm pressing out the last three seconds and then the last three seconds and the negative hold, I'll try to squeeze out any more than I possibly can.
Ben: Yeah. Technically, that's a little bit more oxygen tolerance because CO2 tolerance, you would want to build up levels of CO2 in the body. And, the way that you do that is almost breathe in, letting go, breathe in, letting go, breathe in, letting go. It was like nice easy exhales. So, you're not blowing off a lot of CO2. And, by the time you get to the end of that protocol and you breathe in a whole bunch, suck it all in, and then do one final blowout, you're sitting there with high levels of CO2 in the body and you just got to sit there on that exhale with massive levels of CO2.
What's interesting is then you get an increase in the acid buffering enzymes responsible for getting rid of the CO2. And, that's why some people like to do something like that prior to ice or prior to a workout. But, the easier hack if you don't have time for breathwork is just Arm & Hammer baking soda, 0.3 grams per kilogram, little tiny teaspoons leading up to the race and you have that same alkalizing effect. Got to be really careful with how much.
Anthony: I've been using sodium citrate.
Ben: Yeah, yeah, sodium citrate can do too. Yup, exactly, exactly. And, you get less of the bowel issues.
Anthony: [00:32:52] _____ stuff right there.
Ben: Yeah, the bowel issues from the sodium citrate.
Anthony: Yeah, none in my case.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Anthony: I think I'm going to do half and half do some potassium citrate just to get the citrate in there for the pH balancing, but then have mine add a little more potassium. So, yeah, a little bit of breath work, something to kind of calm me down. I don't really do pre-race music or anything like that, but I take one hell of a nootropic stack. And then, because that's basically caffeine-free–
Ben: A nootropic stack.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. We can get into it.
Anthony: And then, because that's basically caffeine-free, I can stack that with solids full scoop of pre-workout and have another 250, 275–
Ben: Because a pre-workout usually has caffeine and blood flow precursors and stuff in it.
Ben: And, you're mixing that traditional ergogenic aid with a nootropic stack.
Anthony: Yeah, something that's straight. Limitless pill is [00:33:38] _____.
Ben: Now everybody wants to know what your limitless pill is so go ahead.
Anthony: Yeah. For training, I'll use Apex by Wukiyo.
Anthony: Wukiyo, Wu-ki-yo. Six letters, three syllables, phonetic.
Ben: You spelled this for me last night, I forget.
Ben: W-U-K-I-Y-O. And, it's so weird because this Wukiyo stuff showed up at my house a week ago. I didn't know that you had told them to send me some. And, I tried it. First of all, I was surprised because it had one of their brands had psilocybin extract in it. I don't even know how they could legally do that, but it was an amazing blend, crushed the day. And then, I took this other stuff you told me about Apex. And again, my traditional afternoon siesta didn't happen because I just basically worked all the way up until dinner. And then, this morning at 5:30 a.m., I took their other one called Ease and they have all these proprietary chemicals in them I'd never seen before, but you described it to me like the closest you could get to something like LSD stacked with psilocybin or something like that without actually taking those two.
Anthony: Yeah. It's pre-workout without the oxygen-starved feeling where you're short of breath and your heart's racing added to an almost uncontrollable LSD dose of just flow and selflessness. And, I'll be out there on the roads. I mean, I put a lot more into it than just a supplement. I put a lot of mindful work in, but I will regularly forget what it is that I'm doing. I'll be running 515s or something and I'll just look at my watch and see, yeah, it was a 512 and just have this visceral response that it was good and I'm doing the thing and just totally forget that it's a finite amount of miles or that I'm doing this for some external goal. I just totally, boom, flow state on control.
Ben: How did you find that Wukiyo stuff because I thought it was out of Japan or something?
Anthony: Yeah. They're not super popular still.
Ben: I've never heard of them. I'm kind of like in this sector.
Anthony: Yeah, you definitely are. I'm surprised you have haven't because I just came across them. I'm not even sure. I mean, I think I saw somebody on their crew, and just dumb luck, but I try to keep my finger on the pulse here of anything. I've been waiting on a smarter caffeine or a proper limitless pill sort of nootropic stack that would benefit me without making me feel [00:35:51] _____.
Ben: Again, I've only taken it three times but those sexy little stainless steel bottles and you put the capsule and you can combine it with caffeine and other stimulants if you wanted to, like you said, for a pre-workout.
But, I'm curious because I interviewed–by the way, I'll get a link from here. I'll hunt down a link. I'll put it in the shownotes for that stuff if you go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Kunkel, K-U-N-K-E-L. You'll have Anthony's name memorized by the end of this thing.
I interviewed the guy who wrote the book “Runner's High.” He talked about how a lot of ultra-endurance athletes for, I think, the combination, the focus, the bliss, and the pain killing will take small doses of THC like 2.5 to 7.5 milligrams THC pre-training or pre-race. And then, when I interviewed Andy Triana of Super Brain, another friend of Mark Bell's, fantastic interview, he delved into not only the fact that for ultra-endurance athletes, micro dose of LSD like 10 to 20 micrograms of LSD resulted in not only the improved focus and kind of that bliss state that you were also talking about. But, in addition, LSD is apparently one of the most powerful inductors of beta-oxidation or fat burning for the generation of ATP of any molecule yet discovered.
Anthony: Interesting. I'd love to get data on myself. I don't think that would be very complicated to do.
Ben: No. It wouldn't be complicated like drop acid and do indirect calorimetry.
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, two or two-ish times a week right now as I'm getting into really peak training and it's quicker and sexier and I'm hammering. I'll take about that dose. It's probably somewhere around 15 to 25 MICs.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. But, you can't use that stuff when you're racing, can you? What's the testing like in ultra-endurance?
Anthony: As far as I know, it's not on a watch list even right now.
Ben: LSD or THC?
Anthony: LSD. THC is but with the new standards. If you're not a pretty serious stoner, you could get away with 5 milligrams or so first thing in the morning and be fairly intoxicated on your competition. Now, that's not ideal for me. I don't really care. I'll use THC maybe two times a week as well and minimum effective dose maybe just for an enjoyable evening. But, that'll be 2 to 5 milligrams, maybe.
Anthony: Maybe 7 milligrams and then hop on the red mill and hammer out an infrared treadmill session. I call it the red mill.
Ben: Yeah. I used to take a hit on a joint instead of a glass of wine in the evenings. I quit doing that after seeing a lot of the data on brain gray matter on memory and particularly a really compelling study that came out eight months ago on rampant free radical leakage into the mitochondria with a dose of THC high enough to induce any type of altered state.
Anthony: [00:38:27] _____?
Ben: So now, the only time, this is once a month I will use THC is for after my wife and I have gone on a really hot day. It's one of the best things for orgasms and sex, particularly for women. And so, if I give her the pen to take a hit, I'm just going to stand her and watch her. So, I take a hit too and I'll use it for sex about once a month for a big bliss, long sexual marathon type of experience, but that's about it.
Anthony: Interesting. I think you could just go with lube as well probably. There's a local one Colorado Mushroom Company—
Ben: Like a THC lube.
Anthony: Yeah. Even Colorado Mushroom Company, they make this love salve and it has amanita muscaria, has like the world's most famous and she processes it all. She's the mamanita as it were my local mycologist.
Ben: Yeah, not that I want to turn this into drug podcast, but amanita muscaria is also fantastic for pre-sleep for lucid dreaming.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. I've done a little bit of tincturing too, but I think topically, I mean I don't get too absorb all that much through my man parts, but I've witnessed some incredible things.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. I'll have to note that. I kind of forgot about the THC absorbability.
Ben: So, back to the nootropic. So, during the race, we're finishing up with the pre-race routine, you said you'll go in, typically fasted, have loaded with carbs the night before you've done the fiber dump, and then you're just nootropics. But, for race that long, are you eating as you go through the race or doing ketones or anything like that?
Anthony: Yeah. I would like a small blanket of ketones just to avoid big glucose spikes. But, I don't know that I've ever really eaten enough to fuel a race. Not even good races. So, I tend to not really like to eat. And so, with marathon performances, I'm not totally sure if I even have anything to gain by sneaking some hydrogels into there, chasing the Olympic trials. It looks like that's something that'll be worth some time [00:40:11] _____.
Ben: Hydrogel is being the fructose maltodextrin to increase the glute for transporters.
Anthony: Yeah, basically.
Ben: A mix of carbohydrates.
Anthony: Yeah. I'm open to the idea that'll help me a little bit, but I tend to just do nothing for a marathon. I mean, my fastest times are on nothing still.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Do you think all that heat training helps you though with that?
Anthony: Yeah, big time. I think fat adapting real, real deep, and then adding that to heat training. We'll get into morning routine, I guess, but yeah, I mean, I'll have some good heat stimulus basically every day in my life if not twice a day.
Anthony: And, I think years and years and years of doing that, we know you don't get less of a response, you get more of a response on some of the heat shock protein measures and things like that.
Ben: You ever measure your temperature like use a rectal probe or anything like that?
Anthony: I was totally using a rectal thermometer.
Ben: You were, really?
Anthony: I'm having a good laugh about it for quite a few years. And then, I just got clicked in with CORE. Have you seen those guys?
Anthony: They use some type of magic. I'm going to butcher this probably, but I think it's a wattage measurement of some kind and they have a two-stacked system in there, and they kind of project what the temperature difference is and look into your core that way. And so, they can give you a skin temperature–
Ben: But, it's not up your butt, it's like subcutaneous?
Anthony: No, it's like a heart rate monitor. And so, they can project or at least they think they can. I haven't validated it myself, but I would imagine it's pretty good.
Ben: That's interesting.
Anthony: And, you can see that your skin temperature rise, these big waves as you sweat and as you cool off and as you get into cold water or as you get into the sauna, but then your core temp is much more stable. And, you can see how the two kind of interplay and dance. Really, really cool technology.
Ben: I'll hunt it down. I'll put a link in the shownotes. I'll hunt it down and find some more information on it or you can send it to me. Is it CORE with an e or just like K-O-R?
Ben: C-O-R-E. Okay, cool.
Now, you hinted that you have a morning routine, so it sounds like that's different, your average morning is different than your pre-race routine?
Anthony: Yeah. Pre-race, I'm not going to do cold, I'm not going to do heat, I'm not going to do anything that would compromise me, I'm just going to kind of sit quietly and let all the steps course through my system. So, with training, I delay caffeine, I always have and I'm really happy to see that's getting kind of trendy now.
Anthony: But, I'll do caffeine for–
Ben: Thanks to Huberman, the idea of delaying caffeine so you're not shifting your circadian clock backwards too much.
Anthony: And, just because it hits you harder. I mean, it really is nice.
Ben: Yeah, since your cortisol awakening response occurs, you get the cortisol surge, no use putting caffeine in your body when you already have cortisol. So, you wait until the cortisol surge subsides, then you do the caffeine dose.
Anthony: Yeah. And, I'll add that too. I'm outside getting in the junction creek. So, freezing, freezing mountain runoff, getting my natural light in my face, and getting nice and cold. And then, I'll scamper in for the sauna.
Ben: Yeah. You do the cold every morning?
Ben: Wow. Just like wake up and get cold?
Ben: I've done that a few times. I get nervous though because you see that the only situation in which you tend to see especially men get arrhythmias or some type of heart electrical abnormality is with extreme cold when they first woken up. So, I always think, “Gosh, nobody else in my family is awake yet, should I get into the Morozko?” I've done it a few times and it's fine, but it's always the back of my mind, I'm like, “I'm going to be found dead with a heart attack in my cold tub at 6:00 a.m.”
Anthony: Yeah. I was doing a minute up to my neck, which was very, very cold because it was 32, 33 degrees rushing down. It was savagely cold. And now, it seasons a little more long in the teeth. Now, I'm just doing up to the waist and I'll do four minutes. And, that's enough to get me kind of numbed out and vasoconstricted. And then, I'll scamper right into the sauna. I'm not trying to shiver. I'm not looking for brown adipose. I'm not looking to increase my metabolism, nothing like that, I'm just looking really for a little bit of inflammation regulation and then some mitochondrial biogenesis.
Anthony: And, it's a rush. I mean, it's like that first cup of coffee while I'm waiting to actually stimulate. And so, that's a real good way to start the morning and then, yeah, adding not just the heat but the near-infrared, get everything turning over. And, at that point, I'll get right up and have a liter of water with any. So, I'm going to have before and then after the sauna. That's where I'll get stimulated or take whatever the bespoke supplement of the day is basically.
Ben: Do you alter your nootropics or move through them so that you're not getting some type of a tolerance to a certain dose of something whether it's these Wukiyo's or anything else?
Anthony: Yeah, 100%. I'll have a micro dose LSD day and I'll even plan for the afterglow the next day. And so, I might stack it with just something like a cup of coffee or maybe sobriety, God forbid, and just have nothing the next day, but just enjoy that afterglow.
Ben: Yeah. I think just based on the fact you've already done an ice bath, you've kissed sobriety out the window. You've already got pretty good amounts of epinephrine and adrenaline.
Anthony: Endogenous version.
Anthony: Yeah. So, I cycle everything and I try to aim at minimum effective dose, but then as the season goes by, as I'm just periodizing it, I will be getting a little more rowdy and a little more aggressive as it goes. I like to cycle everything and use minimum effective doses so that I don't carry around tolerance or don't need it.
Ben: I'm the same way. One day I'll do mushroom coffee, the next day I'll do something like the Nootopia supplements, the next day I'll do a micro dose of psilocybin and the next day I'll do green tea. I think I was telling you last night, sometimes two weeks will go by and I haven't taken the same memory-boosting or cognitive boosting or energy-enhancing aid for two weeks. And, I'm the same with sleep. Sometimes I'll take Kion Sleep, sometimes I'll take some CBD, sometimes I'll do extra magnesium. But, my working theory is that if I'm just constantly cycling through, the body is always getting this novel stimuli and slips into the desired state just a little bit more easily.
Anthony: Yeah. I think that's 100% the truth. And then, if you randomize them a little bit, you get a feel for what the next day feels like.
Anthony: And, some of them if I'm getting so stimulated first thing in the morning, there's no way I'm going to score a nap where something like a kratom if I do 2 to 3 grams of just an extract or anything like that, just some plain kratom, I can have an awesome flowy morning workout where I'm curious and not in pain and get everything moving. And then, I can go home and take a nap. So, the same supplement that helps me.
Ben: The only problem with that stuff is you won't poop the next morning.
Anthony: You don't think so?
Ben: Kratom's pretty constipating for a lot of people.
Anthony: Interesting. Maybe the dose is small enough.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Anthony: Two grams is very, very little.
Ben: Yeah, it's not that much. Yeah.
Anthony: Yeah. So, I'll cycle everything and kind of plan for the aftereffects of each one of them.
Anthony: I'm not shy about using 2 to 4 grams of nicotine. I think that's a great thing for lifting in my case for whatever reason. It just motivates me to do all the little things. It gives me more satisfaction probably out of completing all those little things that you say you're going to do like core work and you don't actually do.
Anthony: And so, yeah, having the heat, the cold, and some different supplement, it's really bespoke for the day.
Ben: Yeah. And then, knowing how to stack them. If you take nicotine, take that pre-workout or a nitric oxide booster because nicotine is a vasoconstrictive. So, you get some of the acetylcholine esterase benefits of nicotine. You get more acetylcholine hanging around but then you're also have the vasodilate. So, once you start to mess around with this stuff and mix and match, or like I told you this morning, if I ever take too much of something, I'll just pop 200 grams of l-theanine and it kind of just calms you out, yeah, and brings you down.
Ben: Yeah. So, your morning routine. Anything else kind of interesting about it?
Anthony: I mean, I will say right now is one more taking a guess at why I'm breaking out so hard right now and having such an awesome effortless block and just having more fun than ever. I mean, I'm 31. I've been at this as seriously as I could for a decade.
Anthony: And, I'm still kind of finding what I would consider beginner gains. And, one of the things that I'm doing right now is I brought it back after trying it with a previous cycle. So, a lot of time people will question, “How do you know what's working and what isn't if you're trying half a dozen things at a time?” And, part of it is I'll add different things at different periods and kind of log the effects, but it usually takes two if not three or four training blocks of cycling in and out of these things to really know what does what for me. And, one of the things that I thought did good for me before was taurine and citrulline malate.
Anthony: So, I'm using a gram, maybe a gram and a half of taurine first thing in the morning and I'll stack that with nine-ish grams of citrulline malate. And, I don't know if it's even the citrulline at this point, I'm kind of wondering if it's not just the malate because the malate has its own kind of neurotropic effect.
Ben: Yeah, malic acid. Yeah.
Anthony: And then, the chronic of having it every single day, having kind of chronically elevated nitric oxide. I had noticed the same thing using something like BeetElite back in the day of it just having chronically elevated levels or bumping it every single day. I think there's got to be some kind of benefit to that.
Ben: So, you're saying that you actually like that mixing the taurine with the citrulline malate?
Anthony: Yeah. It's what I've been doing. I've been doing that, a little bit of pink salt.
Ben: What's the reason that you started doing that, blood flow?
Anthony: Yeah, blood flow, I think, was the original draw with citrulline. But, at this point, I'm not totally even sure how this is all working.
Anthony: It's one of those things that I've cycle on and cycled off so many times at so many different doses. And, I've settled on this now and it seems to really be paying dividends.
Ben: Yeah, mechanism of action most likely would be the blood flow enhancement from the citrulline combined with ATP production from the taurine.
Anthony: I wonder about hormones too.
Ben: Essentially increasing energy currency and blood delivery at the same time. I don't know about hormones. I don't know.
Anthony: Yeah. Because even with carnitine and things that I've played with in the past, I wonder if I'm not just–because I think I'm a particularly androgen-sensitive sort of runner type. I mean, that's why I can pack on muscle.
Ben: Is that because you're a ginger?
Anthony: I'm so vitamin D sensitive. I'm just like X-Man over here making vitamin D, half ginger.
Ben: Half ginger.
I mean, similar to that, are you doing any kind of elaborate sleeping protocols?
Anthony: Yeah, I use the ChilliSleep and I freaking love that thing, man. That's been so game-changer.
Ben: It's going out of business though.
Ben: Yeah. It went out of business and they got bought out or something.
Anthony: Well, there's SleepMe, right?
Anthony: They're still around. It's the same product–
Ben: They're still around but they're hard to get. Right now, I'm running a BedJet up on my bed. It's like a bedside air conditioning unit. And, the problem with that one is my wife will–I had to adjust it a ton because it'll go down to 65 and I thought well I keep my SleepMe a 55 because I gotten rid of my SleepMe because it broke and they weren't able to do repairs anymore. So, I got this BedJet thing and I put it at 65 as low as it'll go and my wife was freezing all night and I was snuggling up against her and pretty cold myself. I'm a cold beast. And so, then I put it all the way up at 72, 7 degrees higher than its lowest temperature, turn the intensity of it down to 50% and I'm hell of cold all night long in a good way.
Ben: So, I'm using it. It's almost like a bedside air conditioning unit now. But, you're right, I mean the cold for anybody who's exercising a lot or for anybody, really, that's a game changer.
Anthony: When I think a topper, a topper seems ideal or even a weighted blanket or whatever seems ideal because then you can do it and your partner you're with doesn't have to freeze with you but–
Ben: Exactly. They could wear a weighted blanket if they wanted to.
Anthony: I have a mine set to go that 1 degree up per minute for 30 minutes to wake me up and it's so nice.
Ben: I never tried the alarm function. The BedJet has one of those too. It goes to hot air from cold air.
Anthony: Oh, you got to do it. You got to do it because I find that while I'm training really heavy, I pretty much wake up feeling death every morning.
Anthony: More mornings than not. And, I find that's all it takes to make me physically warm up.
Anthony: I feel like an emperor though because I'll wake up with that thing all hot and then I go outside and get in the cold water and then I come back inside in the sauna.
Ben: I got to try that.
Anthony: Man, I am a king right now.
Ben: Yeah, the only thing I use right now is the Apollo, the haptic wristband that vibrates. And, I've got that set. If I'm not up and out of bed by 5:30, I've got that thing. At 5:30, it'll start vibrating in energy mode. And then, at night, it shifts into sleep mode. But, that's about the only alarm clock-ish thing that I have.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. It's great. And then, I get up at exactly the same time every day, which for me is 8:30.
Ben: With or without the hot water. Just hot water makes it feel better?
Ben: Interesting. What about in the evening, are you taking anything to help you sleep or doing any type of pre-sleep protocols?
Anthony: I'll take a little bump of some sort of exogenous ketones way more often than not. And then, I've been using a mushroom blend. I don't think they're using it. I don't think they're making it anymore. FreshCap, they had this unwind blend that was a bunch of herbals all put together, magnesium–
Ben: Reishi and turkey tail and stuff like that.
Anthony: Yeah. And then, the reishi and the chaga and everything. But yeah, I've been on that plus an extra gram of chaga.
Anthony: Since the realization that most of your melanin is not in your skin but is in your mitochondria.
Anthony: Instantly, it totally changed my relationship to things like chaga where they're talking about melanin and all this stuff that kind of seemed too abstract or too woo-woo or too much of a stretch for me.
Ben: The dark black and dark blues of the plant kingdom tend to increase melanin production. Chaga is one of them, shilajit, methylene blue, and chlorella or spirulina. Any of those massively increase mitochondria activity of cytochrome C oxidase, especially if you're in the infrared sauna or under sunlight.
Anthony: Yeah. Stacking it with loads of sunlight where I live.
Anthony: And then, the infrared for–I mean, there's a near-infrared bulb pointed at me for probably 10 hours a week.
Ben: Yeah. Wow.
Anthony: I love it.
Anthony: So, yeah, I was stacking it with [00:53:17] _____. That's something I've been doing is chaga every night. And again, I'm having such a breakout. All I'm doing is just logging everything like a proper nerd.
Ben: Yeah, breakout meaning you're getting better and better.
Ben: You're doing a lot of these things.
Do you ever get pushback from sponsors who are like, “Oh, he's the weird guy, he was talking about LSD in a podcast. I heard him. No money for Anthony.” Or, he was like, “I noticed you were on a recent sexual marathon, orgasms type of podcasts.” And, obviously, sometimes, I mean, I've gotten pushed back from sponsors for talking about doing stem cells into my dick or whatever. So, I'm curious. Do you kind of feel like you get pushed out a little bit of sponsorships by doing weird stuff?
Anthony: Oh, big time. And, part of it was that I'm able to get weirder and weirder now that I've stopped holding sponsors that may or may not regulate me. I'm running professionally to the extent that that's a thing and I'm doing it without a shoe contract, which is basically unheard of, right?
Anthony: That's not really viable because usually your shoe company, that's your health insurance.
Ben: You go through a lot of shoes and those things are expensive.
Anthony: That's your living wage. Well, yeah, and it's your first $30,000 a year, whatever. It's your travel fund. It's everything that makes it kind of viable. So, it's made it really interesting to kind of–I don't know, it's not that I'm reinventing the wheel but I'm definitely carving my own path here and insisting upon doing it the way that I want to do it. And, that's absolutely had a financial impact on my ability to do what I'm doing. But, I just think it's so right now I'm wondering how do climbers do it? Climbers will just have some project and will disappear for six months and the company will just pay to make media if they need it. And, it's like that doesn't–
Ben: I don't think climbers do do it, dude. They sleep in torn-up sleeping beds.
Anthony: Well, there's that too. There's broken runners.
Ben: Yeah, [00:54:59]_____.
Anthony: So, there's something to that but I still think that the model of someone who's sponsored to do some crazy transcendental things kind of has some merit. You just have to figure out how to swing that and how to merge the two of them and how to share these crazy transcendental experiences so that people that are sitting in an office and doing all their runs on the treadmill can then see what you're up to and get all amped and get through their own stuff.
Ben: Yeah. I don't know. For me at Kion, we are a supplements company, I look for edgy controversial athletes who are head turners who are doing unique things because I don't want the Kool-Aid, the same old playing Jane just safe but arguably boring athlete. I like a lot of the head-turning athletes. In the MMA, I like Sugar Sean O'Malley and Conor McGregor and pattern interrupts like Danica Patrick, which was race car driving and I guess now, Anthony Kunkel, for ultra running.
Anthony: Yeah, I accept.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Anthony: So, yeah. I mean, I think that's the idea is I would rather stand for myself even if I also have to stand for being a total starving artist of an athlete because I think even financially longer term that'll be better but it's certainly it helps me sleep easy at night knowing that I'm actually contributing whatever it is. And, I have not just the freedom to do what I want to do but I have the freedom to be wrong.
Anthony: Even if I haven't found a way to make it as financially viable as it needs to be to scoop up some land like I'm after right now and that sort of thing, the ability to properly speak your mind lets everybody trust that I'm using the supplements or the companies or I'm endorsing the things that I want because I think they're the best.
Ben: Right, you're authentic. You're being you. So, I mean, you mentioned starving artists, but I'm curious, do you think of your craft as an art? Do you think of exercises as an art?
Anthony: 100%. I think part of what rubs me so wrong about athletes being sponsored at, let's say, the Olympic trials level on the track. I have a half dozen people because I've talked about plant medicine and psychedelics and all this stuff. I've had people reach out to me and say, “Man, this is totally off record. You'll understand why, but I would not have been the athlete,” the hockey player is a good example or the 5k on the track. It's like, I would not have made it to the trials, the Olympic trials or to the NHL or I wouldn't have had the comeback that I had if it wasn't for psychedelics, if it wasn't for, I mean, whatever.
And, some of them are 20-year-old punks. I wouldn't have run so well in D1 college if it wasn't for mushrooms. And then, some of them are, I have one buddy that's in his 40s and has recently stopped running for a major shoe company after years and years and years. And now, he's free to speak his mind for the first time ever, and it's because he's doesn't have to worry about the financials but it also means he's working a job instead of a job he's in love that is instead of just kind of telling the world what it took to run so freaking fast.
Anthony: And, I think there has to be some way to set up a proper energy exchange for all this because I think–
Ben: What do you mean by that?
Anthony: I think athletes have something to offer the world and it's not just fast performances. And, the second you get sponsored by some big box company, it's more important that you be anodyne and agreeable and safe.
Anthony: And, if you can do that and also win races, then they don't care, they'll slap shoes on you and they'll sell a bunch of whatever their Super Shoe is or what have you. But, it sets up this world where these people that are doing freakish things that in theory should see the world in a way that no one else is capable of seeing it. If you're running 140 miles a week, what does that take? What are you doing? What do you think about out there?
And so, I'm convinced that most of those people, myself included, would have something to offer the world and you don't have to be right for everybody. I mean, I think if you have something of value, plenty of people are going to look at that and rightfully so even say, “That's dumb. That has no value for me at all.”
Anthony: But, I think by shackling these athletes, you're not able to speak your truth and you're not able to be wrong, you're not able to stir the pot and say controversial things. And so, then you end up with this group of people.
Ben: I don't know. Maybe you are, maybe be surprised, maybe if you continue down the road of free expression and being your authentic self and doing the weird stuff and biohacking, five years from now, you're going to be getting the fat sponsorships and turning heads and people who played safe won't be. I mean, you never know if people see the light here.
Anthony: Yeah, I'm okay making my own route.
Anthony: I think that what I'm doing will be viable enough for myself and for a cross-country team or so worth the athletes, call it five to seven athletes that I would like to be able to support in a three to five-year mission.
Anthony: And so, yeah, I think we can do it.
Ben: Yeah, the team of the Island of Misfit Toys.
Ben: What do you think about when you're out there? Are you allowed to listen to stuff like headphones in because in Ironman, we weren't allowed to have headphones but obviously you're doing training. But, for runs or races or whatever, do you think about or listen to much?
Anthony: In a good race, I don't think about or listen to anything.
Ben: Nothing, even like count hundred over and over again or anything like that?
Anthony: No, no, I think the fewer thoughts the better.
Anthony: And, I do a lot of things in my life to make that happen.
Ben: Like what?
Anthony: I think you get into an ice bath that's all you can think about.
Ben: That's true.
Anthony: You do that every single day and you're building a little bit of plasticity. You add that to lion's mane and occasional nicotine and eating a high choline diet, boom, you have a perfect recipe. To then kind of you're practicing not just being in the cold but being perfectly mindful on one thing at a time. You add that to the heat where you have whatever that molecule is, it's the same molecule you get with alcohol withdrawals. It tells you, okay, get the hell out of this box.
Anthony: And, you add all these things together and you make that the intent of training. I think if your intent of training is to be gritty and look for something challenging and fight yourself, then you'll find it. But, on the same token, I think if your whole point of training is that I'm going to go get weird, I'm going to take my clothes off and prance to the wilderness, I think you'll find that too. I think you'll find some sort of peace. I'm looking for that. I'm flow hunting and I'm chasing that kind of peaceful effortless bliss. And, I think that does me right at least 50% of the time.
Ben: I don't want to tell you how many audio books I listen to Ironman training. And so, you looked at my bike as like a traveling university. But, you're talking about races then?
Anthony: Racing, yeah. I mean, I–
Ben: I was going to say because that's honestly how I learned a ton about business and starting my companies and everything was really just during Ironman. I'd listen to business books and Tony Robbins and yeah, obviously not during races, but yeah.
Anthony: Yeah, my training runs workout days, nothing.
Anthony: Or, really, really exploratory days. I'll bring the dog out. I'll put a nice bandana on him so I don't have to worry about him. And, he's just a little reservation dog. He's bulletproof. So, I can just let him free range. He's so well-trained. And, we'll just go out there and we'll just flow together. And, I'll just kind of smell what he smells and get weird out there. And, that would be a day. That or a pace work are definitely days where I don't bring anything.
Anthony: But, the other days out of the week, there's plenty of room, eight runs, ten runs a week where I have whatever it is. I usually use it to keep up with things that people are going to ask me about.
Anthony: The Huberman stuff or I went through becoming or finding ultra going through [01:02:21] _____ right now.
Anthony: Just because we have a lot of similarities. And, I think there's something brilliant about having access to somebody's audiobook assuming that they really like it.
Anthony: Because I think you can get somebody's best essence, all of their wisdom, it's chocolate cake for my brain. It's just such a decadent experience.
Ben: I like that. Audiobooks are chocolate cake for your brain.
Anthony: You can stand up, man. An hour special, if somebody's just best killing it, it's like, I can get this distilled version of stand-up. And, it took them 20 years to make this hour and I can just listen to it and laugh. I don't have to understand it, I can just engage with it. And, that's artistry, right?
Anthony: I would like to be able to do that with whatever it is that I think I'm doing out here on the roads. I would like to be able to kind of bottle that and distribute that to anybody that wants it. And, if 50% of the population or 99% of the population says this has no value, it's dumb, you're a crazy person who eats mushrooms and runs in the woods, I don't care because the 1%, I believe that they will get something so deep out of it.
Ben: Yeah, eats mushroom poops, coconut wraps, and runs in the woods. I used to load up sometimes for my interval training. I'd grab a bunch of eight four- to five-minute slow songs and eight four- to five-minute fast songs because I used to be a spin instructor. So, I always put together tracks. I was used to doing this for my spin classes anyways. And, I'd load that up for music to push me during an interval training workout because I have to look at the watch at all. I was like, “Yeah, just listen to this entire soundtrack, go easy when it's easy, go hard when it's hard.” And, that's my workout. So, I did use music sometimes, but nowadays, it's almost always audiobooks and podcasts.
What about if you get injured? Do you get injured much and do you have some strategies for that mentally or physically?
Anthony: Historically, I don't get injured. Historically, I hurt regularly but I never have to miss training.
Anthony: Over the last year and a half, maybe even a year, I've had more. Yeah, I guess over the last two years, I've had more missed days. So, proper injuries than I've had in the entire preceding decade.
Anthony: And, I think part of it is I've gotten a little greedy and trying to run a little bit faster. And, some of it's just freak stuff that happens or compounds. I think a lot of it was just related to the previous thing of just getting back at it before I was ready. But, it's been awesome, really, because it's made me dive down other avenues that I wouldn't have explored otherwise. But, I do think all the heat training primarily because I've done that since I was 17, 18 years old jogging in place in a sauna.
Ben: Yeah, you get a big increase in quality with that. It's almost like you get free young muscle.
Ben: Yeah, yeah.
Anthony: And, I go in there to the death. I mean, my red mill, my infrared treadmill, that's all decked out with a tungsten, a 4/4 bolt panel in the back of the 1-bolt panel in the front. And, it's on an incline trainer with a drop cloth around it, basically.
Ben: I'll take you on, bro. I'll take you through one of my 90-minute breathwork sessions in the heat tomorrow morning and see if you can hang. I mean, I'm not Laird Hamilton taking the AirDyne and the kitchen gloves in there, but I used to drag my bike in the sauna for hour to two-hour-long marathon sessions on the bike.
Ben: And then, even before that, my wife and I in this condo we lived in, I'd go to the top floor of the condo in the middle of summer, pull on a garbage bag with cut-out holes for the legs, and the arms, pull on two layers of clothing and winter coats on top of that and ride and watch the first three of the rocky series or Star Wars. Those are just ride for six hours sweating buckets.
Anthony: I think the heat, the heat's a huge secret.
Ben: You're also lighter than me. I don't know. You might be able to take me.
Anthony: We'll see.
Ben: We'll have to have a heat off. A sauna office they call them in Finland where people die.
Anthony: Yeah. They got rid of the world champs on that. Otherwise, that would still be on my short list of things to do.
Ben: Now, you just got to do the wife-carrying competition. That's the other one over there.
Anthony: [01:06:02] _____.
Anthony: I'm trying to get under 130 for marathon. Maybe I'll be the wife.
Ben: Your wife will carry you.
Ben: So now, the other thing I want to ask you was in terms of tracking, do you do much actual blood work like biomarker blood work? A lot of these athletes are sponsored by InsideTracker, WellnessFX, or things like that. Are you tracking much self-quantified?
Anthony: I do a lot of biometrics. I don't do a lot of blood work. I have a really fancy heart rate monitor. I have that core temp.
Ben: What do you mean a biometric?
Anthony: I'll measure HRV. I'll measure respiratory rate. I'll measure temperature, a little bit less invasive stuff, but I've just had so much work done over the years that I don't know that I really need to anymore. I'm kind of just trusting what I feel. And yeah, I mean, I did one little deal with InsideTracker and they just really let me down. I didn't like that it was algorithmic to begin with.
Ben: Algorithmic meaning it's feeding your data through known reference ranges.
Anthony: Yeah, they grabbed three or four reference points and then projects 20 out of them. I know that I'm a freak. I have proven, I've quantified that I am not going to do the average range thing. So, I have minimal trust in that.
Ben: Right. As an endurance athlete, you'd have red-flagged off-the-charts HDL, CRP, probably albumin likely a low mean corpuscular volume. You'd have all this stuff that a doctor would say, “Oh, yeah, you're going to die. Good luck. Dig your grave.” And, it's because of the way you train and is actually one of the consequences of being ultra fit but it's not necessarily a deleterious consequence.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. So, I just don't really know what to do with a lot of that. but, I do like to get some type of blood work done once a year. Just check in. I definitely abuse vitamin D and intermittently abuse iron a little bit. So, I'd like to make sure that I'm not getting too toxically high on a few things.
Anthony: So, that's enough to justify a full panel, but I'll just do that.
Ben: You mean, you take a lot of iron as a supplement?
Anthony: I do. I'll do what amount on this block, I'm on 30-ish milligrams of supplemental iron at least every other day. And, that's just while I'm in season. I mean, I'm sweating so much. I don't even know if that's a significant amount, but then I keep in cast iron, I eat a lot of organ meat. I've recently enough realized originally getting down to marathon weight, I ended up giving up meat really of any kind. I did a half pound of raw beef liver a week.
Anthony: And, that was the only meat that I was consuming because eggs just seemed like a more nutritionally dense way to do it relative to the calories. So, I'd have three egg yolks a day but wouldn't be doing any animal muscle meat.
Anthony: And recently, I realized now that I've replaced that with something else, it's this blend that my local Red Cliffs Farm, tiny mom and mom and pop thing, and he just makes this blend. That's these regenerative churro lambs that live at the bottom of these beautiful Red Cliffs east of me. The farm is amazing.
Ben: That's organ meats or just muscle meats?
Anthony: It's fat and tongue. So, tongue's basically a muscle, very, very collagen rich.
Ben: Lingua, yeah.
Anthony: And then, was it liver and kidney in there?
Anthony: Maybe there's heart mixed in there.
Ben: That's a good one, yeah.
Anthony: It's this proper organ meat blend. And, I've just been doing that in lieu of any other kind of muscle meat.
Ben: I don't want to overstep my boundaries and I don't know a lot about your biomarkers. I'm not your coach or whatever, but if you were taking iron at the amount that you're taking it and also doing sauna, which is arguably going to help out with iron and iron storage, I would be focusing a lot more on copper because copper is deficient, especially in a lot of heavily sweating athletes and a what. It's what helps get iron into the cells so that the iron doesn't hang around outside the cells and essentially cause like rusting of the body.
The cool thing is organ meats are very good done for you blend of iron and copper. So, you're getting some in the organ meats. Legumes can also be a decent source of the copper, but there's two things that I think are top of the totem pole for an endurance athlete who wants to increase iron storage and copper simultaneously. One would be organ meats, but it's a spleen like spleen extract. You can get from Ancestral Supplements your spleen. When you see free divers and they dive and their spleen gets compressed, one of the things that occur as a result of that is increased depot production. That's why a lot of Olympic athletes now who aren't even free divers, they'll free dive for the spleen compression because it's illegally supplementing with EPO [01:10:34] _____.
Anthony: I'm intrigued by this idea to the same end.
Ben: But you can also consume spleen.
Ben: Ancestral Supplements has some. That's one company. I don't know if Heart & Soil has them. There's a few other companies. And, the other one is bee pollen. Bee pollen is massively high in bioavailable copper.
Anthony: Okay. I've used a fair amount of bee pollen.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. So, I would kind of do those and keep eating the organ meats, but if you did all that, you could probably back off the iron from a long-term health standpoint and get less risk of potential hemochromatosis.
Anthony: Yeah. I'm ready to retest any week now at this point, but I also wonder just I think those numbers are still relatively humble. Even if I'm doing 60 milligrams a day if I'm sweating profusely for an hour a day and just foot strike hemolysis, the breaking of those red blood cells while you're out there running just mechanically stomping your foot and breaking blood cells, that's got to be a lot of iron demand.
Anthony: But yeah, that's definitely on my radar.
Ben: So, a lot of iron demand, and the problem is not replenishing the iron, the problem is replenishing the iron with the nutrients that accompany it that allow it to actually get into the cell versus it hanging around the bloodstream. So, it's about bioavailability more than dose.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah. I should double-check copper on something because I've gone out of my way to increase that. First, it got on my radar through zinc, zinc-copper balance. And so, that's why I was prioritizing it, but yeah, things like liver and kidneys seem to be very, very high sources of it. And then, I kind of wonder if most of the breakout right now isn't due to that GoodPhyte. We're briefly talking digestive enzymes and that sort of thing. And, I'm on this phytase enzyme and I thought for sure it was–
Ben: GoodPhyte is the brand name of the phytase enzyme.
Anthony: Yeah, P-H-Y-T-E, GoodPhyte.
Anthony: I thought for sure it was just snake oil. I mean, we're in a similar boat where I say yes to everything, I'll trial anything, I'll see what works. But, I didn't have big–I don't eat a whole lot of phytates. But, upping the dose from a double dose already into a five or six doses a day, suddenly, I have not had a single rough run. It's been effortless craziness since then. And, I'm not even sure.
Ben: It's kind of interesting. Yeah. Because if you look at bromelain, papain, trypsin, chymotrypsin, high-dose digestive enzymes, et cetera, they can be used off label for instead of digesting food to break down fiber in the bloodstream and also be used for biofilm breakdown. So, you might be seeing like a thinning of the mucus. You could potentially see an increased recovery and decreased soreness effect from the fibrin breakdown. Or, maybe your seeds and nuts are messing up your gut and you're digesting them better. Who knows.
Anthony: Yeah. At this point, I'm not even sure it seems to be doing something beyond what we think it's doing because I'm having crazy days after days right now.
Ben: Yeah. I had to send you a bunch of Kion Flex and see if that works better or worse than the phytase.
Anthony: Yeah, let's go ahead and try.
Ben: Because it seems like a big boatload of enzymes as well.
Anthony: I do worry about scrubbing my gut though because I'm big on my gut. I want chia seeds and [01:13:29] _____.
Ben: High-dose enzymes can do a number on the gut lining.
Anthony: Yeah, that's definitely on my radar. And, I mean, I'm religious about colostrum. I don't know if you played with that, but that was one of the things–
Ben: Oh, yeah. We have it at Kion. It's one of our supplements, yeah.
Anthony: Nice, nice. That was one of the things that when I started doing, I did that pilgrimage route last year that we shot a little documentary on. It's up on my Patreon, actually, just so that we can still make the balance.
Ben: Is that the 250-mile pilgrimage running?
Anthony: Yeah, yeah, just 11 days of just indulgent running. And, there was 160-mile week in there. And, the first night, I just felt death, obviously. And then, your body gets up to speed doing a marathon extra day. And then, I started just crushing, I started craving it. I was just putting these colostrum package just right into my face. And, I was using ARMRA, which is really intentionally they strip away certain things, they could relieve certain things and they cold treat it. Yeah, they do it right it seems.
Ben: Yeah. It's not as good as Kion but it's good.
Anthony: Yeah. I'm open to it. And so, my body, once I started doing eight, 10 of these little ARMRA packets a day, I suddenly didn't feel feverish at night and everything was smooth flowing from there.
Anthony: Just having that test in the foxhole that as it were seemed to be–that convinced me.
Ben: Yeah, the increased gut permeability in the heat during exercise with endurance athletes is not only extremely proven and controlled by things like colostrum and now glutamine but aggravated. And, this is concerning by ibuprofen, which any other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug which drives me nuts when I see some Ironman or marathoner popping a couple ibuprofen halfway through to shut down the pain because you can introduce basically a sepsis-like state.
Anthony: Yeah. I think there's better drugs too.
Anthony: If I had a message that was supplements, it was say maybe the drugs. I just think if you really looked at it and picked what supplements you were using or anything that you're putting into your body, any interventions that you're doing, and ask yourself if there's a better way to do it because I think a lot of people do things just because of convenience.
Ben: Right. I mean, you get an opioid prescription. Well, I can tell you right now, if you were to stack phenethylamine and CBD and low-dose kratom and possibly a little bit of a curcumin or turmeric, then you're going to get an opioid-like effects. I mean, if you've got your wisdom teeth removed or whatever, do that instead of, A, supporting opioid production in general because it's just harming a lot of people. And B, having that tempting bottle around for you to abuse for the next month because I always prescribe too much of that stuff.
Anthony: Yeah. I think that's being an adult about yourself/drugs is kind of a really fun place to be then because then it opens the world up to you.
Anthony: So, I think that's part of my licentiousness about supplementation or talking about micro-dosing, psychedelics or something that comes from that sort of place. I'm really intrigued at the idea–who is that guy pushing the doped-up Olympics, the enhanced games?
Ben: Oh, yeah, I heard about him. Yeah, like the Olympics but you're allowed to dope with whatever you want.
Anthony: Yeah, but you have to get health screened. So, if your health is in shambles, they won't let you compete. That's so genius. And then, he's addressed a lot of the issues in there, but I think one of the issues we're going to find is it's not going to work. They're not going to break the records because the athletes in the Olympic games are already all doped up.
Anthony: And, part of my shtick about openly talking about the things that I'm not supposed to talk about is there an alternative to doing something that's against the rules. I'm okay even as someone who's never been drug tested despite all the stuff that I've done. I'm okay playing within the rules as they're written or at least the intent of the rules as they're written even.
Anthony: And so, I think there's so many things that are open to you that if anything might help your health and wellness and your longevity instead of harming those things that are also totally at your disposal.
Ben: You ever race against somebody wearing those doped-up shoes? What do they call them, the smart shoes? You know what I'm talking about?
Anthony: Super Shoes?
Ben: Yeah, Super Shoes.
Anthony: Yeah. I don't have a choice, man.
Anthony: I did a marathon, what was that, three years ago maybe and I was ninth or eighth in a field that had money for top five. And, I was the only person in the top 10 that wasn't in Super Shoes. We're into the era now where you can compete–
Ben: So, you were able to hang with some of the Super Shoes guys.
Anthony: 100%, but I think what you're finding is that they're worth minutes off your time. And so, you almost have to put an asterisk next to it.
Ben: What is it in them that's making them so effective? Is it like the rebound effect?
Anthony: It's the foam, it's the foam.
Anthony: Everybody thinks it's the carbon fiber plates because they're sexy and cool and flashy and you can see them, it's the original study out of Boulder said it had nothing to do with–
Ben: So just like potential to kinetic energy conversion?
Anthony: It's 98% rebounded energy instead of 60 or something an EVA.
Ben: Which adds up over tens of thousands of stuff.
Anthony: Yes. And then, the Nike with the air pods and the Alphafly saves your legs even more.
Anthony: It's an interesting world because I don't think I can justify those because I don't have the same problems that elite athletes in the marathon have, for example, where they're built for the marathon. Their calves look like my forearms. And so, they get a lot more benefit out of maybe a heavier shoe because it can save their legs the abuse; whereas, my legs–
Ben: I still want to put a pair of Super Shoes on you now and see what happens.
Anthony: Yeah, yeah.
Ben: Alright, if anybody knows anybody makes Super Shoes, leave a comment in the podcast, we'll get Anthony hooked up.
Anthony: I'm just wearing the Nikes with everyone else, man. That's the problem is if they're doing the best job, then we all have to kind of–really, it's unfortunate for the athletes that aren't sponsored.
Ben: It's like Lance Armstrong, you have to be the best doper.
Anthony: Yes, exactly. If you can try to get ahead. Or, Louis Simmons said “Gear can't be neutral. It's either an advantage or it's a disadvantage.” And, I think that's what we're into now where these poor athletes that are sponsored by a company that doesn't make a good Super Shoe, they just can't compete or they have to hope that they're smart enough to have it in their contract that they can race and whatever seems to be the fastest.
Anthony: And, that's another thing that I really like. I can grab a pair of pulsars by SALOMON to have a 6-ounce or just under shoe that I could do 100 miles on the trail in and it's an advantage, right?
Anthony: And so, even though I'm not running for SALOMON and they have no love for me, you just get a hold of a pair of these. And then, on the roads, I can race in a Vaporfly or I can race in the Alphafly. And, I don't ever have to say this is the greatest shoe ever, I can just say, “Well, this was the best shoe for this block with my body based on these metrics.”
Ben: It was funny right before he stepped out here to do this two-hour-long walking podcast, you were about to just walk out bare feet on this gravel. So, I know you train your feet too.
I'm just curious, like a bigger picture question, but why do you do all this? What do you think drives you?
Anthony: Yeah. I just want to know. Not just the kind of external want to know how fast I can run, it's more about the, man, what would it feel like to run my high school PR 2 mile 13 times in a row, so you get an Olympic trial–
Ben: I've thought about that before and I've run a fast mob and like, “Wait, there are people who do this 26 times in a row.”
Anthony: Yeah. I mean, I don't envy those people because I think talent takes the most of the way and they don't really have to think about it at the tippy top end. So, I think it's fun driving this and kind of getting every little bit of benefit that I can get here and there and harvesting all these otherwise trivial benefits to add it all up in there. But, the big driving factor for why do all that and why repeatedly just build a house of cards just to knock it over, I think it's the curiosity of knowing what that feels like. The crazy experiences that I've had where I just have a perfect flow state for five straight hours and have no thoughts, that is worth whatever the price is. Anything you'd have to pay to get that state again, you would do it. And so, that's really what I'm doing, I'm just out here trying to stack these flow states.
Anthony: As I've found those in things like that pilgrimage, I've had less of a need to race and less of a need to establish myself. And, part of that is I think I got the dreams that I wanted as a kid or a young adult and they were unsatisfying, but I was kind of satisfied with them. Part of me said, “Well, I did the thing. I don't have to live with regrets about not doing the thing. I got that done. I did more than I thought I could do. And now, I'm just going to be weird and do crazy stunts and kind of talk about it and be about it.” And, I think the cool aspect that's kind of cyclically kind of a positive feedback loop that drives me harder now is people can benefit from what I'm doing.
Anthony: If I was just a freak and I said, “I don't know, I can just run real fast,” then that doesn't add any value to anybody. Whereas, somebody who's tried three or four times at Boston to qualify and they say, “What do I do next to make sure this happens?” I have a dozen answers. So, at this point, I've stopped coaching because I don't like the whole hand-holding aspect of it. I don't want to wipe bottoms, but I do these consults and it's just half an hour. And, you can appreciate some layman or somebody depending on who they are, like I meet them.
Ben: Ten to 12 of those a week. I used to coach 47 athletes, most of them in marathoning, swimming, and triathlon all online. And, that was up till about 10 years ago. And then, I switched to doing phone consults. Now, I work with 10 people max. That's my max each month that I'll take on.
Anthony: That seems reasonable. I think a person per day of the week is all the creative energy that I would have coaching.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Most of those people were doing more like Voxer. We use this app that's like a walkie-talkie where they'll just walkie-talkie me questions and stuff throughout the day. So, it's not like I'm managing 10 people's schedules and trying to figure out when I'm going to call each of those people and how we're going to sync up, we just talk whenever we want to during the day. And then, every Saturday and Sunday, I sit down and lay out their training plan, their nutrition plan. Basically, look at everything that's going on and we just make tweaks and move on to the next week.
Anthony: Yeah, that's funny in depth.
Anthony: You can appreciate that though. Thirty minutes of just, hey, accountability, we're going to start with the basics. And, if you knock them all out of the park, we're three minutes into the conversation, we can get deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper. Your head's been at the end of 30 minutes and you have notes and you have a month or six months of homework items to go figure out and incorporate in your life.
Anthony: We can come back and do it again if we need to.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. That's crazy. It's so cool that you think of it that way. It's just unlocking curiosity. There's so many things that you alluded to this pilgrimage run that you did, some of these things we talked about like nootropics and that CORE biometrics device, your Instagram channel. I know you're kind of this crazy biohacking ultra runner. So, if people go to BenGreenfieldLife.com/Kunkel, BenGreenfieldLife.com/K-U-N-K-E-L, I'll include links, I'll include resources, I'll include everything that you need to access everything that is Anthony. And, you can leave your questions, your comments, and your feedback over there as well.
Anthony: Yeah, and people can just show up at my house. I'm easy, I'm always–
Ben: Show up at the Durango house.
Anthony: Yeah, always offering camps for donation only.
Ben: Yeah, and bring your rectal probes and come for a good time.
Ben: Alright. Thanks, Anthony.
More than ever these days, people like you and me need a fresh entertaining, well-informed, and often outside-the-box approach to discovering the health, and happiness, and hope that we all crave. So, I hope I've been able to do that for you on this episode today. And, if you liked it or if you love what I'm up to, then please leave me a review on your preferred podcast listening channel wherever that might be, and just find the Ben Greenfield Life episode. Say something nice. Thanks so much. It means a lot.
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Today, I invite you on a journey – not through the physical terrains that typically beckon a runner, but through the untrodden trails of the mind and soul of an extraordinary athlete.
Picture an elite runner – what comes to mind? Speed, competition, and perhaps, an unyielding will to win.
Now meet Anthony Kunkel. Sure, he's swiped titles like the 2017 USATF 50-Mile Road National Champion and the 2018 100-kilometer Road National Champion. But for Kunkel, it's not merely about the race; it's about the transformative journey of biohacking, self-discovery, and deepening spirituality.
From the heart of the vibrant mountain town of Durango, Colorado, Anthony founded UltraHouse Durango – a sanctuary for endurance and a testament to his vision of holistic performance. Hovering at an impressive 6,757 ft above sea level, this haven is Kunkel's vision of a holistic performance hub, combining the very essence of athletic prowess with the ethereal elements of exploration and community. Dubbed in jest as an “ethical cult that likes to run, explore, and climb things,” UltraHouse Durango offers more than its scenic trails. The “Monk Bunk” awaits its athletes with cozy bunk beds, a well-equipped kitchen, and essential amenities for recovery and training, including cold immersion techniques and top-tier equipment like a Red-mill and custom grip-rig.
Through Anthony's dedicated lens, every corner of the facility is designed with purpose, encapsulating his decade-long passion for running and holistic well-being. And this passion isn't confined to Durango; indeed, upon touching down in Spokane, Anthony chose to traverse 18 miles on foot just to reach my house.
From donning the prestigious Team USA colors in international marathons to guiding the Indian national teams in endurance techniques, Anthony's expertise stretches far and wide. His insights into fat adaptation, morning routines, and the potent blend of training volume and heat stand testament to his groundbreaking methods.
In today's conversation with Anthony, we're venturing beyond the miles and the shoes. Dive into the intricacies of Kunkel's unique food and training strategies, uncover the magic behind his pre-race routines, and gain insights into his experiments with nootropics stacks and their effects on his sleep. We'll also explore the merits of sauna and heat exposure in endurance training and the art of tracking and interpreting biometrics. With every stride we take in this episode, you'll understand the layers of dedication and innovation that have propelled Kunkel to the forefront of ultra-running. Prepare for a marathon of knowledge.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-Who is Anthony Kunkel?…05:35
- A racer, a curious seeker
- A flow junkie
- Ran 18.5 miles from the airport to Ben’s house
-The Faster Study at the University of Connecticut…08:27
- Faster study over at Dr. Jeff Volek’s at UConn's Human Performance Laboratory
- Athletes on very high fat, low carb diet for 6-12 months
- Ben and Anthony were participants
- An important study that has been referenced all the time
- Ben's blog post about his participation in Jeff Volek's research at UConn's Human Performance Laboratory:
- Anthony’s experience with the study
- The study showed that 1.5+ g of fat can be burned in a minute during exercise on a ketogenic diet
- Anthony participated in another study in Phoenix
- Anthony had been taking 300-350g of carbs a day
- His body learns to burn fat efficiently through a ketogenic diet
- Upregulation of glycogen synthase
- Ben used it in bodybuilding
-Anthony’s food and training strategies…13:51
- Eats carbs only for dinner
- Has an 8-hour eating window
- Runs 2 times a day
- His training is gentle at aerobic paces
- 80% very easy, 20% intensive
- Stryd shoe power meter
- Keto Brick
- Anthony does 2 protocols
- EPO protocol
- Big bumps in EPO with sauna use right after exercising
- When you are heated up, a little bit fatigued, and dehydrated
- Dehydration as superpower
- EPO protocol – around 20 minutes
- Ke4 or R-1,3 Butanediol
- “Tour de France protocol” – after workout for recovery
- Hard ketone seltzer drink with protein at 1 pm
- Ketone ester for lunch and dinner
- Some carbs with dinner
- Podcast with Latt Mansor:
-Anthony’s pre-race routine…24:28
- Pre-race routine
- One-week out, two-week taper
- Something short and spicy during the week
- The final session before race day will be something at the race pace
- 72 hours out – crushing fiber
- 48 hours out – completely stop talking fiber
- Cleaning the bowels and avoiding bowel movement during the race
- Ultrahouse Durango – offering it to athletes for free
- Anthony is living a life where he doesn’t need a lot of money
- Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker
- Trickling with carbs
- If it's a marathon or a half, he’ll have 125 grams of carbs
- Usually not over 20g
- Ben’s practice before the Ironman
- Keeping your body from going hypoglycemic leading up to the race
- Shifting your body into high fat-burning mode with a high-fat breakfast
- Breathwork session
- CO2 tolerance
- Oxygen tolerance – a self-alkalizing type of protocol
- The same effect with baking soda – Anthony uses sodium citrate
- 0.3 grams per kilogram
-Anthony’s nootropic stack…41:45
- Anthony’s limitless pill
- Apex by Wukiyo (use code BEN to save 10%)
- Ben tried Wukiyo products (use code BEN to save 10%)
- How Anthony discovered Wukiyo
- Runner's High by Josiah Hesse
- Podcast with Josiah Hesse:
- Go SuperBrain | User Manual: Nootropics by Andrew Triana
- Podcast with Andy Triana:
- Ultra-endurance athletes take small doses of THC
- Improved focus and the bliss state
- Andy Triana says LSD is one of the most powerful inductors of beta-oxidation or fat-burning
- Anthony takes LSD and THC 2-3 times a week
- Ben stopped using THC regularly
- A study on free radical leakage into the mitochondria with THC
- Now use it once a month for long sexual experience
- Colorado Mushroom Company
- Not eating throughout the race, just takes ketones
- The help of heat training
- Measuring body temperature
-Anthony’s morning routine…50:26
- Delay caffeine
- Used to do up to the neck for a minute
- Now, just up to the waist for 4 minutes
- Then go to the sauna, then red light therapy
- Altering nootropics throughout the week
- Sometimes does kratom
- L-theanine calms you down
- How does Andy know what works?
- Taurine and Citrulline Malate with pink salt
-Anthony’s sleeping protocols…58:13
- SleepMe (use code BEN to save 15%)
- BedJet (use code BEN50 to save)
- Apollo haptic wristband
- Supplements in the evening:
- Supplements that increase mitochondrial activity:
- Infrared therapy
-Pushback from Anthony's sponsors…1:02:03
- Pushback because of doing weird stuff
- Anthony doesn’t have a sponsorship from the shoe company
- Carving his own path
- Ben likes head-turning athletes
- Anthony prefers to be free and authentic than having a lot of sponsors
- Athletes tell him off the record about their use of psychedelics
- Athletes have something of value to offer the world
-Thinking or listening to stuff during a race…1:08:22
- Anthony doesn’t think about or listen to anything
- The fewer thoughts, the better
- He looks for peaceful, effortless bliss
- Ben listened to audiobooks during Ironman training
- Anthony often trains with his dog with him
- Sometimes listens to audiobooks
- Audiobooks or chocolate cake for your brain
- Ben had a playlist for interval training – slow and fast songs
- Nowadays, mostly audiobooks and podcasts
-Strategies for injuries…1:12:27
- Anthony almost never gets injured
- Exposure to heat is crucial
- Has been doing sauna since he was 17-18
- Ben’s experience with sauna and heat exposure
-Tracking and testing training results…1:06:10
- A lot of biometrics
- Not much blood work
- Measures respiratory rate, temperature
- Doesn't like it because it is algorithmic
- Bloodwork once a year
- Getting down to marathon weight, he ended up giving up meat
- Only egg yolks and raw beef liver once a week
- Anthony takes a blend from a local organic meat farm
- Blend of fat, tongue, liver, heart, and kidney
- Copper deficiency in athletes
- Copper helps get iron into the cells
- The goal is to replenish the iron with the nutrients that allow it to get into the cell vs. hanging around the bloodstream
- GoodPhyte Digestive enzymes
- Kion Flex and Colostrum
- Anthony's Patreon
- Anthony's 250-mile pilgrimage running journey
- Felt like death at first night, started crashing
- Started using colostrum packages
- ARMRA Colostrum
- Used 8-10 packages of colostrum per day
- Didn't feel feverish at night and everything was smoothly flowing
-Doping and the advantages of sports gear…1:23:38
- Ben’s recipe for getting opioid-like effects
- The idea of doped-up Olympics
- You're allowed to dope with whatever you want, but you have to get a health screen
- The Olympic Games are already all doped up
- There’s an alternative to doing something that's against the rules
- Super Shoes
- Anthony did a marathon and was the only one among the top 10 that didn’t wear Super Shoes
- Louis Simmons said gear can't be neutral, it has either an advantage or disadvantage
-What drives Anthony?…1:28:16
- The crazy experiences that he had are worth whatever the price is
- Likes to be weird and do crazy stunts and talk about it and be about it
- People can benefit from what he’s doing
- Coaching and consults
- Ben’s coaching experience
-And much more…
- Couples Collective: October 25th – 29th, 2023
Couples Collective is an exclusive and immersive way to explore health, wellness, and mindset with your significant other. Jessa and I will be leading a health optimization and relationships workshop, alongside many other awesome couples. This is a small event, and access requires you to interview with event-holder OWN IT to ensure a right fit. However, for those who are said fit, this event is designed to bring you into deeper union within your relationship and onward into greater connection with your life, love, health, and happiness. I'm looking for 6 to 7 powerful couples to come join me at the event – are you one of them? Learn more here.
- Keep up on Ben's LIVE appearances by following bengreenfieldfitness.com/calendar!
Resources from this episode:
– Podcasts And Articles:
- Everything You Need To Know About Ketones & Ketosis With Dr. Latt Mansor of H.V.M.N.
- Banned For Cannabis? Is Weed An Illegal Performance Enhancing Drug? Runner’s High: How a Movement of Cannabis-Fueled Athletes Is Changing the Science of Sports With Josiah Hesse.
- Simple Tricks To Banish Anxiety & Panic, Rib Adjustments For Better Sleep, Nootropic & Smart Drug Stacks, The Science Of Getting Better In Bed, LSD For Performance & Much More With Go SuperBrain’s Andy Triana.
- Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 1: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.
- Rewriting The Fat Burning Textbook – Part 2: Why You’ve Been Lied To About Carbs And How To Turn Yourself Into A Fat Burning Machine.
- Episode #175: How Should You Eat Before, During and After Long Workouts?
- How To Tap Into The Secret Psychedelic Tactics Of The Ancients Using A Free & Fast Anti-Aging, Stress-Busting, Energy-Boosting Hack.
- Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker
- Runner's High by Josiah Hesse
- Go SuperBrain | User Manual: Nootropics by Andrew Triana
– Other Resources:
- Keto Brick
- Baking Soda
- Sodium Citrate
- Colorado Mushroom Company
- Nicotine (use code BEN20 to save 20%)
- Citrulline Malate
- Pink Salt
- Exogenous Ketones
- Methylene Blue
- Vitamin D
- Organ Meats
- Spleen Extract by Ancestral Supplements (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- Heart & Soil
- Bee Pollen
- GoodPhyte Digestive Enzymes
- Kion Flex
- Kion Colostrum
- Phenylethelamine (use code BEN10 to save 10%)
- ARMRA Colostrum
- Stryd Shoe Power Meter
- Infrared Sauna
- Rectal Thermometer
- Cold Bath
- Red Light Therapy
- SleepMe (use code BEN to save 15%)
- UConn's Human Performance Laboratory
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Do you have questions, thoughts or feedback for Anthony Kunkel or me? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!