September 7, 2016
[2:18] Marc Pro
[3:38] Casper Mattresses
[5:22] Kimera Koffee
[8:38] Rick and Ben At The Back Porch
[9:57] All About Sauna
[15:06] What Got Rick Started In Enhancing His Health
[16:13] What Is A Pulse Reading Rick Is Talking About
[17:40] Rick's Health Issues
[19:45] Rick’s Take on Eating a Plant-Based Diet and Done it The Right Way
[26:25] Why Rick Thinks an Ice Bath is Very Much Like Eating Meat
[29:45] How Rick Lost 131 pounds by Eating Animal Protein
[30:17] What Rick’s Old Diet Was
[32:57] How Much Protein Rick Eats
[35:17] “The Hardest Workout In The World”
[41:04] When Rick Met Phil Maffetone
[47:45] Rick's Supplementation
[54:27] What An Ideal Day Looks Like For Rick
[1:08:55] Rick’s Standing Workstation Setup
[1:11:13] Rick’s Sleeping Tactics
[1:19:33] What Is It That Drives Rick To Live The Life He Lives
[1:26:57] End Of Podcast
Ben: Alright. Pop quiz question time. What do the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Johnny Cash, The Black Crowes, Slayer, Jay Z, James Blake, the Dixie Chicks, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Black Sabbath, Neil Diamond, Metallica, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Weezer, Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top, Lady Gaga, Shakira, Rage Against The Machine, System Of A Down, Mick Jagger, Eminem, and just about every other world famous band or musician you've ever heard of have in common?
Well, they're all produced by today's podcast guest. His name Rick Rubin. He's an American record producer, and he's the former co-president of Columbia Records. In 2007, MTV called him the most important producer of the last 20 years, and he's been on Time's “100 Most Influential People in the World” list. Dr. Dre, a rapper for those of you not on the hip hop scene, has stated that Rubin is, “hands down, the dopest producer ever that anyone would ever want to be ever.” Apparently, Dr. Dre likes to use the word “ever.”
But Rick has a personal passion outside of music that many people don't know about, and that would be health, nutrition, fitness, and even a bit of biohacking. Rick and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over the past couple of years, sharing little nerdy health tips with each other. And in the episode that you're about to hear, Rick and I sit on his back porch and we watch a relaxing sunset after a hard morning Laird Hamilton pool workout, and we had a pretty intense discussion about the Veganism, and Paleo, and Rick's weight loss journey, and some of the cool habits that he's used to shed a lot of weight, but also hack his way into in the really, really optimal health. So you're gonna get a ton of stuff in this episode, like his Stim-Stem Shake, and you're gonna learn a little bit about neurofeedback-based EEG, and Ayurvedic pulse-taking techniques, the hardest workout in the world, Sleeping Monk Tea, all sorts of very interesting things that we discuss.
But before we dive into today's show, a few things. Speaking of biohacking, there is this device that I use that I think anybody who exercises ever should own. It's called a Marc Pro, m-a-r-c-p-r-o. I have had just about every athlete that I have ever coached use this device, and just weekend warriors, recreational workout enthusiasts, fitness nerds, you name it. Why? Because it delivers a very different type of stimulation to your muscles than a normal electrical muscle stimulation unit. It produces what's called a square wave form. That means it grabs muscles in a very therapeutic manner, and it's perfect for injuries, and for soreness.
So you just surround the area that's injured with these electrodes, and you turn it on, you don't have to be a physical therapist, or a doctor, or a rocket scientist to figure this out, and you just sit there as it heals your muscles. It's super easy. So you get a 5% discount on it, which is pretty significant. It's gonna save you a lot of Benjamins. Well not Benjamins, but whoever's, I dunno, whoever's face is on the $10 bill. You'll save several of those. Use promo code Ben for a 5% discount. You go to marcpro.com, m-a-r-c-pro.com.
This podcast is also brought to you by something that lives in the bedroom in my house, and it's called a Casper mattress. A Casper mattress. You've probably heard people talk about these before on other podcasts, 'cause frankly it seems like Casper advertises on a lot of podcasts, and I thought they were pretty much hype until I actually got one and lay down on it. First of all, it arrives to your house in this cute little box, not like a giant mattress on a frickin' like huge U-Haul truck that pulls up to your house, and puts it on your doorstep, and you have to carry it up your stairs. No. It's this little tiny box. You put it in whatever room you want, you unfurl it, and lo and behold, supreme latex, supportive memory foam.
They've got this award-winning sleep surface. It feels good. They don't use nasty chemicals and stuff in this mattress. So not only is it very inexpensive and affordable, but it breathes well, and you can sleep on it very guilt-free. And that breathable design, by the way, actually allows your body to stay cool during the night, and that's when your nervous system repairs and recovers, and the cooler your body is during the night. This is why you should sleep with the temperature in your house low, the more repair, and recovery, and memory formation, and all the other good little things that happen when you sleep happen. So you get a big discount on these things. Not only do they give free delivery, they give a 100 day trial. I guess it's technically a 100 night trial. See what I did there? Anyway, so you go to casper.com/ben, C-a-s-p-e-r.com, you use promo code Ben, and that gets you $50 off of any, any mattress purchase.
And then I also want to tell you about something that Rick and I actually talk about a little bit in the podcast episode you're about to hear, and that is coffee. In the Stim-Stem Shake that Rick describes, he talks about how he blends, well, I've got the entire recipe in the show notes which I'll share during the episode, but he blends coffee with like protein, and gelatin, and collagen, and stevia, and MCT oil, and aloe vera juice, and phytoplankton. He has like this whole recipe for stimulating stem cells. Well, I would recommend, if you make this recipe, that you use coffee that's been infused with nootropics, cognitive enhancers to improve mental function. And there's this company that actually infuses coffee with 725 milligrams of this nootropic blend, alpha-GPC, taurine, l-theanine, and something called DMAE. That's the same molecule that you find in fish that helps to boost mental performance without you having to eat fish every morning, not that fish isn't good for breakfast. It's just that coffee is even better. It's called Kimera Koffee, k-i-m-e-r-a-k-o-f-f-e-e.com. They have a really cool production process that prevents soil erosion, and maintains really good pH balance, and soil nutrition for a very healthy, organic, high-altitude coffee. It's mold-free, it's wet processed, everything you've ever wanted in coffee and then some. Kimerakoffee.com. When you go there, you get a discount if you use code Ben. So code Ben gets you a 10% discount at kimerakoffee.com.
Alright. Sit back and enjoy this episode with the great Rick Rubin.
In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“I was vegan for 23 years, believing it was the healthiest diet I could have. And through the vegan diet, I got to the point where I weighed 318 pounds.” “Just to be around someone like that was so different than the musicians that were around, and it was fun for me to see someone who's really good at something different than the people that I know who are really good at something.” “‘Cause I was completely uncoordinated, I've never done any of these things. And he was such a good teacher who would just will me to do things that I just couldn't believe I could do.”
He’s an expert in human performance and nutrition, voted America’s top personal trainer and one of the globe’s most influential people in health and fitness. His show provides you with everything you need to optimize physical and mental performance. He is Ben Greenfield. “Power, speed, mobility, balance – whatever it is for you that’s the natural movement, get out there! When you look at all the studies done… studies that have shown the greatest efficacy…” All the information you need in one place, right here, right now, on the Ben Greenfield Fitness podcast.
Ben: This is probably the most beautiful setting in which I have ever recorded a podcast, Rick. Do you wanna frame this for people or should I?
Rick: You can do the honors.
Ben: Alright. We're sitting on Rick's back porch here in Malibu and the sun is setting. Bright orange, a little bit of red, a little bit of blue towards the bottom, the ocean waves are humming a bit in the background, you might even hear them. And you've framed the ocean, Rick, with your architecture and the layout of your backyard. The trees are forming a perfect frame around the setting of the sun. Was that intentional?
Rick: It is.
Ben: It's perfect. I like your style, man. So tell me about what you just finished doing because you appear to be somewhat relaxed. You are actually, let me finish painting this picture before we dive in. You are shirtless, toweled, sipping tea, as am I, and I just woke up from a nap and you did what?
Rick: I did an infrared sauna for 55 minutes and then did a long, cold shower.
Ben: So infrared sauna for 55 minutes. That's a long time. I go 20 to 30 minutes, and I'm sweating profusely.
Rick: I was sweating profusely, but it doesn't get, our infrared sauna goes up to maybe 150 so it's hot enough for you to sweat a lot, but not so hot that you can't stay in for a long time.
Ben: You need to do like I did and stick a wine cork in the temperature sensor, and insulate it. That does a little bit of a difference in terms of heat capacity, but 150 for 55 minutes is still quite some time. You also have this barrel sauna.
Rick: Yeah. And the reason I don't make the infrared hotter is the barrel sauna gets really hot.
Ben: It does.
Rick: And I use them for different purposes. So the barrel sauna will be for 15 or 20 minutes in between ice baths, and the infrared sauna is for one long round. Because if I were to do ice and get back into the infrared, it wouldn't be enough to really…
Ben: Yeah, that's what I found. I go to infrared for a while and then you finish up the cold. For you, is this like for detox? Do you do it for relaxation? Is this some kind of a novel health method that you discovered somewhere in your journey of health? When did the hot and the cold come into the picture for you?
Rick: It started with a hockey player friend of ours, Chris Chelios. Really swears by the sauna. And I was working on an album with Kid Rock, and he invited me to go to Chelios' house to do sauna and then jump in the ocean in the middle of winter.
Ben: In the middle of winter?
Rick: Yeah. And I was really dreading it. Both, I had no experience with either. So the sauna was surprisingly pleasant. And then the idea of going into the ocean in the winter seemed terrible, but coming out of the sauna, it was really doable. And then we did a bunch of rounds of that, and I loved it right away and started doing that regularly. And then Laird got the ice tub.
Ben: Laird Hamilton.
Rick: And we started doing sauna and the ice tub.
Ben: The big silver ice tub.
Rick: Big silver ice tub. And I started doing it, and first I could do maybe a minute, and then I worked up to five or six minutes. And then I had David Blaine come over.
Ben: The magician?
Rick: Yeah. We were just talking about magic stuff.
Ben: The magician who has spent copious amounts of time submerged in ice, right?
Rick: Exactly. And holding his breath.
Ben: And holding his breath.
Rick: So when he came, he talked me through the process of sitting in the ice, and I was able to do like 12 minutes or 15 minutes just by him talking to me and telling me that all the things that were scary were normal, and that teeth chattering, and shaking, and all the stuff where you feel like you're dying, that's all part of the process. You don't run away from that, you just go through that. It's okay.
Ben: You get to a certain point where your body almost becomes numb, and you do get a huge dump in nitric oxide, and your skin starts to turn pink, and then red. It's kind of a cool survival mechanism and it's part of the very potent health effects of doing something like that, the increase in nitric oxide.
Rick: Of any of the things that I do, beyond the health benefits which are, I mean both on the sauna side and ice side, is a long list, but just what it does for my mood is the magic bullet for me.
Rick: I just love the way it makes me feel after.
Ben: Yeah. I would issue a dare to people listening. If you've never done, you sometimes go for a couple of hours, right Rick?
Ben: The last time I was here, we went a couple hours.
Ben: Do like the protocol Rick described with the dry sauna plus the very cold shower, preferably an ice bath, for like 15 on 5 cold, 15 hot, 5 cold for about two hours. What's that come out to?
Rick: Four, five times.
Ben: Yeah. Six-ish rounds.
Rick: Could be six, yeah.
Rick: Usually the way it works, if you're doing it with a group of people, the timing is different. Like if you have five people in the sauna, you're kinda waiting to go in the ice, and you're in the sauna maybe longer than you wanna be. So maybe the sauna sessions turn into 30 minutes instead of 15 minutes.
Ben: Some of the Russian Spas have like a cold plunge. I was just doing this with a few of my friends in LA a couple days ago. We spent two hours at the sauna, Lavoda Spa in LA, and their cold plunge there was big enough for, I think six of us guys were in the cold pool.
Rick: Yeah. It's a pretty big pool.
Ben: Yeah. It is. It works. What got you started down this road of figuring out things that you can do to enhance your mood or enhance your health? And I know that's a very loaded question that were a rabbit hole, but I think it's gonna be a perfect thing for people to realize is this fact that you haven't always been geeked out on this stuff.
Rick: Well, I've always been health conscious, but I didn't always have good information. So I was a vegan for 23 years, believing it was the healthiest that I could have been. And through the vegan diet, I got to the point at where I weighed 318 pounds and was pretty much dying. And I went to a Tibetan doctor who does pulse reading. He was a doctor who treats the Dalai Lama, and he said, “Leave here now and go get some bone broth.” And I refused to do it because I was vegan.
Ben: What do you mean he did a pulse reading? Did he just test your radial artery? Like your heart rate?
Rick: No, not heart rate. In like Ayurvedic and in Chinese medicine, they do like six different pulse readings on your wrist.
Ben: I have to look into this. I'll find a resource for this. For those of you listening in, you can go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/rubin, R-u-b-i-n, and I'll find out more about this pulse test.
Rick: I think if you go to any good, a real proper acupuncturist will…
Ben: Like a traditionally trained Chinese medical practitioner and they'll do this pulse test?
Ben: And he told you to go drink bone broth?
Rick: He told me “eat meat and drink bone broth now,” like immediately.
Ben: Wow. Like walk out the door and go find a barbecue joint?
Rick: Yeah. And I still went for years without and just was sick for a long time.
Ben: Interesting. And did you keep seeing his doctor?
Rick: No. I…
Ben: Which I guess would have been awkward for him to know that you were still just eating kale.
Rick: I went to see a lot of doctors. There was a point in time where I went to, I probably went to a doctor a day. Sometimes two a day, sometimes physical, sometimes mental just to try to feel better 'cause I felt so terrible.
Ben: So when you say you were having all these health issues, what were they? I know that you gained a lot of weight.
Rick: Yeah. I was obese, was having trouble sleeping, couldn't breathe at night, was in a terrible mood most of the time, lived a backwards life. For most of my life, I slept all day and was up all night, worked at night.
Ben: Was all because of the music industry?
Rick: Honestly, it was my natural tendency. I mean it played into the music industry, but even when I went to college, I never took a class before 3 'cause I know I wouldn't make it.
Ben: Really? Wonder if you we're wired like, I don't know if you've heard of this new book called “The Power of When.” I'm actually going to interview this guy for the show, but it's about how some of us are lions, morning, very early people; some of us are bears, which are kind of like normal circadian biology; some are dolphins who are just all over the freaking map; and then some of us are wolves who are night people, like genetically hardwired to do better on almost like a reverse circadian biology. I always wonder how much of it is entrainment with artificial light and lifestyle, and how much of it is that genetic biology for a different circadian rhythm.
Rick: Yeah. I think in my case it was entrainment because, since switching, everything in my life has gotten a lot better.
Ben: Interesting. Okay. So we had sleep issues, probably inflammation.
Rick: Terrible inflammation. I'll give you an example. If I wanted to go into trip somewhere, I would check to see if handicapped people could go, or someone in a wheelchair. If someone in a wheelchair could do it, then I felt like, “Okay, I could probably do this.” But other than that, I thought I couldn't do anything.
Ben: That's a pretty scary standard to live life by. The wheelchair rule. Wow.
Rick: And I was totally sedentary my whole life.
Ben: You see these days, a lot of people are doing a plant-based diet like you were doing, but they are using vitamin D and vitamin K, and sprouting, soaking, and fermenting. I’m playing devil's advocate here, do you think that you could have eaten a plant-based diet and done it the right way?
Rick: I honestly don't believe it's possible. I think you could do a plant-based diet, but I don't think you could do a limited-to-plant diet.
Ben: Plant-only diet.
Ben: Yeah. Why do you think that?
Rick: Because I think there's something to the idea of the relationship between protein and carbohydrates. And in all the vegetarian sources of protein, for this amount of protein, there's still this amount of carbohydrate. So it's not like when you eat meat, you're getting…
Ben: When you say this, for those of you not getting the visual, his hands went from very, very close together to very, very far apart.
Rick: Yes. So, again I don't know the exact numbers, but if we look at the amount of, for meat, with the amount of protein versus carbohydrate…
Ben: There's a little bit of glycogen content in meat. If I were to, God forbid, cut off your arm and eat it, I'd be getting some of the carbohydrates in the stores of muscle glycogen, but it is relatively low. I don't know the ratios either, but it's not enough to really even spike insulin levels. Like when you consume meat…
Rick: Would it be 20 times of the protein to one of the…
Ben: I couldn't even throw a number at you, but it's pretty small. When you look at, let's say, somebody who switches to a very low carbohydrate diet, we could do the math in our heads, or a ketosis-based diet, you'll tend to see that rapid weight loss. An average 200 pound person is gonna lose somewhere around 20 pounds or so, in that first week to two weeks where they're experiencing the keto flu or the carb flu. And if you look at that as a percentage of their lean body mass, it'd probably be, I would guess, like a 8:1, 10:1 ratio. Something like that.
Rick: So the argument would be the vegan diet tends to be the exact opposite picture of that.
Ben: Yeah. And it's interesting when you look at, a lot of people say, “Well, kale has protein. Spinach has protein. Even cucumbers have miniscule amounts of protein, as do apples if you look at the label, or you go to nutritiondata.com to get as much protein as you might need, and it's not as much as a lot of people think. There is the anti-aging effect of somewhat of a protein restricted diet. To get as much protein as you need though from those type of sources, it's a copious amount of insoluble and soluble fiber, and we don't have a ruminant stomach, we don't have a gorilla colon, and so it's difficult for us to just sit there and ferment the amount of fiber that we need.
Rick: One, I don't think it's possible for it to be a healthy diet; and second, it depends on what your goal of the diet is. If it's a health-based diet, I don't think it's a healthy diet, the vegan diet. Two, if you wanna do anything physical, it's not a good diet. If you wanted be a monk and sit on a mountaintop in silence, there's definitely a spiritual benefit to a vegan diet. You feel more connected.
Ben: What about the isolated forms, and I realize I'm throwing the hard questions out there. What about the isolated form, like pea protein, or hemp protein, or rice protein? I mean I know that they have done, I think I even shared this study with you a few months ago 'cause we were talking about protein powders, a study in which if you take a digestive enzyme prior to consuming a vegan or vegetable-based protein power, it actually makes the amino acid availability of that the equivalent of a whey protein isolate, or a steak, or some other form protein.
Rick: I've never experienced it, so I can't say.
Ben: Well, it does require eating protein powders instead of eating…
Ben: Yeah. Food. Exactly.
Rick: And in my vegan days, I probably ate a lot of soy instead of eating food.
Ben: Yeah. I have this philosophy that we don't live on the same planet as the planet was originally meant to be. I think industrialization, I think the lack of ozone, I think at one time that every culture has a story of there being some kind of a great flood where a bunch of waters fell from the heavens, and came up from the Earth, and just wiped out the planet, and I think that there was even a different water canopy, perhaps, above the planet; and all of this, if you look at fossil record, shows that plants used to be a lot bigger, animals used to be a lot bigger. There used to be dinosaurs that can no longer survive on our Earth's environment. I sometimes wonder if there was a time when people could have gotten away with eating just plants as food and not animals, and there would have been no death or these other things that bother people about animals. But now I agree with you, it is very difficult to actually achieve health on a plant-based protocol.
Rick: Well there's also, again I don't know enough about it, but there's something about the cycle of life on the planet where we eat plants and animals, animals move the soil, they poo, we poo, they die and become soil, we die, we become soil, the soil comes back in plants for the animals to eat. There's a cycle, and animals living and dying is part of that cycle, and it seems like us eating them is part of that cycle too. Now maybe not the industrialized model, but in the natural model it seems to be the case.
Ben: Yeah. What about insects? Do you have any thoughts on cricket proteins? I was reading in Men's Health, I was actually sharing this on a podcast this week, people are eating like buffalo worms, and June bugs, and ordering cricket protein powders.
Rick: Yeah. I'll say I haven't gone there yet, but I'll also say when I tried to eat red meat after not eating it for 20-some odd years, it was like eating human flesh. It was one of the hardest things to retrain myself to eat meat again.
Ben: Now what do you mean it was like eating human flesh, which, by the way, I think I brought up first on this podcast, eating your arm.
Rick: The flesh, animal flesh, if you're vegan for a long time, the experience of eating flesh goes away. And if you don't eat it for a long time, you sort of lose your taste for it. Seems pretty disgusting.
Ben: I've heard that a couple of times. I've never experienced that myself. The longest I've ever gone plant-based was six months. I lost too much muscle and stopped. But how long did it take for the taste for meat to return?
Rick: At the time we were eating fish, me and [0:27:21] ______ would eat fish. So we went to, it was on my birthday we started, and I'll tell you the whole backstory of why we started. We both ordered fish, and we ordered one steak, and we both looked at it; she was vegetarian as well; and we looked at steak between us, and then we like each cut off a tiny piece, and ate the tiny piece, and it was kinda like getting in the ice bath the first time, similar where even if you know…
Ben: Or doing a burpee for the first time.
Rick: One of the things about the ice bath though is there is this red flag of “this is something that we're not meant to do.” And when you're vegan for a long time, that first bite of meat, there's a real sense of “this is not okay.” Like this…
Ben: This is stressful.
Rick: Well, this is “you want to throw up.” That's why I use the example of, for most people even who eat meat, the idea of eating human flesh is, that's a turn off for most.
Rick: So I'm using that as an example. If you imagine, it's like we sit down for dinner tonight…
Ben: Neither Rick or I endorse cannibalism, despite what you guys might be thinking here.
Rick: So you could imagine, if you were imagining eating human flesh, what that would feel like. That's what a vegan feels like eating beef.
Ben: Yeah, that makes sense.
Rick: I started that experience. It was terrible. And because we knew it was healthy and because we were eating it as medicine, over a series of weeks, would eat a bite or two bites once a week for maybe four or five, probably by the sixth week, we ate the steak.
Ben: That's one to two bites each week. That's not a lot. Wow.
Rick: It's all mental. It's not really physical, it's mental. Same with the ice bath. The trauma in the ice bath is much more of a mental challenge than it is a physical challenge.
Ben: Yeah. And at that point, how much did you weigh?
Rick: At that point, I weighed probably, well I had already lost all my weight at that point. So I probably weighed, yeah, probably at around 200 pounds.
Ben: Gotcha. So you had lost your weight when you started eating the meat-based diet.
Rick: I started eating a protein heavy diet, fish and eggs, because in my mind I was still a vegan.
Rick: In my mind, I was still a vegan. I ate fish and eggs for medicine. I cut out everything that's not paleo basically.
Ben: Grains, dairy.
Rick: Grains, dairy.
Rick: And soy, corn.
Ben: Prior to that, what would you have been eating? Like what have been a typical healthy diet for you prior to you introducing fish, eggs, and then eventually meat?
Rick: Well, it wasn't a healthy diet, but I thought it was healthy. It's what you get at a vegan restaurant. So it would be some sort of a soy, nut loaf with yeast brown gravy.
Ben: Oh gosh.
Rick: Or they would make gluten gravy. And if you're vegan, that it'd be like Thanksgiving dinner.
Ben: Right. Inflammatory firestorm in the nervous system, even if it doesn't hurt your gut. There's some very interesting recent new studies on that. And again, I'm not one of those guys who's like full-on gluten free. I'm personally not even paleo. I mean, I have goats, and I drink raw dairy, and my wife makes fantastic sourdough bread. I consume a lot of these traditionally prepared foods, but the…
Rick: I think most people consider raw dairy to be paleo.
Ben: Yeah. But these other foods that you mentioned, they're pretty typical still on, like I walked through that through, I was just in Erewhon in LA, which is kind of a cool store honestly.
Rick: Great store.
Ben: But they've got a lot seitan, or satan, however you want to pronounce it, and tofu, and soy, and gluten powder. It's really an inflammatory firestorm that it can create, or introduces a lot of phytic acid into the…
Rick: Side order of wheat gluten.
Ben: Right. Exactly. Throw some gluten powder on there for me. Throw some gluten on my gluten.
Rick: And it's also a very sweet diet. So if you go to any vegetarian restaurant, the thing most vegetarians talk about, are most excited about are the vegetarian desserts, which are basically soy and a ton of unprocessed sugar. You know, about a ton of it.
Ben: Yeah. To be fair, we could say that high amounts of dairy or high amounts of meat are heavily insulinogenic, and could potentially create insulin insensitivity in the same way that those foods do just the different biomechanical pathway. And that kinda return to something I hinted at earlier, how they're, I don't think either you or I are arguing, but correct me if you are, that massive amounts of protein are the key to weight loss, or the key to longevity, or health.
Rick: No. But I will say for whatever reason in my body, my body tends to do better with more protein than fat.
Ben: How much protein do you eat?
Rick: I would aim, like during my weight loss phase, I was having probably 200, 225 grams a day.
Ben: Yeah. Well, that's a decent amount. That's over what? A gram per pound of protein?
Rick: Yeah. About that.
Ben: Yeah. And typically, I mean what I recommended in the past to folks has been like 0.55 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight, granted, you brought up an interesting component there, that biochemical or metabolic individuality, and the fact that some people may do better on slightly higher amounts of protein. It is one of those deals where we're talking about a curve. I, as the professorial one, should know the title of this curve, the Parabolic curve, I believe it would be, where a certain number of people fit into the large clusters in the middle and then you've got the trailers on either end.
Rick: And I lost my weight using more protein. And then I shifted to more of a ketogenic and more of a fat-based diet, and it didn't seem to work as well for me. So now I'm going back to more protein.
Ben: So you shifted to protein from a weight of like, how much was your original weight?
Rick: Three hundred eighteen. I got down to probably 185, and that was before really exercising. And when I started exercising, I started putting on muscle. And I probably added about 20, I would guess twenty pounds of muscle, but with that some more fat as tends to be the case, a little bit.
Ben: Yeah. What do you weigh now?
Rick: Today, I weigh, I think 212. And I think my goal now, my current plan will be to do low heart rate cardio every day until I get down to about 200, and then do a heavy weight based, I think I'm going to lose the weight first and then add some muscle.
Ben: Right. But you're still lift, like for example, tomorrow morning, I know you mentioned you're gonna go do Don Wildman's workout. So you're still lifting weights?
Rick: I wouldn't, other than that you were here and I…
Ben: So tell me about this workout that we are going to experience. Is this the one that was in Esquire magazine slated as “the hardest workout in the world”?
Rick: It was, but we don't have to do it as hard as Don. (laughs)
Ben: Oh, I don't mind! I'm like for punishment. I'm about to go hunting up in the mountains. I won't be hitting the gym anytime soon. What do you do in a workout like this?
Rick: It's a lot of these Kaiser machines. So they're air-based.
Ben: Yeah, pneumatic pumps that you increase or decrease resistance?
Rick: Yeah. So they're all very different than the Laird workout. The Laird workout's much more, every exercise that you do is a whole body exercise. This is the opposite where it's very seated, target, old-fashioned bodybuilding.
Ben: Bodybuilding-style, single joint.
Ben: Great for getting swole. And I've actually seen bits and pieces of the routine here and there if it's the one I'm thinking of, and it's also good for a couple of other things from what I understand. The ability to exercise, if you aren't able to do a squat or overhead press, or a power clean, or something like that. But then also you actually create, and I experienced this when I was a bodybuilder, boatloads of lactic acid when you isolate a muscle group like that.
Ben: And there are actually a lot of, speaking of hormesis, there's a lot of hormetic mitochondrial density increasing effects of just like pumping one muscle part full of lactic acid. It's almost like cardio and weights at the same time.
Rick: Yeah. It is like that because it's long and it never stops. It's different than heavy weight, low rep. This is more like heavy weight high rep, endless…endless.
Ben: I will hunt it down and put it in the show notes for those of you who wanna perhaps try this work out for yourself. I know there was a magazine article written on it at some point, so for those of you who want to try it out go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/rubin, R-U-B-I-N, and I'll put a link to that.
So let's get back to nutrition. We are at the point where you ate a plant-based diet for 20 plus years, then you switched to fish and eggs and lost a lot of weight, and then you began to introduce meat tiny bites at a time.
Rick: Well, it's even a little more complicated than that. So when I switched to fish and eggs, that was at the suggestion of Phil Maffetone, who changed me to a proper circadian, change my hours.
Ben: Fixed your sleep?
Rick: Fixed my sleep.
Ben: He's a smart guy.
Rick: He's a great guy. So he got me to change my hours first, change my diet to add fish and eggs. He wanted me to eat meat but I wouldn't do it. Fish and egg seem like the, and both of those were foods I didn't really like so it was more like, again, medicine. Eating them as medicine to try to come back. And doing low level cardio every day. And I did that for two years and lost maybe 5 pounds, but I got much healthier. Much, much healthier.
Rick: Then I went on a variation of that diet with a doctor at UCLA who, and this only worked I think because of what I did with Phil first, Dr. Heber at UCLA put me on a high protein, low carb, calorie restricted diet. And that's where it really changed.
Ben: Interesting. Were you guys just calorie restricting every day? Were you doing this new thing before doing another cycle?
Rick: No. Seven protein shakes a day and dinner.
Ben: Oh gosh.
Rick: Fish, soup, salad.
Ben: Would you do that now or has your dietary philosophy changed?
Rick: Well, I do sort of a version of that, but I just don't need to do seven shakes. It took me seven shakes to get through a day without wanting to eat something else. Now I could probably do it with two or three shakes.
Ben: But you don't do quite as well with fat?
Rick: I don't seem to. I do okay with butter.
Ben: Interesting. Do you include things though like avocado, and coconut oil, and seeds, and nuts.
Rick: Some. Just olive oil if some.
Ben: Yeah. Interesting.
Rick: But if I go to like a real Bulletproof diet, I tend to get bigger.
Rick: I don't think I'm digesting fats properly.
Ben: We're on the same wavelength here. I tend to notice, especially when I do blood testing in older individuals, or not blood testing, stool testing, you see high amounts of what are called fecal fats, triglycerides, fats in the stool, et cetera, reflecting issues leading to high fat diet. It's often paired with low levels of pancreatic enzyme production, low amounts of gall bladder bile. Basically low amounts of what is necessary to digest fat if you're experimenting with things like ox bile extract, and hydrochloric acid, and lipase and digestive enzymes.
Rick: I've taken some, but probably not specifically targeted for fat while I'm eating fat.
Ben: Yeah. It would be interesting to just kinda see what your gall bladder, and your bile, and your enzyme production, everything like that, looks like. Sometimes that can be the next part of being able to switch to higher fats.
Ben: I know that you know that that's a horse I kicked to death, the shifting to higher fats for the cell membranes, and the hormones, and the steroids, and also for what I consider to be the anti-aging effect of what they call this protein restricted diet where you're getting enough protein to maintain or slightly build muscle, but then stopping where you reach that law of diminishing returns.
So, you mentioned Phil Maffetone. Many of our listeners are endurance athletes. They might know of the Maff Method. He's a legend in Ironman for having coached Mark Allen, one of the winningest Ironman triathletes in history. How did you hook up with Phil?
Rick: I read a book, this was when I was really heavy and could barely walk. I read a book by Stu Mittleman, who was a runner who ran a thousand miles in 11 days.
Ben: Oh, wow. That sounds healthy.
Rick: And I read that, and I thought, wow. I can't jog down the beach, but he could run a thousand miles in 11 days. I feel like there's something I can learn. So I read his book, and it's really inspiring, and he talked about different ways he trained.
Ben: He was kind of an underachiever not to hit a hundred miles a day though. You'd think he could have stepped it up.
Rick: But anyway, I'm reading the book, and it's fascinating, and then he said, “And then I was at this triathlon, and I met this guy Phil Maffetone, and he changed the way I trained. And from there, everything changed.” And I thought, “Okay. This is a guy I need to meet. He might know the secret.” ‘Cause it's not like I had been lazy. I wasn't a vegan because I was lazy. It's hard being a vegan. It's hard being a vegan out in the world.
Rick: So I was a diligent vegan, thinking I was really taking care of myself. Just the results were the opposite of what I was hoping for. But I believed, another thing about the vegan world is it's a little bit cult-like that when you're in it, you can't imagine anything else is possible.
Rick: It becomes almost like a faith-based diet.
Ben: And I know we have some vegan and vegetarian listeners who are possibly jumping through the microphone shouting the same thing about Paleo, and Crossfitters, and Ironman, and they're like, “It's very easy to get a cult built up around anything.” But, yeah. You're right I've seen that. But to be fair, I've seen in many situations from a dietary standpoint, in an exercise standpoint. So, you met Phil?
Rick: I met Phil. He got me to start eating some protein, sort of reluctantly on my part, but he really said, “There's no other way. You have to have animal protein.” And at the time, I guess there was no other protein. I don't know if there was hemp protein 10 years ago, or rice protein.
Ben: If there was, most people probably thought it was something that you'd smoke.
Rick: Yeah. This started about 10 years ago. Maybe even more, maybe 12 years ago. He said, “Unless it's animal protein, it will not do what you need it to do.” So fish and eggs were the mildest version. It started with making protein shakes using real eggs. That was the, again I didn't like the taste, so I would have a blueberry shake…
Ben: But if Rocky Balboa did it, you could do it.
Rick: Yeah. So fish and eggs, did that for a while. He kept always saying, “We got to try to get some other protein source.” The next one was Turkey, which we would mask in like a veg, we'd make a vegetable chili, and kinda hide Turkey in it. So it would be ground turkey in a sauce that would be really…
Ben: Right. Like parents do to hide their vegetables in their children's marinara sauce.
Rick: Exactly. And then I was able to get some extra protein that way. So then after losing the weight using the shakes and doing the restricted, during the Phil time, I was not restricting my calories. And it turns out, even though the things I was eating were really healthy, my taste tended towards very calorie dense food. And my metabolism was slow.
Ben: Yeah. Calories do count. Even if they're from healthy sources.
Rick: It did. So if I was eating 5,000 calories a day and burning, maybe 2,600 a day or 2,800 a day, I was never gonna lose weight.
Rick: Even though they were good calories.
Ben: Right. You can't eat healthy calories, and in copious amounts, and get a six pack.
Rick: Not forever. You can't do it forever.
Ben: Yeah. I know that there's a thought out there among a lot of people that if you are eating eggs, and fish, and Paleo foods, et cetera, you can just stuff your face all day long, lift weights, and you won't gain weight. But I've certainly seen that not to be the case. So Maffetone put you on this diet, it was a little bit too high in calories, so you cut the calories down.
Rick: Yes. Well, it wasn't that it was high in calories. It was that he still believes you don't have to count calories, which I think if you have a good handle, I would recommend to everyone, spend some time counting calories. Because when you learn, “Oh, a third of a bottle of almond butter has a lot more calories than this big salad.”
Ben: Right. Just being able to eye a banana, or eye a bag of nuts at the airport…
Rick: And just know what it means.
Ben: For me, when I was a bodybuilder, I went through about nine months of counting calories, completely off of alcohol, eating tuna out of the can with ketchup and relish on top of it would be a typical meal, and I was sponsored by a protein shake company. So you were doing seven, I was probably closer to 10 of these ABB in the BPA-lined can shakes. ‘Cause they'd send them to me for free, they were my sponsor because I worked at a gym and I would crap out a straw, and have horrible digestive issues, and no drive…
Rick: Gas, I imagine.
Ben: Yeah. But that was how I was convinced that one should lose weight, or burn belly fat, or burn body fat. So you progressed from this Maffetone-esque diet.
Rick: So it started with Phil's diet, then moved into the low calorie version of similar foods, and lost the weight, and then started including meat and other healthy things.
Ben: Got it. So did you ever, along the way, because I know a lot of people are into supplements, and biohacks, et cetera, did you start to introduce supplements like anything? Bottles, pills, capsules things like that?
Rick: Fish oil, a lot from the beginning. Phil had me take a lot of Standard Process stuff. So thinks like…
Ben: Standard Process being a supplement company.
Rick: Do you know many of their…
Ben: Yeah. They make good stuff. They're one of those companies I believe is a doctors’ line, or physicians’ line where a lot of physicians are able to order. But, yeah, I mean they do multi-vitamins and they do fish oil.
Rick: But I think the way, it's all food based and it's really low dosage…
Ben: Yeah. And when it's whole food-based, usually they're blending it with whole food components. So it's a boatload of actual capsules that you swallow, in most cases with a whole food based multi-vitamin or something like that. But you get better absorbability.
Rick: And I think sometimes they would be, you would chew them even though they weren't necessarily chewable, but because they were food…
Ben: Right. Exactly.
Rick: Healthy absorption.
Ben: And they've skirted hell a lot of those issues in the past several years by introducing things like liposomal technology for superior absorption, or nanoparticles to allow you to take less and get more delivered into the bloodstream. For a long time, whole food-based for a supplement, that was the way to go. So how long ago was that that you progressed from Phil into this calorie restricted version?
Rick: The calorie restricted version, I'm gonna say was, eight years ago or seven years ago, and then that took fourteen months to lose the weight. Then I started training with Laird, just because I met Laird. I was never really interested in exercise at all. I pretty much lived my whole life in my head. And I met Laird, and just liked him and his enthusiasm. He's like Superman.
Ben: He's a very dynamic Superman.
Rick: Yeah. So just to be around someone like that was so different than the musicians that I'm around, and it was fun for me to see someone who's really good at something different than the people that I know who are really good at something here. And he said, “Well, you lost all this weight, why don't you start coming to the gym?” So I started going to the gym, really more to hang out with him and just learn, but I couldn't. The day I went to the gym, first, I couldn't do one push-up.
Ben: Oh, wow.
Rick: And through training with him, I worked up to be able to do 100 consecutive push-ups. And even things like he would teach me an exercise and I couldn't do it, and I was saying, “I can't do this.” And he'd say, “No. Don't say you can't do it. Say you haven't done it yet.” And he'd say, “Okay. Now let's break this exercise up into three pieces. Let's try the first piece of it.” It's like, “Okay, you could do the first piece.” “Let's try the last piece.” “You could do the last piece.” “Let's do the middle piece.” “You could do the middle piece.” “Now, let's do the first two together.” “Now let's do just two and three together.” And just get it to where I could, 'cause I was completely uncoordinated. I'd never done any of these things. And he just made it, he was such a good teacher, and would just will me to do things that I just didn't believe I could do.
Ben: Yeah. So you just show up at his house and train.
Rick: Yeah. And it was a group of like six guys who would come every, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were gym days.
Rick: And I did that for years. And then he started doing the pool workouts Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and those have evolved. We did that this morning.
Ben: Hard workouts. We were there for a couple hours.
Rick: Those have evolved over the years where they started as really just carrying heavy dumbbells from the shallow end of the pool to the deep end of the pool, and back. And that was the only real exercise.
Ben: Just a farmer's walk down and back.
Rick: Down and back. Or you'd try to stay down at the deep end as long as you could. And then you'd walk up the staircase, in the middle of the pool, you'd walk up the staircase.
Ben: Don't try this alone by yourself, by the way if you're listening. There's a lot of people there. I know even today, there was a brief moment, and somebody's like, “Where's Dan?” The very first thing everybody did was they all put their heads underwater in and did a scan of the pool. So, yeah. Not something to do by yourself.
Rick: And since we've been all doing Wim Hof breathing, the combination of doing the breathing, and breath holds, and swimming underwater has, while it definitely makes you strong, you really don't wanna do that alone because at least half the guys have passed out in the water.
Ben: Yeah. It's crazy. Like I came close this morning. I met Wim Hof's son this morning, by the way down, at SunLife Organics where I was having my billion Dollar colostrum, and coconut flake, and who-knows-what-else smoothie that disappeared way too fast. It disappeared disappointingly fast. So you got into the exercising, which you're still doing. Are you still on a calorie restricted, protein-rich, but plant-inclusive diet? Is that you would describe what you do now?
Rick: Yes, but where I went from counting calories, through the time that I spent counting calories I learned more about calories. And now I don't keep track, but I just make better choices than…
Ben: Yeah. That's what I do now. There's a new, I was looking at Kickstarter recently for this thing called a BioRing, and what they're claiming is that they can sense fluctuations in glucose through this ring and approximate the number of calories that you consumed based off the glucose.
Ben: I don't know how accurate it is. I raise an eyebrow at it, but coming from an old school exercise physiology background where you have to put a giant mask on your face and measure your breath at all varying levels of intensity to get accurate calorie data. But it's interesting, we may not need to count calories or even eyeball calories at some point in the future.
Now, I mean you're a voracious learner. We are just looking at your bookshelf, which is all color coordinated. It's one of the first color coordinated, rather than organizing by category, or organizing by author, you organize by color, which is interesting. I get the aesthetic pleasure of it, though. A ton of books on health, fitness, nutrition, et cetera. I'm curious what a typical day in your life, or ideal day in your life would look like now utilizing a lot of these strategies that you've discovered along the way. From people like Maffetone, and Laird, and all these books that you've read, what's a day look like for you now?
Rick: I typically wake up in the morning. I'll do some sort of a morning practice, which might be TM. It might be a different type of a meditation. I've been doing one where…
Ben: TM being Transcendental Meditation?
Ben: Which you introduced me to.
Rick: Have you been doing it?
Rick: Oh, good. You like it?
Ben: I don't do the 20 minutes twice a day. I do once every couple of days for about 10 minutes. That's what I've been able to pull off which I've talked with Philip, who I interview on the podcast, I put a link to that episode that we did with him, and I feel like a little bit of a slacker, but not only is it difficult to squeeze in all these little, probably a lot of the little things that you're about to get into, but I also have been experimenting now with some EEG-based neurofeedback training for the brain.
Ben: And I'll probably fill you in, and our listeners in on that, at a later point. But that seems to be a form of meditation as well. It's very interesting. It actually exhausts your brain, depletes glucose very quickly. You finish sitting and staring at a screen, flying a shape spaceship with your mind, and you're famished. It's crazy. You're actually burn a ton of calories doing this. It's called EEG neurofeedback. So it seems very intensive. I'm interested to see how it pairs with transcendental meditation, but what I plan now is to do my TM one day and then do my EEG the next day, because they sent me home with the whole training kit. So I actually take this home when I train, there's a practitioner who I contact each day to give me my protocol, and then I do that…
Rick: Is it an every other day? Is it recommended as an every other day…
Ben: He recommends it three days a week. He says I can do it more, but I believe the phrasing that he used was “I might fry my brain,” which I think he was joking, but either way I'm gonna play fair on the safe side.
Rick: Well, let's talk a little bit about getting in the TM, which I would say, it's an old TM adage that giving up the 20 minutes to do the TM, you gain more time than that in the day. So, it's not like you're using up 20 minutes. So you may want to consider…
Ben: I'm writing this down. I've got my little Moleskine journal that I use to take notes as I pick the brain of folks like you.
Rick: I would say, if you could…
Ben: And you do 20 minutes a day now?
Rick: It depends. I go through phases where I do years on and years off where I'll do, like I did it from the time I was 14, I learned when I was 14. I did it from fourteen until college, then I stopped in college, then I moved to California, then I started up in California, and I did it for probably five years, and then I took a few years off, and then I started up again. It's been on and off different times. And now I'm in a phase, I think I'm about to start an “On” phase, but now I've been using it more, like on a flight I'll do an hour long meditation. Often in the morning, I'll do, if I don't do TM, I'll do a different kind of meditation like a guided meditation. I like those two.
Ben: Sorry to interrupt, but this thought popped into my head so I wanna make sure I ask it. Your mantra that you use for transcendental meditation, because everyone has a mantra, that changes over time, yeah?
Ben: Oh, really? So I can use this same mantra that I've been taught the rest of my life?
Rick: Your whole life.
Ben: I didn't know that. That's interesting. Okay. Good to know. So you start your day with the TM, or something like it?
Rick: That'd be the first thing I would do, is wake up and in bed do TM, then start my day. I'll have a shake, a protein shake that has all of the, we call it the Stim-Stem drink that has all of the different stuff that's supposed to…
Ben: Stimulate stem cells?
Ben: The Stim-Stem drink. We were having a discussion about that in the sauna, and actually I interviewed Neil Strauss earlier this afternoon. We were actually discussing this guy in the sauna, Darin, who wrote a book called, flip back in my notes here, SuperLife is the name of his book. He travels around the world finding things that increase stem cell health. I know that some of the things like aloe vera, and colostrum, turmerones isolated from turmeric, not turmeric but turmerones. What was another one that you talked about? Coffee fruit extract was another. And I know Dr. Mercola, who I interviewed recently, he was talking about Pau D'Arco bark tea. And then what else? Shawn Stevenson, who I interviewed talked about chlorella and spirulina as stem cell supporting foods. But you start off your day with this Stim-Stem, it's called?
Rick: That's what I call it.
Ben: Okay. Just a protein shake…
Rick: With as many of the supplements for…
Ben: All manners. Probably some of those I just listed, or others?
Rick: Some of those, and maybe the mushroom, the four square…
Ben: The Four Sigmatic.
Rick: Oh, Four Sigmatic.
Ben: Yeah. Four Sigmatic mushroom extracts. That's good stuff.
Rick: The Ocean's Alive. You know that one?
Ben: Yup. Ocean's Alive, they do magnesium sprays and they do a marine phytoplankton.
Rick: That's the one.
Ben: Yeah. Ian Clark. I interviewed him, it's fascinating. And again you guys, I'm taking notes on this stuff, so I'll put it in the show notes.
Rick: I'll get you the whole recipe.
Ben: Yeah. Send me the recipe. Let's post it in the show notes for folks. The Stim-Stem. I wanna try it now. It sounds very much like the Billion Dollar Smoothie.
Rick: It's really good. The main base, it's coffee and chocolate whey protein, and it's so good.
Ben: Oh my God. Okay. Maybe it's just 'cause I'm hungry, now that we're approaching dinner time. Making my mouth water. Too much surfing and water workouts today. Okay. So we've got TM, we've got the Stim-Stem Shake.
Rick: Yeah. And then I usually go to the gym. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, it would normally be weight training. And then Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday would be pool training in the summer. And then when the pool stops happening, it would be either jogging on the beach at my target heart rate for an hour or elliptical at my target heart rate for as long as I can do.
Ben: Interesting. So you cycle throughout the year, change up the type of exercise.
Rick: Typically one and the other. And now I think I'm gonna do a phase of just cardio for a period of time 'til I get to my target weight, and then do a heavy muscle. And I was talking to Mark Sisson about creatine, and he was saying if you do like a six week with creatine, heavy weight thing, it really does something. So I thought maybe I'll, I've never done it. I don't know anything about it.
Ben: As long as you're not in a World Anti-Doping associated sanctioned sport, or a USADA sanctioned sport, you can do creatine, this is a stack I've got some guys in helping with muscle growth who are doing now. We do creatine, fish oil, amino acids, peptides. There's peptides, they have weird names BPC-157 and TB-500 are the two, and you either inject those or you take them orally. And then these things called SARMS, which are selective androgen receptor modulators. They go also by weird names, like LGD-4033.
And there's a stack, I recently wrote an article about it on Ben Greenfield Fitness, and we stack all this stuff together along with the 5 grams of creatine per day, and I mean you can watch the muscle appear it. You're not taking testosterone, you're not introducing some negative feedback loop where you're shrinking your balls, you're not taking like schedule 1 controlled substances that you can't carry across borders, like Sylvester Stallone did and he got arrested. It's just basically little known things along with common things like you were talking about. I would like to…
Rick: How long you do it for?
Ben: So the SARMS are four weeks on and four weeks off. The peptides are daily. They're natural. You can take 'em as much as you want. Same with fish oil, the amino acids, and the creatine. You don't need to cycle off those at any point during the year. You can just take them all year, but when you inject 'em into a heavy training phase, they're very efficacious. And what I would like to do is get the recipe for this Stim-Stem shake that you do, and send it over to some of these guys, and see what they think of that once we add chlorella, and spirulina, and some of that stuff into the mix. I love playing with the human body. It's like a piece of clay that is responsive to a variety of tactics. So what have we gotten to? Your mid-morning?
Rick: Yeah. And then I'll have an iced Americano, is my next snack of the day. And then I usually have some quiet time for, I would say about an hour. It's usually, by then, around 11. I usually go to work around noon. So the sort of calm down from…
Ben: You work in music industry, so that's an appropriate time to go to work, you bunch of night owls.
Rick: Yeah. Also like if I've done heavy weight day, I might come home and immediately do a bath. And baths seem to really…
Ben: Like an Epsom salts bath or something like that?
Rick: Yeah. And that'll just help with the lactic acid.
Ben: I don't wanna be contrarian, but I'm gonna be. Lactic acid is typically gone from your muscles within a few minutes after workout.
Rick: So what is it that hurts?
Ben: It's calcium. You get calcium build-up, and magnesium actually offsets calcium. This is why in people who have poor mobility, or fibromyalgia chronic pain, stuff like that, a lot of that is hypercalcemia, calcium deposits, calcium build-up, and magnesium, it's kinda like the yin to calcium and calcium is the yang.
Rick: I see.
Ben: And so you offset a lot of that calcium build-up, magnesium topically, magnesium baths, oral magnesium. If someone has a lot of pain and they combine that with things like traction, like mobilizing joints with inversion tables and stuff like that, foam rolling and deep tissue work, and then there's one other thing that you can do which is basically like to milk joints. This is a technique from Kelly Starrett, where you'll wrap a rubber bicycle tube above one joint and below one joint and kinda work it through a range of motion. You can milk all sorts of nasty stuff out of muscles and connective tissue. It's almost like a recovery cycle they go through at a certain point.
Rick: But not if you're injured. It's not for an injury, what you're describing.
Ben: That technique could be used for connective tissue injury, but it's different strokes for different situations. And so for that, I'm typically a fan of electrical muscle stimulation, and using topical arnica, and things that you can use electrostim to drive the lotion into tissue, ice, heat combined back and forth. You can take those peptides I talked about and inject them into tissues. There's all sorts of things. But you were talking about the bath. You do this bath?
Rick: Yeah. If, again if I've done a heavy weight day, it just might feel better. The rest of the day'll go better if I do that. Or I might come home and read for an hour, or do some research on whatever it is that I'm interested in that moment. Then I'll go to the studio, and studio is typically from noon or 1, until I would say, most days about 6 o'clock at night, and that'll be very focused work. Now when I say very focused work, because it's a creative endeavor, it'd be like very focused fishing. You're doing it, either you're very intent on it, but there's a lot of time where there's nothing you can do to speed up the process. It's like it sort of has a life of its own, so patience is a huge part of it and being able to stay very present while being very patient, and I think that's where things like meditation come in to really help.
Ben: I experience that when I'm writing. Just typing on a keyboard, or writing literally with a pen on paper. I get into the zone. Of all the things that get me into the zone, that's probably the one where I just disappear into the work.
Ben: Yeah. It's interesting. So you're at the studio, do have like an evening routine?
Rick: Well, there's also, I would say, I'll probably have in the middle of the day for a snack, I'll have Athletic Greens with amino acids, the ones that you actually suggested. I can't remember what they're called.
Ben: Perfect Aminos is one form.
Rick: I think that's what they are.
Ben: And then what I did was I private labeled that product. So now what it's called is Nature Aminos. It's like a powder, or capsule, and then you put it whatever, freaking kombucha or shake.
Rick: I use those, and then I use fiber, I'll tell you the name but I can't remember what it's called. It's with a G. Made from a root. You know what that is?
Ben: Gynostemma? Like that to stabilize blood sugar?
Rick: I dunno if that's what it is, but it does stabilize blood sugar and it's…
Ben: Yeah. There's one called gynostemma that does that.
Rick: It just takes away your appetite. It’s what it is.
Ben: And it makes sweet things not taste so sweet.
Ben: Yeah. I believe that's the one we're talking about.
Rick: So I have that in the middle of the day.
Ben: I'll write down the name and put in there for folks.
Rick: And then if I'm at home working, I'll be standing at the stand-up desk and standing on the foam stuff.
Ben: The Kybounder? I saw that upstairs in your office.
Rick: And I have a vibration pad as well.
Ben: A vibration pad that you stand on while you're working or…?
Rick: Well, it might be more like a break in the work, or it doesn't work for all work. I mean…
Ben: No. I totally, I couldn't type if I were on one.
Rick: But if I'm working for a while, it's nice to sorta just stand on it 10 minutes, and get into like a horse pose or…
Ben: Do you ever drag it next against the wall and do a headstand or a handstand?
Rick: I've never done that.
Ben: You should try it sometime. You get this enormous blood rush your head. It just drains your legs.
Rick: It also amazing how if you do push-ups on it, how many fewer push-ups you can do.
Ben: That's actually the research that's been done that people talk about, you see the women at the gym hold their Jamba Juice, standing on the vibration platform to burn fat, but most of the research done on vibration platforms, aside from the lymph fluid aspect, which is similar to like rebounding on a trampoline, it's used to prime muscles or to exhaust muscles. Meaning you do a few quarter squats on a vibration platform before you go do a real squat under a barbell. Or you do, like you mentioned, half push-ups on a vibration platform, or just holding a push up plank before you go bench press. So that's actually what it's very efficacious for. But yeah, it exhausts your muscles. I mean just drop into an isometric squat hold, and try and hold that for like a minute on a vibration platform. That was one of my…
Rick: Yeah, yeah. Also do it balancing on one leg. It's really good too.
Ben: I forgot about this. When I was at University of Idaho, when I first started training for triathlons, it was perfect because they had two vibration platforms and an indoor track. So you do an isometric squat on the vibration platform, put a ton of lactic acid into your muscles, prime the muscles, then run one time around the track, and then go back to the platform. That was one of my go-to running routines when I first started training for triathlon. So you've got your home office, your foam mat, your vibration platform. What other tricks are up your sleeve towards the end of the day?
Rick: Just a lot of things like foam rolling, all different kinds of rollers.
Ben: You do all that at night?
Rick: Depends. Sometimes I'll do it before the gym, sometimes before and after the gym, sometimes before and after and at night. Whenever it fits. But I like it.
Ben: And then to wind down at the end of the day, aside from doing as we are doing now on the beautiful beach of Malibu, staring out at the sunset which is now set, in a very quiet, serene, I don't know if you need much more than this to fall asleep, but do you take herbs, or teas, or use any sleeping tactics?
Rick: I do. I take something called Sleeping Monk, which is a Chinese herb.
Ben: Interesting. Never heard of that one.
Rick: I use a healthy version of the calm powder, the one without the…
Ben: The natural calm magnesium powder.
Rick: There's a healthier version of it. I'll give you the name of the one that I use.
Ben: Are you talking about the fact that they tested some of that stuff for metals?
Ben: And found metal content?
Ben: Yeah. We talked about on a podcast at one point. There were some issues with the testing that they did, 'cause I looked into it 'cause that was something I used and I was a little bit nervous about. I'll try and hunt down the, 'cause we published a big Facebook post about it because Natural Calm wrote a letter, I believe to the FDA pointing out some of the issues with the testing. But either way I wanna know the magnesium that you find for replacement as well. You're making my job hard, Rick. You're making these show notes all of a sudden become very laborious, but I'll make it work.
Rick: Let me think what else. And then I take Zinc Cal Mag pills. I think that's it. Zinc Cal Mag pills.
Ben: Sounds like the ZMA supplement some people use for sleep, which is like zinc and, I believe it's got magnesium and calcium in it. So they're very common sleep aid for a very long time.
Rick: And I started taking the phosphatidylserine three times a day.
Ben: To decrease cortisol?
Rick: I don't know what I'm taking it for, but I know it seems to have a good effect.
Ben: It decreases cortisol very significantly. Yeah. I used that in the past when I tested for very high cortisol levels. There's one by Thorne called Phospha-, I forget the name of it. Phospha-something. Anyways though, phosphatidylserine for high cortisol.
Rick: Also most evenings, I would say five nights a week, we do sauna. And it'll either be sauna and ice back and forth, or the infrared sauna for one long round.
Ben: Interesting. And then it's sleepy time?
Rick: Then I'll usually watch TV for about an hour. For some reason it really helps me, I try to watch something, nothing violent and nothing that I have to concentrate on too much.
Ben: Interesting. You're not concerned about like the blue light disrupting your sleep levels?
Rick: I have a projector, so it's a little different 'cause we're not looking, you're not looking at an LED screen.
Ben: Right. You're not getting the blue light backlit screen.
Rick: Yeah. So that helps.
Ben: Interesting. I was wondering why you had a giant projector in your living room.
Rick: That's why. And we also, because we don't have blinds anywhere…
Ben: I also noticed that when I woke up this morning.
Rick: You can only watch when it's dark. So it's sort of a forced good habit of not having television on ever.
Rick: Unless it's at night, and usually it'll be either to watch a movie or to watch, I grew up watching WWE wrestling. So I still watch that, and that's a lot of hours a week.
Ben: No, I can't tell you this. I have a wrestling story, but it has to do with TV and I have a non-disclosure agreement I've signed. I'll tell you about the wrestling thing later on. I can't do it on podcast though. But the interesting I wanted to tell you was that electrode treatment for my brain I've been doing, you can actually attach the electrodes to your head, and put in a movie, and watch the movie, and it will decrease the intensity of the color and also the sound from the movie, which is disruptive to your brain. Your brain doesn't like that. If it's following a story, it doesn't like it when the story starts to disappear. You can do this with music too. And so your brain shifts into alpha brain wave production and decreases fast beta so that the movie continues to play. It's very similar if you're flying a spaceship. It's super interesting. I might actually turn into like a Netflix junkie, training with this thing.
Rick: There's a way to improve our hearing. There's something that's similar to that where it plays music, you listen to music in headphones, and then every so often it either takes out certain frequencies or adds some sound that the brain has to work out what's going on. It seems like most hearing problems are brain problems more than actual ear problems.
Rick: So it rewires your ability to hear.
Rick: Yeah. I could probably send you the name of that as well.
Ben: Yeah. That'd be cool. I don't know how many of our listeners are suffering from hearing loss. They may be though because of listening to this podcast. So it might be something that they find a utility in. So you watch the TV…and then…
Rick: Take my supplements, and then I always go to sleep listening to some sort of a spiritual lecture. And I'll listen to it until I fall asleep, and then it keeps playing until it's done.
Ben: Do you find that you dream about what you listen to or you somehow absorb that information?
Rick: I think I absorb the information. I don't dream about it. The main purpose of it, in addition to the sleep learning part of getting it, is that I have a pretty active imagination, and if left to my own, if I'm not listening to something distracting myself, then I can think myself awake for a very long time.
Ben: I can do that. Not only can I do that myself, and that's one of the reasons I've been doing this EEG training, 'cause they identified an area of my brain that actually is stuck in high beta, and is very difficult to shut down. So this is detraining that area. I might turn into a vegetable or become extremely unproductive, who knows. But it…
Rick: You may try my spiritual lecture method.
Ben: Yeah. I was gonna tell you. ‘Cause right now I use beats and white noise. Like binaural beats and white noise to distract me. What would be an example of your spiritual, like what would be an example track?
Rick: There is a good website called Dharma Seed that are Buddhist lectures.
Ben: Dharma, D-H-A-R-M-A…
Rick: D-H-A-R-M-A Seed. There's one teacher in particular that I really like, named Jack Kornfield, although there are many…
Ben: I've heard of him. Interesting. Wow.
Rick: And sometimes I like what they're saying so much I wanna take notes on it, but I'm already sort of half groggy and I don't wanna do anything with light, and I don't want to interrupt the sleep, so sometimes I even listen to them, I'll listen to it at night, and then maybe the next day, I'll remember, “Oh, there was something I liked in that.” I might listen to it again in the sauna the next day.
Ben: Yeah. Interesting. I like that method. I may have to try that. You've got all sorts of notes jumbling around in my brain.
Rick: Another thing I'll say is that when I do the very hot sauna, I listen to music. When I do the infrared sauna, I listen to podcasts because of the duration. Doing the hot sauna, and going back and forth between the hot sauna and the ice, it'd be too much…
Ben: The heat of the dry sauna is tough on the electronics too.
Ben: I have nuked some stuff in dry sauna before that does just fine in infrared.
Rick: I have Sonos speaker in my dry sauna, and we get up to 230 degrees, and the light on it turns red, which the Sonos people didn't even know it was possible for it turn red. Because in normal use, it turns either white or yellow. But it turns red, but has never stopped working.
Ben: They're like, “This guy field tested the hell out of our device.” A lot of people are probably wondering this, there's guys like you and me who will, whatever, swallow, and Ray Kurzweil and a ton of different anti-aging enthusiasts, and people who live a long time. Laird Hamilton, I know, does a lot of this supplementation, and biohacks, and better living through science. And some people will say this sounds laborious, or “Why would you do it? What drives you?” And I guess my question for you, Rick, and this would be my final question for you: What is it that's driving you? I mean, it obviously started with just wanting to be healthier and lose weight. What is it now? What drives you to do all this now?
Rick: I feel like in some ways it's the reason we're here, is to be our best selves, do our best work. It's less about the accomplishment and more about the process of doing it and the idea of being able to make something better, whatever it is. Whether it's to my health, my body, my surroundings, a piece of art, whatever it is. My reason to be is to make things better, whatever those things are.
Ben: The pursuit of excellence.
Ben: It makes sense. I see that in the music that you produce, the aesthetics of your home, and your yard, and your setting here, and also in your pursuit of optimal health.
Rick: Yeah. I've always felt like I'm willing to do whatever it takes for things to be as good as they could be because I really like things that work well. It's funny because on the one hand, there is an aspect of me that's really lazy. I'm on the one hand really lazy, and on the other hand I'm obsessed with researching things and I wanna know the best way. I wanna know how things work. Maybe it stems, I was a magician when I was a kid.
Ben: Oh, really?
Rick: So much of magic, so when I became friends with Blaine, so much of magic is seeing what's possible in a way that starts with something that's impossible. Like how do you make it? It's like there was a time many scientific breakthroughs were magic tricks before they were breakthroughs. Photography was a magic trick before it was photography. Projection.
Ben: Yeah. That makes sense.
Rick: Projecting light. Those all, when they first happened, they were used as magic tricks. There's something about learning health, and there's something really beautiful in seeing the interconnectedness of things, and how, when you learn one thing in one area, how it affects other areas, and how something I learned through working in a recording studio is maybe a principle that ends up influencing the way I eat, or exercise, or the other way around. It all seems to be that idea of how you do anything is how you do everything.
Rick: It's all one thing, and I'm curious and wanted to be the best I could possibly be.
Ben: It's a pursuit of excellence, not grasping at straws. It's not trying to scrape together as many years of life as possible. It's simply that intense curiosity combined with the pursuit of excellence.
Rick: And recognizing, like seeing today, watching the sunset, I can't think of many more great experiences that we could have had in that time than that. That was pretty great. And I imagine when we're done with this podcast, we're gonna eat something really great. And this is another thing…
Ben: I was just gonna have a Ziploc bag full of kale chips and hop in the car.
Rick: I think we're going to do better than that.
Rick: What I was gonna say is like if I eat, it doesn't matter how many calories a meal has. If it doesn't satisfy me by tasting good, then I'm still hungry. So much of it is psychological.
Rick: It's like the satisfaction comes from the experience of eating something, and really loving the way it tastes in the same way of loving seeing a magnificent sunset. So I guess in some ways, it's pleasure seeking.
Ben: Yeah. Pleasure seeking and also, to me that ability to, as Dan Buettner says in his book, however you pronounce his name in his book “Blue Zones,” I mean a big, big part of that is just living with mindfulness and having the awareness to be mindful, not just of your body, but of these experiences like the sunset, like our podcast here, like those of you who are out there doing whatever you're doing. Just that appreciation for life that comes with mindfulness. I think that's a big part of it.
Ben: Well, with that, and also with your mention of dinner which was making me now salivate, I suppose we'll bring this to an end. Rick, I really appreciate your passion for this, your knowledge, sharing everything that you did today. I'll put the show notes, for those of you listening again, at bengreenfieldfitness.com/rubin. But dude, thanks for coming on the show.
Rick: Thanks for having me and thank you for sharing so much information that improves our lives.
Ben: Appreciate it man. Well, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Rick Rubin signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com. Have a healthy week.
You’ve been listening to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast. Go to bengreenfieldfitness.com for even more cutting edge fitness and performance advice.
What do the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kanye West, Johnny Cash, The Black Crowes, Slayer, Jay Z, James Blake, Dixie Chicks, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Black Sabbath, Slipknot, Metallica, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Weezer, Linkin Park, The Cult, Neil Diamond, The Avett Brothers, Adele, Mick Jagger, System of a Down, Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, Sheryl Crow, ZZ Top, Lady Gaga, Shakira, Ed Sheeran, Damien Rice, Eminem, and just about every other world-famous band or musician you’ve ever heard of have in common?
They were all produced by today’s podcast guest: Rick Rubin, the American record producer and former co-president of Columbia Records.
In 2007, MTV called Rick “the most important producer of the last 20 years”, and the same year he appeared on Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list.
Rapper Dr. Dre has stated that Rubin is, “hands down, the dopest producer ever that anyone would ever want to be, ever.”
But Rick has a personal passion outside of music that many people don’t know about…
…health, nutrition, fitness and biohacking.
And in this episode, in which Rick and I sit on his back porch, watching a relaxing sunset after a hard morning of Laird Hamilton’s pool workout, we have an intense discussion about veganism vs. Paleo, Rick’s weight loss journey, and much more. During our discussion, you’ll discover:
-The little-known Ayurvedic pulse taking technique Rick used to find out he need to “drink more bone broth“…[16:10]
-Why Rick thinks an ice bath is very much like eating meat…[26:25]
-How Rick lost 131 pounds by eating animal protein…[29:45]
-Why Rick took an entire week to eat one steak…[28:56]
-What legendary Ironman coach and physician Dr. Phil Maffetone told Rick to do for diet and exercise, and how Rick modified it…[37:35 & 41:05]
–What a typical day is like for Rick…[54:25]
-How Rick uses “transcendental meditation”, and his insight into neurofeedback for the brain…[57:20]
-Rick’s unique dietary and supplementation routine he uses each day…[60:35]
-The one herb Rick uses each day to decrease hunger and sugar cravings…[68:00]
-Rick’s standing workstation setup…[68:55]
-Why Rick uses a projector instead of a television or computer to watch movies at night…[73:45 ]
-The audio track that Rick falls asleep to each night…[76:30]
-What is it that drives Rick to live the life he lives…[79:30]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
-Don Wildman’s “Hardest Workout In The World” article from Esquire magazine
-The full recipe for Rick’s Stim-Stem Shake
- Chocolate whey protein
- Bulletproof Collogelatin
- Chocolate Stevia
- Bulletproof Brain Octane
- Organic Cocoa Nibs
- Organic Cocoa Powder
- Organic Aloe Vera Juice
- Ocean’s Alive Marine Phytoplankton
- Ice to desired texture
-The herb Rick uses to decrease hunger and sugar cravings
-The Kybounder Mat Rick uses under his standing workstation
-The alternative to Natural Calm Magnesium powder that Ben uses
–Below is the Natural Calm Magnesium reply that Ben mentioned regarding heavy metals:
In regards to the Arsenic levels that Labdoor has decided to use, it is from a proposed limit over 10 years that was NEVER approved or accepted. The current established level for Arsenic is 10mcg/day. Why Labdoor decided to use a never approved or accepted proposal in unclear. In regards to the Natural Calm supplement, here is Natural Vitality’s official statement on it:
“The simple truth is that Natural Calm both meets its potency label claim and is well within the No Significant Risk Levels for arsenic and in fact is less than 10 percent of California’s Prop 65 stringent safe threshold levels. This has been consistently scientifically validated by third party test results from top American testing labs as part of standard Good Manufacturing Practices.
While testing results commissioned by Labdoor, when correctly interpreted, align perfectly with our results, their report contains a number of distortions which provide both a highly inaccurate picture and a disservice to consumers. We believe Labdoor is attempting to use our well-deserved, award-winning reputation to inflate their importance. Apparently their business model involves casting themselves as a “trusted source” by creating sensationalized stories to drive traffic to their website with the objective of creating profit from advertising sales and, interestingly, sales of supplements.
Labdoor’s Natural Calm test size was over two and a half times our recommended serving size but they did not factor that into their analysis. When correctly interpreted our results read:
Magnesium was 346 mg, about a 1% variance from our label claim of 350 mg.
Arsenic was .7992 of a microgram. Less than 8% of the California Prop 65 No Significant Risk safe threshold.
Labdoor was approached regarding their misinterpretation of the results and asked to retract their press release, send out a corrected press release and update their website.
However, Labdoor refused to admit wrong doing of any kind and continues to assert the virtue of their inaccurate position.
At this point, both through the correct interpretation of the assay provided to us from Labdoor and our retest of the lot in question, Natural Calm has been clearly shown to be accurate both in terms of label claim and in following California’s Prop 65. The laboratory used by both Labdoor and Natural Vitality was the highly regarded Covance laboratories. Covance’s interpretation of test results (both Labdoors and ours) validates our position in terms of label claim and purity.
Additional information is available at Natural Vitality customer service if desired ([email protected]).
Having cleared the record with scientific facts, we now consider this matter closed.”
I would be happy to provide you with the Certificate of Analysis that we had performed on an actual servings size instead of the 10.66g that Labdoor used, which is 2.5x our suggested serving size.
-The ZMA supplement you can use before bed at night for minerals
-The Jack Kornfield spiritual teaching download at DharmaSeed.com
-The NatureColostrum Ben recommends for muscle gain
-The NatureAminos Ben recommends for muscle gain
-The SuperEssentials Fish Oil Ben recommends for muscle gain