August 12, 2017
[00:00] Introduction/Go Greenfields
[04:32] Joe DiStefano
[07:55] RKC Certification
[10:39] Kettlebell Yoga
[12:50] Joe's RKC Certification
[18:32] The Benefits Of Using Kettlebell Training For Endurance Athletes
[30:52] Joe's Current Training Routine
[42:36] Quick Commercial Break/Art Of Charm Podcast
[45:10] Health Gains
[46:47] Continuation/Joe's No Alcohol Stint
[55:42] Joe's Top Sleep Tips
[1:05:25] New Supplements Joe Uses
[1:24:18] End of Podcast
Ben: Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show. Before we jump into today’s show, please check out my kids' new podcast. I’ve 9 year old twin boys. They like to eat food just like their papa, and they have a brand new restaurant review, and cooking tips, and plant foraging, and completely-anything-tasty-or-palate-related podcast. And it rocks, if I don’t say so myself. Those cute little adorable munchkins have done it again. Go to gogreenfields.com. That’s gogreenfields.com to check out their show.
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In this episode of The Ben Greenfield Fitness Show:
“One of the lessons that we all know and we all learn, but we all try to forget is that you can’t really get good at more than one thing at once. You can’t get significantly stronger and faster at the same time.” “A couple of years ago I’ve tried to give up coffee. And after a couple of weeks, I noticed I had a really hard time focusing in everything else. I did not think I was drinking tea or something lighter. And I totally did not even consider that it was the fact that I’ve given up coffee that I was getting all these ADD symptoms.”
Ben: Hey folks. It’s Ben Greenfield. And yes, he’s back. No, I’m not referring to myself in the third person, even though I’m back too. I’m referring to my good buddy and a former podcast guest, a fellow biohacker and geek-slash-student when it comes to all things related to human body and brain performance. The previous episode that we did together, we talked about everything from digital detoxing in the hills of Costa Rica, to travel-proofing your immune system, to underground, little-known body weight workouts, and a whole lot more. This cat has also introduced me to two former really really surprisingly popular podcast guests, a guy named Eric Remensperger, who basically healed himself of cancer using a kind of an approach of giving a big middle finger to conventional medicine and instead using alternative approaches. That was an interesting episode.
And also, the guy who’s with me today introduced me to Scott Dolly, who you may remember from the episode “Fascial Fluffing And Protective Chakra Energy Balls”. He was also an interesting fella. But my guest today is equally as interesting. He is the head of sport for Spartan Race. He is the creator of something called Runga, which you’re gonna learn a lot more about in today’s show. He has a degree in Exercise and Sport Science, and he is certified as a Performance Enhancement Specialist, a Corrective Exercise Specialist, a Strength Conditioning Specialist, he’s trained at the C.H.E.K. Institute. He has more alphabet letters after his name than I do and his name is Joe DiStefano. Joe, welcome back to the show, dude.
Joe: Hey, man. Thanks, Ben. Really appreciate the intro. And you got to add RKC to that list of the alphabet after my name there.
Ben: Okay. I actually want to ask you about this whole RKC thing, and I’ll have you explain what that is to people who aren’t familiar with it here in a second, but based on your recommendations because you're like the granddaddy of our Spartan Pro race team, meaning you’re always throwing little tips at us and posting things to our private Facebook group page that we have, you went on there a few weeks ago and you gave a recommendation about kettlebells. Like you were waxing positive about kettlebells. And just based off of that post and your recommendation to choose just a few key exercises and use them for mobility, use them for strength, trying to get distracted by eight billion different moves, and instead just kinda grease the groove with these specific kettlebell exercises, two to three times a week now, I’ve been going out on my patio in the morning and instead of yoga, or deep breathing, or mobility work, I’ve just been doing some very light kettlebell swings, some relatively heavy but mobility enhancing Turkish get-ups, and then also some very, very deep, slow goblet squats. And I feel like a million bucks after I’ve gone through a few rounds of those. So I take what you have to say about kettlebells with seriousness and with heart. So tell me about this RKC, right? RKC?
Joe: Yeah, RKC.
Joe: I'm glad to hear that, Ben. I think that bells are unique and create such a great training adaptation. So we can, it’s like loaded yoga. So I’ve got some YouTube videos that I call Kettlebell Yoga, and like you said, it’s just greasing the groove, I think that was a quote from Pavel, and they’re just such a great tool to combine movement under load. So you’re getting stability in the context of strength and strength in the context of stability. So the RKC is Russian Kettlebell Challenge, now I think they call it the Russian Kettlebell Certification. It’s a tough three days. Dan John, of the best, most renowned strength coaches on the planet taught it and I was really fortunate.
Joe: Yeah, I mean he is just full of just incredible insights from his career both as an athlete and as a professional. And on top of that, he is hysterical.
Joe: So, he is a great guy to learn from. He just makes it so much fun.
Ben: I don’t remember him being that funny during our interview. I remember him just basically intimidating everyone with his recommendation to do like insane 30 to 40 rep barbell squat sets.
Joe: Right. Well maybe he’s grown past those things now. I feel like a lot of the stuff that he’s doing now, I think he’s really focusing, him and I are really kindred in the way that we look at training today. And I think historically, maybe coming from just such a strong athletic career where I think, in “Easy Strength”, I think he wrote about a workout he did in 1979 where it was 30 reps at like 325, and then 30 reps at 295, and then 30 reps at 225 or something like that. So I think in his past, he’s definitely kind of put himself through the wringer in the name of training, and maybe he’s evolved this thinking now. I think over the last few years he’s spent a lot of time with Greg Cook and some of those guys, so I think maybe he’s shifted a little bit. At least from my view, he's a hysterical guy. He’s got incredible stories of success and failure, and those just really add to the experience learning from him.
Ben: Now you mention, by the way, Joe, and I actually wanted to ask you in addition to asking you about this RKC test, but you mentioned Kettlebell Yoga. Did you say you had some videos up on Kettlebell Yoga, or that Dan did?
Joe: I do. So, I mean Dan might too. But…
Ben: Walk me through Kettlebell Yoga. Like how would this look just for somebody listening in. Give ‘em the visual.
Joe: There was an example, things like halos. So if you were to grab a bell by the horns, which means the handles, with your hands on either side, and just kind of do some halos around your head, so kind of moving your arms, so you pull your head through the window and then down the other side, that would be an example of one exercise. You might do 10 of those, then you might drop into a goblet squat and do 10 of those at the bottom. You might stand up and do a couple of hip-hinges, things like that. I’ve got a few circuits where we would actually go from a goblet position, drop into a reverse lunge, bend on to both knees, do a hip-hinge, then stand up out of that, maybe do a press or two. So it’s just about this sort of fluid movement. You might grab one or two light bells, and you might just try to move for 10 minutes or so under that light load, moving in as many different controlled movements as possible or directions.
Ben: Interesting. Okay. Can you send me some videos that I can put on the show notes for people, of you demonstrating a little bit of Kettlebell Yoga?
Joe: Yeah, absolutely.
Ben: Okay, cool. Folks, go to bengreenfieldfitness.com/gijoe, because that's Joe's handle on many of his accounts, GIJoe. bengreenfieldfitness.com/gijoe and I’ll link to those Kettlebell Yoga videos from Joe.
Joe, in addition to the Kettlebell Yoga, and by the way, I sometimes feel like when I get out there on my porch and do the Turkish get ups, it opens up my hips just as much as a full-on yoga session. Just doing like 15 get ups per sides, split into like three sets of five, super-duper effective. So for those of you listening in, I mean even if you start with something as simple as a get up, go for it. But Joe, you also talked about the RKC Certification, and I’d like to hear about that. And I believe it was a couple of months ago that you told me actually, you kind of like failed certain sections of that and you had a really hard time with it. So, dig in to this RKC Certification, why you like it, why feel people should look into it, and also what you experienced going through it.
Joe: Yeah. Well, the RKC is funny. When I decided to do it again this year, I realized kind of how much I learned from it. And about four years ago, maybe five, I had signed up for it, and I did it pretty, it was kind of a reactive thing. I was home and I saw that it was gonna be in Boston, in one or two weeks’ time, I’ve been through so many of these certifications, and survived, and always passed and always felt good about it. And so I signed up. At the time, I was doing a lot of tire flips, a lot of high intensity training. So although I hadn’t been training specifically for the “snatch test”, which I’m sure we’ll get to, I felt like I was fit and I was gonna be fine. So I showed up and I got my [censored] kicked, man. It was about a thousand swings a day, it was just this brutal three-day workshop. And then at the end, everything was going well, my hands were completely shredded, but the last thing is what they call the “snatch test”. And yeah, I failed it.
Ben: And what is the “snatch test”?
Joe: So the snatch test is 100 snatches, you have five minutes and you use very specific weight. So males use a 24kg, 24 kilograms, 53 pounds. Women, I believe, use a 16 or 20, I’d have to check. But you have to do a hundred one-arm snatches, with a five minute time cap. You can switch hands as many times as you want. Which is a pretty burly test. If anyone’s ever done 24 kilogram snatches, doing a hundred of them in five minutes is no small feat.
Ben: Yeah, that’s legit.
Joe: So, I got 83. And you know what is funny is afterwards, I had failed, yes, but I still expected to kinda reap the benefits of the workshop, to be totally honest. I remember when I was leaving, I went to grab a t-shirt because they had a stack of them there, and people were grabbing them. And the instructor was like, “Oh, I’m sorry. You didn't pass the Snatch test so, not today. You don’t get the red shirt.” And I was shocked, I was like, “What? This is outrageous”. What’s so funny about it is I think I spent the next couple of months just really kind of spiteful towards them. Because I watched a bunch of 190 pound guys, I think I was about 150 at the time, bunch of 190 pound guys, 200 pound guys just rock the snatch test and using the same weight as I was. And so I had this like just pity party for the next few months. Like, “I don’t know how they're ever gonna have an RKC under 175 pounds,” because I don’t personally know anybody in my weight class that could handle that test. And I think that I’ve got this many years of experience and I don’t know how they’re gonna move forward, and I was so spiteful about not passing. But as it kinda came around again this year, I kind of grew some respect for the not-everybody-gets-a-trophy mindset, right?
Joe: You wanna do this, you gotta take it seriously. And although the test is hard, I think that it’s doable for anybody if you commit to it. And it’s not something to be taken lightly. You can’t walk in and expect to walk out. And I think there’s very few things in life left like that, so it resonated with me. And when I saw Dan John was teaching it, it was just a no-brainer and I pulled the trigger.
Ben: Yeah, I like it. I’ve looked over their registration page before, because frankly Dragon Door, who puts on a lot of this workshops, they’ve reached out to me and asked me to come out to assert some time. You learn everything from suitcase carries, to dragon walks, to single-leg deadlifts, to step-back lunges, and tactical lunges, and all these different kind of old school Russian moves with the kettlebells. And then of course, you have to pass these, I think it’s a, what is it, a hard style push up test and then a snatch test that you have to do?
Joe: Yeah. You have to pass almost every major exercise, right? So you might learn the one-leg deadlift and stuff, those aren’t gonna be tested, but you have to pass the clean, the snatch, the get-up, the press, the goblet squat, I believe the double bell front squat, and then the snatch test, which is a performance test. And yeah, I think there’s some push up test and things like that. They do a really good job at sneaking those assessments throughout the weekend. So there’s a few that they sneak in and mark you as passed or failed that you might not have noticed that that was a test. But the snatch test is the one truly performance-based test. So the rest are skill-based. So, can you do a perfect get-up? Can you do a perfect press? But yeah, that snatch test is something you need to train for.
Ben: Now one of the things that you said, not to kick the kettlebell horse to death too much, but you talked a little bit when you were giving all of us, Pro Spartan athletes some tips on our Facebook page about some other little things that you took away from Dan John, that certification, and I believe that there were two big takeaways. One was you talked a little bit about like the number of reps that you thought people should really be doing when strength training. And the other was how it relates to, I know a lot of our audience, they do running, or they do marathoning, or triathlon, or Spartan races, or something like that, why would kettlebells be something that would be beneficial for something like that? So kind of a two-part question. Like, tell me what you were kind of harping on when it comes to sets and reps. And then also, where’s the crossover there that you think is so beneficial for somebody like an endurance athlete?
Joe: Right, Ben. So, yeah. I think Dan has this, and it’s so funny how the universe works. Sometimes, and I know you've dealt with this, is you got an idea in your head and you’re kinda moving your training in a certain direction, and then you hear something that sort of just, it kickstarts you, right? So it’s like you suspected you might be on to something, and then somebody you really respect says something that just kind of catapults you in that direction. And that was my experience with Dan John, and he has a rule of 10. So his theory with his athletes is that, if the weight is appropriate, you probably can’t do more than 10 really good reps. And whether you do five sets of two, or two sets of five, or a set of five, or a set of three, a set of two or whatever it might be, there’s 10 good reps in the tank. And that’s what training is all about, it’s about those 10 reps. So I kinda took that into the context of what we’re seeing at Spartan. And I think that if you look at the rates of injuries, in Spartan race or in endurance sports, and Jay Dicharry, I’m not sure exactly how to say his name, “Anatomy for Runners“, he talks about how 82% of runners get hurt. And it’s like, jeez, imagine if football was that high, or car accidents, or what have you…
Ben: That’s what it is? 82%?
Joe: 82% of runners get hurt. So if you imagine, like I said, anything else in life with that kind of stat, it would be considered the most dangerous activity on the planet. But we take it for granted and we move forward. But I think that Spartan, over the years, there’s sort of two pieces of this. Number one is we've got 200 races this year, and the first place prize is gonna be anywhere from 500 to 3,000 dollars. So there is an incentive to run as much as possible. So that could be dangerous for an athlete trying to make ends meet on an athlete income, right? And then the other piece is because the event is scary and it has running but it also has some heavy lifts, I think athletes took that as why you need to train as an endurance athlete and a strength athlete at the same time.
Joe: And one of the lessons that we all know and we all learn, but we all try to forget is that you can’t really get good at more than one thing at once. You can’t get significantly stronger and faster at the same time. And in my training of OCR athletes and Spartan athletes, I think what’s interesting about that is there’s two reasons. One reason is that the level of work it takes to improve in one of those areas makes it challenging to recover from. So if you’re doing two things simultaneously as a high-end athlete, you might get away with it for a little while, but you can’t get away with it forever because over time you just can’t recover from intense strength training and intense endurance training simultaneously. And that’s again one of the things that I think is leading to injury. And the other thing that’s interesting about that point is if you’re getting better at both simultaneously, then you’re not all that close to your potential in that realm. Right? So if my body could, at some point in my life, deadlift 500 pounds, if I’m less than, say, three quarters of the way there, I might actually be able to improve. But if I’m even three quarters, I don’t have the exact number, but the closer I am to my genetic potential in one of those realms, the more I have to just focus on it and not focus on anything else specifically. So I guess we don't have to go down that rabbit hole too long, but that’s my hypothesis about that.
Ben: Okay, gotcha. I mean, most of the evidence that I’ve seen on combining strength exercise with endurance exercise is kind of what you’ve eluded to, and it may sound simple and stupid, but that is that. You can’t get as strong as possible when you’re training for endurance and you can’t get the increase in mitochondria and oxygen consumption necessary for endurance when all you're focusing on is strength. That’s why I do this idea of keeping strength and the endurance somewhat separate for many of your sessions and having that time when you devote yourself purely to kettlebell, having that time when you devote yourself purely to things like running efficiency and running economy. And then I also like having those, especially for like a Spartan athlete, those couple of workouts, or more, per week where you are combining the two but it’s more like running and stopping for burpees, or running and stopping to drag a sandbag for distance, and not necessarily running and then engaging in some extremely biomechanically complex exercise.
Joe: Yeah, yeah! Absolutely. And the way that I've kinda done it, if we’re gonna try to do concurrent training, is sort of assess the athlete. So look at their power, look at their strength, look at their endurance if we just do it to the simplest kind of variables. And whatever their weakest link is, that becomes priority one. Whatever the worst is priority three, and then there’s priority two. And then from a training perspective, they might get a whole bunch of training plan, a whole bunch of workouts, and a whole bunch of different complexes, and the rules are simple. A lot of times, it's do one of these workouts two to three days a week, do one of these workouts two to three days a week, and the only rule is that a priority one workout has to be at your best condition. So you can’t have the effects of a priority two or three workout. Impact your performance on a priority one workout, and as long as you abide by that simple principle, you can run concurrent training pretty well.
Ben: Yeah. And by the way, most of the evidence on concurrent training to date based on the most recent analyses that have been done on this idea of athlete who combines strength training or just exercise enthusiasts in general, I know everybody listening in, you're not like a professional Spartan athlete, or triathlete, or something like that, but this idea behind doing strength training and doing endurance training all on the same training program on a weekly basis, what they’ve shown is that for strength and power athletes, you do see a pretty significant reduction in strength, and power, and muscle hypertrophy associated with resistance training, or normally associated with resistance training when you add in a lot of endurance training, or you add in a lot of high intensity interval sessions.
On the flip side, what they’ve shown with endurance trainers or endurance athletes is that when you add in the strength training, you don’t see as much of a deficit in the endurance response. You get enhancement of strength, in power, in muscle and even your basal metabolic rate because of the addition of lean muscle fibers, but you don’t see as much of a decrease in actual endurance performance when the tables are turned. So it appears to be more beneficial for endurance athletes to do strength training than it is for strength athletes to do endurance training, with the exception to that being that a lot of times you can avoid some of the deleterious effects of endurance training, on strength training when you do very, very short efforts, like 10 to 30 second high intensity interval training efforts, you can still maintain a pretty good aerobic capacity as a strength athlete and not have endurance hold you back. So, that’s some of the latest on concurrent training that I'm aware of. Joe, quick question for you before we move on. You mentioned 10 reps as being something that Dan John talked about. Is that 10 reps total for any given exercise or is that 10 reps for a set?
Joe: So that would be 10 reps of a given exercise, right? So just yesterday, I was testing out a new block of training right now, and so it’s kind of based on this principle, and I think it’s gonna be how I’m gonna structure a lot of the off-season training for this coming year for the OCR athletes I work with. So I would do two to three warm up sets of five to 10 reps, and then start the 10 quality reps that are considered a workout.
Ben: I was gonna say that makes sense. Because in Dan John’s book, the warm ups are pretty comprehensive. When you get to the actual set, a lot of times you’re only doing just one single set. But what you’re saying is I could do, let’s say I was gonna do Turkish get-ups. I could do five sets of two per side, or I could do two sets of five per side. But according to Dan John, if you're using adequate weight, 10 reps, no matter what your set-rep scheme, should be about the most that you could handle with quality reps. But that doesn’t include the warm up.
Joe: Right, exactly. It does not include the warm up. The only exception to that is if you’re doing singles. I believe that the 10 rep kind of hypothesis thrives in doubles and singles. So things like five sets of two, or a set of five, and then a set of three, and then a set of two. I think the one exception, if you are doing singles. Because there’s, according to Dan, if you’re doing singles, you want to just do six. If you’re doing really heavy stuff, then you can't expect more than six quality reps.
Ben: Like six sets of one rep.
Joe: Six sets of one, exactly.
Ben: Interesting. Okay. So for those of you listening in, if you wanna go to this RKC certification, I’m gonna do one at some point in 2018. I have it on the radar. I mean, for me, I’m lucky Dragon Door actually reached out and I think they wanted to kinda like comp me one just to go somewhere and do it. So I’ll take ‘em up on that at some point in 2018. But one other thing before I jump into another question about your training, a really interesting and unique approach to your training that you’ve recently told me about, Joe. Have you seen, because I know he’s on our Spartan Pro Team and he’s like one of the top obstacle racing athletes in the world, but have you seen Hobie Call’s DVD on Amazon called “How to Train for Obstacle Course Racing?”
Joe: I think he made that thing like in 2012.
Ben: I got it and I watched it. Like when we’re talking about concurrent training, like here’s an example. He’ll just go for a run for an hour and a half with a heavy rock. And pretty much the whole, it’s not even a run. It’s like a walk. It’s like a heavy rock walk. And he’ll just walk and throw the rock, and then crawl to the rock, and then pick up the rock, and turn around backwards, and throw the rock, and do 10 burpees, then walk to the rock again and throw it, and just walk along, and walk along with this rock. And it’s the most hilarious video ever 'cause he’s got like the music behind it. Almost like dun-dun-dururun-rurun-dun-duuurun. And it’s just him throwing the rock, walking to the rock, throwing the rock. It’s actually, there’s some gold in that video too though. He gets in to how he does his treadmill sprints wearing a weighted vest and he does a copious number of walking lunges. And he does almost no endurance work, and almost all focused speed work with a weighted vest, and then this weird things thrown in like going on a walk with a rock. But anyways, kind of a rabbit hole, but I just thought I’d mention that I saw that DVD recently. It’s actually kind of interesting.
Joe: Oh my gosh. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it, not for years so. But Hobie is, I mean, he’s a special case. I mean, he's a guy, I think he said he ran his first marathon at eight years old. He has the world record, I don’t think it was sanctioned by Guinness, but he beat the world record for walking lunges. He walking lunged knee-to-ground, full reps, one mile, in the low 20’s, 23 minutes, maybe?
Ben: Yeah. And you know what? It actually makes sense, his idea about walking lunges being one of the best low-impact ways to strengthen your legs. We used to do copious numbers of walking lunges when I played collegiate tennis, and our team had incredibly strong legs. I mean, we would do walking lunges for like 35, 45 minutes after practice, just walking around as the coach lectured to us, we'd would just be doing walking lunges around the court. And they are a good exercise. One of the things that you told me, Joe, was that your training is kind of interesting these days in that you’re doing a ton of, and this might sound like it’s a counter intuitive approach to this idea of low rep, high weight, high quality kettlebell training, but you said to me you’ve been doing a lot of high-volume, low-intensity. Can you get in to by what you mean by that, and how you’re incorporating that into your training routine? ‘Cause it sounds like you’re having a lot of success with it.
Joe: Yeah, man. I feel pretty fit right now. And I just switched my training to test out this rule of 10 because I do think my interest is sparked enough in it to really be considering using it for a lot of the athletes in the off-season. So I just shifted my training, but when I was preparing for the RKC I was kinda looking at it, and the 24 kg kettlebell, I mean, still I just did snatches with it this morning, it never gets easy. It’s a weight, it’s appreciable and it takes no prisoners. So when I went into the RKC before, I just got so gassed. Just like if anybody’s ever done the five minute burpee test. And actually it ties into what you just were talking about. Five minutes, that’s an aerobic bout, right? So I decided that I was gonna have to get aerobically capable of handling the 24 kilogram kettlebell. I wasn’t gonna try to do the put-it-down-do-a-few-reps-get-super-acidic-and-then-try-to-do-a-few-more and try to do that for five minutes ‘cause that is just misery. I kind of decided I need to be able to keep this thing moving for as many of those minutes as possible.
And one of the kind of insights that, kind of tying into your walking lunge approach, was last year when I was looking at the NBC TV show stats, the heavy carries at Spartan race are often won by the best endurance athlete. So I think if we were just to talk about who’s gonna win on 80-pound up-a-hill bucket carry, is it gonna be the 185 pound guy, or is it gonna be Hobie, is it gonna be the 140 pound guy? And I think most people, if it’s carrying an 80 pound bucket would assume the big guy would win. But the big guy cramps up, the big guy moves slower. The big guy’s great for two minutes. But if it’s a seven to nine minute bucket carry, the little guy’s gonna win because the little guy’s using aerobic energy to control that bucket. And so that was really interesting to me to see that. And so I got obsessed with this idea, kind of over the course year that everything in Spartan needs to be aerobic. And then I started to dabble with this 10-minute approach. Like anything in Spartan, any strength training I needed to be able to do for 10 minutes. So if it’s a kettlebell swing, even if it’s a rowing machine, I mean I would never get on a rowing machine, or a fan bike, or anything else for less than 10 minutes because that’s the time domain where magic happens. And that’s both directly to the obstacles but also…
Ben: You mean once you’ve exceeded 10 minutes, that’s the time domain where magic happens from an aerobic standpoint?
Joe: Well, yes. But I think, that also just that 10 minute mark. If you can handle something for 10 minutes, I think that that’s a pretty good indicator, if it’s challenging, it’s a pretty good indicator of your strength endurance. So if you do it for 25 minutes or an hour, I mean that’s full-on aerobic. I think it really kind of breaks through this metabolic demand and it kind of gets the body whether, let’s talk about the kettlebell swing. So if I’m doing kettlebell swings for 10 minutes, that is an aerobic activity. Now I’m not gonna try to swing a kettlebell for 25 minutes. So I just decided that things like carries, things like swings, they were gonna revolve around that time frame. And then when I signed up for the RKC, I knew it was a five-minute test, I dropped a lot of those numbers to five minutes and I would do multiple rounds. So it would be, my carries would then be, say, two 12 kilo kettlebells and I would do five-minute carries with them. If I jumped on the fan bike, it would be maybe 20 rounds of five minutes at a certain intensity. If I was doing snatches, it would be five-minute blocks.
Ben: 20 rounds of five minutes?
Ben: So you’re on the bike like the whole day?
Joe: No big deal. Put a minute between each…
Ben: Oh, okay. So you’ve got pretty short recoveries, going full aerobic. So what you’re saying, if I understand correctly, is that you’re doing steady state aerobic work for 10 plus minute, or five to 10 plus minute intervals as an integral part of your training program everyday?
Joe: Yes, for a long time.
Joe: And that was testing this hypothesis. And when I signed up for the RKC, I shifted that to five minutes.
Ben: Okay. With the hypothesis being what again?
Joe: Just trying to maximize the aerobic contribution to my strength, right?
Joe: So, not trying to get stronger unless I could sustain it. And I know this might seem weird, or it might seem kind of off to [0:35:34] ______ or maybe it sounds silly to some people, but it was really transformational for me because now, if I’m doing something, the work doesn’t begin until the second minute or the third minute. And I think for an aerobic athlete that’s really important. And the other thing is, just like Hobie, Hobie wants to go tossing rock for four hours or two hours, or however long it is. He’s got 30 years of marathons and things like that under his belt already to kind of build from, and I think that’s part of the reason. Whereas my approach, I’ve done a lot of strength training, I’ve done a lot of deadlifts, so I’ve got some maximal strength, I've definitely got more than a double body weight deadlift, and so I’m kind of shifting that into strength endurance. So kind of dovetailing our early conversation, if someone doesn’t have as much strength as a baseline, then maybe this would be tricky. But I’m definitely a believer in it.
Ben: Okay. So the way that I position this, because I work with a lot of people who are just looking at anti-aging, and longevity, and want to look good naked and live a long time and aren’t necessarily racing for Spartan, the way that I program this is I call it stamina. And the way that I do this is typically once a week to once every two weeks in the program of the clients who I coach who fall into that category, I simply have one workout that involves a combination of load and endurance. They’re putting on a weighted vest and going for a long, fasted hike on a Saturday morning, or they are taking like Don Wildman, this guy who they’ve did a feature on in Esquire Magazine, the former owner of Bally’s Fitness. He has this workout that he does for about two hours in his basement. He exercises three times a week, but it’s essentially kind of like light to medium resistance weight training over, and over, and over again, from machine, to machine, to machine, never letting the lactic acid kind of decrease from building up in the muscle. Or occasionally it'll be a new sport, that I have someone go and play for a couple of hours under load, like some kind of rowing, or paddle boarding, or something like that. But it kinda sounds similar to this concept that I have of working in something that requires stamina and this mix of strength and endurance at least once per week so that you’re targeting that energy system that a lot of CrossFitters don’t target, for example, because they don’t really go for one to two hours in many cases. And also that endurance athletes don’t target a lot of times because they’ll go for a long time, but then not under load. It’s that combination of, it sounds to me like, correct me if I’m wrong, going for a long time and like having something heavy on your body when you’re doing it.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. So some of the workouts, just to kind of add some color, one of the workouts I would do all the time would be step-ups, and my push-up-pull-up concept where you would do two push-ups then one pull up, and then you would repeat that for maybe three minutes or four minutes depending on how long that particular interval is. So let’s say it’s at step-up, it’s a push-up-pull-up, and then it’s a fan bike. It might be a five-minute fan bike right into a three-minute push-up-pull-up, and a two-minute step up, and then back on the five-minute fan bike, right? And during that time I think the most important thing here is to calibrate with a very specific measure of performance. So it might be 24, or 26, or 28 steps a minute on the step ups, depending on the athlete. And it might be six, eight, to 10 rounds a minute of the two push-ups and one pull-up throughout that time. So hopefully that makes sense. So if I’m doing a three minute block of push-ups and pull-ups, and it’s eight rounds a minute, then I’ve got to do 24 rounds in those three minutes. And then I gotta do two minutes of 24 steps a minute on the stair, which is 24 inches, and then I got to maintain whatever it is, 65 rpm on the fan bike for the next five minutes. And I might do that for an hour.
Ben: For some reason I had the impression that you were doing a lot of this high-volume, low-intensity stuff while at work, like while working on your computer, or taking phone calls, or things like that. Are you doing this stuff while you’re actually working? Or is this like an actual workout where the phone's off, and you’re not working and just working out?
Joe: Well, yeah. So that’s kind of the other piece of it. I’ve now basically put a fan bike almost everywhere that I frequent. And if I’m on the phone, I’m on the bike.
Ben: By the way, a fan bike being like an Air Assault or an Airdyne type of bike?
Joe: Right. So I’ve got…
Ben: Those are hard.
Joe: They’re very hard. I particularly don’t gravitate towards the Assault bike. I’ve got two Airdyne AD4s, which were the old Airdyne with big fly wheel, and then I’ve got two AD Pros, which are the new ones which I really like.
Ben: They’re amazing bikes. Like for those of you who are looking amazing piece of exercise equipment, like my opinion for a full-body workout like that or a rowing machine, less than a thousand bucks on Amazon you got like a full gym, pretty much. Aside from something heavy.
Joe: Yeah, no. If you’re a guy and you've got a 20 and 24kg kettlebell on a fan bike, or if you’re a woman and you’ve got a 16 and a 20, or maybe a 24 too if you’re strong, and a fan bike, I mean you’re good to go. And last time we spoke, Ben, we were talking about the Ski Erg and I also one of those. I love the Ski Erg. I think one of the reasons why I’ve gravitated towards the fan bike is just that, like you said, I can literally be on the phone. Whereas the Ski Erg, it’s a training tool. It’s hard to multitask on it. Both because you can’t sustain a conversation, and your head’s moving all over the place, and everything else. So in the convenience of my life, I spend five or six hours a day on the phone for work. And now I’m on the bike for a lot of that time. So, yeah. My goal is to accumulate 10 hours a week on the fan bike, which sometimes I hit. And usually it’s…
Ben: 10 hours a week. That’s a pretty solid goal. Yeah, I mean what I tell people when they ask me which piece of cardio equipment could give them the most bang for their buck, the Airdyne or the bike with the arms and legs is always up there. As silly as it is, the elliptical trainer with the arms, the legs, that thing can give you a pretty killer workout when you really get pumping on it. So that’s another one. Huge fan of any rowing machine, although for a lot of people who struggle with like low back issues, or for who are sitting with their hip flexors shortened already on airplanes or desks, I’m not as big of a fan of that approach versus like an Airdyne bike where you kind of lean back on. And then also the VersaClimber, and then kind of like a close cousin to this VersaClimber in a way I suppose, ‘cause you’re vertically up and down, the Ski Erg that you talked about. So for those of listening in, as far as like best bang for your buck, cardio machines, if you’re not just gonna go for hike in the freaking woods would be one of those in my opinion.
Ben: Hey folks. As you know, we get a lot of professional athletes on this show who are crazy stunt daredevils who’d jump off mountains and swim through shark-infested waters. But there is this guy who’s a complete legend in the extreme sports industry who have never had on the show, but who my friend who is right here with me, Jordan Harbinger of “The Art of Charm” has indeed had on his show, and that is the one and only Tony Hawk! So, Jordan, what did you and Tony actually talk about when you had him on your episode?
Jordan: Tony was a cool guy, man. He was really accessible and down to earth, although super busy as you might expect and it took freakin’ forever to get him on the show. One of the things that was super funny, we talked a lot about branding, and sports, and stuff too, and one of the things that was really funny was, we’ve all seen crappy Tony Hawk backpacks for sale at TJ Maxx that made their way from some Walmart in the Midwest that doesn't sell 'em any more, and I said, “Man, there’s so much stuff with your brand on it. How do you keep track of it all?” And he told us this amazing story about one day he walked into this agent’s office who was representing him at that time, years ago, decades ago. And he saw a roll of toilet paper with his face on it. And he goes, “What the hell is this? I came in here to complain about a cheap Velcro wallet that I saw that you guys put my name on, and I see my face on some toilet paper?” And the agent goes, “Oh, the joke around the office is that we could print you on toilet paper and it would sell.” And he said, “You are fired!” So that’s how he learned how to protect, and that he needed to protect the Tony Hawk brand to avoid it just getting, yeah, printed on toilet paper and used to wipe people’s butts! So there’s a lot of business lessons in there, a lot of risk-taking lessons in there, his story of how he went from beyond broke to what he does now at Tony Hawk Foundation, and everything else. And he really goes through his business, the craft of skating, the timing that he needed to get right to make everything take off. And so it was super, super interesting.
Ben: Amazing. You get a lot of crazy cats on your show, but I thought his interview was pretty entertaining. So I believe it was Episode 575, the Tony Hawk episode. And if you listening in wanna hear this one, you can go to theartofcharm.com or you can just go to Apple podcast or wherever you find podcasts, and you can look up the Tony Hawk episode with The Art of Charm.
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Ben: Joe, a few other the things that I wanted to ask you about that kind of are going to stray away from exercise. The first is this whole no-alcohol thing. Last time I talked to you, you were swearing off alcohol. How’d that go for you?
Joe: It went awesome ‘til the Dry Farm Wines party at Paleo f(x). No, it was a great experience. I think a lot of us who are in this health and wellness world, but because we’re in this world, and because we travel a lot, and because we have a lot of meetings, we end up in scenarios a lot where we, frankly, drink too much. And I think that doesn’t mean we’re getting drunk, but I mean if you’ve got three dinners a week with different people, you’re probably having a glass of wine, maybe you're grabbing a beer, and I think that I just kind of had the realization that I didn’t want to do it anymore. And I wanted to see what my body was capable of if I completely gave it up. And it was also kind of just to test for my own sake because it’s not easy to be the guy at the table that says, “Oh, I’m good. I’ll stick with this soda water.” Soda water and stevia, right? But yeah, so I immediately, within like two weeks of absolutely no alcohol, I felt the difference. And again, it’s not like I was drinking all that much, but I think my sleep improved, my consciousness, I would wake up in the morning completely cleared. Even having just one drink at night definitely affects your sleep. So I started to get, it was great. Did a couple months. It was also during really tough training block right before the RKC. So, it was a good time to do it. I’m still doing it, the only difference is I've now incorporated some Dry Farm Wines.
Ben: Right. Those being like the micro-filtered wines produced using the old world methods where you’re not getting a lot of the sulfites added, they’re filtering out the 80 plus chemical derivatives that would normally be allowed in wine, and I believe, I don’t do the dry farm as much as I use this brand called FitVine, but they filter it through like diatomaceous earth, and the grapes are grown at this really high altitude to eliminate the potential from mycotoxins or fungi and also to concentrate the antioxidants, and yeah, you feel a lot different when you drink that wine. It almost doesn’t count as alcohol. Almost.
Joe: Right. A lot of it is lower in alcohol too. So a lot of these wines are 12% or something…
Ben: Actually, that’s the thing about the FitVine wine. It’s like 13 or 14% 'cause they ferment a lot of the sugars out of it. So it’s lower in sugar, higher in alcohol, which I give a big thumbs up to. If I may have a glass of wine, I want to spin some dials in my brain, baby.
Ben: And not have a lot of sugar in it. But that’s just me. There was this guy who we did a two-part series on the show with, Jason Sissel, who did 30 days of no alcohol. And I don’t know if you remember that, but we took him through WellnessFX, we hooked him up with WellnessFX, we took all of his blood parameters, and I’ll link to this in the show notes. If you guys go to bengreenfield.com/GIJoe, you can view the results from this guy. But his triglycerides plummeted, his vitamin D went through the roof. His sleep scores, especially like his deep sleep score and his propensity to fall asleep at like between 1 and 3 AM disappeared, and his deep sleep score went way up. His testosterone went up. His liver enzymes, of course, plummeted, his thyroid increased. I mean, it was pretty crazy what happened after just 30 days of no alcohol. So it’s a challenge that I would issue to anyone out there, although I’m doing something different right now, Joe, like we were talking about before we started recording is I’m not doing much coffee right now.
Joe: Man, that’s not something I’m ready to give up.
Ben: Well, I went to New York City and hung out with this chef named David Bouley who’s big in the Japanese cuisine. And this dude’s got these tiny little bags of Japanese green tea that costs like 2oo bucks from some random mountain top pagoda in Japan and he shown me how to prepare them, and how to measure the water out, and get it between 140 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit, and you use these special pots to put it in, and you only brew it for like 60 to 90 seconds, and then you pour it into a glass, and there’s like a whole drinking ceremony that you do. And it’s almost kind of zen.
Ben: I like a good coffee. And I’ll come right out and say it: I’m in the process, hopefully here at some point, of developing like a new coffee for my company. But at the same time, I wanted to see what it would feel like to just quit coffee for a while. So I’ve been on this green tea kick and I feel pretty good. And I’ve been tweeting out a lot of these studies on the EGCG, the epigallocatechins in green tea. And in terms of accelerated lipid turnover, and drop in triglycerides, and an increase in a lot of different hormones responsible primarily for the burning of adipose tissue and the activation of lipase along with a lot of the cognitive benefits, there’s a lot going for green tea. So I mean even if you’re gonna do like maybe green tea in the morning and coffee after lunch, I’m kind of liking this idea of tea in the morning. It's just I'm drinking this super high quality Japanese green tea. Maybe that’s why.
Joe: Yeah, man. It sounds like that tea is amazing, granted it might break the bank but…
Ben: Yeah, he gave me a few bags for free. Once those run out, we’ll see how long that habit sticks.
Joe: I would consider, and I think that sometimes I do green tea in the afternoon, but I think coffee in the morning is just, it just gets the brain going. You know, what's so funny is when I was a kid, I was of the kids that was always told that I should be on ADD medicine, and I'm jumping off the walls and everything else. And you know what’s funny about that is ADD medicine is actually, they're all stimulants. And a couple of years ago I tried to give up coffee, and after a couple of weeks, I noticed just my productivity. I had a really hard time focusing and everything else, and I did not think I was drinking tea or something lighter. And I totally did not even consider that it was the fact that I had given up coffee, that I was getting all these ADD symptoms. And I was talking to somebody and like, “What have we done different? What’s going on?” I’m like, “The only thing is I gave up coffee.” And they were like, “Switch to espresso. Have two shots in the morning and see what happens.” And lo and behold, I’m cured all of a sudden. That was it. So I think that that was kind of an interesting experience for me, and I think that coffee, really good coffee is important because I think if it’s burnt, or if it’s not good coffee, or it’s paper filter, then all of a sudden you’re kind of worse than you would otherwise be. But I think that it’s the potency of a really strong coffee in the morning, I think it’s just critical to productivity. And I’m not sure I would get that from green tea, although maybe you can prove me wrong at some point.
Ben: I do a lot of green tea. And I was actually just posting this on my, I did a Facebook live this morning about what you just alluded to about, the paper filters and the fact that that is important. If you use a paper filter, you filter out a lot of the psychoactive components in coffee. The cholesterols, like the cafestol is on, and another one is the kahweol, and these are cholesterols that, yes, slightly increase your blood cholesterol levels, not that that’s an unhealthy thing or associated with heart disease in the absence of other risk factors, but they cross your blood-brain barrier and they actually improve the ability of coffee to induce wakefulness compared to, say, if you filter through a paper filter. So like a French press, or an aeropress with the steel filter, or any other method that doesn’t use a paper filter will actually give you a little bit more of a cognitive boost from coffee. And I, by the way, do not plan on giving up coffee for good. There’s something about that comfort food aspect of coffee that I just can’t get away from. Even if green tea could do all the psychoactive parts of it for me, I still just love that cup of coffee. If you guys listen to the other episode I did with Joe, and I'll link to that, we geek out on coffee for a while and his different preparation methods. So go listen to that one because I have another question for you, Joe, and that is sleep habits. You have status on every freakin’ airline on the planet ‘cause all you do is travel around the world, going to Spartan races, or going to these certifications, or setting up this Runga thing that we'll talk about in a little bit. What are some of your top sleep tips for people? ‘Cause I know you’re always exploring this stuff.
Joe: Yeah. Sleep is just, it's so important. And I don’t know if you remember, Ben, but when we first met, whenever it was that day, I think it was in the Ancestral Health Symposium…
Ben: I remember exactly where we met. Yeah, we met at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Berkeley, California and we had a discussion about sleep.
Joe: Right, right. ‘Cause I was struggling at that time. And it was after, again like you said, quite a bit of travel and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and I’m happy to report I just hit Mosaic on JetBlue, so now my travel experience is gonna be that much better. But…
Joe: Yeah, Mosaic. It took a long time.
Ben: Well, what’s that mean?
Joe: It means I get free drinks, if I want them…
Ben: Oh. So it’s like status?
Joe: Oh, yeah. You get the early boarding, speed, pass, whatever they call it. So, it’s great. You get even more space seats. But actually I just flew from LA to Boston, and some JetBlue flights now have something called “Mint”, which is like JetBlue first class, which is extremely awesome.
Joe: Yeah, it’s fancy-shmancy. So anyways, you know what’s interesting is I think, number one, light is just so powerful. So, I think: one, is I’ve been wearing the Swannies quite a bit. And these are something that you introduced me to as well.
Ben: The Swannies blue light blocking glasses?
Joe: Yes. And what’s funny about the Swannies, Ben, is that for years, I believed in two things. Number one is, alright, like the blue light thing, I'll make sure I get the bulletproof thing for my screen on my iPhone, before iPhone had that option of getting rid of it, but I got some $2 construction glasses that are orange, like these are gonna be fine. It's a notable difference with the Swannies. I’m not really sure what they did, but they’re definitely more effective at making you tired more quickly than $2 construction glasses that happened to be orange.
Ben: Yeah. I mean my kids wear 'em, dude. They have little kid Swannies. They actually they make some pretty freaking fashionable versions for kids and my kids wear 'em every night.
Joe: Right. And I think what’s awesome about the Swannies too is it's a little bit of stoic exercise. Because when you’re in public, you look like a weirdo and…
Ben: Yeah. It’s birth control for your head.
Joe: Yeah, man. Totally. When I’m traveling, I got my Jumanji hat on with my Swannies, and it’s night time in Los Angeles, not many people are striking up conversations with me. So not that I…
Ben: Right. You’re that creeper.
Joe: Embarrassment is what people fear most, and I think that’s probably Swannies’ biggest opposition, right? Is that people don't wear 'em in public.
Ben: Yeah. But let’s face it, I mean most of people listening in to the podcast right now, they know that they should be blocking blue light for sleep. Is there anything else that you’ve been doing that you would say is a little bit more fringe, or flies under the radar, or that would surprise people?
Joe: Yeah! So CBD, I think we’ve talked about it as well. I’m not sure if we’ve talked about it the last time, but it’s one of my go-to’s now. At Paleo f(x) I was introduced to the guys at Omica Organics, which is, I mean their quality is extremely high and their CBD is tremendous.
Ben: I buy their Stevia. I didn’t know they made a CBD.
Joe: Yeah. They’ve got a CBD that is CBD tonic…
Ben: I mean, granted I make a CBD too. My company makes a CBD, so that’s why I stay pretty horse-with-blinders-on with my own product, but I didn’t know they made a CBD. That’s interesting. Is it one of those CBD’s that you could buy anywhere in the world? Legally?
Joe: I think you’ll have some trouble finding it. You can get it on their website. I actually kind of stocked up. I do love your product, Ben. You got me hooked, but then I had an opportunity to get a large amount for a low cost at Paleo f(x) so…
Joe: It’s got lavender in it.
Ben: By the way, for getting yourself off of alcohol, or weed, or any other drug, like targeting the endocannabinoid system via, it’s technically like a CB1 or a CB2 antagonist like CBD, it works like gangbusters. I mean, if you’re listening in and you're like, “I don’t want to drink coffee,” or “I want to try this 30 days no alcohol thing,” that’s a really good way to do it is to hit the endocannabinoid system, especially for the sleep component.
Joe: Yeah. No, absolutely. And make sure you go through, like pick up Ben’s CBD, or Omica’s, or whatever. There’s a lot of CBD products comin’ out now, and having kind of dabbled with a few of them, I’m not quite sure of both the quality and if they’re been third party tested.
Ben: Yeah. Some of them will get you high. That’s a pretty good sign they might not have been third party tested. ‘Cause I met some people, ‘cause they know I’m in the CBD business, they’ll send me CBD and I take the equivalent amount I’d normally take right before I go to bed or whatever, and I’ll wake up high, and I'll go, “That definitely it was not just CBD.” So yeah, you have to be careful. But I do like Omica Organics. And by the way, Joe, have you ever tried their butterscotch toffee stevia?
Joe: Yeah, man! Their stevia, I mean they're not using, and you could probably speak to this clearly, but their stevia doesn’t have that what’s-that-in-my-mouth after-taste. It’s something to do with the fact that they don’t use hexane…
Ben: They don’t use Hexane, they don’t blend it with maltodextrin. It’s like a really good, clean form of stevia. And yes, if you work at Omica Organics or own it and you’re listening in, you can send your check later on for the podcast sponsorship.
Ben: Exactly. So Joe, what about, in addition to using something like CBD and blue light blocking, is there any third thing that you’d throw at us for sleep enhancement that you’ve been doing lately?
Joe: Yeah. You know what, Ben? I’ve been kind of obsessed with breath for a long time. We go free diving or what have you, we talked about apnea tables and things like that. I think that breath is just, everyday I’m more impressed with just how deep it can penetrate into our health. So whether it’s on planes, or whether it’s in the office, or wherever it might be, sneak 10 minutes and do some quick breathing exercises. And I think for me, being a guy that, I'm pretty high energy and I have trouble calming down sometimes, things like apnea tables are just extremely effective. So what that means is that you might hold your breath for 30 seconds and then breathe for 30 seconds. Hold your breath for 30 seconds, 30 breathe for 30 seconds. And as you kinda improve, you can exaggerate either one of those sides of the coin. But I think that sort of breath control, deep breathing, long exhalations, that just completely calms the nervous system. And I think that’s probably one of the biggest pieces that I'd recommend that people do because we all have too much on our mind, especially at night. It’s just a great way to calm ourselves in combination with quit watching crime dramas, and turn off your social media, and stuff that with I’m positive we talked about quite a bit.
Ben: Yeah. The breathwork is really amazing, and of course there’s all sorts of different things that you can combine that with, like a sauna, or cold, et cetera. But the sleep apnea tables, they actually apps that walk you through them. And the thing that I like most about using these apps that will say, it’ll give me a little ding or a little vibration when you’re supposed to hold your breath, and then when you’re supposed to breathe. And typically there’s two different forms of apnea training. One is you hold your breath for increasingly longer periods of time and you keep the interval in between each breath hold constant. So you hold your breath for 45 seconds, rest 30, 60 seconds, rest 30, a minute and 15, rest 30. So on and so forth. That’s called oxygen-based apnea training. And then you can also do the thing where you hold your breath for a certain period of time and you keep the breath holds constant, like a minute every time, but then you decrease your recovery periods. So you would hold for a minute and then recover for a minute, then hold for a minute and recover for 50 seconds, then hold for a minute and recover for 40 seconds.
And it’s not something you’d wanna do while operating heavy machinery or driving, but even something for a walk or multitasking while you’re watching a movie, for example, or doing anything where you can just hold your breath, or even on like a recovery day where you just wanna work your breath, it’s a pretty cool way to train. I’ll try and find a link for the app that I use. I have a static apnea app on my phone. I’ll try and find a link to that and put it in the show notes for you guys. But yeah, I’m on board with you, Joe, with that breathwork and especially like working and things like that prior to sleep can be super, super effective. A lot of people just don’t breathe when they get on the bed, and they instead take Valium, or Ambien, or try all these different sleep supplements or sleep techniques when sometimes all you gotta is just lay there for 10 minutes. Work on your breath. It’s crazy.
Joe: A hundred percent. And my suspicion right now is, like you just alluded to, the CO2 tolerance stuff is I think where it’s at. That’s at least my current kind of idea. So the reduction and rest periods, say, keep the hold in a minute or however long you can hold it comfortably, and reduce the rest period from, say, a minute, and then you can reduce it by 10 seconds across time. And I suspect that getting more CO2 tolerant is sort of where a lot of people need to go.
Ben: Yeah, exactly. Okay. So in addition to this breath hold apps, and CBD, and blue light blocking, are there any other supplements that you’ve incorporated or found a lot of success with since our last chat?
Joe: Yeah. Let see, a couple of things just came in the mail today, so I’m looking at ‘em. Liposomal vitamin C. I met Eric the other day actually, who you I alluded to in my introduction, and he’s got me doing a weekly high dose of vitamin C. I’m gonna try that. So I’ve been taking a gram a day, off and on. I'll do a three month block and then…
Ben: A gram is not that high for liposomal, dude.
Joe: No, no. That’s just been my sort of routine. I just…
Ben: I would recommend, if you want to experiment with high dose vitamin C, which by the way, I should warn you guys not to do this in conjunction with hard training ‘cause it can blunt some of the hormetic response to training. So if you do this, you’d wanna like to take your vitamin C on a recovery day so that your body is still is able to produce its own endogenous antioxidants on your training day. Or let's see your training in the morning, save your vitamin C, for example, the evening after your body has had its own chance to mount its own inflammatory response. But that being said, your body can actually absorb close to about 5 grams of vitamin C a day in about 1 to 2 gram portions. So you can do like a few, for example, a typical high dose vitamin C protocol orally would be like taking one and a half grams of a liposomal form of vitamin C three times a day. Like breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Joe: Yeah. No, absolutely. So I think that’s where I’m gonna shift to. I think I’m gonna do, and you can let me know what you think of this, but I think I’m gonna take it once a week, and I’ll drop like 10 grams.
Ben: That’s something you can do. That works with vitamin D too. That’s usually something someone will do because of the absorption issue, ‘cause your gut can only take on about one and a half grams at a time. That’s usually what someone will do just like a Myers Cocktail injection or vitamin C IV therapy, which is very easy to hunt down in the most cities these days.
Joe: Yeah. So we'll dabble with that. And then when I travel, I'll do all sorts of stuff. I'll take some glutathione before the flight, about half an hour before the flight. When I’m on the flight, I still use the oregano oil. I take some charcoal when I land and maybe a little more glutathione. Day to day, coffee. And I’ve been actually dabbling with KetoPrime, which is Bulletproof’s new product which I’m really liking. And I’m wondering if it’s some kind of placebo or if this stuff really rocks, but it’s the oxaloacetate that I think they use to have in their anti-aging product.
Ben: Oxaloacetate is really interesting stuff. It can accelerate the rate at which you burn ketones. And so technically it can cause you to shove more fatty acids through that cycle. It’s got some other cool properties as well in terms of being able to, it acts on glutamate, I believe it’s a glutamate, what would be called like a scavenger. Meaning that it can convert glutamate into other things like aspartate and alanine, kind of have like this sports performance enhancing effect, and reduce signs and symptoms of brain injuries, and TBIs, and stuff like that. But with that particular supplement, KetoPrime, they’re combining the oxaloacetate with ketones and things like that, like exogenous ketones.
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. There’s some vitamin C in it, there’s some B12 in it. There’s not a lot of the exogenous ketones in here though. It’s not like the OS stuff.
Ben: Okay. Got you. The other interesting thing about ketones, and I just released a blog post about this today, is there’s some fascinating new research about ketones and longevity. Meaning like even if you’re not restricting carbohydrates and you’re just taking exogenous ketones as a supplement, there’s this gene called FOXO. It’s the same gene that you hear, for example, Dr. Rhonda Patrick talk about when she discusses the longevity enhancing benefits of a sauna and all these studies in Finland that have shown people live longer when they do the sauna. One reason for that is this protein called FOXO is getting enhanced and activated, and calorie restriction can do the same thing, and cold exposure can do the same thing, but now it turns out that regardless of whether you’re restricting calories or whether you are eating carbohydrates or not eating carbohydrates, just the simple act of consuming an exogenous ketone source like one of this beta-hydroxybutyrate salts, there’s a lot of companies that sell ‘em now, like Pruvit, and Keto1, and I think Bulletproof might have one as well, but there’s this longevity effect that up until pretty recently was not really known when it comes to ketones. So that’s another interesting benefit of having some kind of like a ketogenic powder, or a ketogenic capsule, or a liquid that you have on hand. And of course, it’s also very good for sport performance as well.
Joe: Yeah. Without a doubt, man. I’ve dabbled into that world a little bit kind of optimistically, but it’s not currently part of my regular routine, exogenous stuff, but I’m definitely kind of interested.
Ben: Yeah. You should read that recent post. I’ll link to it in the show notes. ‘Cause I’ve actually started to use ketones in the afternoon when I normally go into workout fasted, not because I’m hungry necessarily, but because it gives me that slight extra boost, but then also this longevity effect. ‘Cause I’m really getting into, my goal right now with this whole telomere testing thing I’m doing is to have a biological age of 25 by the time that I’m chronologically 40. And so that’s one of the things that I’m beginning to implement a little bit more is clean ways to get into ketosis and the use of these things like beta-hydroxybutyrate salts. Anyways though, Joe, I wanted to ask you about a few other things here with regard to just you and what you’re up to. Because the last time that we talked, we had come back from doing this digital detox-slash-hot yoga-slash-adventure retreat in Costa Rica. One of the best times of my life last year where me, and you, and, I don't know, how many people did we have there?
Joe: Gosh. We had about 60 people in Costa Rica.
Ben: A whole bunch of people. And we went spearfishing, and we had this resort up in the hills with this amazing food everyday, and we were making like superfood smoothies that may or may not have occasionally had tequila added to them, and doing fire dancing around the fire at night with like drum circles. And it was just like, it was amazing. It was like surreal and you call this thing, do you say, Runga, or Runga, or Runga? How do you say it?
Ben: Runga. What’s Runga mean?
Joe: So you know what’s so funny is the name “Runga” actually started from the yoga pose chaturanga. Jewels, who taught yoga with us last year, and she continued…
Ben: Oh, yeah. Jewels was the instructor there. She’s amazing.
Joe: Yeah. She’s amazing, and she used to, because of my Spartan ties, she used to call me Mr. Spartan Face because I could get in to whatever poses that she wanted me to, but I would do it with a grimace, not with a smile. My face would always be just contorted to kind of maintain this posture. And what was so funny is after one of the poses that would make me especially sort of uncomfortable, we would go into chaturanga, which is sort of the reset. And she would go “Chaturanga, aruu,” because that’s what Spartans do.
Ben: Right. Of course.
Joe: I always have this kind of, chaturanga was always in my head. And when we were trying to name this event, which for the first 2 or 3 years, it was just me going on vacation, asking if anybody wanted to come. And so it didn’t have a name, and then we named it runga, and chopped off the chatu, and it worked. People started immediately saying, “Oh you know, why do I wipe my ears? Well, it’s a runga thing.” Or, “Why do I dance around the fire almost naked? Well, that’s a runga thing.” Or whatever.
Ben: I wasn't almost naked. I was wearing cargo shorts. I put on pants for once. I think I wore a Speedo all week and put on pants for the fire dance.
Joe: Yeah, that’s true. There’s a pretty funny picture of us checking into a hotel and I got no shirt, you have no pants, it’s like outrageous. So anyways, that became the name. And then when I researched it, there’s a tree in Australia called the Ax breaker, and it’s a really hard, dense tree, and it’s called the Runga Tree. And so that was cool. And it just kind of stuck. And here we are, and that’s definitely the name.
Ben: Okay. So, this year it’s not in Costa Rica though.
Joe: No. I wanted to kind of take this thing to the next level because I think one of the things, it’s not like anything else. And there’s been an emergence of yoga retreats, both because there’s more place to host them and it’s getting easier and easier to do so, and so I decided that Runga, it's so different than that that I really want to kind of separate it from that world. So the traditional yoga retreat these days, not to kind of put it down, but a lot of times it’s 20 minutes from the airport, and you do some yoga, and you eat some good food, and you stay for a week, and you go home. Whereas with Runga, yoga is a big part of it, but to me it’s a little bit like Runga is a, it's a skyscraper and yoga is like the elevator. And when we’re talking about the skyscraper, we don’t really talk about the elevator. Like of course, we have one, but there’s so much more to it than that. So this year was a little bit of a test, admittedly. I found this incredible venue. It’s a tough job, but I had to scout a few venues throughout Central and South America. And when I got to Sansara in Panama, I immediately just fell in love with it. And I had travelled for 17 hours to get there and it was like the fact that it could blow me away, and aside from that, the people there are like nobody I’ve ever met before, just such amazing people. So, I decided, “We’re going to do this thing, we’re gonna make the anti-yoga retreat. We’re gonna do this thing at a tough time of year, we’re gonna do, the 2 weeks, we're going to host two weeks because 60 people last year was too many.” So we’re gonna do two 25 person Christmas weeks. We’re gonna do it the weeks directly before Christmas…
Ben: Do you have to go for 2 weeks, or can you choose which parts you wanna show up for? ‘Cause a lot of people can’t go for 2 weeks, dude.
Joe: No, so it’s one week. So there’s two groups. Week one and week two.
Joe: So, yeah. It’s a one week trip. It’s in Panama. Sansara is, it's not 20 minutes from the airport. There’s quite a ride once you land in Panama City, which is beautiful, and you go pass the Panama Canal and you can learn so much. But this is an off the grid adventure reset where you’re surrounded by people like you and I, and Eric, and a lot of the other amazing people we bring, like Scott who you called the Scraper, and we’re all there. All these amazing people I’ve met over the years, I basically just kind of keep them at arms length and then try to talk them into coming with me to Runga.
Ben: It’s pretty cool. For some reason, they all show up. And this thing flies under the radar, like obviously it’s only a limited number of people that can even get in. And I think from what you told me before the call, it’s almost full. But I’m going. What I’m doing is I’m going down Kauai to teach this XPT certification with Laird Hamilton, and then I’m hoppin’ on a plane and I’m going straight over to Panama. And I think I’m gonna be there like December, I wanna say December 12th through the 20th, I’m gonna be there. And it’s freaking amazing ‘cause you have all these adventures, like last year we were doing an obstacle course racing, and I know you’ve got like volcano hiking worked in, and of course, there’s the whole white water rafting, ziplining thing, but then food! Amazing food and amazing adventures. And I believe we’re also gonna be doing some spearfishing this year. Is that correct?
Joe: Yeah. So I mean, we literally raised the bar in every single way for this year. So…
Ben: What do you mean?
Joe: So now we’re directly on the beach. All the activities, they're completely customed. Like we just figured out what we could make work with what we had down there and put together this amazing week. So it’s not ziplining in a place that a million people have gone ziplining before. It’s spearfishing with local fishermen in some of the most exotic, beautiful waters that you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s horseback down the beach. When I was there a couple of months ago, it was one of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve even seen and I was the only one on it for a mile. There’s a lot of benefits to going to a place that nobody wants to go, assuming they want to go, but it’s not easy to get to. It takes work. So I can go fly to Panama and find somewhere 25 minutes from the airport, that'll be really easy, they’ll pick me up. Runga is about creating a non-replicateable experience and doing all the heavy lifting for you. So even down to the kettlebells. So I just shipped 3,00o pounds of Russian kettlebells to Panama, and I could bought a few in Panama that are probably a lot worse, but it would been a lot easier, but everything at Runga is about being taken to the next level and being something that you won’t find anywhere else. And real quickly, you mentioned the food. Last year and the year before, the food has been amazing. But this year, you’re actually able to submit your dietary preferences and your meal will be, your menu, excuse me, will be planned accordingly. So you’ll order off a menu for each meal, and if you’re keto, or if you’re vegan, or if you're somewhere in between, you’ll have a menu that’s customed for you. And so your meals are just gonna be outrageously on par with what you want. And on top of that, we’ll make sure to get some of that really good wine we talked about down there with it in case you wanna indulge.
Ben: I love it. Amen. There is, I believe, some kind of an incentive or discount that the folks who are listening in right now are gonna get that nobody else gets. Correct?
Joe: That is correct. A free…
Ben: Okay. Fill me on for what it is, ‘cause I wanna make sure I say this the right way. ‘Cause I think last year when I mentioned the one in Costa Rica, I may have described what people are getting incorrectly. So I wanna make sure folks know exactly how to get into this thing, and then like where to type in the code or whatever so they can save money and get the free, ‘cause everybody there got like this, they got like a HumanCharger and all these amazing gifts when they signed up after hearing the podcast. So what do people do and what do they get?
Joe: Yeah. HumanCharger came in strong last year. They gave everybody from your podcast a HumanCharger, and that was just amazing. Such a cool opportunity. This year is a lot easier. So there’s a code, it’s BEN, if you register.
Ben: Just B-E-N?
Joe: You can also just choose your name from the dropdown. So it says, where you’re heard by, and then Joe, Ben, or Scott. So if you choose Ben there, it’s gonna do the same thing. People that signed up from your podcast are gonna get a movement assessment when they get down there. So one of our experts is gonna actually assess their movement and get them a prescription as to what their movement needs are, and there’s of course a lot of things you can do about that right in the week. But just so you really understand your body and where your limitations are physically. So we’re gonna give everybody that assessment, whether it’s from you, or Scott, or Dr. Spider, or anybody else. We’ve got some rockstars that a very people actually get to work with one-on-one. So it’ll be a one-on-one assessment for them.
Ben: Awesome. I love it. Well, the URL for the show notes for everything that Joe and I just talked about, including Runga, you can find at bengreenfieldfitness.com/GIJoe. That’s bengreenfieldfitness.com/GIJoe. I’ll link to everything. My previous podcast with Joe, and also some of these other very interesting folks who he introduced me to, who we also get to hang out with at Runga, if you’re lucky enough to be there this December. I’ll put a link to my interview with Dan John and this RKC certification that Joe and I were talking about, some of those pieces of cardio equipment, the 30 days no alcohol experiment, my article on ketone salts, and some of my favorite sleep apnea apps, and of course Runga 2017. And by the way, not to project you guys too far at into the future, but I’m just gonna throw a teaser out there for you. In addition to an amazing time at Runga in 2017, we’re planning on some freaking amazing New Year’s parties I think the following year and maybe might move this thing into like a full-on New Year’s celebration. So it’s kind of like this little family, like we've got our own little Facebook page, and it’s like a cool event to go to. I recommend if you like these tiny intimate adventures in a global hot spot. Joe does a fantastic job with it. I’m gonna be there, like I mentioned, for a full, I'll be there like seven to nine days-ish. So come on down. Hang out. Have a good time. Party, eat amazing food, and just kind of check out for a little while this December. So I’ll put a link to that as well. Joe, thanks for coming on the show, dude.
Joe: Thanks for having me, Ben. It’s always a pleasure. It’s always a ton of fun.
Ben: Alright, folks. So I’m Ben Greenfield along with Joe DiStefano signing out from bengreenfieldfitness.com/gijoe. Have a healthy week.
Joe DiStefano is the Head of Sport for Spartan Race and creator of RUNGA. He has a B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science from Fitchburg State University, and he is pursuing a master’s degree in Sports Psychology. Certified through the NASM as a Performance Enhancement Specialist and Corrective Exercise Specialist, he is also a Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA, is RKC certified and has been trained at the C.H.E.K Institute as a Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle Coach.
Over the past decade, DiStefano has worked as a health and performance coach and a serial entrepreneur. Prior to joining Spartan Race, he oversaw the development of more than 100 women-only personal training studios across the U.S. His specialties include corrective exercise, nutrition, stress management, human psychology and business development.
He’s been a previous podcast guest on the episode “Digital Detoxing, Travel-Proofing Your Immune System, Underground Body Weight Workouts & More With Joe DiStefano“, and also introduced me to two former extremely popular guests who I met at his “Runga” digital detox event in Costa Rica last year – Eric Remensperger from the episode “How To Cure Yourself Of Cancer: An Epic Interview With A Man Who Defied Conventional Medicine & Cured Himself Of Prostate Cancer” and Scott Dolly from “The Man I Call “Scraper”: Snowboard Shredding, Fascia Fluffing, Protective Chakra Energy Balls & Much More With Scott Dolly.”
During today’s discussion with Joe, you’ll discover:
-Why Joe is such a fan of kettlebell yoga and the RKC certification…[12:40]
-The concept that all you should ever really do is 10 reps for any given exercise in the weight room…[18:20]
-The “high volume-low intensity” approach Joe uses, and the five pieces of cardio equipment that will give you the most bang for your buck…[30:40 & 41:30]
-Why Ben has become such a fan of green tea, and whether he’ll ever drink coffee again…[50:25]
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Fat loss Gaining muscle Having more energy Motivation and willpower Racing and competition Biohacking my mind and body Anti-Aging Injuries/Pain Just help getting started! Other/Anything else
YES, HOOK ME UP!
-Joe and Ben’s go-to source for stevia…[58:35]
-The #1 supplement that Joe and Ben now use for enhancing sleep and longevity…[62:50]
-A can’t-miss adventure in Panama that Joe has designed…[71:25]
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
Joe’s main social media accounts:
–Runga 2017: Dec 8-21, 2017 (you get to choose how long to stay!). RUNGA is a once a year retreat, currently hosted in December. RUNGA is designed to facilitate a dramatic shift in attendee’s current outlook, lifestyle choices, self efficacy, motivation, love, even spirituality. The retreat spans 8-days and centers around fostering heightened awareness, presence, and connection with others through a mandatory “Digital Detox” – or no cell phones, computers, and other technology. Yoga is offered twice per day, everyday. There is also an off-site adventure ranging from hiking volcanoes to white water rafting or zip lining. World-class spa treatments are available and 100% of the food are suitable for vegetarian, vegan, paleo, gluten-free, or ketogenic dieters. They are also delicious. Click here to sign up. Use code BEN (or let them know I sent you) to get VIP treatment, $10 off your registration and a free gift valued at $100!
-ZipRecruiter – Post jobs on ZipRecruiter for FREE by visiting ZipRecruiter.com/FIRST.
-HealthIQ – To learn more about life insurance for physically active people and get a free quote, go to HealthIQ.com/BEN.
-HealthGains – Text the word “GAIN” to 313131 to receive a $150 voucher toward your first GAINSWave treatment at any of the 60 participating physicians nationwide. Or go to GAINSWAVE.com and click ‘Find A Doctor’ to locate a GAINSWave provider near you.